For those that don’t know me personally, I’m child of the 90’s. Sure, I was born in the mid-80’s, but the 90’s are where my taste in cars was formed. An era of cool metallic colors, unique designs, and quite possibly some of the coolest and weirdest builds to come straight out of the factory. One of such cars, and one of my personal favorites is the highly tuned mid to late-90’s Ford Escort RS Cosworth.
Affectionately known as the Escort Cossie (pronounced “cozzy”), the Escort RS Cosworth combined aggressive styling, a wider stance, and most importantly a built & tuned Cosworth turbo engine all of which made it a hit with enthusiasts around the world. To this day the Escort RS Cosworth is a highly sought after, collectible tuner car. To add to the mystique of this crazy version of the Escort, the Escort RS Cosworth was only manufactured in limited numbers as a homologation car for WRC rally racing and ceased production 1996. Even with its rally racing roots, it became a classic for on-road driving enthusiasts.
Tamiya, as they do, has paid tribute to this uniquely awesome rally special with the release of the 1998 Ford Escort Custom 1/10 scale on-road kit, built upon the excellent TT-02 chassis. And yes, you read that correctly, 1998 is not a typo because this kit is in fact based on the Escort that competed in the 1998 WRC season, driven by Juha Kankkunen. Although that particular year of WRC Escort didn’t see any championship wins, it still went down in the history books as a great race car winning Ford several podiums during the season. Join me as we check out Tamiya’s new kit, an homage to the classic vehicle that was and still is one of my childhood favorites.
Building the Escort Custom kit is a simple, enjoyable process. Like many of Tamiya’s RC kits the instructions are detailed, and parts are laid out in a logical fashion. Minimal tools are needed, with most screws being a #2 “regular” sized cross type design. Other than that, I would suggest a pair of flush-cut trimmers for the plastic parts. Part fitment is spot on, as can be expected from a Tamiya kit, and Tamiya uses high quality plastics throughout the model so durability isn’t ever a question. As far as longevity is concerned, the TT-02 is well made so this kit should last for years to come.
Tamiya includes their latest TBLE-04S ESC with the kit. The TBLE-04S has been improved compared to its predecessor, the TBLE-02S, by providing more output power and weighing in at almost 10 grams less. Like the TBLE-02S, the TBLE-04S can power both brushed and brushless motors. The TT-02’s tub chassis easily accommodates a 7.4v LiPo battery pack, or a 6-cell NiMH pack depending on your preference. I recommend changing the ESC battery cutoff mode to “Hi” when using a 7.4v LiPo pack. The TBLE-04S doesn’t include a dedicated LiPo cutoff mode, but this will still help to ensure that you don’t over discharge your pack.
The Ford Escort body included in the kit is extremely accurate, with plenty of detailed decals to finish it off. The wheel arches come pre-trimmed, so only minor cutting was required to trim the body into shape. A simple metallic paint job was all I felt that was needed to make this body really sing. The details in the included decals along with the hard plastic wing and side mirrors give the body that extra bit of realism and quality feel. Like every Tamiya RC model, the Ford Escort Custom looks perfect when it all comes together!
HITTING THE ROAD
The real Ford Escort RS was an all-wheel drive design, so it’s only fitting that its RC version is the same. The TT-02’s 4WD layout provides excellent stability and smooth performance, making it a great choice for anyone looking for a capable on-road kit. The TT-02’s 4WD system provides plenty of grip while driving and the supplied treaded tires make it easy to carry speed. The Ford Escort Custom kit includes a 27T Torque-Tuned motor that provides a bit more kick than the standard silver can motors in the typical Tamiya kits. The included friction style shocks are simple, but they do the job for most driving situations and handle decently well.
There are quite a few TT-02 chassis kits available, and for good reason. The chassis itself is easy to build, made from great materials, and can be set up in multiple ways to accommodate different bodies and driving styles. Most importantly, the TT-02 is fun to drive, making it an excellent base for this awesome kit.
TAMIYA HOP UP PARTS
Tamiya offers a ton of optional parts for the TT-02 platform making it a great option for beginners and advanced RC enthusiasts alike. From full bearing kits to aluminum driveshafts, adjustable suspension arms and precision fluid-filled shocks, performance can be tailored exactly to your liking. The kit as it comes out of the box is excellent, but if you’re to upgrade then Tamiya has exactly what you need when you need it.
Once again Tamiya does a great job of capturing the details of a classic vehicle and bringing it to life in 1/10 scale RC form. The detailed body, decals, wheels and tires most definitely do the full-sized Escort RS justice. As with many of Tamiya’s TT-02 offerings, the kit has a great price tag and has tons of potential for upgrades, making it a wonderful choice for anyone from model builders and collectors that want a great looking, drivable scale model to beginning and advanced RC enthusiasts that want a capable on-road racing kit. Paint this bad boy up in the color of your choice and enjoy the sight as you take it out for a spin. It’ll be sure to bring a smile to your face. If you’re in the market for a great looking, capable on-road car then I highly suggest you consider Tamiya’s new 1998 Ford Escort Custom kit.