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Nov 12, 2013, 05:32 PM
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Build Log

Project "Optima Mid Custom ZX-R" - A Variation on the Classic Kyosho Optima Mid Buggy


So, in my other Optima Mid rebuild thread (see ), where a car purchased to be used as parts donor, was restored to fine running, and with new shell fitted, also to good looking condition, I hinted at another vintage project coming up. Now that most of the parts needed have arrived, it was time to lift the veil, and start this new thread.

The reason it's called "Project Optima Mid ZX-R" is because I intend to build a hybrid of the Optima Mid, and the Lazer ZX-R/ZX Sport. When comparing my Mid buggies to my Lazer ZX Sport, the latter has longer suspension arms, improving on handling. The Optima Mid however has a fully sealed belt drive, and has better looking body shells. So by combining parts of both cars, I hope to create a "Best of Both Worlds" car.

This has been done before, but nevertheless I hope this thread will be interesting material.

When finished, it should at least have the following features:

- Lazer ZX-R/ZX Sport tie rods and A-arms
- Ball raced Bell Cranks
- Freshly painted body and wing
- New Belt Covers where needed
- 2.2 inch wheels and tyres
- Ball bearings on wheel axles
- Undertray (car has CF chassis plate)


- Ball raced C-hubs
- Front CVD's
- Mild brushless setup
- Use Lazer ZX Sport Motor Mount, allows motor swap without need to re-adjust gear mesh

Chapter 1: Cleaning up the parts and re-building the chassis

And then we begin...

Initially I was going to use the regular Optima Mid, from the earlier mentioned "from Parts Donor to..." thread, as base material for the conversion. But as that project progressed, and started to look really good, both with the original shell, and even more with the new shell and wing, I couldn't set myself to tearing it apart again. So I started looking for a suitable "test subject", either a regular Mid, since I already had the LWB chassis plate (alu version), LWB Belt and LWB Top Deck, so all I needed was a set of LWB Belt Covers and a body, although the latter would not be immediately needed, as I still have a battered Optima Mid Custom Special shell, that came of my very first LWB Optima Mid. Then I stumbled upon a used LWB Optima, with freshly painted shell and wing, new decal sheet (probably reproduction, but looking nice) spare belt, and new belt covers. That seemed like a good start, however the seller experienced some trouble in the past with shipping abroad, parcels gone missing, so he was reluctant to ship to me. With the help of another vintage RC buggy-fan (Thanks again, Daniel!) I was able to make the purchase. The car was first getting shipped to my friend, and from there to me.

A week or so later I got the package with the car. It looked quite nice, and first impression is that the transmission runs quite smooth, although I did feel a slight binding. The body looked very nice, as well as the wing and decal sheet. The covers looked great too, but... were not the LWB covers, but for the regular length Optima Mid. Minor setback, but repro covers aren't too expensive. The spare belt also couldn't be used, it's for the JG LWB Mid, which uses a custom chassis.

Still, it's a good point to start from, especially if after inspection the gear will indeed prove to be fine, as I am really hoping for it will. Since replacing these gets quite costly pretty soon, especially if the rear diff needs replacing. We'll see when I open up the rear gear box...

So, as I once read before, "a thread is worthless without pics", here are the first, showing the condition the Optima Mid Custom was in when it arrived:

I think this car is probably a slightly upgraded Optima Mid Custom, as it does have the graphite chassis, but doesn't use turnbuckles and it has no CVD's, to name a few things, ruling out the option that it's a Mid Custom Special, or Turbo Optima Mid Special, since these 2 come with a lot of upgrades. Although I probably won't use the tyres and wheels for this car, they seem to be in nice shape, and can be used for my other vintage cars.

Next up, the Lazer that is going to supply the parts for the suspension. This car was listed as a "barn find" by the seller, so it was a "bit" dusty:

Chassis and suspension arms were still in decent shape, the tyres were starting to desintegrate though, and the dogbones and tie rods were rusty. Some thorough cleaning was definitely required. The following pictures show the difference before, and after cleaning:

Since the ball bearings on the Optima had quite a bit of play, I had to order some extra, and while I was waiting for these to arrive, I opened up the rear gear box, to inspect the gears.

It was a great relief to see the center gears and rear diff's teeth were in fine shape. Also clear to see is that the 5 mm shims, that should be used on the wheels and spur axle, have been used instead of the 4 mm washers that should be present. This increases friction, as the shims can rub against the sides of the ball bearings these are next to. That was probably the reason I felt some some slight binding, as mentioned earlier. Also, the belt pulley turned out to have bushings instead of ball bearings. This further supports the theory this car started out as a Custom Mid, or was built from parts, with the builder not having 5 x 8 x 2.5 mm ball bearings, which is an odd size.

Needless to say, these bushings will be replaced with ball bearings. The only problem now being, I'm sure I should have some 5 x 8 mm ball bearings somewhere, but I can't seem to find any... I'll probably have to order a few then, plus I started cleaning up the rear diff, and found that one diff bearing feels very gritty, even after washing out with thin bearing oil. I do have some original bearings, but I'm thinking about installing those shielded type bearings here, as the diff outdrives are exposed to dirt quite a lot, and the large washers covering the bearings just don't fully protect these. Needless to say, the inside of the diff was in fine shape, just removed the gummed up old grease, and put in some fresh new grease.

Well, I ordered some 5 x 8 bearings, as well as the 8 x 14 for the outdrives. I hope to receive the wheel axle bearings, that were ordered earlier, today, so I can at least work on mounting the axles and shimming these for minimal play. Along with cleaning the front diff, hopefully that will keep me busy until the other bearings arrive, and I can put the rear gear box back together again.

The next day only the earlier ordered 5 x 10 bearings had arrived, so I could only clean up the front diff, and shim the wheel axles, using the 3-Racing 0.1/0.2/0.3 shim kit I had lying around. I decided to use regular metal shielded bearings on the inside, and rubber sealed ones on the outside, to get a nice balance between protection and resistance.

On with the drivetrain...

Well, the wait was finally over, the new diff bearings arrived, and as mentioned before, the 5 x 10 x 2.5 bearings for the belt pulley were already there. I also ordered another shim kit from 3-racing, 4 mm diameter ones, to replace the 4mm washers on the center gear axle. This way there can never be any rubbing of the side of the washer where it touches the rotating part of the bearing, as this center gear is turning on a stationary axle. This will reduce friction even more, and maybe also even less transmission noise. One thing I like so much about the Optima Mid series is the silent drivetrain, due to low amount of gears and the timing belt.

I wanted to make a picture of the gear box still open with all parts installed, but after the center gear axle fell out twice and I had to re-install the shims again, I decided to close it up right away. After that I also fitted the front gear box, so I could feel how smooth the overall drivetrain was running. I may be imaging things, but it seems it's running more smooth than my other Optima's.

And here is how it looked then:

Now time had come for the new suspension arms and steering, including ball raced bell cranks, to be installed:

However, some unexpected problems arose, the link plate that connects the bell cranks, rubbed against the rear of the front gear box:

I could go back to the stock linkages, but I like the ZX-R/ZX-Sport system better, since it uses bushings on some spots instead of pillow balls. I decided to remove some material from the area where the link plate was rubbing the gear box. First a pic that shows part of the excess material already removed:

And here is the final result:

As you can see, there is no more rubbing now :

Installing the rear arms didn't yield any real surprises, and this is how the chassis looked after all are fitted:

Needless to say, all pivot points have been shimmed to give minimal play, yet still have all joints moving without binding. I didn't have 3 mm shims, but 4 mm ones also do nicely here.

After this, another dreaded "waiting for parts" phase began. I didn't have the right type battery holders, no screws to fix these, the shocks were still missing the diafragms, etc. While waiting for these parts to arrive, the servo was fitted. This yielded another problem, the servo saver didn't fit the servo axle. Whoever decided that servos should use different count splines needs to be put in a room with a lot of different brand and teeth count servo horns and servos, and only left out again when all horns and servos have been matched. One mistake means having to start all over again.

Since the servo used is very cheap, yet decent, the HXT5010, I decided to leave out the servo saver for now. Top deck was fitted, but when I looked at the repro top belt cover, something was off. I looked too short and indeed it was. I contacted Team Bluegroove, and found that they stopped making seperate LWB and SWB belt covers, they now have a "one-size-fits-all" cover, which is basically a SWB cover, with an extra straight "tunnel" shaped piece...

Update: tried the TBG repro belt cover, but it just won't fit properly. Time fo hunt for a better repro version, or shell out the money for an original one. The shocks are now also mounted, as well as the wing mount. Here's a pic of how it looks now:

Logistics issues, temporarily shifting focus to detailing and finish

While waiting for the improved repro belt cover to arrive, and with an original belt cover set also on it's way, as "backup-plan", I decided to trim and paint another wing. During the SWB Optima rebuild, I found that a black wing also looked nice with a white body and Optima Mid Custom decals, so I wanted to have a black wing ready for this car as well. Getting paint in the double sided sections was a pain as usual, but it looks pretty black now, and the paint was spread quite evenly, despite using a brush:

Next was the undertray, which needed to be trimmed:

Overal very good for a repro part, but at the rear it was a little too short, so I had to straigthen the rear lip, and make the bend a few mm more rearward:

As with the Custom Mid body the undertray stays visible from the sides, it had to be painted. But such a large area with brush, and getting a good coverage with no see-through spots, would be challenging. I decided to just mask the middle section, and only paint the visible parts. I'm not a skilled painter, and have little experience in masking, but the result still looks ok, I think:

Last, here's a picture of the motor that is most likely going to be fitted, the Corally Black Competion Series 17 Double:

Although there is also a chance another motor will be mounted, today I rebuilt a SpeedGems 15T "Platinum" which also runs very smoothly, and feels quite powerful too...

Update 21 dec 2013:

Well, today the original belt cover arrived, and earlier I got the Faskoat clear finish stuff. After a first test on a piece of waste material from the pre-painted body showed no adverse effects, like peeling of paint, or loss of color solidness, I treated the inside of the white wing (came with the body, but not sure if it will be used for this car) and the body shell. Because the Faskolor dries in matte finish, and the Faskoat is more satin, it's easy to see if you have missed a spot or not. Very convenient when adding a clear coat.

Now I'm a bit in doubt, I could fit the original belt cover, and move on with the build, or wait for the improved repro covers to arrive, so I can test fit these and not having to remove the previously installed cover again.

Update 30 dec 2013

Cutting the pre-painted Optima Mid Custom body didn't go fully as intended, despite following the indicated cutout lines, too much material was removed near the spur gear cover, leaving a gap. So for the first test drive an old Optima Mid Custom Special body will be used. The wing is a freshly painted reproduction one:

This posting has hit the max picture limit, and since I forgot to reserve the second posting in this thread, I'll continue in posting #4. Either scroll down a little, or click this direct link:
Last edited by SoloProFan; Feb 15, 2014 at 03:58 AM.
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Nov 12, 2013, 05:48 PM
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Great project !! I enjoy hybrid & custom builds. Subscribed and awaiting updates.
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Nov 12, 2013, 06:16 PM
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ewww cant i have to make a hybrid to keep up with u....hmmm
Nov 12, 2013, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by fastmax
Great project !! I enjoy hybrid & custom builds. Subscribed and awaiting updates..
Hope to have some first pics up tomorrow, showing the "base material".

Originally Posted by zuki250
ewww cant i have to make a hybrid to keep up with u....hmmm
Nah, you just fit a faster motor, and I'll be eating your dust. Anyway, I don't run competition, so you won't have to fear that I will beat you on the track, I just enjoy the fine quality mechanics of these classic cars, and their looks.

(As the first posting had hit the max picture limit, the build log will continue here

Chapter 2: Finishing the chassis, first test drives and new body shell

Update 14 nov 2013:

And the build continues...

Still waiting for the new body shells to arrive, I went on to fit the ESC and receiver.

As you can see, I mounted the receiver next to the belt cover, instead of on top of the belt cover, inspired by zuki's Optima rebuild, which can be found here:

And the ESC on the chassis plate, on the left:

And a side shot:

Update 31 dec 2013

As mentioned earlier, I ran into a little problem with cutting the pre-painted Optima Mid Custom body, so it will probably not be used as #1 body for this car. Meanwhile I will put a battered Optima Mid Custom Special body on, so not having a near perfect body won't get in the way of a first test drive, which will hopefully be soon.

So this is how it will probably look on it's first test drive(s):

Wheels will be replaced once these have worn down, which would probably be within weeks, as the rubber isn't very durable. The rims are nice though, and tend to withstand the removal of the worn tires perfectly, as I've experienced in the past. So I may also decide to re-use the rims, and fit new tires

Update 9 jan 2014:

When I started this project, my aim was to have it about ready mid december. Well, it's taking a little longer, but that also allowed me to come up with this:

"But wait... isn't that...?"

Yes, that is indeed a regular SWB Optima Mid body on an LWB Optima Mid chassis. Considering that I like the original Mid body just a little better than the Custom Mid version bodies, plus this body is easier to put on and remove, I decided to give it a go. If it wouldn't have made a decent fit, I could still have used it for my SWB Optima. I trimmed the body a little wider than on the SWB version, so it will appear a little longer, and used the part that is usually cut off from the rear, as new rear mounting hole. Now this car has become a hybrid of 3 great Kyosho vintage cars, part SWB Optima, part LWB Optima, and part Lazer ZX-R/ZX-Sport.

As a result of this change of plans, the undertray I already trimmed to shape and painted it partially, will not fit. I'll keep that for either my other LWB Mid, or as backup for this one, should I want to change to the LWB body shell once in a while. I have a second LWB undertray, which will be cut so only the bottom plate remains, and it basically becomes a chassis protector only.

Update 10 jan 2014:

Fitting the SWB body to this LWB chassis was a bit try as you go, as none of the pre-indicated mounting holes and cut-out lines would be valid. The body is slightly more rearward mounted than it would be on the SWB chassis, to keep the appearance more balanced, and at the rear the cuts are generally shifted backwards 2 cm or so. I'm quite pleased with how it fits, I think it's doesn't feel at all like a short body fitted to a longer chassis. I helps that Kyosho designed the body a little too long, as you need to cut away some of the rear section to make room for the shock towers and shocks. On the LWB, you just leave that part on. When it's painted, I'll shoot a pic of it side to side with a regular SWB body.

As for color, I was thinking about yellow, as it would look sweet with the black rims and wings, but then again it does limit my choices for wheels. So another option would be white, with the decals on the Turbo Optima Mid. I was hoping to get these printed in a different color, but the supplier of the body wasn't able to help me out at this moment. I do have a second SWB repro body, Not sure if I will cut it for this car, or for the SWB one, but if I do decide to trim it for this hybrid, I can do both color schemes, yellow and white.

Update 13 jan 2014:

Well, today it was sunny and dry, so time for a first test drive. This proved to be interesting. Despite using a mild battery, 6 cell NiMh, to allow the gears etc to settle in first, before moving over to LiPo power, top speed and acceleration were pretty good. The car rolled nicely with about the same transmission noise as my other Optimas.

The front suspension is a little too soft, making the front rise and dip when increasing or decreasing speed. Perhaps the pistons have a little more space between them and shock body inner wall, so oil can move around more easily. I may need to use a thicker oil for those. Currently 350 sct is used, maybe I'll get 500 for the fronts.

Steering was responsive, probably also due to the soft front suspension, and as the surface was still a little damp, even too responsive at times. What did puzzle me, was that the car would track very straight as long as motor power was applied, but would veer a little to the right, when throttle was released. I reduced front toe in, and this made things a little better, but not there where I want it. Then it hit me, when looking down at the car on the ground, the rear wheels had no toe in at all!

The cause for this is that the Optima Custom, that is the heart of this vehicle, came without an original front suspension pin holder block, on the rear suspension assy. Instead the previous owner fitted a block from the Lazer ZX Sport, modified to fit over the lower belt cover. I didn't have the original block lying around, and never checked rear toe in after fitting it, but as it now affects handling, I will need to fit an original block.

Luckily I have one of these handy by now, as it's included in a parts bag that I purchased a while ago. So I'm in for some wrenching, hoping to swap out the part without the need to remove many parts.

(Later that day...)

Ok, so it wasn't my lucky day today. I went for a second test drive, just as the dusk was setting in. Enough light from the streetlights on the parking lot, so no worries there. The car seemed even faster than before, but tracking after throttle release was still a bit sketchy, due to the incorrect rear toe in.

But then, the car suddenly veered right, not responding to any controls, and hit the curbstone at decent speed.

I thought the battery connector had gotten loose, but wiggling it made no difference. Then I noticed the power switch for the ESC was in the off position. As I mounted it such that forward would mean "on", some small pebble or so was thrown up by the front wheels, and must have hit the switch, turning the car off. And with the incorrect rear toe in, the car would then kept rolling, but with a deviation to the right, straight into the curbstone.

After the hit, the car was pulling to the left, as the front wheels were no longer neutral with the servo centered. First I thought the servo had jumped a few teeth, but then I saw the cause, the rod between bell cranks and servo horn had a bend in it. This affected the position of the wheels, causing the sudden deviation to the right.

Back to the lab again, for adjustments and repairs. I took out the incorrect rear suspension axle holder (always nice, those e-clips that fly off, and take some time to retrieve again...) and fitted the original Mid one. After that I needed to re-adjust gear mesh (had to loosen the motor screws to get enough clearance to remove and install the right suspension holder), both rear suspension arms, gear cover, and wing mount.

I also had to fix the bent steering control rod. Fitting a thicker one would mean major overhaul, so I straightened the rod, and fitted 2 layers of tighly shrunk shrinkwrap as added bracing. If I don't hit any curbstones at 20+ mph, it should be fine.

Next up, the front shocks were too soft. I removed the 350 cst oil, and filled these with Tamiya 500 oil. The shocks are still smooth, but act a little more dampened now.

Finally, to prevent the car from switching off again, I removed the switch, and mounted it turned over 180 degrees, to the position of the switch for on is now the rearward one.

Weather permitting, I'll run it again tomorrow, and see how it handles with these changes.

Edit: Well, it's pouring outside, so another test drive has to wait. Meanwhile I fitted the undertray, that has been trimmed to be more a chassis protector plate, instead of a full undertray.

Update 15 jan 2014:

I was able to squeeze in a few test drives yesterday, but I'll get to that next. First here's a picture of how the steering link looked after the unplanned encounter with the curbstone:

As mentioned before, I carefully straightened it, and as extra brace I added tightly shrunk shrink wrap:

I've also installed the trimmed undertray, which is more a chassis bottom protector at some areas, as I had to trim some of the side edges, or the regular Optima body would not fit:

On the rear, the plate is held by the same screws that hold the rear suspension pivot bracket, which is the stock way to mount the undertray. For the remaining parts, the undertray is secured with double sided tape.

As you can see, I've installed a basic 6 cell NiMh pack, as mentioned before I would do for the first test drives, to allow things to break in:

Then, how does it drive? Well, a little different from my other Optimas and other cars. The lack of play on the steering makes the car respond well to steering inputs. Not really twitchy, but more direct than average. The car tracks very well on a straight line, like it's got it's course locked in.

The suspension does a good job, I've ran it across a speed limiting bump in the road a couple of times at full speed, but it would not really jump, but more hop up just enough to get "light on the wheels" but mostly keeps contact with the road, without the suspension bottoming out as the car hits the edge of the ramp. All the time the car keeps it's heading.

Cornering is better with the right rear toe-in set, traction in the turn could be better, but this is probably due to the cheap 13 dollar for 4 complete wheels (rims, inserts and tires) of which you can't expect miracles. Also, the surface I ran the car on was a little damp. Finally, the rear tires are the same as regular front ones, so a little too narrow for the rear.

Speed is not lightning fast, but decent for the type of battery used. I haven't done any measurement, but I estimate it will be around 40 km/h. If the rain stops again, I will do a few speedruns and check the speed with GPS logger.

So far I like how it drives, maybe some fine tuning here and there, finish the body shell, and we're getting somewhere.

Update 17 jan 2014

This car seems to try my patience more than average. I mentioned it runs very straight, but as soon as you release the throttle, it deviates to the right. I thought it was a bearing running a little heavy, perhaps needing breaking in, but it wouldn't improve after some runs. Then I looked a little closer at the rear wheels, both now indeed have toe in, after fitting the right suspension arm holder block. But... the left wheel has more toe in than the rear! This causes the car to want to go left as speed increases, so you need to trim the steering to the right a little to maintain a straight line. But as the throttle is released, the rear doesn't exert as much force to try steer the car left, so the front wheels, that are inclined to the right in neutral steering setting, will steer the car right a little.

The cause for the asymmetry in the rear toe-in has a rather unpleasant cause. The holes for the rear suspension-arm holder block, in the CF chassis plate are not drilled on the right spot, but about a 1 mm out of center.

How to fix this... I could use a computer transmitter, and program a mix that adjusts steering neutral setting dependent on the speed. Or enlarge the holes in the chassis plate, so I can move the holder block to the center.

Update 18 jan 2014

I might have the problem of the asymmetrical rear toe in solved. A new chassis was not an option, too expensive, there is a chance it might have the same misplaced hole (perhaps a certain batch was affected, who knows...?) plus removing all from the current chassis plate is basically starting all over again. Besides, the screws in the steering posts are probably thread locked very well, at least I could not remove them during the rebuild, so I might wreck these, as well as the steering posts.

Modifying the current chassis is also quite a job, as the undertray is already well fixed, and may not survive a removal.

A third option hit my mind, the suspension pins are held in place on the very rear of the car, by a metal suspension holder plate. Here's an example of how it looks:

Using a drill, I enlarged both screw holes about a mm on one side, and with a file the recessed section on the bottom edge was also modified. To prevent the plate from sliding back during driving, the gap between the screws and the untouched side of the hole was filled with alu foil tape.

After fixing the screws, it appears solid, but with not about equal rear toe in on both side. The drawback is that both suspension holders are now about 1 mm out of center, in theory this could mean a difference in cornering left and right. But even if this effect will be noticable, I prefer it over a speed dependent deviation from straight course. Besides, with difference in rear toe in, the situation I was coming from, steering will already be different left and right, as the extra toe in on the rear left was helping in left turns, and the lesser toe in on the rear right was making right turns at speed slightly harder.

A new test drive revealed it runs much better now. I still had a little wandering to the right after releasing throttle, but in an earlier attempt to cure the pull to the right, I messed a bit around with the camber of the wheels, and front wheel toe-in. I set the camber back to neutral, and a little front toe-in. Then a little fine tuning with the steering trim, and it ran about as straight as an arrow, with just a very mild incline to the right after releasing throttle, which I've seen happen on other cars as well, which didn't have any rear toe-in asymmetry, at least not that I have ever noticed.

With that out of the way, I can focus more on how it drives, and develop a better connection with the vehicle. The "Optima ZX" can almost turn on a dime, even though I didn't fit the universal joints yet, the car is still using dogbones. Top speed on 6 cell NiMh is 41 km/h, checked with GPS. I didn't check the motor temps yet, so I'm not sure the gearing is already spot on. But the acceleration is decent considering the battery type, so I expect to hit the 45 km/h mark with 2S LiPo.

Update jan 31 2014:

After deciding to have a go at masking and painting the body myself, and gathering courage to do so, I started masking the windows:

As it didn't seem wise to use this special body to practice my first spraypaintjob on, I decided to use a brush to color the outlines of the windows, and later fill in the remaining areas of the body. After removal of the masking tape, this was the result:

Not perfect, but better than usual for me. At least no paint has been spilled on the windows, with my very first Optima Mid the "glass" has some stains, and it looks much better with truly clear windows.

Update 1 feb 2014:

Paintjob about finished. I had some setbacks, accidentally made a slight brush stroke just over the edge of a window, after the mask was removed. With a hobby knife I removed the excess paint after it had dried up a little, and later polished the resulting scratches with Displex, hardly any trace of this mistake can be seen now.

Second issue, on the nose of the body, in broad daylight, a patch was slightly reddish white. I must not have take enough time to shake the rattle can when painting that section. Using a saturated brush, I rubbed off the faintly reddish paint, and coated that section with a fresh layer, making sure I shook the can on a regular basis. Apart from the brush shedding some hairs, which I had to remove, it went well. Only a few small spots have the reddish undertone, but these will be covered with decals anyway, so I didn't bother to re-do those spots too.

Now, for some pictures:

Update 2 feb 2014

I was going to wait for the paint to dry out a couple of days before handling the body to apply the decals, but I couldn't wait, and decided to put just a few decals on. A little while later, almost all decals had been applied already:

Some decals are still on the sheet, but I think it already looks very pretty.

And again I ran into the max picture limit, so we'll continue the build log in posting #8. Either scroll down a little, or again click this direct link:
Last edited by SoloProFan; Feb 15, 2014 at 04:09 AM.
Nov 12, 2013, 06:53 PM
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haha... Thats cool....i can't wait to get to my next one...
Nov 13, 2013, 08:47 AM
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Added some more info to the first posting.
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Nov 13, 2013, 02:05 PM
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In and watching

Nov 14, 2013, 01:33 AM
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(And we continue the build once again, coming from posting #4)

Chapter 3: Finishing touch on body shell and fitting 2S LiPo

Update 4 feb 2014:

All decals on the body applied, and then it was time to fit the body once again on the chassis. Shame there wasn't any daylight when I did this, but I still decided to shoot some pics, as I think the results are very nice, even with the black wing still one, which has no decals yet.

Starting to look really nice right now.

Update 6 feb 2014:

Now with decals on the black wing and one extra on the body:

On one hand it looks better now, but the plain black wing also looked nice, and added a slightly rough touch. I may do another wing, with just minimal decals, probably only the "Kyosho" sticker on the sides, and one with "Optima Mid Custom ZX-R" in white "Optima font" on the rear section of the wing.

Update 9 feb 2014:

Some pics shot with daylight. Not quite sunny, but the colors should come out better:

Overall, I'm very pleased with how it's starting to look now.

Also put some of the decals (more to be added) on the other white/black wing, using masking tape to mark the center on the wing, to help with fitting the blue stripes as straight as possible:

And one shot, not with daylight though, of this wing mounted on the car:

Update 10 feb 2014:

After all decals were fitted to the black/white wing, it was time to shoot some more pics of the final result:


Next up, replacing the NiMh battery with the same type 2S LiPo as fitted to my other recently restored Optima Mid ( ), cutting, painting and adding decals to the other black wing, and arrange another body for casual running, as the white/blue one is too pretty to risk damaging it.

Update 6 july 2014

Small update, first, I mentioned I was looking for a runner body for the car, so the white/blue one could be saved for on the shelf. I ran into this:

Looks better than the silver Custom Special shell, I think.

Also, the custom printed decals arrived, and after I painted another wing, those decals were applied:

Update 10 july 2014

Re-applied the ZX-R part and one "offroad" decal, then drilled the mounting holes, and put it on the car.

Not much different from the other black wing, but it does have the proper name on now.
Last edited by SoloProFan; Jul 10, 2014 at 02:02 PM.
Nov 14, 2013, 02:59 AM
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Hi Henk and all,

Henk, you're welcome I'm glad I could help and I'm looking forward to seeing the result of your latest project. If I can help any further just drop me an email, again sorry for any delays as work is crazy at the moment

I think you're right by saying it could have started life as a Mid Custom although the Custom didn't come with the black FRP chassis brace above the motor......which leads me to think it may have originally been a SWB Turbo Mid that later has had the LWB conversion kit fitted - you'd expect turnbuckles, UJ's and sway bars if so but these turnbuckles don't look like they're original Kyosho? Maybe over the years parts were swapped etc. It also looks like it has aftermarket rear arms fitted, maybe Andy's? I assume it has geared diffs front and rear? Most likely though it could have originally been a Custom.

I too plan to do something similar to my Turbo Optima Mid Special runner, I'll be trial fitting the corners from my Lazer ZX-R including the rare Teamline blue ballraced front hubs. When I was a kid I actually used to race a Turbo Mid to which I made LWB with the conversion kit and then ran it with ZX-R bodyshell and suspension arms, it went pretty well! Alas I sold it many years ago.

Without hijacking too much (I'm sure my buddy Henk won't mind )......

This is mine so far (with standard Mid suspension arms (Andy's up front) - yes that's a B4 slipper clutch

I ran this car in Australia in August around the St. Ives track in Sydney - it was fantastic, handled so well:

and Henk you've seen this but for the other Mid fans - here's a few of my babies

and my shelf queen Custom (lucky enough to also have 3 NIB Mids including a Custom):

I also have a Masami CAT XL, CAT XLS, Top Force Evo, Egress, Avante, Kinwald worlds RC10, more RC10's and others - lots of works in progress too but maybe a new thread is needed! Henk has seen most of them. Believe it or not they haven't cost much at all - I see a bargain, I buy it, I restore it and use the profit to buy the cars I really wife doesn't appreciate my efforts though!

Speak soon,

Last edited by wydraz; Nov 14, 2013 at 03:31 AM.
Nov 14, 2013, 04:03 AM
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Jimmy the Heater's Avatar
That lineup is simply jaw dropping!! And I thought I was lucky to have 1! hehe I know who to go to for Optima advice...dang!
Nov 14, 2013, 04:22 AM
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SoloProFan's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by wydraz

I think you're right by saying it could have started life as a Mid Custom although the Custom didn't come with the black FRP chassis brace above the motor......which leads me to think it may have originally been a SWB Turbo Mid that later has had the LWB conversion kit fitted - you'd expect turnbuckles, UJ's and sway bars if so but these turnbuckles don't look like they're original Kyosho? Maybe over the years parts were swapped etc. It also looks like it has aftermarket rear arms fitted, maybe Andy's? I assume it has geared diffs front and rear? Most likely though it could have originally been a Custom.

The origin of the car is a little vague indeed, perhaps it started out as regular Custom Mid, with bushings, and was upgraded here and there with some CF parts, as it doesn't have the common upgrade parts of the Turbo Mid, just dogbones, etc.

Originally Posted by wydraz

Without hijacking too much (I'm sure my buddy Henk won't mind )......

I don't mind, your cars are always nice to look at, and it also makes me think that as long as I have less than you, I can still be considered as "normal", lol.
Last edited by SoloProFan; Nov 14, 2013 at 05:03 AM.
Nov 14, 2013, 02:24 PM
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Some more pictures added.
Last edited by SoloProFan; Feb 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM.
Nov 14, 2013, 10:48 PM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
Coming along nicely. That was a fantastic barn find. I love found treasures like that. Just wish they happened more often.
Latest blog entry: NewBeeDrone Whoop Build
Nov 15, 2013, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by fastmax
Coming along nicely. That was a fantastic barn find. I love found treasures like that. Just wish they happened more often.
I didn't get it for free, just to clear things up, but I also didn't pay a lot for it. I'm still not sure if that Lazer saw little use, which would be indicated by the low amount of scratches on the chassis bottom and about 0 scratches on the A-arms, or whether it has been used pretty much, and had it's A-arms broken, then replaced before the car was stored in the barn of the previous owner, as the bushings appeared quite worn.
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Nov 15, 2013, 09:27 AM
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I didn't figure it was a freebie, just was guessing you got a smoking good deal on it
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