Kyosho is one of only a few brands that can produce 80s vintage reproduction cars – it’s one of very select group that’s been in the RC car market since the very beginning. In fact, Kyosho is the most prolific, most experienced RC car manufacturers in the world, having introduced its first production RC car in 1970, a full 15 years before the “boom” that really turned up the heat in the market that produced cars like the Scorpion, Beetle and the Tomahawk and many more. The Tomahawk and other vintage releases are built for the purpose of bringing back those years for the many, many enthusiasts who were part of the groundswell back then, and also for new enthusiasts to experience the pride and the sense of satisfaction that goes along with building and completing a kit, which was a much more popular option than the RTRs of the day. Following the original Scorpion and the re-release of the early 80s of the legendary Beetle 2014, Kyosho introduces the third release in the retro line, the Tomahawk.
The Tomahawk, as it was back then, is an evolution of the Scorpion design that includes subtle enhancements to increase its off-road performance. The Tomahawk isn’t an exact replica. Yes, of course it’s faithful to its original design, but it also has some new features that make it a stronger and more reliable car. First and foremost are the looks of this latest release. Like many of the buggies from its time, scale looks were paramount, and the Tomahawk was probably one of the sharpest looking cars on the grid. Similarly, this re-release packs on the scale features, beginning with a body from the exact same mould that was used to make the original body all those years ago. It has the more “modern” side pods, running lights, a true driver cockpit with a driver figure, stylish black insets on the brushed-aluminium looking wheels, and even imprinted tires (new feature on the new buggy). It’s unmistakably scale, which is a critical component to the popularity of any class. It’s what inspires that “reaction” when you first see it on the hobby shop shelf. The Tomahawk is loyal to the scale appearance that inspired so many enthusiasts so many years ago, and it’s certainly unique in today’s market.
The new Tomahawk is designed based on the original Tomahawk released in the early 80s. There are some upgrades to the design to make the car better in some cases, and also to allow use of modern electronics and power systems. Like those before it, the Tomhawk has features that are compatible with the original version, which allows owners of the original cars to repair and upgrade. It’s also capable of handling the added power and performance of brushless motors and Li-Po batteries. An astute observer will notice that the Tomahawk has a unique battery mount compared to the two previous releases, which allow a full size stick pack to be mounted side-to-side. Back when these cars were original available, the popular batteries were 5-cell, 6-cell hump packs, and eventually 6-cell stick packs. In terms of modern batteries, the Tomahawk will accept a full size lipo pack in the transverse mounting location, and a “shorty” pack mounted front to back, or “inline.”
The unique double deck design has been improved with A6061 aluminium lower plate, to which the servo is solidly mounted with screws, where the original car had the servo mounted with two-sided tape. There’s also a new FRP upper deck with moulded clamp parts and new durable posts.
The gearbox housing is now a two-piece design made of die-cast aluminium. The original kit did not have a differential, but this new release will include a gear differential, and it’s also compatible with the RB6 ball differential. A slipper clutch is now incorporated, which helps to manage the power of modified brushless motors. The gears are all 48-pitch, inside and out. Sintered alloy gears combine with nylon gears to provide more gearing options, smoother running, and increased durability. The transmission and the rest of the drivetrain are supported by a full set of precision ball bearings.
Satin “Chrome” plated wheels feature back insets to give the Tomahawk that unique two-tone look that caught everyone’s eyes so many years ago, and today. They’re mounted with soft compound rubber tires and foam inserts. That means you no longer have to tediously paint the white lettering on the sidewalls of the tires – now it’s done for you. Wheels and tires are attached to suspension that is now 6061T6 forged aluminium components instead of the less durable cast aluminium that was included in the original kit.
The arms, chassis plates, and the rails of the main chassis feature full 6061T6 aluminium construction. Countersunk hex-head machine screws are used throughout, instead of the old self-tapping and Phillips-head machine screws of the past.
The bright red anodized aluminium shocks are slightly larger in diameter than the original shocks, and they feature polished stainless shafts for much smoother, more durable shocks. As a last improvement, the suspension is wider than that of the original car. The more narrow suspension of the original car were driven by the dimensions of the full-scale cars of the day, but a slight increase in the width of this version of the Tomahawk improves stability and handling without visibly compromising the scale looks of this vintage machine.