Tamiya provide 1/14th scale truck kits for a number of US and European style trucks. The European trucks are generally available as either 4x2 or a 6x4 versions. US trucks are all 6x4 versions. what does that mean? well the first digit denotes the number of wheels on the truck and the second the number that provide drive. Drive wheels are all double width standard road wheels but come as a module. Tamiya also provide upgrades to the trucks but more later. The kits come with plain bearings and a standard 27 turn silver can motor plus all the "truck" parts. You will need to provide the radio( transmitter, receiver, 2 standard servo, speed controller) and a battery.
Every truck "manufacturer type" is both the same and at the same time different, different because the act of painting the cab automatically customises the truck. This would be a standard basic build. From here there are a lot of opportunities to customise your ride. This may be to add lights, lights and sound and then other aftermarket parts.
We (AsTec) have, over the years, built up good relationships with many suppliers for trucks, crawlers and originally for boats (though our stock of boat and crawler parts is now limited). We are also a Tamiya dealer. This means that we can offer the full range of Tamiya kits ( including trucks, cars and plastics) as well as some other Tamiya brands.
We have in the past supplied a number of basic lighting kits but have eventually chosen to go with one manufacturer because of their flexibility. They supply us with a car lighting set for cars and crawlers AND a modified set suitable for trucks and trailers, they also supply us with fully tested spares and extensions ( extra lights, splitters etc, the addition of which have been factory tested). You can also add further lights such as spotlights, skirt lights edge lights etc, and as you might expect we have some manufactured for use and others supplied direct from the manufacturer.
Speed controllers (ESC's)
Several manufacturers make speed controllers and they vary in price AND performance. The better performing standard speed controllers are Tamiya, Hobbywing and Servonaut plus some other notable manufacturers - some of which are badged. At this level we offer Hobywing ESC's as they are relatively cheap, simple to set up, nearly bomb proof AND most importantly smooth in use with good low end control. Servonaut are at the higher end and as you may expect provide improved control.
Sound and light and ESC's (speed controllers)
There are several manufacturers of sound and light systems that provide increased functionality over and aboove speed control and this can include sound, control of lights and servos and and varying levels of speed control.
Tamiya do two (MFU1 for US trucks and MFU3 for Euro trucks) of these the MFU3 is the more versatile but they are both still straight 6 engines. These have to be "taught" where the transmitter controls are but apart from that they are plug and play. There are a number of add ons, most notable electric legs and wired trailer lights.
Servonaut do a range of speed control and light modules and are very good and are mostly again programmable from your transmitter. There is also and infra red connection module for controlling trailer lights.
Beier, like Servonaut, provide a range of modules that provide control of sound lights and servos. Unlike the others above most of their offerings require programming via a PC application ( though it does work on Macs with an emulator e.g. winebottler). This does mean that they are more flexible and can therfore be a bit more frustrating - its a learning curve but one worth going through. You do have to do all the wiring for the lights yourself! Their latest offering is a combined ESC, light and sound unit ( The SFR1). All the beier units can be controlled by the older Futaba nautic modules, soft emulations of those that are available in some transmitters, a one channel step through and select capability ( can select/toggle up to 30 functions), SUMD (graupner serial connection) and S-BUS ( futaba style serial connection) both of which add channel capability. AsTec are the UK stockists for the full range of BEIER modules and parts.
There are a huge range of upgrades available for Tamiya trucks and we stock and extensive range, these vary from simple chains to more complex things up to and including cranes. We stock a host of low and medium cost items but leave the cranes to other manufacturers. We would strongly recommend that you replace the tamiya supplied motor and use ball bearings at build time, these are not so easy to fit to a completed build.
In summary, every truck is individual, you can do as little or as much as you want, you can spread the cost though some things are easier to do at build time. Its an enjoyable hobby and you can meet like minded people all over the country ( and the world) You can be indoors or outdoors so you dont have to get cold and wet. All in all a great hobby.