Ghetto Vanquish


V.I.P. Member
I very much like the Cherry wood. Very nice.

All the detail are really adding up. I should learn more about this 'finishing' a build.

Really a great looking build

Thank you for your kind words everyone!

I know what you mean Small Factory, I ended up making a list of 'jobs' for each of my models, and am slowly working though them - seems that's the only way... but then typically you always find one more thing to add to each list too!

It never really ends does it?!


V.I.P. Member
As an excuse for my ongoing procrastination with my Jeep TJ build (new build thread soon I promise), I thought I'd draw up a list of 'finishing-off jobs' for all the other models I've been juggling recently, and see if I can't call them finally finished - well, at least until I'm inspired by 'just one more thing' to add...

So starting with the 4Runner, together with wiring up the winches (a few posts above), I decided that due to the substantial weight of this build and what appears to be a somewhat tired NiMh battery under the scuttle, I've elected to convert this one to LiPo too - essentially all that was required was swapping the ESC to one with a LiPo specific low-voltage cut-off, and run the main battery cables back to the tool chest in the rear bed (for easy access for charging/swapping batteries), and in turn utilise the NiMh under the dash to power the winch controller, which is likely to be far less frequent.

I also finally bought some 'flat black' spray paint to match the spare - and I'm pleased with how close a match it is to the four matt anodised versions I'd fitted to the axles:

photo. you might notice tiny Yoda (or is that The Child?!) wielding a spanner, as a further tie-in to the whole Boba Fett/Mandalorian theme.

And of course, no under hood detail would be complete without a working oil dipstick - scratch built in the same was as I did with Hopper's Hilux and the Baja Blazer...

photo. dipstick is made from a bent piece of wire with an M2 nut superglued on and sanded round. The tube is actually a short length of Rx aerial wire support, since those are rarely required with contemporary 2.4Ghz receivers these days.

So I'm confident that's the 4Runner finished for now...

Merry Christmas!
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V.I.P. Member
2021: A quick update to this thread too... over the past few weeks, I'd drawn up a list of 'finishing off' jobs for my existing collection - yes I know that sounds like procrastination, but equally, having an increasing number of vehicles all with little jobs which need doing, plus a couple of new projects on the bubble - it's makes sense to try and tidy up the loose ends before starting anything else now - if only for my sanity!

While most of these other jobs were just the odd decal or badge, or a dash of paint here and there - something had continued to bug me about this particular build, in that while I'd been able to incorporate all manner of interesting and clever scale details (such as the twin winches running off a single remote) and the full interior despite the Axial style centre transmission, I had had to compromise slightly with the body mounting so that it cleared the horizontal NiMh stick-back battery mounted vertically underneath the dash (which dictated the overall body height).

The result was that while I had still been able to utilise the moulded belly sections which come as part of the Vanquish chassis kit, they'd needed to be mounted higher on the chassis rails than the stock position, so that in turn the body-shell could be high enough to clear the battery, and offer enough clearance for the 115mm tyres to articulate fully without dragging when using the original 90mm shocks...

Unfortunately, this also meant there was a larger than ideal gap between the base of the load bed and the chassis rails, and coupled with what turned out to be an excess of wheel-arch clearance at the front (having removed the arches to the natural body-crease), this is ultimately what was bugging me - it was so close, but proportionally just not quite right...

Then it dawned on me that having converted this truck to Lipo too recently, it was no longer necessary to have that traditional NiMh stick pack mounted under the dash at all really (which I'd initially decided to keep to power the winches separately) - a single 2S Lipo shorty pack realistically providing more than enough juice to power both the truck and the winch/es as required, and which was far easier to access being located in the tool chest in the rear bed anyway - meaning the whole wiring set-up could be simplified, the original battery tray removed, and the whole body dropped lower onto the chassis - result!

Anyway, that is probably far too much waffle to describe what to the casual observer appears to be very little difference to the overall build...however, I would add that along with these subtile stance changes, I also took the opportunity to revise the axle and suspension layout - having purchased another pair of portal axles similar (although unfortunately not exactly the same) as those I'd fitted to the Defender 90 recently, which in turn has significantly improved the ground clearance, and in reverting to the original more softly sprung 90mm shocks all-round, has given the 4Runner some very impressive articulation - if you ever wondered why people like the Vanquish VS4-10 chassis so much, here's your answer!

photo. that is 5" of vertical wheel travel, with all three others still on the ground!

photo. you will notice the bonnet (hood) is missing - don't worry, I'll come to that in a minute...

Getting to work...

So having removed the vertical battery bracket in the cabin footwell, it was clear the body could be mounted approximately 10mm lower than before - reducing that gap at the rear above the chassis, and fundamentally allowing the chassis side plates to be mounted in the standard location - essentially providing a completely flat belly, as Vanquish had always intended.

The replacement portal axles were a direct swap - other than I had to adjust (extended by the thickness of an M4 nut) the rear upper links to level the rear diff, and that the shape of the [central] pumpkin and the upper link bracket on the front axle means it does now touch the panhard rod on full compression - I can probably address this with a custom bend panhard rod in future (although in practice it does not appear to really be an issue with general side to side articulation, only when both front wheels are fully compressed)...

photo. initial test fit with the 80mm rear Gmade shocks... I've ultimately reverted to using softer sprung 90mm shocks all round, which means the truck now runs at almost full droop, but offers huge articulation. The only issue with using much softer springs is it can jack to one side under power.

With the body lowered, some minor revisions were also required to the cabin floor to clear the centre transmission assembly:

photo. while the body and interior floor remain in the same relation to one another, having dropped both over the chassis meant the centre transmission now protrudes further through the seat-box, which needed to be modified.

In turn the seats (particularly on the driver's side) needed to be cut to fit around the transmission - fortunately when Dustin is seated, this is essentially hidden.

photo. fortunately I had a cheap set of rubber seats the same shape as the Axial ones fitted, so I could easily experiment with where the final cuts needed to be made.

While I was rejigging the interior, it occurred to me that while I could indeed just run a Y cable between the main ESC and the winch remote control receiver and run them both from the main LiPo (in the tool chest), equally I had a small square 7.2v NiMH pack that had been doing nothing for ages, which I felt I could repurpose into a 6-cell stick pack with a little soldering and insulation tape -and what do you know, it fitted perfectly in the slot at the back of the seat-box - honestly, just as if it has been made for it originally!

photo. being a NiMh pack, I factor there is very little risk charging this in situ (ie. with the body on), and it means that the winch circuit remains separate, hopefully holding sufficient charge long-term for those few occasions I actually need to run the winches.

I then fabricated a replacement footwell bulkhead (now that the old full-size NiMh battery had been removed) to close up the gaps, and revise the under-bonnet layout slightly:

photo. the tray in the foreground is to relocate the scale ProLine battery against the engine bay bulkhead.

photo. yep, that works!

I purposely left a gap in the inner fenders in front of the shock towers at the front of the engine - not least as a 1:1 extreme trail rig like this probably would have some cut-aways to improve heat dissipation at crawling speeds, plus it allows a glimpse of the scale engine, which I like.

However, having refitted the [lowered] body, an issue immediately came to light... the manifold of the V8 engine cover was now too high to allow the bonnet to close properly - doh!

So there was only one thing for it, and that was to create some kind of bulge in the existing hood - carefully, as I really didn't want to have to redo all the elaborate painted and weathered Boba Fett helmet design of course!

photo. I carefully cut out the leading and side edges of the raised centre portion of the bonnet with a Dremel, then realised I could have just scored the plastic with a Stanley knife a few times and got a cleaner cut (as I did for the rear of the scoop) - ah well, you live and learn...

The centre portion of the bonnet was then raised with a strip of styrene at the front (this being a bulge rather than a vented scoop), and filled with Araldite at the sides, using masking tape to form a mould.

photo. some filling and a lot of sanding, and once repainted black I think this is not going to look too out of place?

Meanwhile, I thought I'd reassemble the rest of the truck and tested the tyre clearance on the new suspension:

photo.10mm lower overall ride height, while the tyres still clear the arches on full articulation front and rear... I also kind of like the ghetto missing-hood look, similar to Hopper's HiLux of course.

photo. the boys have more foot clearance against the new bulkhead too!

photo. portal axles with skid-plates and stainless-steel Husky links offer plenty of clearance under the smooth Vanquish belly plates.

Overall I'd say this build finally does the performance advantage of using the Vanquish VS4-10 chassis justice - offering impressive off-road performance, to equal the effort I put into theunique scale detailing and overall theme.

I hope you like it too!
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V.I.P. Member
I love the paint job!



Love this truck, now you need to do a second in Beskar...

Thank you both - yes, it's funny how the hood shape on this body inspired the eventual colour scheme - and funny you mention a more shiny version Dagabba, I have a new project in the pipeline which might suit that ;o)

Just in case you were wondering what it looked like with the revamped bonnet:

photo. got the hump... maybe I should include one more sci-fi mash-up and cut a slot and put in a Knight Rider light?!

There was just one more thing (there always is!) to do before refitting the bonnet and body too - as you might have noticed from photos on previous pages, another casualty of lowering the body was there was now no room for the moulded radiator I'd used to disguise the blank front panel behind the winch... Of course now that the leading edge of the bonnet is just above the winch it is not as noticeable as before, but I wanted to put something in there - so ended up gluing on a couple of thin strips of styrene either side and painting the centre section black, then cut a piece of aluminium mesh as a cover:

The only other casualty of the body drop was that the rear bumper no longer fitted over the rear winch, so Dr Dremel was once again employed to undertake some minor day-surgery:

photo. I also took the opportunity to replace the previous slightly over-size red hook with a more scale Warn branded version from RC4WD.

Previously I considered this build had ultimately evolved into more of a showcase of pop-culture detailing and scale modelling techniques, rather than remain a usable day-to-day trail-crawler which was the main reason for choosing the Vanquish VS4-10 chassis platform in the first place... but I'm pleased to say that while these latest refinements were primarily intended to improve the overall stance visually, lowering the centre of gravity plus adding the softer (and longer at the rear) springs and portal axles has significantly improved the crawling performance too... so I'd say that is a result all round!

I'm just a little bit afraid to get it dirty, that's all!


Putting it in "H"
I really like what I see. Nice to see a theme play out and the end result is very good. Keep it up!


V.I.P. Member
Thank you for your kind words everyone! It did turn out to be a labour of love - and admittedly has ended up being far more detailed than my original intention of having a simple trail-runner built around a proven chassis... indeed, as 'Guy commented a while back, this thread really ought to have a title change to reflect the work and detailing (and money!) that has ultimately gone into this particular build as it continued to evolve!

So in that regard, I've actually just started a new project - using a similar ethos to how this one started out, but will endeavour to keep it a lot more Ghetto and a lot less Vanquish (currently only the grille panel is a Vanquish part!) and fundamentally something which will be eligable to enter in the upcoming Axialfest event this summer... and the new build thread is here: Bogger Blazer (aka. more Ghetto - less Vanquish).

In the meantime, I'll leave you with one tiny update I made recently - in fact it was so tiny you'd probably not even notice unless I'd shone a torch (sorry, 'flashlight') under the hood to highlight it:

photo. ultimately I felt that the hood bulge would actually work better as a traditional scoop after all...

photo. ...not least as a tease of the added detailing under the hood, including a removable dip-stick of course!

Toot toot!

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