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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build

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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build

Post by laneboysrc on Thu 30 Aug 2012 - 21:43

It is raining and I can not go out painting, so I spent the time for a short status update on this kit build.

This car was my first RC car more than 30 years ago when I was a teenager. Now I own it again, Tamiya re-released this car for the 2nd time.
LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740404484_2481d30209

The XR311 is 1/12 scale, rear-wheel drive (locked axle) and has a torsion bar suspension. It was the 4th RC car released by Tamiya, and their first off-road car. The instructions say "1/12 Scale Model Car suitable for Radio Control" -- and that hits the nail on the head: This car is more scale model than RC vehicle.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740404980_400aefc526
The inside of the Tamiya XR311 2012 re-release. The ESC and the ball bearings are put on top of the body to highlight them as being "special" in this kit.

The green box on the left contains all metal parts. The blue box below it contains the motor, grease, liquid thread lock, bumper and other smaller parts. All plastic parts are on the right side. Under the body parts in the middle compartment are the tires, window and light lenses as well as the protective plate for the torsion bars.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740407100_849f86d70f
Assembly of the front suspension. The wheel axles still run on bushings, but on the rear axle are ball bearings now. The horse-shoe looking piece in the middle is driving the steering and also acting as servo-saver. It is quite loose, which means it is easy to block the wheels from turning. Designed for 1978 servos, not today's metal gear monsters...

The suspension is held together with lock nuts instead of spring washers and normal nuts as in the original release, one of the many small improvements made to the kit in the re-realease.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740410080_aac941ccf4
Bottom view after attaching the rear suspension. You can see the torsion bars, now from metal. The original release had plastic ones that did not last very long. Adjusting the torsion bars is a pain in the neck, designed to make your fingers hurt.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740410772_ca676f6847
The wheels are a bead lock design and made out of three parts. They are held together by the five screws that mounts the wheel to the car. Twenty screws to take the wheels off ...

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740411214_242a3d6a66
Front view of the rolling chassis. Note that the torsion bars are not loaded yet therefore the car sits in its lowest position.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740412028_0a62c3a43c
Comparing the 1:12 scale XR311 with the 1:10 scale Axial SCX10 Dingo. Quite a size difference!

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740412514_cc836be119
Test fit of the body parts.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740413126_d73027d8b0
The details in this kit are amazing. Just look at the dashboard and all the tiny brackets on the body.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740413550_6782b71474
The ugly front bumper was trimmed down to its bare minimum. Now the body will not be protected, which means super careful driving!

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7740403982_8420a4f8fc
The instructions call for a standard sized servo, mounted to the chassis with a double-sided tape. I did not like this design and rather opted for a metal gear mini servo, mounted on DIY aluminium brackets. This allows the servo rod to be horizontal, instead of pushing down as it would with a standard servo.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7772880356_18444d02e3
Lighting up the XR311 is very difficult. The rear lights have two slots that are the reversing lights. The whole round part on the top is supposed to be the tail/brake/indicator light.

Due to space constraints I used a 3mm red LED for the tail/brake light. I sanded it flush with the rest of the light housing (not visible in this photo). After painting the whole tail/brake light area red I hope it will look right.

For the reversing lights I cut out the slots by drilling tiny holes and cutting with a craft knife. I will put a SMD LED to light it up. I need to figure out a kind of diffuser though as the SMD light output is right at the bar between the slots.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7772880084_ea20a9a9ca
The front bumper. The hole will receive a cable guide for a simulated winch.

The top holes will hold the indicator lights. They come with clear lenses that I still have to get orange somehow. The lens has a rod on the back that goes through the hole in the bumper. I will put an orange SMD LED behind to light it up.

The bottom light is the parking light. Like on the rear I had to drill a tiny hole and cut it out. An SMD LED will go behind to provide illumination. It was very difficult to get the slot done without damaging the ultra-thin details at the front.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7772879722_77c2210de8
To make the steering wheel move I cut away the blob meant for gluing in the steering column. I drilled a small hold in the back of the steering column, which will receive a screw that holds the servo horn piece (white part). The tiny 0.4 mm pin provides strength against slippage when turning.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7872529836_235d6b8146
A tiny servo from HobbyKing drives the steering wheel. I am using the same servo and mechanism in our Dingo.

I made the instrument panel removable using 2 mm screws and nuts in case the servo fails.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7872528782_239faf7e44
Dry-fitting the lower body over the whole assembly. The servo fits nicely, but a bigger servo would already have issues.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7872530190_e7aca95286
The lower body and rear wall have a hole to allow feed-through of the battery and ESC connectors. The instructions hint that this allows charging of the battery without removing the body from the chassis. Since this interferes with the scale look I opted to close the hole with 1 mm styrene.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7872528380_f870fbfb74
The XR311 has a manually adjustable gearing system. Unfortunately the gearing is designed for 30 year old battery technology, running 4 cells NiCd.

Today with a 6 cell NiMH the slowest A gear is plenty fast for a scale model.
Gear B is really fast and requires concentration. Very dangerous indoors.
Gear C is insane; more speed than the tires and suspension can handle -- this car doesn't even have shock absorbers!

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7893763338_4340fe9a6c
Ready for paint! All parts that could be pre-assembled have been. Now I just have to wait for dry weather to put on the first coat of primer.

On the right small pieces have been mounted on a piece of carton with double-sided tape. Next to the body on the left you can see two pieces mounted with play-doh onto a chopstick. Most pieces will be mounted on chopsticks for easy painting. I watched a lot of scale model builders videos recently on YouTube where I picked up these tricks.

That's all for now, I will post updates after some colour goes on.
I have even more photos in our Flickr gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/78037110@N03/sets/72157630971793270/

Thanks for reading, Werner
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Post by boolean21 on Thu 30 Aug 2012 - 21:52

Looking good. Smile
nice scale vehicle!

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Post by RTECH on Thu 30 Aug 2012 - 22:15

Very Happy Great build. Back to old school again.
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Post by Liew on Thu 30 Aug 2012 - 22:33

Nice truck , what colour u paint it ?
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Post by Wrigleys on Thu 30 Aug 2012 - 22:59

Looking really good.. Very detailed build thread. Thumbs up! cheers
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Post by wyetuck88 on Thu 30 Aug 2012 - 23:26

Nice truck, I too lust for one many years ago while in primary school. Too bad age+budget+parents did approve it.
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Post by laneboysrc on Fri 31 Aug 2012 - 7:15

Thanks everyone for the kind words!

Liew wrote:Nice truck , what colour u paint it ?

It is going to be "Light Sand" Tamiya TS46. Next after the XR311 Tamiya released a "Lamborghini Cheetah" on the same chassis that used this colour. The proper colour for the XR311 would be "Olive drab", but I am not in to military so I will deviate from originality here.

Inspiration was taken from "fullspeeddesign"s XR311: LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Right_10

I will also try to "weather" mine in a similar fashion. First attempt in anything like this...
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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty We've got colour!

Post by laneboysrc on Fri 7 Sep 2012 - 23:59

'evening everyone!

It was quite a productive week for me, spending every evening on painting.
I started off emptying 2 cans of Tamiya white fine surface primer over the styrene bits:
LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7949928298_459480d0dd

The primer is fantastic: extremely smooth, easy to spray and does not clog up the fine details.
The roof is simulated cloth, so I tried a grey primer in the hope that the colour on top would be darker. But that did not turn out as I hoped, the colour is just too good in covering up what's underneath.

Two evenings in my personal spray booth (aka. "the car park" Razz ) and things look like this:
LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7949927986_da691dce4b

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7949927198_fcba7c5cb6

I am very happy how it turned out. The wheel flares and the rubber around the window still need to be flat black.

I also started hand-painting many of the smaller parts:
LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7949927628_c0c22d0c9c

The fire extinguisher took more than 5 hours to complete. I am not pleased with the red, out of the jar the paint was too thick and my thinning did not work well. But the other details turned out as good as I hoped.

Next job is to put the LEDs in and then continue with assembly bit by bit. Still a long way to go, but enjoying every minute!
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Post by wyetuck88 on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 0:09

came out amazing!!! are you going to run it this sunday?
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Post by Liew on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 0:48

Nice painting cheers
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Post by RTECH on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 12:31

Great paint job! Wink
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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty Dashboard is ready

Post by laneboysrc on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 18:21

Thanks for the cheers!

One of Patrick's girlfriends Embarassed gave a birthday party this afternoon, so I was in the fortunate position to carry on.

I finished the dashboard. While the original plastic had some needles and markers embossed, I wanted to have something even better. Unfortunately I did not have any high resolution photo of the original car's dashboard, so I had to choose instruments that look similar. I scaled them on the computer to size and went to the local photo shop to print them out:

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7954490748_31e5007145

The smaller instruments are less than 3 mm in diameter, the speedometer is 7 mm. I cut out the smaller instruments with a hole punch. Took several attempts, but I had a lot of spare ones Very Happy
I printed different type of instruments: ampere meter, fuel, oil pressure and water temperature -- but due to the small size they are almost looking the same anyway...
I cut the speedometer out with scissors and then sanded (!) it round and to perfect size. A few bits of paint and this is how it looks now:

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7954490928_4f61d510a3

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Post by wyetuck88 on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 18:36

Amazing work!! Did you print them on normal paper?
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Post by laneboysrc on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 19:28

Thanks! It is printed like a photo. I will "seal" it with some clear paint at a later stage.
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Post by Liew on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 19:48

Wow this is awesome cheers
Less then 3mm how u sand ?
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Post by laneboysrc on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 20:02

I only sanded the speedometer, which is about 7 mm. The small ones came out well after cutting them with the hole punch.
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Post by boolean21 on Sat 8 Sep 2012 - 20:08

Nice updates... Looks good with the details added. Smile

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Post by coldman28 on Wed 12 Sep 2012 - 20:04

looking good
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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty And then there was light ...

Post by laneboysrc on Fri 14 Sep 2012 - 23:18

Another productive week -- I spent about 20 hours mounting 10 LEDs Very Happy

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985613769_d7a37377b3
This is the inside of the front bumper. I used SMD LEDs that I de-soldered from a light strip. The top are orange ones for the indicator, the bottom ones are white for the parking lights.

The wires are 0.19 mm thin "enamel wires". I have different colours to make installation easy. I soldered the wires to the LEDs before mounting them as I don't want to go near styrene with a 400 degree hot soldering iron.

To mount the LEDs I held them in place with white-tack and glued them in with epoxy.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985622844_9a379115b3
The finished result with the parking lights engaged. The slot is 1.1 mm by 3 mm.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985622720_45c2ca1e12
The indicators are lit through a tiny hole, therefore the centre gives a kind of hot spot. Not perfect, but acceptable.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985613419_170033a12c
Wiring up the head lights was comparatively easy. 0.6 mm holes through the support rod conceal the wires. The 5 mm white LEDs fit perfectly. I used diffuse high brightness LEDs as in my opinion they give a nicer glow to the whole lamp compared to the narrow angle LEDs with lens.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985622488_765dd41082
The top view shows the wires leading to the back of the LEDs. The LEDs were held in place again with white-tack and then secured with epoxy.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985622340_5551456138
Final result. I love the details that Tamiya put on the lens.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985622178_9b222daf96
The rear lights are tiny. They contain two slots for the reversing light, and a round top lamp for tail / brake / indicator.

I used a tiny piece of styrene to create a light barrier between the reversing and tail light area. I poured a thin layer of clear epoxy in the reversing light area to create a kind of a lens.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985612379_29256ce759
Back view of the finished rear light unit.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985621914_fc54d82daf
The finished reversing light looks very good. flower As size reference, consider that the red LED has a diameter of 3 mm.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 7985621802_d68f5b5238
The tail / brake light works fine too. Now the whole top part needs to be painted red.


I also painted the fenders on the body black. Unfortunately my masking was not perfect so I have to do a bit of touching up. But things are going together finally. A few more weeks and it will be done.

Time to start thinking about the next project afro
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Post by wyetuck88 on Fri 14 Sep 2012 - 23:23

we have an great electrician here!!! I cant help but wonder, whats your trade?
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Post by wyetuck88 on Fri 14 Sep 2012 - 23:23

Thanks boo and werner!!!
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Post by laneboysrc on Fri 14 Sep 2012 - 23:33

wyetuck88 wrote:we have an great electrician here!!! I cant help but wonder, whats your trade?

Thanks! I used to do a lot of electronics when I was young. My father used to repair TVs, so I got poisoned with leaded solder very early alien . I got my first soldering iron at the age of 8 Laughing
I haven't done electronic stuff for many years now, but since I re-started with RC in April I am brushing up my skills and tools.

BTW: If anyone needs help with battery/ESC connector soldering, LEDs etc just let me know.
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Post by wyetuck88 on Sat 15 Sep 2012 - 1:07

I see, do you use a fine tipped soldering iron for your leds? I tried to resolder a ibook g4 graphic chip many years ago and the normal solder tip just wont do the job. I am not too sure where to get those super fine tipped soldering iron, is it a special tool? haha got a lot of things I could try to repair!
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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty Progress. Finally.

Post by laneboysrc on Sat 1 Dec 2012 - 22:13

Well, it's been a while. Progress was slow due to illness and fixing / maintaining our ever-growing fleet of little fun cars.

But it is getting there. The body is now almost complete and the chassis is ready. I just finished routing the wires for the lights and testing them.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8235118674_6e1f6719ba
Here are the reversing lights. They turned out a bit greenish (not visible on the photo) due to the colour of the epoxy used as lens diffuser.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8235118538_6e159c1228
Rear light test. The lights left and right are controlled independently as they serve as rear lights, indicators and brake lights all in one.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8234053279_30754afeb4
Indicators at the front.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8234053083_3955ea9946
Head lights at about half brightness. I love those realistic looking lenses by Tamiya.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8235118032_daebe7152b
And finally the parking lights. The effort payed off: they look very nice indeed!

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8234052723_5f9570094f
Bottom view of the body showing the routing of the wires. The light controller will sit behind the cabin and before the motor where the green paint spot is. This area is meant to hold the battery and ESC wire, but there is plenty of room for my custom electronics.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8234052367_5d843058ce
Close-up view of one of the rear light wiring. The enamel wires are hold on with drops of epoxy. The wire diameter is 0.2mm.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8235117388_e0e5115baf
The electronics have been installed. The ESC and receiver sit on a custom flat tray so that the bottom is flush with the body. The servo wire has been shortened to fit without slack. The on/off switch wire had to be extended to fit. The ESC motor wires are directly soldered onto the motor. The battery wire is very short to fit in the small area between the battery and the motor. All wires have been secured with drops of CA glue.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8235117212_d55e2e6fa0
Close-up view of the ESC, receiver and motor wiring.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8235117012_c797c3bc70
Our XR311 also has a brother now: Tamiya #58154, M1025 Hummer. Got it on eBay for very, very little money. It is based on a TA01/TA02 1/10 scale touring/rally chassis, but the body is 1/12 scale as Hummers are pretty large in real life.
The chassis needs rebuilding but in general the car is in very good condition given that it is approx 17 years old!

Stay tuned, Werner
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Post by boolean21 on Sat 1 Dec 2012 - 22:54

looks good!
nice update!

when can we molest it?
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Post by DWJL511 on Sat 1 Dec 2012 - 23:12

Simply amazing!
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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty The end is nigh

Post by laneboysrc on Fri 21 Dec 2012 - 18:18

After planning for almost two weeks to do it, last night I finally managed to solder up the light controller for the XR311. Thanks to my new glasses I can now actually see what I'm doing, which helps tremendously I love you

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8293984660_12f3aaf749

Today I monted the light controller in the space behind the passenger cab. This space is foreseen to route your battery and ESC wires.
The layout of the light controller circuit has been changed compared to our Dingo to fit nicely in the available space.
The servo wire for the steering wheel micro-servo has been installed and glued into place.


LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8293984570_decd5c3292

Close-up of the light controller.
Notice that there are two chips stacked on top of each-other on the left. These are the LED drivers. In our Dingo I used only one LED driver and used PWM (pulse width modulation) to control the brightness of the LEDs. However, due to the slow speed of the micro-controller this causes flickering when recording video at high shutter speeds.
To improve this for the XR311 I now use two chips, one for full brightness (20mA) and one for half brightness (~8.5mA), both DC current; no pulsing, no flickering alien
Compared to the Dingo this light controller does not use a DC/DC boost converter. Since there are not many lights on this car I could afford to give each of the head light LEDs its own LED driver channel, therefore the 5V of the BEC is sufficient to drive the LEDs.

LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build 8292929315_dabafb3511

To connect the micro-side steering wheel servo cable I used a small scrap of prototyping PCB, glued to the body. This way the servo can be unsolder-ed and replaced in case it fails.


It is hard to believe, but the end of the project is in sight. There are only a few jobs missing until completion:

  • Program the light controller
  • Wire-up the lights to the light controller
  • Glue the windshield to the body
  • Paint touch-up
  • Weathering
  • Build and paint the figure; making the arms move to appear it is driving the steering wheel
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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty Re: LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build

Post by boolean21 on Sat 22 Dec 2012 - 18:08

Nice and detailed updates! Thanks! Smile

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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty Re: LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build

Post by oceanic on Sun 23 Dec 2012 - 20:23

Looks great! Very Happy

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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty Re: LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build

Post by Harakiri on Mon 24 Dec 2012 - 0:42

Wow nice n scale rig. Can't wait to see it trailing
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LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build Empty Re: LANE Boys RC's Tamiya XR311 build

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