The Clod Buster platform
After reviewing the CC-01 scale trail and CR-01 rock crawler platforms, let's get back to 1987 when Tamiya released a... huge vehicle: 4 wheel drive, 4 wheel sterring, double damper per wheel, 16.5cm diameter wheels, bigger than any period buggy or Monster Truck. Any other model looks small and light compared to it, even previous Monster Trucks look like toys compared to the Clod Buster. Apart from the Dantesque proportions, the Clod Buster was indirectly responsible for the birth of Rock Crawlers we saw before.
Clod Buster chassis top view
Clod Buster chassis bottom view
58065 Clod Buster (1987)
58089 Bullhead (1990)
58321 Super Clod Buster (2004)
Monster Trucks of this platform were big and heavy: the twins motors were required to move them. Of course, they were not designed for anything else but leisure-oriented usage: the weight and high center of gravity made them inadequate for any kind of race. They were replicas of American Monster Trucks used in show to crush everything on their way.
The last photo shows my friend modified Clod Buster playing with my King Blackfoot when it was using the Monster Beetle bodyshell. Besides showing the size difference between these two monsters, this photo shows one specific Clod Buster detail: Teamneogordini's model was heavily modified and precisely, this is one characteristic that made the Clod Buster so important in RC history.
Promotional video of the Clod Buster (© Tamiya)
Teamneogordini's modified Super Clod Buster (© RC4ON)
Before explaining what the Clod Buster specifically brought to RC, one word about the model: I only refer to the Clod Buster here (or the Super Clod Buster), forgetting about the Bullhead. The fact is that this model was identical to the Clod Buster, except the bodyshell and the color of several parts, but it never was as successful as its twin model. To make it short, the sales volume of the Bullhead were probably about as big as mistakes when sales volumes of the the Clod Buster were rounded up to the next hundreds of thousands. As for the Super Clod Buster that replaced the Clod Buster in 2004, it was an authentic Clod Buster! The chassis was identical in every aspect except several parts color and the bodyshell was identical too (it only received a color and sticker lifting). Sorry, I forgot about the name: just call it “Super”
Some facts showing how important the Clod Buster was:
- the model was in every Tamiya RC Guide Book from 1988 to 2003
- production and sales of this model never stopped since its first release in 1987 (despite the name alteration in 2004 for marketing reasons)
The Clod Buster is the oldest model still in activity in all RC history!
And it keeps going...
At the time, the Clod Buster was designed to replace the Blackfoot on the “Monster Truck” segment, but based on the principle that bigger was better: bigger, heavier, more expensive. To make it simple, the Clod Buster chassis architecture was made of 2 Grasshopper gearboxes, each one equipped with a motor, attached to the chassis with links and propelling massive wheels. The Monster Truck concept will not evolve until the late 90's when the Stampede / E-Maxx models were released by Traxxas (and so many shameless copies by HPI and others...), bringing a new kind of usage 10 years after the Clod Buster.
The Clod Buster specific chassis architecture based on complete front and rear live axles attached to the chassis using links will strongly influence RC: as a matter of fact, it is the architecture design used by every modern Rock Crawler (and the CR-01 chassis). Indeed, the first rock crawlers were custom built using Clod Buster axles and links, only the central and upper parts of the chassis being replaced. Later, TXT-1 axles and gearboxes were used to custom build modern crawlers, but we'll see this a little bit further.
Conclusion the Clod Buster platform
Note to the Bullhead fans, and to fans of “Super” in “Clod Buster”: my apologies for the strikethrough in the title, but you have to admit that the sole Clod Buster success and influence are tremendous.
This model has the RC world record for the oldest model still under production (so the record still grows). The chassis architecture also gave birth to the Rock Crawling category, a new category that became very successful starting the second half of the 2000's when Axial released their AX10 chassis.
The Clod Buster is one of Tamiya's best-sellers, the ultimate design in Monster Trucks as it was first made by Marui's Big Bear and then by Tamiya with the tremendous success of the Blackfoot and Monster Beetle. This concept would only be updated over 10 years later by Traxxas, when they successfully reinvented the concept. Anyway, the Clod Buster is still very successful and still sell despite its architecture of the 80's.