Big rigs are in a unique class of their own and are pretty far removed from the rest of the RC segments. Typically people think that RC vehicles are all high-performance machines however these tractor trucks contradict that notion yet are quite extraordinary. Tractor trucks and trailers, especially the ones offered by Tamiya, are built to be ultra-realistic, full-functioning representations of the full size trucks. At 1/14-scale, the Tamiya tractor trucks are quite large measuring nearly four feet long with a tractor trailer attached. The remarkable scale detail that Tamiya incorporates into these models makes them easy to be mistaken as the real thing in photographs. On top of that, the tractor trailers are fully operational RC machines and with the optional Multi-Function Control Unit which adds numerous lights and realistic sounds, you then have the ultimate in scale realism. At the time this article was written, Tamiya has seventeen US and Euro style tractors as well as seven trailers to choose from and that does not count the special edition tractors. You also have many Tamiya hop-up option parts where you can further customize the trucks. Read on to learn more about these incredible Tamiya tractor trucks.
The Tamiya King Hauler (#56301) was the very first tractor truck released by Tamiya back in 1993. Its chassis design became the platform for the numerous trucks that followed the King Hauler. At its core is a ladder frame chassis with aluminum side channels and resin cross members. Like full-scale big rigs, the ladder frame is equipped with a highly realistic suspension complete with metal leaf springs and friction dampers. Power to drive the tractor is derived from a front mounted 540 brushed motor attached to a three-speed transmission. Shift on the fly gear changes can be made remotely with use of a 4-channel radio system. From the tranny a propeller shaft transmits the power to two rear axles fitted with gear differentials to enable smooth cornering. You will notice that some of Tamiya’s tractor trucks use two rear axles referred to as 6×4 while others have just one axle which is 4×2. In order to accurately capture even the smallest details of the full size rigs, Tamiya uses ABS plastic for the body and accessories. One look at King Hauler or any of the other Tamiya tractor trucks will confirm that the body features replica-quality realism. From the beautiful chrome grill fitted with wire mesh to the exhaust stacks, air and fuel tanks, hand rails, lights, air horns, steps, etc.…there is a ton of scale detail on these trucks.
Tamiya Scania R620 6×4 Highline (#56323)The King Hauler is clearly based on US style trucks in which Tamiya offers six types. The rest of the tractor trucks are Euro style like the Scania R620 6×4 Highline (#56323). It is no wonder why Tamiya chose to recreate the Scania R620 once you check out its awesome-looking appearance. Additionally, Scania is a world renowned truck manufacturer and the 620-horsepower V8-powered 3-axle R620 Highline is their flagship model in their R-Series range of trucks. Tamiya kept true to the full size R620 and designed it so that the beautifully reproduced cab tilts forward separately from the fenders, just like the actual truck. The detailed interior and exterior features such as the side panels, fuel tanks, and rear fenders provide the finishing touch.
Here are the current Tamiya tractor trucks with part numbers. This list does not include the special edition versions.
Mixed in the Tamiya semi truck line-up are some special editions of the trucks. For instance some are available in a Metallic Edition or come with a specific color already applied to the truck like the Scania R470 Highline Orange Edition (#56338) where the ABS plastic body pieces that normally come in white come pre-painted in Metallic Orange.
The majority of the Tamiya Tractor trucks are setup and equipped with a 5th wheel that allows them to connect to any of the currently available Tamiya 1/14-scale tractor trailers. Three of the seventeen trucks shown here do not work with the trailers including the Mercedes-Benz 1850L delivery box truck, Volvo FH16 Globetrotter 750 6×4 Timber Truck and the Mercedes-Benz Arocs 3348 6×4 Tipper Truck. The Tipper Truck is a standout in the group because it features a realistic dump truck bed which can be operated by a transmitter when the separately sold Actuator Set (56545) is installed. The dump bed is comprised of metal sub frame and resin panel sections that make it look realistic and offer functionality. This truck is also equipped with a Tamiya TR mighty-tuned 35-turn brushed motor to create power for hauling heavy loads and newly designed rear tires, rear fenders and taillights.
Just like you would find with any other of Tamiya’s RC releases, there are a host of Tamiya hop-up option which you can add to your tractor trucks to make even cooler and up its performance. Here is a list of just some of the available hop-up parts:
Aluminum Coupler Lever Plate (#56535)
Attack 2.5GHZ Radio System (#7255252)
Electric Actuator Set (#56545) for Tipper truck
Metal Horn Set (#56540)
Motorized Support Legs (#56505)
Tractor Truck Aluminum Oil Damper (#56515)
Tractor Truck Animal Guard (#56506)
Tractor Truck Driver Figure (#56536)
Tractor Truck Multi-Function Control Unit “Euro-Style” MFC-03 (#56523)
Tractor Truck Multi-Function Control Unit MFC-01 (#56511)
Tractor Truck Roof Spoiler (#56504)
Twin-Spoke Front Aluminum Wheels 2pcs (#56512)
Twin-Spoke Outside Rear Aluminum Wheels 2pcs (#56513)
If we were to pick just one must-have hop-up option part, it would have to be the Multi-Function Control Unit, also referred to as the MFC unit. With a MFC installed, it allows the transmitter trim levers to be combined with stick control so that lights, sounds and vibrations are coordinated with actions while driving the tractor trucks. It adds an entire extra layer of scale realism to driving one of these remarkable trucks. The MFC features 33 different types of sound including engine ignition and shutdown, horn, gear shifting, brakes and air sound effects. A 2.4-inch diameter full-range speaker mounted in a resin case gives exceptional sound quality. Along with the numerous sound effects are up to 21 different actions that can be controlled using a 4-channel radio system. There is even an ESC integrated into the MFC to allow realistic running at very low speeds. Other features include white, red and yellow high brightness LEDs to replicate trucks with HID lights. Headlights, brake lights, fog lamps, hazard lights and turn signal operations are also controllable from the transmitter.
Tamiya offers two versions of the MFC for its big rigs; the MFC-01 for US trucks and the MFC-03 for the Euro style tractor trucks. The key difference between the two versions is that the MFC-03 features engine sounds which were recorded from a real European truck’s L6 diesel engine while the MFC-01 generates US semi engine sounds.
Each of the Tamiya tractor trucks come as a kit, meaning they need to be assembled and painted (unless you get a special edition painted version). Tamiya is well known for their exceptional instruction manuals which are easy to follow and the parts do not require any hand fitting so you end up with a perfectly assembled vehicle. You will need some basic hand tools for the assembly including Phillips screwdrivers, side cutters, hobby knife, long nose pliers, scissors, 1.5mm hex wrench, plastic cement, instant glue and rubber cement. Lastly you will need paint to complete the build. Tamiya TS spray paint for plastics is an outstanding product. Perfect for covering large areas like the cab of the truck and you end up with a beautiful finish. For smaller areas and detail work, Tamiya offers acrylic bottle paints which will not affect the TS spray paint.
There are seven different tractor trailers currently to choose from including box trailers, tanker trailer, flatbed trailer and pole trailer. Each can be upgraded with motorized support legs and functioning lights. Box Trailer (#56302), 3-Axle Reefer Trailer (#56319), Container Trailer Maersk (#56326), Container Trailer NYK (#56330), Fuel Tanker Trailer (#56333), Flatbed Trailer (#56306) and Pole Trailer (#56310)