Tamiya Formula E Gen2 TC-01 Review
Scale Formula Racing
The Tamiya Formula E Gen2 TC-01 1/10 scale on-road car comes in a kit form allowing you to build it as the Box Art shows or as a Touring Car. The Tamiya Formula E Gen2 TC-01 kit became available in 2020 and was well-received for its unique new chassis design to represent a scale replica of the Formula E car. The chassis sports a dual identical differential, Center Shaft driven to all four wheels, a Mid-mounted motor, with a battery compartment at the rear, and sporting a 257mm wheelbase. The fact this car was different with very scale in appearance is what drove me to purchase one for myself.
The Electronics such as the ESC, Battery, Radio Transmitter, and Receiver are all up to you to decide. Keep in mind this chassis is compact and requires a low-profile servo and smaller ESC for fitment.
Enough about the car specifics. What to expect if you plan on ordering and building one for yourself.
There are two main aspects you should consider.
The Body: Daunting for many RC builders is the more in-depth bodybuilding requirement for this kit. If you struggle with basic Polycarbonate Car Body prep, cutting, and painting then the kit will challenge many RC builders. The body comes in several sections with areas that need to be cut to expose the inner chassis - these are inside cuts and the main body is the most challenging. The suggested Paint scheme is two colors, Bright Gun Metal and Black so some masking will be required.
How hard is it to prep, cut, paint and assemble the body? If this is your first kit, I recommend seeking an experienced RC modeler to assist. The key is to relax, have the proper tools such as a new scribing tool (new Exacto Knife), scissors for Polycarbonate, 1200 grit sandpaper to clean up the cuts, A clean work surface with access to soap and water to prep the body before masking and painting. Ensure you have good quality masking tape designed for the purpose such as Tamiya masking tape. Pay attention to the instructions and your body should turn out looking spot on.
The Chassis: There is nothing overly complicated in building the chassis. You need to pay particular attention to the fine details for washers and spacers. I suggest you open the bags only as you move from step to step. This is a typical plastic chassis using M3 type screws, a few hexes, and Phillip screws that are driven into plastic - we all know how tiring it is to drive screws into the plastic so I broke out my electric driver to assist and save my wrist.
While the chassis is pretty straight forward there are some tedious tasks that can be time-consuming and frustrating to complete. A portion of the assembly requires holding locking screws in place while balancing the chassis on one side while trying to align multiple washers and spacers into awkward tight spaces and is repeated for each lower arm assembly. There are other upper chassis tedious tasks such as holding the chassis part upside down and dropping in a blind nut then trying to screw in the mount from the other side. Pay attention to the required spacers on the lower arms and elsewhere in the assembly. I did not have shoe goo so I just wadded up some paper to temporarily hold the nut in place while I screwed the ball joint in then removed the paper - wash rinse repeat.
Electronics: It's all up to you but this kit requires a low-profile servo. You need these early in your build so be prepared a small ESC, space is tight, and fitting these after the build is a nightmare... For the ESC my link is below as well as the Servo for TSC race compliance if you wish to race. Refer to the back of the assembly instructions to determine what size ESC will fit, for mine I used a Hobbywing Just Stock without the fan and a Futaba Low Profile or ProTek Servo. - must be low profile.
The differential is the TB-05 diff and is a 100% plastic arrangement, the gears are plastic, the spiders are plastic. The only metal other than a couple of bearings is the output shafts and retaining pin. So, if you don't like plastic and want a more reliable and robust setup consider hop-up options. The spur gear looks to be re-inforced plastic, but plastic no the less. The photo to the left shows my hop-up options as listed below, this does not come with the kit.
Full Metal with All Ball Bearings - Optional Parts
Bearings: you get some but not the full set which is very frustrating, no bearings are included for the steering linkage Tamiya provides the brass bushings. I bought a set of FastEddy bearing set from amain Hobbies even though some bearings are included. I like having extras for other builds.
Closing the lid: Once you get to the point of closing up the lid on the diffs and drive train things get a bit cramped, especially when trying to snap on the rod ends. I prep mine in hot water which makes the snap-on easier. Getting a tool into position to snap on the ball cups is difficult and using your fingers on these will have you sore-handed in no time. Lord help you if you need to remove one as some disassembly will be required. I goofed up and put the wrong arm into the wrong position - I had to disassemble the pivot in order to twist the arm off.
Dampers: The included dampers are all on a parts tree = plastic. Assembly is the standard springy e clip type shocks that always find a way to ricochet off a wall during assembly (wear eye protection) This is one option I am looking forward to once supplies become available.
Setting the Carriers into the arms: Another tedious task is putting together the carriers. Try holding a slippery piece of plastic between upper and lower arms while holding the drive shaft in place in the carrier and position a screw with a spacer and a guide from below the carrier. It took me several attempts with parts falling out during the failed attempts. Lesson Learned: attach the carrier to the upper arm before attaching the arm to the car - at least you will have half done and only need to fight with the lower section.
Touring Car VS Formula Car: This chassis does support the option to mount a touring car body using the included mounts and with a change of bumpers.
Overall: It is a fun kit to build and a pleasure to look at when finished. Not overly difficult to build but due to the very tight quarters, some assembly was a bit frustrating. If you like to tweak your cars for handling you may be a little let down with this kit. There are three easy tweaks, the dampers, tires, and the ride height which is adjustable on each corner using a hex screw. More in-depth tweaking will be a pain in the chassis as well as placing an ESC on the chassis or replacing an ESC once this kit is built which will require disassembly of the front end.
Hop-Ups/Options: If you like to add options and hop-ups I highly recommend you do this before starting assembly for obvious reasons. Currently, as the date of this review, It is hard to locate many of the desirable options such as full metal gears, Optional all Metal Shocks, sway bars, etc. Many of the Options are on backorder which seems to be the norm these days.
Fine Tuning the Tamiya TC01
Hop Ups I used in this build: From RCMart
- Tamiya 42372 39mm Double Cardan Joints 2 sets
- Yeah Racing Carbon Fiber Chassis Stiffening TATC-001
- Tamiya 54975 Universal Propeller Shaft
- Tamiya 54960 Aluminum Damper Extender Set
- Yeah Racing Titanium Screw Set TS-TC01
- Hiro Seiko Titanium & Blue Aluminum Screw Set HS-48624
- Tamiya 54958 Aluminum Steering Arms Blue
- Tamiya 54957 Aluminum Steering Bridge Set
- Tamiya 54956 Stabilizer Set x 2
- Tamiya 54955 Aluminum Rocker Arms x 2 or Yeah Racing TATC-003BU x 2
- Tamiya 54862 Aluminum Servo Step Screws
- Tamiya 54863 Aluminum hi-torque Servo Cap
- Yeah Racing FF03-006BU Aluminum Knuckles x 2
- Tamiya 42324 Aluminum Differential Set x 2 *
- Tamiya 53570 Aluminum Blue Clamp Wheel Hub set
- Tamiya 53440 On-Road Tuned Hard Spring Set x 2
- Tamiya 54540 Steel Bevel Gear Set x 2 * (all metal gears)
- Tamiya 54533 Gear Differential Cross Shaft x 2 (required for diff)
- Slidelogy SDY-0185BL Aluminum M3 Countersunk Washers x3 (for bling)
- Optional: Tamiya Blue Lock Nuts for Wheels
- Optional but Recommended: Bearing set - Tamiya does NOT include all ball bearings for this kit. FastEddy TAM58681 amain Hobbies
Shock and Awe! New set of dampers!
* Aluminum Diff and Steel gears may require removing shims to prevent binding!
Get Your Tamiya TC-01 using my Amazon Associate Link:
Get Your Tamiya Brushless 15.5 Turn Motor here
Want something a litter bigger try a 1/16 scale Semi Hauler
Get you Hobbywing XERUN XR10 Justock G3 here
HopUps all laid out:
Hop Ups for the Tamiya TC01