Wild Willy 2
This is an entirely new model, just built, painted and decorated. I was searching on Ebay when Willy showed up on a page and I couldn't resist
The Wild Willy is Tamiya's definition of fun in RC, a model that is so offbeat in the RC world that I always had in mind to get one into my collection: I was waiting for the best opportunity, it happened, I clicked...
Willy is the most charismatic among Tamiya drivers, but also in the general RC world. It was born in 1982 when the kit 58035 Wild Willy Willys M38 was first released. One year after, he came back behind the wheel of the kit 58039 Willy's Wheeler, the "on-road" version of the previous model.
58035 Wild Willy Willys M38 (1982)
58039 Willy's Wheeler (1983)
The idea behind this model is pretty revolutionary for the time since it was specifically designed to do wheelies and not to make it either stable nor a performer. The commercial success will be massive for Willy, especially the first model.
17 years later, Tamiya decided to give Willy a new wheel. For this, the WT-01 chassis will be modified to provide a new stunt vehicle to their crazy driver.
The Blackfoot Xtreme WT-01 chassis
Willy's WR-02 chassis
58242 Wild Willy 2 (1999)
Willy at its best
The WR-02 chassis is a modified WT-01 chassis so it can easily pop wheelies:
- the wheelbase was shortened by a third
- the battery pack is placed in the chassis axle on the rear drivetrain to remove weight from the front drivetrain
- the gearbox is identical to the Blackfoot Xtreme's (same gear ratios)
- rims and tires come from the Madbull
- rms are shorter to reduce the track
This unsteady weight balance concentrates as much weight as possible on the rear of the chassis with one unique goal: make the front drivetrain as light as possible in order for the front to light up the sky when pushing throttle.
Willy action video (© Tamiya)
Willy the stuntman (© Tamiya)
The Wild Willy 2 can not be considered as a true original re-release of the 1982 model since both the chassis and the bodyshell changed. However, differences between the original and re-released bodyshells are very few, accessories (including the driver) being identical.
Tamiya being well aware that their Willy driver is iconic for many fans around the world, they decided to create new models using both the WR-02 chassis and the driver:
58512 Volkswagen Type 2 (T1) Wheelie (2011)
58531 Suzuki Jimny (SJ30) Wheelie (2012)
58576 Suzuki Jimny (SJ30) Wheelie Tamiya Blue Style (2013)
58611 Honda City Turbo (2015)
The 58611 Honda City Turbo kit (the modern re-release of the 1983 Willy's Wheeler) uses a special WR-02C version of the chassis. Since the concept introduced back in 1982 with the Wild Willy M38 is still successful, Tamiya re-used the WR-02 chassis to create a new WR-02G variant for a new "tractor" series. Willy doesn't drive them, but still, they are very successful models:
58556 Farm King Willie (2013)
58586 Tumbling Bull (2014)
58601 Tractor Kumamon Version (2014)
Last, Tamiya used Willy's fame to launch a new chassis named GF-01: same concept of vehicle, but 4WD.
58589 Toyota Land Cruiser 40 Pick-Up (2014)
Undeniably, the 1982 charismatic driver greatly contributed to the models success. But overall, the very concept of an RC vehicle dedicated to popping wheelies (still) pleased the fans.