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Hello gents,


I finished this in April, and at the time wasn't posting here.  As I enjoy building race cars, and various trucks, this project seemed a natural, so over the years, I've built a few of them.  A real challenge though is finding a kit that reflects a Ford, Dodge, or GM truck built in within the last 20 years.  This was OK for a while, I just built older trucks, but eventually wanted something that is more recent.  I still haven't found many recent versions, but I eventually came across a model of a Cadillac Escalade extended cab.  These are similar to their Chevrolet counterpart, so, that's where this build started.  


I'm not sure how commonly known this type of racing vehicle is - just because I like them, doesn't mean many others do, or are familiar with them, so a few reference pics:




Above is indicative of a typical "Trophy Truck".  These are the expensive, purpose built vehicles, which resemble little of their apparent branding.  The engines are generally between 750 and 900 hp, and expected to complete 400 to 1000 mile races, off road. 


A key attribute of these trucks is what is know as long travel suspension.  The rear end is a solid axle, connected to the chassis via two sway arms, regulated by opposing hydraulic sway arms on each side of the axle, and four shocks, two of which are coil over.  The independent (these are 2wd) front suspension generally pivots from close to the center of the chassis - the lower control arms mounts are only about 6" to 8" apart, while the uppers, are mounted to the chassis, creating asymmetrical orientation.   All of this effort allows for 30+" of rear travel and more than 24" up front.  The goal is to allow the truck to move very quickly over rough terrain - with the suspension absorbing impact and the cabin staying relatively flat.  This is a strange and remarkable sight to see in action while racing - really hard to believe it works, and that it can sustain this abuse for a long time.




Even from above you can see the suspension in play.  Another few things to note.  Radiator and fans are commonly located in the bed (less likely damaged) directly behind the cab, spare tires set way back (counter weight) and the engine pulled rearward from the center of the front axle.  You can also see the rear fender wells/deck pulled inward over what would have otherwise been the bed area.  




Finally, this image illustrates the geometry of the suspension.  Up front, you can see the lower control arms, connecting near the centerline of the chassis.  This also illustrates the drop of the rear axle, and purpose behind using the two long sway arms.


Ok enough rambling - onto converting a giant, luxury SUV into an off road racer:




Above, lots of cutting and changing the kit body.  The chassis was scratch built:




The chassis on the left is for this build - note the forward trans cooler.


The next pic is of the truck on the right, but you'll see how the rear end works:




Sorry this pic is not great.  The sway arms connect the axle to the chassis (just inside the exhaust pipe).  The shocks aren't mounted yet, but the bump stop and rear sway arms are.  The two small fans near the roof are for fresh air circulation to the driver and co-driver, and the big fans for the radiator.


One more WIP:




These pack a lot in.  The headers...what a pain to build!! as the engine is big anyway, and when plumbed and set back, there isn't a lot of room.  I couldn't figure out how to add upper control arms without packing all this in first.  


A few of it done:










It took a few builds to figure out how to get the front suspension to at least look right.




You can see the rear sway arm above, and the two shocks controlling  it.







A couple more with the body back on:










The paint is Vallejo Model Air, and for whatever reason, I never gave it a clear coat?  I should have.  I looked around for some decals that matched  - no luck.


Thanks for having a look - 






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That's a fantastic build - some brilliant scratchbuilding resulting in a superb model - I really like that!! 


Can I ask where the wheels and tyres come from? I've got a Dodge Ram kit with really puny ones and have been looking for something to replace them!


Top work!



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Hello guys, thanks and glad you like this beast.   I find these very trucks very interesting and a fun challenge.


@keefr22 - thanks very much!  yes, this involved mostly scratch work.  Not much from the kit, except the basic body and engine block, then lots of styrene and metal.  As for the tires and wheels, they are made by Fireball Modelworks.  The quality on the rims and tires is excellent.  A nice touch is they provide four different types of hubs, each with studs/lugnuts.  They fit well and only require a bit of finessing.  As I recall, these are 17" rims, and 37.5" tires, very similar to what is used for racing.   Thanks again.


@swralph - thanks.  This is the fourth or fifth of these I've built.  I seemed to resolve the body challenges on the first few, and chassis/suspension on this one!


Thanks again - 



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Great build! I used to play the Dirt series a lot and racing the Trophy Trucks is good fun! Your chassis mods are superb. 

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Great stuff Nick,a lot of scratchbuiding that all needs lining up. I avidly watch the Dakar race every year,its the nearest type of race I can think of.And Is there still a Baja race? Chris.

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@JeroenS and @Kitkent, thanks guys - good to know there are a few off road racing (in addition to rally car) fans out and about!  The trophy trucks are purpose built racers - nothing stock about them! lol - they are fun to see, and no such kit seems to exist.  The combination of the roaring V8 and that suspension - wow - Chris, this event is indeed similar to Dakar - and the Baja 1000 and 500, and various regional races are still going.  They are quite a spectacle - and a lot of dust!! Unhappily for me, I live in an urban area, nowhere near any of these events.  As a kid I worked on the Mint 400 outside of Las Vegas - some of us from college signed on to help.  Really a fun weekend!


Thanks fellas - 



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It really does look superb, well done!

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That is awesome!

A stunning exercise in scratch building!  😮 :clap2:

Possibly not the exact same thing, but the truck is reminiscent of the types I've seen in a series which (I believe) is operated by Robby Gordon (former IndyCar and NASCAR competitor).

Robby brought the category to Oz a few times to race on road circuits, using artificial jump ramps to spice up the action.

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Hi guys - sorry, didn't see the notification that you replied!


@PatW   thanks very much!


@kapam  yes, this is the same type - Robbie Gordon is also known for Baja Racing.  If you look around on Youtube for First Five Minutes Baja 1000, you'll find a video in his cab - from the starting line, through the city streets and onto dirt - with audio! Play it loud!  It's really something - 


Here's the link https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=+first+five+minutes+robby+gordon  I could only find this version - the video quality isn't great - there is a better version out there somewhere!  Alas, the giant web -- who knows where it might be today!  Bad video and all, the audio alone is worth it - 


@Escaflowne  thanks very much - appreciate it - 


Cheers and stay well - 


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Excellent build, @Belugawrx!

Thanks, @Stickframe, I will take a look for that video sometime.  

I recall having buggy-style toys as a kid and they often had "Baja" involved in their names somewhere.

But I did not know how it was pronounced in those days - as a rough idea, imagine a child saying "badger" in a broad Aussie accent!  😬

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