Thursday, May 30, 2024

Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40

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There are so many fun and different RC cars that you can drive, however some are truly focused on the fun aspect like the Tamiya Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up. It uses the GF-01 four-wheel-drive chassis and looks like a caricature drawing that has come to life with its short wheelbase, big tires, high-mounted body and oversize driver figure. Once you get behind the wheel, you can’t help but to smile because they are such a blast to drive around. At RC Driver, we have messed around with the GF-01 vehicles and got into upgrading them. This led us to put this article together to share our picks for the top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick Up.

Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up



Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up
Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up—#58589

If you are a fan of 4×4 off-road vehicles, you will be familiar with the Toyota Land Cruiser. It has become one of the most recognizable 4×4 trucks thanks to its pioneering Japanese design that made it an incredible off-road performer not to mention eye-catcher. Its life started back in the 1950’s and then the Land Cruiser 40 series came into production from 1960 to 1984. These trucks are popular and durable enough that you could still see them on the roads or trails.

Tamiya gave its nod to the iconic Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick Up by creating this 1/12-scale version of the truck. The fully gear-driven 4WD GF-01 chassis was created for this vehicle release and became the perfect platform to mount the nicely detailed polycarbonate pick-up style Land Cruiser 40 body. For added detail, a plastic driver figure is included and helps bring this 4×4 to life.

Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up

What makes the Land Cruiser 40 so much fun is the GF-01 chassis and that was the goal when Tamiya designed it. When you take a close look at the GF-01 chassis, you will notice that it employs a square setup where the wheelbase and tread have near identical lengths thus having a relatively short wheelbase. It is also setup with the weight distribution skewed toward the rear of the truck, is fitted with oversize tires, and has a wheelie bar and those attributes work together to make it a blast to drive. The reason being is that when behind the wheel, the Land Cruiser kind of feels like you are at the edge of being fully in control and that sensation makes it fun because it is exciting. You also have wheelies on demand on tap and it doesn’t get old.


The main structure of the chassis is also the housing for the 4WD drivetrain. It is composed of two halves and is loaded with gears to make the four-wheel-drive layout function. Found at the front and rear are durable and easy to maintain bevel gear differentials that provide smooth cornering. Once assembled, the GF-01 becomes a lightweight and very tough monocoque frame. Mounted on the right side of the chassis in the center is a 540-brushed motor that generates plenty of power for this small truck. Four-wheel double wishbone suspension mated with plastic friction shocks allow the Land Cruiser to travel off-road. Steering is controlled by a centrally mounted servo found on the left side of the chassis and controls the steering with adjustable links. At each corner are molded black, 5-spoke wheels with cool-looking rubber treaded tires. Lastly, is a stout wheelie bar at the rear to keep the truck from flipping and allows you to maintain some long wheelies.


  • Scale: 1/12
  • Length: 13.11 in. (333mm)
  • Width: 9.61 in. (244mm)
  • Height: 9.53 in. (242mm)
  • Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-UpWheelbase: 6.85 in. (174mm)
  • Chassis: ABS plastic monocoque frame
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Differential: 3-gear bevel diffs
  • Bearings: Plastic and metal bushings
  • Suspension: 4-wheel independent, lower H-Arm w/ fixed upper link
  • Shocks: Molded plastic, friction style
  • Steering: Single bellcrank with servo mounted servo saver and adjustable toe links
  • Motor: 540-brushed type
  • Speed control: Tamiya TBLE-02 S electronic speed control
  • Wheels: 5-spoke, black molded plastic
  • Tires: Rubber treaded tires
  • Tire Width/Diameter: 1.97/4.33 in. (50/110mm)


Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up
Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up (Red Painted Body)—#47305

Along with the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up mentioned above, Tamiya offers four other kits that utilize the GF-01 4WD off-road chassis. Two are variations of the Land Cruiser with one coming with a red painted body as a build-up kit (item #47305) and another being offered as a ready-to-run named the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up (XB) (item #57880).

The XB designation stands for Expert Built where this version of the Land Cruiser comes out of the box fully assembled with a painted and detailed body and all of the electronics installed…basically ready-to-run. All you need are “AA” batteries for the transmitter and a battery pack with charger for the car itself.



Heavy Dump Truck—#58622

The last two variations of the GF-01 are quite a departure from the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick Up. The Tamiya Heavy Dump Truck is available as a build-up kit (item#58622) and as a ready-to-run (XB) (item#57890). Besides the obvious difference of the yellow dump truck body and giant yellow front bumper, the chassis is also yellow instead of the molded black ABS plastic found on the Land Cruiser. Given that this Heavy Dump Truck is modeled after the massive full-size dump truck found in mines and quarries, Tamiya correctly designated the scale of their trucks as 1/24-scale. If you end up with either the standard GF-01 or this yellow version, all of the parts are interchangeable including all of the Tamiya hop-up option parts.


Heavy Dump Truck (XB)—#57890


Tamiya offers a bunch of hop-up option parts for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up as well as other GF-01 vehicles. For this article we decided to hit on the top five that we would pick to help improve its performance and durability.

1.) Tamiya Aluminum Motor Guard (GF-01, WR-02)—#54817

One thing you will notice with the GF-01 chassis used for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up is the location of the brushed motor. It is mounted in such a way on the right side of the chassis that it is vulnerable to being hit by foreign objects. Since the chassis is a monocoque design with numerous gears inside to make the GF-01 four-wheel-drive, the motor had to be mounted externally. Protecting what is essentially the heart of this vehicle makes a lot of sense and earned this Aluminum Motor Guard as our first hop-up option pick.

The Tamiya Aluminum Motor Guard is machined out of aluminum and then anodized blue. Two 3x28mm cap screws are included and make for an extremely secure attachment method to the motor. Along in the package is a hex wrench that fits with the cap screws. Once installed, the motor guard will help keep the motor safe from flying debris and dresses up the look of the chassis. Furthermore, with the guard being made from aluminum, it will act as a heatsink to help wick away heat from the motor.

Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up

2.) Tamiya GF-01 Aluminum Servo Lowering Guard—#54644

The stock location of the steering servo is positioned fairly high up on the left side of the chassis which gives the Land Cruiser 40 an odd linkage setup. Tamiya created an option part that addresses this and also acts as a type of guard to protect the servo from impacts. The GF-01 Aluminum Servo Lowering Guard is made with lightweight and durable aluminum that has been anodized in Tamiya’s brilliant blue color. Unlike some option parts that end up eliminating the stock setup of a vehicle, this option part allows you to mount the servo in the new lower position or in the standard position to suit your needs. Either way, your Land Cruiser can benefit from a protected servo and gain some nice visual bling. Tamiya includes the screws, washers and mounting parts to make this an easy, no fuss installation.

Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up

3.) Tamiya GF-01 Aluminum Steering Arm—#54588

Steering systems have a very important job and are faced with a lot of stresses when the vehicle is out tearing around, especially off-road vehicles. The steering arm that comes with the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 is molded from plastic which can be a weak link in the steering system and can be a little sloppy. The remedy is the Tamiya GF-01 Aluminum Steering Arm shown here. Machined out of aluminum and anodized blue, this steering arm upgrade will offer more precise steering input and better durability. A hollow shaft is included with the steering arm and you use the stock 850 metal bushings. Once installed, you will find your GF-01 to have sharper steering response and smoother steering action.

Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up

4.) Tamiya Aluminum Hub Carrier (GF-01, WR-02)—#54661

Here we have optional Aluminum Hub Carriers that are designed to replace the stock plastic front uprights on the GF-01. Now this is not just a matter of trading out plastic parts for stronger aluminum. Tamiya manufactured these hub carriers with 8-degrees of caster angle. This tweak from the stock units will increase your trucks straight line stability while also improving its cornering ability.

Each of these complex looking hub carriers are beautifully machined from aluminum and then anodized blue. Tamiya includes the metal bushings to keep the steering knuckle rotating freely as well as the screws to get them fully mounted onto the Land Cruiser’s chassis.

Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up

5.) Tamiya GF-01 Aluminum Oil Damper—#54670

Rounding up the last of our Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up is this awesome set of GF-01 Aluminum Oil Dampers. Plastic friction shocks are spec’d in the stock kit and do an adequate job with off-road terrain. The benefit of this style of shock is that they are super easy to build and maintain while also keeping the cost down of the kit. One of the downsides to using friction shocks is that the cause the Land Cruiser to be a bit bouncy. The ideal cure for this trait is to swap them out with this high-quality set of aluminum, threaded body, oil-filled shocks. Tamiya includes everything you need to assemble and then install them onto the GF-01 chassis, even the damper oil. Once installed, you will find that the ride will be much smoother as the oil-filled shocks provide superior cushioning on rough surfaces thus eliminating the unrealistic look of it bouncing around.

Along with the boost of performance that these shocks offer, the intense silver finish of the shock body is nicely complimented by the bright anodized blue of the shock caps and ends. Your upgraded Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick Up will also look much better because the body sits high above the chassis thus fully exposing the cool looking shocks.

Top 5 Tamiya hop-up options for the Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up

For more information about Tamiya products, visit: TAMIYA

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