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TOPIC: Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build

Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build 2 months 1 week ago #56876

I didn't know much about the Group C chassis prior to acquiring this model other than that it was an iconic Tamiya chassis and so I should probably have at least one. I assumed it was effectively a touring car chassis and therefore would be similar to the TA-01 of similar vintage, but I was mistaken. This is a direct drive rear axle car with a single shock and foam tires like the various F1 chassis. The first Group C model came out in 1990 as the 58088 Mercedes Benz C-11. There would be 8 more releases on the same chassis in the early '90s, and since then most of them have been re-released one or more times with virtually no changes making this one of the longest running chassis still in production. Most of the models were, not surprisingly, Group C racing cars but there were a handful of production road cars as well. When I started looking I was open to any of the models, focusing mostly on what I could find that was actually available. The 58098 Ferrari F40 was released in 1991 as one of the last of the classic "First 100" Tamiya cars. This was re-released in 2005 as 58356 with a "finished body". This means the body has already been trimmed and painted and stickers have been applied. This is not a bad thing since Tamiya did a far better job of it than I would have, although they used a less interesting red than the "Mica Red" I used on my other Ferrari's.

The chassis was identical between all the different versions except that the colored parts varied in color. The original F40 used red parts but the re-release uses black. This chassis has minimal front suspension with just a tiny spring on the kingpin. The rear axle floats on a pivot with a single CVA shock for support. The motor pinion drives the spur on the rear axle directly, and there is an open differential inside the spur. This car has very low ground clearance and uses foam tires. In both cases this makes driving it up and down my road impractical. The tires wear very quickly and there isn't enough suspension to soak up the bumps on the rough surface. The body also overhangs the chassis greatly on all sides and has no support, so even a mild bump can bottom out the car and crack the body. In fact, this happened immediately. It is therefore best on a carefully groomed track or indoors on carpet. It is fast though. The kit comes with a Sport Tuned motor and those wide rear tires have plenty of traction so this thing really goes. The body is good looking but sadly, does not have light buckets or an interior.

I had some immediate problems with this car. I was incompetent at installing the foam tires for the first time and they ended up with a lot of cracks in the side wall. The front tires quickly disintegrated and had to be replaced. On asphalt, the front tires tend to "hop" instead of sliding during heavy cornering which puts a lot of forces on the steering knuckles. After the first run one had come loose and I'd lost the little suspension spring. I was able to order a set from F1 cars to replace it, then I immediately lost the one on the other side. Better tighten those set screws. Other than that, the car has been reliable and fun to drive with the restrictions on location I mentioned earlier.

For such a pretty model, this kit comes in a very bland box. There is no artwork at all on the box, just a plain black background with some text. I don't know if this was a marketing restriction related to the license with Ferrari or if there was something else behind it. There are no blister packs inside but there are boxes for the hardware and plastic parts and the finished body gets its own slot. The body is finished just as perfectly as you would expect from Tamiya.
Upon laying out the parts on the table, you can see that this is a very simple chassis. There are few parts. There is quite a bit of hardware though as you can see in the image on the right. In particular the hardware related the rear axle includes part types I haven't seen before.
This is the first model I have ever assembled using foam tires and I didn't know what I was doing. The instructions are quite clear, but only to a point. The tires are affixed to the smooth cylindrical wheels using double sided tape. The idea is to have only a small amount of adhesive exposed when you push on the tire, then pull the backing off the tape once the tire in in place. This worked fine for the rear tires, but for the front tires I found that the tire squished as it was pushed on and was therefore not as wide as the wheel. I tried to fix this by pulling on the tire but this only caused chunks to break off the tire and cracks to form. You can see some of the damage in the photo. It turns out it is OK for the wheel to protrude beyond the tire. The tire should be pushed on from the outside so it is flush on the visible edge, but the inner edge doesn't matter. I paid the price for this mistake on my first run.
The steering on this car is about as simple as it gets. The plastic servo saver attaches to the servo output spline, and the steering tie rods link directly to that. No bellcranks. In fact, the inner edge of the links don't even have rod ends. There are Z-bends in the wire.

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Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build 2 months 1 week ago #56877

The front "suspension" can barely be called such. Each steering knuckle has a single vertical steel rod used as a kingpin which is retained with a set screw. A tiny spring sits on the upper side of the kingpin.
The opening in the C-hub is bigger than the steering knuckle which allows it to float up and down. This motion, and any flexibility in the control arms, accounts for all the movement of the front suspension. The arms are connected to a small front bumper and an FRP lower plate.
The steering servo attaches to the base plate with a couple of little plastic mounting blocks. As you can see on the left, the mounting holes are slotted which allows you to adjust the servo side to side. This helps you get a good mechanical center, useful in the days before electronic sub trim.
Now we can attach the front suspension to the main chassis bathtub. You can see the large open space available for electronics and the lateral slot for an old style rounded battery. From beneath you can see the FRP rear chassis plate. It is connected by only two screws in a longitudinal line, mounted with rubber o-rings. This allows the whole plate to rock side to side. This movement along with flexibility of the plate is the rear suspension.

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Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build 2 months 1 week ago #56878

This box houses the gear axle and gearbox (what there is of it). The slot in the bottom makes room for the motor. The round protrusion at the left is a bearing support. The ball at the front center is for the single shock. Note that the shock doesn't do anything to resist side to side motion. It only responds to up and down motion which is driven entirely by bending on the rear base plate.
Here's the rear axle. This is a heavy duty shaft inserted from the left. The plastic hub you see is locked to the shaft and screws to the wheel. This model does not use hexes to drive the wheels. The right hand end will serve as the support for the differential and spur gear.
Now the stock Sport Tuned motor has been installed and I've begun assembly of the ball differential. It uses only 6 small steel balls carried inside the spur gear itself. These will be sandwiched between raceway washers.
Now the spur gear has been slid over the axle. It helps to lay the car on its side when performing this step to allow the axle to be vertical. The other raceway and hub are then installed completing the rear axle.

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Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build 2 months 1 week ago #56879

Finally, the single yellow CVA shock can be built and installed and then the electronics. For some reason I see a standard silver can motor in this picture, but I have no idea why. I used the Sport Tuned motor for this build. The right hand image shows the completed chassis with wheels, tires, and body posts. Note the extreme width of the rear tires.
Here is the body just as it came out of the box. It has been trimmed with no burrs, jagged edges, or wavy lines. The paint has been applied with perfect masking around the windows. The stickers have also been applied perfectly which is particularly impressive in the area of the tail lights. My only minor complaint is that the color of the rear wing does not perfectly match the color of the body. In fact, it appears that the wing has not been painted as it is just the color in which it was molded.
The difference between these two photos is subtle and represents the only additional decoration I did to the body. I smoked the windows. I didn't like seeing all the radio gear through the window and the dark colored windows help obscure that.
The whole time I've been building, driving, and thinking about this car I've been concerned that it is not to scale because it is way too wide, presumably in order to properly fit the Group C chassis. To prove this I found an overhead view of the real car and compared it to a photo I took of the model. Looks like I was wrong; the F40 really is this wide.
This shows the damage to one front tire after the first run. The combination of cracking caused during tire installation combined with the kingpin coming loose and canting the wheel caused a lot of damage. The tire part number listed in the manual doesn't seem to exist any longer, but luckily I found that the front tires for the F104 chassis fit just right, and now that I know how to install them I did it properly.

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Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build 2 months 1 week ago #56880

I can't complain about the final appearance of the car, the F40 is gorgeous. I only wish it had an interior and light buckets.

The following user(s) Liked this: stingray-63

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Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build 2 months 1 week ago #56881

The first release of the f40 had the sport tuned in the box.

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Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build 2 months 1 week ago #56882

And what options you'll install in it?

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Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build 2 months 1 week ago #56883

stingray-63 wrote: And what options you'll install in it?

I wasn't planning to make any changes. Is there anything you'd recommend?

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Blakbird's 58356 Ferrari F40 Build 2 months 1 week ago #56884

Nothing really necessary but carbon fiber axle, small module gears, ally motor support and ally cva :)

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