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58646 Tamiya Konghead 6x6 G6-01 Review and Build

Tamiya has a long history of making RC kits with loads of character. These include many classics such as the Lunchbox, Midnight Pumpkin a...


Tamiya has a long history of making RC kits with loads of character. These include many classics such as the Lunchbox, Midnight Pumpkin and the Wild Willy. The G6-01 Konghead 6X6 is the latest release and has really piqued the interest of many people in the hobby from the young to the young at heart.


When we were first shown the early pre-release images of the Konghead, it's easy to see why it has caused such a stir. It looks like someone at the Tamiya R&D department decided that a surefire way to have more fun is to add more wheels! Yep this mighty beast is a 6 wheel drive, 4 wheel steer fun truck. Here are the details:

Specifications:
  • Length: 450mm, width: 260mm, height: 280mm.
  • Weight: 2365g (Electrics installed, no battery)
  • Drivetrain: 6WD 
The chassis itself is a variant of the excellent GF-01 chassis that was used in the excellent Heavy Dump truck release. That truck has become a popular release and it will be interesting to see if this Konghead can partner alongside it as a fun off roader.

So let's take a look in the box


Preparing for the build

As with any kit you want to take a look at the manual and check you have everything at hand. The Tamiya G6-01 Konghead can be built in two configurations.
  • Standard steering: Front wheels steer.
  • Four wheel steering: Front and rear wheels steer.
All of the needed chassis parts are included in the kit, so I decided to build the kit in 4WS configuration. You will need an extra servo, and a servo splitter cable. This is the easy way to add 4WS as you simply fit the two servos into the female plugs on the splitter cable and then plug the splitter cable into the receiver.
wiggle wiggle
The splitter cable sends the steering input to both servos at the same time, and you get 4WS. There are other ways to do it, but this is is the easiest and cheapest. (***Note your receiver may not be able to power the two servos, however this is unlikely).

The only change I will make to the build from the kit specification is to add bearings. The kit bushings are fine and essentially indestructible, However looking in the Tamiya instruction manual it recommends that you upgrade to bearings if you run a faster motor, so whilst I will use the kit motor in the review, I will upgrade it in the future so I I ordered a set from www.RCbearings.co.uk. They can supply rubber shielded bearings for the same price as standard ones. These are great for off road RC vehicles as they are less prone to let in dirt.

The G6-01 requires the following amount of bearings.
  • 36 * 1150 bearings
  • 2 * 850 bearings (4 if you intend to build 4WS)

Building the kit

The G6-01 is features a monocoque abs chassis moulded into two halves. The plastic is thick and it feels very stiff. The first part of the build is the most fiddly as you attach some chassis links inside the main chassis halves.
You need to add a dollop of the included AW (Anti wear) Grease. This silver sticky gloop is used to just stop dirt getting into the chassis. I used a small screw driver to add a little onto the parts as shown in the manual.

These sticky parts now need to be slid into the chassis halves from the inside. Once done you will have the inner suspension shaft and shock mounts.

To stop any dirt getting into the chassis I then liberally added more AW grease on the inside to stop the dirt getting in.

The lower and upper suspension arms are added onto the front halves of the chassis. The GF-06 uses the classic TL01 two-part lower arms. These have been used on a wide range of Tamiya chassis in the past and they have proven themselves to be incredibly tough. Once the two parts are attached (You need to check that the lines on the top of the arms are aligned). You then add the two 10x3mm screws to hold them together.

The upper arm is a single piece affair, providing a fixed camber. You use a screw pin to attach the lower arm and a step screw for the upper arm. Just ensure that the arms move freely and that you have not over-tightened them.
The differentials are next. The Konghead has 3 differentials as it is 6WD. The plastic differential cases are made from stiffened glass re-enforced plastic and are very hard wearing.

The internal differential gears are made from steel and are very hard wearing. I was a little dubious on how this long 6WD chassis would steer, so I only used a minimal amount of the Tamiya grease on the gears. I might use some of the really sticky AW grease later if I decide to stiffen the differentials.

These differentials very easy to build and you just hold them together with 3 screws.

I like to check the smoothness of the finished diffs by fitting the out drives and giving them a twist. I also do this to tune diffs so for example after adding AW grease into the front diff you can decide if it's stiff enough, or if you need to add more before assembling the chassis.
Now it's time to add the built diffs into the chassis halves. When doing this make sure that you fit the 1150 bushings in the correct places on the inside of  the chassis halves.
Now it's time to fit the rest of the internal gears..  as you can see above there loads included in this kit. Do not fear though as you will not need them all as there are some spares. All of these gears are because the Tamiya Konghead uses a concept called Tandem transmission. Here the pinion turns the two internal spur gears in opposite directions, one driving the gears to the front of the truck, the other moving the gears to the two differentials at the rear of the truck. It is a very strong and robust transmission design and this will ensure that the G6-01 Konghead should be able to take a lot of abuse.
To assemble the transmission you first need to add the shafts into the chassis. There is a combination of hollow and solid 5mm shafts. Once they are inserted you just need to place the gears on and check they are able to spin freely. With the ninth gear mounted in the chassis you can see that the chassis is going to be something a little different to the norm.
I only used a very small amount of grease on the gears as it causes unnecessary friction, and I want the Konghead drive train to be as free as possible.
With the gears mounted you then hold the two chassis halves firmly in place with twelve 10x3mm screws. The chassis should easily fit together, if it doesn't then just give it a little wiggle and they diffs will fall into place (These are the only gears without a shaft holding them in place). Once assembled you have you monocoque chassis :)
Now we add the motor. The Konghead comes with a std 540 motor, so it should provide a decent amount of speed along with good run times. The kit included 18t pinion is added onto the end. You can swap it out for an optional 20T 0.6 mod pinion for slightly higher top speed.
Installing the motor is easy as you just need to slide the two 25mm screws into the holes that correspond to the amount of teeth on the pinion (18t or 20t). This avoids any meshing issues on the elaborate internal gearbox.
With the motor installed it is time to fit the front chassis brace that will help strengthen the chassis even more, as we move onto the next stage of the build.

The G6-01 chassis inherits the same suspension geometry as the popular WR-01 and GF-01 family of Tamiya wheelie cars. So you know that it will be strong and spares will be easy to come by if you ever need them.
The front lower arms are also a strong two piece design. The arms are them mounted onto the chassis with an U-shaped shaft that slides though. This design allows the energy to be dispersed as the suspension is subject to the the load when you land from a jump.
The upper front arms are then attached with step screws, I tighten them until things seem a little stiff and then just unscrew slowly until the arm falls under it's own weight.
Note: At this stage we will be working on the axles, there are two types in this set. You want to use the darker hardened steel wheel axles in the front.
Front steering knuckles are next. You mount the 1150 bushings on the inner knuckle and slide the steel axles though. You then just have to attach it to the C-Hub (the part which the knuckle spins on). This is done with two strong and chunky step screws. Again do not over tighten, just check that the upright can rotate freely.
Now you need to attach the outer gearbox joints, and mount the steering knuckles to the arms. Slide in the heavy duty steel drive shafts (dog bones) before attaching the upper arm and you will have the front suspension assembled. The only other part you need to fit is the plastic brace that holds in the U-shaft.
Now we move to the middle axle. We have already fitted the arms when we constructed the chassis, however we also need to add part numbers E5 and E6. These mount from inside the battery bay on each side and act as an upper suspension mount. You can add a little AW grease to stop dirt getting in, but do not be too excessive as the battery bay is easy to clean if needed. The parts themselves are both held in firmly with two 3x8mm screws.
With these mounted you just need to add the steel out-drives and the rear hub.

Adding 4WS?

When you reach stage 18 in the instruction manual, you are able to work on the rear axle. Here you have two options.
  1. Fixed rear arms
  2. Four wheel steering (4WS)
As mentioned earlier I am installing 4WS into this chassis. The kit comes with all of the parts you need to do this so you just need an extra servo and a servo splitter cable.
You can get shorter splitter cables:)
If you want to do this, then you will need to jump to the back of the manual for the instructions. There will a little bit off jumping backwards and forward to the two parts of the manual as you fit parts of the rear, then build the shocks etc but it is easy to follow.
The 4WS rear assembly is the same as the front steering other than it uses a screw pin to hold the lower arms. With this assembled it it time to work on the shocks.

The G6-01 comes with friction shocks, these are not filled with oil, making them very easy to make and again very tough.
Using the manual as a measuring guide, just cut some of the rubber pipe into six 12mm pieces. You them fit the shock shaft into the cylinder and attach the ball connector on the end.
Cover the rubber with lots of grease to ensure that it is well lubricated, then slide it into the accommodating hole at the top of the shock cylinder.
Now you just need to screw on the top of the shock to hold everything in place.
Then add the spring and lower spring retainer and you are finished. As it the case with the Konghead, you have to build more than normal for all 6 suspension arms.
The shocks are installed on the chassis with step screws. Once fitted I gave the arms a squeeze and the shock action was acceptable and they didn't feel too stiff so I was encouraged that it the Konghead would manage to keep all six wheels on the ground without skipping around.
With the shocks mounted we move onto the front steering assembly. The G6-01 has a steering crank that houses two 850 bushes that help it rotate on the single steering post. Two steering arms made with steel tie rods are then attached to the ball connectors.
The steering assembly is now mounted onto the chassis by sliding in a the steel steering post and retaining it with a screw. This gives you a freely rotating steering set-up. Now you need to attach the front servo that is held onto the side of the chassis with two screws.
Now it's time to concentrate on fitting the rear steering. As I am running 4WS I am using two servo's of the same specification. This is beneficial as otherwise your front and rear steering will move at different speeds which will make the Konghead hard to drive because whilst one has returned to neutral to allow you to go straight, the other may still be returning, giving you a truck that is hard to control.
The steering assembly is mounted in the same manner as the front, although the geometry is slightly different to ensure that the steering will turn in the opposite direction from the front alongside reduced steering throw.
Now we fit the battery cover. This just slides into place and it is held down with two large body pins. The battery bay on the G6-01 is large and rectangular so it will easily accommodate hardcase lipo packs.
The chassis is very nearly finished and we just need to add the wheels. The tyres are hard wearing but they still feel squishy and soft. The chevron pattern works well at providing grip on a wide range of surfaces.
The cool looking wheel hubs use a 12mm hex fitting all around, so you need to fit the hex's to the axles. I use a small bit of AW grease to hold the pins in position before I push on the deep 9mm plastic wheel hexes.
With the wheels fitted you just need to choose one of the two included bumpers to mount on the chassis. I went with the large bumper as the Konghead was going to get bashed around the local park and BMX track so I wanted to protect the shell.

The chassis is now finished, it looks fantastic sitting on the workbench.

It feels very sturdy and I am really excited about driving it, but before that we have the shell to build.

As you would expect from Tamiya everything went together really easily

The Chassis looks so different to anything I've seen before. Whilst the chassis is fascinating to look at, it is time to move onto the distinctive bodyshell.
The shell itself is made from strong, lightweight polycarbonate, There is a lot of detail and the quality is superb. I was keen to build this truck in the box-art so I just needed 3 different paints
  • PS-05 : Black
  • PS-16 : Metallic blue
  • PS-48 : Semi gloss aluminium
It was quite a big task to mask the shell, however I am quite pedantic about getting the body looking good. After painting the shell I then mounted the decals and added the chrome plated body parts. I couldn't stop grinning when the shell was mounted on the chassis. The final result was really striking and it had that classic Tamiya vibe to it.
I installed a Tamiya TBLE-02S esc into the Konghead, added a charged battery and gave the 4WS a quick wiggle. I couldn't wait to thrash this quirky 6WD truck outside, and I didn't have long to wait.

Track test

For once we were blessed with a very hot summers day hitting 30 deg C! Ideal to put the Konghead through its paces on a disused dusty BMX track. This is a great test area as it features gravel, tarmac, long and short grass and also a wide range of steep bumps and larger mounds to test the climbing ability.
As I powered it on I gave the sticks a wiggle to look at the 4WS, I was taken at how different this looked, and then pushed up on the throttle to set the Konghead off on an adventure.
The steering was crisp and very responsive. The servos I used were only cheap but still have a decent speed for a fun truck and this coupled with the 4WS really surprised me on how nimble the G6-01 chassis handled. Importantly even though the Konghead weighs in at a around 2.7kg with a battery installed, the servos had no issue turning the steering arm, even on the long grass.
Obviously on the loose gravel I experienced some initial under-steer, but the rear wheels really helped to engage the front wheels to find grip and I was able to do donuts and whilst spinning I could control the slide and steer out off it leaving a huge trail of dust behind.
The 4WS on the Konghead is superb, and It really adds something to to driving experience and makes the ride enthralling even when bashing about. The cost effective implementation of this system is great and it works very well.
The 540 motor is not going to challenge any speed records. With a decent lipo it managed around 20mph (Rough guess). This was enough to help it grab fleeting bits of air, and it was certainly quick enough to make racing around the track enjoyable.
The 18t pinion ensured that the motor would spin up quickly and the Konghead would quickly reach its top speed. Importantly when sliding around the wheels would spin up quickly and allow you to blip the throttle to move the weight around and effect the handling.

After 3 battery packs of running the motor was pretty hot but the TBLE-02S esc and the 540 motor were still running fine. Even though it was a very hot day. At some point very soon I will change the pinion out to the 20t version that Tamiya sells (Part no 53509) for more speed.
The G6-01 chassis is long and the mid mounted motor actually provides a decent weight ratio to the front and rear of the Konghead. This combined with independent suspension and the 4WS gives it the best handling yet from any of the Tamiya Stunt truck range.
The Konghead is actually very stable, and unlike many other fun trucks it doesn't roll over at a whim. I was able to run full speed on Tarmac and the Truck would lean in the corner but in a very controlled manner so I was able to extract a good deal of speed from it around the twisty stuff.
The Konghead was very compliant on all of the surfaces. The ride height is around 45mm, combined with the large soft tyres it ensured that the G6-01 chassis could tackle everything I threw at it. Even at low grip I could wiggle the sticks and find some traction and then guide the Konghead around.
When the Konghead did occasionally grab some air, it felt composed and it landed well without bouncing around. This was a surprise as the kit only has friction shocks but they did a remarkable job. For the general bashing that I have been doing with the truck I cannot see any reason to upgrade.
The track also had some very steep mounds on the back of the high bank corners so I was intrigued to see how it would cope with these. The long wheelbase ensured that it was quite stable and would keep all 6 wheels on the ground. The Konghead did a good job ascending, although if I wanted to explore this potential more I would add thicker grease or even try to lock at least one of the 3 differentials.
This controlled and responsive handling comes with a few sacrifices, you are not going be be able to wheelie or endo this truck unlike the GF-01 Heavy Dump truck. Although I am sure some of you will try ;) so it looses that ability, but it provides it's own unique set of different handling attributes that make it just as enjoyable. Head to head, on a track I would think the Konghead would win, the handling and stability is so much better, also for climbing steep surfaces this truck would keep going when the GF-01 would decide to roll over.
The combination of great weather and fund handling, ensured that the Konghead has had over 10 packs (4-5 hours) of bashing on a variety of different surfaces and locations. There have been a few drivers accidents and It has been rolled, hit some rather large rocks and even tumbled down the side of a grassy hill and nothing has broken or failed. Other than a few scrapes on the shell, and a huge amount of dust from the gravel trails the Konghead looks as good as new and is still running strong.

Tamiya Konghead Video:




Overall

The Tamiya G6-01 Konghead is a hotly anticipated release, and I think Tamiya has delivered a great truck that lives up to the hype.
The build is satisfying yet easy to achieve thanks to the clear manual and the quality of the parts. The final result looks looks fantastic, as it exudes lots of the classic Tamiya character of old.
The 6WD and 4WS is unique for a truck in this range and it provides a different and enjoyable driving experience.
So in summary, if you want something a bit different that can take on a range of different surfaces, makes you feel good when driving it and just looks great on the shelf you would be hard pressed to beat the Tamiya Konghead 6X6.

If you want to treat yourself to the Tamiya Konghead they are available from your local UK Tamiya Stockist. Contact http://www.hobbyco.net/ for more info.

tamiya 526229297547768524

Post a Comment

  1. HI, very nice review
    I just want to know do you need a 3 channel if you use a a servo splitter cable?
    Many thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope. You just plug the splitter in the steering port of your 2ch receiver. Have Fun!

      Delete
  2. Thanks for such a detailed article.. I have purchased this kit for my son for this x-mas. He is going to be very excited on Christmas day.
    Thanks to you, I have also purchased a splitter cable along with a 2nd (Duplicate) Servo so he will build his with 4WS too.
    When you said that the installation of the rear servo was a little different geometry to ensure both servo's turned in different directions.. Does this mean you just installed the rear servo in a reverse direction than the front?
    Thanks for everything, and if you get a chance, you can see him build this on YouTube under Kid Mechanic.. He will not have this vid up until after Xmas. but he does have the Tamiya HDT on there.
    Take care

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind comments. The reference to the geometry is about what the designers have set-up on the chassis.

      Just follow the instructions in the manual (there is a section for the rear steer option at the back, just follow that).

      It will be a great Xmas present, my son has thrashed this Konghead a lot since the review and it is very used but still going strong.

      I will check out your videos :) have fun!

      Delete

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