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30th Anniversary Sand Scorcher from Tamiya

By Matt Gunn
Published: August 12, 2010
Tamiya Sand Scorcher
Product: The iconic Tamiya Sand Scorcher celebrated its 30th year of slinging dirt by hitting the shelves in hobby shops around the world. The re-issued off-roader is virtually the same as it was in 1979, but with a few performance upgrades that effectively bring it up to today’s standards. Still, the Sand Scorcher’s old-school styling remains untouched, from the I-beam front suspension to the PadlaTrax rear tires. And if you’re wondering how this officially licensed buggy handles, the word “classic” comes to mind.

Performance: Unlike some of the more advanced kits manufactured by Tamiya, the Sand Scorcher won’t leave you scratching your head at complex assembly instructions; it goes together relatively quickly and can be ready to run in a few evenings. Painting will probably be the most time-consuming part of the build if you’re after that classic two-tone scheme featured on the box art. Otherwise, a simple one color rattle-can paint job will get you from the bench to the dirt even faster.

The Sand Scorcher features a number of upgrades from the original 1978 kit, such as a newly designed die-cast front and rear suspension, reinforced front uprights, redesigned shocks, a duraluminum reinforced 2mm thick frame, and a transparent case to protect the electronics. The kit comes with a Mabuchi 540 silver-can motor and a TEU- 10BK electronic speed control. What’s not included is a steering servo, 6-cell battery pack, transmitter or receiver.

The performance of the Sand Scorcher is on par with the original. The heavy plastic body and cast aluminum parts won’t help it win any races, but that’s not what the Sand Scorcher was designed to do. What they will do is add to the experience of driving a kit straight out of a time capsule; I never thought a bouncy ride, marginal top speed, and steering like a riding lawn mower would make me smile so much.

Marketing: I’ve heard said that the Sand Scorcher was the best kit ever produced by Tamiya, and being the 14th to ever come out of the factory, it looks like they got it right from the get go.

The Sand Scorcher oozes retro coolness like few R/C vehicles can, and while fullblown racing buggies can put you on the podium right from the box, they lack the simplicity that makes the Sand Scorcher so appealing.

With that said, it’s hard to define a specific market for this kit. From old diehards to young racers, everyone will enjoy the somewhat less aggressive attitude that the Sand Scorcher exudes.

As with all Tamiya kits, the box art is simply stunning. Pioneered by artist Shigeru Komatsuzaki, the hyper-realistic vehicle illustrations on white backgrounds have become a brand standard for Tamiya. Use this to your advantage by displaying the Sand Scorcher’s box for all to see.

The Sand Scorcher comes with a motor and an electronic speed control, but needs a few items to complete it. A 2.4GHz pistolgrip transmitter/receiver/servo combo, like a Spektrum DX2S is a great choice to bundle with the Sand Scorcher. It should be noted that a standard 6-cell battery pack will not fit inside the clear plastic case. You’re limited to a smaller Tamiya LF1100 6.6V Li-Ion racing pack (manufactured for Tamiya by A123), so stock a few of these as well as a Li-Ion capable charger, such as the Tamiya LF-6.6V.

Finally, carrying a supply of Tamiya paints for customizing the Sand Scorcher will help add to the final sale.

Product: Sand Scorcher
Maker: Tamiya
Stock No.: 58452
MSRP: $505
Extras: Tamiya LF1100 6.6V Li-Ion Racing Pack (No. 55105, approx. $52); Tamiya LF-6.6V Li-Ion Charger (No. 55103, approx. $150)

Retro looks; retro performance
Motor and ESC included
Easy to assemble

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