If realism is what trips your trigger in RC then you must check out Tamiya’s Ultra-Scale 4×4 pickup trucks. The line of Tamiya trucks we are referring to are the High-Lift 4×4 3-speed series of trucks. At this time, Tamiya offers three versions including the Ford F-350 High-Lift, the Toyota Hilux High-Lift and the Toyota Tundra High-Lift. Each feature super detailed ABS hard plastic bodies, lights that can be made to function, a 4WD drivetrain that is fitted with a 3-speed shiftable transmission and a realistic metal ladder frame chassis.
THREE HIGH-LIFT TRUCKS TO CHOOSE FROM
As we mentioned above, there are three version of the Tamiya High-Lift trucks available and we wish they released more. You have a choice of the American made Ford F-350 High-Lift, the iconic and old school Toyota Hilux High-Lift and the modern Toyota Tundra High-Lift.
Ford F-350 High-Lift (Item #58372)
- Length: 19.37 in. (492mm)
- Width: 8.50 in. (216mm)
- Height: 8.66 in. (220mm)
Toyota Hilux High-Lift (Item #58397)
- Length: 20 in. (508mm)
- Width: 8.50 in. (216mm)
- Height: 10.63 in. (270mm)
Toyota Tundra High-Lift (Item #58415)
- Length: 19.69 in. (500mm)
- Width: 8.50 in. (216mm)
- Height: 9.37 in. (238mm)
REALISTIC HARD PLASTIC BODIES
Tamiya did an exceptional job in creating the bodies for each of these 4×4 pickup trucks. The highly detailed injection molded ABS plastic bodies are an incredibly accurate representation of the real trucks they are modeled after. To further push the ultra-scale envelope, Tamiya created metal-plated parts to bring out the detail. Items like the roll bar complete with light buckets, front and rear bumpers, side-view mirrors, side steps and even dual exhaust pipes. Wherever you see light lenses, each of those can be made to illuminate with use of separately available LEDs. Up front you will find massive grill guards with the Toyota versions offering fog lights. The sideview mirrors on F-350 and Tundra are molded from black plastic and have a metal plated inserts to mimic the mirror. Mounted in front of the windshield is a pair of windshield wipers and if you look closely, there is 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.
Each truck is outfitted with its own unique set of wheels that perfectly compliment the style of the body and are wrapped with meaty off-road rubber tires.
SCALE HIGH-LIFT CHASSIS
The scale details on the ABS hard plastic bodies are quite impressive in and of themselves, yet Tamiya did not stop there and designed the High-Lift chassis with realistic details as well. For example, the front and rear is equipped with solid axles that are supported by metal leaf springs and an aluminum damper. These components are attached to a ladder frame chassis with steel channel and resin cross members 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 these RC pickup trucks appear more real.
Positioned 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.
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 skid 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 shows how the axles are identical, thus making it possible to convert the High-Lift chassis into four-wheel-steering. Four-wheel-steering is easy to achieve thanks to the engineering that Tamiya put into the High-Lift chassis.
Inside of the 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.
- 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)
- 4-channel radio system
- Speed control
- Steering servo
- Shift servo
- Battery pack
- Battery Charger
- Paint for ABS plastic
UPPING THE COOL FACTOR
You can make these Tamiya High-Lift 4×4 3-speed trucks even cooler and even more realistic by adding the Tamiya Pick-Up Truck Multi-Function Control Unit. The optional Multi-Function Control Unit or MFC 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.
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 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 activate 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 this 4X4 is not out on the trail.
For more information about Tamiya products, visit: TAMIYA