Blackfoot Reborn!


This article is guest-authored by Eric, a Tamiya R/C car enthusiast I first met from a comment on this site. Like me, he has great memories of playing with R/Cs as a kid, and decided to purchase a Tamiya Blackfoot Extreme as a way to try and recapture his youth! Read on for a great story!

As soon as the doorbell rang and I knew it was UPS, I knew the time had come. After 20 years of not having the experience of an RC truck in my life, that time in itself had come to an end. To make a long story short, my first RC car was an original Blackfoot, circa 1986. I was 13 at the time and I had waited a long time for that Blackfoot to come my way. I had my best friend's dad help me build it and before you knew it, she was up and running.

As soon as the doorbell rang and I knew it was UPS, I knew the time had come. After 20 years of not having the experience of an RC truck in my life, that time in itself had come to an end. To make a long story short, my first RC car was an original Blackfoot, circa 1986. I was 13 at the time and I had waited a long time for that Blackfoot to come my way. I had my best friend's dad help me build it and before you knew it, she was up and running.

Then it happened.

I had had her about a month or so and one weekend I let my best friend borrow her because I was laid up sick at home; that in turn, was a huge mistake. After having it out for a few small runs, my best friend managed to run the truck out of radio range and it ended up barreling into the street where it was met by the front tire of a real Ford Truck. Bye Bye Blackfoot.

My best friend's dad paid me back for the damages but by then I had given up on the RC thing; I got frightened that the same thing would happen again and it would be my fault and I had moved on to playing drums and doing other things with my time. It wasn't until about 20 years later that my childhood desire would once again kick in.

The first thing I did was set up at my desk for the building experience. I popped in my old trusted copy of Metallica's Master Of Puppets because I had spent a ton of time listening to that very same album back in '86 when I assembled my first truck; I had to do it right this time and I wanted to take a couple steps back to get the feeling again and that helped to do it! I had no idea that sitting down in front of this yet to be assembled truck would make me feel like such a kid again and it was wonderful.

The first thing to do was scan the instruction manual quickly to get a general feel for what I was about to dive into. I always like to get a sense for something before jumping in headfirst. I had the essential tools laid out in front of me and I was ready to go. Ok fine, Ill admit it now, the very first thing I honestly did was smell the tires. I'm a geek, I know, but I remembered that was the first thing I did way back when the Blackfoot was being built. It was like that new car smell to me, only with wheels. Like I said, I'm a geek.

I started building as soon as I could and I found myself totally lost in the experience. I managed to become quickly confused with all the screws and parts but swiftly developed a system to make things seem easier. Its pretty amazing how hard it is to manage some of those small screws too. I got through all the easy parts like the assembly of the axles and I had real fun when coming up to the part of pulling the shocks together, which I had remembered a little bit from years and years ago.

Then I hit a snag; a HUGE snag! The servo left my mind spinning like I had no idea what to do next and my mind was right: I didn't. I asked around online, even tried to gather help from the webmaster here Dan, but it was just too hard to put a finger on things without actually seeing what I was confused with. I had lost my digital camera a couple of weeks ago to an accident and I had no way of snapping some shots off to show anyone. I sat, frustrated and feeling alone with a partially assembled Blackfoot.

Day 2 was here. I got done what I needed to do for the day and I set up shop again, this time on the kitchen table. This was much better for I had a ton more room and a lot more light to work with. I quickly dug back in started working again. This time, I slowed down quite a bit and let the excitement become replaced with focus and direction and I guess that was what I needed because everything came together in what seemed like no time at all! The instructions called for no use of CA glue for the tires and no need for thread lock either. This was the first model I had seen that didn't call for either of those two things. I could have sworn the first time I put my 1 st Blackfoot together that a bit of thread lock was used. It didn't matter either way because now I was done. The tires were on, she was ready to roll!!!

I had begun to paint the body the way I wanted and I sat the monster down for a quick little body free run on the living room floor! Oh no, disaster had struck again: she would run back and forth at breakneck speed but no servo action: the thing wouldn't steer left or right! Now what was I to do? I hastily got back online and emailed a few people that have been helping me along and explained my predicament. After sitting there with the truck in my lap for about an hour, with the help of a newly found online friend we managed to get her all fixed up and running. I had a new ESC I had picked up for it but had not installed it yet. Out of curiosity, I decided to throw it in and as soon as I did, everything lined up and she worked! It seemed as if the ESC Tamiya had put in the kit was bad or something. I know, I know doesn't add up, but it fixed things for me and that was all that mattered.

I decided against using the traditional Blackfoot Extreme stickers and just did my own thing on the body. I am in no way an expert or an artist when it comes to bodywork so I kept things simple. A little blue metal flake in a couple choice spots and I kept the rest black. Pictures will soon follow.

The only thing I had left to do was take her on her inaugural run and that would come on a brisk but sunny winter morning here. The first thing I thought was, after all these years I finally had a Blackfoot all my own, for no one else to destroy. I also wished for snow and believe me, I'm not a fan of the white stuff, but the thought of sending the Blackfoot into endless doughnuts really sounded like a blast. I love the sound the motor first makes when you floor it: the hiss mixed in with the whirring and spinning sound: it's like no other sound out there. She took off pretty quick and I had forgotten just how fast the Tamiya models are compared to your local Radio Shack deals. It spun out and hit a w all within seconds and I had to laugh at myself for being so careless from the get go. As she ran close to the edge of the deck in my backyard that has a small drop off, I slammed on the brakes and hesitated. After letting the Blackfoot sit there for a couple seconds I thought now was the time to really break it in and try her out on a small drop off jump. I backed her up again to get some distance and speed and off she went towards the drop. Once there, she took it like nothing and easily hopped off and kept on rolling along.

I only had one small problem left. When trying to make it up small hills I noticed that the wheels themselves would spin inside the tires. Like I had mentioned, the manual said not to glue them in place, so Im not quite sure yet what to do about this small problem, I guess I will have to keep looking for advice.

All in all, I was really happy to have the Blackfoot Extreme as my latest toy and new found fun ride. Now I have to sit back and be patient and await the means to have maybe the Tamiya Hornet come my way.

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Dude,as I'm reading your blackfoot story I couldnt help but notice you sound just like me.I mean except for the blackfoot experience.I too used to own a blackfoot back in the day.It was around 87 and I was 12.Only I got mine already assembaled due to trading some skateboard trucks and wheels that I had to a friend for the R/C.I as well havent had one in almost 20 years and am looking around for another one or something close.I also LOVE Metallica and also play the drums.I just sold my double bass Ludwig 10 piece kit a little while ago and am looking to get another kit soon.Tama this time.My last kit was the same color as Lars had his on the Black album.You know,white shells with black heads.It was a kick ass kit but had to sell it because of financial matters at the time.Any ways write back if you want and I really liked your story.Later! Robert Carswell

Blackfoot is a great car;)

Yeah, I havent played drums activley in quite a few years but Tama was my way to go too. I just bought a Super Clodbuster and it should be here next week. I think that will be the mother of all projects for me.

I will keep ya posted.


I am from south africa and stumbled upon ur posts while browzing the net. Im looking to by a big foot rc car. i saw the blackfoot and it looks cool but the twin detonator and clod buster also looks cool. The stuff is quite expensive here. So i have to get allot of info before i get myself one. What would u suggest??

I live on a mountain... So if i get a rc,,, Im gonna go affroading

txh :)

I too am looking to recapture my youth. I had a Vintage Blackfoot that I built while I was out of school with Mono. Later on I customized it with Lights and a full chrome frame only to have it stolen from me. Now I'm looking to get another Vintage Blackfoot, except they are going for too much money on E-bay and usually pretty beat up.I may take the same route as you and go for the Blackfoot Extreme new in the box. As you already know half the fun is Building the truck.

Keep on Truckin'


im looking into a new tamiya truck and thanks to u i moght decide the blackfoot

Dude!! I think we were friends back in 1987-1989. reading this, and even back in 89, I really wanted the Blackfoot. Instead I owned a Danny Thompson stadium Truck by Panda, which I built and came w/ the 540 motor. I entered race w/ my buddy back then that had the Stampede. What fun times. I still as of yet got the black foot, I don;t know what is stopping me actually. Untill about 9 years ago I finally went into my attic to pull out my old Traxxas Bandit. Know it was rotted, I took it to my local hobby shop. Spent about 100.00 on a esc and motor. Costing as much as the bandit sales for today, but let me tell you..... I am hooked again. My son being 9, I did give this one to him, as I get myself a RC10 T4 and now working on either a black foot or stampede. But know that I know the blackfoot suspension stinks, I think it would be classic for me to get that blackfoot!! hahaha

I was digging around in my parrednt garage and found my old original blackfoot that had been put away when we moved overseas. I got it back in 86 at the age of 12. I remeber we went to Iowa to have christmas with my grandpa and I got it I had to wait till we got back to colorado before my dad and I put it together but once we did i had so much fun with all my friends. So when i oppend that box man it was like i was 13 again. I have an losi raminator now but am anxiously waiting to get theblackfoot up and running it needs alot of work. I got on line and was able to downlaod the manual now its a matter of lociting parts for it. I was wondering if you had any sugesstions on where to look, or an helpful info on getting this awsome child hood truck of joy going again. thank you and appreciate any help.

I bought a blackfoot out of box, cost me about $245, bought my son a bug, his choice! Can't wait to build em both, good memories ah, good luck from Australia

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