Looking to buy a remote control car and wondering where to buy a Tamiya? In this review of 15 different types of Tamiya we compare some average cars, some amazing ones, and even some exhilarating cars.
For decades, these model cars are collected by the racing community. Made with quality materials, they need to be assembled to perfection. High detail parts are found in every pack. Inspired by actual vehicles, they also have personal meaning to many collectors. These vehicles can be driven when paired with a radio transmitter and batteries.
Tamiya RC drift cars are now made with better componentry than they were made decades ago. But the good news is even older generation vehicles may now be upgraded to more solid metal components.
Considerations when buying Tamiya RC cars
When buying RC cars, buyers need to look at its upgradability, motor generation, materials, included parts and pieces, as well as to replica quality of details.
- The motor generation
380 and the 540 RC Tamiya cars’ motors are available today. They offer one of the best options for motor durability. However, the 380 is the first generation motor which is a bit slower on the road.
This means the average user is generally choosing the faster 540 performers. However, those new to Tamiya remote control cars for sale old or new need to know that the slower motor is better. It fits the improving skills of new users. But at the same time, this is another clear indication that the new motor might be better for tricks such as drifts.
- The overall budget for upgrades
Cheap Tamiya cars are among the easiest to play with. For many, they represent valuable designs that need to be improved. However, better parts may be purchased on time. Not all coils need to be the best and not all motors need to be brushless.
Tamiya brushless RC cars are often known for their reliability. Some users even argue the brushless motor is friendlier to battery life. However, this is yet to be tested on specific terrains and specific cars. Not all terrains offer the best battery life. Cold weather also negatively impacts battery life. The conclusion is the brushless motor is not necessarily a guarantee for hours of uninterrupted radio control driving.
- Resemble the original
Many of these build to scale Tamiya classic RC cars are simply purchase because they resemble the great classics. From the Lancia Delta to the Porsche Turbo, there are a few options to consider. Among others, it is also important to find the level of details in the chassis. This is something that impacts resale value for those who want to sell their vehicles and get faster Tamiya F1 RC cars instead.
Here’s a list of the best Tamiya RC cars that are made to last. The vehicles have different prices but they also represent different generations. From the motor to bearings, there are various considerations to make. However, the biggest complaint new users have is not being able to drive these vehicles on a bumpy road. As a result, having sufficient ride clearance is mandatory, especially for new Tamiya users who still need to learn how to drive these cars at high speeds.
15 Top Picks in 2023
1 . Tamiya Plasma Edge II
This buggy offers some of the most interesting terrain-tackling abilities from the lineup. It features larger wheels and good ground clearance. As a result, is has some of the best reasons to be taken off-road. However, users note it performs the best when used on grass.
The aggressive profile of the tires doesn’t necessarily need dry surfaces. The buggy certainly tackles slippery surfaces a bit better than its more estate-like alternatives. With longer suspensions and CVA shocks, this racer is not going to break anytime soon. In fact, it’s the most fun to use when taken off the beaten path.
2. Ford Mustang GT4
While many see the Ford Mustang GT4 as a good budget option, it has a few qualities which might make it seem more expensive. The vehicle comes with solid parts and detailed assembly instructions. The ESC needs powering and with the help of remote control, it is ready to handle flat surfaces.
Its polycarbonate construction makes it one of the most reliable designs in its class. It has been made to an exact 1:10 scale replica. This is why it is the perfect choice for classic Mustang fans. But while it looks different, it certainly bears resemblance with other performers from the manufacturer. It shares the same shocks with the Plasma Edge II Off-Road Buggy which means it going to last a bit longer than most expect.
3. Frog 2WD
The 2WD Frog is among the most interesting options for the ultimate versatility and durability. It has been designed in the early ‘80s but it still offers an interesting performance. Its fans are generally split between those who want to run it on the grass and those who simply want to add it to their collection.
For a few users, it is also a clear sign that this vehicle still operates to today’s standards. There’s the issue of ESC which is offered in some vehicles and missing in others. But overall, it can be powered to run as smoothly as expected.
Its unique design involves running on flat front wheels and ribbed rear wheels. The split differential does its job when it comes to proper grip. Those deciding to use it on gravel find it particularly responsive. However, its mix-terrain build is what mainly recommends it as the go-to option for the users who only need one of these remote control cars.
4. Petronas TOM’S RC F
The Petronas Tom’s RC F runner is a 540 motor vehicle. It runs on both brushed and brushless motors. But it needs an ESC for those who want to take it for a ride. With 4-wheel shaft-driven drive, it manages to offer a smooth run.
However, it’s very low chassis means there’s only a handful of places where it can be used. This includes laminate floors which are very flat across the room. Outdoors, it has serious limitations. It may not run on some type of tarmac. However, it will run on shopping mall floors as some reviewers note.
With foam inserts, decals, and full instructions, it may also be assembled for display only. Many note the assemble and disassemble it for their own pleasure. But they also note the vehicle gets plastic bushings and not real bearings. This is why it may have limited durability when RC controlled frequently.
5. Honda NSX
This is one of the most adjustable Hondas from Tamiya. It represents a vehicle that may easily be upgraded. It runs on the new TT02 chassis that replaced the outgoing TT01 chassis. This means all modifications may be easier to make. But at the same time, it is also one of the leading performers for those seeking the ultimate customization and learning toy.
Its speed controller works with brushless motors. This is why it can be one of the fastest on the track. But at the same time, it allows the vehicle to run better-consuming batteries more efficiently. If its upgrades are made to the highest standard of customization, it’s still the way it looks that intrigues many.
Looking like a proper sports car, it manages to offer a collectible in this range of vehicles for Tamiya fans. This is also one of the reasons the vehicle is also a bit better when it comes to using it as a collectible. Some collectors prefer to buy a vehicle form each category such as buggies or SUVs. This is certainly one of the top options in the sports cars segment.
6. Lancia Delta Integrale
Even young kids have heard of the Lancia Delta Integrale. This multiple rally champion was Italy’s response to the growing number of American, German and French cars in the competition. Driven across some of the most demanding roads, it has won rally after rally.
RC cars fans need to have one at least for display. It is also very fast when used with remote control. To have it ready for racing, users should prepare an ESC, servo, batteries and a charger for the transmitter. With the right tools, it can be ready to hit the road fast.
While it is a fast car, it doesn’t feature a low chassis. This is why users can get away with driving it on some bumpy roads. It even handles light dry gravel well. As a result, it is among the leading options for fun at high speeds regardless of the running surface.
The best part about this vehicle is its popularity. Kids and parents can assemble it based on multiple YouTube videos of the vehicle. Before assembling it, kids can also get educated on Lancia’s history and how the brand impacted the racing community around the world.
7. Sand Viper
The Sand-Viper is one of the most capable releases from the brand. While there are now over 300 vehicles to choose from made by Tamiya, it can be difficult to reach the Sand Viper with competition such as the Grasshopper. However, this buggy holds its own.
It has been among a few models with known oversteering issues. But it’s not something to worry about too much, especially when assembled correctly. Kids can work on the model’s improvements for years. But when it comes to simply have fun with it, it can be driven across all types of surfaces.
Its front wheels are made with flat tires. Not known for grip, they mainly aid quick steering. It’s the rear wheels that are getting the most out of traction on multiple surfaces. Those who have the ability to run it on the sand are certainly going to see the difference these wheels make in quick acceleration.
8. Nova Fox
This 2WD vehicle remains a vintage must-have from the brand. It is one of the most reliable vehicles ever produced by the brand and as a result, it becomes an interesting choice for kids who want to see how parts and engineering have evolved to some of the newest vehicles.
Among its interesting parts, kids find the single horizontal CVA damper in the front. The rear of the vehicle sits on 2 dampers. This design means that it handles differently on off-road terrain. However, given its made with a resin body, it still remains lightweight and the front damper doesn’t get affected.
A speed control unit and remote control are needed to run it once fully assembled. Among its drawbacks, users note that the parts are hard to access when the chassis is mounted. However, during the setup process, these parts can be handled without much hassle.
This classic vehicle is one to have. It may be among the few monster trucks which are easy to assemble. Tamiya did a very good job on the vehicle. However, it doesn’t get a perfect mark due to the parts assembly in the gearbox. Its holes are misaligned. This issue is seen when trying to fit the gearbox properly. But users simply drill 2 new holes to have the vehicle assembled in perfect condition.
Today, the Blackfoot is a strong reminder of what the company made decades ago. With plastic bushing instead of bearings, the vehicle may still find some room for improvement. Many note it has one of the most interesting chassis for ease of installation. It takes around 12 hours to assemble it fully, according to the average reported time by users, which are often adults.
10. PORSCHE TURBO
The remote control vehicle is an interesting choice for classic car fans. Based on the Porsche Turbo, it comes with a short length and a wide wheelbase. This makes it stable, fast and agile while turning. It is also one of the most interesting options for looks.
The manufacturer painted it black. Then Tamiya added golden insertions and sticks around the vehicle. These small additions make a considerable difference when it comes to showing off how the vehicle looks. Furthermore, they offer one of the best options for those seeking the ultimate shelf-life look. Those into model cars find it particularly successful in replicating details.
Its parts are also qualitative. It uses oil shocks and it offers plenty of upgradability options with the hundreds of accessories that work on the new T02SW chassis. With a lightweight polycarbonate body, this car is very fast and its steering has been seen as precise for years.
11. The Hornet
Durability and fit. Most importantly, build from the ground up, it offers one of the most responsive educational platforms in its class.
Kids learn a few things about basic car mechanics. Gearing is an intricate part of the vehicle which requires some attention. Damping principles is also what the little ones get to learn. But they also need to master lubrication in order to properly assemble this new buggy.
In terms of planning, kids also need to learn how to screw tightness impacts the final ride. It’s not uncommon for children to strip the vehicle to untighten overly-tight screws. As a result, this modern buggy interpretation is suitable for learning. But at the same time, the vehicle is very fast. Kids must also note that its soft suspensions are mainly going to keep the car on flat surfaces.
12. The Grasshopper
Apart from the servo, an ESC and a transmitter that are purchased separately, the Grasshopper remains the best first purchase. It runs an older generation 380 motor. It is a bit slower than the newer brushless motors.
But a slow motor also means the learning curve might not be as steep for kids and even for adults. It’s worth investing in this vehicle as a direct result of how easy it is to assemble. In time, kids get to learn how to properly assemble RC vehicles and they can practice their skills on more expensive and faster vehicles from the brand.
But for most, the Grasshopper remains a throw-back toy. Adults are still buying them to remember their childhood memories better. This little performer is an inspired gift idea to those who’ve been there with the brand before. Its performance on the road is not bad.
With high chassis clearance, the vehicle offers one of the best responses on changing surfaces from the older generation vehicles from the brand. But users still note the 2WD performance remains limited on bumpy roads which reduce its stability.
13. Holiday Buggy
This little buggy is quick to assemble. Users recall their first tries to be centered around the 3-hour mark. But when assembled together with kids, it may take a bit longer to assemble. However, fathers can still have the little ones help out. Most pieces need a bit of greasing and kids are into giving a helping hand for sure.
The 2WD vehicle is an excellent collectible. It can sit on display as it reminds fans of the brand of early Dakar Rally days. However, those who want to drive it every day might need to do so with caution. Its plastic bearings seem to be the biggest concern among those who simply prefer to use it as the first remote control toy in the house.
But the good news is all these parts can be upgraded. Kids and adults can simply choose new bearings, new shocks, and a faster new brushless motor. It remains the same vehicle but its parts are updated and its performance on the road is better as well.
14. Wild Willy 2
The Wild Willy 2 comes to replace the original Wild Willy 2000 which was made more than 3 decades ago. It has that nostalgic vibe about it. Some adults even prefer to buy the new version as they couldn’t afford the original version.
But the vehicle is considerably bigger than many expect. Unlike other cars from the brand, this one comes with a length of over 1 foot. The same goes for the width. This is why kids need to use it with care when controlled by the remote. The ESC is already included in the pack so the radio transmitter with batteries is the only additions needed to make it run fast.
Those who want to improve all of its components may still do so. There are 2 paths to this objective. The first one is to simply buy the parts from the manufacturer. But aftermarket components still fit, which is a considerable advantage for those on a budget.
15. Xanavi Nismo
The Nissan GT-R is among the most notable names in the racing community. Seen in various touring events, it becomes one of the most memorable vehicles in history. Today, kids can assemble it from scratch with this kit.
However, a few words on its possible drawbacks are needed. The car is only made with plastic components. There are no hard metal components to rely on. It does run, but it might not be the first option for daily remote control use.
Those who’re also looking for the perfect GT-R replica are not going to find it here. But it works as a gift idea. Most of its parts may be upgraded anyways. However, this vehicle also comes with an affordability advantage. It doesn’t take too much to purchase it today which certainly turns it into a favorite as a learning vehicle.
Best Buy overall Tamiya America
This versatile vehicle has the new chassis and motor. It also sits on all-ribbed wheels which give its off-road performance a considerable boost.
Best Budget – The Grasshopper RC Car
The Grasshopper might be an older generation release, but it is the most popular from the brand. It is also an affordable learning RC car for both kids and adults.
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