58622 Tamiya Heavy Dump truck GF-01 review

There is something about diggers and dump trucks that appeals universally to man and boy. Of these, the most mighty are the huge Hau...

There is something about diggers and dump trucks that appeals universally to man and boy. Of these, the most mighty are the huge Haul trucks that work in quarries. Standing at over 7 metres high and have the ability to carry loads of over 300,000 kilos. These Goliath's harness incredible power as they move their load over hostile surfaces.

As cool as they are, you wouldn't expect these slow powerful beasts to be the inspiration for a no holds barred RC stunt truck. Tamiya however thinks differently, and their colourful history of producing many iconic and innovative RC cars means that we have to take a closer look. 

So we have the Tamiya Heavy Dump Truck. It is based on the new GF-01 chassis, which is a mid motor mounted 4WD variant of the 2WD stunt chassis that drives many classic Tamiya stunt cars such as the Wild Willy. So will this new truck has a lot of expectations that it has to live up to. Let's take a closer look!

Starting the build

As you expect from Tamiya,  the Heavy Dump Truck is well packaged and  the manual is clear and easy to follow. You will just need an additional cross head screwdriver to build the kit, and a transmitter, servo and batteries.

The differentials and drivetrain

We start by building the front and rear differentials. These are incredibly tough wearing gear differentials that have proven themselves to just keep running over many years of use.
Steel gears are going to last
They are simple to construct. The steel internal bevel gears all fit together easily, and you need to add a little if the kit included grease to the gears to ensure that they are smooth and resistant to wear. I am quite liberal with it in the differentials, and you can add some thicker grease (Tamiya AW is a favourite) into the front differential to make it a little stiffer than the rear one if you want to tune the handling a little.
Be careful that you do not over-tighten the screws
The differentials are then held together by 3 screws, and the outer glass re-enforced plastic that is used ensures that this is a hard wearing internal gear.
The internal gears are made of strong plastics
Now it's time to work onto the rest of the internal gears. The kit comes with brass and plastic bushings, these are hard wearing and will never let you down, even if you get the car muddy and wet. I however decided to contact RC bearings for a full set of ball bearings to have even less resistance on the drive train. I treated myself the the high performance ABEC 5 sealed bearings that also have a matching yellow rubber seal.
Love the engineering
Now it's the fun part as we mount the gears into the chassis.  The monocoque chassis itself is made from bright yellow plastic, and it looks striking when you compare it to the greys and blacks of the RC world. Push in the 1150 bushings/bearings that mount into the two halves of the chassis (Do not forget this or you will have to disassemble the whole car to fix it) you simply have to slide in the 5mm strong internal steel shafts into one half of the chassis and then slide on the internal gears.
Everything fits perfectly
As you can see the 4WD drive train for this car is very different to the conventional shaft or belt design that you get in most cars. The GF-01 chassis uses a Tandem Transmission design where the motor is mounted directly in the middle of the car. Here the pinion turns 2 internal spur gears, one goes clockwise, the other anti-clockwise and they transfer the power equally through the rest of the gears to the front and rear of the car. It's a fantastic piece of engineering and importantly it allows the chassis to be balanced front and rear so that it is able to be really well balanced for its intended stunt action!
The yellow stands out!
The two halves of the chassis are then attached, (Again to remember to fit the bushings in the other side).
Reliable, quick and it gives good battery life
Now it's time to fit the motor. The kit comes with the torque tuned motor, it has more speed than a standard 540 motor, but still gives you a good run time to go with the extra speed :)
Getting a good gear mesh is easy with the pre-mounted holes
The motor is able to be mounted in two different positions for either a 18t or 20t pinion. You simply have to slide the the two 25mm motor screws through the correct holes and then attach the motor. Very simple and importantly you will get a perfect motor mesh action. If you look closely into the chassis you can see the two spurs that will be driven from the motor.
The drive train is ready.. other than the wheels
With the motor installed you then need to fit the front chassis brace to help strengthen the chassis, as you move onto the next stage of the build


The GF-01 chassis inherits the same suspension geometry as the popular WR-01 family of 2WD Tamiya wheelie cars. So you know that it will be strong and spares will be easy to come by if you ever need them.
U cant fault such simple design
Each of the arms are made from two pieces of plastic that you need to screw together to gain more core strength.  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 arms move smoothly
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.
These are a proven, reliable design
Front steering knuckles are next. You mount the 1050 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.
Do not over-tighten the upper and lower step screws
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.
The rear end
We move the rear suspension. This is quick to assemble and less complex than the front end. You just need to use step screws and again do not over-tighten them.
The kit included springs work well
Next up are the shocks. The Heavy Dump Truck comes with friction dampers, and these are very easy to build and they are near indestructible. Just ensure you are liberal with the kit included grease to ensure that they all move freely and smoothly.

Tamiya does offer some hop-up oil dampers but for a stunt car these are more than capable of the job and you will not have to worry about any maintenance.
Change the spacers to soften or stiffen the car
Once built the shocks are mounted onto the chassis, use the included spacers to change the spring tensions (After testing I found the manual recommendations were spot on!). There are several included on the parts trees so keep them for tuning purposes.


The steering on the GF-01 chassis is interesting to build and quite advanced from the 2WD cars.
New GF-01 steering assembly
The first thing we build is the steering linkage. This consists of the main steering arm which has two 850 bearings mounted into it. This will ensure that there will be very little slop. You then mount the brass ball connectors
Any standard servo will fit fine
The servo horn is now mounted, again like most parts it is a striking yellow plastic. I just used a standard Tamiya Servo for this car, as it is going to be used for having fun, not racing!
Spread eagled!
The Tie-Rods are next. They are 3mm steel rods so they will be able to hold up to some quite strong impacts. I just used a pair of pliers and ensured I followed the excellent Tamiya manual to ensure that they were 24mm long. I then mounted the servo ready for the next stage.
Slide in the hard shaft
The steering arm rotates on a sturdy 5mm steel shaft that you thread through the bottom of the chassis, and through the steering arm. This is then held in with a screw that is mounted into the side of the chassis.
The underside.
The result is a very nice steering system that is a big step up from the rest of the Tamiya wheelie cars, it is very smooth, and it is centrally mounted to ensure that the steering rods are at an equal length.

Finishing the chassis.

The battery is mounted in-line with the chassis to ensure that it is well balanced.
The battery hatch is very easy to assemble
The battery compartment is square so a hard case lipo will easily fit, it is mounted on the top of the chassis and it is held in place with a battery door that you can easily lock with a couple of body clips.
You will get a lot of use from the wheelie bar :)
Now we come to the wheelie bar, probably one of the most important parts of the car. Its a simple part, but is should help the car when the front wheels lift off the ground.
The tyres are excellent!
Talking of wheels it's now time to fit these on the 12mm wheel hex. These monster truck looking tyres are made of soft rubber and once fitted onto the rims they are very squashy as their are no inserts. These will aid the way in which the Heavy dump truck will hit the terrain, as they will stop the car bouncing around.
The excellent TBLE-02s is included in the kit.
I then mounted the electric speed controller that comes included in the kit. Tamiya includes the excellent TBLE-02s unit in their kits and it is a great smooth speed unit. You can use it with the kit included brushed motor, but also you can change the mode and run sensored brushless motors.
You will also appreciate the bumper!
Now importantly it's time to fit the bumper. The kit comes with two to choose from, small or large... Erm that's not a hard choice for me as I mounted the large one. The bumper is mounted on two springs to help take any impact, and it is reassuringly sturdy :)

The Body

When mounting the body posts to the chassis, do not follow the main GF-01 manual. Instead you want to refer to the separate sheet included in the box that has all of the body instructions.
The arms can be used to lift the tipper when stationary
The body itself is in two parts. The front cab and the rear tipper. These are made from yellow ABS plastic and it looks great just out off the box. The front cab has two arms that you attach which can hold the rear tipper in the air. The manual states that you can only do this when not driving as I suppose it could break.

As the shell is yellow I did not need to paint it, however I got out the brushes to do the front grill and the two large exhaust pipes that are on the side in Tamiya Semi Gloss black. Then you just have a few stickers to attach and you are finished.

This is the final result, a fantastic looking stunt truck, screaming character and charm. I couldn't wait to try it out and put its stunt aspirations to the test!

Track Test

We were really excited to take the Heavy Dump truck out for a spin. The 4WD drive train and large tyres ensure that you are able to use this car on a wider range of surfaces than many other cars. Long grass, dirt, gravel etc are all manageable terrains for the Heavy Dump truck.
The gravel piles were no problem
A 4800mah battery was mounted into the car and we were ready to put it through its paces. The throttle was slammed down and the car sprung into life lifting the front wheels and utilising the wheelie bar as it raced along the tarmac towards the gravel. The truck was incredibly easy to wheelie and the little wheelie bar was more than able to ensure that it felt stable doing so.

Keeping the front wheels on the ground
As I approached the gravel mounds I was still on the rear wheels, which despite looking cool, is not the best when you want to steer!

I hit the brakes and then I discovered a stunt move that I have never performed before.. A front flip! It looked incredible as the Heavy dump truck instantly threw its weight forward and the truck flipped from its front wheels, span in the air and landed on all 4 wheels, A spectacular stunt! I felt like I was in the RC equivalent of the red arrows.. Although this was short lived as quickly walloped it into a brick whilst still revelling from the awesome flip! Luckily I can report that the bumper did a great job and the Heavy dump truck was fine.
The lid extended, a recipe for disaster if you do a forward roll
We then set about seeing if the 4WD would help it scale the tricky gravel piles that were around. The short wheelbase of the truck is aimed to ensure that you can do stunts, so when I reached some steep inclines it would naturally want to tip back and do a wheelie. Although with some gentle throttle control thanks to the TBLE-02s I was able to scale some quite impressive inclines.
The soft squishy tyres looks great as they wallowed around searching for grip and the cartoony truck was really proving that it was plucky enough to try to take on anything that you could throw at it! The rain was coming so we just decided to thrash the car about and try to get some air.

As you can see, it managed that quite well :)
Kicking up dirt, not carrying it.
The sun returned and we found a better venue, a disused BMX track. This was ideal as we wanted to see how the Heavy dump truck could perform at speed and around a circuit. The track consisted of some packed dirt, tarmac and some overgrown long grass. The Torque tuned motor ensured that the car was brisk and it moved at a good pace.
Jumps are easy to land as long as you stay on the throttle
Obviously this is a fun Truck designed to bash around and pull stunts, not race around circuits, Yet the Heavy Dump Truck had handled well as there is a good feel of weight to the car as it leans around so you can read it well and adjust the throttle and steering input to ensure you can get the truck to take the corners. The speed on the straights allowed me to get some air on the kick ups.
3,2,1 Launch!
I just couldn't resist doing it. The kit shocks, coupled with the soft tyres allowed the Heavy Dump Truck to soak up the landings and it makes the truck feel very stable. The only problem with that is that you naturally want to push it even harder.
I couldn't wipe the smile of my face as I pushed this truck to see what it could do. The full time 4WD really did give this car an edge as I just charged through really long grass and the truck just zoomed through as if it wasn't there. This little truck just keeps impressing me!
This was a controlled stunt.. honest!
I was taking turns running the truck with my son and he was also as smitten as me. The front flip is probably the trucks signature trick, and we were having fun taking turns trying to do several front flips in a sequence. Again the Heavy Dump Truck kept delivering as we rolled it and pushed it to do some impressive stunt sequences.

Here is a video of some of the antics

We really enjoyed messing about with this Truck, along the way it attracted loads of people who came over to take a look. The sight of this crazy yellow tipper kicking up dirt, doing jumps and racing around the track was to much for people to ignore. I think that the Heavy Dump Truck could have that essential ingredient to bring people to the world of RC.


The Tamiya Heavy Dump truck sounds very strange on paper. A 4WD cartoony version of a slow moving, heavy piece of super engineering. It sounds crazy, but yet it works. The reality is that it is a brilliant RC truck that is made for no nonsense fun!
The local builders tried to take it for a test drive!
The kit is really easy to build thanks to the excellent instructions and superb fit and finish of the parts. The included Torque Tuned motor and TBLE-02S speed controller are able to deliver the power and control you need to pull some crazy stunts!
Up in the air!
Importantly the car just seems to charm everyone that sees it in action, and I suppose the best recommendation from me is that after several days running the car, I was woken up by my son asking when we could take out the Heavy Dump Truck again. That speaks volumes.

Tamiya has been making RC cars for over 40 years, along the way it has produced some classics such as the Wild willy, Lunchbox and Sand Scorcher. I honestly think the Heavy Dump Truck has the potential to join them.

Available from your local Tamiya Stockist.  Contact http://www.hobbyco.net/ for more info.
tamiya 3788034687032396388

Post a Comment

  1. Hi, very nice car and review :)) ! I have a question about width in picture: ''The underside'' . Can you please measure the width of the yellow solid body betwen the arms screws mount please (''screw - body - screw'')? I have little idea to upgread my MF-01x track witht GF-01 yeah racing arm. But here is little problem. I m interesting in rc Rally 1/10 so the all width with wheels (26-30 mm) should be max 200 mm :D. ..Or If you could, Can you compare this the same body widht to MF-01x please? So here is some questions and I dont know if it can works, because GF-01 have tread/track : 194 mm and Overall width: 244 mm (wheels in) -too big, so its depend only on width body. Or If you couldnt, please measure just only arm from body screw to C-hub screw in GF-01 :).
    Thank for any response ;).

    PS: It can also happy to accept Tl-1 arms, but GF-01 Aluminium arms will be better I think.




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