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Todays’ review in brief is the Tamiya Mad Bull Off Road Monster Buggy. A 1/10th scale fun packed, true hobby grade RC Car. Having recently stripped and rebuilt one, I thought it about time I posted a proper review of the car too!
The Tamiya Mad Bull is one of Tamiya’s most unique looking buggies. Basically a mash up of several popular RC Buggy models, the Mad Bull is designed to provide endless ours of bouncy, off road driving fun.
Four, huge, oversized tyres hailing from the infamous Lunch Box, sleek, aerodynamic body shell which is a very slightly modified Grasshopper II shell, coupled with a powerful RS540 motor, coil spring shocks and an Electronic Speed Controller (TEU-101BK). The Mad Bull, looks very Mad indeed!
The Mad Bull is available in both RC Kit and XB or Expert Built versions, satisfying those that wish to build their own RC Car and those that wish to be out and racing within minutes of getting it home. Personally, I prefer to build my own as it gives me more options to tweak and adjust things as I build it.
Tamiya Mad Bull Kit
As with all Tamiya Kits, the Mad Bull comes with everything you need to build the basic buggy. It’s designed to be as easy to assemble as possible, with clear and easy to follow instructions. The tyres come pre-mounted on the yellow rims which simplifies construction a little for newcomers to the hobby and eliminates the need for gluing the tyres during assembly.
Minimal tools are required to assemble the Mad Bull, just a pair of pliers and small and medium Phillips screw driver and a pair of side cutters is all you’ll really need.
The chassis is a simple but strong bathtub affair, with plenty of room to maneuver during assembly. The simple steering set up and easy to assemble gear box are also a bonus for the beginner, allowing the main chassis to be assembled and ready to run in well under two hours.
Tamiya Mad Bull Body Shell
As mentioned above the Tamiya Mad Bull Body Shell is based on the Grasshopper II shell. A popular and robust design, made from Injection Molded PS Plastic. The Shell is supplied unpainted in white. The version that I recently rebuilt had been left white with its stickers just applied straight onto the shell. This looked fine, but if you want to go for a coloured shell, you’ll need to buy some Acrylic Spray paints to complete your shell. Humbrol & Tamiya Acrylics will work fine here, with an optional coat of lacquer over the top to give a good depth & shine to the finish.
The decals (Stickers) supplied add to the unique look of the Mad Bull and are easy to apply although it’s worth taking your time with the larger decals on the sides of the Mad Bull. Always work from one end of the decal, gradually smoothing it down with a soft cloth as you go to avoid getting air bubbles in the decal, spoiling the look.
The Body Shell is mounted via 3 body mounts which are fairly well protected and should withstand a good amount of bashing and crashing before they get too damaged.
Whilst the standard box art finish of the Tamiya Mad Bull is black, the ultimate colour choice is up to you with the kit version. The Ready To Run, XB Mad Bull comes with an alternative Red finish to both the body shell and the suspension components.
Ready To Run Tamiya Mad Bull XB
The XB version of the Mad Bull is supplied with virtually everything you’ll need to get bashing; The car itself, RC Radio System, Battery and Charger. All you need to purchase extra is a pack of 8AA batteries to power the transmitter. I’d recommend investing in a set of rechargeable batteries if they’ll fit within your budget as the expense can mount up here with alkaline batteries over time.
With the XB version, all you need to do when you get home, is charge the battery and you’re ready to race. The Charger supplied is a Trickle Charger, which means it can take a good couple of hours for the NiMh battery to become fully charged. Another worthwhile investment here is a fast charger, which can have your cells fully charged in around 30 minutes, which is much better for the impatient racer like myself!
Performance & In Use
Now, the Mad Bull is a model that’s definitely aimed at beginners. It’s not the quickest of cars with the standard motor, and indeed it may be a little over-geared, but it’s good fun to drive non the less. The big bouncy tyres give it a similar personality to the Lunch Box without the wheelies. Off-road it handles well, with a good turning radius, and the simple coil sprung shocks do a good job of keeping the car stable despite their simplicity.
The body shell and chassis are tough and robustly constructed allowing it to cope with some pretty serious knocks and mishaps before any real damage begins the show. The most vulnerable areas being the bottom links on the front shocks which take a heck of a lot of punishment from those massive tyres. If you happen to clip a wall, kerb or brick with the edge of a front tyre you could easily shear off one of the bottom ball joints if you’re not careful. Spares are fairly easy to come by, plus with the Mad Bull sharing components with several other Tamiya RC Cars it’s quite easy to chop and change parts as you wish.
Watch The Tamiya Mad Bull In Action
Recommended upgrades are a set of Oil Filled shocks, which will improve road handling capabilities, plus putting in a
as your driving skills progress is pretty much essential. This will give you more punch and a higher top speed too. If you’re building your own Mad Bull rather than opting for the ready built XB, then I’d highly recommend fitting a set of
too as you build it. This reduces friction within all moving parts and will give you longer run times from your battery(ies) and improve acceleration too.
Features & Specification
- Chassis Type: 2WD Off Road Buggy
- Scale: 1/10
- Overall Length: 400mm
- Overall Width: 315mm
- Wheelbase: 284mm
- Chassis Weight: 1300g
- Tread F/R: 245mm
- Tire Width/Diameter F/R: 68/115mm
- Gear Ratio: 9.33:1
- Body: PS injection molded
- Frame: ABS monocoque type
- Suspension: Front swing arm & rear rolling rigid suspension
- Motor: 540 Type Motor Included
- Radio Control Unit: 2 Channel (available separately)
What Else Will I Need?
To get a the XB version of the Mad Bull on the road all you’ll need are 8AA batteries for the transmitter.
For the kit built version, you’re going to need a little more, as the car is supplied as literally, just the car, esc and motor only. The list below gives you a full breakdown of what you’ll need and roughly how much to budget for.
- 2 Channel Radio Control System ~ Approx £35
- 7.2V NiMh battery ~ £15 to £20
- Battery Charger ~ £20
- 8 AA Batteries ~ £4
A great value & funky looking buggy for beginners. Tough and durable with just that front suspension to watch out for. Could be faster, but then for the younger driver or newcomer to the hobby it’s easy to control. Easy to build and maintain, plus spares are dirt cheap.
Where Can I Buy The Tamiya Mad Bull?
- Amazon has several well know model shops selling the Tamiya Mad Bull through their site.
- Ebay has many Tamiya Mad Bulls for sale, both new and used. It’s also the best place to pick up a good supply of spare parts too.
Spares & Used Tamiya Mad Bulls…
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I'm Justin, and I've been building & bashing RC Cars since 1987 when I got my hands on a newly released Tamiya Lunchbox! Since then picked up so many hints, tips and techniques I decided it was time to share them all with you...
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Welcome To RC Know HowHiya... Welcome to RC Know How. I'm Justin & this is my own personal blog about my experiences in the world of RC Car bashing. I've been into RC cars on and off since 1987, and thought it about time I did something serious with my hobby!
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