DISCLAIMER: I hold the original Sand Scorcher in very high regard - it is my favorite kit. I embarked on this project to push the boundaries of what can be done with the Scorcher, still keeping it 100% Tamiya, just 'evolved,' as if Tamiya continued to produce the kit and improve it. If there is interest, I will create a tutorial on the exact modifications I made when I break this kit down for paint (it is in the testing-proto stage right now).
GOALS: 1. Keep the scale appearance of the SRB front suspension combined with the proven durability and parts availability of the ORV chassis, gearbox and rear suspension. 2. Any SRB parts that are used REQUIRE NO MODIFICATION - they are too expensive to cobble up. 3. Minimal modification to ORV chassis, no exotic materials, easy to make original pieces. 4. Use original SRB body mounts - I wanted my Scorcher shells to swap back and forth easily with no mods using stock hardware.
SRB parts include:
1. Complete front suspension (minus the Servo Saver)
2. SRB rear cage.
3. Sand Scorcher Body and Wheels.
4. SRB front bumper (I used a Lightning Rapid box art front cage, but any SRB bumper will fit).
ORV parts include:
1. ORV chassis (from Frog, Brat, Blackfoot, etc.)
2. ORV gearbox and rear suspension unit.
3. Bel crank steering from King Blackfoot.
4. Front inner suspension mount (requires modification)
1. Front chassis/skid plate (made from aluminum plate)
2. Rear roll bar/body mount
3. Front body mount
4. Rear roll cage mount
5. Steering linkage (I used a unit stock for the Scorcher/RR)
The build was more difficult than it looked the first time. The trickiest piece was designing the front suspension mount. I originally wanted to use a 90 degree aluminum plate mounted to the stock ORV front suspension pickups. But the chassis was 2 MM too wide to fit the width of the plate and the front SRB suspension and I didn't want to modify either piece. So, I created an aluminum plate to replace the stock Brat aluminum skid plate. This flat plate is just like the front of the SRB chassis (you can use a SRB chassis as a template). The plate mounts to the ORV chassis on the sides and in front, using the front bumper mount (I will include closer pics in a more detailed build thread, if folks are interested). I did have to mildly trim two areas of the ORV chassis - about 5MM off the front (to maintain the correct wheelbase) and the bottom stiffening rib (so that the new chassis plate mounts flatly to the bottom. The changes were slight - you could still use the chassis to make a Frog the changes are so minor. I retained the ORV front suspension pickups as the front body mount - just grind them down slightly. In the rear, bending the roll bar was kind of tricky, but it maintains the stock SRB height and rear cage mount - the cage is in the exact same position. I also narrowed the rear ORV trailing arms 5mm to match the width of the SRB - simply trim the outer bearing recess and drill out a new bearing holder 5mm inboard (you can see it is narrow because the threads of the axle stick out more.
THE BENEFITS: 1. SRB looks with much better rear suspension travel, more choice of dampers and motors. 2. Cost savings - a SRB front suspension is still reasonably priced (less than $100) and you can get a cheap Frog off ebay for less than $40. 3. The Scorcher Shell fits with no modification. 4. Because the motor sits further forward, there is plenty of room for one of Old Skool's scale motors!
STILL TO DO: I still need to fit my Scollins interior, my scale VW motor from Old Skool, paint the ORV chassis black and add decals to the Lexan shell. I have a special paint job brewing for the Blitzer Shell too. Weather here in the midwest is horrible (please excuse the indoor photos) - I hope to put some serious off road time in with this model soon. To me, it is the perfect SRB and it's still 99% Tamiya.
If you liked those pictures, you should see these...
An improved SS with ORV DNA