Kyosho Optima Mid Part 2 "The Build"

Kyosho Optima Mid Part 2 

"The Build"


Other sections related to this Kyosho Optima Mid build can be found below.
Kyosho Optima Mid Part 1 "What's In The Box" can be found here
Kyosho Optima Mid Part 3 "Paintwork & Decals" can be found here

Hello fellow RC enthusiasts from around the world, I hope you are all well.

 In this second part, I will be building this iconic RC car. You will see each part, each stage and hopefully some helpful hints and tips along the way. I am still unsure which style and decals to use on the buggy but that will not hinder the build process. 

What I have never done before is actually take account of the time spent on any build. So in this build, I will be accounting how long each stage lasts and reporting it to you. After each stage I will report the length of the said stage and the accumulative time spent. These results may be of use to someone, maybe make a decision to buy one or the approximate amount of time required for each stage or the whole build time.

I first of all read the instruction manual to get some idea of what to expect. The first seven pages of the manual gives details of the tools required, tools supplied, parts supplied, upgrades available and some handy tips on some of the more difficult assemblies.

The assembly sequence starts at the top of page 8 and I am immediately instructed to open parts bag "A".

As you can see from the picture above, bag "A" is equipped to build 2 differentials, both the front and rear. There is also an upgrade available to replace these crown wheel differentials with ball race differentials. I am a total fan of the ball race type of differential, as they are more reliable with less moving parts inside. This also makes them a lot lighter than conventional differential systems. In racing, that is the aim!! Lighter = faster and more efficient. However, the upgrades for the ball diffs are too expensive for me at the present time. I would add that, this would be the perfect time to fit the upgrades rather than a major disassembly of a new build. 

A close up of bag "A" show's the crown wheels used in the assemblies of both the front and rear differentials. Time to open bag "A" and kickstart the build of this long awaited and hyper iconic RC car. 

Inside bag "A", there are some loose components and sealed bag components. There are also 3 hex wrenches supplied in bag "A". Also included is a small tube of grease for the gears. 

 A closer look at the components. At the top of the picture you can see I have partly built up the front differential with the crown and bevel gears, with the other side ready to be bolted on (to the right).

A closer look at the bevel gears (arrowed) and the output drive shafts (arrowed) that are greased as per instruction from the manual. The far left and far right are the two halves of the front differential. All the gears are metal as can been seen. The differential is sealed by the blue gasket between the 2 halves. The 2 halves can now be bolted together.

With the front differential now fastened up, I moved onto the rear differential with the metal drive cog on the outside. The build is exactly the same as the front. In the picture above you can see I have already installed one of the two crown wheels. 

I have now fitted the 2 bevel gears ready to take some grease.

I then greased the bevel gears and quickly built up the other differential half. I could now insert the differential gasket a bolt the 2 halves together.

After completing both the front and the rear differentials, I then assembly the layshaft and belt tensioning pully and can be seen above.

I then assembled the rear outer gear housing and threaded the drive belt over the tensioner/layshaft and the rear differential. As the rear outer differential cases have bearings in either side, they can be a little tricky to fit together. DO NOT FORCE IT. Simply little
wiggles and it will slot into please quite easily. When the 2 halves come together, the motor plate is also fitted as can be seen in the above picture.

The arrow above is indicating the belt tension adjuster. Simply remove the locking bolt, then turn the adjuster until the belt is tight enough, then replace the locking bolt. At this point, I have used all the parts in bag "A".
To complete bag "A" took me 1 hour and 27 minutes. This was mainly due to being slowed down as I could not locate some parts immediately. Some of the parts were in the plastics bag and some were display pieces and this is the first Optima Mid I have built. With that said, I still enjoyed building these parts and they went together perfectly.

Time to move onto bag "B".

Inside bag "B", is the slipper clutch and the spur gear along with quite a few screws and some sticky back foam. 

Above is a picture of what we all can identify as a slipper clutch and spur gear. There is also a spring (as usual) and a collet/spacer.

After a couple of attempts, I managed to stack it all together and bolt it on. Your can see the blue friction disk to on the edges.

After inserting the bearings into the front outer differential halves, it was time to thread the drive belt around the front differential and bolt it up.

Which I did.

I was then instructed to fit both differentials to that beautiful clean chassis plate. However, do not forget to insert the bottom arm pins to the front differential house, like I did. I had to remove the front differential to get them in. DOH!!

The picture above shows the lower belt cover. The foam is actually pre cut and I am instructed to put a the thin foam down each edge of the cover as can be seen above. I imagine this foam is a kind of seal to keep out any dirt!!

The lower belt cover was then bolted to the chassis from underneath.

As can be seen above.

A view of the front differential, with the lower arm pins I forgot to insert. 

As you can see from the picture above, the drive belt is still loose as I have not yet been instructed to tighten it up at this moment. 
I have now completed bag "B" and it took me 55 minutes to complete it. Again, a lot of this was down to looking for parts that were needed in conjunction with bag "B". I am pleased to report, all the parts went together without issue. Happy days!!

The total time spent building the buggy up to this point, is 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

I quickly moved on to bag "C".

In bag "C" there are parts to build up the hubs, drive hubs, screws and lower arm hinge pins. There are also some plastic parts needed from the plastic parts bag and the drive hubs that are in the blister pack display of the box.

The arrow above is pointing to where I have once again forgotten to fit the rear lower arm hinge pins. Again I had to remove the bracket to fit them. DOH. You can also see the alloy top deck posts that are bolted from underneath. At this point please note, all the metal screws that are inserted into metal parts are liquid thread locked to ensure they do not vibrate loose. The thread lock fluid is NOT SUPPLIED in the kit. Thread lock is NOT required where screws are inserted into plastic components.

As you can see, I have fitted the rear lower arm pins to the assembly.

I have also built up the front hub carriers with the drive cups and bearings. Both hubs and both hub carriers are clearly marked L & R and both also have a correct up and down orientation.

A view of the under side which is quickly being populated with countersunk bolts. I already love this chassis for it's simplicity, clean looks and it's easy for maintenance.

The front and rear bottom arms are quite different but easily mistaken. Ensure the correct pairs are used and also have a correct up and down orientation.

I made the mistake of fitting the metal plate above with the c clips and had to remove them as I put the plate on the wrong way round. I only noticed as the countersinks were missing from the holes. DOH.

A close up of the plastic parts that were fitted as well as those rear bottom arm hinge pins!!

I have now completed bag "C" and took me a total of 50 minutes. Again, I was hindered looking for parts within the kit. Maybe I should have had a detailed look at the manual and grouped the parts together, but that would also have taken time. Again, I can happily report that all the components went together perfectly and I am very happy with the build so far.

The total time spent building the buggy to this point is, 3 hours and 12 minutes. 

Moving on to bag "D", with a little trepidation.

The reason I say trepidation is that there are a lot of small pieces and the manual page is also very busy. It would be quite easy to miss something small yet ultra important. There are 6 turnbuckles to make up, the steering servo saver, a rear mount, hinge pins and drive outputs. There is also a wrench inside the bag.

These are the front upper suspension arms and need to be set to 22.5mm. The ends are also offset by 90 degrees. 

I then inserted the 5.8 mm metal ball to either end use a piece of wood to press them in.

The rear upper suspension arm was built the same way except it is set to 25.5 mm.

Before fitting the upper suspension arms, I fitted the rear lower arms, bearings and drive cups. The rear hub carriers were also fitted with hinge pins, a grub screw and "C" clips. The rear upper suspension hanger also needs to be fitted. However, before fitting it to the car, I fitted the turnbuckles first to the plate and then the plate to the car.

A picture of the rear of the car showing the upper suspension arm, drive shafts and end plate in position.

Before assembling the steering servo saver, the steering push rods need to be set to 33 mm.

Above is a picture of the steering servo saver. I was so focused I forgot to take any pictures, but the assembly is quite straight forward.

There are not many fastening position left as the chassis is almost complete.

And lastly, a view of that super iconic front bumper. I do remember this bumper was so rare, it was selling (if in decent condition) for around £50. If it were new and sealed,  that would cost a lot more. With the Mid re-release here, I will certainly be buying a couple of spares and one for my standard Optima. I would imagine the price would be around the £13 each.

I have now completed bag "D" and took a total time of 1 hour 50 minutes. There were a couple of items I struggled to find or were badly identified. Other than that, there were a lot of components to assemble in this section. Once again the components went together without issue and I am very happy with my progress.

The total time spent building the buggy to this point is, 5 hours and 02 minutes. 

I am now onto the last cache of parts, bag "E". The shock bodies are located in the front display blister pack and the plastic parts are on the two suspension plastics trees.

Inside bag "E" there are a many other sealed component bags and the FRP upper deck. Within each bag, there are many different bolt types, sizes and shapes. It would be very easy to use the wrong screw. Some look the same, but have a different thread type or head shape. The instruction diagrams are also very busy and the chance of missing a detail is quite high. Although I have checked each and every bolt of the build from the manual so far, there seems to be a lot more variations of different bolts in bag "E". Time to be extra vigilant!

As you can see, there are 2 new tools in bag "E" that I need to build up the shocks.

The arrow above is pointing the the seal that needs to be installed on each damper. They are very thin and of a rubber type material and are quite a task to sit perfectly. However, a little time and effort they fit like a glove.

They green arrows are indicating that the black "O" ring needs to be fitted to the adjustment spring holder. The "O" rings stop the adjusters vibrating and keep the ring stationary.

A picture of the adjustment ring fitted to the shock body.

After a lot of flying "C" clips and hunting for them (DOH), a picture of the piston assemblies before they are inserted into the shock bodies. At this point I must say that I will not be filling the shocks with damping oil at this moment as the car will be used for demonstration purposes only. 

A picture of the completed shock assemblies. Looking good!!

I quickly fitted them to the car in excitement, being careful with the screw selection.

It was time to fit the upper deck, yet some parts that were left over from bag "A" were still required, like a couple of big washers and an aerial mount. 

As you can see, the extra parts were needed on page 33 and yet were in bag "A".

The picture above shows the upper belt cover. The arrow is pointing to the gasket that needs to be inserted into the reveal of the cover. Obviously, this is a seal to keep out any unwanted dust or debris. The foam is pre-cut and is quite easy to apply.

With the upper belt cover secured in position, the manual instructed me to fit the tyres to the wheels from the kit. 

Bag "E" is not yet complete as I have not fitted a motor nor a steering servo. I have however, stored the parts for a time when/if I decide to use it!

The remain holes/reveals (at the front) are available to secure the steering servo as I yet have to buy one and the rear ones are for battery pack positioning.

I now have a "Rolling Chassis", ready to receive a body shell and rear wing. Happy days!! However, I'm still unsure of the colour scheme I really want to use. Mid standard or turbo optima mid? To be honest that is the last of my worries. I may just cut, shape and leave it clear!
The completion (almost) of bag "E" took a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes. Time was not  wasted looking for parts, simply down to identifying the correct bolt to use and in the correct position to use them in. Another problem I encountered was the upper front under belt cover. This cover, situated above the steering servo saver was difficult to fit but do-able due to the limited space. Other than that, everything went together quite well. 

The total time spent building this buggy to a rolling car was 7 hours and 32 minutes, so it's not a speed build by any stretch of the imagination. Remember, I have not fitted a motor, steering servo, receiver or filled the shocks with oil. The tyres also need gluing and time to cure. All this could take at least another 2 hours in all honesty. 
Could it be done in one sitting? I doubt I could do it, but it is up to the individual (with a rough guide of time(s)) to make that decision. 

Final Thoughts

I will share some final thoughts and my opinion of this car, the build and the quality of the parts. First the components of the kit fitted together beautifully and 90% of the parts are top quality however, for the price of the kit the shock towers are well below par in my humble opinion. Again for the price of the kit, the steering assembly should have been ball raced. The differentials are very stiff, yes I know it's new but this isn't my first RC car I have built, whether it be 2 wheel or 4 wheel drive. They should not be so tight in my opinion. Also the suspension assemblies are very notchy and not very smooth at all. The springs are rubbing against the shock bodies. All of these thing are NOT normally a thing to be found in any Kysoho kit build, they are normally a dream to build and behold. That doesn't seem to be the underlying theme here and it make's me wonder many things. Don't get me wrong, I do love the car and it is awesome, but for £400 was it worth it?  No in my humble opinion. For £320 the original Optima/Javelin is a way better car, both in engineering and build quality. If it's worth £400 of nostalgia for yourself, get one, if not, get something more up to date. For me, I just had to have one and for all it's downfalls, I still love it, and I will admire it for many years to come!!

With the chassis complete, I will soon be moving on to Part 3 where I will be cutting and shaping this Legendary and the authentic Optima Mid body shell.

Until Part 3, take care my fellow RC enthusiasts and RC maniacs. 2022