First let me say a happy new year 2020! ...yes! we're suppose to see flying cars, floating buildings and autonomous robot maid..unfortunately we've under estimated our technological progress which we assume we would reach the fictional 'The Jetsons' era but nah!. Hey! be happy! at least we have touchscreen phone, 3d printers and holography waifu!, lol. Anyway let's get back to my usual review and this time is one of my favorite nostalgic R/C stuff from the past and came back to revisiting us as re-release version of the great 1980's. I still recall the the sweet old days when i drool over 1990's TAMIYA catalogue book had my eye of my first crush on R/C monster truck that stands out the most especially with those popular CATERPILLAR yellow color monster wheel and tire threads fit proportionally well with overall looks. That black colored replica of FORD truck caught me in fascination; its the 1:10 scale 1986 ' TAMIYA BLACKFOOT'....it was beautiful and behold to look at. Along side column of the same page was MONSTER BEETLE and SUBARU MUD BLASTER!...well to bad there's no re-release of MUD BLASTER yet till this day 2019...sad. That smell of the TAMIYA catalogue book still linger strong in my mind even after decades have past giving me a strong urge to 'just get one' if i found a re-release version of that model....few years later i did. Unfortunately i lost that book, its the only thing i treasure the most bought by my dad since it was at the same time cost a lot for such book but the memory still vivid in my mind. After the official announcement on the internet about TAMIYA re-releasing these models finally somewhere between year 2017 or 2018 i got my hands on these beautiful TAMIYA monster truck all are re-release version; The BLACKFOOT & MONSTER BEETLE....well its cheaper to buy both to save one time shipping cost from Hong Kong (Rcmart.com). I was so stocked and overwhelmed when i got both of these TAMIYA classic monster truck because i can't believe myself standing in front of these what was once my childhood dream! It felt like was blessed with a huge reward able to live so long for ages and i finally met the 'one'....felt like meeting back a long lost friend minus the wrinkles, lol. The box art on these TAMIYA are fantastic & majestic totally retro artwork worth piece of collectors item, the size quite bigger than my Tamiya buggy box too. As i opened the box yes the smell of that old skool fantastic plastic kit are just the same as the one i used to feel like seeing my uncle working on the same models back in the good old mid 80's. I finally 're-lived my childhood moment' at last! ...oh btw i'm also still eyeing on some MARUI buggy models to but looks its a dim prospect however i'm happy to settle with some TAMIYA's.
Although the classic mid 1980's TAMIYA BLACKFOOT have been re-released into the public in 2016 carry model number '58633' it was never the same as the original model of the same name and chassis because some 'aesthetic' details on the model have been changed due to copyright reason especially since it carry FORD emblem and real world sponsored decals. The original 1986 TAMIYA BLACKFOOT carry a model number '58058' has the original replica body of the classic FORD F-150 RANGER body details all from its front face grill designs, badge, front hood and rear bed embossed plastic emblem of 'FORD' naming. It also include actual race sponsored decals notably BFGOODRICH, KC DAYLIGHTER and others. Electronically it comes with 3 step mechanical/servo actuated speed controller. The new re-released 2016 version that i have as mentioned above '58633' series have all those 'FORD' related aesthetic design remove from the body shell mold replaced with generic front face truck grill designs and no FORD labels printed. This same also applies the same to replacing the copyrighted sponsored decals with fictional labels eg; from BFGOODRICH to VISECRAWLER and KC DAYLIGHTER to BRIGHT LITE...all this changes just to avoid copyright penalty which is in today is a common practice. Although the changes and the differences between 1986 up to 2016 BLACKFOOT models are just minor 'aesthetic' changes but the market value between them are of a huge gap which mean 1986 original models are priced higher than re-released version if to be resale by today market although originally it was the priced almost the same back then as with today BLACKFOOT. So those who still own the original first release 1986 F-150 BLACKFOOT '58058' series are quite lucky since its re-sale value can fetch at higher price at 4 figure dollars currency due to its rarity and collectible value among TAMIYA R/C model enthusiast. However some enthusiast able to re-create replica of the original 1986 BLACKFOOT by reproducing replica decals and also either find remnants of original FORD front grills parts, full body or something to the extend of 3d printed these parts to make the conversion happens. Either way for me it doesn't matter much because this re-release BLACKFOOT is close enough to bridge my childhood dream missing gap.
Specification (as describe by vendor/manufacturer)
Brand name: TAMIYA
Model name: BLACKFOOT
First date production release: 8 Oct 1986
Re-release edition: year 2016
Scale size: 1:10
Chassis type: ABS plastic space frame chassis
Bodyshell: Hard cover ABS resin plastic
Motor: 540 Brushed - MABUCHI (*Can easily upgrade to 540 size brushed motor)
Electronic Speed Controller module: Tamiya TBLE-02S (support brushed and sensored brushless)
Front suspension type: Front double wishbone with CVA damper shocks
Rear suspension type: Rear trailing arm suspension with CVA damper shocks
Items required to complete the build. (Not included inside the kit)
- Radio transmitter and receiver unit (2 Channel minimum)
- 1x Steering servo (Standard size for 1:10 scale eg; FUTABA S1001)
- 1x battery; 7.2v Sub-C/NimH or 7.4V Li-Po 2200mah~3300mah
- 1x battery charger
- Building tools such as screw driver, cutter and etc
- Tire glues and plastic cement
- Few plastic acrylic paints
- Spray paint color code: TS14 'Black' (85014) & TS6 'Matt Black' (85006)
Quality and builds
Just like the TAMIYA GRASSHOPPER that i've reviewed previously the BLACKFOOT kit came in lots assortments of parts trees, metals and some parts that requires much effort, time and attention to build unlike todays modern out of box RTR unit (Ready To Run). Comes without battery, radio combo and servo which you need to supplied by yourself at your own choices. The kit already comes with stock 540 size MABUCHI brushed motor and TAMIYA TBLE-02S electronics speed controller which support both brushed and brushless option. It also comes with bottle of oil dampers and some greases so you don't have struggle to find proper ones to fill in. Unlike the 2WD buggy kit this truck have lots more parts counts and moving parts which need more greasy work and bigger work space. The plastic parts including critical ones such as swing arm, A-arms, wishbone suspension, chassis and top body are made from robust impact resistant ABS plastic which means likely to survive moderate impact on stock powered motor on speed when bashing without broken every corner of this model. Overall assembly work its like 'Let's the pain in the ass build begins'...not an option for the beginners who wants to start an R/C hobby but for older generation that's how it was and i would love to get back experience the build again. The tools needed to get this done are simply some household tools such as screw driver with Philips head, small cutter to remove cut out parts form plastic tree, narrow head plier and scissors or pen knife for cutting out stickers.....and yes of course some tissue to wipe out greasy stuff from damper oil and gear grease. Usually you'll need to apply holidays leave for this assembly project since it a full say work if you wanted to settle everything in a day but fortunately i did my build starting on Sunday morning till evening skipping my lunch so i have all days for myself building the Blackfoot...yes its twice more work than the TAMIYA GRASSHOPPER due to many moving parts but less work on the paint works since i opt not to spray black paint on the body shell since its already a black plastic. I just have to use silver pen marker for windows sill lining, minor paint works of the cockpit driver figurine and some sticker patching. Like on all my hand build Tamiya models i don't really glue my rubber tires on wheels because i might see myself in the future that i may need to remove it for quick maintenance or replacement. On stock motor, ESC and 2S li-po battery there's not much loose slippage between the tire and the outer rim of the wheel even if i pull the throttle hard neither had any effect during cornering or hard maneuver around the track. However if you need to put more powerful 'Brushless' motor option then you'll need to glue both tires and wheels more firmly else both would act like a secondary slippery differential gear like effect especially when cornering or loosing 'torque'. As usual 90% of all TAMIYA kits comes with stock delrin style plastic ring as bushing instead of ball bearings to wraps around and mechanical drive shaft but many kit builder frown upon these parts and opt for bearing upgrades for long term performance, you'll see majority Youtuber builder will shown their build always comes with extra side orders of ball bearing parts before they start their build. Ball bearings parts are expensive and sometimes can be over rated purchase if you're just building R/C for fun driving around the park, bashing or for non-competitive use. For all my build including all my TAMIYA i prefer stock plastic bushing over bearing not only to keep my budget in check but also they last better if run in wet muds, sandy or gritty condition where most ball bearing will fail due to jammed by microscopic debris unless the bearing is housed inside a sealed gearing case. So if you thinking about going ball bearings think before you go over spending. All my TAMIYA on plastic bushings and still last me years, just make sure do some internal servicing cleaning the bushing and lube it. After all the plastic parts kits assembled into full chassis with drivetrains installed the final last leg to installed was the put in the supplied 540 brushed motor and ESC. The remaining require electronics are self supplied by my own choice which i opt for the classic FUTABA S1001 as steering servo which is good for stock driving, FLYSKY FS-GT3B radio 3CH unit with receiver and finally a 7.4V 2s 2200mah 35~40c Li-Po battery pack to power the model. There no soldering needed for the electronics hardware just snap in the wire in place, calibrate the ESC according to the manual and wiring cleanup via zip ties. Overall to complete the build took 10 hours tops with electronics hardware fully installed but the experience gained going through the build is immeasurable because it cover the gap missing childhood days in the 80's experiencing this great hobby. So i'm re-living my past...that's some hard positive stuff right there because i don't get to experience that since my dad couldn't give me an expensive Tamiya back then, now is the time!
After spending a year driving and bashing in open track from flat tarmac, wet mudding to jumpy open dirt trails i must say the TAMIYA BLACKFOOT is a joy to drive in its default stock form. It's not a racer but if you love relaxing drive around the track and love the aesthetic view of the truck running around then the Blackfoot is your thing. Its quite a 'jumpy' monster truck to drive, very 'mechanically rattly' due solid chunky body shell on top unlike lighter lexan bodyshell and the steering control can be a bit slacky due to the fact it has servo saver to loosen the steering rigidity to dampen the steering torque load side ways. It's a mid 80's R/C engineering in there so i don't expect much it perform as good as today technology where modern monster truck could handle more raw power, serious bashing, competitive racing and more big air time. However what's lack in today modern R/C models in comparison to these good old 80's is its scale aesthetic since back in the old days R/C models originated from plastic modeler roots build to replicate the existing real life vehicle and enjoy scaler style driving. Most people like my self like to drive this model due to its aesthetic looks and style as it drive passes by the driver on the street or off-roading in at 'realistic' speed....pretty much the same like feeling cruising on vintage car next the the beautiful beach side.
There are two things i like about the BLACKFOOT when compare to modern day R/C monster truck model are; (1) Its a very stable truck for jumping around off the ramp and (2) also the aesthetic appearance of the BLACKFOOT as monster truck is 'proportionally' accurately sized based on the wheel size and its body compare to over exaggerated monster truck design on modern day r/c model that looks like something came out from artian rover...aka Truggy. Since the steering accuracy is a bit sloppy turning accurately in tight corners can be challenging and sometimes due to its heavy top part of the rigid resin ABS body shell it can almost tilt over on its sides if you're not careful with the throttle. However for people like me who love 'stylish' scale speed driving this give us thrills and challenges to tame the truck and if we successfully maneuver it well the it give us huge 'mental' rewards. Since the driving speed is pretty much stock on 540 brushed motor on 2S 7.4v 2200mah 35c Li-Po battery via Tamiya TBLE-02S ESC the speed is moderate enough of me to enjoy sights of the suspension moving up and down and all the details of functioning mechanical aspect on the chassis visible for us to awe in wonder. But modern fast truck wouldn't able to show much since it moves too fast nobody saw anything happen.."Did you see that?..what?"...too fast appreciate every bits of the truck. Since Blackfoot is a jumpy truck with every small bumps keeps all four wheel flung up in the air it can be frustrating to drive in pure hard packed off-roading environment however the only place where it shines better is on loose soft dirt, short grass, mild mudding or at the beach where i love to spew of muds, water and dirt..that's where the excitement begins. Blackfoot has a good 2WD torque on the rear wheel so you'd enjoy lots of power slides, jumps and some mud or sand blasting up in the air which makes this truck more 'photogenic' moment when capture via camera lens or in video footage which makes scale truck driving looks more accurately a 'scaler'. Which is why many enthusiast on making video on Youtube channel love to slow down the Tamiya model action footage showing awesome moments of their models blasting sands, mud and water while keeping their drive in style rather than doing exaggerating stunts, speed and overkill jumps. On short grass even just running on 2WD the Blackfoot monster truck seem to 'float' about drive easily due to bigger under carriage clearance, taller tire and lighter chassis. Usually after sandy or muddy bash i would let my truck run few laps on the grass to knock off the dirt out from the chassis since the grass act like a cleaning brush...you can say to clean the Blackfoot after hard wet mudding due to simplicity being 2WD than on 4WD mechanism. The drive shaft that connects between the drive differential cup and the wheel hub are generously well sealed by chunky size of flexibly rubber boot to seal away from muds, sands and debris which rarely found on modern day R/C models...so its an all weather truck if you need the feel to drive in mucky condition.
In terms of durability i'm surprise the plastic chassis holds really well for mild bashing especially around the front wishbone and rear suspension arm provided the drivetrain power remain 'stock' with Li-Po battery pack. Even after flying hard over the ramp and landed sideways on one wheel which would more likely would tear the steering knuckle off its wishbone pivot point the suspension system remain intact on all sides. Its noted that TAMIYA plastic are notably different than generic R/C plastic parts since TAMIYA plastic are very more 'Elastic' and 'Flexy' property to allow it to absorb sudden kinetic energy from high impact or typical newbie driver accident but not 'nuke proof' like you'll get in TRAXXAS models but good enough to get you running all day without going home pieces to glue thing back together. I do recall my TAMIYA WILD WILLY 2 has the most indestructible chassis due to its short stubby structure and really beefy independent wishbone parts...that model is one heck of a fun 2WD to drive!..you can wheelie all day! Fortunately on BLACKFOOT if you get the torque throttle right or make a sudden forward throttle after initiate a reverse it can wheelie momentary too even on stock motor and ESC with just 2s li-po pack.
As for maintenance and accessibility one of the 'plus' side of old generation chassis is most of the battery bay are directly accessible externally via bottom battery lid or open side compartment without unlatching number of pins from the top side of the body which is much of a hassle for butter fingers. On my old Tamiya 80's buggy the GRASSHOPPER as reviewed before it has bottom lid which you can access in few seconds, while on BLACKFOOT and similar generation the battery bay also located on lower body openly accessible by sliding the battery on its side compartment without hassle. So its a quick battery swap without putting much stress disassemble every body clips pin to get it run again, which is why these TAMIYA models is a great 'Go to' R/C models to bring around for an instant run around the park. I have lots of modern R/C car and trucks but i seldom bring them out for fun runs because they can be pain in the ass the swap the battery; to much complicated task just to remove a battery since i have to go through unlatching at least 4x pins, unstrapping a strap ot worse another 4x extra pins on the tray before you can actually remove those tiny battery. Another note that since older 80's Tamiya models runs on previously old generation big pack Ni-Cad battery they do have huge size battery placeholder cavity, that means you can easily slide modern day huge capacity Li-Po battery inside the chassis for extra run time and still have space to wiggle around.
I can say honestly even the Blackfoot is an old R/C tech from the mid 80's and lack of performance when compare to modern days models it actually carry its own special niches; 'aesthetic appearance'. That's my number one reason why i bought the TAMIYA BLACKFOOT and second reasoning was being part of childhood nostalgia attachment to it....pretty much common among 'boomer' generation of preference when getting these model in present day. Not only the model looks cool like the real thing but also the box art is simply a work of art worth being collectibles. Even sold online such as on EBAY an empty box of original non re-release version of retro models can fetch a high price. A monster truck looks this good i don't really put them in my hangar but instead i put it in my living space where i hang around on my sofa and tv all day so i can enjoy the sight to behold the presence of mighty BLACKFOOT in my so called 'Pilot Lounge' room where guest can see this prehistoric era of R/C glory days....same with my other beautiful aesthetic 80's Tamiya place on the very same shelf too.
Here are sample of video of i posted on my Youtube channel contain fun driving & bashing around my TAMIYA BLACKFOOT
Here are list of reputable vendor/seller which i bought from and also verified by community forum discussion groups. Also i've experienced buying from these places that have good support and services:
- Seller Rcmart.com(East Asia): 1:10 scale Tamiya: BLACKFOOT (Re-released 2016)
**Note: There are many vendor/seller for TAMIYA models around the globe but the above is closest to my country in east asia.
- Seller AMAZON.com (US): 1:10 scale Tamiya Rc BLACKFOOT 2016
Places where you can find help and resources related to this product:
Company website: https://www.tamiya.com
Wikipedia TAMIYA CORPORATION: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamiya_Corporation
Tamiya 1986 BLACKFOOT specification sheet: https://tamiyabase.com/tamiya-models/58058-58058
Tamiya 2016 re-release BLACKFOOT specification sheet: https://tamiyabase.com/tamiya-models/58633-58633
Tamiya TBLE-02S Speed controller module support: https://www.tamiyausa.com/shop/electronics/rc-esc-tble-02s-brushless/
Although the TAMIYA BLACKFOOT not build for today standard of circuit racing or sunday park bashing along with brushless ground pounder its actually much value as stock 'scaler' style driving to revive the glory of yesterdays childhood memories. Just like the story of TAMIYA GRASSHOPPER that i published last year the reason why i love the BLACKFOOT its the thing i used to crave about when i was kid but i couldn't afford it. Now as an adult since i could afford this R/C model kit i decided to buy it as 'reward' so i can experience things that i missed during childhood days, this actually rewards me for able to live long and be grateful for my long life journey in to present time...its not about obsession its about reminder that we're 'living it!' and you're actually enjoying a good life. Everyone should reward themselves something that couldn't get in the past so that you'll have opportunity to appreciate the life you've went through....when i look at the BLACKFOOT it revive the sweet memory i had in the past when my grandparent and my mom still around. That's why many retro collector enthusiast regardless of what hobby they indulge enjoy nostalgic item because it recall sweet memories from the past. Although today its known as 'show and tell' monster truck recalling the past glory of the yesterday its also worthy of enjoy a good amount of fun driving around the track and get yourself more challenging trying to tame the drive through various obstacles both dry and wet condition. Just like modern automobile vs classic its all about your driving experience that counts. My BLACKFOOT now hang around at my living space sitting on the cupboard shelf along with all my nostalgic collection of TAMIYA from the 80's next to my favorite sofa where i hand around a lot. When ever i see my BLACKFOOT it give me a big smile hitting me straight back into my sweet childhood reminds me that living is awesome!