Sometimes, prototyping oddities and evidence of early development work finds its way into Tamiya promotional materials, such as colourless mechanism box and “packed” battery with no embossing on a Sand Scorcher, different decals on the Holiday Buggy, the red and blue wheels on a black Super Champ, all of which appear in the annual catalogues.
I was aware of a “prototype” Wild Willy having seen the “action” shot of it on the side of a body set box I had many years ago, but buying an old copy of Radio Race Car which had the same car shot from the other side reminded me – and revealed a couple more differences between it and the production models.
This is not an exhaustive list – and I may have got some of them wrong.
Chrome rollbar light backs – these made it to the boxart of the kits, but never into the manual.
Rear arm stays – pressed steel with a round hole on the SWB, and a longer slot on the LWB, they appear to be folded, thinner metal (possibly even aluminium) with scribe lines, and no hole. This is the most obvious difference, and there are references to them on the internet going way back, before I got interested in RC again.
Very different uniform & helmet colours on the driver. The angle of the head is much more upright too.
The preload adjustment collars on the rear suspension appear to be brass, not aluminium as on the production models.
Front wheel spacers also appear to be brass.
Front suspension strut tops appear to be a grey plastic, not the conventional black.
Twin wheelie bars appear to be bent differently and fitted differently at the top.
Prototype MSC to battery connector joints are shrouded bullet connectors, not twisted wire covered by heatshrink as seen later.
Ditto for the yellow & green motor wires.
Body may be painted in a lighter green. This is probably the biggest stretch, it’s possibly dodgy colour reproduction in one of the photo prints.
Different fasteners on the left side of the gearbox? I’d want to see more photos to confirm.
Written by TB member Jonny Retro