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Project: Kyosho Optima Mid

Aktualisiert: 19. Jan. 2023

UPDATE WARNING! If you want to read only the update from 2023, please scroll down!

As is wrote in my Kyosho Optima post, I never ran the Kyosho Optima Mid back in the days. I drove my rear motor Optima in a time, when others switched to the Mid Ship Optima. Then I jumped as Kyosho team driver straight to the Kyosho Lazer. Of course I knew, the Optima Mid was an awesome car. The strong drivetrain and the optimized suspension geometry made it to one of the strongest 4WD buggies out there. Especially, when the Mid Custom came out - with the longer wheelbase. At this time, the german Kyosho team was pretty strong with this car and it followed a very succesful series of important wins around Europe.

Because the ultra bumpy mud/grass/dirt tracks we had in Germany, drivers switched pretty quick to longer front shocks, what mean the rear shocks to the front. This resulted much more up and down travel, than the stock configuration. Perfect for our tracks. This became pretty popular at the end of the 80´s.

When the re-release Kyosho Optima came out, I had the idea to make my own Mid Ship Motor Optima finally. I found an unused Optima Custom Special in Sweden, where it seems, Kyosho was quite popular there back in time. So I started making drawings for my personal neo vintage version with long front shocks, optimized shock towers with optimized suspension geometry and a chassis made to hold a low shorty Lipo battery.

Because I am a fan of the Pro Optima body, I decided to order a repro body and make it fit to the new chassis.

And yes - I slammed this body as low as possible!

I really love the look and function of the long front shocks. Endless suspension travel!

Shocks and CVD drive shafts are from Mayonnaise-RC, Hong Kong. The look and feel is 99% Kyosho. The drive shafts has a very good quality! I use springs from the RC10 Factory Team spring set, what you still can buy.

To have some more shock position options, I put the rear shocks behind the shock tower. Now you can angle them a little bit more. I also made a new wing mount from aluminium to allow a lower position of the RC10 Worlds Car wing.

Again - Lunsford turnbuckles for the win! I use for all my Kyosho cars Xray ball ends and ball studs. Much more robust and much more angle possible. I also made some 3D printed c-hubs with more caster. Spot the washers under the ball studs for zero bump steer. The brown coloured Mayonnaise RC CVD drive shaft.

The bottom of the new chassis. Already some scratches from vintage racing. Ha!

I cutted the original bumper a little. Shocks are mounted on the c-hubs. This position works best. The sway bar with Xray ball ends/studs. I also optimized the inner positions for upper suspension linkage for less camber gain.

Rear view. I made a new RR suspension plate to bolt the rear sway bar mounts on. Bending some wire is not rocket science!

For this project I use a LRP Flow X speedo. At the last vintage race in Langenfeld/Germany I used a boosted 13.5T Reedy Sonic. But for the next race I bolted a 8.5T Reedy on the shiny gear plate. This thing handles the power!

I use the re-release Optima rear hubs and suspension arms. I really love to use insert on the hubs to change toe-in on the rear - finally! I also changed the original gear diffs to the option ball diffs. The ball diffs working surprisingly well. The other reason to use them is, to have a little slipper funktion, because the original "slipper" of the spur gear is not very effective. And I don´t want a melted spur gear on a race.

A closer look at the front knuckle set-up.

Only the best. Highest LP servo and modern electronics. This thing is made for vintage racing! Hex screws for the Lexan belt cover.

After first testing on high grip tracks, I found the weight is too low with 1280 grams (race-ready). This is, why I hate vintage racing on high grip tracks. The low weight made the car very hard to drive on Astro racks. I had many roll overs in the sharp corners. Remember: A light car has always a higher center of gravity. The only solution is to put much as possible weight in your car to calm it down a little. Watch the steel plates under the battery and extra weights everywhere on the chassis. I put 120 grams extra weight in the chassis, what helped a lot.

The weight plates from 1.5mm stainless steel. The Reedy Lipo battery is amazing! The white 48dp spur gear is from RW racing.

I like the clean look. I will have fun for the next 20 years with this car.

This car never gets old now. And the performance on the track is insane!

There is also a weight plate under the electronics.

The Mid is a true performer today. The suspension works awesome and the handling over the bumps and jumps is great!

At the VOREM2018 in Langenfeld/Germany I was able to make a second place in the 90´s class.

From run to run it was more fun to drive this beast!

Ups! I have to work on my lines next time.

Video of the VOREM2018 Vintage Meeting. 4WD Class with my Optima Mid starts at 7:00.

On the super bumpy track in Langenfeld the Mid Ship Optima was at home. Spectactular driving there. So much fun! I never had any technical issues there. I went from pretty thin shock oil to very heavy at the end. That made the car much easier to drive. Easy to understand, that the Mid Optima was the weapon of choice back in the days. Super durable, easy to adjust and very fast to drive. Yes, there also was the Schumacher Cat and the Yokomo there as rivals. But if I had a time machine to travel back, I would drive this one for sure! And who of us would not go back into the 80´s, the best time of our lives?


Welcome back to this article! This article is one of the most readed on this blog! Awesome!

Here is a little world-status update - just for the case you missed the last 3 years since I wrote the original article.

Not much to say. We faced a pandemic over the last years and it seems, many people has changed since the beginning - including myself. Generally many people are very tired from everything. There is so much hate and ignorance in the world at the moment, what makes me very sad. One more reason for me to flee into the Vintage RC World. It seems, not all lost their mind in this world.

Now back to my Mid! I had the chance to attend the Race of Legends 2022 in Langenfeld/Germany!

This time I wanted to give my Optima Mid and my Kyosho Ultima a go!

The race was pretty awesome! We had some great racing and I found some new friends, who all enjoyed the race.

We had a rainy Saturday.

I saved the electronics with tape against spray-water and it worked! But there came a lot of water inside my drivetrain.

My Optima was fast as usual. My biggest rival was again Michael Wiedbrauk! He also drove a Kyosho Optima Mid, but with the short wheelbase. Michael was Kyosho team driver back in the late 80´s and he knew exactly, how to setup his car. And he is a great driver! I had no chance to win against him. At the end he won and I made second, after my Mid ate the front belt in the last A-final.

The 4WD podium. Winner of this class was Michael Wiedbrauk! Good job!

I had a pretty good weekend. First in 2WD with my Ultima and second in 4WD!

My car had a big difference against the 2019 version. I bought a re-release Optima Mid and put all the new parts into my existing LWB chassis - and it works!

A modern fine pitch S3M belt, better differentials and the fact to have fresh parts in the car, what are not 30 years old and brittle made it simple to me to go this step for racing!

After the wet race in Langenfeld I had to dissamble the whole car. Cleaning the ball bearings and all other parts was a must.

At my 3rd A-finale the car stopped after some laps. The whole drivetrain was blocked. The Mid literally ate it´s own belt.

After inspection, I found a lost screw of the belt tensioner was the reason. Next time a little bit thread lock maybe?

Tome to re-build the car!

I ordered a fresh set of Lexan parts from Penguin/UK. Belt covers, gear cover and undertray. To seal the lower belt cover I used Plast Dip (fluid rubber) and tape.

The full build Optima Mid. How will it look with the real kit body, instead of the Optima Pro body?

And here is the result! After some years of vintage racing, the Midship looks better than ever!

The original body looks good!


Front view! Yeah, there are some new goodies!

Ready for the next races!

Left side: All re-release parts fits the old LWB chassis, wich is great!

Right side: Still a beautiful car!

What´s new?

I changed all driveshafts to the original Kyosho universals all around. Good old Kyosho quality! I also changed the front c-hubs to the Kyosho option c-hubs made from cnc aluminium. Then I changed the front hubs to Xray T4 2020 aluminium hubs (yes, from the touring car - shame on me!)

The last bit are the steering bushings from Yeah! Racing. They are made from brass, what is much better, than steel. And they finally solve the issue with too much play. I really appreciate this solution from Yeah! Racing!

To get some more weight to the front, I made the front hinge pin plate from 3mm brass.

All together make the front unit much stronger, more precise when driving and increases the suspension performance. Happy now!

Optima and Optima MID share the same front unit.

A look at the bell crank arms and steering setup for zero bumpsteer. I also changed the Xray ball studs into T-Works titanium parts. They look better and they hold forever - and they are cheaper, than Xray parts!

I made a new rear hinge pin plate from carbon fibre with a new location for the anti roll bar holders. The new anti roll bar is now 1.5mm, instead of 1.3mm.

The rear shocks changed position and are at the front of the rear arms. This let´s the car rotate better in the corners.

Fresh belt covers from Penguin/UK. I made some decals for shock oils and diff oils.

To use the inner position of the rear shocks, I had to remove some material from the gear cover. I also use the Kyosho Ultima RB6 slipper plates, what are machined - against the simple stamped re-release kit parts.

Kyosho CNC aluminium rear hubs and universals at the rear. I use Xray T4 wheel adapters. You can get them in different off sets.

The rear view.

Maybe one of my strongest cars in my collection.

Maybe I achieved the limit, what is possible on a Kyosho Optima Mid LWB. Maybe not. There is one thing on this car, what I really not like. It is the very heavy drivetrain with it´s metal gear diffs. There is a big difference in driving a rc car, when you have a lightweight drivetrain. Maybe I will go to the ball diffs soon, when there is no other solution. But apart of this, the Optima on point now!

Next race will be the Oldschool RC Euro Masters 2023 in the UK! This time I try to get to the Iconic Revival 2023!!!

UK veterans since 2022. My son and I visited the UK first time last summer for 3 weeks - and it was amazing! Just saying!

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12 comentários

James MacDonagh
James MacDonagh
01 de mar. de 2023

Great story thanks

Was wondering what rear wing you are using?

23 de fev.
Respondendo a

Vielen lieben Dank für deine Hilfe Michael! :-) Ich lass dir mal hier mein Zwischenergebnis. Weit weniger beeindruckend als deine Version. Aber siehs als eine Homage an dein Werk and ;-) 

Eine Frage habe ich noch, ich hab mir für die Kyosho Optima Mid Dämpfer schwarze Federn von Kyosho (der Optik wegen) besorgt und musste leider feststellen, daß die sehr weich sind. Hast du vielleicht einen Tip ob es irgendwo Federn in Schwarz gibt die härter sind und auf die Dämpfer passen? Lieben Gruß & vielen Dank, Mark 


Jon Eastwood
Jon Eastwood
26 de abr. de 2022

question about the rear end, are you using the orginal rear arms with the re-release hubs. I tired those hubs on my car and the hub hits the inside of the arm. I have dremel it down a bit to fit.

19 de jan. de 2023
Respondendo a

I use the re-release arms with re-release hubs together, because fresh plastic is stronger. No problems there. I noticed, the re-release arms are also a bit longer.


23 de abr. de 2020

Hallo Herr Vollmer,

es ist nun eine Weile her, dass ich beim stöbern im Netz, nach Ersatzteilen für meinen Kyosho Lazer ZX auf Ihre Seite gestoßen bin. Ihre Projekte, allen voran der Kyosho Optima Mid, haben mich wahnsinnig fasziniert, so sehr dass ich mich selbst auch daran gemacht habe, meinen Optima Mid und meinen Lazer ZX aufzufrischen. Ich kann Ihnen gar nicht sagen, wie oft ich mich auf Ihrer Seite umschaue und kundig mache. Mittlerweile habe ich meinen Optima Mid fast fahrfertig. Allerdings habe ich das Problem, dass ich keinen passenden Stabilisator für hinten finde. Habe mir schon einige organisiert, aber bisher hat keiner wirklich gepasst. Daher habe ich die Frage, von welchem Hersteller Sie den Stabilisator genommen haben oder…

19 de jan. de 2023
Respondendo a

Nur zu! Wenn meine Modelle zur Inspiration dienen, macht mich das sehr glücklich! Der Stabi ist tatsächlich selbst gemacht. Einfach bei Ebay Federstahldraht (1,5mm) bestellen und selbst biegen. Vorher evtl. eine originalgroße Skizze machen, nach der man den Draht dann biegt. Das ist wirklich sehr einfach!


Stefano Lazzarato
Stefano Lazzarato
05 de jan. de 2019

Hello my friend!

I love this project! Could you please let me know what chassis and upper plate you've used?

I guess you have 3D printed the battery supports, isn't it?



19 de jan. de 2023
Respondendo a

I designed the chassis parts by myself. Yes, battery holders are 3D printed.


01 de jan. de 2019

If you like it, leave a comment! Thanks!

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