Re-living Group B Memories

Tamiya’s Classic TT02 Lancia Delta Integrale 4WD 1/10th Rally Car Kit

Words & Images: Phil “MakeItBuildIt” Lawrence

Available in the UK: HERE & HERE

Manufacturer: Tamiya

UK Distributor: The Hobby Company

UK RRP: £139.00

Spec:

  • Width: 186mm
  • Length: 407mm
  • Height: 159mm
  • Wheelbase: 257mm
  • Gear Ratio = 9.58:1

Required Items

  • 2-Channel R/C Unit
  • ESC may be required, UK versions include ESC
  • Battery Pack & Charger
  • Paint, Tools & Patience

It’s Been Emotional

So, where should I start this journey; when I got the kit, or a lot further back? I’ve been told in the past to start at the beginning , however I’m going to break that rule and start at the end, as I cannot wait to share the finished product with you.

This is the end result of what has been a long journey for me. It has been an emotional journey and one with a variety of feelings along the way, but well worth the travelling .

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A Rally Car of my childhood dreams…Group B was short lived, but Epic!

Back to the beginning

OK, before I show you too much, let’s go back to the beginning, the very beginning, <cue the ‘Wayne’s World’ time travel special effects>

My journey into RC cars started with Tamiya. Without a shadow of a doubt, Tamiya were THE manufacturer of kits in the 80’s. I remember being in awe as my younger self opened the box, seeing all the components and then learning to build the kits. It’s fair to say that more than half of the fun of a Tamiya was the journey before you drove the car.

We live today in a Ready To Run world, and this has its advantages to get people driving quickly. However, there is something lost for me in RTR cars. In building the car up yourself, you not only got a massive sense of achievement and pride in what you have achieved, but you also built your knowledge. Knowing how a car is put together is a big thing so overlooked by the RTR world of today. If you built the car, you understand the car, and I think that allows you to repair, upgrade and tune as you want with confidence.

For those, like me, who have some silver or white in what hair they have left, this should ring some bells. For those younger, I know there were some re-releases of the classics in early 2000’s. The Tamiya cars at the time, for me, were the Hornet, Grasshopper and the Frog, swiftly followed by other character cars like the Wild Willy Jeep.

I still have a soft spot for the F150 Ford Ranger with its aluminium suspension setup and scale looks, as that was one of the last cars of my childhood and was also the car that re-united me with my father after family divorce – RC has a way of mending many bridges by providing a common ground.

My memories of the Tamiya kits were good overall; I don’t ever recall a badly moulded part on any of my kits sprues. Sure, I remember upgrading the friction shocks to oil filled dampers and changing the plastic bush rings for metal ball races in some of my earlier budget based builds.

The thing with this, is that you have to remember where Tamiya placed those kits. They offered (and still do) a range of kits, from their top of the range pro racing kits with all the upgrades in the box as standard, to an accessible entry level kit to get as many people into RC Cars as possible  whilst maintaining a decent quality level as, after all, the experience of a bad model could taint your RC experience and put someone off the hobby.

So you can hopefully understand why this meant a lot to me when I was asked to relive my journey and how would the current models match up to the expectations in my head from remembering my Tamiya roots.

First Glance

OK, back to the near present <more Wayne’s World time travel wavy screen effects and sounds>

Presented with a boxed Tamiya TT02 sporting the legendary 1992 world rally championship winning Lancia Delta Integrale, let’s just say I was quite excited as the memories started flooding back.

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Gone are the days of cool Tamiya box art I’m afraid…unless its an 80s re-release!

On first glance the kit contained not only the car itself, but a motor and speed controller so, in addition to the kit, I added a 9009 Low Profile servo from RC-Core to use alongside my existing Spektrum radio gear and a can of white PS-1 Tamiya paint.

So, I’m itching to get started and having built a few kits in the past and although I stand a good chance of piecing together the car by sight without having too many parts left over, I think it’s best to use the instruction manual with its exploded diagrams, to aid the process. But just before I get into the build zone and delve in with the clippers and a knife blade to clean all the joints up, let’s have a look at the some of the sprues and what you get.

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Parts N Sprues…Parts N Sprues…

As you can see, the injection moulded black plastic sprues are very well moulded, so they are accurate and have a great finish. These contain all the parts you need, each one numbered so you can identify it easily using the manual and have a relatively simple build process.

A tip for removing the parts is never ever twist them off the sprues, as often that removes a small amount of the part as it comes off. My preference is to use wire cutters and clip the part off close to the part and then use a craft knife or Stanley type knife to or scrape off any mould marks to ensure the very best fitment and look.

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Chrome parts look cool and add an extra dimension to the fine detailing

Chrome and body-coloured parts to add lots more detail and realism to the Lancia

The moulded “bath tub” chassis provides a very sturdy base for the Tamiya TT02 to be built on, and should keep everything inside protected from any stones etc. from the off-road escapades that I know it’s going to have.

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A plastic tub chassis is the backbone to many a Tamiya build…and rightly so!

Wheels and tyres, again have had time lavished on them in the design phase to add more realism with the cross cut block tyres and white rally wheels, ensuring they are both functional for driving and look great if your car is a shelf queen.

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Rally Block tyres are both realistic and functional…
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Plastic replicas of the original Rally Wheels used by Lancia

Onto the build

Following the instructions, after installing the centre driveshaft, one of the first parts to build is the differential. For those that don’t know what this is or how important it is, it allows the wheel on each side to turn at a different speed, whilst still being driven forwards by the motor.

This is needed to make it easier to turn the car, as the wheel on the outside of the bend has to travel further than the wheel on the inside. On a 4wd car like the Tamiya TT02 Lancia Delta, it will have a differential at the front and at the rear. without them it would be very hard to drive.

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Meshed and lubricated correctly these plastic gears and diff components work perfectly well, and will last

The differential is made up of a 4 planet gears and 2 crown gears that fit inside the main housing and allow the wheels to to turn at different speeds as previously explained.

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The provided grease is your friend…use it wisely

Tamiya, thankfully for those that have not built a differential or a car before, break everything down into sections and detail the build step by step. Everything you need is included in the kit, and they even put in the required tubes of grease.

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Note the safety remark…”Not Eatable”. That made me smile!

After a few steps (7 if you included building the driveshaft), you end up with the following, a completed differential installed ready for the cover plate.

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Note: the central propshaft/driveshaft spins on white plastic bushes and not ball bearings

You can see in the image above that Tamiya have provided plastic bushings rather than ball bearings with the kit. Ball bearings are available as an upgrade, and its one I would recommend if you want to extend the life of the TT02.

I’m not going to recreate the manual in this review, but hopefully show you enough steps and images that you can be part of the build with me

Before long the motor is installed and the pinion gear mesh with the main drive gear is set by the chassis and motor mount. There is no fiddling to do to get it right. You can see the smear of thick grease that is used to stop dust ingress into the motor and gear mesh, simple and effective.

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The bevel and ring gear mesh perfectly…again a smear of grease will ensure smooth and long life

The suspension and drive shafts are built up. To allow the correct movement, Tamiya have moulded ball joints that you assemble – it takes a hard press to get the balls into the moulded cups, but they go in with a click, then you can bolt through into the steering hub. It goes to show again the accuracy of Tamiya’s moulds and process they use to create the plastic parts.

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Dog Bones may limit steering deflection but they are a classic way to transfer power from outdrive to wheel..

The drive shafts are “Dog Bones”, very simple, very effective, the metal pin that goes through the drive shaft fits into a slot on the axle hub and differential hub. This allows the suspension to move up and down and the steering to turn whilst still transmitting the power from one to the other, and, in turn, driving the wheel.

Progressing Well

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A bird’s eye view of the chassis…it’s getting there but still lots to do

Well the Tamiya TT02 is starting to look like a chassis now. Steering linkages need to be made up and fitted, but it won’t be long before its able to move under its own steam!

Using two bell-cranks and some linkages to the wheel hubs and to the servo (via a servo saver) the steering is done.

So, What’s A Servo Saver?

Whilst some servos are now metal geared, traditionally, servos have plastic gears inside them that drive the output shaft which you connect to the servo horn and, in turn, the steering.

It was quite easy to damage these servo gears by hitting a curb, for example. The force of that impact was transmitted directly back to the servo, so some clever soul invented a servo saver. It uses a separate inner and outer ring and a spring so, if there is a big impact, some of that impact force is taken up by the spring part and the servo gears are saved…

(Lots of modern servos use or have options for metal gears now, however a servo saver can still be a good idea)

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The steering setup works equally on both front wheels and its servo is protected by a servo saver built into the servo horn

Onto The Shocks

One thing to note at this point is the shock absorbers are friction and not oil damped. Whilst that makes for an easy build, it is the one thing I would certainly upgrade. Once you have driven a car with oil dampers and softer springs you appreciate the smoother, less bouncy drive.

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OK, so the shocks are just friction units…but easy to build and maintain for a younger RC fan or newbie into the hobby

Pin Location & Faux Disk Hexes

In order to stop the axle spinning inside the wheel, Tamiya follow the trusted method of using a pin through the axle which goes into a slot on the back of a plastic hex. As you tighten the wheel onto the axle with the lock nut, it presses the hex (with its built in faux disc) over that pin to ensure nothing can slip when you give it full throttle.

Note: Faux disk brakes are moulded into the wheel hexes

Installing the Electrics

Now the mechanical side is finished, it’s time to sort out the electronics. For some this can be a daunting task, but I can help put aside any fears by saying it’s all plug and play, even colour coded.

Neatness is the key to efficient electrics installs

The Electronic Speed Controller provided is far superior to the old three speed wiper speed controllers of my youth and very welcomed. No ceramic resistors to scorch your arm on and a much smoother power delivery too.

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Brushed or in the future Brushless use…the included ESC is a welcome change to brushed only offerings in this level of kit

This ESC is also capable of running both the brushed drive motor that came in the kit, or an upgraded brushless motor, so they have given some future proofing as standard and an easy way to add more power. Tamiya, another thank you from me.

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Yes, I could have cut all the cables shorter and got things even neater but I may need these components for future builds, so why bother?

I’ve not cut and soldered any of the wires in this kit. and although it might look complex or a lot of wires, all I have done is plugged them in, bunched them up and used a couple of cable ties so they are tidy and don’t catch

The wiring is not that hard when you look at it logically…

  • ESC has pre wired switch, battery connector, motor connectors and signal control lead
  • ESC and servo connect to the radio receiver via their signal control lead
  • ESC connects to battery with the attached power lead
  • ESC connects to motor (2 wires for brushed, 3 wires for brushless, all covered in the manual)

With a little planning and some cable ties its simple to bundle the wires up to keep things neat. My personal preference would have been to cut and solder the wires so everything is super neat, but I wanted to build this as I would have built it in my youth.

The Completed Chassis

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A worm’s eye view of the underside of the chassis….protective and smooth

The underside of the bathtub chassis will protect the components and keep everything nice and safe.

Looking good topside, foam bumper installed to help absorb any impact from when we rally this about.

Now to start the most daunting bit for many builders…the bodyshell!

That is the chassis and electronics build done. I have tested it driving about inside the garage and once i had reversed the steering channel on my transmitter, all was good. Those tyres give massive grip on carpet tiles, so should make light work of propelling the Lancia forward on tarmac or loose surfaces.

Group B Body

Painting a body is an experience, and one I think everyone should do at some point; not only to get something personalised to themselves, but it’s another skillset and well worth the time invested in learning.

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The Window Masks and Bodyshell ready for prep work to begin

Before you start, you need to cut out shell. As it comes in the kit, there is some excess material on the wheel arches and around the sills/bumpers. I would recommend investing in some curved scissors for Lexan. They make the job a lot easier. Take your time, follow the lines on the shell and all will be good.

Tamiya provide you with a set of window masking templates for the Lancia and you have to cut these from the sheet yourself, following the guide lines and then stick them inside the windows.

Please remember at this point you are going to paint the shell from the inside. The reason for this is that you are much less likely to scratch any paint off as you’re throwing it down gravel tracks and off road. The outer shell of Lexan will, thankfully, protect your paintwork.

After following the instructions of cleaning the inside of the shell and fitting the window stickers, you can then beak out the spray can.

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Wash and dry the inside, then apply Window Masks, making sure they are rubbed down perfectly at the edges to stop paint bleed

Keep the layers thin, there is no rush and if you put on a big heavy layer, it’s much more likely to run.

A good tip, besides ensuring you’re spraying in a ventilated area with adequate protection, is to warm the paint can in some hot water. This allows the paint to flow better and gives you a more even coat and a better finish.

White is the new…well, white actually!

Once you have enough layers on and good even coverage, you can let it dry (I recommend overnight in a warm place) and then remove the window masks. Almost done (well nearly)

Stickers, Decals, Detail…

I find building quite therapeutic and  spraying is too, for me. Stickers … well it’s a love and hate from me. I want them to be perfect and whilst I enjoy putting them on, there is a lot to put on to this shell. This can be a bit daunting and with one thing and another that was going on in my life, I let this delay the build for far too long.

Taking the bull by the horns and using the old trick of some washing up liquid and water in a spray bottle to allow you to slide the stickers into position, I set to it.

Use a well diluted mixture of washing up liquid and water to help the decals slide into the correct place…then use a cloth or sponge to set in place

I chose a sticker to start with which was one of the rear quarters, and cut out the stickers a few at a time from the multiple sticker sheets

If you spray the outside of the shell (don’t forget to remove the overspray guard film first) with a mist of water with a little washing up liquid mixed in, it will allow you to slide the sticker into place and then squeegee the water out from under the sticker when you have it where you want it.

I found for some of the stickers, as they have to go over quite large areas of complex curves, that a little heat from a hairdryer make it easy to stretch the sticker into any inside curves or allow the sticker to shrink a fraction so you did not end up with any crow feet lines.

Take your time and things will end up just fine…think of it as a form of Sticker Therapy!

As there is so many stickers on this shell, don’t try and do it all in once, work through them in the order that Tamiya have put on the instructions and before long you’ll have a highly detailed model.

There is a small amount of painting to do on the grill shell and mirrors; I used black acrylic paint and brushed it by hand rather than masking and,  as for the rest of the stickers, it’s just a case of following the instructions and building they layers up.

As you can see, multiple decals are used to build up the correct look

Some of the stickers, like the red line on the grill, are very thin and you need to be mindful when cutting them out. Overall, I stopped counting at 120 separate stickers on this shell. But I love the end result, it’s a fantastic scale look, and Tamiya have surpassed themselves here.

I needed a Martini after this lot! Shaken and not stirred of course!

 

Reliving Past Rally Glory…in 1/10th Scale!

Having spent a lot of time driving tuned cars with brushless motor and oil damped suspension, I need to make clear that the Tamiya TT-02 is sold  as a starter car with a highly detailed replica body.

Performance of the brushed motor surprised me, it was as good as I remember them to be, quite happily spinning all 4 wheels on loose surfaces with the cross cut tyres biting into the dirt, throwing it rearwards as they propel the Lancia forwards. The speed controller was another improvement, allowing much more control than the old three speed wiper system.

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Love this colour scheme…pity its part of the past liveries of motorsport

I’ve mentioned a few times about the suspension, and I will say for approximately £20 you can get a full set of oil filled dampers, and it’s the one upgrade i would do. The standard shocks do what they are designed to do however, with the strong springs, it does make the car bounce about after a jump or on very rough terrain. On a smooth or relatively smooth surface, its a hoot to drive, and on gravel the Tamiya TT02 is quite capable of sliding and drifting about, more like the full size Lancia Delta.

It’s a fun car to drive and the overall package is so much more than just the drive; it’s the journey from opening the box, building, painting, stickering, finalising with the driving or displaying; whichever takes your fancy.

Building a Tamiya kit is a journey, no, a rite of passage that everyone should take, at least once…Who knows where it will lead you?

Available in the UK: HERE & HERE

Manufacturer: Tamiya

UK Distributor: The Hobby Company