I’ve been meaning to do some painting for a couple Hot Wheels, but the motivation to do it versus the laziness and lack of patience for stripping, detailing, and drying meant I’ll be starting project I’ll never complete. Or at least one that I can’t complete today.

So to get the monkey off my back I decided to build a model. A motorised model.

I have here a 1/32 scale 100 series Toyota Land Cruiser with 4WD. I figured the shell was already a blank canvas (no paint stripping) all I had to do was paint it and I’d have my own custom painted Land Cruiser. Easy peasy. The fact that it was motorised and had 4WD piqued my interest. If not for the customising, I would at least learn how they managed to get all four wheels moving.

Chassis, bumpers, rims, and various parts to keep it altogether.
Axles, drive gears, motor, grease, sticky of road tires, and terminals for the batteries.

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Included in the box were all these parts plus the shell of the vehicle, of which I forgot to photograph. The shell itself is nicely detailed with sharp, defined lines and nicely proportioned.

Since I’ll be painting the shell, I figured I’ll skip ahead and do the bottom half of the car first. The red gears sitting perpendicular to the axles will be the gears driving the wheels.

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They included grease in the package so that we can grease all moving gears and keep the little guy running for as long as the real Land Cruiser, but good God were they stingy. That tube of grease had barely anything in it. I’ve seen raindrops with more volume than the grease that was in the tube. Hell, if you melted the plastic that composes of the tube, you’d get more liquid than the grease that was in the tube.

Next up, we install the “driveshaft” and “differential” of the vehicle. The big gear on the right will be driven by the motor. All gears on the driveshaft is splined together so that they rotate together. The small red gears that run parallel to the axles will drive the gears that run perpendicular to the axles changing the direction of power by 90 degrees, thus driving both axles.

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One design feature I liked, was that the parallel gears have springs that not only keep the gears in constant contact, but also act as a means to save the gears from damage should the wheels get stuck while the motor is running at full tilt.

And this is what it looks like with the motor installed. I should include that this isn’t an RC car, it just has an on/off switch and drives straight until it bumps into something.

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Aggressively knobby tires for offroading!

The wheels are nicely detailed and match those on the real Land Cruiser. The rubber on the tires are still very soft and pliable, I have no doubt it will find traction on any terrain.

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With the axles, wheels, and batteries installed, we have a fully running chassis!

Now, I did have all the intention in the world to actually paint it, but as I was building the chassis I thought this Land Cruiser would look best in white. The lazy in me agreed and white it shall stay, but I would at least detail it with some markers before slapping everything together.

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Here we have the Load King towing the Land Cruiser #makingitfit, while the Land Cruiser hopelessly spins is wheels in the air.
Conquered Mount Bentley.
Into the Nature. I’ve discovered a new natural world.

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And... done. A lifted Land Cruiser capable of going through any patch of dirt, grass, puddle, and maybe even ice. The best thing is, it won’t even shine its headlights right in your rearview mirror when it’s behind you. Maybe if I can post videos I’ll show the Land Cruiser in action. ORAT style. When running, this thing is torquey. Turn it on, set it down and this thing will climb anything or roll over trying.

I’d give this a shot of you wanted a change of pace from collecting diecasts. There’s a sense of accomplishment building and detailing your own vehicle. It costs the same as a Costco diecast and you get a vehicle moving under its own power. It’s nice.

I still have unpainted Hot Wheels, but with the time and energy spent building this I at least feel better putting it off until another weekend. Until next time, please don’t ban me for not posting about diecasts.

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Thanks!