(The featured picture above, is of course of the 1986 version)
As I previously reported back in June (though “hidden” at the very bottom of the article as a bonus update for those of you who bothered to read through my whole plea for help to buy a magazine collection 😉 ) the long awaited re-release of the Kyosho Ultima, the Ultima 2019 is just around the corner.
Here are the first pictures of the re-release of Kyosho’s 2WD classic, that stunned the competition at the 1987 Worlds, by taking all the silverware (Joel Johnson, Katsunori Kondo and Kris Moore) in the 2WD class, in front of seven Associated RC10’s. The pictures originate from Sherman Tam from Hong Kong, and also include some text about the re-release. I have reached out to several people at Kyosho, but they are still coy about the authenticity of the pictures, as they have to be at this point. There is, however, no doubt they are the real deal (Edit: For those still in doubt, Akira Kogawa has now shared this on FB). The images and the text seems to come from an early draft for a promo sheet, or something along those lines.
From what we can see from the pictures is that the body/cage probably were not 100% done when the pictures were shot, but those should be quite similar to the original from 1986. I expect the driver’s head to be injection molded, though. Like on the Javelin, the wing mount is moved from the cage to the gear box, to reduce the flexing from the cage, thus providing more downforce. Also helping with the downforce is the injection molded wing, that replaces the “floppy” lexan wing of the original 1986 Ultima. More stable wing mounts are modifications that have been made to all Kyosho’s re-releases that came with wings, apart from the Scorpion 2014 that had an injection molded wing, but the same style of wire wing mount as the vintage original. An optional gear box mounted solution was however available, in the style of the Turbo Scorpion. The Ultima re-release also comes with different plates to fit under the wing, providing for adjustment of the wing’s angle of attack. The shocks seems to be the same style as the Optima 2016. The shock towers are now black, and could be either black anodized aluminum, black fiberglass, or most possibly carbon fiber. They are taller than the towers on the 1986 Ultima, more in line with the Option House towers that came with the Turbo Ultima, Ultima Pro etc. The lower part of the rear towers, where the upper suspension links are mounted, are further inwards, compared to the old Option House towers, allowing for longer upper links, just like on the Optima 2016. This changes the geometry of the rear suspension to give a more even camber throughout the travel of the suspension. It also has a slipper clutch, in style of the Optima re-release, as well as 48 pitch gears, all prepared for brushless. There will be provisions for various types of batteries. Like the Optima 2016, the Ultima 2019 will come with a motor guard, something that were option parts on the vintage originals. The wheels are modelled on the originals, but expect them to be one-piece, like on the rest of the Legendary Series. The rear tires have shorter spikes than the original OT-66, crushing many peoples hopes for cheap replacement tires for their vintage Ultimas and Turbo Optima/Optima Mids. I believe they could be the same as those on the Turbo Optima 2019. The front tires seems to be more in line with the old ones. Like all of Kyosho’s beautiful kits, the Ultima 2019 will also come packed with the blister packs that we all love. Kyosho will also provide an extensive list of hop-up parts.
Be aware that these are photos of a prototype or pre-production model, and things could still change until the release. Seeing how far the development has come, I believe the Ultima 2019 will be presented at the 59th All Japan Model & Hobby Show on September 27th, and probably announced some time before that.
From what I have learnt, the Ultima was originally planned to be re-released several years ago, shortly after the Scorpion, but a change in strategy made Kyosho rather re-release it’s classics chronologically. Changes in the Kyosho ownership nearly killed off the re-release projects completely, but the designer, Akira Kogawa, fought tirelessly to convince them to continue. If the sales of the Legendary Series continues to be good, there is a possibility that we, some time in the future, will even see the Optima Mid re-released.