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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally posted 2007-09-30 19:24:54.
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