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Tamiya 58346 The Grasshopper RC Car
|Price:||$98.09 & FREE Shipping|
Usually ships within 4 to 5 days.
- The leader in hobby products around the world
- Made using the highest quality components and materials
- Test for durabitlity and safety
- Construction type : assembly kit
- Terrain use : off-road; Drive-train : 2WD RWD
- 380 type motor (chassis compatible with 540 type motor - sold separately)
- Requires A : 7.2 battery & chargerRequires B : 2-channel radio gearRequires C : TS plastic model paint
- Independent swing axle front suspension, rolling rigid axle rear suspension
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
Tamiya ventured into the modeling business in 1948, with a scale wooden ship model kit. Since then, Tamiya has been striving to offer merchandise that can truly be called "First in Quality Around the World." Now Tamiya is offering more than 300 different products, both in the fields of precision static models and high performance radio control vehicles. These products are not only sold in Japan but also exported in vast quantities to the United States, Europe, South East Asia, and to many other parts of the world. The standard of excellence achieved by Tamiya is regarded as among the very finest in the world of model hobbies.
From the Manufacturer
Based on 1-seater buggies seen tearing-up dirt tracks across the U.S. in the 80's, the Grasshopper first made its appearance in R/C stores in 1984. Boasting easy assembly and easy control, the lightweight Grasshopper proved an instant hit as the perfect entry level R/C kit. Also compatible with a whole range of option parts such as 540 motor and ball bearings, the Grasshopper was an entry level car that could keep up with the owners driving experience. Packed with all the fantastic features of the original kit, this fun 2WD buggy is a blast on both off-road and on-road tracks. Whether it was your first or will be your first, the Grasshopper guarantees to please. Simple But Tough 2WD Chassis The perfect combination of simple assembly and tough exterior is what made the Grasshopper so special. Durable plastic body is fastened to bathtub resin monocoque chassis by screws, creating a solid frame that can absorb any type of rough handling. Off-road tracks can be tackled with ease thanks to coil spring dampers and independent swing axle front and rigid axle rear suspension. Diff loaded sealed gearbox keeps out the dirt and stones for smooth driving and cornering. Paddle style rear tires and grooved front tires combine with 3-piece assembly type wheels for excellent grip performance on dirt tracks. Half-body driver figure adds that finishing touch to a fun off-road R/C car.
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Top Customer Reviews
I owned a Tamiya Grasshopper, Hornet and Falcon back in the mid-late '80s when I was in High School. I loved the Grasshopper then and thought it would make a great entry point into R/C cars for my 8 year old son. The last few Christmases we've gifted him those ultra-small IR remote control helicopters and he's gotten quite good at controlling them so this seemed like a logical next step. The Grasshopper is an easy kit to assemble, probably the easiest there is. If you are older and even the slightest bit experienced driving R/C vehicles I strongly suggest you purchase the The Hornet Electric Radio Control Race Buggy Kit instead. It's nearly the same price but has a better suspension and more powerful motor.
The design points that I felt made the Grasshopper a good choice for my son are:
- Uses the smaller, slower type 380 motor. It's plenty fast for a beginner learning how to control an R/C car with the added bonus of having a longer run time per battery charge as compared to the more common type 540 motor.
- The body is a hard, thick, white plastic rather than the thin, clear Lexan plastic commonly found on R/C cars. This negates the requirement for painting the body.
- The tires have decent enough traction for dirt but won't wear out in an instant from running the car on pavement the way spiked tires will. Despite the name, this car will struggle in the grass as the tires will slip a lot, especially if the grass is tall. I expect my son will run this mostly in the driveway and on our street in front of our house.
Keep in mind that while this is a hobby level R/C car, it's like the ground floor to the hobby. The suspension performance was weak even back in the 80s so by comparison to a modern R/C car it's almost laughable. It will bottom out frequently and bounce all over the place over rough terrain. It's wicked fun to run casually but this isn't a racer.
Required additional items:
The box and Tamiya website http://www.tamiyausa.com/product/item.php?product-id=58346 describe the additional components you will need to have an operational Grasshopper. I used Two 7.2V 3800mAh High Power NiMH Batteries with A 7.2V-12V Smart Charger in conjunction with a Futaba 2DR AM R162JE with 2 S3003 27/75MHz Transmitter. Since this is a KIT it should go without saying that some tools such as: medium and small size screw drivers, needle nose pliers, tweezers, X-acto knife, etc will be required for assembly. You'll also likely want at LEAST black paint for the "roll cage bars" and the back of the driving lights. I used Tamiya Models X-18 Mini Acrylic Semi Gloss Paint, Black but you might want more colors so you can paint up the driver figure nicely.
If you want to maximize the efficiency, performance and longevity of your Grasshopper your best best is to build it using ball bearing replacements for the plastic and brass bushings that come with the kit. There are many to choose from on Amazon, I suggest this one Tamiya The Grasshopper Sealed Bearing Kit. Sure you could upgrade to the Hornet rear suspension but it's hardly worth the effort as the boost in performance from that upgrade is minimal. There used to be front shock upgrade kits available back in the day but those seem to be mostly unavailable now-a-days. If and when the driver is ready for more speed and power it's an easy and inexpensive thing to swap out the type 380 motor for a type 540-J Motor. If you do this remember to remove the 380-540 adapter plate referred to as "part B7" in the Grasshopper assembly instructions. You also will need an 18T pinion gear (Tamiya 9805997 18T Pinion Gear for 540 Motor) to use the type 540 motor with the Grasshopper. The Tamiya gears are perpetually out of stock and are made of very weak aluminum alloy that wears out quickly. This [[ASIN:B0019OCA7W Extra Hard 5mm Bore .8 Module(31.75P) Pinion 18T] has the same specs.
Review of TOY SHOP JAPAN HOBBYONE
Before finalizing your purchase I'd suggest referring to the Other Sellers list on Amazon usually found below the Add to Cart button. I didn't and ended up having my order fulfilled by Toy Shop Japan Hobbyone. As the name suggests, they are in Japan. The total time from day of order to day of delivery was 9 days. The model kit was shipped wrapped in less than single ply corrugated cardboard (see attached image 1). This provides protection from dirt only and as a result the corner of the box was crushed in. Luckily no damage was done to the model parts inside. The product description on Amazon, as well as the Tamiya website Description and Specification tabs clearly state that an electronic speed controller (ESC) is included with the kit. Many customer reviews on Amazon reiterate this fact. My kit was shipped without an ESC. Using the Amazon email tool to contact Toy Shop Japan Hobbyone resulted in a bounced/invalid email notification so I submitted a claim to Amazon directly to which Toy Shop Japan Hobbyone replied with the following: "We have to tell you that the explanation of has an error. Strictly speaking the electronic speed control is not included, it is sold separately. Please send back that you are dissatisfied with a product. Well best regards." This is of course total rubbish. My advice is to steer clear of this vendor.
Nothing should be "missing" from the kit. "Missing" implies that it was supposed to be present with the kit. Tamiya's QA/QC and overall model quality are pretty superb. It is a hobby grade RC kit; meaning it does not include certain items, which is common for most hobby RC kits. The items not included in Grasshopper kit are the transmitter/receiver, battery/charger, servo, standard RC/model tools (hobby knife, small screw drivers, pliers, and file) and paint. It does come with a small hex wrench to fit the various nuts for the kit, but there was at least one nut that was in a position that was difficult to reach/tighten with the included wrench. So you may want to consider grabbing an RC tool kit that has small hex sockets.
The kit contents include a small box with all the bags of bolts, washers, nuts, screws and specialty parts (like the transmission gears and grease), a sturdy black resin chassis, a sturdy white resin body/cover, the tires, various injection moulding sprues (the kit pieces that are attached to frames), the decals, and the instructions. The instructions can also be downloaded online at the Tamiya website. Nothing is painted; everything is pretty much either black or white plastic (or metal). You will need to use a hobby knife or plier snips to cut out the kit pieces from the injection moulding sprues. You can either file down the leftover spurs or shave them off with the hobby knife.
The kit is easy and fun to assemble. You have some upgrade options, which include a better motor (the Tamiya RS540 seems to be the most popular, but you will also need an 18T pinion gear if you buy the RS540 motor) and sealed bearings. The sealed bearings used for the kit includes one (1) 5x8x2.5 bearing and nine (9) 5x11x4 bearings. It doesn't have to be Tamiya brand bearings (I used Traxxas aftermarket bearings for the 5x8x2.5) and you might have luck with these at your local hobby shop. The bearings are an ideal upgrade since the included "bearings" are pretty much just plastic or metal spacers.
The one thing that you will really need to pay attention to when assembling the kit are the wheels. They come in three peices per wheel plus the tire. Once they are put together, they are very hard to take apart without gouging the plastic rims. So make sure the back tire treads are oriented properly and if you decide to paint, you are best off painting each piece separate before you assemble them. Another detail: if you decide to leave the center piece unpainted/white/different color like I did for contrast, be sure to either file the back side of the other two pieces clean or paint both the front and back of the other two pieces, as the back side of the other two pieces are slightly visible when assembled. Finally, you will need to paint the outer edges of the rims; they also show slightly when assembled.
If you want the same exact color scheme as the picture on the box, the instructions tell you which Tamiya paint colors to use. TS-26 (Pure White Spray Lacquer) for the main body color. X-18 (semi-gloss black) for the roll cage bars. X-11 (gloss chrome silver) for the body detail. TS-26 (Pure White Spray Lacquer), XF-1 (flat black), XF-2 (flat white), XF-15 (flat flesh), and X-18 (semi-gloss black) for the driver. Alternatively, you can paint the kit whatever colors you want and used some, all, or none of the provided decals. That is the beauty of building the kit yourself :) I found that the local hobby shop was cheaper to buy the paint I wanted than to get Tamiya brand paint online. I went with a mica blue, white, and fluorescent orange color scheme using mainly testors paint. If you plan on doing a bit of detail painting, grab some high quality brushes, otherwise you will be spending a bit of time picking out loose brush hairs from your paint job.
You can use pretty much any standard servo, I used the futaba brand. Roughly the same applies to the transmitter and receiver (both of which come together), again I used futaba's brand, the base model 2ch transmitter, which also came with servos. Not many transmitters include servos, just fyi. For the battery, I used the Tenergy 3800mAh combo with the smart charger.
After all is said and done, you will be spending about two hundred fifty-ish on this kit.
Pros: Fun to build, great quality (vintage) RC kit, pretty simple (less parts to break), durable and easy to use.
Cons: A bit pricey, vintage 1980's technology (good and bad), limited upgrades, not a big aftermarket for replacement parts - once Tamiya discontinues it, parts will likely be a bit difficult to obtain.
Update: 11/11/14 - It is a fun car to drive around. With the Futaba 2DR AM R162JE and Transmitter, the range is very long, like barely can see the car kind of long. I am really impressed with the battery life. Somewhere in the range of 30-45 minutes with the Tenergy 7.2V 3800mAh battery that I bought. The kids have a lot of fun with it too and while it has taken some damage to the chassis, it is running fine. Both of the headlights have been snapped off and a chunk has been taken out of the tail, but most of the damage is from indoor hazards. I am not a big fan of the battery cover design; it falls off a lot. I think a screw or maybe just some duck tape will work, but I haven't bothered trying yet. The wheels get poor traction on tile and hardwood floors, but do a little better on pavement. Works best on carpet. Steering is good, but due to the rear suspension being fixed instead of independent, it bounces around a lot and flips pretty easy. All in all, I am very happy with the car!
I couldn't add a customer photo, so I put the finished car pic on my profile photo.
If your kid will sit make them do the build with you. They will get a great education out of it and a respect for the car knowing they will have to do the repair if they break it.
My 10 year old has slammed this full speed into walls, jumped it off of 5 foot high jumps into end to end rolls, run it into mud and water... I have not replaced anything yet!
If your kid it 5 or older just get this one and avoid buying cheap ones over and over again. You will find yourself out there playing with it! So much fun!