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The Tamiya Mini Frog, or to give it its official title, “TamTech-Gear The Frog” is a Ready-To-Run (RTR) small scale electric buggy.
The origins of the TamTech name go back to the 1/24th scale on-road, or rather table top,  R/C cars Tamiya produced in the 1980s.  It seems odd but they never really caught on.  Similarly Kyosho tried their hand at “mini” cars back in the 80’s with their “Baja Bugs”, 1/20th scale buggys like the scaled down Ultima (A world championship winning 1/10th scale buggy by Kyosho).

The Mini craze and more importantly RTR craze have really picked up pace in the last few years with more and more manufacturer getting in on the hobby-level Toy craze.
The first cars that really caught my eye were the likes of the Micro RS4 from HPI, but I yearned for a buggy still.  Then came the answers to a lot of Off Road fans dreams in the form of the Losi Mini-T, an excellent looking two wheel drive stadium truck which was like a scaled down version of its bigger brother, the 1/10th scale Losi XXX-T (only 15 or so years after Kyosho did it, as previously mentioned).
Though the Mini-T was nice, it still wasn’t a buggy, no matter how you dressed it up with optional body shells.

More recently we have had various attempts at small scale four wheel drive buggys, many seemingly copied from one another and in the style of mini 8th scale replicas first seen from Kyosho with their 1/16th scale Half-8 series cars. Team Associated were next with their 1/18th scale RC18B.

Which brings us to, arguably, the best looking Buggy of the lot, the New TamTech-Gear Mini Frog.  I have always wanted a mini buggy to play with around the house but none have instantly grabbed my attention in such a positive way as the mini frog.  Tamiya Japan don’t mention anything about a scale for the Frog but Tamiya USA say the car is 1/16th scale and Tamiya UK actually state there is no scale.  A very confused situation, let's just say the thing is quite small but definitely bigger than the likes of the Mini-T.

The mini Frog is based, not surprisingly, on the old 1/10th scale Tamiya Frog from 1983, which was its self recently re-released over 20 years after its first appearance.  The body shell is really the only part of the car that resembles the “original” Frog.  The rest of the chassis and suspension are entirely generic, but I mean that in the nicest way possible.
The door seems to be open for Tamiya to create other body shells and  instantly bring back other classic Tamiya favourites from yesteryear, indeed another classic, "The Hornet" has recently been announced utilising the same chassis.

Kit Contents.

The Mini Frog comes in a fairly small pink box... PINK!. With the Mini Frog on display through the top and the “the Frog” logo on either end. On opening the box your, or at least my, initial impulse is to grab the Frog and have a closer look at it, but the car is well zip tied to the controller on the underneath of the cardboard insert.  Must they make us wait!

With the car freed and in the hand, the first thing you will notice about this car is the suspension.  Never has the word shock absorber been more inappropriate than when referring to the ‘shocks’ on the Frog.  Drop the car from1 inch and it will bounce like crazy, drop it from 2 inches and the chassis will hit hard and bounce around a bit less!  Really, there is no damping effect what so ever.

The body shell is polycarbonate which has been painted and cut, by machine possibly as it’s very neat.  The car is painted white (and windows left clear), and everything else is made up with amazingly well applied stickers.   The finished shell looks great and in all honesty, though it would be great to have a Kit version, you’d be hard pressed to make your frog look as good.

The first thing I noticed about the TamTech-Gear Frogs body shell was the lack of KC Daylighter as a sponsor on the yellow headlights. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, they were the letters K and C, and the word “Daylighter”, which were formed to look like a smiley face.
Call me sentimental but the original Frog was the car that first got me interested in R/C cars, and the coolest thing on the car were the smiley headlights. Ok ok, that’s the last time I will mention the smiley faces, and lack thereof.

Moving swiftly on, the body is secured with two small clips, with these off, the main body can pivot up at the back for quick access.  You can also take the shell entirely off but the front nose of the shell is a tight squeeze through the shock tower and a little bit of force is needed.

With the shell off you can see the chassis properly and the first thing of note is the separate Electronic Speed Controller (ESC), Receiver and small servo.  Meaning you can change elements out as and when you desire, if you even desire at all. 

For instance, you could swap the ESC for a brushless unit, or swap the receiver for one from your racing gear which enables you to use your own transmitter. The original TamTech line of cars used specialised components so you were limited to the supplied electrics for the most part.

And speaking of transmitters.  The mini Frog comes with a steerwheel unit of Tamiyas own design.  Made entirely of black plastic, its not an overly pleasant looking affair, but in the context of a cheap RTR toy, its more than enough and doesn't feel bad in the hand at all.  The transmitter has trims to adjust servo positions (to get the steering straight for instance), and servo reversing switches (useful if you change a component and the servo is in reverse). 8 AA batteries are the only thing you need to buy for the mini Frog, and sit in the base of the transmitter.

The mini frog includes battery (for the car) and charger.  Unfortunately since my Frog came from Japan, the charger won’t work over here in the UK, so I couldn’t test it out though it appears to be a fairly slow charger at 0.1 amps.  I would always have used my own charger for the cells anyway, so I cut off the lead from the included charger to use on my own charger.  Buying an official car in your country should guarantee a proper charger. PLEASE NOTE: As far as I am aware - The Frog does NOT come with Battery or Charger in the UK, I am not sure why this is.

The battery is a cute little 7.2v NiCd pack of 2/3 AA cells with a capacity of 500mah.  You can get much higher capacity cells that fit the frog later on if needed.

The battery pack is inserted into the chassis from below after removing a sliding cover. There is no need to remove the shell to change packs which is quite neat.

The Frog comes with the receiver aerial wire bound up inside the body shell and an aerial tube is provided to be fitted before running.  If you want to play in the kitchen or elsewhere indoors it’s probably ok to leave the aerial inside the car but certainly outdoors where the Frog will get further away you’ll need to use the aerial tube to lift the wire and extend the range.

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