There is a RC truck that seems to have flown under the radar over the last few years and it is one that is packed with many cool features, has great performance and looks incredible. It is the line of Tamiya’s awesome High-Lift 4×4 3-Speed pick-ups. Tamiya offers three versions including the Toyota Hilux High-Lift, the Toyota Tundra High-Lift and the Ford F-350 High-Lift.
About the High-Lift 4×4 3-Speed trucks
One of the things that makes the Tamiya High-Lift trucks special, has to do with its scale realism. Tamiya did not just create a super detailed, ultra-realistic body with matching wheels and tires. They took it a step further and developed the High-Lift chassis. The front and rear is equipped with solid axles that are supported by metal leaf springs and an aluminum damper attached to a steel channel ladder frame which together mimic something you would find on a full-size 4×4. There are also some nice styling ques like the chrome colored pumpkin covers and red anodized damper bodies that help to make this RC truck appear more real.
Inside of the plastic axle housings spin all metal components including the durable bevel gear differential and bushings. Once assembled, the axles are quite stout and can stand up to some serious off-road action. Each of the axles are spun by steel propeller shafts fitted with universal joints to keep the transfer of power smooth and consistent for the 4WD High-Lift.
Beating at the center of the High-Lift chassis and what is basically the heart of these trucks is the ingenious 3-speed transmission. It is designed so that you can shift the transmission via a third channel on your transmitter. A servo is mounted directly in front of the transmission and actuates an arm that engages the gears inside the tranny housing. As the name implies, there are three gears to select. From a very low torque gear up to a high faster gear. The beauty is that it can be shifted on the fly just like on a 1:1 truck. Assembling the transmission takes some time because of its complexity however, Tamiya’s instruction manuals are so good that you will end up with a properly operating tranny if you closely follow it.
A nice optional feature that Tamiya incorporated onto the High-Lift chassis is the capability of making the truck four-wheel-steering. Since the front and rear axles are identical right down to the steering knuckles, it makes this option pretty easy to make happen. Using the same steering servo that controls the front wheels is utilized to control the rear wheels. When building the truck in stock form, control links are attached between the rear steering knuckles and a brace that secures the leaf springs in place to keep the knuckles from moving. Just remove those links and you can setup the truck with four-wheel-steering.
The view of the underside of the High-Lift chassis is pretty cool with all the bits and pieces that work in unison to make these trucks function. In the center is a giant aluminum skid plate to keep the bottom section of the 3-speed transmission protected. Aft of the plate is where the battery slides into place. The battery compartment features a quick access design that makes battery changes quick and easy and it does not require the removal of the body. This view also gives you a view showing that the axles are identical, thus making it possible to convert the High-Lift chassis into four-wheel-steering.
Tamiya Toyota Hilux High-Lift—#58397
Arguably the most popular pick-up trucks of all time is the Toyota Hilux, which made it the perfect subject for Tamiya to replicate in 1/10-scale for the High-Lift chassis. The highly detailed injection molded ABS plastic body is an incredibly accurate representation of the real Hilux. Tamiya did not stop designing with a stock production truck, but then added other details to make it more unique and what a lifted 4×4 would look like. Up front is a massive grill guard that is decked out with some sweet fog lights. You have a choice of modeling the lights with or without the Brite Lite covers.
On the body, metal-plated parts are used to further bring out the detail like the roll bar complete with five lights, front and rear bumpers, side-view mirrors, side steps and dual exhaust pipes. Wherever you see light lenses, each of those can be made to illuminate with use of separately available LEDs. Mounted in front of the windshield is a pair of windshield wipers and if you look closely, there is Toyota badging on the body that are replicated with metal transfer stickers. It is the small details like these that make all the difference when you are going for a scale replica.
The finishing touches on the Toyota Hilux High-Lift are its sharp-looking off-road style 5-spoke gun metal plastic wheels wrapped with some meaty off road rubber tires. And for the rear bed is a scale surf board that can be decorated in one of three different markings.
Toyota Hilux High-Lift Dimensions
- Length: 20 in. (508mm)
- Width: 8.50 in. (216mm)
- Height: 10.63 in. (270mm)
Tamiya Toyota Tundra High-Lift—#58415
As we are sure you have already surmised, the other two High-Lift trucks were given the scale Tamiya treatment to make them look as real as possible. As for the Toyota Tundra High-Lift, Tamiya went more new school and replicated this aggressive looking body that is modeled after the double cab Tundra that was released in 2007. It is nicely appointed with metal plated plastic parts for the front grill, front and rear bumpers, side steps, roll bar, door handles and twin-tip dual exhaust pipes. Sideview mirrors are molded from black plastic and have a metal plated insert to mimic the mirror.
Installed onto the front of the chassis is a massive metal plated push bar equipped with four light positions. And of course they can be made to function with optional LEDs. For some extra flavor, a roof rack with two snowboards comes with the Toyota Tundra High-Lift kit. This gives you the option to customize the looks by either installing the roof rack with snowboards or use the roll bar with lights.
Toyota Tundra High-Lift Dimensions
- Length: in. (500mm)
- Width: 8.50 in. (216mm)
- Height: in. (238mm)
Tamiya Ford F-350 High-Lift—#58372
The last of the trio of High-Lift trucks gives a nod to American automotive design. Here is the Tamiya Ford F-350 High-Lift. Right off the bat, the satin-colored multi-spoke wheels exude a tough off-road presence especially since they are matched up to some large lug tread rubber tires. And if this was a full size 4×4 rolling at you, the giant grill guard would definitely make you step aside and let it passed.
Similarly to the two aforementioned High-Lift trucks, Tamiya did s superb job in modeling the ABS plastic body to look like the real deal. Right down to the Ford emblems, accurate front grill, recognizable hood and even the identical to the full size side-view mirrors. The metal plated roll bar with lights have a classic off-road appearance and works perfectly with the truck to make one stunning off-road 4×4.
Ford F-350 High-Lift Dimensions
- Length: 19.37 in. (492mm)
- Width: 8.50 in. (216mm)
- Height: 8.66 in. (220mm)
Tamiya High-Lift 4×4 3-Speed Specifications
- Scale: 1/10
- Chassis: Metal ladder frame with ABS plastic
- Drivetrain: Shaft-driven 4WD
- Differentials: Front & rear metal bevel gear diffs
- Transmission: 3-speed w/ RC capable shifting
- Gear Ratios: 64.39:1 (Low), 35.20:1 (2nd), 21.14:1 (Top)
- Bearings: Metal ball bearings & metal bushings
- Suspension: Rigid leaf springs
- Shocks: Aluminum friction style
- Motor: RS540 brushed
- Speed control: Sold separately
- Body: ABS hard plastic
- Wheels: One-piece multi-spoke
- Tires: Treaded rubber, off-road style
- Approx. weight: 6.8 lbs. (3.1kg)
Items required to complete
- 4-channel radio system
- Speed control
- Steering servo
- Shift servo
- Battery pack
- Battery Charger
- Paint for ABS plastic
The ultimate hop-up option
There is no question that the Tamiya Multi-Function Control (MFC) Unit is the ultimate hop-up option part for these Tamiya High-Lift 4×4 3-Speed pick-up trucks. By installing the MFC, 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 pick-ups. This system even incorporates an integrated speed control which is something that is not included in any of the High-Lift kits. The Tamiya MFC-02 adds an entire extra layer of scale realism to driving one of these remarkable trucks.
Tamiya designed the MFC to easily fit inside any of the three High-Lift trucks. A 2.4-inch diameter, full-range speaker mounted in a resin case gives exceptional sound quality. There is a choice of either selecting the authentic sound of a large displacement V8 or a small displacement turbo engine. Then you are able to control the following sounds including engine ignition and shutdown, idling sound, running sound, shifting up sound, shifting down sound, horn sound, blinker sound, hazard sound, timer count sound and warning sound. What really brings this system to life is how it is synced to what the truck is physically doing. In other words, the engine sound will change when you shift through gears and when the throttle is increased or decreased. There is even a mechanism that causes the truck to vibrate just like you would see on a full size truck. This vibration, like the sound, will change according to how fast or slow the brushed motor is spinning.
Now when you add-in the capabilities the MFC has with controlling the lighting, you end up with a super-realistic High-Lift pick-up truck. By either using the transmitter or the control unit installed on the chassis, you have control of numerous lights and actions. Since the MFC is synced with the truck itself, when the truck turns it activates the signal lights and when you slow down or stop the truck, the brake lights come on. Ten types of high-brightness LEDs for a total of up to 33 lights can be controlled to depict various realistic light actions while driving. The MFC can five your High-Lift truck head lights, high beams, load lights, auxiliary lights, blinkers, hazards, reverse lamps and brake lamps. Lastly there is the option of selecting Demo Mode that illuminates the lights in pre-set patterns, perfect for a cool shelf display when it is not out on the trail.
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