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Unbelievable RC

CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40


  • Model #: 58405
  • Gallery: View
  • Released: 2008
  • Prebuilt: No
  • Category: Trucks
  • Chassis: CR-01
  • Scale: 1/10
  • Use: Offroad
  • Style: Crawler
  • Config: MA
  • Driveline: Shaft-drive
  • Body: Polycarbonate
  • Finished body: No
  • Susp. front: Solid axle
  • Susp. rear: Solid axle

JANG's Impressions

Used in this build:

  • Novak Spy ESC
  • Airtronics MX-3FHSS radio
  • Blue Bird BMS-821DMG servo

The FJ40 Land Cruiser was a complete surprise to hobbyists when it was revealed at the 2008 Nuremberg Toy Fair, and the place it reserve in RC history was interesting, to say the least. Built on a completely new CR-01 chassis, it was Tamiya's first "rock crawling" rig, a late entry into a market that had been dramatically growing in popularity for several years. By the time this truck was unveiled, though, Tamiya had already ruled the crawler world, not once, but twice! The earliest popular crawlers were converted Clod Busters with custom chassis and 4-linked suspension, and the TXT-1 was used by some as well. Then Tamiya introduced the TLT-1. While this small-scale truck wasn't a very capable vehicle in stock form, hobbyists began using its axles as the basis for 1/10th scale rock crawler rigs, and the 2.2" crawler craze of the late 2000's was born.

The CR-01 is intended to be a hybrid offroader/crawler. It has a center-mounted transmission and shaft drives powering solid axles. The tires are delightfully soft & pliable and paired with real beadlock 2.2" wheels. The truck's most distinguishing feature is its peculiar use of coil springs that not only compress & extend, but bend & twist as the stout 4-linked suspension travels through its range of motion. Oil-filled shocks are mounted at steep angles, upside-down on the sides of the chassis, activated by cantilevers & pushrods. The chassis itself is dominated by distinctive bent steel c-frames up top, joined with several horizontal decks and laticed vertical plates on the side. There's plenty of room to mount even the largest ESC & receiver on the upper decks, and a 6-cell battery tray rounds out the main features, accepting either shotgun or side-by-side packs. The body is Lexan with a few ABS accessories, including a grille assembly with two decal options to choose from depending on whether you want to install a set of LED lights (not included). Rear LED light buckets are included as well.

Another nice feature of the CR-01 is the locking diff setup borrowed from the Hi-Lift. For general off-roading, you can run the diffs open for a decent turning radius and low drivetrain stress. For a little more fun, you can lock just the rear, and for crawling, you can lock both. The nicest thing is that locking & unlocking is accomplished by removing an easily-accessible, large set screw on the diff housing, then either inserting or removing a hex-head screw pin that goes through the axle.

When driving, the Land Cruiser tends to rock its tall dome from side to side. The turning radius is actually fairly poor, even with both diffs unlocked. Straightline speed with the stock Johnson motor is like that of a toy, but this is because the truck is geared for crawling torque, not racing. On the rocks, the tires get quite impressive grip for stockers, and as you'll see in the video (though it was cold and wet when the footage was taken), the truck is quite rather capable, probably more so than any vehicle I'd seen to date with the exception of purpose-designed competition crawlers. Softer springs and/or swaybars would surely enhance its prowess, as would a more aggressive tire tread pattern.


Building & Tips

See the CR-01 Land Cruiser build thread on the forums for all of my comments during the build process plus a selection of photos as I went along.

  • Unless you're extremely patient and have strong wrists, have a power driver handy before starting this build, at least #1 and #2 phillips bits and a 1.5mm hex bit. Just the wheels alone have 20 screws, each.
  • Also, on step 16, the instructions say to use D6 (medium) spacers for the lower (longer) link mounts. Frankly, this doesn't work well. So little spacing at the mounting point they specify causes binding of the links against the side plates at the extremes of articulation, causing your chassis structure itself to have to flex like it was a spring. To avoid this, use D7 (thick) spacers instead.
  • Apply decals #50 before #s 12 & 13.

Photo gallery samples

Visit the full CR-01 Toyota Land Cruiser gallery >