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Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin - #58070 (Radio Controlled Model Review)

1/12 Scale Electric RC Monster Truck - CW-01 Chassis:

  Released by Tamiya on December 9, 1987, the Midnight Pumpkin Monster Truck was one of the most popular RC Models that Tamiya ever produced and was re-released in 2006 (#58365) and again in 2012 (#58547).

  The body shell is that of a 1953 Ford F-100 pick-up truck and is mounted on giant oversized tires.

  All racing enthusiasts agree on its ease to assemble and fun to drive. The box shaped chassis causes the truck to do wheelies on fast acceleration, adding to the fun.

Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin - #58070 - 1:12 Electric RC Monster Truck
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  Although driving the Midnight Pumpkin can be challenging, the body shell is tough and although it may occasionally become scratched, it very rarely breaks.

  With a few hop-ups to the shocks, tires, motor and esc, which are all still easily available, the vehicle can go faster, handles much better and makes the truck more competitive. An electronic esc also helps preserve battery power.

  It is acknowledged that this will never be the fastest or biggest monster truck in the Tamiya collection, but the Midnight Pumpkin will long remain a true classic.


      Rating: 44 Stars out of 5 Reviewed by: RCScrapyard     Manual.

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Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin #58070 - Chassis
Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin #58070 Chassis
Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin #58070
Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin #58070 Body Shell

Buying a Used Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin
Monster Truck (and What to look for)


   Buying a used Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin Electric Monster Truck, or any used RC Model, has a number of advantages. It is generally cheaper than new, ready built and may come with a variety of expensive hop-ups already installed. Cheap, pre-loved bargains are always becoming available. However, depending on the age of your purchase, it may need a little tender loving care before you can take it out on the back yard.

   The one thing you will always need is an instruction manual. If not supplied with your purchase, they can often be downloaded from the Tamiya website, or purchased separately on eBay. With an instruction manual, any problems with your model Monster Truck you may discover can easily be fixed.

Dampers
   When you receive your used Tamiya Monster Truck, make a general visual inspection of the chassis, front and rear wishbones, suspension shock towers etc, for any broken parts that may need to be replaced. Then, take a screwdriver and box spanner and check each self tapping screw and nut for security, taking care not to over tighten.

   Next, for those Tamiya models with oil filled shock absorbers, remove them from the chassis and dismantle the coil springs. The damper shafts should push in and pull out with a smooth action. If you feel a jolt as you change direction, this means the oil has leaked out and must be topped up. At the same time, change the O-Ring seals to prevent more leakage. Also check the damper shafts for damage. If they are scratched, change them as soon as possible.

   If the body shell of your Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin is broken, ripped or damaged in any way, this can be easily repaired with rubber solution glue. Also, for added protection and if available for your Midnight Pumpkin model, fit an under guard to stop dirt and gravel entering the chassis.

Titanium Turnbuckles
   Examine the drive shafts for wear and replace as required. If possible, change them for titanium. The steel shafts wear and bend too easily.

   If you intend to race your Midnight Pumpkin Monster Truck model at a competitive level, I would also recommend you obtain and fit titanium pivot shafts, turnbuckles, tie rods and steering rods.

   On Belt driven models, the Drive Belts need checking at regular intervals for wear, tension and damage. If deemed necessary, adjust the tensioning pulley until the belt can be depressed in the centre by no more than around 5mm. If the belt was slack, also examine the drive pulleys for wear. The teeth should provide a well seated fit for the belt teeth and not be rounded on the corners. If the belt teeth do not fit snugly, change the pulleys as soon as possible. For top level racing it may be prudent to replace all belts and pulleys after each race meeting.

   For Gear driven models, the gearbox of your used Monster Truck should be opened up to check for gear wear and lubrication. A thin coat of grease is often used on internal gears and although this is fine for basic running around on the back yard, if you intend to race your Monster Truck at a higher level, this should be removed and replaced with racing oil (ZX1 or Teflon Oil). Of course, this should be reapplied after each race meeting.

Spur Gears
   Gears are a weakness on all Monster Truck RC models. Head on collisions can easily damage the gear teeth on nylon and plastic spur gears. Heavy impacts can also loosen the nuts or self tapping screws that hold the Electric Motor in Position, allowing the pinion gear to pull out of mesh slightly and rip the tops off the teeth on your spur gear. To minimise this possibility, fit bolts with locking nuts to the Electric Motor mount and remember to check them for security after every two or three runs.

   Ball joints always cause problems. For top level Electric Monster Truck racing, the plastic ball connectors should be checked and if deemed necessary, changed after every meeting. A simple thing like a loose fitting connector popping off, could easily end your race, so better safe than sorry.

Servo Gears
   The Midnight Pumpkin steering servo is also prone to damage. In high speed crash situations, the fragile gear teeth of the servo can be broken off, rendering your expensive servo useless, so be sure to obtain a good quality "Servo Saver". Check out my Servo Information article.

   If body roll on your Tamiya Midnight Pumpkin is a problem, handling can be improved with the use of stabilizers, anti roll or sway bars, stiffer tuning springs and, or, thicker silicone oil in the dampers.

Ball Bearings
   If your used Tamiya Monster Truck comes with plastic and sintered brass bushings (ring type bearings), check the shafts that run in them for wear. Dust and grit can get into these bearings and abrade the shafts. Therefore, you should replace them all with shielded ball bearings. If the model has been run with ring type bearings, you may have to change all the axles and driveshafts. For more information, take a look at my article, How to get the best from your Bearings.

   Finally, good luck with your Midnight Pumpkin model and good racing.


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Hints and Tips


Rechargeable Batteries
for RC Models


   At the time this article was written, there are four types of Rechargeable Batteries that are commonly in use of Radio Controlled Models.
Ni-Cad (Nickel Cadmium) Batteries have been around the longest. My first stick battery, purchased way back in 1987 was rated at 1200Mah (Mili Amp Hours) and with a silver can 27 Turn motor my Tamiya Boomerang would run around in the back yard for a good seven minutes before slowly coming to a stop. Ni-Cad development continued until around 1998 to a maximum rating of around 2000Mah and matchers pack builders and battery technicians were able to put together six cell packs with voltages approaching 7.4 Volts, to give those that could afford them, an edge over the rest.

   Ni-Mh (Nickel Metal Hydride) Batteries came along in the late 1990s and by the year 2000 were available at ratings up to 3000Mah. Again, matchers and pack builders worked hard to provide the ardent racer with packs to provide that little bit of extra power and ESC manufacturers also chipped in with improved controllers to take full advantage of this new technology.
   Now the problem wasn't gearing the car to get to the end of the race using the available battery power, but to find the brushed motor that could handle gear setting that provided the speed and acceleration without the motor overheating and wearing the commutator too much so it needed a skim after every 2 runs. My favourite at that time was the 9 Double.

   More recently, Li-Po (Lithium-Polymer) Batteries have appeared on the scene, providing are a huge step forward in performance when compared with Ni-Cad and Ni-Mh batteries. However, Li-Po Batteries are much more expensive than previous battery types, have a shorter effective life of between 200 and 400 charge cycles, compared to well over 1000 charge cycles for Ni-Cad and Ni-Mh and a high degree of care has to be taken when charging Li-Po batteries. They have been known to burst into flames or even explode, for this reason I do not recommend Li-Po batteries for RC beginners.
   Another problem with Li-Po packs is they are physically bigger in size, so for those with older "Vintage" models, they may not fit into the provided space for the battery on the chassis.

   The latest development in battery technology for RC are Li-Ion. Originally produced for Laptops, Ipods, Tablets and the like, they are now available for RC models. Much like Li-Po for price and charge cycle life, the power and capacity is a moderate improvement, but for me, at the moment, not worth the expense.

   One final word of warning. NEVER leave your charging Li-Po or Li-Ion battery unattended when being charged and NEVER above the recommended charge rate. After use, store each battery with about 60% charge remaining and always in a fireproof bag.


For More Setup Information check out my Hints and Tips page.

My First National

   When I first started in RC, way back in the late 1980s, I would turn up to the weekly club meeting, with my Tamiya Boomerang, transmitter, two sets of crystals, a couple of batteries, a charger and a tool box with a wheel spanner and a few spares.
   It was three five minute qualifying rounds and a final and every month we would have a trophy meeting. The trophies were donated by a two of the older semi professional guys who basically ran the club and over the years had collected what must have been hundreds of trophies and had no space for them anymore. The lure of a trophy always brought out the "not as enthusiastic types" and the small church function room was always packed on those nights.
   About a year in, my collection of B final trophies was beginning to clutter my room and my dad bought me the new Tamiya Manta Ray. That was the big turning point in my RC career.
   From then on it was A finals all the way. Then one day in the summer of 1992 the club organisers (the semi pro guys) asked me if I would like to go to a BIG national meeting way down south in Malvern. I asked my dad and with a bit of prompting he said "why not".
   When we got to that meeting we found there were around a hundred competitors, with ten groups of ten. I was in group "H". and two of my friends who came down with us were in group "I" so were on just before me.
   I remember that first race like it was yesterday. It was a staggered start and I set off next to last. I had never raced on a proper outdoor dirt track before. My only experience was on indoor carpet, but my old Manta Ray took off like a bullet. Most of the others in my heat were rookies and by the end of the third lap I was up with the leader. He was good very good but I stuck to him like glue. Each twist, turn and jump brought me closer and closer, this guy was fast, but I was faster for a while anyway. A lap before the end my old over worked 1400mah battery, was struggling to give me what I needed to keep up with him and my buggy got slower and slower. I ended up third in that first race, but wasn't about to give up that easy.
   There was a shop at the meeting and straight after the race I nagged my dad to get me a new battery. In those days money was tight and normally before dad would spend anything he would consult my mum, but this time she wasn't there and after watching my performance in that race he didn't need much pushing to get me that badly needed new battery.
   Waiting for the second round seemed to take an age, but when it arrived I was pumped up and ready with steely determination. I was away third after finishing third in the first round, so my duel with the guy who beat me before carried on where it had left off. Two laps in and I was on his tail. He wasn't going to beat me this time. We lapped a couple of back markers and were quickly catching up to a third. He slipped past him in a flash, but when I moved in, the idiot drove straight into me, knocking my Manta Ray on its back. The marshal was oblivious to my plight. I shouted my head of but the marshals eyes were fixed on what I guess was the car of one of his friends in my race. The next thing I saw was my dad, bounding across the track like a gazelle, picking up my car, putting it on the track and giving me the thumbs up. I drove like the wind, passing car after car, slowly working back up to third, where I eventually finished.
   But it didn't end there. Because my dad had ran out onto the track, I was disqualified we pleaded our case and eventually were allowed to continue.
   The third round heat arrived. This time I wasn't going to let anything stop me. My focus was to win that race and beat that guy who had all the luck so far. Because of the previous race I set off last. Car after car was left in my wake, until once more it was me against him. Mano a mano, he saw it was me and he upped his game. Lap after lap we duelled for the lead. Coming into the very last lap I was a nose in front and pulling away. With each corner I could sense the battery was once again giving up and my car started to slow down. Corner after corner I could see him getting closer and closer. we got to the final straight and he was right on top of me breathing down my neck. I held my breath and jammed over the throttle leaver and just crossed the line before him I had won my first national heat race. and it wasn't to be the last.

For Car Setup Information check out our Hints and Tips page.







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