Grasshopper

The Grasshopper chassis is named after the first model released for sale that used this chassis:

– The Grasshopper, model number 58043 released to sales in 1984 and available on the market until 1988
– The Hornet, model number 58045 released to sales in 1984 and available on the market until 1992

This chassis represents Tamiya’s calling card for enthusiasts approaching the world of radio-controlled cars.

Parts list for Hornet model number 58045:

The main features of this chassis are:

– inverted A-shaped independent front suspension,
– central chassis shell resembling a grasshopper insect; hence the name of the chassis,

– rear-wheel drive,
– differential,
– rigid axle rear suspension.

What was designed for this chassis is very reliable; the front inverted A-suspension system and the engine-differential-rear suspension unit was used in other models:

– Pajero, Pajero chassis, model number 58044 put on sale in 1984 and available on the market until 1988
– Lunch Box. Lunch Box chassis, model number 58063 put on sale in 1987 and available on the market until 1995
– Midnight Pumping. Lunch Box chassis, model number 58070 put up for sale in 1987 and available on the market until 2004

There are several advertisements that Tamiya or the various importers around the world have published in trade magazines, in the image below is an example for the Grasshopper and one for the Hornet.

The main differences between the Grasshopper and the Hornet are as follows, starting from the front and moving towards the rear. The pictures on the left refer to the Grasshopper and the pictures on the right refer to the Hornet:

– the bodywork of the two models is completely different. The Grasshopper has a styrene body, which is a heavy material but can be repaired easily. The Hornet has a Lexan body which is lighter, but is more difficult to repair.
– the Grasshopper’s rear wheels have a tread for sandy ground like that of the Sand Socher, the Hornet’s rear wheels have spikes for better grip on terrain such as grass and dirt
-the front suspension is the same on both models. They are very simple shock absorbers consisting of a plastic body, spring and no oil. The Grasshopper installs the same spring-loaded shocks in the rear, the Hornet installs shocks with aluminium body, adjustable spring and complete with oil (highlighted in blue in the picture) in the rear.

– The rear shock absorber system is completely different between the two models; the Grasshopper’s shock absorbers are directly connected to the gear case via two copper tubes (highlighted in red in the picture) that attach directly to the gear case (attachment points highlighted by the double arrow). The Hornet’s shock absorbers are connected to the rear system arms (attachment points highlighted by the double arrow) via a plastic plate (highlighted in orange in the image) and a metal plate (highlighted in purple in the image) that houses the ball joint (highlighted in blue in the image). The upper attachment to the frame is also different between the two models (highlighted in blue in the picture).

-the rear system that joins the rear axle to the chassis is different between the two models. In the Hornet, the point where the rear axle hinges to the chassis has been modified (highlighted in blue for the Grasshopper and part in red for the Hornet in the picture) and an extension (one on each side) has been added at the point where the shock absorbers attach to the chassis (highlighted in blue). The Hornet’s chassis attachment allows a degree of freedom to be added to the movement of the engine – gearbox – rear axle system; a 95mm long, 4mm diameter pin (highlighted in orange in the image) has been added that works inside the two plastic joints (highlighted in red in the image) modified to accommodate the axle and counterbalance springs (highlighted in green in the image). In the GrassHopper the rear system can only rotate, in the Hornet it can rotate and move vertically cushioned by two metal springs. In the image below the free movements the rear system can make are highlighted by the dashed arrows; the rear system of the Grasshopper can only rotate, the rear system of the Hornet can rotate and move downwards and upwards, absorbing bumps better.

-The Grasshopper is delivered with the RS380 engine, which does not guarantee great performance, but allows a longer battery life. The Hornet is delivered with the RS540 engine, which is more powerful and consumes more power. Since the gearbox – motor – rear axle assembly is the same to install the RS380 motor no Grasshoper is an adapter visible in the picture.

Re-release

From 2004 to the present day (2023), the Grasshopper chassis has been used in several re-editions with a complete commercial proposition:

– models to be assembled,
– ready-to-run assembled models complete with radio control and
– assembled models without radio control

and for both available bodies:

– Hornet and
– Grasshopper.

In reissuing the car, there were several special versions: Candy Green Edition, Black Metallic, Supreme.

The Super Storm Dragon body has been released.

The most famous of the special versions is The Hornet by the famous designer and stylist Jun Watanabe model number 58527, which went on sale in 2012 and was available on the market until 2014.
This version was designed specifically for the Japanese domestic market, but some examples were also exported to Europe. There are those who speak of 250 pieces and those who speak of 500 pieces. In both cases, the production numbers are so low that it remains an exclusive model that is sold together with a certificate attesting to its authenticity and numbering each piece.

The main differences between the original frame and the modern version are:

-the chassis has been modified in the profile of the central hole. In the original version there is a T-profile which is used to fit an elastic band that holds 4 AA-type service batteries. The original profile is marked in red and that of the modern model is marked in blue.

– opening in the chassis is much larger in the original version because by removing the part highlighted in orange in the upper image it is also possible to accommodate 7.2 V battery packs with one cell positioned above the other 5 cells (Regular packing), see image the Regular Pack battery is highlighted in yellow. In the original version it is possible to accommodate both the batteries highlighted in purple (Racing packing) and the batteries highlighted in yellow (Regular packing), in the modern version it is possible to accommodate only the battery pack highlighted in purple (Racing packing).

– the thread length of the left and right rear axle is longer in the original version.

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