1990 FJ62RG Toyota Landcruiser Sahara / Rally7 . This model was constructed from pieces that existed in 1990 (with one or two minor exceptions). It is based on the Technic Rally series of 1990 (8830, 40 and 50). It is an FJ62RG Landcruiser with a few extra Lexus-style features.
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This creation took me a while to get it just right. It was built from August to December 2010.
The features include:
Full 9 Volt electric system with 8 lights - illuminating headlights, turn signal indicators, rear light clusters and driver's instrument panel. The instrument panel is based on that of a Lexus LS400 in that it disappears when it is not illuminated. The gauges are completely invisible until the light is switched on.
It has an on-board 9 Volt battery box with a flip-up switch cover, as well as an electric plate underneath the rear of the vehicle that serves as an external power input (for a 9 Volt plugpack that I modified).
Rally V8 engine with working pistons, fan and rotor under the opening bonnet.
Rack and pinion steering with realistic lock to lock turns ratio and super smooth motion (selection of the best gears and spacings was painstaking here!)
Super smooth drive train with rear differential, universal joint and idler gear (again, careful selection of gears and their spacings, as well as the number of times each axle was held in a beam was very important).
Detailled interior, featuring landcruiser grab bar for front passenger and sahara ice box in the centre.
It has an aerial, snorkel, bullbar with winch, adjustable side mirrors, side steps, dust deflector, towball connection, front and rear bumpers, concealed storage areas in rear of the vehicle (1 by 3 doors), colour-coded flared wheel arches and twin, angled exhaust pipes.
It also has an esky cool box between the two rear seats, allowing passengers to enjoy a can of beer and a choc-mint ice cream!
I studied photos of FJ62RG Landcruisers from all angles, paying extra attention to the light assemblies, grille, side dimensions and the overall shape and proportions of the vehicle. The headlights had to be just right to replicate the double square headlights of the FJ62RG, but the turn signal indicators are not strictly accurate. The real thing has clear lights on the side, but when I built my model that way, it just didn't look right. Also, the transparent yellow side lights allow correct filtering of the light's colour. They look quite similar to the USA version of the 80 series Landcruiser. I had to tweak the headlights and grille quite a bit, so they were not too high but not too far away from the bonnet. The final version of the grille actually has gaps, allowing airflow! It also lets you see the fan and rotor rotate as the vehicle moves (especially with the headlights on). I'm happy with how it looks now.
This is a good shot of the headlights and the grille. It also shows the slope bricks under the front bumper. It took a bit of tweaking to make that area look like a landcruiser and not a range rover. I think it turned out OK - mainly because of the 2X1 slope bricks on the sides.
This is the standard version of the Landcruiser - it has a plain tail gate (no badges or transparent red light bar), no snorkel and a standard V8.
The above photo is the Rally7 Landcruiser with all the trimmings - bullbar with winch, snorkel, pack racks on the roof, blue tint across the top of the windscreen, dust deflector, Rally7 badging on the tail gate, wide tail light across the tail gate and a Rally V8 under the bonnet!
The Rally7 tackles the toughest terrain with the greatest of ease!
This photo shows the 'disappearing' instrument cluster. When power is off, the display is completely invisible. When power is applied, it comes to life! In this case, the power was from the on-board battery box. Note also the orange light glows beacause the panel light is just the other side of that hole.
This photo also shows how the steering column is connected - it passes through a toothed connector that is attached to a 1X1 beam to the right of the radio panel. This was a better approach and it allowed for lightweight steering. Everything is tightly packed in this area, without a millimeter to spare. The bottom of the electrical wire connector that is connected to the panel light is actually level with the bottom of the plate attached to the underside of the main cross beam. So, the bottom of the connector is hidden from sight, but it can be seen from under the footwell. The illuminating panel and the steering mechanism were very fiddly, and presented the biggest challenge in the build, because they had to be close together, the instrument cluster had to be that size and the steering column needed the correct angle to work smoothly. I'm glad I got there in the end!
Here is a shot of the detailled interior from the driver's point of view. Note the storage box under the radio and the gear select lever. These were the last modifications I made to the interior.
The Landcruiser Rally7 with even more trimmings! Note the air scoop on the bonnet and the spare tyre on the roof. This safari special was inspired by David Attenborough - with a video camera and a satellite dish for animal tracking, as well as someone on the lookout with his binoculars!
In the top right, you can see the switch and the crimp connectors with screws I used with my 9 Volt plugpack to provide an external power source. The lights glow a little more brightly and it is far more economical than using batteries.
Oh What a Feeling!
I like the way it sits - it looks like it would be pretty fast! Notice how it sinks into the surface under its immense weight.
The wide transparent red light bar adds a touch of class to the landcruiser. That, along with the disappearing instrument cluster, V8 engine, twin exhaust pipes and luxury interior are the aforementioned Lexus-style features. If Lexus had been making Landcruisers (such as the LX450 and LX470) in 1990, I think it would have looked a bit like this!
You can (just) see the light passing through a 1X1 technic beam from the passenger-side rear light cluster and into the red light bar across the tail gate. It has a soft glow, and can be seen better in the dark. One day, I will put panels at the sides of the rear light clusters instead of bricks, so the light that appears at the rear light clusters is more even.
The fan and rotor are clearly visible through the grille. The headlights were much brighter, and the light was more direct when I put white panels and cover plates behind them (see the engine bay photos below). As with much of this build, there was just enough room to do it.
The instrument cluster glows nice and bright!
The triple sunroof top allows you to see everything inside.
The standard V8 engine (top) and the Rally V8 engine! The Rally V8 looks hotter!
This photo is best if enlarged.
TOP (L-R): Steering gears from driver's side; Under the V8; Gears to drivetrain.
MID (L-R): External power input plate; Differential (housing modern 12T gears); Universal joint (Note the routed wires in these three photos).
BOTTOM (L-R): Rear underside showing tow connection, angled twin exhaust pipes and location of power input plate; Under the engine bay from front driver's side, showing three axles used in steering mechanism and the electric wire connector attached to the 2X8 power distribution plate (hidden under bonnet); a shot of directly underneath the cabin - note the cross-pinned beams (for strength) and the depth of the structure.
CLOCKWISE From TOP LEFT: A View from above through the windscreen - note the transparent dark blue screens for the blue strip across the top of the windscreen and the ceiling-mounted CB radio is just visible behind its transparent yellow brick;
On-board the Rally7 - now the CB radio is visible!;
Inside the rear of the vehicle;
The on-board 9 Volt battery box, its connections (rear lights, headlights and instrument cluster) and flip-up switch guard;
The rear passengers - enjoying a beer from the esky, in air-conditioned comfort (from the vent at their feet;
The driver's point of view - every luxury with all necessary controls.
The very first part of this vehicle that I built was the disappearing instrument panel. Once I had it worked-out, I built it into a dashboard - probably an unusual place to begin a Technic build...
I built a chassis that had a good steering mechanism, smooth drivetrain and suitable width to accomodate the dashboard and two seats (with a space in-between).
Notice the original method for attaching the steering column - it attached directly to the underside of the power lead's 2X2 brick, so pushing it on meant pushing the panel light up and out of position. Pressure had to be applied from above to counteract the push from below (which required dismantling the instrument panel). Furthermore, operating the steering would slowly pull the steering column's brick off the power lead to which it was attached. So, I ended up getting pretty good at dismantling the instrument panel!
Things were getting pretty exciting at this stage! It really came along when I built the side of the Landcruiser - it literally started to take shape. The side profile closely matches that of the real car. I was really pleased that it all fitted together nicely, without any bending of beams! Now it was just a matter of building the other side, the rear, a bonnet and the roof...or so I thought!
Note the different rear light clusters involving a 2X1 sloped transparent red brick. This gave it more of a Nissan Patrol look, so I redesigned them shortly after.
I completed the interior (Mach One) and finally came up with a much better way of attaching the steering column - with a toothed connector and a 1X1 technic beam. With this arrangement, the stress is translated to the left where the beam butts-up against the radio panel, rather than being translated to the electric wire's connector and panel light. No more dismantling the instrument panel for me!
Rally7 Cruising the Australian outback!
An imposing sight...
This shot shows how I arranged the slope bricks under the front bumper.
Here it comes!
The Rally7 Safari Special at dusk - a good time to spot a few lions and cheetahs!
This photo shows the angled twin exhaust pipes and the external power input plate. Unfortunately, a power take-off (PTO) could no longer be fitted, as the electrical brick on the end of the lead would not have fit. Maybe a PTO would be overkill anyway?
A view inside the rear of the vehicle - plenty of luggage space and there's even storage spaces behind those doors. You can see the electric wires attached to the battery box and disappearing through a recess in the floor, running under the box and out to the under side of the vehicle. They are routed neatly under the vehicle (up and away from all moving parts in the drivetrain) to the rear lights and up to the distribution plate under the bonnet. The wires are held in place with plates and even 1X1 vertical clips in the driver's footwell to keep them neat, in place and out of sight. The short wires to the headlights were the perfect size to be bent away from the tyres and steering mechanism.
Notice anything different?
I put 1X1 plates above the angled exhaust pipes to act as stops.
Now they can be pushed right up and still have the angle. Previosly, they just floated when angled down and they were easy to knock off course, making them flat and straight out to the sides. It wasn't good enough for the world's toughest four wheel drive!
I finished the roof, too - I put some 1X10 and 1X4 plates along the top pillars, as well as three air conditioning outlet grilles along the passenger side (previously only on the driver's side).
The biggest (and most fiddly) improvement I made was to the rear light clusters. Instead of having bricks and plates on the extreme sides of the rear light clusters (as I had previously), I placed 1 X 2 X 3 panels there.
Now, the light shines out more clearly and is no longer obstructed by the bricks and plates. I had the idea when I first noticed the problem, but I didn't have the panels at the time. I told you I'd get around to it one day!
The rear lights look better from all angles!
Also note, in this picture you can see the light passing through the 1X1 technic brick's hole into the 1X6 red light brick.
Much better! From directly behind, you can see how the whole cluster lights up directly from the light, rather than the inside half being direct and the outside half from the transfer of light. It's probably more compliant with safety regulations now, too!
An improvement was made to the instrument cluster. It previously had two 2X1 transparent green bricks side-by-side, which caused a vertical line in the middle. That resulted in a blind spot in the middle of the display and prevented any details from being put there.
Now, with the use of a single 1X4 transparent green brick, it spans the full width and is free of any blind spots caused by the ends of bricks. I might add a bit more detail in the centre vertical part such as a selected gear indicator.
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