Tamiya Sand Scorcher (1979, 2010)

By | Jun 5, 2017

The Tamiya Sand Scorcher is one of the most sought after RC cars by collectors.
Many refer to it as the “holy grail” of Tamiya vintage kits. One thing for sure, if you find one on ebay, you’ll probably say “holy ****” when you see how much it goes for.

Here is my Scorcher NIB kit. Unassembled and going to stay that way.

Just like the Rough Rider, the Scorcher is made of a lot of metal. As one of the first off road RC vehicles, you can see a lot of “over-engineering” in these kits. These things were heavy, but to me, they seemed lightning fast, since most of the stuff I had previously were just toys.

Manual on the left, box-o-parts on the right. Looking at these two sets of internals photos, one can get a true appreciation on how much thought Tamiya put into their products.

The outside of the box is also a treat, from the front cover to the sides. Here are two pieces of artwork from the sides of the box. One is sort of a three-view which details the paint scheme nicely. The other is a layout schematic showing the vehicle’s mechanical and electrical components. This is a common practice with Tamiya even today.

I got this Scorcher off ebay. In OK shape, missing the usual detail parts. I really want to restore this, but frankly, the a Scorcher restoration scares me. The complicated paint scheme, all of those detail parts…yikes.

Nothing sets off a Scorcher like the ‘Stinger’ exhaust. On the real car, pointing the rear pipe into the air kept dirt out while off-roading. These are usually the first thing to break off when you first roll your Scorcher (and you will). Fortunately, you can always buy a repro from me here (or use the RCGrabBag Store link button at the top of this page) along with other parts:-)

Fast forward 30 years and…

Wow! Can it be that Tamiya is re-issuing the Sand Scorcher? Yes, it’s true. Available in early 2010 under kit number 58452, the Sand Scorcher has been re-released in mostly original form on the heels of the Buggy Champ.

The Sand Scorcher re-release is a welcome sight for the Tamiya enthusiast. The new Scorcher attempts to capture as much of the original as possible, and it’s good to see a big box with the original artwork and lot of metal parts in blister packs on the inside.

While some re-release Rough Rider/Buggy Champ kits came with a T-Shirt, special versions of the re-released Sand Scorcher come with a large carrying bag. It’s big enough to put the whole kit box in.

Peeling away some of the top layer items, we see more parts and packaging below. So far I like the original clear headlight and signal lenses. Rumors existed that the tail lights might be opaque plastic, yuck. Thankfully they are not.

So, what else is the same/different from the original? Let’s put them side-by-side and find out…
(Disclaimer: It should be noted that I have an original Scorcher that may be the Japanese version, noted by the extensive descriptions on the outside of the box printed in Japanese. This may not always be the case, as the NIB original Rough Rider I have also has extensive Japanese printing, but came from the MRC distributor here in the U.S.)

First, let’s examine the packaging. In the photo above, in case it wasn’t obvious, the re-released Sand Scorcher box is on top, while the original, yellowed with age, Scorcher box is on the bottom. Not too much different here in the way of markings. Some differences in description, an orange sticker for the electronic speed controller in the new. The new Scorcher decals seem to lack real sponsorship company names and instead use fictional sponsor names.

A lap around the outside of the box shows the long end, followed by the short end (both sides of the box are the same here), and the other long end. A lot of similarities, especially with the artwork, and some differences in description, color coded engineering schematic, and optional radio and battery gear.

Box height is also different, with the original Scorcher being about 1/2″ (approx. 1cm) shorter than the new Scorcher box.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road; the all-important body shell. Yes, there are differences. The new shell is more narrow than the original. The top two photos show it best. The more yellowed body is the original. Note how much wider the fenders are on the original.

From the top (middle photo), the shells look identical except for the width and extra mounting hole in the rear fenders.

From the front, there is a difference in the front cutout for the nose cone.

Gone are the separate chrome door handles. They are molded in now.

An important question you’re probably asking, “Can I swap my old, yellowed windshield and light lenses for some new, pristine clear ones?” The answer is “Yes!”. I test fit the wind screen and lenses and they fit perfectly.

Lastly, here are the chrome bits. The top collection is the original. As stated previously, no more door handles and the mirrors have changed.

All in all this is a great move for Tamiya and we enthusiasts. We get to relive the magic of seeing one of these kits in brand-new form and there are enough to go around to build, run or keep NIB for a long time to come. The differences will ensure that the originals maintain their value, while the new one provides a new source of spare parts to keep our new Scorchers running for another 30 years or more.

Sand Scorcher and Rough Rider/Buggy Champ Official Videos:

Vintage Tamiya Scorcher Video (and others) here.


ew 2010 Tamiya 1/10 R/C SAND SCORCHER Off Road Buggy No. 58452 Japan

ew 2010 Tamiya 1/10 R/C SAND SCORCHER Off Road Buggy No. 58452 Japan
Current price:
Ends in:
6d 22h 55m
Seller: eBay

Tamiya Sand Scorcher 2010 Off-Road Racer Kit TAM58452

Tamiya Sand Scorcher 2010 Off-Road Racer Kit TAM58452
Current price:
Ends in:
0d 2h 17m
Seller: eBay

NEW Partial Built Tamiya The Bigwig 2017 Off Road Buggy 47330 with ESC

NEW Partial Built Tamiya The Bigwig 2017 Off Road Buggy 47330 with ESC
Current price:
Ends in:
0d 10h 30m
Seller: eBay

Tamiya 1/10 R/C SAND SCORCHER 2010 BODY SET Off-Road # 51406 for #58452

Tamiya 1/10 R/C  SAND SCORCHER  2010  BODY SET  Off-Road  # 51406  for #58452
Current price:
Ends in:
26d 2h 6m
Seller: eBay

51406 Tamiya 1/10 R/C SAND SCORCHER 2010 BODY SET Off-Road Buggy 58452

51406  Tamiya 1/10 R/C  SAND SCORCHER  2010 BODY SET   Off-Road Buggy 58452
Current price:
Ends in:
26d 2h 8m
Seller: eBay

Originally posted 2015-01-30 06:58:26.

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Tamiya Jaguar X JR-12 (1991, 2005)
Tamiya XR311 (1977, 2001)
Tamiya Hot Shot (1984, 2007)
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Tamiya Black Porsche 934 (1977, 2009)
20 Comments so far
  1. mike whitham September 14, 2008 5:13 am

    hi there.i have a sand schorcher project on its way to me.and reading this article has given me alot of info that i have been looking for.thank you very much

    mike whitham

  2. troy September 26, 2008 7:41 pm

    where did you buy it

  3. rcgrabbag September 26, 2008 10:24 pm


  4. Thomas February 27, 2009 9:32 pm

    I have a Sand Scorcher that I purchased about 28 years ago. After the one universal wore out and broke, I have not ran the car since. It’s been disassembled and stored in a box for at least 20 yrs. After receiving and reading a Tower Hobbies car catalog, I was reminded of the name Tamiya. I immediately went on line to try and find the name of my car as I had parted with the box and manual long ago. Now, I’m collecting parts to restore my car. This site has been an inspiration and source of info and support for me and i’m sure many others. Thanks!!

  5. rcgrabbag February 28, 2009 12:08 am

    Hey, that’s great, Thomas. Glad to be of service! Good luck with your restoration. I just recently restored my Tamiya Rough Rider (a blood relative of the Sand Scorcher).

  6. alex hudson March 23, 2009 4:18 pm

    i have a scorcher the body is sprayed and has never been used so is in mint condition i also have a ford ranger top in near mint neither have any missing parts.the car itself is in excellent condition with all original parts including acomms radio gear and is fully working i have new genuine wheels and tyres for both bodys and have the tamiya ford ranger box also the original 7.2 battery that still has a bit of life in it only thing that is broke is the exhaust ,i would like to sell and was wondering how much it was worth,the ones on ebay are between 200-800 pounds but none of the ones i,ve seen have been complete they all have some missing bodyshell parts which appear to be unavailable,your comments would be much appreciated

  7. rcgrabbag March 23, 2009 10:27 pm

    If it’s in excellent shape, both could fetch well over $1000 or more. It’s good that you’re checking ebay, because it is the most accurate way to determine value. If you’re planning on selling, a few suggestions: 1. Don’t put a reserve price on them unless you don’t mind keeping them. Reserve prices just scare people away. I’m telling you, I have never put a reserve price on my items and have always gotten MORE than I expected. The reason is simple. People see an opening bid of $.99 (yes, 99 cents) and think they’re going to get a deal. Bidding starts early and is frantic, then stabilizes for a while. Those early bidders are now mentally “invested” in your item, and will pursue ownership until the bitter end. Then there is usually the few smart ones who waits until the very end and “snipe” your auction in the closing seconds, wiping out all competition. These smart people have to bid high, because they have to wipe out all of the idiots who bid early and bid the price up. Now, if you set a reserve, I don’t doubt someone could buy it for more than your reserve, but, you run the risk of potential buyers being turned away because they see that there’s a reserve, and might look elsewhere for a “deal”. Here’s an example of how I played the ebay game. There was a NIB Sand Scorcher listed on ebay with a “buy-it-now” price of $1500. It just sat there for days with no takers because they were all looking for a “deal”. So, I bought it. Even though I already had a NIB Scorcher, the box top on mine was faded and this more recent one had a nicer box. When I received the second NIB Scorcher, I took the best parts of that kit, along with the best parts from the one I already had to combine them and make one excellent NIB kit which I kept. I then put the other NIB Scorcher (with faded box top) back on ebay with NO reserve. The kit sold for over $2200! I made a $700 profit AND got a better kit out of the deal!

  8. mike whitham March 28, 2009 10:55 am

    hi mate carnt rember where i got it from.i didnt have it long but i have got another 2 now and was looking through all the info on the net again and came accros the comment i had left you.i have purchased theese off a tamiya club member

  9. rcgrabbag March 28, 2009 10:58 am

    Cool! Let me know if you need any repro parts! They are available from the RCGrabBag Store link on the menu bar at the top of the page.

  10. Michele July 13, 2009 6:06 am

    Ciao, ….sono un’ appassionato di Rc, e collezionista, mi interessava sapere se è possibile trovare modelli vintage della Tamiya, come il SAND SCORCHER….

    Grazie ciao Michele

  11. Jim July 18, 2009 8:43 am

    Is there a company making an aftermarket radio box? You know the clear plasic box that the electriconics are mounted in.

  12. rcgrabbag July 18, 2009 3:40 pm

    You might not have to wait long for an inexpensive original. The new Buggy Champ is starting to show up on eBay, so parts can’t be far behind.

  13. Brian August 1, 2009 11:13 pm

    Jim, check out http://www.kamtec.co.uk for a repo radio box. They make both a clear version as well as a faux carbon version made out of ABS. I have never ordered from them, but Tamiyaclub members seem to like the company.

  14. mark archibald October 17, 2009 4:49 pm

    hi i have a rolling chassis sand scorcher, it has 4x wheels + tyres suspension front complete complete suspension rear motor and gearbox complete it is 28 years old tyres reflect age but the rest has NO wear amazing piece of over engineering better than most modern rc,s

    there is no shell or internal electronics sorry lost over time

    make me an offer for this classic. send me an email :- markodarko29@yahoo.co.uk

  15. Brandon October 26, 2009 6:50 pm

    I have an 83 sand scorcher brand new in box in perfect condition for sell email me

  16. philip May 30, 2014 9:05 am

    hello there

    i have a sand scorcher at home that i want to sell.
    So if you know anny one for it you can email me .
    it an Original one so no reproduction its almost complete i only mis the tail pipe and the driver ,also the front bumper bracket is broken .
    the rest is in good condition with spare parts and the Original booklet and transmitter .
    if you want pictures you can also email me .

    greetings philip

  17. debbie May 9, 2015 9:12 pm

    I have an original nib 1979 Sand Scorcher kit.
    The box is a little faded on top..I have grey and black bumpers.
    I am looking to find a price and possibly sell the kit.
    I have had it for many years but I cannot find any information on how to value it. I would be very grateful if you could find the time to email me.
    I am in the UK.

    Many thanks..


  18. rcgrabbag May 10, 2015 9:24 am

    An original kit could fetch about $2000 USD if all the parts are there and the packaging intact.

  19. Michel Lauritsen May 30, 2016 7:51 pm

    Hello caling from Denmark..
    Have the original one.
    Sorry to say that rear light is missing..
    If I would sell. Where to make the bests sale, and how much aprox. Could I get for it???

  20. rcgrabbag May 30, 2016 11:21 pm

    Best option is to sell it on eBay. You can also check auctions that have been completed to see how much similar ones are being sold.

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