SPECIAL PROJECT: Unlimited CREATIVITY – RC Everyday’s Joshua Dutton Kitbashes and Custom Builds Super Detailed Rat Rods

SPECIAL PROJECT: Unlimited CREATIVITY – RC Everyday’s Joshua Dutton Kitbashes and Custom Builds Super Detailed Rat Rods

What is a rat rod exactly? You’ve seen them before, maybe even around your town, and it’s undeniable that they look cool, very cool. A rat rod is a customized car that features a purposefully worn-down, unfinished appearance. It’s more than just a style of car, however; rat rods are essentially the kit bashers of the 1:1 world. Taking inspiration and parts from anything and everything, rat rod building requires creative thinking and use of what’s available.

Clad with plenty of patina and rust, you’ll see rat rods sporting a wide selection of cast-off and repurposed parts. These “found” parts could include inspiration from outside the automotive world, such as the use of a spanner wrench for a gear shifter or a pistol grip as a door handle. Rat rods are all about uniqueness and a builder’s imagination.

RC Everyday’s Joshua Dutton Kitbashes and Custom Builds Super Detailed Rat Rods

With its patina paint job and scaled accessories, Dutton’s rat rod really looks the part.

Unlimited Creativity

That is what I love about the style so much. After years of building RCs I took a crack at relaying this spirit into what scale RC components were available. No rules, no restraints, just an idea of what I like and bins full of hardware. Every build starts with one piece, RC or otherwise, and ideas that build up around it. It’s a freestyle mindset that travels down the path of creativity, following the build wherever it leads. Nothing being set in stone helps the build not get hung up on issues. Utilizing parts from crawlers, semis, even drift, learning as you go and trying to fabricate the things that don’t exist.

A few years and a few builds later using this “go with the flow” creative process, I present my latest creation, the green 5-window coupe pictured here. The rat rod’s 3D-printed body was a file found online and its steel C-channel chassis started life as 1/2-inch square tubing. It truly is a mishmash of random parts that came together to become a coherent vehicle. The wheels and tires are from a non-RC Eaglemoss die-cast Jeep and the rod is fitted with an RC4WD scale V8, loaded with found accessories and an R4 transmission feeding into a Yota 2 rear axle that’s hung on a custom triangulated 4-link suspension.

The 5-window coupe’s interior is fully realized complete with Mexican blanket upholstery and manual gear shifter.

The 5-window coupe’s interior is fully realized complete with Mexican blanket upholstery and manual gear shifter.

An RC4WD V8 engine provides the realistic look on the rod’s front end.

An RC4WD V8 engine provides the realistic look on the rod’s front end.

A Reefs RC steering servo is seamlessly incorporated into the rod’s design.

A Reefs RC steering servo is seamlessly incorporated into the rod’s design.

The handmade chassis features an R4 transmission, Yota 2 rear axle and a triangulated 4-link suspension.

The handmade chassis features an R4 transmission, Yota 2 rear axle and a triangulated 4-link suspension.

Up front, you’ll find that the custom drop axle is from a Tamiya semi-truck and is set way out on a 2-link radius-arm-style setup. The Reefs RC 99micro servo, which is tucked behind the printed tractor grille, gives the rat rod plenty of steering angle.
The car’s interior consists of a sheet metal bench seat wrapped in real Mexican blanket, a billet shifter, and a chopped-up ’57 Chevy dash that was stolen from one of Barbie’s many used cars. The interior is viewed through Lexan windows that were sourced from RC4WD packaging. That’s right, I repurposed the packaging; waste not, want not. Some basic electronics were added and now this thing drifts on its hard rubber tires with power delivered from a perfectly sized Helios battery.

This is what a pristine collection of custom-made RC rat rods looks like.

This is what a pristine collection of custom-made RC rat rods looks like.

This kitbashed build features a 3D-printed body and wheels and tires that come from an Eaglemoss die-cast.

This kitbashed build features a 3D-printed body and wheels and tires that come from an Eaglemoss die-cast.

Dutton promotes using your imagination to kitbash your own vehicles into existence.

Dutton promotes using your imagination to kitbash your own vehicles into existence.

As with this 5-window coupe, each of my rat rod builds are 100% unique. There is no wrong way to do it—whatever you like and however it comes out is the final product. There’s nothing that says you can’t apply this RC rat rod-inspired “anything goes” building style to crawlers, buggies… anything that fits your taste and style. Think outside the kit, and most importantly, keep
it scale!

Learn more about Joshua Dutton of EverydayRC in the article, No Days Off, in this issue. Check out more of his builds by visiting his YouTube channel at rceveryday.com.


Text by Joshua Dutton and RCCA Staff
Images by Joshua Dutton

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Updated: August 23, 2022 — 11:58 AM
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