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Words by: Maarten Van Praag

Part 2: Preparation for build:

If preparation and research play an important role when purchasing and building regular kits, definitely multiply your effort when building something custom. The very first thing after my decision to build this Rally Dakar truck based on the AXIAL SCX10 G6 Jeep kit was collecting photos from as many angles as possible and looking for any original drawings. I was lucky enough to be able to take some photos myself and also carry a close-up inspection of the original. You simply have to be more than familiar with what you want to build. This all will be really important later, when attempting to make your rig realistic.

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The second step is careful inspection of the kit. It is of vital importance if you want to remain time efficient and organized – ordering stuff on time eliminates long waiting periods. I selected the parts that I am going to be able to use and separated them from what will not be needed. I then made a list of any additional bits and pieces that I will need to hunt for:

  • Building material for the cabin (Plastic)
  • Canvas/ banner material for the back of the truck (Useful to have a friend that owns a print house and can supply leftovers)
  • Chassis (designed by myself, custom laser-cut and welded)
  • Glue, sand paper, blades and all these small items that you tend to run out when least expected
  • Stickers (Custom made)
  • Not as necessary, but useful for the full scale result:
  • 2.2 Truck rims (Glad to know a guy who makes hand-made replicas of LIAZ rims)
  • 2.2 Truck tires (Mil-Spec 2.2)

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Part three, the scale. This is really important as it is something you cannot change later. I always start with the axles and wheels to determine the width. The offset of your rims is a very important factor here. That is the starting point in order to get all the other dimensions right. This rig will be, with a certain level of tolerance and flexibility, 1/10… which is ideal as you won’t feel awkward when you compare it with the your buddies out in a wild – the truck will simply look realistic when placed next to another regular SCX10 Jeep. My advice is to print a scaled picture of the original, if possible, and always keep it nearby. Any calculation can then be checked against that picture, which can sometimes prevent many issues later on.

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Now when we have the dimensions all set, there is time for a bit of an evolutionary philosophy. Do you know the theory about the chicken and the egg? Well, here comes the same dilemma. There are two options available and I am not sure which one is the best. Either you can build the body first and then ask somebody to make the chassis for it… or you do it the other way around. I had tried both and I am still not sure what is best. This time, however, I will build the body first and have the chassis made afterwards.

One significant remark at the end that should actually come at the very beginning: Make sure to determine the purpose of the rig – if you want to drive it like a maniac, buy the Wraith or the Yeti. Hard bodies look great, but require careful treatment. They are also heavier and that somewhat limits its capabilities. However, if you want a unique moving scale replica, this is it.

Time to start the build…

Follow this link for Part 1: