It only dawned on me recently that, while I’ve been posting stories about my remote control helicopters, I already had a remote control vehicle which I’d owned for years and not mentioned at all.
The vehicle in question is the TAMIYA Mitsubishi Pajero Metaltop Wide – a radio controlled car I bought many years ago. In fact, I still have the box it came in, and everything else I bought at the time – plus the receipt! It cost £159.99 and I bought it on 6th March 1995.
Ideally, this model is supposed to have a two-tone body, with the bumpers, wheel arches and bottom of the doors being silver/chrome. However, my problem with kit models has always been that, while I can build them just fine, I’m utterly hopeless at painting them. When I was a kid, I used to build a lot of Airfix and Revell kits – but I always left the painting to my dad; he’s always had an artistic streak which, sadly, I didn’t inherit. So I didn’t trust myself to do a decent job, and simply sprayed it all Gun Metal grey and left it at that – apart from the side-lights, which were coloured with paint markers. I just wish there was an option to buy these kits with a ready-painted body shell.
I haven’t actually used this car in more than ten years, and at the moment I’m not even sure if it still works. Mechanically it should be fine, but I suspect the battery will no longer hold a charge. I’ll try charging it in the next few days, but it takes a whopping 14 hours to fully charge. Given its age, I don’t want to leave it charging unsupervised, and it’s going to be difficult to find a period where someone is around constantly to keep an eye on it.
I’m not really up to speed with the changes in the r/c scene, so if anyone knows of a modern battery/charger combination which can safely be used with this model, please feel free to let me know in the comments. The battery pack supplied with the model is a TAMIYA 1400NP, Ni-Cd 7.2V-1400mAh – I’ve seen them listed as “vintage” and it doesn’t seem you can buy them any more.
Interestingly, I discovered just a couple of days ago that TAMIYA are about to do a “very limited re-release” of this model, with stock expected early next month. Obviously, several components will be replaced with more modern equivalents, and I must admit that part of me wants buy this new kit just to check out the differences. The only problem is the price of the new model: it’s not bad in as much as it’s ‘only’ £30 dearer than it was in 1995, but it’s still £189 (plus controller, paints etc.) that I don’t currently have.
Oh well… for now I guess I’ll just have to hope that the old battery will still hold a charge.
Update: 30th May 2012
I had the opportunity to charge the battery, and would you believe it still works! After our first period of dry weather for over a month, I managed to get the lawn cut and get some video of it running around the garden. I’d forgotten just how quick the thing can move, even on bumpy ground.