Back in 1987 Tamiya introduced a phenom in the R/C world, the Clod Buster. It’s popularity spawned a huge aftermarket following that still thrives to this day. One of the original manufacturers to create parts for this beast was ESP Hobby Mfg. They made everything from a simple lift kit to full cantilever race suspension systems for the Clod. Heck they even made a snow plow for it! One of the first kits they produced was the Clodzilla II. When I was a kid there was nothing I wanted more than this kit. It would literally call my name as I read the ad in RCCA magazine. Unfortunately lack of funds resulted in me never getting my hands on one…until now that is. Follow along as we document the build of a Clodzilla 2 on my brother Brian’s Clod Buster.
First thing we want to document is what is included in the ESP Clodzilla 2 kit. The Clodzilla II arrived in four separate plastic bags. Each bag included the parts to assemble certain areas of the kit such as the frame, suspension links, steering links, etc. Unfortunately after sorting through our kit we noticed that the chassis brace was missing. We sent an email to ESP to inform them of the foul up and they assured us it was a mistake and the part was on its way. A few days later we received the missing item.
The picture below shows everything (less chassis brace) that is included in the Clodzilla 2 kit. The upper bag contains everything needed to assemble the chassis including the frame side rails, cross member tubes, battery mounts, and lift kit plates. The bag on the lower left is the long wheelbase suspension kit. It includes the aluminum suspension links, rod ends, and shock mounts. The bag on the lower right contains the parts for the HD steering link kit. We were quite disappointed to find that ESP doesn’t include rod ends for the steering kit. Instead you are forced to use the stock pieces.
The ESP HD Steering Rod Kit for the Tamiya Clod Buster.
Here is one frame rails which come assembled as shown.
Most of the parts included in the Clodzilla II kit are made of aluminum. However we found that the finish on these parts were very rough and were in desperate need of a good polishing. For that we turned to our trusty can of Mothers Mag and Wheel Polish. All that was required was some elbow grease and we had ourselves some nicely polished parts. The picture below shows what the items looked like when they arrived, and after polishing.
All of the Clodzilla 2 kit parts after polishing
Here’s another picture of the parts after polishing. The round pieces are the chassis cross members, and the square pieces are the lower shock mounts.
One of the suspension lift kit plates with the ESP name CNC’d into it
The suspension links, steering links, and aluminum body mounts
Here are a few pictures of our Tamiya Super Clod Buster before beginning the transformation into a Clodzilla. Our Clod wasn’t stock though. A while back we removed the stock suspension and replaced it with a set of stock wheelbase CPE suspension links. At that point we had kept the stock plastic tub chassis but modified it for better articulation by cutting out the center sections on each end.
As you can see our “stock” Clod Buster had roughly a 10 1/2″ wheelbase
The stock Tamiya Clod Buster chassis next to the ESP Clodzilla 2 chassis. The nice thing about the Zilla II chassis is that the battery mounts are slightly slower and it makes it possible to mount two batteries at once for longer run times or more power. (depending on how you wired everything up)
Here is the Clodzilla II chassis assembled. It went together very easily. All that was required was to bolt the two frame rails together with the chassis brace and cross members. Pictured is a chassis brace we built ourselves while waiting for our missing piece to arrive.
The Clodzilla II long wheelbase suspension links with rod ends installed. Building these was just a matter of screwing the links in place and popping the balls into the ends.
Here is the Zilla II assembled with the axles. Getting to this stage was relatively easy. It was just a matter of putting the frame together, installing the suspension links, and installing the axles. We suggest using a lot of thread lock on all screws because otherwise you’ll be losing parts after a few runs. As for shocks we chose to stick with the Tmaxx units we installed on our Clod ages ago. They’re relatively cheap and work great for a basher of this kind.
Believe it or not we’re still running a mechanical speed control. The Clodzilla 2 chassis has the appropriate mounts so you can use your stock radio tray, however if you’re going to use the MSC you’ll need to re-mount your resistor to the tray as it will no longer fit on the cross brace. You may be asking why we’re still using the MSC and thats pretty simple; cost and waterproofing. The MSC is extremely cheap and basically waterproof. Since the Clod has two motors we’d be required to run either one expensive ESC or two cheaper units, and then we’d have to worry about getting them wet. The MSC solves that problem, although at the slight cost of efficiency. Speaking of the cross brace, as you can see we used the stock rear piece because we needed the antenna mount. I have no idea why ESP didn’t build some sort of antenna mount into this thing from the beginning.
The Clodzilla 2 with a Protoform Ford F-350 body on it.
As you can see the Zilla 2 has a 13″ wheelbase. That is 2 1/2″ longer than stock and really transforms the look of the truck.
For our maiden run we hit the jackpot, snow! On the day of our test run we got about seven inches of snow, and although that may not be the best situation to test a rock crawler in (like with last month’s Axial build) it is perfect for a basher like this. We found that the extended wheelbase really made the truck feel planted, and the suspension soaked up the bumps and jumps with no problem.
The Clodzilla 2 jumping over mounds of freshly fallen snow!!!
That’s the end right? Not quite. We wanted to point out a few things that really disappointed us about this kit. First thing I noticed upon removing the parts from the bags is that the ends of the frame rails seemed to be cut very roughly and one was slightly “pinched” at one end. Other problems included stripped threads on one of the cross member tubes, and pitted/gouged steering links. We have contacted ESP about these problems and have yet to hear back from them. We received a prompt reply when we noticed our chassis brace was missing but nothing since informing them of these defects.
Below you can get a better idea of what we mean by the frame rails being cut roughly. They look like they were cut with a hack saw without any filing afterwards. Notice the little nicks and scratches, thats not something that should be seen in a professionally built aftermarket kit in my humble opinion.
Here is another picture of one of the frame rails. If you look closely you can see that it is slightly pinched or dented in. It also *features* a good amount of gouges and scratches.
Here is a picture of the steering rods while still in the unopened bag. Notice the nicks/gouges in the aluminum. Again these are defects in craftsmanship that should have been found in quality control.
Although this build is over we intend to keep you up to date as to the durability of this truck and any other modifications we perform along the way. Thanks for stopping by!
Since converting our Tamiya Clod Buster to an ESP Clodzilla, it has undergone a few changes. We decided to ditch that beat up old pre-painted body and replace it with a Parma Clod Buster replacement body which was custom painted with flames in the front and a marble pattern in the rear. We also replaced those worn out old chrome wheels with a set of classic white Clod wheels and dyed all of the blue parts black. Also, since taking the pictures below, the Clod’s stock electronics were traded for a pair of 14t Team Orion Revolution brushed motors powered and a Novak Super Duty ESC. The Clod was still a lot of fun with the old silver can motors but now it rips! Check out the pics and let us know what you think about the Clodzilla’s new look.