WORDS: Tony Phalen
PHOTOS: Wayne Phalen
PAINT: Tony Phalen
Living in Southern California, you are exposed to quite an array of motorsporting events. Indy and GT-cars, short course, drag racing, motorcross and, of course, drifting. I’ve driven drifters before (well, SCALE ones!) and even built one for a project, but nothing prepared me for the uber-coolness that Tamiya’s Gold Edition VDF has. Carbon fiber and gold-anodized aluminum are everywhere in this kit, and its front-ish motor and twin belt design provide the optimum balance for drifting. While I’m sure I have the skill to drive the full size versions (uh, ya), I was pretty excited to get behind the wheel of this baby for some slide-time.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Tamiya
WHO IT’S FOR: Intermediate to Advanced Drivers
HOW FAST: n/a
HOW MUCH: $440
BUILD TYPE: Kit
-The first thing you’ll notice is the TVP-style chassis (TVP stand for Twin Vertical Plates). While not a common design for on-roaders, the off-road market has used this setup with great success. This design allows for a wide range of chassis setups and, since the VDF isn’t completely dependent on having a low CG, this design works out great for this car.
-You’ll also notice that most of the weight is up front. The motor is the further-most electronic part (and the heaviest), and then the servo, ESC and receiver. I chose the low-profile Futaba BLS551 for its speed but mainly to allow some breathing room on the chassis for the other components.
-Any 2S LiPo pack should fit in the battery area of the VDF. I chose MaxAmps new Hard Case 120C 5450mah LiPo for two reasons; it’s got plenty of power and runtime for my application and it comes in a killer orange flame hard case which, coincidentally, ties in with the gold anodizing. Take care of which pack you use, though, as the MaxAmps bulky 26mm height does interfere with Tamiya’s out-of-the-box rear belt tensioner setting. You will need to adjust this to fit any tall batteries.
-Drifters rely on tons of steering throw and Tamiya has addressed this with the VDF. Gold aluminum extenders mount to the stock steering knuckles to give the VDF maximum steering throw. This helps ‘catch’ the car during extreme sideways action.
-The VDF comes with a fully adjustable front and locked rear diff. The locked rear diff helps initiate the sideways motion. You can then adjust the front diff to suit your driving style.
-The gold anodized aluminum trim looks fantastic against the dark carbon fiber. Each part is extremely precise and there are no fitment issues. The VDF makes you feel like you are holding exactly what it is…a high-end, purpose built drift car.
Tamiya, www.tamiyausa.com, (800) TAMIYA-A
LRP, distributed by Team Associated, www.teamassociated.com, (714) 850-9342
Futaba, www.futaba-rc.com, (217) 398-8970
MaxAmps, www.maxamps.com, (888) 654-4450
To read the entire review including the performance section, be sure to pick up the September 2011 issue of RC Driver Magazine!