Words & Photos by Norm Zondervan
For Many 4X4 fans, off-roading is all about Jeeps. I’ve always been wanted to build a daily driver that can conquer the trails and the commute home too. To assemble this one-of-kind rig, I outfitted a Tamiya YJ body with a variety of scale products and scratch-built detail, then mounted it on a modified Axial SCX-10. Utilizing as much as I could from the stock chassis and electrics, I created my own interpretation of a true off-road icon.
The Tamiya JT styrene body is a work of injection-molded art and appeases my love of authentic detail, but I couldn’t leave it alone. Off came the front bumper and the hardtop was removed using heavy-duty sewing thread as a saw. This technique cuts the plastic without removing a lot of material. There is definitely a learning curve to this technique, but it really works. I left the door frames intact. Details such as wipers, antennas, mirrors, hood latches and half-rolled-down windows add to the scale appeal. I chose Testors’ Competition Orange paint to finish the body-I live to use bright colors for my builds.
I have always been a an of lights on my scalers, and with current LED technology and availability, the possibilities are endless. There are several options available for LED light kits, but I chose to make a custom system. The lightning gear is mounted inside the body so there;s no wiring harness to disconnect, and the system runs on just two AA batteries. There are some grate scale opportunities with lightning, including all the marker lights as can be seen on this build. For the headlights and trail lights, I used 3V 5mm warm white LEDs. All other marker lights use 1.9V 3mm high-intensity red and yellow LEDs, which I dial down to the right brightness with small 1/8 watt resistor (ohm) values helps to achieve the perfect look. The tail and marker lights feature lenses made from craft-store acrylic jewels machined to size. A small micro switch strategically mounted on the body works to control the whole setup.
Click below to access the digital edition to read the complete “Li’l Orange” article in RC Car Action.