;e mostly scratch-built interior was the biggest challenge of the build.
I made the tub using .040 styrene gusseted to the Tamiya body for
strength. ;e door panel items, steering wheel, and shifters are from
Axial, and RC4 WD supplied the seats. ;e brass roll bar is hand made,
and Sam the driver was found at Toys “R” Us. ;e dash and backlit
gauges were made using printed gauge faces mounted behind dash face
openings. I covered these with clear styrene and backlit with white LEDs
housed in a styrene box behind the dash.
Li’l Orange not only features a
fully detailed dash, it even has
EXTERIOR ;e body is relatively stock except for the removal of the front bumper and rear post bosses. ;e addition of brass tube front and rear bumpers, simple sliders, roof rack, and swing-out rear tire carrier gave it a personal touch. I like brass as a building medium for its trength and machinability, and with a
small butane torch, flux, and solder, you
can make very strong joints. I opted to
leave the stock running boards as seen on
a 1:1. ;is helped the body to look wider
and better cover the tires. To give it the
on-road/o;-road look I wanted, I used
RC4 WD 1.9 steel wheels and Dick Cepek
Mud Country tires. ;e black hood and
side panel graphics are printed on clear
address labels, clear coated, closely
cut out and applied. If you are applying
these types of decals to a white
surface, you can get away with much
more with regard to color; otherwise, I
use thin matte photo paper as I did for
the window decals, license plate, etc.
I have always been a fan of lights on my
scalers, and with current LED technology
and availability, the possibilities are endless.
;ere are several options available for LED
light kits, but I chose to make a custom system.
;e lighting gear is mounted inside the body
so there’s no wiring harness to disconnect,
and the system runs on just two AA batteries.
;ere are some great scale opportunities with
lighting, including all the marker lights as can
be seen on this build. For the headlights and trail
lights, I used 3V 5mm warm white LEDs, which
look more scale than cool white LEDs. All other
marker lights use 1.9V 3mm high-intensity red
and yellow LEDs, which I dial down to the right brightness with
small 1/8 watt resistors of appropriate values. Experimenting
with di;erent resistor (ohm) values helps to achieve the
perfect look. ;e tail and marker lights feature lenses made
from craft-store acrylic jewels machined to size. A small
micro switch strategically mounted on
the body works to control the
;e lighting gear is mounted inside the body, allowing
the body to be removed without a;ecting the wiring.
;at’s a model, right? Or did Norm
punk us by including a shot of a
full-size Li’l Orange?
To keep with the desired scale look, body posts were not an option. Instead I used high-power rare earth button magnets glued to the underside of the body and custom-made
styrene plates spanning the stock posts on the shock towers and they work very well to
keep the body on and located firmly. Getting these glued to the right spots can be tricky,
but once they’re where you want them, they work great for quick body removal and
AND WE’RE OFF!
;is was a very rewarding build. Li’l Orange looks and runs great on the trail. One of my
favorite places to run is in the sugar-soft sand of lake dunes where challenges and scale
photo ops are plentiful. Many ideas, techniques, and concepts were found surfing RC
forums online and I encourage everyone out there to stretch your abilities and create a
custom build you can be proud to wheel.