Tamiya has a large selection of ready-to-run (RTR) vehicles that cover the gamut of RC types. There are on-road vehicles like Formula 1 cars, touring cars, drift cars and production cars and for off-road there are 2WD/4WD buggies, rally cars, scale 4X4 trucks and super fun wheelie machines.
With all of the Tamiya RTRs available, it is helpful to know that they don’t all use a unique chassis. There are just over ten different chassis platforms that are utilized for the Tamiya RTRs and each have available hop-up option parts to upgrade them. Since there are a lot of people out there with Tamiya RTRs, we thought it would be helpful to share what we think are the top five hop-up options parts for four of the RTR chassis. The four chassis are the TT-01, M-05, CC-01 and GF-01.
The XB Pro Volkswagen Scirocco GT Drift Spec is mated to the TT-01D Type E chassis. The TT-01D Type E chassis features a shaft-driven 4WD drivetrain with fully independent double wishbone suspension and some special parts to make it easy to drift. Like a Tamiya Sport Tuned motor, aluminum motor heat sink, adjustable upper arms, and CVA oil-filled shocks. Even with the special parts that Tamiya included with the Scirocco, there are a few more that we would add to make it even better.
Upgrading to the Tamiya GT-Tuned Motor (#53779) from the stock Sport Tuned motor will give you improved overall performance. It has an open endbell which gives you access to the brushes for easy maintenance or replacement. The endbell is also vented for maximum cooling and incorporates a detachable inboard capacitor. Swapping it out is easy and you can use the stock mounting hardware from the Sport Tuned motor.
The Scirocco GT comes with dogbones that relay the power from the differentials to the axles. Compared to the optional Tamiya Universal Shaft Assembly (#53792), the dogbones are not as efficient and can pop out during a crash. The Universal Shafts reduces power loss caused by friction during steering. Installing this hop-up will take a little time because the universal shafts need to be assembled and then installed which requires some disassembly of the suspension.
Only after you get used to drifting with the TT-01D Type E Drift Spec should you consider getting the Tamiya TT-01 Front One-Way Unit (#53671). It does take some practice to master drifting a car with a front one-way, but it will allow you to change the angle of the car mid-drift and it makes it easier to drive tight technical tracks. A front one-way has a special bearing that will allow the wheels to be driven when on-power and then spin freely when off-power. It basically makes the car feel like it has an e-brake and when off-power it helps to initiate a drift. The front one-way comes unassembled and requires you to take apart the front gearbox so that you can remove the stock bevel gear diff and replace it with the front one-way unit.
In its stock setup, the Volkswagen Scirocco GT comes with a plastic center driveshaft. You can improve how effectively the power is transferred from the rear of the car up to the front end with the Tamiya TT-01 Type E Aluminum Propeller Shaft (#54026). It is precision machined out of aluminum, blue anodized and will spin true as well as handle more powerful motors. When you drop in this aluminum propeller shaft, do it at the same time you are installing the other hop-up parts mentioned in this article.
Steering input on a drift car is important and can be improved from the stock setup by installing the Tamiya TT-01 Type E Aluminum Steering Set (#54058). It utilizes machined aluminum arms supported by metal ball bearings for smooth and exacting steering.
Modeled after the full scale MINI JCW Coupe race car which competed at the 24 hours of Nurburgring, the Tamiya XB Pro MINI JCW Coupe (#57829) is built on the popular M-05 M-chassis platform. The M-05 chassis is very easy to drive and has proven to be quite durable. Therefore we are recommending five hop-up to further tune the chassis to make it a better handling car.
In stock form, the MINI JCW Coupe is spec’d with a bevel gear differential. Replace the stock diff with the optional Tamiya Ball Differential Set (#54194) which will provide traction and stability on the track. It has no backlash compared to the gear diff and in tight turns the power is delivered very smoothly thus giving consistent traction on slick conditions.
Plastic bearings are used throughout the drivetrain in the MINI JCW Coupe and can be improved upon by swapping them out with the Tamiya M-05 Ball Bearing Set (#54179). These metal bearings offer less friction than the plastic bearings and will make the drivetrain spin more true and allow the car to achieve improved performance. It is a time consuming process to switch out the plastic bearings for the ball bearings, but it is worth the effort.
Friction shocks are used on this M-05 chassis and are used for easy of assembly and keep costs down. The downside is the handling loss with these stock shocks. Try installing a set of Tamiya Aluminum Big Bore Dampers (#42291) which are oil-filled units that will smooth out the ride on bumpy surfaces thus allowing the wheels to stay in contact with the ground, keep the chassis from becoming unsettled and improve lap times. These Big Bore shocks have increased cylinder volume so that they can hold more oil and consequently gaining better grip. The set contains four shocks to outfit the entire chassis. It comes with everything you need to assemble the shocks including the steel black springs. All you need to provide is the oil of your choice. Mounting the shocks is quick and easy once they are built.
In keeping with the theme of improving the handling on the XB MINI JCW Coupe, we picked the Tamiya M-05 Stabilizer Set (#54239). It comes with two front and two rear (soft and hard) stabilizer bars along with the necessary mounting hardware. When cornering, the stabilizers (also known as sway bars or anti-roll bars) will reduce chassis roll because the right suspension arms of the car is connected to the left suspension arms. On high traction surfaces, these sway bars help keep the chassis flat in the turns and will provide even traction for all four tires which translates into a more responsive car.
The last suggested hop-up option part for the MINI is the Tamiya M-05 Aluminum Front Upright (#54177). Also referred to as steering knuckles, these aluminum uprights are lighter than the stock plastic units while also upping the cool factor on the chassis. Reducing weight, especially on components that need to move is a benefit to overall performance. Installation is a breeze and Tamiya includes all the hardware needed.
The CC-01 Cross Country chassis is a solid performer and has been used by Tamiya in numerous truck offerings. It has great scale looks with a bathtub chassis design that has molded-in wheel wells, full-time 4WD drivetrain, independent front suspension and a rear 4-link suspension with solid rear axle. On top of the CC-01 sits an incredibly accurate replica of a full-size Toyota FJ Cruiser. The details are spot on with its big fenders, large headlights and grill which are molded as a separate piece to retain scale looks, unique looking side view mirrors and big spare tire cover mounted at the rear. In our experience with the Cross Country chassis, there are a few hop-ups that can make this FJ Cruiser a very capable trail truck.
When you are ready to hop-up your CC-01 chassis and if you are only able to start off with one upgrade, make it the Tamiya Stroke Extension Links (#54519). This is the best hop-up part offered for the Cross Country. It is cleverly designed to give the rear suspension more travel so that it can handle rougher terrain. Tamiya includes all of the hardware required to install the Stroke Extension Links. The parts are beautifully machined from aluminum and then anodized a gunmetal color. Ball bearings are used in the links to allow for smooth unrestricted movement when the suspension is actuated. Installing the links is a direct bolt on and does not require any cutting or drilling of the chassis.
Sometimes it is fun to upgrade a vehicle just to make it look cooler and that is what the Tamiya CC-01 Metal Plated A Parts (#54616) are all about. The parts included in this hop-up option part are exactly the same as the stock parts on the CC-01, but they have been metal plated to have a shiny chrome finish. They replace the front gearbox cover and rear axle housing.
Although the FJ Cruiser comes equipped with oil-filled dampers, we like the Tamiya CC-01 Aluminum Oil Dampers (#54541) over the stock plastic units. They are precise in their construction and provide superior damping not to mention they look awesome especially with the metal plated parts we are adding to the chassis. The set comes with all four shocks to outfit the entire truck and it even includes shock oil. Once you have them assembled, they can be mounted in a matter of minutes.
We suggest switching out the stock dogbones in place of the Tamiya CC-01 Universal Shaft Assembly (#54608). The universal shafts can offer improved steering while eliminating some of the binding that can happen with the stock dogbones. Power can be more efficiently delivered out to the wheels thanks to the inherent smoothness that comes with a universal shaft and you won’t have to worry about a dogbone popping out of place. Tamiya even finished these parts in a dark matte color that looks like you would find on a full-size vehicle and will enhance the scale looks of your CC-01.
The Tamiya CC-01 Aluminum Motor Mount (#54665) is expertly machined out of high-quality aluminum and gives your Cross Country a couple added benefits. The stock motor mount is molded of plastic and can only accommodate two different pinion sizes (16T and 20T). This optional aluminum mount allows you to use a range of five pinions between 16-tooth and 20-tooth. Additionally, the aluminum gives a nice solid attachment point for the motor and will act as a type of heat sink to wick away heat generated by the motor. A cooler motor runs and performs better. Like other Tamiya option parts, this mount will bolt right in place without the need for any hand fitting.
The GF-01 chassis is a sort of spin off from the successful and fun line-up of Tamiya RC kits like the Wild Willy 2 and Farm King Wheelie. A big difference with the GF-01 is that it is a gear driven 4WD platform instead of 2WD like on the other aforementioned vehicles. Mounted on top of the GF-01 is a factory painted and finished super detailed polycarbonate body of the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-up. This RTR is all about fun and not as much focused on performance. With that said there are some hop-ups that can make the Land Cruiser run better and have a custom appearance.
Give the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 some sharper steering response by installing the Tamiya Aluminum Steering Arm (#54588). Compared to the stock resin plastic steering arm, this machined aluminum arm offers much greater rigidity and precision. This is the component where the link from the steering servo attaches as well as the two steering links that connect out to the steering knuckles hence a vital part in the steering setup.
Hop-up option parts that servo more than one function is always a plus and the Tamiya Aluminum Servo Lowering Guard (#54644) is definitely one of those parts. Made of lightweight and durable blue anodized aluminum, the Servo Lowering Guard was designed to not only protect your servo from impacts, but also gives you the option to mount the servo in a lower position to create a more direct steering response. Tamiya includes all the mounting hardware for the guard.
The ingenuity in the design of the gear driven 4WD GF-01 chassis is just impressive and a great way to show off its inner workings is with the Tamiya GF-01 Clear Gray D Parts (#47356). These parts makeup the main chassis and also house the many gears that drive the front and rear wheels. In its stock setup, the parts are solid black and keep the drivetrain hidden from view. With the clear gray option parts the spinning gears are visible.
A great way to complement the Clear Gray D parts mentioned above is to pick up the Tamiya GF-01/G6-01 Yellow Gear Set (#54809). These gears are molded in a vibrant yellow color thus making the inner workings easier to see in action through the clear gray chassis. The gears are molded of glass fiber-reinforced nylon and come with grease.
We are not a big fan of the looks of the stock front bumper and really like the optional Tamiya Aluminum Front Skid Guard (#54796) that replaces it. It is completed constructed out of anodized aluminum and 3-piece makeup gives a secure attachment to the chassis. This hop-up is not just about looks but the 40-degree skid angle will help the Land Cruiser 40 Pick-up tackle obstacles with more ease. As seen in the photo, the Front Skid Guard includes all the necessary mounting hardware and can be installed with very little fuss.