Until recently, the trail category was not among my favorites, and the crawler was even a definite dislike. Yet, I already had the chance to give a try to my friend's Laurent58 CR-01 and to admire the modern 3Speed from my friend David from RC 4 Old Nuts. These experiences taught my two things: no crawler for me because I found them not realistic enough to my taste, and no scale trail either because it desperately lacks speed (also to my taste).
Then... I joined a trail session with my friends from the club. The models and their scale realistic handling were no surprise to me since I already had seen them in action. However, I discovered how convivial these moments are: due to the very low speed, the drivers have much more time to share impressions, advices and so on than you can share at a track in between two moments of concentration.
Result: I bought my first scale model and my banker pinned my friends photo at his wall and he now plays darts with it .
Update => After the first runs with the LandFreeder, a friend made an offer for a brand new Mitsubishi Pajero Metaltop Wide bodyshell at a price one can't refuse. In addition, the LandFreeder bodyshell was already starting to show its weaknesses, the usual ones you often see on lexan bodyshells with a rear flat bed: the junction of the flat bed behind the cabin is the natural flex point when the bodyshell hits something. This being quite frequent in trailing, my bodyshell started to show tears after only 3 or 4 runs.
Apart from swapping the boyshells, I made many new modification on my model after first publishing this article. This is why you will see several "Updated" signs: all the updated section can now be found in a new article dedicated to the Mitsubishi Pajero Metaltop Wide. <= Update
The CC-01 lineage
The CC-01 (Cross Country) chassis lineage is pretty long since the series started over 20 years ago. I chose the most recent model of the series at the time of writing this review (november-december 2013):
58579 LandFreeder (2013)
This chassis is strictly identical to the very first one that started the series and the bodyshell is long-known since it is the Bush Devil's:
58101 Bush Devil (1992)
58523 Bush Devil II (2012)
This bodyshell depicts a real vehicle, the 1989-1992 Ford Ranger, but it is no official license from Ford, thus the generic name of Bush Devil and LandFreeder:
1989-1992 Ford Ranger
More than 20 years ago, the CC-01 lineage started with a first series of models:
58132 Mitsubishi Pajero Metaltop Wide (1993, 2008, 2012)
58141 Jeep Wrangler (1994, 2009)
58152 Isuzu mu (1994)
58166 Isuzu mu Type X (1995)
58178 Honda CRV Sport Utility (1996)
57701 Mitsubishi Pajero Rally Sports (1999)
© Tamiya from Tamiya 1997 RC Guide Book
For the first series, the first four models use the short wheelbase chassis variant (242mm) and feature an ABS bodyshell. The 58178 Honda CRV kit uses the long wheelbase chassis variant (267mm) with an ABS bodyshell on top. The last model is the XB version Pajero using a lexan bodyshell on the short wheelbase chassis.
This chassis is also known under the unofficial name of XC (the X standing for "cross"). Unlike a common belief, XC is the CC-01 chassis nickname given by fans, not the name of the long wheelbase variant: whatever the wheelbase, the chassis name remains CC-01.
A second wave of models hits the shelves in 2004. Well, it is a single-model wave using the long wheelbase variant and a lexan bodyshell:
58324 Volkswagen Race Touareg (2004)
New hibernation period for the series before Tamiya decided to reuse the chassis in 2008 with the first re-release of the Pajero Metaltop in limited edition under the reference 49490. Then in 2009, new models are released, including the Jeep Wrangler (84071) and (again) the Pajero Metaltop (49490) re-releases in limited editions. Also note the new intermediate 252mm wheelbase (via spacers added between the short and long wheelbase stands) to welcome the Toyota Land Cruiser bodyshell:
58445 Toyota Land Cruiser 40 (2009)
58457 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U406 (2010)
58469 Ford Bronco 73 (2010)
58564 Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Black (2013)
58579 LandFreeder (2013)
58588 Toyota FJ Cruiser (2014)
58602 Mitsubishi Pajero Rally Sports (2015)
58609 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 425 (2015)
The series is still under production, 20 years after the release of the first model. From the beginning, many fans ingeniously competed with each others to increase the chassis abilities at clearing obstacles and to customize the bodyshells making them even more scale realistic. My chassis will only receive some options to make it more reliable. As for the bodyshell and decoration, I'm afraid my skills are still pretty limited: I think I am going to keep it simple, at least at the beginning.