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Old 01-10-2019, 01:31 PM   #1
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Default Johnny Builds a Brat

I'm on a quest to build the most capable least capable trail rig I can. Building the MST CFX Bronco with its tiny tires was a ton of fun, but it's still a great performer out on the trails. I want a challenge!

"How about an even tinier tired Subaru Brat?"

Yes! Now you're talking, man inside my head! I love the Brat. I know there was a period of time when everybody and their mother built Brat scalers, but I missed that boat. Besides, most of those were built as solid axle rigs (at least in the rear). I want to do one that's pretty much what a stock Brat would be. That sounds like a wonderful awful idea.

"Enough chatter, chatterbox. Show me a picture."

OK...


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr

"That doesn't look like a Brat."

No, but it is a 4wd platform with independent suspension and a wheelbase pretty close to the Tamiya Brat body, so let's do this! I've been playing around with this off and on for a few months. It hasn't really gone as planned, so I've tried to just go with the flow and see where it takes me. No point in getting too stressed out over tiny trucks.

Wish me luck.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Johnny Builds a Brat


IN.
that sounds RAD. i am also into doing cool stuff that seems dumb hahaha
cant wait to see where this goes! i mean i know where it will go but its the journey, right?

seriously cool idea. i will be checking back on this for sure.

*oh and if you don't use 1.55 dirt grabbers you are being to easy on yourself lol
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:59 PM   #3
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*oh and if you don't use 1.55 dirt grabbers you are being to easy on yourself lol
Shhh...
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Old 01-10-2019, 02:43 PM   #4
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Default Re: Johnny Builds a Brat

Fabulous! I love the Brat! The Tamiya Brat was my first rc car. Still have the body, which was meant to go on some MRC axles. Yeah, solid axles, the easy way
I like your Bronco and your Cherokee, so I am curious what you will do with this one
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Johnny Builds a Brat

Nice. Built one a while ago - same chassis, same body using the Shapeways body mounts, and some little Baja MTZ's. The wheelbase was off a bit which kind of turned me off to the project. Fun little chassis though!!
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:16 AM   #6
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Fabulous! I love the Brat! The Tamiya Brat was my first rc car. Still have the body, which was meant to go on some MRC axles. Yeah, solid axles, the easy way
I like your Bronco and your Cherokee, so I am curious what you will do with this one
No harm in a solid axle version. There are plenty of 1:1 examples out there. It would be far more capable than what I'm cooking up!

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Nice. Built one a while ago - same chassis, same body using the Shapeways body mounts, and some little Baja MTZ's. The wheelbase was off a bit which kind of turned me off to the project. Fun little chassis though!!
I looked at those mounts and thought about going that route at one point. That was one of many changes in direction with this build. Like I said, things haven't exactly gone as planned. I've had to tinker with things quite a bit and make some compromises. Sometimes it's good to share the things that go wrong along with the things that go right. Hopefully everything works out in the end.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:20 AM   #7
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Here are the first few pics from the build. So far pretty much straight up according to the manual. I did lock both differentials with the gear method. I also added a set of bearings.

I may end up unlocking the diffs at some point for a couple of reasons. One, I think this tiny truck is going to be challenged in the turning radius department. Two, I think it might be "fun" with a more limited slip type of setup out on the trails. I'll make that decision after I've run it a bit.


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:03 PM   #8
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More please! Looks good so far. Seeing where things went wrong can save others a lot of frustration, can we hear more about what didn't work and why?

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Old 01-12-2019, 01:47 PM   #9
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More please! Looks good so far. Seeing where things went wrong can save others a lot of frustration, can we hear more about what didn't work and why?

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Oh, my struggles will be in plain view. Fear not.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Johnny Builds a Brat

Here are a few more pics. Again, pretty much a straight up build according to the manual at this point. I used these DS3218MG servos in my CFX, TT02 and Dancing Rider builds. They've worked OK in those applications, so I thought I'd try one here to keep the costs down.

The pogo sticks won't be staying...


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:44 AM   #11
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Here's the last batch of pictures before we start getting into some of the challenges. Here we've got a Holmes Hobbies Trailmaster Sport and a Hobbywing 1080 ESC. For my money, together they're a great value to get you up and running.

At this point I had a basic, functioning vehicle. The speed seems to be right in the ballpark of where I want it (we'll see if things run too hot due to the gearing once it gets on the trails). Overall, the build provided a lot of that "quirky" Tamiya fun.


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:18 PM   #12
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OK. This is where things start to go awry.

So my plan going into this build was to make what would essentially be a stock Brat, seats in the bed and all. In fact, seats in the bed was pretty much my primary goal going in. With that in mind, I grabbed the Tamiya body and placed it over the chassis.

Uh oh. The wheelbase is pretty close, but that's gonna sit way too high...

Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr

The issue with the MF-01x chassis is that it's really tall the whole way through. To make matters worse, the upper control arms of the rear suspension go up even higher when compressed. Now, Yeah Racing makes a kit to relocate the upper control arms, but that's still not going to get this body anywhere near where it needs to be. To get the body down to more of a "stock" Brat stance I'd need to cut out the bed and either raise it up and fake it or do a tonneau cover thing. Either way it would rule out the rear seats, which I desperately wanted to do.

Ugh. Feeling kind of defeated I started to think about if I really wanted to hack up the hard body or wait and try a different platform down the road. Then I remembered I have a couple of the Lexan Brat bodies stashed away. Those don't have a drop bed. Let's see how that would sit...


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr

OK. The body is able to sit quite a bit lower (it also gave me an idea of where the hard body would sit if I hacked it up). Interestingly, the wheelbase of the Lexan body is noticeably longer. How odd! It also is much more squared off at the bottom, has a weird hump in the bed and is not nearly as detailed.

After mulling it over for quite a while, I decided to hold onto the hard body and try to find a different platform that would allow me to do a seats-in-the-back Brat. Since I had a couple of the Lexan bodies kicking around (and I've already made plans for the Mercedes body), I figured I'd try to make it work. It certainly won't look as good as a nicely detailed hard body, but I'm going to do what I can to salvage the project.

Let the disappointment commence!
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:49 AM   #13
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Hang in there! I like the idea of the seats on the bed!
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:09 PM   #14
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Once I got over the disappointment of moving past the hard body, I was all in on making the Lexan body work. Let's get to it!

First up if fixing the wheelbase. As I mentioned, the wheelbase on the Lexan body is noticeably longer than the hard body. 30 minutes with the Dremel and some Team KNK spacers had me pushing the wheelbase of this little rig to its limits.

There should still be enough meat on the arms to stand up to the kind of driving I'm likely to do with this tiny truck. My bigger concern is popping out dogbones. To combat this, I've put some little rubber o-rings in each of the drive cups to keep the dogbones "centered." The shocks I've got are also slightly shorter than the pogo sticks, so that will limit the down travel slightly. In this case, I'll call that a win.

Here are some comparison shots.


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr
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Old 01-21-2019, 07:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: Johnny Builds a Brat

You can't have a tiny truck without tiny wheels and tiny tires. I chose RC4WD products for both. Here we've got 1.55" Dirt Grabbers mounted on white 1.55" OEM stamped steel beadlocks. I was originally going to use wagon wheels, but these fit the look better (albeit with a slightly wider stance). Some Lock Up scale hardware and SSD hubs round things out.

Also, color sneak peek!


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:39 PM   #16
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Default Re: Johnny Builds a Brat

Let's talk shocks for a second. I picked up a set of these Tamiya dampers for the M Chassis cars. They're a little shorter than the pogo sticks that came with the kit, but that should hopefully help keep the dogbones in place with the wheelbase modifications I made.

I put these on the chassis and they were way too stiff with even the softest included springs. Then I swapped on the springs from the kit. A little better, but still too hard. Then I noticed the Axial springs sort of fit diameter wise, but are obviously too long. So I order a set of the softest Axial springs (in blue, because they were $1 cheaper) and cut them down to size. I ended up making all 4 springs out of two. At this point I'd describe the setup as the "stiff side of acceptable," which is probably good enough.

Bonus points if you made it through that entire previous paragraphs without chuckling.

I also added some lights. I used some light buckets I had laying around. They're simply hooked up to an Axial simple light controller at this point.


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr
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Old 01-25-2019, 03:41 AM   #17
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Default Re: Johnny Builds a Brat

What kind of glue did you use to attach the light buckets? Just curious, as I tried hot glue once and it ended in melting the body ...
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Old 01-25-2019, 05:21 AM   #18
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What kind of glue did you use to attach the light buckets? Just curious, as I tried hot glue once and it ended in melting the body ...
I used E6000. ShoeGoo and E6000 both work great when bonding to Lexan. I then covered some of the lights with black RTV sealant to block out the light.
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Old 01-25-2019, 12:22 PM   #19
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Every tiny truck needs a tiny driver (or at least 1/2 of a driver). This tiny truck is no exception.

I find it oddly therapeutic to paint up these Tamiya guys. Since I was feeling in need of some therapy, that's what I did.

Let me introduce you to Steve Man. Incidentally, his twin brother Alan drives a pretty sweet Ford Bronco.


Tamiya MF-01X Subaru Brat Build by johnny anguish, on Flickr
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Old 01-25-2019, 12:40 PM   #20
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that's crazy, i work with a guy named Steve Allen.

yeah it really is therapeutic to paint stuff like this. base color. wash. dry brush. therapy has occurred. looks great!
oh and the light bucket thing reminds me, don't they make E6000 in a few colors, including black? i always forget to look at hobby lobby.
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