The build started a few months after a big impact of my life happened. August of 2019 I lost a really good friend, Jason Pierola. Jason had past away from leukemia just a few weeks after his diagnosis. He is my inspiration into the scale world. We would relax hang out, watching RC Everyday on YouTube, building and working rigs, bouncing our TF2 rigs on leaf springs like basketballs on the table for hours breaking them in.
We would talk for hours about making rigs look more scale, with weathering and me having 3D printers and all the things we could do that no one has thought of yet. I was always a class 2 kind of a guy but Jason just kept pushing me cause of my skilled paint and design work.
After his passing, I took a few months off; it was really hard to get back into the groove of things. It was around this time that my club, Tampa Bay RC (TBRC), set up an event to honor Jason. The event helped raise funds for Jason’s family too. It was for this event that the Samurai body you see in the accompanying pictures was donated by one of our favorite scale companies, JS Scale.
JS Scale sent the body all the way from France. They really showed Jason some love and it will be something I will never forget. In fact, Jason always wanted to get one of those bodies. The body was auctioned off at the event. Almost three weeks had passed when the winner of the body reached out to me. He wanted to work out a trade for the body and I jumped all over it.
Soon after, I had the white primed Samurai body ready to go, sitting on my bench just waiting to be painted. I did a lot of research on patina and weathering on 1:1 rigs, but something was telling me keep this one clean and simple. So I went over colors and I decided that it had to be orange. Orange is the color that represents Leukemia Awareness. I thought that was the perfect color for this build and Tamiya had the perfect color, TS-31 Bright Orange. I also used Tamiya TS-6 Black Matte for the topper.
Once the body was finished, it provided the rest of the inspiration I needed to complete the build. The whole time I worked on this kit, I felt like Jason was with me. AN RC4WD Trail Finder 2 truck chassis kit worked out perfectly in terms of wheelbase and clearance. These bodies don’t have any interior, so I had to make something up on CAD. A 3D printed floorboard was made with two slots, one on each side that the body, which slid thru to hold the body on. I then covered it in grey wool for a carpet-like appearance.
A set of 3D printed seats and center console was also made. Also made sure to create some scale accessories to keep in the back of the Samurai for a more scale detail look. Final touches were badges made by RC-crawler.it in Italy. Giuseppe Musumeci did a fantastic job on the Suzuki logo on the grille and the Samurai badges on the sides and rear. He also did a great job on my custom Scale Rat badges too. Now that the body is on and complete, I turned my attention to the missing bumpers. No one sells Samurai bumpers, so I went back to CAD and had to make a custom matching set myself.
After the bumpers were made and installed, I concentrated on finding the best looking wheel and tire combo for the Suzuki. This was harder to do than it sounds. I wanted to have that trail truck that’s ready for rock crawling look. 1.5 Pitbull Growlers fit perfectly with height and gave it the aggressive look I was looking for. Deadloc Racing 1.55 scale wheels look amazing with the Pitbull tires wrapped on them and the combo looks even more amazing when it’s mounted on to the Samurai.
Finishing off the build are electronics from Castle Creations, a Mamba Micro and Slate 1900kv Sensored System. Servo wise, I installed a Hitech D956WP steering servo and a Reefs 299 two-speed servo. My experience tells me that there are excellent electronic choices. I’ll never have to worry their performance or reliability.
Performance wise, the Samurai is a pure trail rig. Its body is a little top heavy and the shocks are on full drop but when it runs, it gets nothing but smiles and dropped jaws. I built it as a tribute to my good friend; I hope that Jason is proud of this build.
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