The late-’80s family of Tamiya Avante-based vehicles are some of our all-time favorite RC off-road buggies. The legendary buggy line began in 1988 with the launch of Avante, which was followed up later the same year with Vanquish (re-released in 2020 by Tamiya as the VQS), continued in 1989 with the Egress, and culminated in 1990 with the Avante 2001. Their over-engineered design and advanced single-driver cockpit look made them challenging to build, fun to drive, pleasing to the eye and addictive to collect. With the exception of the Avante 2001, each of the aforementioned kits has been re-released by Tamiya over the decades.
Avante quickly became a fan favorite due to its innovative design and impressive performance capabilities. Taking advantage of the experience and know-how garnered by the Tamiya Racing Factory (TRF) team, which was founded in 1989, Tamiya introduced the racing evolution of the Avante and named it Egress. The Egress was designed to be a force to be reckoned with on the racing circuit. It was the most advanced Tamiya buggy at the time and even back then was highly collectible due to its limited production numbers. In the years following, Egress attained a nearly holy grail status amongst collectors.
Luckily for those who lost out during the initial release, Tamiya announced an eagerly anticipated return of Egress in 2013. Since that year, Egress has been available on and off from Tamiya in limited releases over the years. In fact, in late 2022, a special color variation called the Egress Black Edition hit the market. The re-releases feature some mechanical updates but mainly retain their original design from the late 1980s.
As fans of the Egress, the buggy has been on our build and modify list for quite some time. And thanks to Tamiya’s re-releases, that dream was finally achieved. The foundation of the special project featured here is based on the standard edition Egress 2013. This updated version of the buggy features carbon fiber plates for its chassis as well as high-performance parts such as ball diffs, high-capacity oil dampers, and lightweight titanium screws.
Our Egress was made over to bring it up to date with more modern refinements. We swapped out several factory stock plastic parts in favor of aluminum aftermarket pieces and installed a suite of modern electronics along with a brushless motor—but more on these modifications later. With the latest technology and engineering innovations incorporated into its design, this newly revamped Egress promises to deliver even more speed, power, and precision driving compared to its stock form.
Egress features a longitudinally positioned motor and full ball bearings on a shaft-driven 4WD chassis. Carbon fiber upper and lower decks provide unparalleled strength and rigidity, while the re-designed front and rear ball differentials offer superior reliability and ease of maintenance. The updated diff works in conjunction with the built-in center one-way bearing to provide the off-road racer confident handling. The one-way bearing can also be locked for even greater stability.
With racing in mind, Egress also boasts universal driveshafts that maximize power transmission and improve resistance to wear and tear. These shafts feature the same design as those used in Tamiya’s current TRF series parts, ensuring optimal performance.
The buggy’s four-wheel double wishbone suspension is supported by four oil dampers equipped with aluminum bodies, while the front and rear of the vehicle are fitted with stabilizers. The aluminum front uprights offer excellent reliability, and ball bearings in steering linkage arms combine with a 2mm-thick carbon fiber plate to provide precise and linear steering response.
Our modification to Egress’s suspension and steering components included the swapping out of the factory plastic front knuckle arms for Yeah Racing aluminum upgrades. We also traded out the plastic rear hubs for aluminum versions also made by Yeah Racing. Tightening up the steering meant replacing a couple of the original plastic steering parts with Pargu Racing alloy hop-ups. The added rigidity of the aluminum parts help translate suspension and steering feel more efficiently.
Our Egress was originally equipped with a basic Futaba servo, which was fine for light bashing. But our mission was to further enhance the performance of this racer, so we opted to change out its servo for a Reefs RC Alacritous unit. For those who are not familiar with the Alacritous, it’s Reefs RC’s fastest low-voltage servo and it features steel gears and an all-CNC aluminum casing. This servo is impressive to see in action; it’s seriously smooth and lightning fast.
Perhaps the most exciting addition to the Egress is its brushless motor and electronic speed controller (ESC) combination. We installed a Hobbywing Xerun Brushless Combo that includes a Justock 13.5T sensored brushless motor and a XR10 Justock brushless ESC. The stock 22T pinion gear was changed out for a Hobbypark 17T pinion to better match the high-revving motor. Keep in mind that Egress was developed at a time when brushed motors and NiCad batteries were the norm, so upgrading this more than three-decade-old design to run a brushless setup with a MaxAmps 7.4V 5800mAh 2S LiPo battery powering it guarantees to improve its speed and runtime significantly.
OOZING WITH STYLE
We love Egress’s aggressive shape, so it was a no-brainer to keep the stock body on the chassis. We did, however, want to give it a non-box-art colored makeover for some added style and originality. Instead of painting it metallic silver as depicted on its box, we went with a three-toned paint scheme that invokes the colors found on a Messerschmitt BF 109 warbird fighter plane.
The body was coated with Tamiya Color spray paints in gray, racing green and mustard yellow with a splash of translucent smoke. The buggy’s rear wing was also painted with Tamiya Color paint in a mixture of racing green and translucent green. The decals that adorn the body are made by several companies including Tamiya, Mr. Hop-Up and MCI Racing. We also used the latest collaboration decal set from Mass/Dam and T4works Tokyo.
When it came to the wheels, we didn’t want to deviate from the original look too much, but we still wanted to be able to use modern 2.2-sized tires. Luckily for us, JC Racing Products in the UK offers a 2.2 version of the famous teardrop-style wheels that come with Egress. So instead of settling with Tamiya’s slightly smaller, proprietary sized wheels, we were able to switch to 2.2 wheels and still retain the same original look. Tire-wise, we went with Pro-Line Racing Z3 medium compound Prism 2.0 tires in the front and Hexon tires in the rear. These tires are made for carpet racing but we found them usefully grippy on cement and loose dirt, too.
Special Project: Tamiya Egress 2013 Vehicle Specs
Chassis: Twin carbon fiber plate
Shocks: Oil-filled aluminum coilover
Suspension: 4-wheel independent, double wishbone
Differential: Front and rear ball
Body: Pre-painted, decorated, pre-cut polycarbonate
Yeah Racing aluminum knuckle arms
Yeah Racing aluminum rear hubs
Pargu Racing aluminum steering set
Reefs RC Alacritous servo
Hobbypark 17T pinion gear
Hobbywing Xerun Brushless Justock 13.5T sensored motor and XR10 Justock ESC
MaxAmps 7.4V 5800mAh 2S LiPo battery
KO Propo KR-211FH receiver
Tamiya Color spray paints (gray, racing green, mustard yellow, translucent smoke, translucent green)
Mr. Hop-Up decals
MCI Racing decals
Mass/Dam and T4works Tokyo decals
WHEELS & TIRES
JC Racing Products Egress 4WD wheels
Pro-Line Racing Z3 Compound Prism 2.0 tires (front)
Pro-Line Racing Z3 Compound Hexon tires (rear)
All in all, this Egress has received a truly comprehensive revamp that sets it apart from its former self. With a new look and upgraded steering, suspension and power units, we’re confident that this buggy has what it takes to run on large, modern off-road race tracks—and it’s now even more fun to bash. With its new features and improved performance, this Egress is a hit with this old-school-loving RC enthusiast.
If you’re looking to relive some ’80s RC greatness, perhaps building and upgrading a proper ’80s-era Tamiya buggy like Egress is in your future. Whether you’re a serious racer looking for the ultimate performance machine or an RC enthusiast looking for a high-quality model kit to build and customize, we feel that the Tamiya Egress and its Avante brethren are the perfect choices for a retro-modern project. With its sleek, modern design and advanced features, this legendary vehicle is sure to impress and inspire fans of all RC eras.
Text and Images by Jerry Tsai