Monthly Archives: December 2017
Just wanted to share whis with everyone.
As you know, FWD is my favourite class, and the excellent German RC site BRCNews have recently published a couple of articles focusing on what’s happening on the FWD scene in Germany.
Great to see! Enjoy!
During the last few weeks I have done a few tests with the MTC1 again.
Using the latest setup ideas published by Robert Pietsch and Mugen, the car is much improved. I also spent a lot of time building another rear diff for the car, trying in every way to make it smoother. Exchanging the old diff in the car for this one was a big improvement, so I still believe part of the key to make the car more predictable lies in further improving the diff.
While the car is now much improved and OK to drive, it is still around 2 tenths slower than my TRF419XR (on a 11-12s lap), which means quite a few seconds over 5 minutes. And I have done about the same amount of running with both cars. Turn in is OK, but I feel it’s losing time after the turn-in phase until the apex of a corner, and equally away from the apex when you are about to get on power.
Still work to do on this car.
I had this on VHS back then and have watched it super many times, but it’s probably almost 15 years since I last watched it. So when I found it on Youtube, lots of memories came up. Great racing, especially in A2 and A3, and a great intense atmosphere. Also, super interesting to compare to today’s TC racing…
Lots of build articles on here lately – this time it’s the VBC WildFire D10 Dynamics Edition that I take a closer look at.
This is actually the first kit ever from VBC that I have built, so I have no previous experience of the manufacturer. The D10 is attractive in that it is fairly affordable compared to most TC’s today, and even at that lower price it includes more in the kit than perhaps any other car. On paper, or at least the release promotion material from VBC, the D10 also has many nice new features. So let’s take a closer look.
The D10 box is small but full of stuff. VBC includes a simple paper manual, some parts list sheets, two decal sheets, diff (1000) and damper (350) oil, as well as axle grease. The kit also includes some extra hardware and 0.1, 0.2 and 0.3mm shims, but no tools.
1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0mm hex drivers are the main tools needed.
One unique feature of the D10 is that you get both an aluminium chassis and a carbon fibre chassis included in the kit. Great!
The alu chassis is 93g, while the carbon version is 67g, and fairly flexible. The upper deck is a fairly standard 2017 TC design from carbon fibre.
I chose to build the car with the aluminium option to start with, as the car will be run on carpet.
Another unique part included with the kit is the aluminium V brace that fits both the alu and carbon chassis’. This is another tuning option and has become popular on some other cars. Here, I fitted it to the carbon chassis for illustrative purposes. Again a big plus for including this in the kit!
The first actual assembly step is the rear gear diff.
Something I did not mention at the start of the article is that there have been many reports on misses or problems on the first batch of D10 kits, with some parts not fitting etc. From what I understand, VBC have said they will supply updated parts to those customers. On this car there were no wrong parts, so obviously many of the misses on the first kits have been rectified.
However, when starting to assemble the diff it is obvious that the finish of the composite parts is not where it should be. Remembering that the D10 is an affordable kit with lots of stuff included, perhaps the price you have to pay is to accept a lower quality or finish to some parts.
In reality it means you have to spend more time building the kit if you want to make it right the first time. With the gear diffs on these cars critical to the performance of the car, I chose to spend time here. The end result is not super smooth, but OK.
The design of the diff is very conventional, similar to most cars.
The bulkheads on the D10 are red anodised, with all four lower bulkheads exactly the same, cutting down the number of different parts. These are secured with two screws, and have no locating pins.
The distance between the bulkheads is 19mm, so it is a fairly narrow setup.
Here (picture below) you see the rear bulkheads, and the split type suspension mounts, as well as the included 0.5mm suspension mount shims. As you can see, the suspension mounts are anodised black as opposed to the red bulks.
The split mounts have locating lugs, as well as options for three screws.
Here are the different mountion options for the split blocks.
The motor mount on the VBC is a one-piece design, with lots of options for mounting position; i.e flex adjustment.
Unfortunately there is not really much information about this feature in the manual. Overall the motor mount can be mounted with 10 screws, giving a huge number of options, so some information here would have been welcome.
The 5 screws furthest forward are all on the centre line of the chassis. The next four screws rearwards are offset from the centre, on both sides of the spur gear cutout in the chassis. The motor mount is machined by 0.5 mm here so that it does not touch the chassis, meaning that to use these holes 0.5mm spacers are needed.
The hole furthest to the rear is again on the centre line, with a further 0.5mm recess.
The car uses a conventional bearing supported dual bellcrank steering system made from red anodised aluminium.
The steering system features a steering stopper offering two setups, one for a 27 deg steering angle with the other option giving a 31 deg steering angle.
While it is again nice to see aluminium steering parts included, the initial impression is that there is too much play in the system. Some of it can be removed by using shims on the steering posts.
A look at the steering options from the manual.
The servo mount is one-piece, black anodised aluminium. Mounted by three screws and features two locating pins for a super solid mounting.
The centre pulley / spur gear mount setup is again fairly conventional with a 5mm shaft and a two aluminium 20T pulleys locking the spur gear in place. These ride on three 5x8mm bearings in total, with everything secured by a large E-clip.
A high-quality 110T 64P Kawada spur gear is included.
A spool is obviously included for the front, with a 38T pulley on an aluminium spool shaft an hardened steel spool outdrives.
Here together with the built rear gear diff, both riding on 10x15mm free spinning bearings.
Red anodised upper bulkheads are marked for position with laser etched marks (RR, RL, FR, FL). These feature two optional pickup points for the upper arms.
Normal eccentrics support the rear diff and front spool, allowing both belt tension adjustment and a low or high setting.
The rear belt is 189mm (63T) while the front belt is 507mm (169T) long, both standard Bando belts.
A one-piece suspension mount is used in the FR position, but optionally you can use the same split mounts that is used at the rear of the car. The FR one-piece mount features no locating lugs or pins, but has a cutout where the front belt passes for clearance.
The base chassis or skeleton finished, with the carbon fibre upper deck added, mounted by four 3x6mm screws at the front and four at the rear.
The suspension arms are fairly unique for the D10 as well, with all four arms being the same. They obviously have different damper mounting positions front and rear, but this achieved by turning the arms over. In reality it means you only need one spare arm to cover all four corners, but the arms are sold in packages of two.
Inserts at the inner hinge pin positions allows for two different arm lengths, something that can be adjusted for different setups. The base setup places the inserts in the “long-arm” position at the rear, while at the front the inserts are placed so that the arm is shorter.
Again, this is a great idea. The inserts were pre-fitted in the right position in my kit, and the fit between them and the arms is good. But there is still some room for improvement in the detail finish of the parts.
Both inner and outer hinge pin holes are 3mm. The inner pins uses steel pivot balls.
The included arms are graphite composite “Red” dot, and very hard.
These drawings from the manual explains the inner pin inserts in the suspension arms.
49mm driveshafts, with alu shafts, steel axles and a lock ring system, come pre-assembled from the factory. But you should really take them apart and clean and grease them with the included axle grease. This is also suggested in the manual.
At the very least you should add some grease and some loctite on the grub screw holding the inner pin.
The rear uprights are also graphite composite with two 5x10mm bearings that are quite a tight fit, but not overly so (this was apparently one of the problems on the early kits).
Getting the arms to move super free proved to be somewhat of a challenge. I struggled to understand where the problem was, but it turned out that the main problem is that the inner hinge pins are slightly too long. Sanding one end of the hinge pins down sligthly solved most of the problem, so the end result is ok. But VBC need to work on the precision in this area.
The manual suggests a total of 3.3mm of spacers/shims on the hinge pins, and this is about right. I understand that this has been changed from the first version of the manual. Luckily 0.1, 0.2 and 0.3mm shims are included and useful.
A 3mm arm reamer is also needed on the outer pin holes in the arms, as otherwise the uprights will not move freely.
The suspension mounts use composite inserts to adjust toe and arm width. These tables from the manual explains the adjustment options.
Yaiba Racing steel double-joint driveshafts are included for the front drive. Again pre-assembled but with the same recommendations as for the rear shafts.
The D10 features a new front suspension design with aluminium bearing support blocks replacing the caster C-blocks of conventional TC cars. Only Schumacher have run this setup so far, with the Mugen MTC1 featuring its own interpretation.
The alu blocks houses two 4x8mm bearings each, and are turnable for two different axle height / roll centre options. They have a built in caster angle of 4 degrees. An M4 screw goes through the bearings and into the small steering blocks.
The steering blocks which feature some hand finishing from the factory uses 4mm carbon fibre steering arms, screwed into the steering blocks.
Inside the steering blocks, the double-joint shafts ride on one normal 5x10x4mm bearing and one narrower 5x10x3mm bearing.
While I like the idea of this front suspension, overall on the D10 as built per instructions there is too much play for my liking here. The shims are again useful on the outer hinge pins here, but there is also play coming from the lower kingpin area. The alu blocks could hold the small 4x8mm bearings tighter to eliminate some of it. I will have to spend some time to figure out if there is a good way to get rid of this excessive play.
Roll-bars on the D10 are bearing supported, using VBC’s well proven slim setup. Those of you who have followed my FWD project car earlier know I use these parts on that car, and I still like them very much.
1.3mm bars are included both front and rear on the D10.
Another unique feature of the D10 are the TBBS-P (True Big Bore Short – Progressive) dampers, which feature a tapered inner shock body, instead of optional inserts which are common with other cars to acheive a progressive damping.
The shock body also has a diamond cut inner surface for smoothness and precision.
The front tower has four different mounting positions, and the tower is attached to the bulkheads “Tamiya-style” with two countersunk screws and two round-head screws.
The dampers went together smoothly without problems, so the precision here seemed better than in other parts of the D10 kit, although there is still room for improvement on the plastic parts. Overall the built dampers feel good, so it will be interesting to see how the work on track compared to other dampers.
Another very generous inclusion with the D10 kit is the SMJ Silver Line springs. In total 4 pcs. of “Blue” (2.8) springs, and 4 pcs. of “Silver” (3.0) springs are included. The initial setup is blue at the rear and silver front springs.
The rear tower is attached in the same way as the front, and also features four damper mounting holes.
One of the trends of the last years in TC design is the centre stiffener, sometimes called pitch stifferers.
This is also incorporated on the D10, with two options included; A turnbuckle setup and a 2mm carbon brace as the second option.
These can obviously also be mounted in different ways, but again no real info on this in the manual.
This is the included carbon centre stiffener option. The centre belt tensioner mounted to the upper deck can also be seen in these pictures.
The front bumper setup is very much standard, with a composite lower bumper mounted to the chassis and a large foam bumper held down by a carbon fibre top plate.
Continuing the theme of fully optioned out from the factory, the D10 even includes adjustable aluminium body supports. The VDC design is also better than normal, as they are secured to the body posts by M2.5 screws instead of body clips or pins which would be the normal design.
As if the D10 wasn’t already well equipped, as a final touch VBC even includes this battery mount system. No need to use tape to secure the battery if you don’t want to.
Again though the instructions on this in the manual are not complete and needs improving.
With that the VBC D10 build is finished, and this is what the completed D10 looks like built on the aluminium chassis. The car is not too stiff and feels about right, but this can obviously be altered with the many flex adjustments built into the design.
To summerize the VBC D10, first one has to mention how many features and (normally) option parts VBC have added to the kit. The D10 really is a complete package in that sense, and for the price they sell the car this is really impressive.
On the other hand they need to work on the quality, fit and finish, especially on many of the composite parts, but also by making sure everything works as inteneded once assembled. This is the only way to ensure cars perform well once put on track, and this is what’s needed to get loyal customers. They also need to produce a better manual to guide customers.
In reality, what this means is that if you want to have a well working car, you’ll have to spend more time building this kit compared to many of the more expensive cars. You’ll spend less money but more time! 🙂
So the final verdict based on just building would be that there is still work to be done, but at the same time compliments for selling such a feature packed car at this price.
Seems that Mugen’s own alu chassis for the MTC1 was now released.
Sad that they seem to have chosen black against my advice! 🙂
A2403 Chassis (Alu)
After a first shakedown / test last Sunday, I did a further test with the TRF419XR yesterday.
From the first run the car has been really good, stable and easy to drive consistently. So the short story is that my initial impression of the 419XR is very positive, and I feel that once again this is very much a well-born car from Tamiya. Just like the 419X was, but the XR seems to be a further improvement on that based on running the 419X last winter.
I have done no serious setup work yet (obviously I run the 419X last winter, so the base should be OK), but focused on trying the new setting options presented on the car with the new motor mount and centre stiffener. These are definitely useful in fine tuning to the conditions. I look very much forward to further working on the setup.
To give you an idea of the testing conditions, here are some pictures of the track. Grey low/medium grip carpet, 26x14m, laptimes around 12s, so the track is quite technical and small/tight. I run with a Muchmore 13.5 motor and blinky (i.e. ETS stock).
Here’s my last run yesterday.
Not that I will probably race it for some time, but I will run the car soon.
With the equipment seen, being:
- Muchmore LCG Max-Punch FD2 6000mAh/120C
- Muchmore Fleta ZX V2 with alu screws
- Muchmore Fleta Pro V2
- Futaba BLS571SV
- MRT mPTX Pro transponder
And on Volante indoor pre-glued tyres with a Protoform Mazdaspeed 6 LW body, the car with the included ballast weights (45+10+10g) is 1340g. Please note that I use quite a few alu screws on the car.