More Protoform Europa Pictures

Further pictures of the upcoming Protoform Europa FF body, thanks to Max Mächler RC on Facebook.

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Rebuilding the TRF419XR

Over the last couple of weeks I have (very) slowly rebuilt my TRF419XR. This car of course started out as the TRF419X in May 2016, and was then refreshed with the TRF419XR Conversion Kit in December 2017.

While we wait for something new from TRF, my car needed to be refreshed and prepared to be ready to run on carpet again. During this rebuild, I added a few parts which I will detail here.

First off is the Donath alu chassis for the TRF419XR. These were made in limited numbers by Christian Donath, who up until this season run TRF cars and made many ETS stock A-finals. Since no alu chassis for the XR version has been made available by Tamiya, this is the only option I’m aware of. Except of course the 419X WS chassis from Tamiya, which lacks some of the center line holes of the XR.

Last winter I run the stock carbon chassis, well aware that an alu chassis would most probably be an improvement. But since I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the Donath chassis’, I decided to build my car using this now.

The overall shape of the chassis is similar to the standard carbon XR chassis, although it obviously has more flex cutouts. As most alu versions, it’s 2.0mm thick, and the same width as std at 85mm, and weighs 15g more.

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The second major update was that I decided to use the new 42325 TRF419 37T Aluminum Gear Differential Case when I rebuilt my diff. I had already used the alu pulley part until now, and wanted to test the alu case as well.

The case is beautifully made with great precision, as you would expect. Finally I could thread gear diff screws into an aluminium part! How I have waited for this! 🙂 Once built the diff really feels amazing, so I really look forward to testing this.

The major difference apart from the material is that the alu case hold quite a bit more oil compared to the standard case (15-20% more). This bigger volume together with the alu material should mean it works better over a 5 minute run.

Of course it comes with a penalty of higher weight, but it will be interesting to test.

Here are the weight difference of the cases:
– 419 std plastic case: 5.8g
– 419 alu diff case: 8.4g

(I would have taken pictures of the diff, but somehow my camera battery mysteriously vanished during the build and is nowhere to be found) (had to buy a new battery…) 😀

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I also upated the driveshafts front and rear with some of the latest TRF parts. The parts I used were these:

42321 Lightweight Cross Joints for Assembly Universal Shafts (2pcs.)
42320 Lightweight Joint Casings for Double Cardan Joint Shafts (2pcs.)
42319 Lightweight Cross Joints for Double Cardan Joint Shafts (4pcs.)

Small changes obviously but I really like the joint casings for the front DCJ’s. Together with the cross joints, the front driveshafts are around 1.6g lighter each.

I did not have the new 42322 44mm Swing Shafts (Hard) for the rear driveshafts, as I must have missed to order those.

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Rebuilt 419XR (almost) ready for the carpet.

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Protoform Europa FF Body

A first look at the Protoform Europa FF body, thanks to this interview feature on LiveRC , just published.

Looks OK from the side, except the wing mounts, but of course the front and rear view will tell more about its realism. Really need some proper wing mounts though to mount the wing in the right position further back, like on the real Cupra TCR car.

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Here’s the info on the Europa body from the interview:

LiveRC: How about the new Europa FWD body, can you give us any details on it prior to its release?

Eric: It’s one we’re really excited about, a body dedicated to up the up and coming front-wheel drive touring category, a first for our brand!

LiveRC: What made PROTOform decide to step into the FWD touring car scene?

Eric: FF racing doesn’t really exist in California (or USA for that matter) so we really relied on suggestions from our international drivers in Europe and Asia on this body. Our European Team Manager Max Machler would tell us he’d go to regional races with 30-40 FF cars signed up, and urged us to step into this class with our own contender.

LiveRC: When designing a body for an entirely new platform, how much time is spent from start to finish developing something like the Europa body?

Eric: The Europa is a special case for us. Whereas PROTOform bodies have almost exclusively been handmade by my father Dale Epp, the Europa was designed 100% in CAD and cut on a leading-edge 5-axis mill here at the PROTOform headquarters.

See LiveRC for full interview.

Selling My VBC D10

*UPDATE* Still available 175 €

I’m selling this VBC D10 I bought 1 year ago to make space as I now have too many cars. Send a message or comment on this post if you’re interested or have questions.

Details:

– only used for 10-15 x 5 min runs indoor on carpet last winter
– flex alu lower deck on the car only carpet use
– never used carbon lower deck included
– includes SMJ springs, extra hardware, suspension arms, rear hubs etc.
– includes original packaging, manual, parts lists, sticker sheets

Price: 175 EUR
Located in Finland, can ship anywhere but shipping cost addded of course.

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Destiny RX-10FF Build

Any time a manufacturer releases an FF car kit is a good day in my opinion, so when Destiny hinted that they were developing such a kit earlier this year, it was good news. Even better was that once the production car details were released, this looked to be the most modern and high-level FF kit released so far. More than enough reason to take a closer look then!

In many ways the Destiny RX-10FF is just like any modern competition level TC, the main difference being that it is a front wheel drive FF TC.

The packaging and contents are also very much standard, the RX-10FF kit packaged in a fairly small box. The manual is pretty clear, and has especially beautiful graphics on the cover, just like the small decal sheet. Overall the kit is well presented.

Parts are packaged as normal with A, B, C…F bags, with hardware and bearings separately bagged. No oils or grease included, which I think is a good idea, but your opinion on that will depend on who you are.

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Every build starts with the lower deck, and on the RX-10FF the chassis is 2.25mm carbon fibre and 83mm wide, looking very much like most modern ISTC chassis’, with only the longer front part making it stand out as an FF chassis.

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The first actual assembly steps cover the lower bulkheads and half of the suspension mounts. The bulkheads are dark grey / gunmetal anodised 7075 aluminium with beautiful chamfered edges, while a super welcome feature is that they include bearing supported roll-bars for the first time on any FF car kit.

The included FR and RF suspension mounts are of the split type, and uses plastic inserts for arm width / toe adjustments. The quality and fitment is really good. The manual provides useful charts for set up of these.

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The rear bulkheads are one-piece and fairly sturdy, and again incorporates bearing holders for the roll-bars.

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The front of the chassis from underneath. You can see that each bulkhead is secured by two 3x6mm countersunk screws and a bulkhead pin, with the same true for each split suspension mount.

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With the RX-10FF being a belt-drive FF, the included gear diff is the same as on Destiny’s belt driven ISTC cars. The design of the diff is fairly conventional, with all parts composite except the hardware and aluminium outdrives. The diff is perhaps not one of the best I have built, but also far from the worst. Some improvements could surely be made though, like is true for most TC gear diffs still.

The instruction manual recommends 1 million cst oil as a starting point for the diff, which should be a pretty good base.

With the design of the Destiny diff, the belt pulley is changeable, but the size chosen for the FF is 37T. Together with the 20T pulley on the layshaft, this gives an internal ratio of 1.85, which differes quite a bit from most FF cars so far.

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The diff covers are two-piece, consisting of the upper bulkhead and upper link mount, which is screwed on from the side, allowing you to use spacers to adjust this freely.

The diff rides on normal 10×15 bearings inside eccentric plastic bearing holders for belt tension adjustments. The belt is a normal S3M Bando belt, 150mm long.

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A better view of the alu upper link mounts, which are also used at the rear of the car.

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Here the front end and gearbox begins to take shape.

The aluminium layshaft and 20T plastic pulley is sandwiched between the right motor mount and left layshaft bulkhead, secured to the lower front bulkheads with two screws per side and a bulkhead post between them. A simple but elegant solution which means working on the front end should be quite easy as well. The layshaft rides on 5x9mm bearings. The motor mount is also secured to the lower chassis with two screws.

Please note that I built the car with a prototype 5.0 motor mount for higher gear ratios, which should be available as an option soon. As you can see this features two positions for the layshaft, giving you more flexibility with the gearing options.

With FF’s raced in some countries with 17.5 or even 21.5 motors, with no gearing limits, and other markets such as Germany running a lot with 13.5 and a fixed 5.0 gearing, the difference in gearing requirements becomes very big. This coupled with the limits in available space on an FF front end due to damper towers, dampers, suspension, spur etc., can cause problems for a designer!

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Here’s a picture of the standard motor mount and layshaft bulkhead for comparison, as well as the post which is also different on the prototype 5.0 set.

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Left side view of the assembled front gearbox.

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A Xenon 64 pitch spur gear is included. The manual says a 96T gear should be included, but mine was 95T. The spur gear adaptor is aluminium and secured to the layshaft by a pin and set screw.

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Aluminium one-piece floating servo mount added to the RX-10FF. This also functions as a mount for the whole steering assembly, as you will see in the next steps. These parts are the same as on Destiny’s RX-10SR high-end ISTC chassis.

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Here is the whole steering assembly on its own. Destiny use a steering rack system instead of the more usual dual bellcrank systems. Each has their own pros and cons, but the Destiny version of the steering rack system is well made and smooth. The rack glides on three 4x8mm bearings and uses a small 2x5mm screw for precise adjustment.

I really like the fact that you can take out the whole steering system including the servo with just two screws.

The bearing you see underneath is just for support during photographing, so please ignore that!

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Next the final piece to complete the main skeleton of the RX-10FF – the carbon fibre upper deck. This is made of thinner 2.0mm carbon fibre and fairly conventional, with the exception of the flex adjustment system.

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The flex adjustment features slotted holes in the upper deck, with a counterunk screw, washer and a special aluminium nut that fits into the slots. By moving this you can subtly adjust the flex point of the upper deck. This appears to be a smart solution, good looking and lightweight, so I expect we might see this copied on other cars in the future.

The car overall is fairly soft in flex.

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With the main chassis completed, it is time to move on to the suspension.

Suspension assembly starts with the front. First a look at the caster blocks, or hub carriers as they are named by Destiny. These are the same left and right, this made possible by separate caster inserts. 2, 4, and 6 degree options are included with the parts, the 4 degree option being the suggested standard setup.

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Spring steel double-joint driveshafts are included and come pre-assembled. Do remember to apply some grease when you build the car though.

As you can see the wheel axle / hex (hub) part of these are different than the standard TC design. The wheel axle part of the drive shaft is thinner, with an aluminium axle with integrated hex then sliding over and locking together with the driveshaft. This is a different solution, also used by Awesomatix, that also means that the car uses 6x10mm wheel bearings in place of the more normal 5x10mm bearings. The alu hub is held with small o-rings which you slide over the axle, but obviously once you put wheels and wheel nuts on the car, those will be what locks everything up.

The super small rear axles are also seen in this picture (below).

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The front suspension fully assembled. The arms, just like the rest of the plastic (Xenon) suspension pieces, are of good quality with really good fit and finish. The arms use normal 3mm inner pins, while the outer pins are just 2mm thick due to the caster insert system. The outer pins are secured with small 2×3.5mm screws that go into the arm, covering the pin – the best solution for this in my opinion as it gets rid of small set screws in the uprights.

M4x8mm droop screws are used, while a 3x8mm set screw is used for the lower damper mount. The driveshafts use replaceable white delrin caps. The upper arms use 30mm black aluminium turnbuckles. The 4.3mm open ball cups are fairly standard; smooth but with a slight amount of play.

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The rear suspension completed, following very much in line with what I wrote about the front end. The rear uprights or hubs have two options for the upper arm ball stud, use the same 6x10mm wheel bearings obviously, and 2x23mm outer pins.

On the front inner pins you have two 1mm spacers for wheel base adjustments, while at the rear two 2mm spacers. At the FF and RR positions, one-piece “B” suspension mounts are used. Optional mounts are available from Destiny if you want even more adjustability than the included plastic inserts give you.

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One highlight of the car, already mentioned earlier, is the bearing supported roll bars. These are very easy to assemble and adjust. A 1.2mm rear bar and a 1.3mm front bar is included.

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Front end overview with the front roll-bar added.

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Next up a crucial element of any racing car; the dampers.

Again the Destiny dampers are very much standard modern TC design items. They are what could be called short big bore, with a 11.2mm internal diameter and using standard 20mm short large diameter springs. Three and four hole pistons are included with 4 being the standard setup.

The dampers go together well and it was easy to build the four dampers the same first time out. The included rear springs are rated 2.5, while front springs are rated 2.6. Large 5.8mm balls are used to attach the dampers to the car, minimising play.

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Damper towers are 3.0mm carbon fibre front and rear, and both also double as a mount for the body posts. The rear tower is secured with two screws while the front tower uses four screws. Both at the front and rear you have four options for the damper position.

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A super small front bumper is used.

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Here with the small foam bumper and upper aluminium plate, which also attaches to the motor mount with one screw.

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The body posts are the same front and rear. Be aware that these might not be long enough at the rear for some hatchback bodies. I have not fitted any body yet, but they apare to be on the short side. Since they are very standard in design, you could use some longer posts from other cars if needed.

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The RX-10FF, just like many FF’s, gives a few options for battery placements. The car was obviously firstly designed for shorty lipos, and these holders are included. There are holes in the chassis for a front and rear position of these. The idea being that you slide the battery in from the right hand side, and then secure it with battery tape through the slots in the chassis while these holders make sure the battery won’t move.

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Finally the Destiny RX-10FF is complete. The build was really easy with no real frustrations during the building process – always a good sign.

That feeling of this car being so far the most modern and high-level full FF car kit released remains after building the RX-10FF. There are no major downsides, it has many modern features which I have missed on FF’s so far, and the overall quality seems to be really good.

Of course there are still more things I would like to see though. I don’t like the long overhang of the chassis at the front, so a shorther lower chassis with the motor moved back as much as possible would have been great. It feels like I’m repeating myself, but after doing a lot of tests on this over the years, I know that would be one easy improvement to the car. I would also want the motor absolutely on the center line of the chassis and I would also have liked to see a tape-free battery holding system.

Those are things that can be done in the future though, and the fact remains that the RX-10FF is so far the most impressive full FF car kit released. Let’s hope Destiny keep developing it further, and the future will be even better!

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Destiny RX-10FF Build Up Next

Looking forward to building this during the upcoming days. Please check back for the full build soon.

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Upcoming New Tamiya Parts

Just a few new option parts that will be released in a not too distant future.

New TRF Hi-Grade aluminium screws:

42327 3x6mm Hi-Grade Aluminum Hex Head Screws (Blue, 5pcs.)
42328 3x6mm Hi-Grade Aluminum Countersunk Hex Head Screws (Blue, 5pcs.)
42329 3x8mm Hi-Grade Aluminum Hex Head Screws (Blue, 5pcs.)
42330 3x8mm Hi-Grade Aluminum Countersunk Hex Head Screws (Blue, 5pcs.)

General product info for the new Hi-Grade alu screws:

Hi-Grade screws offer exceptional precision compared to standard parts thanks to a different manufacturing process, meaning that they screw in to their hole straight and true. They are particularly suited to use with the aluminum bulkheads and carbon fiber plates often used in TRF chassis. Parts have a stylish blue anodized finish.

Contents/Information
• Each set contains 5 screws.

Further upcoming parts:

54846 TB-05 Carbon Front Damper Stay (for TRF Super Short Big Bore Dampers)

Fit your TB-05 PRO chassis with high performance TRF Super Short Big Bore Dampers, using this dedicated carbon fiber front damper stay!

Item Contents/Information
• Carbon Front Damper Stay x1
• Crafted from 3mm thickness carbon fiber material for superb rigidity and optimal damper performance.
• Features 3 extra damper attachment holes (total 6), for a wider range of setup options.
• Used in place of kit-standard N5 component.
• Compatible with TB-05 PRO chassis cars using TRF Super Short Big Bore Dampers.

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54847 TB-05 Carbon Rear Damper Stay (for TRF Super Short Big Bore Dampers)

Fit your TB-05 PRO chassis with high performance TRF Super Short Big Bore Dampers, using this dedicated carbon fiber rear damper stay!

Item Contents/Information
• Carbon Rear Damper Stay x1
• Crafted from 3mm thickness carbon fiber material for superb rigidity and optimal damper performance.
• Features 3 extra damper attachment holes (total 7), for a wider range of setup options.
• Used in place of kit-standard N4 component, this stay gives a 1.2mm lower body mount attachment position.
• Compatible with TB-05 PRO chassis cars using TRF Super Short Big Bore Dampers.

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54848 Aluminum Wing Washers (Black)

These lightweight 14mm-diameter aluminum components will stabilize the racing wing on your car, also providing protection in the event of crashes and rolls.

Item Contents/Information
• Aluminum Wing Washers x2
• 3x8mm Titanium Screws x2
• Wing washers have a cool black anodized finish.

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54849 Aluminum Wing Washers (Blue)

These lightweight 14mm-diameter aluminum components will stabilize the racing wing on your car, also providing protection in the event of crashes and rolls.

Item Contents/Information
• Aluminum Wing Washers x2
• 3x8mm Titanium Screws x2
• Wing washers are anodized in stylish Tamiya blue.

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Yokomo BD9 Drawing

A first look at the upcoming Yokomo BD9.

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3Racing Sakura FF EVO

Another new FF car kit on the way!

Here’s 3Racing’s information:

KIT-FFEVO is the fifth generation of the 3RACING front wheel car. We are adding more new features to this generation to provide better handling performance. Especially, this generation was created to improve the acceleration and fit difference body needs.

  • Main Chassis extended 5mm on the motor mount area which can fit for the lowest final drive ratio 2.6:1 setting.
  • Front body posts are now at the back of the front shock tower to meet different body installation requirements.
  • New front and rear lower suspension arms are 1mm wider to improve car stability.
  • Newly low profile big bore dampers provides better shock absorption capability.
  • New 17T nylon gear to increase the durability.
  • Steering system uses updated ZERO Tolerance design to improve the steering characteristics and stability.
  • Differential uses metal bevel gears to increase the durability.
  • Front and rear shock towers are redesigned for greatly improved suspension geometry to match with the low profile big bore dampers.
  • Lightweight carbon fiber servo mount to reduce the weight of FFEVO.

Check out 3Racing’s product page for more.

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TA07 MS @ All Japan Hobby Show

Production Tamiya TA07 MS Chassis Kit displayed at the 2018 All Japan Model & Hobby Show this weekend.

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