Beauty or Beast

There is just something unique about the Tamiya BigWig that always gets my attention. Some people love the way it looks, others not so much. Where do you fall, beauty or beast?

I never owned a BigWig as a kid. This one I picked up back in 2013 when I was on my buying spree. It was after I bought and restored my other BigWig . The body shell was conveniently unpainted and everything was in decent condition so it was a perfect candidate for a shelf queen restore.

The BigWig is a fun 4WD buggy that shares a number of features from other chassis. It shares some design features from the Hotshot, Boomerang, and Fox models. It uses a wire drive shaft to connect the rear gearbox to the front gearbox.

The first unique part of this model is the rack and pinion steering servo setup. The steering servo head is a cylinder with teeth on it. The teeth in the steering plate grab the teeth on the servo head. It is all held into place with a brace and slides as the servo rotates.

Another unique part on the BigWig is the steering rods that are protected with rubber boots that slip over the steering rods. The ends of the boots are held open with a square metal insert. This part is easy to lose. I assume this setup was chosen to keep dust out of the steering lubrication. I am not sure how successful it was in practice.

One of the most recognizable parts on the BigWig is the Technigold RX540VZ motor. This motor is adjustable and allows you to tweak power output vs battery consumption at the track. The Technigold motors are also very sought after by collectors. The infamous Glenn Barclay from “Tamiya Legends” did an excellent tuning comparison.

The BigWig has an open tub chassis that requires some time to organize wires. If you don’t, the wires can get unruly very quickly. I ran most of the wires underneath the throttle servo mount and zip tied everything nice and tidy.

As I mentioned, the body shell was unpainted when I received it. Before you start any paint job make sure it is thoroughly cleaned. I use Tamiya Body Cleaner to do this step. The BigWig box art is a two color white and blue where the white is at the tips of the wings.

Tape off the white and spray the blue. Then peel the tape to paint the white. I back colored the entire body in white hoping that it would lighten the blue some. After that I backed the white with silver, again covering the entire body in order to make it look neat.

The driver was still on the parts tree. On this driver I went bold and used a yellow and red paint scheme that matched the decals. I was worried the driver was a bit Ronald McDonald looking, but once the driver was seated in the shell I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Overall I was happy with this build. I am starting to warm up to painting the body and drivers. Still takes an enormous amount of time but I am getting better at it.

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