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Re-living the Tamiya Hornet - superb off-road buggy


Much of the past two days has been spent building the re-released version of the Tamiya Hornet radio controlled car. This car was a big success in the 1980's and it was then that I began an interest in model car building and racing. Nearly 20 years ago, I spent much of Christmas Day and Boxing Day building the car with my grandfather.

Today, all the memories of building The Hornet came flooding back - my Christmas present yesterday was the re-released Tamiya Hornet. Vivid memories of how grease was applied to everything in the gearbox and seemingly everything else in the room (!) and how time-consuming the construction of the wheels were with all those screws and nuts, nevermind the intricacy of painting the body and applying the various stickers to the outside.

The hardest task in the build was cutting the body from the vacuum formed plastic and masking up the irregular shaped windows. It didn't help when I later discovered the masking tape was more porous than I had hoped, and once removed, left traces of paint on the acrylic plastic that I had hoped to leave transparent. However, a quick solution to this is to use nail varnish remover which, like Polyfiller is to walls, hides a multitude of sins. Apply nail varnish remover sparingly to cotton wool buds so as not drop the fluid on the rest of the paintwork. Paint can be removed quite easily using the buds working at patches of paint. Then wipe clean to leave no trace.

The Electronic Speed Controller is a massive improvement over the previous servo operated wiper board which I recall became troublesome and unreliable after only a few uses as it depended upon good contacts being made for the car to operate reliably.

I seem to remember there being an alternative fixing for the rear gearbox that eliminates the rocking action that takes place when the car first accelerates. The replacement brackets prevented this rocking action and therefore the full power distributed through the rear tyres. I have yet to find this item, so if you remember this part, or indeed know where I can buy one, please mail me.

It's a great feeling recalling fond memories of the past and all the challenges that are associated with making the car run faster. Reminiscing with my brother yesterday evening brought back the vocabulary we used on an almost daily basis.

Visit Modelsport UK to find other re-released cars, such as the Lunch Box, The Frog, Grasshopper, Wild Willy, and the Clodbuster.

If you are about to order your Radio Controlled Car, why not contact Modelsport UK and quote "jonathansblog" and see if that might be worthy of a discount. Many of you have already purchased your cars from Modelsport UK and have been very happy with the service.


Hello Jon,
Just read your blog on the hornet....Being a 30 yr old guy i to loved R/C cars when i was a kid..(And still do now.) I had a Monster Beetle and a Thunder Shot 4 wheeldrive car. It made me laugh to read your blog because i also bought myself a Hornet Re-release and i complained to my wife....and remembering all the stuff also with the wheels and body etc. But i thought half the fun is building these things.

Check it out....wanna fix that rear axl torque when you punch it!?
I assume your mechanically inclined....So here is what i did....

Get yourself a number #43 drill from the hardware store (ACE,HomeDepot etc.) And a 4-40 tap. And get (2) 4-40x3/4 nylon screws and nuts. Simply drill from the top down into the plastic that the rear pivot moves up and down in and tap it and run the nut on the screws up to the head and run the screw in the plastic till it touches the metal pivot then back off a whole turn (because you need a little movement in the pivot plastic for power transfer or you'll just spin the tires off) and then run the nuts down lock it. Now you have full adjustment on the pivot for on or off road!
Good Luck
"Here's to childhood toys!"

This article is certainly good.
Thanks for sharing.

Hi Jamie and Jonathon.

I read over your upgrade information and thought to give you the heads up of and even better solution for the floating back axle housing, I had a grasshopper and and a hornet, and the grasshopper come out with fixed position housing mounts unliek the hornets elongated ones. just simply buy a plastic parts spru fo rthe grasshope rna duse those bits. perfect fix.


Hi Jamie,

Welcome to my blog site... and thanks very much for your re-lived memories too. I remember the Monster Beetle very vividly. One of my best friends Aaron Barclay, used to own the Beetle and we often met up to run our RC cars after school! My brother owned the Thundershot 4WD car, whilst I bought the almost identical Thunderdragon 4WD car - only the bodyshell was different.

The fun is all in the building of the cars, you are right. I had so much fun over the Christmas period building the car, and the anticipation generated in trying out the car was like magic... still a boy at heart. I'll be turning 30 this month, so like you, in the same RC generation!

Thank you for your guidance on fixing the rear end gearbox torque... I was so confident that Tamiya or a third party made an alternative mounting system... but your solution seems perfectly feasible.

My thought was to drive a tapping screw horizontally into the mount, just about the axel to stop it moving upwards. However, after reading your comment, I much prefer to have that adjustment that you talk of. Certainly true that we need different setups for onroad / offroad driving. Wonderful... thanks. :-)

I've been racing my car with some friends in Essex - not sure where you are based... but if you are nearby, you'd be welcome to come along and race your Hornet.

(I've just bought Tamiya Sport Tuned Motor off eBay and some replacement tyres as I figured I'll be racing the spikes off the current set anytime soon! I remember keeping a set of those for slicks...)

Here's indeed to childhood toys.... !

Happy New Year


Hi Jonathan,

A fried and I are currently contemplating buying a pair of Hornets to race each other, so your blog was a real find! If we go ahead I'd love to come and race with you guys. I'm in Suffolk, so Essex is not a million miles away!

I have just restored my Monster Beetle too! I'm looking at the Hornet purely out of angst - I wanted one so badly as a kid but couldn't have one. Now I CAN have one I might get one!



Hello Jason,

Many thanks for your comment... Suffolk isn't far from Essex, so we'd be delighted to invite you to a meet up. Bring your Monster Beetle too, and we'll find some rough terrain to run that. :-)

So... yes... definitely buy the Hornet. My brother kept asking why... to which the answer is simple... No other car would satisfy my curiosity for knowing what the Hornet was like to build and drive again like 20 years ago. :-)

So buy one... and satisfy your desire... here's something to tempt you... this was taken part way through the build...!

Hi Jonathan, great to hear about your Hornet exploits. Remember you can always catch up on Radio Control news over on my blog at:

If you think building one RC car was a chore, imagine what it must be like for me restoring 5 or 6 old cars a month!!

Its great that you are enjoying the Hornet though. I'm sure the guys over on Tamiya Club can help you with your gearbox strengthening issue.


Hey Tom,

I've visited your site... I think it was you who first alerted me to the re-released cars... so thanks matey. :-)

I had great fun meeting up with you and Alex the other week with our cars. I remember now why it's not a good idea to drive these cars through enormous puddles... they don't come out the other end! I didn't tell you on the day as I was too embarrassed, that I did that once before as a kid and the same thing happened. :-)

Still up and running again now, featuring a new waterproof electronic speed controller (ESC)

We shall have to do it again and perhaps with Jason if he and his mate are willing.

talk again soon,


Hi Jonathan,

Thrilled and delighted at your charming response above, thank you! I've ordered mine, Martin is ordering his this evening! Ah, the historic occasion of me finally getting a Hornet! The craving I felt for one of those when I was about 12 or 13 was close to unbearable! Loitering in the model shop, gazing wistfully at the promotional video, on £1 per week pocket money.... (I'm now 35).

I'll keep an eye on this thread and then let you know once we're built and up and running.

By the way, for Christmas I got two of these specifically for my RC Cars:

Shall I bring them with me? Hee hee!

Best regards to all,


Ah, way cool!

This is what Jason has... think you'll definitely have to bring these along....

Skateboard ramp for use with Tamiya Radio Control cars, Hornet, Monster Beetle

I brought my Hornet into school today (I'm a teacher) for the kids to play with. They've had great fun racing it around the playground and in the smooth varnished hall - the feeling must be contagious as one of the pupils is bringing his RC car into school tomorrow. :-)

Ok... wait to hear from you and Martin.

Enjoy the fun... should be prompt delivery if bought from Modelsport UK- mine arrived next day! I'd definitely recommend buying from them as they offer great service, and the cheapest prices I have seen on the Internet if buying from a UK outlet.

It arrived today! Waheyyyyy!

It's only taken me 22 years to get to this point.

Super. :-)

Did you order from Modelsport UK in the end?

My Tamiya Sport Tuned RS-540 motor arrived from Hong Kong today... so will fit that. I somehow think it might be too fast for the already nippy revised Hornet... but when on-road it might be more beneficial... I'll let you know just as soon as I've fitted it.

I also bought some new tyres for the rear wheels. Current ones are quickly becoming slicks which will be ok for use on the road whilst the new ones will be preserved for off-road activity.

Won't need to ask what you'll be doing tonight then... tee hee....

good luck... and have oodles of fun. Watch out for that grease! ... and take your time on the bodyshell, well worth the patience.

Send us a pic when you're done and I'll put it up on this site.

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for yet another friendly response. Yes, both Martin and I ordered from Modelsport UK. I couldn't resist doing at least SOMETHING to it last night, so once the wife was asleep I was straight out to the workshop! I was quite surprised at how small the car is - smaller than I remember but then I was considerably smaller the last time I saw one too! I reached the point where the rear shocks are fitted and you start work on the servo saver.

It has been an interesting build, as I'm a model aircraft chap and haven't built a car like this before. It's bliss and luxury just bolting stuff together instead of all the sanding and gluing I'm used to!

Jonathan, I meant to ask you: I think the most fun place to run an off-road RC car is at a BMX track. Do you have a BMX track near you?



Hello Jason,

Sorry for not responding sooner... had a fabulous past few days, although nothing very much to do with racing model cars, apart from looking at the possibility of including that as a new activity at the next annual Hemi Activity Day. The day is organised for children with hemiplegia and their families to take part in activities that they might not otherwise get the opportunity... i.e. scuba diving, horse-riding, football, arts&crafts, sailing that sort of thing. This year we will hopefully have model RC cars which have been chosen, ordered and built by the kids at my school - and have them ready for sometime in June!

Yeah, I know exactly the point you describe in the build process. I called it a night at that point too!

I'm not familiar with a BMX track in Essex... but will start looking for one.

If you want to race your Hornet, why not try Coastal Model Car Racing Club in Ipswich, superb facilities for both on road & off road rc electric racing.
Website gives more information

Thanks for this Barry.

The off-road track looks good fun. Great website too...

Do you have sessions where people can just turn up and play rather than compete?

Any help much appreciated.


Hi fellor i have a hornet and iam struggling to get a shell for it can someone help if so e mail me at would be much appreciated if someone can find one new or used

Hello Lee,

I have looked on ebay a few times and have seen some bodyshells there, although they tend to be shipped from Hong Kong.

Alternatively, - from Modelsport UK

Hope this helps.

Dear All,

Well I finished it! It's ludicrously fast too, even on the standard motor. I've found a couple of off-road racing clubs near here, one of which I was stunned to find was only five miles from my house! Dying to try it on a proper race track. I think this car belongs off-road, it keeps flipping and rolling on tarmac, which then of course knackers the stickers and paint.

I've got some pictures of the finished article - how do I get them on here?

I'd still like to meet up with you guys though. Where did you run your cars when you met up with Tom and Alex?

You guys should come up here too, when the local club is up and running.

All the best,


Evening Jason,

Yeah... amazingly fast with the standard 540 motor. Still haven't managed to try new motor... I don't have the Allen key that I need to move the pinion from the current motor to the new one. I will be able to do this at the weekend, however.

You can now upload photos (I think) There should be a little green plus symbol at the bottom left of these comment forms. This should allow you to choose a file and upload it and insert the image. If you can't, for whatever reason, perhaps email me the photos at the email address above, and I'll put them up... cool :-)

We ran our cars at Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex. We used the car park, stony, gravel surface which was ok until I drove my car into the biggest puddle there. It stopped dead as the ESC flooded with water - beware.. neither the receiver nor speed control are waterproof.

I'd be happy to come up and visit you guys... especially with tracks there. I don't know if there are times when people can just go along and play rather than compete? Is your club not open until spring time?

Perhaps chat via email to make arrangements.

Hear from you soon,

Hi Jonathan,

That allen key was supplied in the kit.

Our local club would be open, but the high winds have destroyed the rostrum and flyover and the field is waterlogged, so we don't think it will be usable until later in the year. The Ipswich club seems to be up and running though.

Right, I'll try to upload photos. In the jump shot, yes, it landed perfectly and drove away!



Finished HornetFinished Hornet

Finished Hornet(2)Finished Hornet(2)

Big Air!Big Air!

Wow what a beauty! Im going to try order myself one now! :P

Damn, the jump shot appears too dark as a thumbnail. It was taken at night, but is perfectly visible at full size though. How come the pictures came out so small on here?



Hello Jason,

I hurriedly got the images to show earlier today - there are problems with the code that the image upload tool generates - probably a settings thing which I need to spend time looking at in more detail, which is why the images didn't appear initially, then only got the thumbnails after that. Your images uploaded just fine though - so many thanks ...just an issue with the way they are presented, which I have fixed now.

I can't believe the shot of the Hornet in the air (!)... that's pretty awesome... think the ramps are excellent. Would love to try those out.


Hey every one I'm 13 and i have 1 on the original hornets!! its great apart from 1 thing the dreaded mechanical speed controller :-(. I'm in the middle of changing the servos (knackered) and changing to electronic speed controller (wohoo). And is the new hornet as fast as the old 1 mine goes 30mph?!

Hello Josh..

Great to see you here and thanks for posting. The re-released Hornet seems to be much faster than how I remember the original to be. I have put this down to the advancement in battery technology and the electronic speed controller which is sooo much better. I was forever cleaning the contacts and adjusting the wiper to make contact with the wiper board.

Well done for preserving the original Hornet. At only 13 years old, you must have been given the car or bought it second hand?

i think im in need of a new shell 2 lol i gotta get me 1 o those

yeah my dads friend gave it to me because he has a petrol car and he needed 2 make some space (his girlfriend) lol. ne way iv been shopping around on ebay n iv found that i need the 40amp speed controller so that it wont burn out. ill send u some pics when its finished.

I have just brought myself a hornet off road buggy. I have only just started taking an interest as my dad had a little remote control motorbike. My buggy is not brand new but thought i would start somewhere. But i would be interested if there is anywhere to race them for fun or sport. If you could help me i would be much appreciated. You can contact me on Hope to hear from you soon

WOW, I cannot believe how much interest their is in the hornet!!!??

I was just looking at your'e blog Jonathan and it seems there is a great interest and having fun in these little racing these cars.

Good Luck and enjoy.

Love Helen

Hello Helen,

Yes, there is a huge amount of interest in the Hornet... it is one of the classic Tamiya cars first sold in the 1980's and when thousands of kits were sold to youngsters (and adults!)

The Wild Willy was even more popular. In fact, there are User groups and Clubs dedicated to the little jeeps alone, such was there popularity.


good news the cars workin and i have bought the esc its on it way from hong kong so couple o weeks or so itll b here! i clocked the car on a standard motor @ 25mph

Hello Josh,

Thanks for keeping me and others uptodate on progress with your Hornet. The ESC will make a huge difference to how your car drives. Maybe make it go even quicker?

Just out of interest, how did you clock your car going at 25mph? Have you got a radar gun!!?


im back but this time i got a big project with my car. yesterday my dads friend who loves rc cars had an idea the idea was that we cut the car in half make it 1 foot longer (using aluminium and put on a rc plane engine (about .46 size) an guess what you got?
thats right a nitro belt driven drag car. a nitro hornet drag car!!!
ill keep you updated

My friends and next door neighbours bought a hornet, back in 1984. I think then it was £150ish (could be wrong, that figure sticks in my mind) and £150 was more than my parents could afford - as much as I wanted one (although I did have a nice RC car) I never a hornet in the end. Fast forward twenty three years, and I ordered one this afternoon :D Its Friday, it arrives tomorrow, so Im hoping to find the time to put it together this weekend, and maybe drive it on Sunday if all goes well.

Im not a model builder, in fact its been twenty something years since I built my last Airfix model, so putting the hornet together will be fun! :) Im looking forward to building it as much as driving it. If anyone has any general tips, or DOs or Dont's, give me a shout.

Great web page, its an interesting read :)


Great blog! Nostalgia indeed :) Why dont you put up some more links and pics of the hornet Jonathan, praps a compilation of modification tips, pics of different tamiya hornets in various colour schemes, hornet decal download links (I think they exist) and other bits and bobs for tamiya hornet enthusiasts. I was thinking of doing something along those lines at although there is nothing to see there yet. Again, nice site, its great to see a page dedicated to a piece of vintage RC history :)

i have a tip for any one that has a Hornet.
my first rc car was a hornet , and i got tired
of replacing the rear body mount posts.
which brake off very easy if you roll the buggy .
so when i started useing a esc.
i put a piece of flat hard plastc where the white block from the stock speed controler went.useing the same screw's,that held the block. I then put a short body post on it.
I then put a small sheet of plastc over the opening on the back of body.and drilled a hole for the body post .
this puts the pin and post below the top of the body ,just like the newer buggy's.
so if you flip it on it top, it will not brake the post's off.
I think this should be a add on,in the kit.
for when you switch to a esc. from the stock speed control.
I live in the usa.
I now have 2 team losi truck's .

Brilliant!! I've been thinking about getting a Hornet for a while now, but reading the comments I'll be ordering one soon! My first experience with one was when I was about 8 or 9 and my brother owned one. I used to love that car, couldn't believe how quick it was compared to my own Nikko kids toys!! Well my brother finally grew out of it and gave to me for a birthday present one year!! Come to think of it, it's probably still in the loft at my parents house.
As mentioned, I agree the build process is half the fun and I can't wait!!

Hey !! great site man... I have gotten back into tamiya cars about 1.5 years ago (I just turned 30 !!) I have a lancia delta, alfa gulietta, WRX and a lotus elise(aftermarket on a TT-01) shell..,.


my pride and joy is my 2 week old HORNET !!!... I always wanted this as a kid and my folks couldn't afford it so my brother an di ended up with a pair of knock offs that would only steer if they went backwards... you basically drove around doing 3-point turns !!! Anyways... I recently got the HORNET and slapped a 15 turn motor with a matching ESC.... this thing is a complete killer.... I've had people ask me if its a nitro car and are amazed at the speed !! the battery life is not that bad either.. I actually put a TT-01 heat sink on my motor and that limits the gear box travel you mention... I might do the modification mentioned with the screws also...QUESTION; does anyone know of aftermarket rear tires??

Greetings from San Francisco !

Hello Erwinito

Great to see you here and to hear the excitement in your voice.

I have found the Hornet to be faster than ever I remember it to be. I think battery technology has improved significantly and the ESC is much more efficient at transferring power to the motor. I remember the old speed controllers having resistors that would get incredibly hot which therefore drained much of the electrical power too.

Be careful that your 15-turn motor doesn't wreck the gearbox - it is only made of nylon, not metal!

I have bought spare Hornet tyres - find them on ebay.

Enjoy your hornet.


hello all. great to hear about the little hornet its still fantastic. about 4 weeks ago i bought myself a nitro buggy the hobao hyper 8.5 rtr realy good and fast but only had it out about 10 times and decided to digg my old hornet out of the loft its got a few hop up parts like low prof tires kyosho mega power engine (realy fast) and a difrent shell the grass hopper (hard plastic) me and my son gave it a full service on my wifes table ! she wasnt in at the time ha . got myself 2 new batteries and away we went im 33 and still loving rc action might get the re-release if the boss will alow me lol .... happy new year to all of you.....

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this page, and to those who continue to do so. It's great being amongst fellow enthusiasts, albeit in a virtual space. Does anyone fancy having a Hornet 'meet' anytime soon?

Happy New Year to all.


use the mounts from the grasshopper

they don't slop around like the ones on the hornet :)


Toledo, OH, USA

I recently purchased a Tamiya Hornet kit and it is now fully built. I have had it running for about twenty minutes then whenever I put it in full throttle,either in reverse or forwards it starts jerking/losing signal and will not stop until you ease of the power. I have run through the set up procedure checked batteries connections etc and all things would point to either the TEU-101BK or the Acoms transmitter-receiver. As the car ran without fault initially and does not overheat. I would think there is a fault with the overcurrent mechanism in the 101bk. As I may be missing the obvious I wondered if you could point to something before I send the 101bk part back for replacement.

Ben Barker

Hello Ben,

It sounds to me as though your electronic speed controller isn't configured correctly. When I set up mine for the first time, you need to tell it how far forward the transmitter control goes, and likewise how far back it goes for reverse. Try setting you trimming controls to zero and run through the setup process again. Careful trimming may resolve any issues after that. Just a thought.


Hello fellow Hornet enthusiasts!
Without boring you all too much I used to own a Hornet around 15 years ago at the tender age of 14. My two brothers had The Mudblaster and The Madcap which were no match for the indestructable speedy Hornet. I unfortunately made the mistake of trading my Hornet in at the local model shop for a petrol car(Dear oh dear).
A few weeks ago I rummaged around in my parents attic on a visit and came across my brothers two cars which still worked perfectly well after 10+ years in hibernation. This then led me to Google The Hornet to see if i could pick up a second hand car. I then stumbled across Jonathan's blog and have just purchased a new one from the recommended shop "Modelsport Uk". After a couple of days the car is now fully working but i have few minor tweeks to resolve. First is the speed controller minor problem which Ben has found. Also I have set the suspension to the hard setup and is too bouncey. Did anyone else find this the case? Other than that i am more than pleased with the car, and will keep an eye out for further comments from fellow Hornet freaks.

Hello Chris,

Great to see you here. Yes, indeed the Hornet is still a fantastic car. I love mine, probably more so because it suffers from the all too bouncy setup - I think it's more part of its character than anything else. When I drive mine fast, with lots of power to the rear wheels, it quite often causes the rear wheels to jump up and down as though it were doing bunny hops.

Modelsport are a great shop, I've received nothing but great service from them so I would continue to recommend them.

Did my suggestion to adjust the trim controls solve the speed controller problem. I've not experienced the issues you and Ben are having.

I'm still on for the Hornet 'meet-up'. Where are you based?


Hello Johnathan

Thanks for getting back with the advice. I have since recalibrated the speed controller so that the trim sits nicely in the middle, so thanks for that. I still have the minor problem like Ben does with the reverse not beind as responsive as the forward motion. It may be that it is just new. Other than that i'm having great fun. Everyone that has seen the finished model has admired it and says that they may follow suit and buy one. I now have the bug and am looking to buy my next tamiya classic which is going to be The Lunchbox, Modelsport are selling a rather tasty looking limited edition one with gold wheels and matching body.

I live in Ipswich, Suffolk so i'm not very far away at all, so maybe a hornet meet could be on the cards.


Hello Johnathan

Thanks for getting back with the advice. I have since recalibrated the speed controller so that the trim sits nicely in the middle, so thanks for that. I still have the minor problem like Ben does with the reverse not beind as responsive as the forward motion. It may be that it is just new. Other than that i'm having great fun. Everyone that has seen the finished model has admired it and says that they may follow suit and buy one. I now have the bug and am looking to buy my next tamiya classic which is going to be The Lunchbox, Modelsport are selling a rather tasty looking limited edition one with gold wheels and matching body.

I live in Ipswich, Suffolk so i'm not very far away at all, so maybe a hornet meet could be on the cards.


hi john could u tell me what the range is on the hornet because i might buy one

Cant believe that the hornet and lunchbox have been re-released . I am deffinatly gonna get one next pay day , dont know which yet ! how fast do they go ? I have read that they are using the 540 motors . Is there anyway you can make them as fast a petrol driven cars ? any feed back would be great .


well without any modifications to the engine and wheel bearings it can go 25 mph. with new wheel bearings of metal car can go 30mph. but when you buy new engine it can go till 60mph. so answer is yes you can make it as fast as petrol ones

i had a lunchbox recently that was faster than a work mates nitro car. it cost a fortune to build but was so funny to watch!! go to you tube and look at 'brushless lb'

basicly i bought the kit to make fast, i fitted metal bearings, and glued the rear tyres to the rims. i also fitted cva short shocks but i dont think anything woul make it any more stable.

the motor and esc was a novak ss5800 8.5turn brushless set up, the gears can take it without breaking!!!

I came across this blog having been researching Tamiya cars all day (at work!). I too owned a Hornet which I received for my tenth birthday. My best friend Joe Harvey's big brother George had one, and so I remember that every day for about six months I asked my dad, "Dad, can I have a Hornet for my birthday?" and so of course to keep my happy (and quiet) they bought me one. When I built it I deviated slightly from the instructions, using sellotape for example instead of the heat-shrink insulating sleeving that came supplied. I didn't have the enough paint, either, and had to use some metallic brown car spray for the spoiler. That didn't last long anyway because my big brother broke it off with a tennis ball!

I remember melting some chocolate on top of that hot ceramic block at the rear of the car too. What the heck was that for anyway? I loved my hornet, but one day it died a horrible death. I had been using my dad's car battery charger to fast-charge my hornet's battery, and one day left it charging whilst I went to scouts. When I came back the battery had massively overheated and melted the chassis. That was a sad day.

I don't think I'll but the same car again, despite the opportunity to assemble it correctly, treat it well and enjoy some nostalgia at the same time. Instead, now I'm nearly 32, I might buy a more top of the range Tamiya car instead, as that is what the 10-year-old me would have wanted.

Amazing here I am thinking 'wouldn't mind getting the old RC cars out but there hard to repair and expensive now Sand scorchers & rough riders'. When I do an Ebay spot they have re-released the Hornet thinks I 'hmmmm thats fun' start doing a google and find this, excellent and now trouble is my 14 year old says he would like one as well!
They are great fun, just got to get one past the wife :o))

Do you know how to fix the problem with the battery cover.It fells every time a rock hits it, wen i go for off road

Hey there,

maybe you will laugh at that, but i have some sort of "problem" with my new kit.

I'm just in the process of assembling the re-release Hornet kit and found something odd: there seems to be one extra plastic "gear" in the kit which seems to belong to nowhere. It's not specified in any of the pictures, the gearbox itself fit together fine and nothing seemed missing while putting it together.

It looks exactly the same as the front part (small diameter) of the Counter Gear (MR6).

Any idea what that could be, did i really miss something?
Thanks for your help, i really appreciate your feedback!

Keep up the good work, Chris


I have just got one of these for my lad Luke (6) and have experienced many of the probs above mainly the over spray issue and the tape being porous, i will post some pics soon, got to get to work

cheers steve

meant to say i remember these from BITD and had to get one, so far its been excellent building it

Christian, dont worry about the left over gear, i have had the same mate. tested mine, well my sons car last night. made a little ramp in the lounge it was so cool. its already for him for xmas morning. Pic will come soon!

How do you do it on here, do you need photobucket

hi all here is my sons car at last i have finished it:







My sone decided on the colours, i picked the shades. What do you think

how do you put pics up, as mine have not come on?

Looking to buy an old school tamiya for my son Luke (myself!) and have decided on a Hornet but what I really remember as a kid was the Sandscorcher and would love to get one.
Looked on e bay and they fetch astronomical money ! is there any rumours of tamiya re releasing this model /

I would like to know if anyone has an idea of street tires I can get to put on the Hornet rims? I thought about using the Grasshopper paddle wheels, but I remember how good the foam tires worked on my original Hornet.

HPI make some of correct diameter, and 35mm width. I use similar on my Nikko Rhino - perfect!

Also, can I get bigger better shocks for it from another car?

I just scored 2 re-release Hornets on EBay and will be converting 1 to a Grasshopper, basically just a rear tire swap and a different body. I loved reading your blog, takes me back to my childhood as well. I always wanted a Hornet or Grasshopper but never got one as a kid, now 34 yrs old I can afford all the "toy cars" I didnt get when I was a kid.
My best memory was when I first discovered the tamiya Hornet/Grasshopper chassis. A kid down the street got one for christmas and I remember walking home from school and seeing these weird tracks on the sidewalk in the light snow, not knowing what they were and being a curious 10 yr old, I followed them. I never got to drive his car, but spent alot of time watching him zip around the neighborhood, wishing for my own.


Hi What a great blog, does anyone know of any other body shells that will fit the hornet Ive just smahed mine up and havign trouble gettign another. Does the grasshopper fit, also any pics of the gearbox fixing would help don't quite understand from the blogs, happy hornetting J

Hi All,
I haven't read through this blog entirely but I love what I've read so far. I've just bought the Hornet after memories of pining for one when I was a boy - I'm 30 now...
I remember saving my paper round money and buying a 2nd hand midnight pumpkin, it was good fun but I always wanted to build one! well now I have my hornet and as I work for myself I think it's likely that I'll go bankrupt as I cant seem to do anything other than work on the car!

Which brings me to a problem I'm having...I'm hoping someone knows what this might be.
I've wired up everything, when I switch on the car, the LED flashes and beeps consistently. The left/right functions work OK, but no power from the motor - if I disconnect the motor the bleeping stops. I'm using a Acoms controller. I'm puzzelled as to why I've got 2 servos in the pack?

My first thought was the gearbox wasn't setup properly (should the rear wheels be in neutral when theres no power?) but I think if this was the case the motor would just spin.

help! I want my hornet on the road!

Ollie- I had a similar problem with my airtronics controller on my hornet. It was an older model controller and I had to switch the wires on the plug from the receiver to the speed control. look at the directions to the speed controller and see if the labeled wires match what it says on your receiver. I almost cut mine, but took it to my local hobby shop and he showed me how to push up on the individual wires and swap them. Your best bet is to take it to your local hobby shop and show them what it is doing. Good Luck!

Like many here I got my first Hornet when I was a kid which was about 20 years ago and still love it. I didn't read every post here but it's great to see so many people still into these things. As far as the posts about the rear axle pivoting when first applying power, that was designed to give the rear more of a live axle setup and better off roading so the gearbox could tilt and not bounce the whole car going over small bumps. If you want to eliminate that all you have to do is use the pieces for the Grasshopper instead of the Hornet (essentially they are the same cars). The part you're looking for comes on the parts tree with the Grasshopper gearbox and instead of having a slot where that pivot axle rides in, the grasshopper piece just has a circle and the gearbox fits directly into that. They have the parts tree on Towerhobbies website and it's Tamiya B Parts 58346.
Hope this helps out anyone who wants to do this and have fun!!

Firstly, what a nice, friendly and fun blog. Well done've created a nice little buzz about childhood 'wants' and reliving all those things as an adult.

I think I'm in the same situation as a lot of you guys are/were. I'm 35 and never had a working car...but now I CAN afford one myself...I want one! It'll be a bit of a fun project (thankfully, girlfriend is quite cool about these things).

Annoyingly I remember Dad buying me a very complex r/c car kit when I was about 10 or 11 thinking I'd be able to build it no problem (I was a bit of a wizz at model planes etc). However, it all got a bit TOO complex for me and I never finished it. I'm still gutted to this day...which I guess is fuelling my desire to get a set of wheels!

So, I'm thinking about something fairly straightforward, reasonably cheap and fun...with that added 'retro' factor. Tamiya seem to tick the boxes, they've always been pretty good for kits and I too remember going into the local model shop and drooling over various cars behind the counter. But what to choose? Frog...Boomerang (etc etc)...or HORNET?? There's certainly something about the Hornet which appeals isn't there?

How does the Hornet perform off-road then, Jonathan? Sounds like it's pretty fast :)




yesterday i bought this hornet. jesus it's fast!!!!!!! but i heard from the guy who was working in the shop that i can buy new engine which would push hornet till huh?!?!?!?!?! and bearings for the wheels of metal so they will add 5 mph. so question is where i can get the engine and bearings????


Andy Belgrade

you can fit a brushless system whick will give you your high speed but it isnt cheap and the battery for this type of mator you need to handle with care and the battery alone is approx 60 pounds !

just found this blog having just built the rereleased rough rider , im 41 this year i had a hornet in 1984 , i fitted the tech tuned motor at the time and nothing could catch it , very fast and reliable great fun . how can i upload pictures to this site ?

I have just managed to get hold of a 2nd hand Super Hornet from E bay for my son. I cannot wait to get hold of it and play. Same as most of you... I remember the childhood days playing with these things. nearing 40 now but feel about 12 waiting for it to arrive !!!! ;-)

PS have loved reading the blog...great stuff . keep it up guys. I'm sure I will be back on soon!!

I always coveted the Hornet ,Grasshopper and Frog in my yoof but never owned one.

My son has just spent up all his hard earned savings (it's alot of money when you are 7 and a half) on a Hornet re issue.

WE ARE LOVING IT!! although I dont get many goes, as I can't even say to him "Well daddy did buy it for you" because daddy patently DID NOT by it for him!!

As a result I am demoted to chief mechanic,a busy role, as MR Hornet lives a tough life.

To this end I am presently grappling with the problem of the Hornets unique axle diameter.

We purchased some after market wheels (slicks for tarmac and some knobbly ones to replace the worn out standard fit ones) These new wheels required a 12mm hex axle

Great!! Tamiya seems to sell a conversion kit for non hex cars.

The kit arrives but the axles are too fat **!!~?!

I know tamiya sell replacement wheels and tyres for the Hornet and Grasshopper but there is a whole world of tasty aftermarket wheels out there and it seems such a pity to miss out.

I know that there is always drilling the new Hexes as a fix, but has anyone got any other ideas/solutions.

just stumbled upon this site. i bought a hornet last week at lakeside after wondering what to do with some spare cash i had. brought back the memories of my youth building my tamiya falcon and after a couple of days ive been chasing the dog around the garden with it.. which turned into the dog chasing the hornet! Ive only got one problem is that the battery is abit cheap and the motor will stutter on pull away so ive got a newer bigger battery on order. just great i can see me buying more models! anyone know of a good place to run it near colchester?

Hi,ive just brought the Tamiya Hornet and as im a newbie at constructing these i need assistance on the how you connect all the wiring thats on the electronic speed controller ,the servo,the acoms 2 channel receiver and the motor.Also i have a acoms techniplus transmitter that has two switches at the bottom,do they need to be switched to the left "R" or right "N".if anyone has any pics they cud show me id be most grateful.Thanks,Steve (

Hey you guys all rock!!
My brother bought a Hornet a couple of months ago and I though that I'd get one to race him Since then I've modified it slightly- I remember walking into the local hobby shop and telling them of my plans- their responce was part enthusiastic and part shock one of them informing me that I was "destroying a classic"....but they were wrong...dear god it is fast!
Only problem being that I keep running out of tyres, so I thought that I'd ask if anyone knows of how to convert it to take modern rims? These tyres seems to be getting harder tto get and the newer ones have great tread designs and lovely foam in them to help keep their shape!
It feels like I grew up with you guys but I'm in Australia! Keep it up fellas

Ive just done what a lot of people have done, searched their attic / garage etc. found my original hornet (ahhh the memories being allowed to stay up to 3am to finish building it, my poor dad. to my surprise evrything is still working,amazing for somrthing 25 years old and bashed around a lot when i was a kid, ok so i had to change the chassis due to front end damage (luckily i had an original spare chassis), i remember changing the stock motor to a robbe turbo st motor which has 6-7.2v,0.6 -14amp and 13000 min written on it does anyone know anything about this motor or can they give me advice on a new motor to buy, i would like to stay brushed, i dont want to have to upgrade anything except maybe put metal bearings on the wheels, any advice on the most powerful motor i can put on it without breaking the gears would be more than welcome.

P.s A great blog site johnathon its brought back some great childhood memories

i am interested in pershusing the hornet but i want to know how long does it take to build one?

Hello, definitely buy one there are a lot of fun. You could build it in about 3 hours all in. The painting and cutting of the body shell takes the longest to get a really good job.


Go for it.

appreciate your help i think im going to buy it

Hi there, just happened upon your blog by chance as i'm laid up at the min with torn ligaments in my knee :-( As most people have been saying i too wanted one (Hornet) back in the day as a school friend had one 1983-84 but i couldn't raise the funds back then no matter how hard i tried as i was only 10 or 11. Surfice to say i can now though and had been wondering about buying one for the past few weeks, anyhow i have now decided on buying one and to make matters even better the wifes not even bothered. RESULT. Can't wait for it to arrive and to start building it. Its going to be like being a little kid all over again. Having said that i'm still i little kid, its just the down side is i'm now in an adults body :-(

Hi Mark,

Enjoy the build, I found that the most rewarding bit. Have great fun with the Hornet and best wishes for quick knee recovery.



Hi there Jonathan, knee is actually much better thanks. But on a more serious note :-) I just thought i'd let you know i've just purchased my Hornet from Modelsport UK this min....! So i'm now one very happy little bunny, or atleast i will be in the next couple of days when it arrives :-) Here's now counting down the hours and mins until it arrives. Only be waiting around 26 years or so, so i suppose another couple of days won't make any dif? Keep enjoying what your doing. Regards Mark.

hi hornet lovers,im rodsta just getting back into it lov the hornet and hot shot this blog is unreal just came across it while i was searching the web for hornets and hop ups this is coolest thing i very much enjoy all you guys write up unreal love it keep up the write ups dudes the hornets freaking mad i loved that car i was 12 and this guy in the street of my then home was ripping it up n down tha street and i was in the garage building stuff and i herd this electric motor screaming so i went to investgate and wat i saw i fell in love so i pested me old man to buy one for me one day he said were going to uncle petes toys i was so excited cuz i knew why we were going there and i got my hornet MAD.
so i built my lovly good old hornet took me days but i pulled it off cuz i was mechanical minded always building stuff down the old mans tool garage it absolutly kicked ass up n down the street madness i feel in love
few weeks later my sister found out and smashed it, dont know were it ended up in the bin proberly my mother use to throw out anything that didnt go
now im 34 and bought a nitro hyper 8 and guess wat i bloody hate it its brand new bita dust on it its for sale if any one interested let me know car only hyper 7 nitro motor needs realy im into and stuck into electro power there faster and no bloody petrol or bloody stupid tunning im so into the hornet im buying one next saturday and that same guy was ripping up n down the street a tamiya hot shot whooo but i never got one cuz my hornet got smashed so im guna buy one of them too wen i found out they both r re releast i was over the moon love building em cant wait
all cool dudes here could u let me know were i could get hop ups for both of the tamiya cars
and can i get stronger gear boxes and tyres to hack the power of brushless for off n on road for a brushless and wat would be a good combo deal for the buggys esc and motor r novic any good dudes take care dudes hop em up soop em up and and go thrashing i love being a basher racing you need patiants for that eehheehheeh

Hi all. My five year old son recently spotted my old hornet sitting in the loft where its been since we moved house about 10 years ago.(and was in mum and dads loft for a good 12 years prior to that) I had all but forgotten about it. Anyhow he pestered me to get it down so I did and tried it and worked perfectly apart from battery not lasting very long and tires being perrished. I ordered a new battery and some replacement tyres (battery coming from hong kong and hasn't arrived yet can't wait but tyres arrived this morning. Does any one have any tips on the best way to fit them as I am rally sruggling at the moment.

Hi Jonathan. I'm struggling at the moment deciding between getting a Hornet or Frog re-release. The Frog's (I'm told) are getting harder to get so I may get that out of paranoia about missing out! Would you suggest getting a complete kit with the remote, ESC and everything, or going it alone and installing better components for remote, speed control etc?

hey tom s the hornots a better car if you ask me and wat comes with the kit is all fine but if you want to go faster motor youll have to change the esc and battery and charger and if you go faster youll have to change your gear box to stronger stuff might be hard to get but the hornet as it comes is pretty good it is quite fast so if your guna getting going faster get better stuff 4 it better radio esc motor battery charger stronger gears but im buying one soon and all im going to do to it is get a quicker motor and more powerful battery and ill b happy go upto a 3000mah and a strong motor that wont burn out hornets r da best all the best with it tom

Having popped round a friends house to see his new RC Car - i remembered that I had a 1980's Hornet in the loft. A few evenings cleaning it up, establishing that it needed a new radio switch (and new battery of course) it's now back on the off-road. My 7 yr old boy loves it. I had forgotten how fast and how much fun these cars are - even the old one's in standard form go like stink. Great fun and has got me searching eBay for another vintage Tammy. The only thing I cant work out is, Why did I paint it blue???!!!! They look so good in Black - oh well, still looks great. Need to find some new rear tyres - my knobbles are slicks. May try some Grasshopper style tyres on the rear - those knobbles dont last 5 mins (on the tarmac).

Thanks for your tips rodsta. Ended up going with the Frog (XB - pre-built) and am stoked with it. Having said that, I plan to get a hornet as well real soon. The XB is built really well. It's a credit to Tamiya. Look forward to fitting propper race bearings, a better battery and maybe an old school worked Tamiya engine to give it just a little more speed. I had a Tamiya falcon new but the frog (and from memory the hornet) are just so much fun. I'm dead keen to get the Hornet now and like Rosscrea; am thinking of Grasshopper tyres for longer lasting tread!

hi tom s no worries my girl gotme a hotshot for my birth day so stoked im going to hopp it up with a hobbywing brushless system it will fly bro
with your hornet if you want serious speed go buy a hobbywing brushless system the 9 turn brushless motor flys im guna geta 5 turn whoo thatwill fly
hobbywing brushless systems r very good value they go and go and go guess how much 160 dollars from a hobby store in newcastle aus thats value the others obviuosly were paying for the name like novak mambamax and all that there all 350 to 400 bucks the hobbywings just as good probably better i got mine off the net 9 turn motor 45 bucks esc 55 bucks wow man great vale go get your hornet and definaly go buy a hobbywing brushless system go the 9turn thats pretty quick dont know bout a 5 turn dont know if the hornet gearbox could handle it it might should be easy to get parts now cuz i came to know thereve re relased them again i like the hot shot but the hornets a bit more wild cuz its 2wheel drive have fun dude
ps guesswat i did i converted my 1/8th petrol buggy into electric got a novak brushless system 6 turn it f.....king flys it hammers its off its head wish i could show you it does wheelies man if you put a nice hobbywing 5turn your hornet will do wheelies if yourve got the right pinion gear take care mate nice to meet ya go get ya hornet see ya mate im off to take my hotshot for a spin and a thrash down the bmx track lada dude

Ha, this Hornet was a popular machine huh! I just got mine out for my 4yr old son and he loves racing it up and down the drive. Got a new battery for it, still have all the grease/oil etc ! Only thing is, it seems to be slipping internally (doesn't seem to be the diff but maybe the motor??) its slowing to a crawl when going up hill and when putting the power down, it slowly accelerates instead of taking off like it used to. Amazing how well it goes after 20 years though! Any help appreciated, how can I test the motor?

Thanks and happy playing!



I wonder if the slipping you mention might relate to the pinion gear slipping on the motor shaft? Worth taking the motor out and examining how tight the pinion is. You'll need an allen key to tighten the pinion gear.

Good luck.



Great Blog...Thanks Jonathan. Quick question: What tools will be required to build the Hornet? I'm over here in Afghanistan and plan on video taping myself build the hornet so my son can watch as he builds his. Not quite the same as being there but I have to be creative. Before I order I need to know what tools I should have sent as well. Thanks!

 Sorry Jake,


My reply is below.



Hey guys...great BLOG. Thanks Jonathan. I've got a quick question. I'm over here in Afghanistan and will be ordering a Hornet to assemble on camera so that I can send it to my son so he can assemble the one I'm buying him for his birthday. My question is, what tools will I need that don't come with the kit? Thanks in advance.

Hi Jake,

From memory the tools you will need are:

* pliers

* phillips (cross-head) screwdriver

* knife for cutting the body shell

* snips to make a clean cut to remove all the components from the nets, not essential, but nice.

* paintbrush / spray can

Best wishes with the assembling, it's a great car, and I'm sure that your son will be delighted!




Great blog :-)

I am currently restoring my good old Hornet - got it for X-mas 1985. Had years of fun untill it was run over by a car and the chassis broke. Now I have ordered a new chassis and new wheels and tires.

Was just wondering if you guys had any good and simple ideas for upgrades?

David (from Denmark)

im 13 and i got a hornet 2 weeks ago i was wondering if anyone had any advice on what typpe of motor would be good to fit as an upgrade as im obsessed with going fast thanks

Hey Leuan, If you look on some of the rc forums theyl state what you can fit in it, the gearbox ain't bulletproof so ull have to be careful it ain't TOO powerful, A brushless i a NO GO as itl just rip it apart off-roading, A standard 540 Johnson Motor what's installed in a Tamiya FF-02 is pretty quick, would be nice in the hornet... Try on ebay for cheap deals on them too :)

Get back to us on how it goes,

Hey Jonathan, Great Blog! Im Shane (18) Just bought my Hornet off ebay 2nd hand (can add to my collection :D) Got it for £43 , i think it's the re-release.. are they the same as the original? :D, Need's some attention to the rear though as it ain't connected. It's arrived at my home in bradford (UK) Im at my Girlfriend's at the mo but ill defo stick some pic's up when it's completed :) ill take some snaps of what it looks like now too! Im planning to fit a Sand scorcher shell on it.. i mean let's face it there far to much money, especially the original so ill stick some pic's of that up depending how it goes :)

Cheers! Shane.

Hi guys, glad I found the site.

I recently purchased an original Hornet which i love.. I don't know much about it and wondered if I could use parts from the reissue on my 80's version? I would love to get it fixed up but can't find anyone to help me / do it in Aberdeen.


Hi there James! Fortunatly your going to be most delighted as you can definatly use the same parts on a re-release on a 80's version :) Let me know how it goes, ive left my email next to my name.


wow, lots of cool info on this! I just bought and put toe re-released hornet together for my son(he's almst three so I'll have to drive it for a while, LOL). I had a gasshopper as a kid but the hornet seems way cooler! I have seen some oil shocks for the front, does anyone know where to get them or if they are still available?

Wow, lots of cool info on this blog. Read alot but not all! I just found out about the re-release of some of the old tamiya kits(which is awesome!) Yeah, I've been under a rock for the past three years, LOL. I just recieved the re-released kit of the hornet and built it, it is really cool. my first real RC car was the grasshopper, but the hornet is way cooler! I have seen oil shocks on the front, does anyone know where to get them? Oh, and I'm in my late 30's as well, so I'm re-living my childhood as well, LOL. The hornet is actually for my son who is almost 3, but he isn't quite ready for it yet, I guess I'll have to play with it foe a bit before he can.

Tamiya cars as stock vary in top speed. A Hornet could achieve in lab conditions as it were 30 mph (approx) stock -but in grass would slow to 25 mph and gravel 25/6ish on smooth grass-bowling green grade 27-8mph can be achieved. As stock it is one of the fastest cars 2wd off road.

A Hotshot 4WD can achieve 23-24mph top speed -again stock condition. Slower in tall grass, gravel, and deep sand could drop it to 18mph. We have clocked these speeds over the years and these are all original 1980's early 1990's cars.

Manta Ray could only do 20-22mph at best in lab conditions, but on smooth tarmac struggle to deliver 20mph! I was surprised that a newer design gearbox was actually slower than the old Hotshot gears.

Boomerang 4WD 22mph-23mph Top speed on smooth tarmac/ bowling green lawn.
Again as stock.

Bigwig 4WD was like a cadillac with a rocket up its rear end! Boat like to handle, no stability at all despite takura yura's best design efforts. Top speed 8.4 w/technigold-stock in this particular cars case -incl ballraces which were all in the kit=36mph. One bloody fast car and my fastest until Mr Avante came along.
Again speed would fall drastically -36mph lab conditions -tyres on rollers clocking top speed free from any real friction loss.

Blackfoot F150 Ford Ranger 17 Mph Top speed lab and 15-16 on best grade Tarmac.

Clod Buster on power drive 2 engines giving full pelt -again lab tested 15 mph.
However once on the ground with all that weight it drops to 12-13 Mph.
No point testing on economy!!

Avante 2001 with scr 1700mah nicd racing pack by tamiya with stock supplied sport tuned motor 33Mph. Again less on gravel, but surprisingly only 32mph! so friction beating superb design. A really good car and as many people who swear blind that the original is the one to have....well yes for revolutionary design yes, but for sturdy non-flip over steady performance the 2001 version was miles better.

Avante 4WD, now to be re-released as so many tamiya kits. I have the original CPR/Technigold/full ballraced and 7.2 SCR pack 1700mah. Top speed 37mph!
beating my 1986 champion Bigwig -however for all the extra cost -it all came to £470 pounds in 1988. A hell of a lot of money in those days, from Beatties High Wycombe. Again friction on tarmac could drop it to even 34 still fast but for flipping over and having too much power -this was the downside of Mr Avante.
A much improved version came in the 2001 Version.

The Fox could achieve 28 mph lab conditions..26 if you were lucky in real conditions, and remember for a 2wd this was too heavy. iN A 1/10 SCALE BUGGY weight makes a huge difference!!

I have a total of 20 cars, and new electric speedos and stock motors seem to me to limit the once crazy speeds allowed by the old switch designs. Trust me there is a difference a stock tamiya released today, it is slower than the frogs/falcons etc of the past. Typical stock of today is more proven in design thanks to hi tech of computers years of research and experience. Having said that raw crazy power and speed have been sacrificed for a predictible performance. I can say that older cars had their own character and performance-newer cars of the 2000's are very much the same performance under a myriad of body shells. I leave it up to you to decide if that is a good thing or not.

I have been buying from RIKO (Hemel Hempstead) HAMLEYS (Mayfair, London)BEATTIES (Ealing/Milton Keynes/High Wycombe/Aylesbury)ENTERTAINER (Ealing) & TOY FACTORY (Ealing) HARROW MODEL SHOP (Harrow). I began in 1986 and collected till 1994. Then after a brief lull got back into it -probably in greater detail and passion in 2000 and have been into it ever since. I currently still drive them in private garden squares (invited!) in SW3/SW1W.

I hope that answers the questions the have been asked for the last 20 years!!
However, as always -performance also depends on how you build them !! If you stick to all Tamiya parts, paints glues, batteries -down to last detail and observe all instructions with the utmost care-then you have true stock Tamiya high performance cars.

Au revoir !

Hi guys so excited I got the hornet!!! Living the dream!!! :)
one question do you know if the antenna pipe should be included in the box? Did you guys buy one?

By the way have any one of you breaker in the motor with the water procedure?
Please anyone...

Please help- Our Tamiya Rising Storm R/C goes faster in reverse than forward, what can I do to sort this?

I have just found my old Hornet in my bassment :) and now im gonna restore it with my son. But i dont have the battery pack anymore and cant remember whar kind of battery it uses aka size, volt, amp......

Btw awesame blog - Hornet Rules lol

Nice to see everyone enjoying their Hornets!

I was lucky enough to be granted one in 1985. The mechanical speed controller (on mine anyway) outlasted the rest of the car.

For anyone with an original issue Tamiya, just put some switch grease on the blade and contacts, then carefully seal it with the supplied balloon. Don't have the original balloon? Use a regular balloon with a small circle cut just below the apex of the curve. Also tie the end of course.
Then try not to touch it...or the 3 pin ceramic resistor!!! Don't take the heat shield off to save a few grams like I did!

Run out of that tiny little tube of switch grease supplied by Tamiya? Petroleum jelly then!

This car was fantastic on paved roads, or very smooth gravel surfaces. Bumpier terrain soon showed the basic nature of the rear swing-axle design - very bouncy!

I was often told by friends "You've got the wrong one! The Frog is better than that P.O.S.!"

A few years later, I bought myself a Tamiya Blackfoot. Like the Brat, it was an evolution of the Frog (as was the Monster Beetle) both having big tyres etc.

I still have an (original issue) Nikko Rhino which is a Grasshopper/Hornet clone. More like the Hornet, as it uses a 540 motor. Interestingly, Nikko fitted this buggy with an electronic speed controller - in 1985!
See pics:
Rhino bits

Purists and collectors would lynch me though, as I converted this buggy to road spec. It's a bit broken too. Guess where? Swingarm mounting piece (the adapter that slides into the rear bathtub sections).

It's a common weak point on these cars, but I forgave them long ago!

Any tips on what battery, charger and controller I should get? I'm getting the car for £94 but not sure what to get with it! Also is there anything else I would need other than the things I've already mentioned to go with the car that I might need to help it work?

Also how long do the batteries take to charge and what's the best battery to buy for the least money?

Hi Jonathan,

Great blog. My partner is really into his rc models and I'm pretty sure he has mentioned this Hornet model before, I know for sure he had a lunch box model (who didn't though :))If your into radio controlled cars and enjoy building them then you'll love these self build kits available from Nitrotek

I recently purchased the nitro car kit version for my partner and he was very impressed with quality and the very easy to follow instruction manual. Its the only kit on the market that comes with everything you need to build a fully working model including the tools, glue shock oil etc.

I've just bought my son one for Easter instead of Easter eggs this year, that should keep him busy.


ive got an original 8o's version hornet from e-bay £30! (result) full working order only thing missing is the battery,it hasnt arrived yet but any advice on a half decent longer lasting battery,i remember the ones from the 80's not lasting to long and pretty sure the standards are better nowdays??

Hi Guys,
I have just spent the last 3 hours or so reading all the comments, this is an awesome blog.
What started was a lady at work offered me an original 1980 vintage Tamiya Glodbuster, so I started looking on ebay and the Tamiya sites and found this blog. It's a shame it's been idle for such a long time.
Anyway, I'm a lot older then most of you guys I remember the original Tamiya models from the 1970's. My neighbour had a Tamiya model not sure what it was but it was great.
I always wanted a Tamiya but like most of you guy's I could not aford to buy one when I was a kid.
When my nephew was around 12 (mid 1980's) I convinced (harrassed) my sister to buy him a Tamiya Grasshopper, awesome car I ,sorry my nephew, had great fun lol.
Now I have a son who is mad about RC cars, we race a Mugen MRX5 at Moorebank Raceway, NSW, Australia. We got into racing around 2004 when my son bought a Kyosho MP7.5 RTR Buggy, after that we stumbled onto onroad racing and bought a HPI tourer onroad car, can't remember what it was, but it was crap. Soon we got on some guys who raced Mugens and bought a MTX4 and then each time a new car was released we upgraded, now we are more into the MRX5 (1/8 scale). I was so into racing when the oppurtunity came up I bought an online hobby shop ( We only sell Mugens and assoicated products.
I found out today the lady at work changed her mind, she wants to keep the Clodbuster, so now I am in the market for a Hornet. I have a couple of RTR gas off road cars but sick of the noise and the fuel, mess, grease etc, etc. I remember how much fun my nephew had with his Grasshopper and you guy's convinced me to buy a Hornet. Can't wait. Great blog great information thanks Jonathan.



Oh what memories - the Tamiya Hornet was my first RC Car and I still build and race RC cars today its in the blood as they say. Mart at

Does anyone know how to wire up the Hornet!

Struggling to get the Transmitter and Receiver to 'bind' and can only assume i've got it wired-up incorrectly.

Any advice will be much appreciated. 


I have a tamiya boomerang

hi i have all original cars new in box and complete ones

tamiya hornet

grasshopper one and 2

super hornet

wild willy m38 ( funnest car i drive around)

tamiya porsche 959 new in box cant drive this one around :-(


love all theres cars keep up the good tamiya


I still have my original hornet and have been thinking of changing to an esc. A few tips on things I used to do to make my old hornet last longer.

The first was always put a party balloon over your motor and esc. The biggest enemy is dust for both and you can also run them in the rain and mud which adds a whole new dimension of fun. Just remember to strip everything down, clean and oil afterwards. It pays to not run them at low speeds with the old speed controller set up.

The second thing was ball race the whole thing. It would make them go so much faster and the battery would last longer. If you take your bushes to a good bearing shop they should be able to give you a full set of bearing replacements for a fraction of aftermarket or original tamiya items.

Lastly, to reduce the possibility of damage caused by rear axle tramp, get one of those thick rubber bands and wrap it around each end of the shaft that fits into the front diff mounts, wrap it  over the rear brackets, under the battery cover and Bob's your uncle. Works well and still does what it's intended to do.

I had a grasshopper, a hornet, a wild one and a bruiser. I still have my hornet and bruiser. Both are in reasonable working order. I converted my grasshopper to a road car for a while, I managed to get huge road tyres for it and converted the front shocks to oil damped items by making an aluminium bracket to the top of the original shock nounts. I also fitted a technigold motor. I never liked drilling anything in my RC cars to try and keep them unmodified. My brother had a new tamiya mini at that stage and they ended up to be absolutely perfectly matched in tarmac races. Quite a feat for a hornet really I suppose. The gearbox still changes perfectly on the bruiser, just the tyres are a bit perished now and on the odd occasions I use them it is great fun. I still have a huge box of spares I have collected over the years. I have also recently bought a tt-01 Skyline drift car but with the hornet and bruiser, haven't got around to using it. I am actually thinking of using the new radio gear and esc I got with the skyline and putting it in the hornet just to see how it works.

Hi Kiwi

Fabulous post and comment. Thank you so much for that top tip. I'm going to try it out for myself. This page has a LOT of readers, so I'm sure they will all benefit from your advice.

Happy RC'ing.


Many thanks again.


Hi Jonathan,

Super Blog!! 

I have really enjoyed reading all the comments so far... it has brought back many memories. I remember when i was younger, my brother and I went together to buy a Hornet from a friend.  Our dog used to chase after it and bite the wheels!   it could still be in the loft of my parents house.  After reading this, I got my hands on a second hand re-release Hornet last week on ebay...   I cant wait to get it out for a spin.. for an upgrade i bought some metal bearings.  Hopefully not too hard to fit..     My wife thinks i am having a mid life crisis, I've just turned 30, she could be right! :-)


Hi Trevor,

Thanks for your message and I'm glad my post and subsequent comments has encouraged you to buy another Hornet. I started with a re-release Hornet as I've written above, but have now found myself buying more vintage Tamiya models.

I've now got the Thunderdragon, Midnight Pumpkin (I've always wanted a truck!) and the Boomerang.

They are all brilliant cars.

I'd love to hear what you get up to. It's VERY easy to fit bearings to the gearbox - worth getting the tamiya grease too whilst you are at it!

Best wishes,




ps... hope your wife has forgiven me!

Hi guys what a page.a women who I done a job for has found me out a grasshopper2 the other day but it's only got a 330 motor on so it's not so fast.Would it make it much faster if I put a 540 motor on and a esc or would it just destroy the gear box :-)


Yes a 540 motor would make a difference and yes the gearbox will handle it. In fact, I'd go buy a Tamiya Sport Tuned motor and stick that in. It'll absolutely fly!



Let me know how you get on.


At the moment I have A Vintage 1980's Boomerang and a new TT-01 chassis
I want to get a new car and am thinking of getting a Hornet but not sure,
I was originally going to buy a monster truck but my Dad already has a Lunchbox, Monster Beetle, Mud Blaster, BullHead and A  Mini !!!!
So, To buy or not to buy?  that is the question....

i have a new brushless motor in mine with a new reciever and a 11.2 lipo battery it flys like a plane

hi guys, il start by saying what a fab blog this is, brought back so many of my memories from the 80s.
3 of us boys were lucky to get one each for xmas 86, my mate chris got a boomerang, my other friend frankie got a falcon, but there was only one choice for me....the HORNET !
I remember un-wrapping on xmas day and there she was, still boxed, i was over the moon and set about mithering my mam to help build, it took a couple of days but once finished, i took her out for her first spin on our street, the joy this car would bring to me for years was undecribable, swapping parts, trying out new set-ups etc, luckily for us, there was a bmx track in our town Heywood Lancs ) so we spent many an hour there running our cars till dark.
My friend Frankie unfortunately lost control of the falcon and snapped the chassis in half, he ws devastated !
Many years later i got mine back out from the loft, and got her up and running until disaster struck and a van drove straight over her, apart of my dead that day !
That was about 15 years ago or more, my son is 7 now (same age as me in 86) and ive just purchased 2 old tamiya off ebay to see if he gets the bug like me, i got an old stock grasshopper and a very tidy twin detonator (£35each) both good runners but lack top end speed, i couldnt resist taking the grasshopper down to the bmx track in the old town i lived in many years ago, oh boy what a feeling, it brought me right back, the sounds, the spins, the rolls, and yes..the breaks (rear shocker had been temp fixed) !
If my boy shows an interest like i hope and think he will, i be back on here, with my own project, starting from scratch, the one, the only....TAMIYA HORNEt, and it wont be my sons, it will be mine.

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