The Bruiser / 4Runner Page



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The Successor


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Top: Is there anybody, who does not know this picture? The Bruiser on the jump, like a wild stallion, from the 1986 Tamiya R/C-Guidebook.

In 1986 the Bruiser appeared at the market as successor to the Hilux. Several changes have been made to the original design to come to grip with the stiff behaviour of the Hilux. The rigid frame made from massive aluminium rails has been replaced by a frame with rails made of u-shaped steel, which became more flexible. Nylon bumpers came into use, instead of the aluminium tube and sheetmetal bumpers in the front and rear. The transmission has been modified too, to accommodate a larger 750 motor, that has been choosed instead of the former 540 motor, for reasons of torque increase. The manually locking hubs of the Hilux have been replaced by permanently locked versions with a freewheel in the direction of travel. Tire diameter had increased to 125 mm, tires had been mounted on 4-piece chromed rims, without any foam or plastic inserts. All these measures, in addition with shocks, that have been introduced as series production with this type of truck for the first time, helped the Bruiser to a better off-road performance than the Hilux had.


The driveshafts in the axles had been subject to changes too. The attachment of the hubs with c-rings had been replaced by threaded ones. The large mechanism box had been changed to a smaller one, that was more complex and integrated into the frame. The large battery was now located outside on a special variable carrier. The transistor-speedcontrol had been substituted by a simple mechanical speedcontrol.

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Right picture: The Tamiya Bruiser with and without body.

For an enlarged view, please click on the picture.


The body received a facelift in the area of the bed. Instead of the stepside bed it featured a fullsize bed with a small sleeper cab. The front half of the body seemed to be pretty much like the Hilux one. There have been made slight changes, that revealed only after a closer look on the inside. The nerf bars featured by the Bruiser only offered an optical impression of protection, one shouldn't try it out. That would only ruin the expensive body. The appearance of the body was marvellous. Someone able to give it a real good paint job, could arouse the illusion that this was the real thing.

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The Bruiser has often been thought of being nearly indestructable. An attribute that was far from being justified. If the model was mistreated, it was very easy to do some serious damage to it. Tamiya attempted to prevent the transmission from being damaged by adding a slipper-gear directly after the motor. But this item had the disadvantage of wearing out when someone was wild at the throttle. Many drives tend to run their Bruisers on a terrain that was unsuitable to the scale of the vehicle.


Left picture: The legendary 3-Speed-Transmission of the Bruiser, evolved from the transmission of the Hilux, shown here as x-ray-view from the Box.

For an enlarged view, please click on the picture.


Even if the Bruiser didn't reach the performance of contemporary buggies, it made a lot of fun driving it on a scale terrain. The flexible frame, the large tires and the shocks helped the Bruiser to a better off-road behaviour than the Hilux, that had a stiffer frame and harder tires.

On the collectors market the Bruiser is a model that's always been sought after. The fact that models featuring a similar realistic chassis have always been rare, and all of them are out of production now, lead to the effect that Bruisers achieve very high prices on the market. Provided that the vehicle is unbuilt or in good conditions. Severe defects, especially on the body, or important missing parts may depress the price of a single vehicle significantly.

technical data:


tread f/r:
7 ozs.

Right picture: Bruiser in Action, from the 1987 Tamiya catalogue.


For all who are interested in the technical aspects, find a link here to a parts breakdown of the Bruiser.

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All pictures are copyright of Tamiya Co., Japan