I've built a number of Tamiya kits in my day, and, while I know I would have loved to build the Stadium Blitzer, I decided to do something a little different with it. I had one of our newer folks here at HorizonHobby.com give building a kit a shot. Jason has had an interest in full-scale racing for a long time and, since joining our ranks, has developed an interest in RC. He owns a few different RTRs and RTFs, but he had never built a kit before. I thought this would be the perfect chance for him to get a new appreciation of the hobby and knew that he should have a successful experience with the Stadium Blitzer.
Since the Stadium Blitzer is a kit, we needed to pick a number of different items to fully complete it. The Spektrum™ DX3C was the natural choice for this truck with its vast array of features and ease-of-use. The steering duties on the Stadium Blitzer presented a unique challenge due to the direct steering setup on this truck, but the Spektrum 6010 servo fit the bill perfectly. Much like other recent kits from Tamiya, the re-release of the Stadium Blitzer includes a Tamiya 104BK ESC; a nice addition to the kit. For power, Tamiya turned to the old-faithful silver can-sealed end bell motor that Tamiya has used for years. Finally, I needed to add a battery into the mix and the Dynamite® Speedpack™ 3300mAh battery was the perfect pack for this application. It comes with the correct connector pre-wired and should perform really well.
While I let Jason build the kit, I painted and detailed the body and, I have to say, the Stadium Blitzer's body is part of why I love this truck. It's classic late 80s/early 90s styling and has a ton of great looking decals to finish things up. Painting was relatively easy thanks to the excellent Tamiya paints that I used for this body. From start-to-finish, I put almost 4-hours into masking, painting, trimming and detailing the body. It wasn't that the body was difficult to detail; however, there are just so many decals to work with that it was very time consuming. In the end, I think the finished product looks awesome—a truly faithful recreation of the original.
For our tests, I knew that taking Jason to a racetrack would be a mistake. He's a beginner and being on-track with other drivers would make him quite nervous. Taking him to a baseball field or open lot would also be a mistake, as it wouldn't truly test the Stadium Blitzer well and, honestly, jumping stuff is a lot more fun than just running around on flat ground. With this in-mind, we headed out to the perfect combination of each—the track at Eli Field. I knew we'd be the only ones on-track, so he wouldn't have to worry about other drivers, plus there are enough jumps and elevation changes to be challenging but fun.
I got to Eli Field before Jason did, so I decided to turn a few laps first. You need to make sure the steering is trimmed out and the truck goes straight, right? From the first squeeze of the trigger, the Stadium Blitzer scooted around the Eli Field track. It wasn't ballisticly fast, but it was respectable for a sealed end bell motor. While not the king in the horsepower department, it is rather efficient and provides really good run times. I was impressed at how well a truck that was designed the same year I got into the hobby actually drove. Sure, it didn't have race-oriented features like a ball diff or exotic chassis materials, but it didn't need those things for me to be able to have fun.
Eventually, Jason arrived at Eli Field and I handed the transmitter over. One of the first things that became apparent was that there was a difference in the driving skills of Jason versus myself. It's something that I guess I took for granted—I mean, if I can do it how hard can it be, right? Jason was much more of a lock-to-lock driver in terms of how much steering throw he used on the transmitter and, because of this, he found himself in the pipes regularly. I managed to help him out a bit, first by pointing out what he was doing, but secondly by turning down the steering throw via the DX3C transmitter. When I reduced the overall steering throw, it made the Stadium Blitzer more fun and enjoyable for Jason and he was able to get around the track easier and more consistently.
After running several batteries through the Stadium Blitzer, Jason and I both had a great time. Jason was pleased that the truck he put together actually ran; something he was extremely nervous about. Not only did the truck actually run, but it ran well. It's not going to go out and win the nationals tomorrow, but that's not the intent. It was the perfect truck for Jason to cut his building teeth on, it's easy to drive and it survived his newbie driving skills relatively unscathed. In the end, it was a successful first build for Jason, a trip down memory lane for me and an overall fun time.
Charge End Voltage
One of the most interesting features of the Advantage Touch is the ability to manually set the end charge voltage per-cell of your battery pack. Adjusting this voltage up or down adjusts the voltage that your Li-Po battery will come to a full charge. A higher voltage will obviously yield more power; however, this also can shorten the cycle life of your battery pack and risk a fire if you set this too high. Generally speaking, using an end voltage between 4.20–4.22v will be safe and deliver good overall results.
The kit sealed end bell motor is designed to be durable and efficient at the expense of top speed. I'm not saying that the Stadium Blitzer is a slug; however it's not a top fuel dragster either. I'd estimate that the top speed was right around 20MPH. The motor never became hot when using the stock gearing, so I feel comfortable saying that you could add a few teeth to the pinion to increase the top speed without hurting the motor.
Let's be honest, this is a 20-year old truck with hard tires; it's not going to drive like a modern stadium truck. I will say that the Stadium Blitzer actually drove a lot better than I anticipated though. The surface at Eli Field was bone dry and dusty due to the fact that the track hasn't been really used since last fall. After several runs and developing a slight groove in the track, the Stadium Blitzer started to really get comfortable for me to drive. It was a lot of fun counter-steering around corners, kicking the rear end sideways and going for style over speed. Suspension-wise, the truck felt a little under-dampened and bouncy, but going to 35–40wt oil in the shocks to thicken things up a bit would definitely help smooth out the ride.
When it came time to the tight-and-twisty sections, the Stadium Blitzer power slides around corners with the best of them. The kit tires are molded out of a harder rubber compound, just like the originals from the 90s. I didn't know what to expect out of the rib/pin front and pin/x-pattern rear tires, but they actually did a decent job of providing grip both under acceleration and cornering. While the Stadium Blitzer will never carve through the corners, it's a fun and enjoyable truck to get out there and throw around some dirt with.
The Stadium Blitzer was designed when off road was in a very different era. The tracks featured much looser dirt, smaller jumps, and were generally more scale than today's generation of big-air and blue groove style tracks. That being said, the layout and jumps at Eli Field are actually more representative of old-school tracks than the current ones and are a perfect test bed for the Stadium Blitzer. The jumps on the track provided little challenge, as the Stadium Blitzer took to the air well each time. Landings could get a little interesting; however, as there tended to be a bit of rebound upon landing, which could get the truck a little loose. Switching out to slightly thicker shock oil could help smooth out landings just a bit.
The sealed end bell motor that the Stadium Blitzer includes doesn't provide a ton of resistance, meaning the drag brake-effect was minimized. If you let off the gas, the truck tended to keep rolling along for a good bit instead of coming to a stop. With that said, the truck didn't transfer a ton of weight to the nose, which helped to keep the rear end planted off-power. That was definitely a good thing with the loose conditions we were dealing with on-track at Eli Field.
One of the good things about the stock motor is that you can lay on the throttle pretty hard and it's not going to bite you when coming out of a corner. The acceleration was decent for a silver can motor, but not mind blowing. The rear tires felt like they hooked up relatively well and helped get me around the track quickly and easily. While not a race bred vehicle by any stretch, I was able to hustle the truck around the track well.
I've always loved Tamiya vehicles and I probably always will. There's just something different and special about Tamiya kits, and the Stadium Blitzer is no different. This is another example of how Tamiya has listened to their fans, by re-releasing a classic kit but making it different enough to not adversely affect the collector market. Plus, for those who may have old kits sitting in pieces due to missing or broken parts, this gives them the chance to complete and repair their original vehicles and restore them to running condition.
In the end, there were so many positives that came out of this review. I got to drive one of my favorite Tamiya trucks of all time. Jason got to build his first kit and have a positive experience. And I got to share my love for the hobby with someone else. That, perhaps, is the best thing to come out of this review—that there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to building and maintaining RC cars and trucks. In fact, you may find a totally new appreciation for the hobby and find that building is just another facet that makes this hobby so much fun.