My first Midnight Pumpkin was one among Tamiya’s QD (Fast Drive) variations of the retro monster truck, which was the corporate’s try at making a able to run, toy-grade RC again in 1990. Although it was extra toy than critical RC, it nonetheless was a Tamiya product so general design and construct high quality – and value, was pinned at a better stage than your typical Nikko and Tyco RC automobile.
It was sized at 1/14-scale, which was smaller than the full-sized Midnight Pumpkin that you’re extra accustomed to. As I recall, it ran on a bunch of AA batteries and was very sluggish. I liked it. The look of the basic Ford F100 pick-up coupled with fats monster truck tires was irresistible.
My second Midnight Pumpkin was even smaller and slower then the primary. It was a 1/32-scale Midnight Pumpkin Jr. from Tamiya’s Wild Mini 4WD line. Though I might name myself a Midnight Pumpkin fan, I by no means did find yourself with a full-size RC Midnight Pumpkin in my youth. I needed to ration my allowance and part-time work funds to spend different issues, similar to my ever components hungry Tamiya Avante, however that’s a narrative for an additional time.
After a long time of wanting a Pumpkin, I lastly indulged myself and bought my first CW01-based monster truck. Initially launched in 1987, the Midnight Pumpkin and its chassis-sharing brother, the Lunchbox have gone onto immortal RC fame. As with Tamiya’s different 80s hits just like the Grasshopper and Hornet, the Midnight Pumpkin and Lunchbox are a few of RC’s most beloved autos and are nonetheless extremely in-demand fashions for the corporate.
This 1/12-scale meeting package encompasses a extremely detailed Nineteen Fifties-era Ford F100 pick-up truck physique. The Midnight Pumpkin Black Version’s arduous plastic physique comes molded in black and is accentuated by sensible chrome steel plated components together with an in depth entrance grille, entrance and rear bumpers, dampers and roll bar. Though it’s an build-it-yourself package, those that have solely had RTRs and haven’t constructed a package but shouldn’t let themselves be deterred by the package’s constructing course of. We might price it as a fast and straightforward construct, an ideal challenge for brand new RC package builders.
The monster truck’s sturdy and easy-to-assemble 2WD CW01 chassis makes use of a field kind body, entrance swing arm unbiased and rear rolling inflexible suspension. Outsized 115mm diameter semi-pneumatic tires on vibrant yellow wheels provide the long-lasting look of a monster truck. A rear mounted wheelie bar permits loads of enjoyable wheelie stunt driving too.
Though that is my first CW01 truck, I’m very accustomed to this platform. The CW01 kinds the idea of a succesful and enjoyable monster truck to run however it nonetheless will be improved for higher efficiency and sturdiness. The trendy Tamiya rereleased kits are nonetheless largely untouched from its authentic Nineteen Eighties expertise and supplies in spite of everything. My plan was to replace the Pumpkin whereas I constructed it.
Earlier than I constructed the truck, I made a decision to stockpile some modernized upgrades for it first so I can set up them as I assembled it. I invested in components from AMPro Engineering, an outfit that focuses on upgrading basic RC autos to suit right this moment’s driver’s wants. I noticed that the corporate affords loads of upgrades that repair longstanding issues with sure RC platforms together with the CW01.
I combed by way of AMPro’s choices and determined to order up their CW01 Entrance Finish 8mm Offset components, CW01 Decrease Rear Shock Mount, CW01 Transmission Brace and Midnight Pumpkin Physique Mounts. These things all appropriate and enhance upon the unique parts of the basic Pumpkin. I additionally ordered a couple of blingy goodies from T4works Tokyo, an organization that focuses on aluminum upgrades for traditional Tamiya autos. These components got here from abroad so I needed to impatiently look ahead to them to reach, which with pandemic precipitated transport delays, tried my endurance.
Additionally, the Pumpkin comes with friction dampers and nylon and steel bushings, which wouldn’t do in my retro-mod construct. I ordered up a set of Tamiya CVS oil-filled dampers and a full set of Quick Eddy sealed ball bearings to switch the inventory components with as an alternative. With all of the components in hand, I started the meeting.
As with all different Tamiya kits I’ve constructed, the method went easily with none questions. The instruction guide is evident and exact and components match was impeccable. When becoming the AMPro components, I turned to their YouTube movies to see first hand how all the things was presupposed to be put in. The 3D printed components are made of assorted supplies similar to plastics and nylons, that are fairly sturdy.
I first put in AMPro’s CW01 Entrance Finish 8mm Offset meeting. This wonderful suspension arm set permits the Pumpkin to lastly have double wishbone entrance suspension. This improve vastly improves the truck’s dealing with and suspension traits. Connected to the upgraded frontend is a pair of Tamiya CVS dampers. The oil crammed dampers are a lot better at absorbing suspension impacts than the friction dampers the package comes with. Quick Eddy sealed ball bearings have been additionally put in into the gearbox and hubs for clean and clear operation.
Tamiya CVS shocks have been additionally put in within the rear on AMPro’s CW01 Decrease Rear Shock Mount. This new decrease mounting level for the rear shocks is absolutely suitable with inventory friction shocks however is particularly useful when becoming Tamiya oil crammed items, that are historically troublesome to suit. I observed that it additionally provides the Pumpkin an aggressive raked stance, which seems cool too.
To tighten up the rear finish, an AMPro CW01 Transmission Brace was additionally put in. Fast acceleration of a inventory Pumpkin or Lunchbox will invariably find yourself “slapping” its transmission, which may’t be good for the automobile’s longevity. This brace stops the slap and locations the transmission at its heart level and permits full left and proper articulation. Full suspension journey is retained and ends in a smoother launch.
A infamous half to interrupt on the Pumpkin is its physique mounts. They snap a lot too simply when the truck is rolled. AMPro has a repair for that too. Their upgraded Midnight Pumpkin Physique Mounts have a extra strong base and a strengthened put up. The fabric they’re constituted of additionally appears a lot much less brittle. The entire AMPro objects I put in are bolt-on and required zero modifications to the automobile.
Including to the pile-on of improve components are a couple of objects from Japan-based RC components maker, T4works Tokyo. I put in a pair of T4works Aluminum CNC strengthened uprights in anodized in gentle blue. I additionally added an aluminum oil filler cap and motor warmth sink, each anodized in purple and each made by T4works. I like the best way these components look.
With the chassis completed, I moved onto the arduous plastic physique. That is the primary RC package that I’ve owned that comes with a tough ABS plastic physique. I like its sturdy really feel and detailed look. I hardly ever paint my RC autos their field artwork colours however within the case of the long-lasting Midnight Pumpkin, I simply needed to. I adopted the directions and used Tamiya Colour TS-14 Black for the physique, which gave it a pleasant shiny coat of gloss black.
It was a pleasing shock to search out out that the Pumpkin’s decals come pre-cut. No chopping required, simply peel and stick. I additionally added a couple of decals from RC decal maker Mr. Hop-Up in addition to a couple of decals from T4works Tokyo for some personalization. I stored the look decidedly manufacturing unit inventory, which is my favourite search for the Midnight Pumpkin. After the physique was full, I headed outdoors for some run time.
I used to be excited to see how the modernized Midnight Pumpkin drove. I charged up a MaxAmps NiMH battery pack and bought to gunning. CW01 chassis vans are identified for his or her wheelie popping aptitude and the Midnight Pumpkin didn’t disappoint. The monster truck reared up on its hind tires and lurched ahead with each full burst of throttle. I’d add that it landed on its entrance wheels with a clean contact, little question because of its oil-filled dampers.
The dealing with was noticeably a lot improved over inventory fashions that I’ve pushed beforehand. Gone are the bouncy angle of the truck in favor of a way more secure trip. AMPro’s double wishbone suspension coupled with the oil-filled shocks actually ups the sport for the CW01. Launching the Pumpkin outcomes immediately burst of acceleration with out the CW01’s telltale transmission slap sound, additionally thanks for AMPro’s transmission brace.
After a long time eager for a Midnight Pumpkin, I lastly bought one. I’m glad that I waited this lengthy in order that I might construct it with fashionable efficiency components from AMPro Engineering and eye sweet from T4works Tokyo. I’ll most likely put money into a runner physique subsequent so I don’t scratch up the gorgeous F100 physique. As soon as the runner physique is on I sit up for taking the Midnight Pumpkin off some candy jumps and see what it could actually actually do.
Textual content and Photos by Jerry Tsai