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Tamiya TLT-1 Rock Buster

Tamiya TLT-1 Rock Buster


  • Model #: 47201
  • Gallery: View
  • Released: 2003
  • Prebuilt: No
  • Category: Trucks
  • Chassis: TLT-1
  • Scale: 1/18
  • Use: Offroad
  • Style: Monster truck
  • Config: MA
  • Driveline: Belt & shaft combo
  • Body: Polycarbonate
  • Finished body: No
  • Susp. front: Solid axle
  • Susp. rear:Solid axle

Photo gallery samples

Visit the full Tamiya TLT-1 Rock Buster gallery for more photos.

JANG's Impressions

The TLT-1 was designed to bring rough & tumble RC monster truck action indoors and into small spaces at an affordable price. Its outward appearance is intended to mimick the 1/10th scale TXT-1 that was Tamiya's flagship monster at the time. In its own right, the TLT-1 was a fun little vehicle, but it had some serious shortcomings. The use of not two, but three open differentials (the center being a belt-driven ball diff) badly limited total traction. In just about any high-torque situation, or when any one tire (or tire pair) found more grip than the others, the drivetrain would unload. Making matters worse, the use of small-scale tires with 1/10th scale sized front & rear differentials left the truck with little clearance under the diff housings, and the center of the chassis was low as well. All of these factors worked together to make the Rock Buster a complete a dud on the rocks in stock form.

Thankfully many intrepid hobbyists had faith in the TLT-1 and started doing small modifications that easily and dramatically improved the performance of the truck. Locking even just the center differential improved traction dramatically. For improved ground clearance and more tire tread choices, 2.2" truck or buggy wheels with standard 12mm hexes could be bolted right up, or clever combinations could be used such as oversized "super" 1/10th scale touring car wheels with 1/10th scale buggy rear tires all around.

Things really got interesting when hobbyists decided to completely ditch the center belt drive and ball differential in favor of something more sturdy and reliable. The solution many came up with was to use a 2WD electric off-road vehicle transmission (usually from a Traxxas truck), with a locked differential, mounted transversely in a custom center chassis. Instead of sending power directly to wheels as intended, a rotated transmission would act as a gear reduction transfer case, sending power to the front & rear. With the drivetrain upgraded, a TLT-1 could now reliably run even larger tires. A custom chassis could be made longer, or the suspension links could be extended to alter the scale of the platform. Before long, these conversions became commonplace. Initially hacked together, they became ever more refined and capable, and thus, the world of the 2.2"-class rock crawlers and 1.9"-class "scalers" was born -- one of the bigger movements in recent RC history. All from one little miniature monster truck that was cool in principle, but questionably-executed, the Tamiya TLT-1 Rock Buster.

The Build

Please see the full Tamiya TLT-1 Rock Buster build thread on the forum for photos of the assembly process.

  • When assembling your axles, use oil, to oil, your oilite bushings. Not ceramic grease. To make it easier, apply the oil after setting the diffs & outdrive shafts in place. A small drop around one side and a few spins of the whole unit will get your liquid lubrication right to where it needs to be.
  • There are quite a lot of rod ends that need to be assembled onto metal links for this build. To make it significantly easier, put a modest amount of ceramic grease on the threads of each rod before screwing on the plastic ends.
  • When attaching the upper link beam to the chassis, use the included thin wrench to keep the multi-part beam assembly with its ball studs from rotating and changing the overall width. It needs to sit in there between the chassis side plates snugly.