RC4WD Chevrolet Blazer K5 Body Kit

In the last few days, San Jose based scale RC manufacturers RC4WD have released a new hard body kit based on the mid 70s Chevy K5 Blazer.

The body kit is designed to fit on their existing Trail Finder 2 chassis with some minor modifications.

I’ve been lucky enough to be one of the first customers to get my hands on the kit so I took the opportunity to shoot an unboxing video.  I’ll also be documenting progress of my build via video and on some of the most popular scale RC forums.

Scale Land Rover Defender 110

Regular readers will have noticed that my posts here have of late been few and far between.  This is as a result of me finding a new passion, specifically the world of scale RC off road modeling.

I have been on somewhat of a journey over the past 18 months or so.  What started with the purchase of a 1/10th scale radio controlled Axial SCX10 Jeep has snowballed in to a passion that has consumed all of my free time over the last year.

Over the coming weeks I intend to write more about this new found obsession, the tagline above did after all previously read ‘other stuff that interests me.’

I’m going to revisit some of the builds I’ve completed and share some of the techniques I’ve learnt along the way.

Here as a taster is my latest project.  A Land Rover Defender 110 based on a chassis from RCModelex and scale body from RC4WD.

Tamiya, Sand Scorchers And Other RC Memories

Tamiya Sand Scorcher

Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t spend my entire teenage life hunched over a Commodore 64.  Among my other interests such as garden creeping, re-mixing dance music, illicit driving of my parent’s Volvo and Julia Wray, were radio controlled cars.

Tamiya Frog

My Tamiya Frog

My first introduction to the joy of RC was the intensely frustrating experience of watching someone else, specifically Mark Palmer, driving his Tamiya Sand Scorcher whilst praying that he might let me snatch maybe a minute of driving before the ridiculously short battery life ended the run.

There is a thrill experienced by those like myself who have RC in the blood and it is quite difficult to articulate that feeling to others.  It’s a perfect storm of everything to which many teenage boys are attracted.  From the initial arrival of the kit, through lessons learnt and satisfaction gained from building the model on to the excitement and challenge of learning to drive and subsequent upgrades and customisations it’s a journey that ticks many boxes.

Kyosho Tomahawk

My Kyosho Tomahawk

After saving for some time I eventually became the proud owner of a Tamiya Frog and and some Futaba Radio Gear.  Feeling typically contrary I decided my colour scheme would be red with yellow spots

I began racing at the nascent Slip End Model Racing Club (a name which I only now realise was wonderfully appropriate) near Luton.  My memory is a little sketchy however I’m sure my good friend’s elder brother, Andrew Phelps, was involved in the creation of the club.  It became apparent that the Frog was not really up to racing and I graduated to a Kyosho Tomahawk, a much lighter, metal framed car.


My Team Associated RC10

I won quite a few races with the Kyosho and some of us started travelling to other race meets.  Around this point, Team Associated released the RC10 and after one of my friends bought one I realised that yet again if I was going to compete I would need to upgrade.  With the help of a well-timed birthday, some savings from my newspaper round and the sale of the Tomahawk I was able to get my hands on an RC10.

However it soon became clear that the cost of racing in any meaningful way was going to be prohibitive and unfortunately after a couple of moderate successes with the RC10 my RC racing career fizzled out.

scorcherboxartSo for the best part of 30 years my RC10 and my original trusty Futaba radio gear have lived their lives in successive lofts as we moved from house to house.  However when a friend recently messaged me a picture of a new RC car that he’d bought the whole thing began to snowball again.

Clearly no fools, Tamiya, the wonderful Japanese model company, have over the last few years been busy re-releasing such classics as the Sand Scorcher, Holiday Buggy, Hotshot and Wild One.  With 80’s teenagers such as myself now hitting their mid forties, armed with a disposable income and children in tow (the perfect excuse,) the lure of that familiar Tamiya box, once both financially and often literally out of reach on the high shelf at the local model shop, is now too great.

IMG_1784I have therefore, in fairly short order acquired three new RC cars.  My first purchase was a Re-released Sand Scorcher kit.  For me the Sand Scorcher is the most iconic of RC cars and the only one that still gives me goose bumps today.  I shopped around and ended up ordering it straight from Japan, with VAT and import duties added it was still considerably cheaper that buying it here in the UK.

Whilst waiting it for it to arrive I discovered the Iconic RC Facebook group and it was there that a post alerted me to a great deal on the Tamiya Neo Fighter.  With its ‘No Guts, No Glory’ decal it felt to me like a spiritual successor to the Frog.  For £60 all in including ESC and Motor this was a deal too good to miss.  It duly arrived and I had it assembled and running, using my original Futaba Radio Gear, before the Sand Scorcher had even arrived.  It’s a great budget car for general bashing and has proved very tough.

_MG_0869I enjoyed the Neo Fighter build, it was pretty simple and got me back in to the swing of things.  When the Sand Scorcher arrived however it was a wholly different experience.  First, just the site of the box with its iconic design made my heart skip a beat.  Opening it up, seeing the blister packs and smelling the familiar rubber of the paddle tyres was a spine tingling experience.

_MG_0863With larger, less nimble fingers the build was challenging, not technically, but physically.  However it was a joy and seeing that famous SRB chassis come together before my eyes was a true pleasure.  I even enjoyed masking up and spraying the body, something I always used to dread in the past, invariably relying instead on professional model maker friend, Nick Phelps, to do it for me.

Battery technology has unsurprisingly moved on somewhat since the classic Tamiya Hump Pack NiCad days.  Rated at 1200 mAh if I remember correctly you were lucky to get 8-10 minutes running time after having had the battery on charge all night.  These days LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries are cheap, powerful and relative to the old NiCad packs, very long lasting.  Charging them is a little more involved, however knowing that you can do this relatively quickly and get as much as an hours running time is fantastic.

IMG_1841I absolutely love running my completed Sand Scorcher, it’s a hoot to drive, both hugely challenging and satisfying.  I’ve now also stumbled across the world of Crawling and have ordered an Axial SCX10.  Where will it end?