Written By Kevin Hetmanski“Readers’ Rides” is one of our favorite sections of RC Car Action, and we look forward to mail and emails from our readers showing off their cool and, uh, also not so cool rides. We gather up our picks for each issue and choose a Ride of the Month while doing so—a vehicle we think is above and beyond the others in the mix. At the end of the year, we get the lucky task of gathering all the Ride of the Month winners and have the hard job of selecting the best one. We chose Cid Tanganelli as our winner, and he sent us his wicked-cool scale jeep all the way from Americana, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Many little things make this Jeep so cool; some you can see, and others you can’t. Let’s dig in and see how Cid made this Jeep come to life.Project baseWith any project, you have to start somewhere, and when Cid sat down to build this Willys, he started with a scale model kit. The body has lots of detail such as latches, rear tire mount and lights. The model was designed to look like a military vehicle, but Cid changed that by adding a coat of orange paint and then a little silver and black to finish it off. Another cool feature of the body is its functional hood and detailed dashboard.
It’s all in the details
To further increase the scale look of Cid’s Jeep, he added many scale accessories to the already detailed Jeep. In the rear you’ll find a few welding tanks and hoses, a propane tank in the passenger seat, a knapsack with a scale RC Car Action mag in it (smart), a rope, a high-lift jack, and the list goes on. Under the hood is a scale Hemi engine, radiator, brake master cylinder, windshield-washer bottle and other details. The motor and transmission are hidden inside the engine to maintain its scale appearance. Cid also hid the electronics where possible; for example, the receiver is safely tucked away inside the propane tank. The driver figure tops off the Jeep well.
Many people will use an existing RC chassis as the base for their scale rig. There are plenty of “factory” ones and really trick aftermarket pieces out there, and all would be great for this scale build. Cid went the extra mile and made his own out of a few pieces of sheet metal. He used the chassis that came with his Jeep model as a template.
A leaf-spring suspension like on the full-size rig would have looked great but would limit this truck on the rocks. Cid made his own four-link suspension using various pieces of aluminum rod. Each tire is controlled by a long plastic body shock with a spring and an aluminum shock from RC4WD with an internal spring.
With the exception of the HPI Wheely King axles, the entire drivetrain is made up of components from RC4WD. Look underneath, and you’ll see an RC4WD transmission feeding an RC4WD transfer case. RC4WD metal slider driveshafts connect all of the drivetrain components. RC4WD Rock Crusher tires complete the system and give the Jeep the grip it needs to get over the rocks.
It’s a performer
Well, we weren’t able to run this truck, but we have looked at the video and can tell you it’s a real performer on the rocks. A lot of guys who spend as much time building and detailing a cool scale ride such as this one don’t go too crazy with it when it comes to driving it—if they drive it at all. This truck can crawl with the best of them and looks awesome while doing so.
Novak hooks up Cid!
For winning Readers’ Ride of the Year, Cid gets hooked up with a Novak brushless system of his choice. He went with a Novak’s Havoc Pro/Ballistic Brushless System that includes a Novak Havoc Pro Brushless ESC and a Novak 13.5-turn motor. This will be right at home in one of Cid’s newest projects.
The man behind the design
How long have you been involved in RC?
I’ve been involved with RC airplanes for 25 years, but only three years ago I decided to get involved with making vehicles in scale. Nowadays I also build planes, boats and helis, all in scale. In my opinion, the future of RC lies in scale.
What inspired you to build this Jeep?
The idea of building this Jeep came with the Hemi engine. I really enjoy powerful engines, especially the V-8s. The Hemi Cuda with its air filter is surreal, and I’m fond of any kind of off-road. So I decided to put everything together. And thanks to the GI Joe 1/6-scale accessories easily found everywhere. They are very handy and helped me a lot.
I also subscribed to two American magazines, 2 Good 1:1 and 4×4 Off Road. They are such an inspiration for my scale models. Usually, before I finish a scale model, I come up with new ideas for the next one. In fact, while assembling another Jeep, I visualized the chopped parts of this Jeep.
How long did it take you to complete this Jeep?
It took me about two months to complete this Jeep. The problem is that I have to import 100 percent of the parts from outside Brazil. It’s impossible to have all parts on time; some piece is always missing. If I had all pieces in my hand, I could finish it in one week.
What was the biggest challenge during the build?
Besides the time I waited for the parts, I think the biggest challenge was to fit the R2 RC4WD transmission into the die-cast block of the Hemi engine. And, of course, to hide everything afterwards: receiver, battery, wiring, ESC, servo, etc. The RC equipment could not be exposed in order to preserve the scale visual. It was also particularly difficult to regulate the engine height to fit it into the car.
You built this truck to be a runner. How often do you run the Jeep?
I have an off-road track in my backyard. Whenever I’m not working on the scale models, I run the cars on my track. I always work on three or four projects at the same time. To be honest, I spend more time building the cars than driving them. I own many scale cars, some of which I drove only once. But this Jeep is one of my favorites. It’s very smooth and powerful and has a great ride. So much fun! I drove it a lot.
How does it feel to win Readers’ Ride of the Year?
I’m speechless! I’m honored. I feel like an NFL Pro Bowl winner! Thank you.
What will be your next big build?
I have several ongoing projects, including the (1/6 scale) Jeep TJ, a Hummvee, a 1956 Chevy Bel Air, but the main project now is a killer RC4WD scale hardcore desert truck.