Tamiya Grasshopper Review, Part 1
The Tamiya Grasshopper reissue (a Christmas gift from Sherree) finally arrived the other day--it had been backordered for quite some time. I've written a little about wanting a Grasshopper reissue, and I've also written a review of my original Grasshopper. I got my first Grasshipper in 1987 (when I was 11), so my perspective has changed a little, not to mention all of the other experience I have since gained from other R/Cs.
Even before opening the box, the first thing I notice is that it's not that big! As I remember it, the Grasshopper came in a box so large that I could barely hold it. I'm sure building the car will create the same feeling: I remember construction being a little difficult and taking many hours. Looking through the kit, I realize just how well I remember it all. If the kit didn't have an instruction manual, I'm sure I could put it together from memory. (Though, admittedly, it's not a very complex kit!)
I always put the wheels together first. The Grasshopper's are definitely a step back in time: 3-piece wheels aren't used at all anymore in new kits (as far as I know). As illustrated in the photo at the right, the large plastic wheel gets squished inside the tire; it's a tight fit and was a little tough to get in. I remember it being very difficult when I put my first Grasshopper together. Once that's in, the two outer pieces sandwich over the rubber tire and five tiny screws and nuts (2mm) hold it all together. I used pliers to fit the nuts in place, also a little challenging. Lastly, now that the wheel is all screwed together, I gave the tire a squish. There was a fair bit of resistance, but the air left--and didn't return. I had to unscrew the wheels to reinflate the tire.
The more modern 1-piece design is definitely easier to assemble, glueing seals the tire better, and a hole in the rim lets air in and out easily. Not to mention that they're much lighter, important if you're racing.
In Part 2, I'll discuss and share photos of the building experience!