The Tamiya Sand Scorcher was the sixteenth 1/10-scale electric radio controlled car kit released by Japanese model manufacturer Tamiya Corporation. First introduced on December 15, 1979, its high level of detail and realism make it one of the most sought-after vintage R/C models today.
Topeed with a highly detailed plastic replica of a Volkswagen Baja Bug, the Sand Scorcher was derived from an earlier car, the "Rough Rider" dune buggy. Most components were fashioned from metal instead of plastic. Though heavy, the Sand Scorcher was extremely rugged. Adding to the model's detail was its suspension system which was closely patterned after that of a full-scale Volkswagen. Onboard electronics were protected by a water-resistant clear plastic case.
Of interest to both R/C and VW enthusiasts, mint-in-box examples of the Sand Scorcher command prices from US$1200 to $2200 since parts for these models are nearly impossible to find today, although the basic bodyshell is still used today as the "Blitzer Beetle," making it Tamiya's longest-running body shell ever. An original Sand Scorcher body can be identified by "1/10 RC VW BUGGY" molded into the inside of the roof. Later versions of the bodyshell lack this detail.
The Tamiya Sand Scorcher appears in the 1986 Australian film Malcolm, an award winning comedy about a socially awkward young man living in Melbourne who becomes involved in a series of robberies, and who also happens to have a keen interest in hobbies.
In one scene in the film, Malcolm uses his Sand Scorcher to fetch bottles of milk from a nearby convenience store, without leaving the comfort of his home. In another scene he attaches a trailer, camera and a gun to the car, and by remotely controlling the car via the camera, uses it to hold up two security guards at a bank and steal a bag full of money.
- Scale: 1/10
- Chassis construction: Fiberglass plate with metal supports
- Transmission: Two-wheel-drive without differential
- Suspension: Front trailing arm and rear lower A-arm suspension
- Shock absorbers: Metal, oil-filled units
- Motor: Mabuchi RS-540
- Tires: Rubber paddle-type off-road tires in rear with narrow, ribbed front tires
- Original Tamiya catalog number: 58016