Tamiya Subaru Brat Review Re-Release of 1983 RC Truck

Yes this kit originally came out in 1983! This was actually Tamiya's first use of this space-frame chassis. Soon it would be pimped and used in everything from a buggy ( Frog ) to monster trucks ( think Blackfoot) and even for a rally car ( the Lancia). This chassis was innovative and cutting edge in 1983. Four wheel independent suspension was a rare advancement, never mind the front DOUBLE wishbone suspension! The rear suspension is pure trailing arm with lay-down springs and shocks while the front has no dampening - just small inboard springs that are actuated by the lower suspension link. Looking at this chassis today reminds me that the nostalgia is well deserved. If Tamiya came out with this chassis today; it still would look futuristic!







So what does the re-release upgrade? First we get a rear differential. Second a Mabuchi 540RS motor replaces the 380. And third....well an ESC, and this one also is brushless capable! Oh....and I forgot....the original didn't have oil filled rear shocks! And even ball bearings are included in the transmission! One only needs eight 5x11mm bearings for the axles to complete full ball bearings. Also included are both a polycarbonate body and a hard shell Subaru Brat body.




The build took a few evenings. I spent time on both bodies, but have been running the poly body as it is lighter and less chance of cracking. The hard shell requires some patience with painting, and I am still working on the driver figure. I did a quick one color paint scheme on the clear body and relied on the Tamiya sticker sheet for decorating.

These chassis fit standard stick packs....the same style we used back in the 80's. I fitted this kit with my 3300mah 6 cell Elite NiMH pack from CheapbatteryPacks.com. I like their packs, they are built to order and use fresh cells. I had mine equipped with Deans Ultra Plug, so that was the ONLY modification I did to this kit.

So does this truck work? Well, yes it does. I forgot how nicely these chassis run. With the included 540RS Mabuchi motor and the 6 cell pack - I figure about 20 mph. The transmission is smooth....I used the 18 pinion gear combo ( one has 3 choices when building the kit ) and think it is a good choice for top speed and acceleration. Handling is pretty darn good and predictable. The suspension works well, and despite the lack of dampening up front....no issues. The tires are a good on asphalt and grass and still work even in the loose stuff. Really I cannot say how much I enjoy running this truck. Limitations of course....it is 2WD, but that makes it fun. Compared to say a Traxxas Slash, it is a small model so it is very maneuverable.

Overall, I haven't had any breakages and really can't see any occurring in my bashing episodes....I really take it easy. These are fun. This was my second ever RC kit I built back in 1984....so to be able to do it all over again is quite a treat. What surprised me was that the nostalgia that I had was not misguided.....the Brat handles well and is as fun as I can remember 30 years ago!

Comments