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1/16 Tank Research 2 years 9 months ago #67179

Tamiya makes a lot of different RC products, and they seem to have different groups of fans.  While there is plenty of overlap between the buggy fans and the touring car fans, the 1/14 tractor trucks and the 1/16 tanks seem to be in their own category with their own fans.  I previously knew relatively little about Tamiya's line of tanks other than the fact that they look really cool and that Tamiya's very first RC product was actually an M4 Sherman Tank.  After having actually built the Leopard 2A6 and seeing how great it was, I decided to do a bit more research since I don't see that much information on the history of Tamiya RC tanks.  What follows are the notes I jotted down by going through all the manuals in order to see how the tanks changed over time.  You can really see some distinct periods of innovation in the line.  Please let me know if you find this information interesting or you have any questions I might be able to answer.  I have acquired a pretty good backlog of tank kits to build, so I should be able to experience more for myself in the near future.

56001 M4 Sherman, RT-1601, 2-channel, first generation transmission uses two 370 motors which can be connected to a single spur gear in parallel for proportional control or to each side with different spur gears for pushbutton control, in proportional mode a servo gradually disengages the clutch from one side or the other and engages a brake so turning engagement is gradual, pivot turns not possible, in pushbutton mode an on-off switch shuts down the left hand motor so only turns in one direction are supported and you cannot stop, no speed controller so drive is only fwd-off-rev using a servo controlled switch, manually assembled tracks of 77 links each, choice of manually assembled battery box using 6 D-cells or 6V lead acid pack, separate 4.8V radio battery, horizontal volute spring suspension with 3 bogies per side

56002 Leopard A4, RT-1602, 2-channel, same first generation transmission but with a single 540 motor, no speed controller so drive is only forward-off-reverse using a servo controlled switch, manually assembled tracks of 87 links each, tracks are the same as used on the Sherman which are not actually correct for this model, 6V lead acid pack,, separate 4.8V radio battery, torsion bar suspension with 7 road wheels per side

56003 Flakpanzer Gepard, RT-1603, uses the hull of 56002, 3-channel, first generation transmission with a single 540 motor, proportional mechanical speed controller, manually assembled tracks of 87 links each, tracks are the same as used on the Sherman which are not actually correct for this model, 6V lead acid pack, separate 4.8V radio battery, separate 3V battery for third channel, torsion bar suspension with 7 road wheels per side, third channel simultaneously rotates turret and revolves radar dish and raises barrels with a cam mechanism using fwd-off-rev servo controlled switch powering 2 motors, power passes to turret through a brush system so full 360 degree rotation is possible

56004 King Tiger, RT-1604, 4-channel, first generation transmission with a single 540 motor, proportional mechanical speed controller, manually assembled tracks of 88 links each, 6V lead acid pack, separate 4.8V radio battery, separate 3V battery for flash unit in turret, torsion bar suspension with 9 overlapping road wheels per side, third channel rotates turret using fwd-off-rev servo controlled switch powering one motor, fourth channel uses a servo to push a button which passes through the rotation axis of the turret to activate the high voltage flash unit for the muzzle so full 360 degree rotation is possible

56005 M4 Sherman, updated version of 56001 using same molds, 2-channel, new second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through new DMD T-01 unit, manually assembled tracks of 76 links each (note that this is one less link than the original 56001 for slightly tighter tracks), 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, horizontal volute spring suspension with 3 bogies per side

56007 King Tiger (Porsche Turret), updated version of 56004 using same hull but different turret, 2-channel, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-01 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 9 overlapping road wheels per side, turret rotation and muzzle flash of original model are lost

56011 Tiger I, 4-channel, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-03 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 8 overlapping road wheels per side, MF-01 unit produces sound of 23 liter Maybach V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), and muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor)

56014 M4 Sherman, second updated version of 56001 using same molds, 4-channel, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-05 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, horizontal volute spring suspension with 3 bogies per side, MF-02 unit produces sound of 16 liter Continental 9-cylinder radial engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash, machine gun flash (LED fiber optic), and lights (incandescent), later versions had an LED upgrade for the lights

56016 M26 Pershing, 4-channel, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-06 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsional spring suspension with 6 road wheels per side, MF-03 unit produces sound of 18 liter Ford V-8 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), machine gun flash (LED fiber optic), and lights (incandescent), later versions had an LED upgrade for the lights

56018 King Tiger, updated version of 56004 using same molds, 4-channel, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-03 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 9 overlapping road wheels per side, MF-01 unit produces sound of 23 liter Maybach V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), and machine gun flash (LED fiber optic)

56020 Leopard 2A6, 4-channel, third generation transmission uses two 540 motors which mechanically mix one for driving and another for steering, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 7 road wheels per side, DMD T-07 unit produces sound of 47.6 liter MTU V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (servo), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), machine gun flash (LED fiber optic), and lights (LED fiber optic)

56022 Panther Type G, 4-channel, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-03 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 8 overlapping road wheels per side, MF-01 unit produces sound of 23 liter Maybach V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), and machine gun flash (LED fiber optic)

56024 Jagdpanther, 4-channel, uses the hull of 56022, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-03 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 8 overlapping road wheels per side, MF-04 unit produces sound of 23 liter Maybach V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control barrel traverse (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), and machine gun flash (LED fiber optic)

56026 Panzerkampfwagen IV, 4-channel, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-03 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, leaf spring suspension with 8 road wheels per side, MF-05 unit produces sound of 11.9 liter Maybach V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), and machine gun flash (LED fiber optic)

56028 KV-1, 4-channel, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-08 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 6 road wheels per side, MF-06 unit produces sound of 38.8 liter Kharkiv V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), machine gun flash (LED fiber optic), and lights (incandescent), later versions had an LED upgrade for the lights

56030 KV-2 Gigant, 4-channel, uses the hull of 56028 with a different turret, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-08 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 6 road wheels per side, MF-06 unit produces sound of 38.8 liter Kharkiv V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), machine gun flash (LED fiber optic), and lights (incandescent), later versions had an LED upgrade for the lights

56032 M51 Super Sherman, 4-channel, uses the hull of 56001 with a different turret, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-08 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, horizontal volute spring suspension with 3 bogies per side, MF-07 unit produces sound of 15.5 liter Cummins V-8 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), and machine gun flash (LED fiber optic)

56035 JS-2, 4-channel, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-08 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 6 road wheels per side, MF-06 unit produces sound of 38.8 liter Kharkiv V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), machine gun flash (LED fiber optic), and lights (LED fiber optic)

56037 JGSDF Type 10, 4-channel, third generation transmission uses two 540 motors which mechanically mix one for driving and another for steering, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V NiMH stick pack, torsional spring suspension with 5 road wheels per side, DMD T-09 unit produces sound of 22.6 liter MHI V-8 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (servo), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), machine gun flash (LED fiber optic), and lights (LED fiber optic), automatic barrel stabilization

56039 Jagdpanzer IV, 4-channel, uses the hull of 56026, second generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-03 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V NiMH stick pack, leaf spring suspension with 8 road wheels per side, MF-05 unit produces sound of 11.9 liter Maybach V-12 engine, third and fourth channels control barrel traverse (motor), barrel elevation (motor), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), and machine gun flash (LED fiber optic)

56041 M1A2 Abrams, 4-channel, third generation transmission uses two 540 motors which mechanically mix one for driving and another for steering, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V NiMH stick pack, torsion bar suspension with 7 road wheels per side, DMD T-10 unit produces sound of 1500hp Lycoming turbine engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (servo), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (motor), machine gun flash (LED fiber optic), and lights (LED fiber optic), automatic barrel stabilization

56043 M551 Sheridan, 4-channel, fourth generation transmission uses two 380 motors for independent control of left and right tracks digitally mixed through DMD T-11 unit, pre-assembled tracks, 7.2V NiMH stick pack, torsional spring suspension with 5 road wheels per side, MF-06 unit produces sound of 5.2 liter Detroit Diesel V-6 engine, third and fourth channels control turret rotation (motor), barrel elevation (servo), muzzle flash with automatic recoil (servo), machine gun flash (LED), and lights (LED)
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Last edit: by blakbird.

1/16 Tank Research 2 years 9 months ago #67186

Very interesting infos. But I remind that the tracks weren't assembled on my dad's king tiger.

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1/16 Tank Research 2 years 9 months ago #67196

Very interesting infos. But I remind that the tracks weren't assembled on my dad's king tiger.
 

Looks like you are right; I've corrected that section.  I was just using the manuals for information and it is easy to get things confused after looking at 20+ of them.  It looks like the original 56004 King Tiger had manually assembled tracks, but then the later updated releases had pre-assembled.  I'm sure it is tedious to assemble tracks, but I'm looking forward to doing it at least once.  I happened to recently acquire a NIB Flakpanzer Gepard.
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1/16 Tank Research 2 years 9 months ago #67200

It was funny to see him. 2 tracks 1 axle with a tiny hammer. And keep the axle right.

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1/16 Tank Research 2 years 8 months ago #67609

Came upon some new information today that completely changes my perspective on the original tank releases.  Most of this information is not currently reflected in the TB Model Database.

So the original 4 tanks (Sherman, Leopard A4, Gepard, King Tiger) were released from 1974-1981 and were numbered RT1601 - RT1604.  These all used the same "clutch and brake" gearbox and were designed to use a sealed 6V lead acid battery.  Looking at the dates, it seems like there was a 17 year gap (until 1998) before the 5th tank was released, during which time Tamiya tank innovation was idle.  It turns out this is not true.  There was in fact a bunch of tank activity happening.  In addition to the RC versions of the Leopard A4 (RT1602) and Gepard (RT1603), which use the same chassis, they also released versions that were remotely controlled with a cable and a paddle type controller.  These were numbered LT1601 and LT1602.  These versions look the same and use the same plastic body parts, but are very different inside.  They use plastic tracks, a plastic hull, and different gearboxes with a 360 motor for each side.  There are no servos at all, instead the skid steer mixing is handled in the remote controller.  All of these models were still being produced into the 1980's but the model numbers changed.  The "RT" was dropped from the radio control versions and the numbers updated so they became 5601-5604.  The remote control versions became 4601 and 4602.  Then a motorized (but not cable controlled) version of the King Tiger was released as 4603.  Finally, there was a computerized cable controlled version of the Sherman numbered 4501 released in 1981.  That's right, a computer controller in 1981.  It had a keypad on which you could enter a series of commands and then the model would repeat them in order so you could program a course.  Then in the late 1980's the original four tanks were re-issued, this time numbered 56001-56004.  This time there were small changes to the original design.  The biggest obvious change is that all the models were now reconfigured to use a standard 7.2V Ni-Cd stick pack instead of the original lead acid 6V battery.  They also changed over some of the mechanical speed controllers to newer models.  So by the time we got to the 2nd generation of 1/16 tanks in 1998 which were starting to use the new DMD speed controllers, there had already been 3 versions of each of the original four tanks produced over a span of 20 years.

The Model Database here on TB lists the first four models as 56001-56004, but the pictures and release dates are actually from the original RT1601 - RT1604 versions.  The versions released as 56001-56004 circa 1987 are not shown.  Also not shown are the 4501 and 4601-4603 cable controlled models.
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1/16 Tank Research 2 years 8 months ago #67610

Here are some pictures I snagged off eBay to compare versions of the Leopard A4.  On the left is the box from the RT-1602 radio controlled kit and on the right is the box from the LT-1601 cable controlled kit.
   

   
       
I fell for a deal and picked up a copy of LT1601, so in the future I'll be able to offer some observations on the difference between this "poor man's" version of the kit and the standard model.
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Last edit: by blakbird.

1/16 Tank Research 2 years 8 months ago #67613

Awesome informations Blackbird. Thanks.
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