First we take a deep, good look in the construction
Then, we start by reading and building accordingly. This Tamiya
kit does not fall out of that old saying for the Tamiya kits, which goes
somewhat like this:
"If you want to build a Tamiya kit in a hurry,
just drop the kit's contents to the air, and they will come down assembled
!!!". I think this says it all.
In fact I let a totally
inexperienced friend of mine build this, with only three tools: A knife, an
X-akto and a philips screwdriver! He did it in about two hours and a half,
including trimming the body and readying it for painting! We did not install
the electronics while building the car, because I had to uninstall my radio gear
from another car... However, once all were in hand, it took him about half an
hour to install the electronics and make the car road ready...
hardest part was waiting for the red paint to dry, so that we could apply the
50-odd stickers on the car. Do not think that it comes with fancy stickerwork,
this one! All those stickers are for the door handles, the nickel trimmings
around the windows and the lights all round the car. Of course there's a pair of
white "Quadrifoglio's" and a big Alfa Romeo "snake" for the
front hood... The best part is not... given with this kit: Bumpers!
That's right! There are no bumpers, front or rear, giving this model that
"special" racy look!
Some detailing is given in chrome plated polystyrene
plastic, such as the front grille, complete with headlights and turn signals and
a beautiful nice pair of chromed door mirrors.
This is the M-02M chassis. (Click on it to view it at 800X457)
The chassis this Alfa Romeo is the same one as that used under the
bodyshells of the Monte Carlo Mini Cooper, the Fiat Abarth 595,
the VW Beetle, the Honda SS800, the Mazda Miata and the
Alpine Renault A110... It's actually the M-02-M, with rear wheel
drive this time around. It's a highly adaptable chassis, motivating in fact
either FWD or RWD vehicles. Of course, you can easily understand which of the
above fits where... It all consists of rather flexible plastic components,
which on the other hand resist breakage to the max! There may be some sloppiness
here and there, but I strongly resist the idea of putting a hot wind on this
chassis, anyway! In my personal opinion, the hottest motor this chassis can
accomodate with any success would be a stock motor, something like the Trinity
S-Spec Stock Motor. I used the one from my S-Spec car and it made the GTA
seriously fast! Too fast, indeed that it could not run straight on full
throttle... But more on this later... The chassis consists of a central
two-piece "bathtub" to which a pair of almost identical boxes are attached. The
front one is empty while the rear one contains the motor the gear differential
and the gearbox. Of course you could change the positions of these two and have
a FWD chassis in a few minutes! The suspension consists of double plastic
arms on each wheel, with the lower arm having inboard a small spring. This is
very helpful, in providing a "self levelling" action to the suspension of each
end, where the damping is provided by a single plastic shock. The two shocks are
identical and have rather hard coil springs. The damping is provided with a
rubber boot inside the shock, in the place where one normally would expect to
find shock oil! The electronics I used came from my Trinity S-Spec on-road car. The motor
is a S-Spec Stock, the ESC is a Tekin 411 and the radio system, a pistol grip
Acoms Techniplus with a Futaba S148 servo for the steering. I also kept the
stock 20T pinion gear.
On the Road!
Well! This is a totally fun car, and it cannot be seriously raced. At
least on normal asphalt, which is not perfect! Anyway, this is the street in
front of my house, with small undulations, and lots os small debris and dust,
which don't concern you when you drive your real car, or even when you walk!
Remember this is a small chassis, with pretty small wheels! So, how'd it run? I
hear you scream! It's undrivable with this motor. This is the first reaction! A
quick change back to the kit's RS540 "tin-can" seems perfectly suited here! But
first let me explain what she'll do with the faster stock motor. You just
cannot open the throttle wide open! The reason? Tremendous wheelspin! That is!
You apply more than half throttle and the back end goes round to meet the
original destination! You finally manage to crawl off the starting line... Then,
you gradually open the throttle... You hit top speed, and it's a very good top
speed, indeed, and then the next turn comes fast at you... You just let go of
the throttle and it just snaps to the left or to the right!!! Nevermind touching
the brakes! It starts pirouetting all over the place... Now do you call this
roadholding?! OK, now back to the trusty Mabuchi RS540 motor, supplied with
the kit. This one is certainly easier on the throttle applications! You can give
it relatively more throttle, earlier and not get the back end out of shape. When
it's time to turn, though, this Alfa Romeo shows its suspension's design quite
well. It certainly hates to be turned with full throttle. Blame it on its short
wheelbase, or even to the hard shocks... The truth is this model is better kept
on your office, where it will be admired, while at the same time, you will no
longer fear of breaking this beautiful lexan body. And, boy, is it expensive!
Now, you'd like to hear something like an epilogue... Well, here it
I did not buy this model with racing in mind. I bought it just
because I like italian cars (haven't you seen my Fiat pages, yet?! Go NOW!).
There's a race category for the M-02 chassis Tamiya cars, in Tamiya's races,
worldwide, and it should be fun, with all those small classic cars. However, I
don't dare to scratch this beauty! I may even take the receiver and ESC out of
the car, so that I'm not tempted to run it!
Let's go back...