A Wolf in Fox’s Clothing (part 1)

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Foxes and wolves are both parts of the canidae family. But while wolves are pack animals, foxes are solitary. Maybe that was what Tamiya was thinking when they in October of 1985 released the lone 2WD “The Fox”, in the midst of a wolf pack of 4WD buggies? While six models made up the pack of 4WD models based on the same platform (Hotshot, The Boomerang, Supershot, Super Sabre, The Bigwig, and the Hotshot II), the lonely 2WD Fox, although related to the 4WD’s, did not receive any follow-up models based on its gear box or chassis. Being developed at the same time as the Hotshot and the Boomerang, means that a lot of the same ideas and solutions were shared between the two platforms, but very few parts are actually directly interchangeable. Being priced between the Hotshot and the Boomerang, also meant that you could get the 4WD Boomerang for less money than the 2WD Fox. At a time when 4WD was the big thing, the price meant that most kids chose the Boomerang, or the little more expensive Hotshot, over the Fox. All three models were released within a span of one year, and if you stretch that another month, you could also add the Supershot to the available line-up.

Being a hobby grade model, the Fox was relatively popular for club racing among the younger drivers, but for serious racers, the Kyosho Scorpion platform, and the newly released Associated RC10, were much more common choices. This doesn’t mean there weren’t any hop-ups made for the Fox. On the contrary, the various hop ups for the Fox are numerous.

This is how a hopped-up Fox could look like.

One of the “design flaws” of the Fox is the rear suspension. Very short arms, and lower shock mounts very close to the inner hinges, meant both limited suspension travel, and very short damper action. On the other hand, the Boomerang had much longer arms and the lower shock mounts much further outwards, giving both more travel as well as longer action for the dampers.

A Boomerang lower rear arm to the left and the Fox arm to the right. Notice the huge difference in both length and shock mounting position.

Looking through an old French magazine, I came across a modification that used the longer Boomerang rear arms on the Fox. This also meant dropping the Fox’s drive shaft units, and changing to standard dog bones from the Boomerang. The upper arms were dropped in favor of an adjustable tie rod control link, which allowed for more adjustability, as well as giving more space for the shocks. Due to the inner hinge positions of the arms, the upper arms from the Boomerang wouldn’t fit anyway.

The mod I came across in a French magazine. Notice the difference between the original suspension (upper left) and the Boomerang-mod (lower right).

While looking for some Boomerang outdrives (that has to be filed flat to fit the Fox differential) I came across outdrives for the Novafox (2013 rerelease of the Fox) and remembered that the special outdrives and axles from the original Fox were changed to the same style of ball cups and dog bones of the Boomerang. So instead of modifying Boomerang outdrives, I decided to just use the rerelease parts. I normally don’t like to mix vintage and new, but here I had a ready-made part, that did the same as what I wanted. What I didn’t take into consideration was that the actual balls on the Boomerang dog bones were larger than those of the Novafox, so my plan to use some very cool Dirt Burners! telescoping dog bones for the Boomerang backfired. I might have to modify some old ones, after all……

Novafox outdrives on the top, and the original Fox parts below.

At the front the standard arms were used, but there were modifications for converting from the standard mono shock, to dual shocks, either in stand up or in lay down configurations. I would, however, like to keep the mono shock, although using JG extenders and a longer shock. I have also been playing with the thought of using Boomerang arms at the front, as well, but will have to look a little more into that solution. I will mount a sway bar and an upper A-arm stabilizer. The A-arm stabilizer I have is a Dirt Burners! part made from fiberglass. I also have a black one from Parma, but that one will go on my original Fox. Even though the Fox has a front mono shock, it originally came without a front sway bar. In my experience, those have to go hand in hand, and Tamiya did make an optional sway bar for it. On the Novafox a sway bar was included, but of a different design than the original Tamiya hop-up part for the Fox. I just hope the A-arm stabilizer and the sway bar will fit on at the same time. I actually have my doubts, but we will see…..

My Fox Dirt Burners! A-Arm stabilizer and Tamiya sway bar hop ups.

The Fox is one of the models I have been collecting hop-ups for, without really having a proper plan for what I should be building. Since the Y. Shimotori Hotshot that I’m building in parallell to this Fox uses a lot of the red JG Manufacturing parts, I remembered having a blue bumper from the small Japanese hop-up brand STAC.

My blue STAC bumper and black Dirt Burners! bumper for the Fox.

That blue bumper would match the blue Boomerang suspension parts, to make up a blue theme for the build. However the Fox will have to do with a black battery tray/nerf guard, as I have never seen that part in blue, unlike the red one for the Hotshot. I could of course buy some blue kydex and make one myself, but that would be like a “copy” of a part that doesn’t exist, and ruin the authenticity of the car. The red tray/guard I made for the Hotshot build, was a copy of an actual red JG part. I do have a black Dirt Burners! guard on its way from Japan, so I could of course match that with the black Dirt Burners! bumper I also have, and ditch the blue theme altogether. The Dirt Burners! bumper is way cooler than the STAC bumper, but I really wanted that blue theme to match the red theme of the Hotshot… Decisions…. Decisions….

Black Dirt Burners! nerf guard/battery tray for the Fox.

Well, I originally intended to use red Kyosho CB shocks on the Fox, just like on the Shimotori Hotshot, but when I got those blue theme thoughts, I dug out some blue Parma shocks I had left from my Dyna Models Scorpion build. Unfortunately the colour of the two sets of shocks don’t match, but I don’t think that will be noticeable when the coil-overs are mounted. These shocks are very similar to the Kyosho CB shocks, only anodized in blue, of course.

Parma “CB-style” shocks I had left from my Dyna Scorpion. Notice the color difference. The pictures actually makes the colors more different than in reality, though.

As a base for this build I will use one of two Foxes I got from Scoot Mike a couple of years ago. I have already dismantled both, cleaned the parts, and built a standard original Fox from the best parts. I will use the remaining parts for this build, and just buy whatever parts are missing. I do have a few original Fox spare parts already, so if I’m lucky I won’t have to buy anything at all. I might even swap out some of the more worn parts for new ones, if I already have them in my Fox box.

The two Fox wrecks I got from Scoot Mike a couple of years ago.

I’m still waiting for some parts, both for the Hotshot and the Fox, and I will post follow ups on both articles when I get them, together with pictures of the actual builds.

About TomEG 74 Articles
I have been into RC cars since the beginning of the 80's, but have really never been much of a racer. I competed in some local races and some "Tamiya Cups", and actually came 6th in the Tamiya Cup Norwegian Nationals in 1987. My main interest has always been building and modifying, and that's where I still am today. Through the years I have been able to build a solid network of contacts around the world, consisting of both former and current members of the industry, as well as quite a few of the former top drivers. I have a genuine interest for the history of the 1/10 scale off-road buggies from the 80's.


    • Yes, it’s amazing what I find looking through the boxes in the “man cave”. The Fox is another of those cars I’ve been buying stuff for, without really having a plan for it. When I started on the JG/Shimotori Hotshot, I found the Fox parts in a box, and decided to build a Fox as well. It’s easy to see the relationship between the Hotshot and the Fox, but I’m surprised that so few parts are interchangeable between them. Not very cost effective by Tamiya……

    • The Fox was my first car. In Australia it was sold with a big discount as a kit with acoustic radio and a battery via a nationwide supermarket chain, much to the annoyance of the local hobby shops. So it was quite popular in Australia.

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