Perusing scale RC videos on Youtube I stumbled across some astonishingly realistic films of some 1/6 scale Jeeps. These particular models had started life as G.I. Joe (Action Man in the UK) push along toys and had cleverly been converted to radio control. Amongst the best are those created by Race730 as seen here.
There are a number of original models to choose from but by far the best and easiest to convert are the Hasbro model from around 2001-2002 and the currently available Dragon 1/4 ton truck model.
The former was as far as I can tell only available for sale in the States and examples can usually be found on Ebay.com. The latter can be be bought in the UK for at the time of writing around £100.
The Hasbro model, if you can source one is the easiest to convert. Already assembled it features a very sturdy, detachable, plastic chassis. The Dragon model features a more scale looking but weaker plastic chassis that would need to be duplicated in a stronger material such as aluminium to provide the strength required for a conversion.
The Dragon model is also considerably more detailed so if you’re prepared to put in the work will ultimately result in a much more scale model.
I found a good condition Hasbro model on Ebay and as it was available via the Global Shipping Program managed to get it to the UK for a very reasonable sum. Being a low value toy it also did not attract import duties or any additional charges.
I sourced some aluminium links of various sizes from RCModelex and found some HPI Wheely King axles on Ebay.co.uk for a very reasonable sum.
These HPI axles are a popular choice although many people use an SCX10 rear axle with wideners to create the correct width. The HPI axles both come with C-Hubs and knuckles as I presume the original model was 4 wheel steer. On the rear axle therefore, these need to be replaced with lockouts, I used RC4WD ones.
I also sourced some brackets for the four link setup, in this case used Tamiya Mudblaster suspension brackets, and set about creating the links. The brackets themselves were simply bolted onto the existing chassis using M3 hex bolts.
In order to attach the upper link to the axles I sourced some mounts from Level3 RC. I then cut out the central cross member enough to mount an RC4WD T1 transfer case on the skid plate. This was simply bolted on one side to the cross member.
The bonnet can be removed easily by undoing a few screws. Underneath there’s just enough room to squeeze in a transmission and motor. Many builds use the RC4WD R2 transmission or the transmission from an Axial SCX10. I’ve opted to use an HPI gear reduction unit (GRU) which I trust will be strong enough, time will tell.
It was relatively straightforward to fit. I drilled a hole in the firewall for the output shaft. Two more holes were then drilled for the bolts to attach the unit. Incidentally, to use this GRU you need to change the output shaft to 5mm, a suitable replacement can be sourced from RCModelex.
I was then able to hook up the GRU to the transfer case with an RC4WD Punisher Shaft that I had in the spares box. For drive to the axles from the transfer case I’ve used Axial plastic drive shafts for now. I doubt they will be strong enough so I’ll source some steel replacements.
For the servo, I used some Axial servo mounts and simply attached it under the truck. I had to modify the front links a little to ensure the link mount on the axle didn’t foul against the servo but apart from that it all hooked up nicely.