With all this talk about the re-release Sand
Rover it got me thinking about a project that
had been in my head but just like the decorating
in my house had been confined to the back burner
for years! It's arguable that the new re-release
Sand Rover isn't even a re-release and just another
model by the same name on a modern chassis. Like
the new Holiday Buggy though I don't personally
think this is a bad thing if the looks are
right as it makes for a more rugged, reliable
and fun platform than the old chassis.
The problem though is the looks and for me the
Sand Rover has always been logically paired with
the SRB chassis. Most of the sand dune buggies
of the era and many today are based on the VW
Beetle floorpan and running gear. Having developed
this chassis to look so real for the Sand Scorcher
why didn't Tamiya pair the Sand Rover to this
chassis? It beats me, and as you can see from
the 1:1 photos
our Sand Rover is pretty realistic, it just needs
those trailing arms visible at the front end and
an engine/rear cage.
By installing a Sand Rover shell onto the SRB
chassis you end up with a model that looks far
more realistic and should run really well, be
reliable, fast and rugged! I'm not the first to
do this but this article explains my approach
and shows you how easy it is to do.
Cut and shut time
First up I checked the wheel base for the right
width and length and guess what, it's perfect.
The Sand Rover shell is pretty wide which makes
it look short but the SRB chassis is just right,
it is obviously the same as a Holiday Buggy anyway.
Luckily I had a very old and very abused Sand
Rover chassis stiting ready to cut up but you
could always fabricate some sides to your SRB
chassis to form a tub or even cut up a modern
DT-02 Holiday Buggy/Sand Rover chassis potentially.
As you can see from the photos
it's a simple case of cutting off the back end
and front end. All we need is the tub which can
sit on the SRB chassis.
I decided i'd rather not modify the Sand Rover
shell for mounting purposes as the mounting points
seem reasonably positioned and my shell was already
painted so I left the rear chassis body mount
positions in place. The ribs on the bottom of
the chassis were sanded down so the remaining
tub will mount nice and flush to the chassis plate
and enough plastic was removed from the inner
chassis moudlings to allow front to rear battery
positioning. No need to worry about special hump
Mounting the battery was pretty easy thanks to
some modern (Baldre/Durga) body mount posts secured
through the bottom of the chassis.
The steering servo was mounted using standard
servo blocks drilled and secured through the bottom
of the Sand Rover tub. You could even get away
with servo tape/pads here.
The front suspension in standard form is a little
too wide at the top to sit under the bonnet but
this was easily solved, all I did was file back
the front mounts slightly as shown
and remove the rubber bushes from the top damper
mounting. This allows the shocker to sit a few
mm more inboard and a countersunk M3 bolt and
washer hold it in position nicely. This bolt is
threadlocked in but a longer bolt and M3 nyloc
nut on the inside would work well.
The front body mount is a simple bent metal hook
that only took a few minutes to create.
I used a screwdriver to form the bend in the vice
and it hooks nicely onto the upper of the 3 front
The rear suspension is easy enough too. Having
cut down the standard roll bar/body mount
you can still mount the shocks in the normal position.
I've used some M-03 Mini coilovers here because
we've lost the SRB torsion bar but I plan to change
these soon for longer SRB shocks with a coilover
conversion.I reckon there's room for a taller
shock mount in here to give more movement and
some front re-release shocks should work well
and look good.
You could actually use standard Sand Rover body
mounts at the rear but Ifind them hard to work
use so i've improvised with some machined brass
inserts and again modern buddy body mounts secured
through from underneath.
The bling alloy parts are courtesy of J-Man (thanks
so much John) and they bolt straight on. I can't
take credit for these parts, handing over the
cash and bolting them on was the easy part but
boy is it worth it? These touches make such a
difference and bring it to life. He sells a range
of parts including the detailed engine you see
here and the quality is second to none.
Finally the chassis was sanded and finished off
in satin black to give it a fresh new look. All
that remains is to sit back and enjoy it!