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Thread: Thloftusí Beast II build

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Old 09-29-2019, 10:30 PM   #1
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Default Thloftusí Beast II build

Iíve wanted to build a RC4WD Beast II for several years and finally saved up enough courage to take on the body in all itís many-pieced glory.

Iím planning to weather the body, scratch build part of the interior, and make a weathered wood floor for the bed - all three are new for me. Also adding a sound kit and possibly a smoker since you know, Iím an adult playing with toy trucks. All of this has been done before, but like most of my builds, I like to arrive well after the fads or new-to-the-hobby excitement have passed, Lol!

Iíve read several threads about weathering hard bodies, but probably still have no idea what Iím doing - any advice is greatly appreciated! Iíve also researched options for weathering wood boards and settled on making a vinegar / steel wool solution and painting this on the boards. Should I combine the vinegar with a black wash once the boards are installed? Or paint the boards with tea first to increase the tannins? Please advise! I assume balsa is a good choice, but are others better? I have no experience with this part either, so any input is helpful.

This build is likely to simmer slow due to a combination of my build speed and family / work commitments. I try to build kits with my kids, but Iím not sure theyíll have patience for this one. Not sure if this will speed me up or just keep me from ever working on it, lol!

Hereís my parts list so far:

* RC4WD Beast II kit
* Holmes Hobbies 1400 kV Revolver
* Castle Creations Sidewinder 4 ESC
* Castle Creations 10 A BEC + Gear Head BEC RX Bypass Adapter for the steering servo
* ProModler DS470BLHV steering servo
* Power HD 20 kg waterproof shift servo
* Castle Creations 4 mm ESC-motor bullet connectors
* Associated ESS Dual+ engine sound system
* Heng Long 1:16 tank smoke maker. Iíve never used one, but itís hard to resist at < $10 on eBay
* Axial AXI80037 parts tree - has steering wheels and shifters that Iím hoping fit the truck
* Seats I found on eBay (picture below)
* RC4WD RC4Z-E0082 LED Basic Lighting System For Mil-Spec 6x6 Body Set
* Futaba R203GF 3-channel receiver, possibly upgrading to a R304SB 4-channel receiver if necessary
* JST leads for the battery plug for future expansion
* 3S batteries I use in all my rigs

I plan to run the receiver at the 6 V spec voltage for the Power HD servo.

Iíd appreciate any tips for using the smoke maker. Like other items in this build, Iíve never used one before and Iíd rather not set the body on fire or dump oil in the wrong port! Can it be tied to the throttle so the smoke is proportional to the motor speed? Is baby oil the best smoker fluid? Iíll need to make an exhaust also and would like to stay true to the 1:1 counterparts for this truck. Please send any and all advise! I donít mind taking an extra long time to get the details right.

I have all of the parts except the seats and smoker, which are on their way.

Let the unveiling begin!

Large shipping box, maybe the largest and best one for me so far. Not sure why the picture is so funky with one end of the box looking smaller and further away than the other. Thatís a big box, son!

The kit box is sweet and doesnít disappoint, especially the existential dread, Lol!

Hereís the shift servo and receiver, ESC and motor, motor lead connectors, bypass adapter, light kit, and JST leads nicely arranged on the Beast II box - fantastic!

The Revolver and SW4 deserve their own dedicated picture. Iím looking forward to trying out the Revolver. Iíve never used an outrunner before and have read and watched many great things about this one.

The sound kit looks well-made and arrives with nearly infinite - or at least 20 - options for the motor noise !

Next up is the steering servo. Super impressive customer service from Promodler. The servo arrived in a few short days - from the opposite side of the country - and came with several bits of unexpected and fantastic swag!

Iíve never owned a servo hat before and actually like this one!

The beer cozy looks even better with friends! Donít despair, the cozys are full-size. The cans are 16 oz Stouts.

The servo itself is beautiful. Looking forward to this one given all the great reviews here and elsewhere. Have any of you used their lower torque options for shift servos?

The smoker looks fully capable of smoking and making a lot of noise on itís own. Hopefully the sound kit speakers can overwhelm it and the Revolver! It hasnít arrived yet, but hereís a picture in the meantime.

And finally, the seats. It took forever to find these. Everyone has racing seats, but I wanted a simpler seat style thatís (hopefully) more true to the truck. I literally spent at least 1.5 hours over several days to find them - such sacrifice, lol! I considered making seats myself, but that would require upholstery, which is even further outside my skill set. Hopefully these fit the cab. Iíll find out when they arrive! Hereís a picture from the seller

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Last edited by Thloftus; 09-29-2019 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:35 PM   #2
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Default Thloftusí Beast II build

On with the unboxing!

Iíll try to get through this part quickly since itís not the most exciting piece of all this - but then, how many times in life will I get to unbox a Beast II?

The factory seal is very nice and will never be the same again ...

The kit is boxed up well, with the frame rails and various parts on top and the body underneath.

Impressive manual thatís only slightly intimidating for its page count. The frame rails are in the background. Iím planning to use a pdf version of the manual on my phone so I can zoom the images for my youthful eyes, lol!

Axles, transmission and other

Quality foam padding

And a frightening number of body pieces

The kit also comes with grease, shock oil, and loctite, which is a nice touch

6 tires! And theyíre super sticky!

Ok, so thatís it for the unboxing. Only build content from here forward.

Onward to months of slow progress!

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Last edited by Thloftus; 10-04-2019 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:30 PM   #3
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Default Thloftusí Beast II build

The manual starts with the body, but Iím assembling the chassis first to create a sense of accomplishment - also shortens the time to driving the truck, or at least part of it.

The first step is adding trusses to the axles. Everything went together great with no troubles at all. I thought my kit was missing a bunch of button-head screws, but then realized that Iíd misplaced them in my own lack of organization.

The axles are beauties. Itís nice they come assembled, but part of me wishes the kit involved building them from scratch.

Hereís the front one

I removed the diff cover to check the grease. The gears were plenty covered. So given the hassle involved in removing the cover (maybe 10 screws), I decided the other two must be ok also. Probably a mistake. Iíll check them off camera. Hereís all three, front at the top and rear at the bottom. Theyíre fun to stare at - will be hard to risk scratches ...

The links were next and dang, what a lot of links. I shouldnít be surprised, but was anyway. So many set screws. Iím using Loctite in the stick form. Itís quicker, or maybe not. Plus the fumes add to the overall experience

The next steps were adding mounting hardware to the transmission. The RC4WD transmissions are beauties. I had the same sense of mechanical wonder when I built my Trailfinder 2.

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Last edited by Thloftus; 10-04-2019 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 10-06-2019, 10:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Thloftusí Beast II build

Next up is the battery tray and frame rails. Iím impressed with how well the parts fit together, especially the mates that use box-sided slots on the rails. RC4WD does a nice job getting their tolerances right. And itís hard not to enjoy all the machined aluminum parts. Similar experience with my TF2.

Hereís the first round of frame assembly. Iím cheating a little, but shhh, donít tell anyone! The fasteners donít have Loctite yet. I did this to make sure everything fit together and all the fasteners were started first. Or maybe I just wanted to rush to taking pictures. Who can tell? The skid plate is Delrin and nicely machined. Looks great too.

The seats arrived, so short interlude for pictures. Theyíre black and look nicer in person than they did on eBay. Iím afraid theyíre a little big, although Iíve seen other builds use 1/10th scale interiors. Novice mistake if they donít fit. I promise to exercise better informed judgement once I find the right solution, lol!

Tamiya has a dashboard / seat set for their 1/14 Scania tractor truck that may work, PN 9115181. Plus it comes with some other scale bits that could be useful. Iíll probably wait to pick it up until I build the cab and see the seats are too big - but this seems nearly guaranteed.

Similar offering from Hercules that also includes scale bits.

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Old 10-13-2019, 10:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Thloftusí Beast II build

Thereís going to be a lot of Ďsavoring the momentí with this build given the rate I make progress, lol! But I did find some time this weekend to continue building the chassis, starting with the shock towers, link hangers, and transfer case.

Nice machining on the shock towers, as with the other parts in this kit. I like the unfinished look of tool marks on the inside surfaces. The taller towers on the right are for the front.

Chassis with the shock towers, link hangers, transfer case, and chassis brace plate installed. Iím still amazed by the wheelbase - takes 3x shop towels to make a background thatís long enough! Proud moment with no cheating on the Loctite this time. So many fasteners ... The chassis is super stout, with zero flex due to all the metal parts, especially the brace plate, which goes way beyond anything Iíve seen on other rigs.

Iíve been using Loctite in stick form lately, but decided to try the tube that came with the kit and was happy with the results. Itís more of a gel and was easier to apply than the brand-name Loctite liquid, which is much runnier. I might get some more if it holds the fasteners well. RC4WD offers in a three pack with grease and shock oil:

Close-up of the steering servo mounting brackets

And the transmission and transfer case. All of the parts fit perfectly - enjoyable experience putting this kit together

Hereís the rear shock towers and the brace plate. No question itís a solid platform!

Felt like I should stop at this point since itís more progress than Iíve made in a week, but I decided to keep going instead. Plus, you know, I didnít want to stop anyway. Hereís the front axle with the links and shocks installed

The shocks are nicely made, with aluminum bodies and caps and dual springs. The springs are extremely stiff. No wonder the suspension looks so bouncy in videos. I filled the shocks with 2000 wt rather than the 35 wt in the kit to provide extra dampening, but the filled and empty shocks were almost indistinguishable due to the stiffness of the springs. I might look into softer springs depending on how the suspension performs once the truck is together and fully weighted down. Any input about tuning the suspension will be greatly appreciated! The shocks themselves are easy to build and have nice features, such as double o-rings at the bottom - which I dutifully coated in green slime

Next step was mounting the front axle to the chassis. One step closet to a roller! The installation was straightforward. I used a M3x10 with a 1 mm spacer rather than the M3x8 listed in the manual for attaching the upper link to the frame, but followed the manual otherwise. The M3x8 barely engaged the threads whereas the 10 was too ling by itself. Should I go deeper in the weeds, lol! Hereís the axle on the chassis. Itís a beautiful machine!

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Old Yesterday, 10:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Thloftusí Beast II build

Squeezed in a little build time over the weekend, this time with a decent amount of help from one of my kids. Itís a fun way to spend time together.

We started by filling the remaining four shocks with oil. I used 2k weight diff fluid again. The springs are so stiff that itís hard to think thereís much impact. I havenít found softer replacements - and maybe theyíre not necessary. Iíll wait until the truck is fully assembled before making any change. Hereís the shocks newly filled with oil - looks very similar to straight out of the package, lol!

The shocks look great and are decently smooth. One of them had more stiction than the others, but this mostly cleaned up after the green slime + 2k oil. I may upgrade to Traxxas TRX-4 shocks if they fit. Theyíve awesome and have worked well on our SCX10-2. They may be a little long at 90 mm versus 80 mm for the RC4WDís. I might give them a try with the set we already have and go from there.

We moved on the the middle and rear axles next. Hereís the middle axle with the links and axles installed. The shocks are on the wrong side - but shhh, donít anyone! Plus it looks cool regardless. I fixed it later when we installed the axles on the chassis and realized there was no way to line up the shocks with the towers. Some of the hollow balls are super tight in the rod ends - probably improves with driving, but weíll see either way. On the plus side, itís great for keeping the axles propped up for artistic poses, lol!

Hereís the rear axle, shocks on the correct side for this one. I donít remember flipping them later anyway. Funny how the little helpers leave me distracted and feeling like Iím on a Japanese game show!

Axles installed on the chassis. The photos donít do justice to the machine in person

And from the bottom. The link arrangement is a little weird, as others have pointed out. But it seems to work just fine.

And from the side, to complete the views. It doesnít fit well in a single frame so Iíll do it in two pieces. Also, my phone is unable to make a decent panorama. Or maybe itís me? Who knows, I ran out of patience after ten or so tries. Iím blaming the phone, lol!

Hereís the back half

And hereís the front, this time with the Panhard bar in place - you may have noticed this was missing in my last post, but I apparently did not!

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