Toyota Hilux Bruiser: Our full-size replica of the Tamiya legend

The Toyota Hilux can put a smile on anyone's face with its playful fun element on this tough image. Its big toy appeal has lasted throughout generations of the world-beating pick-up. Tamiya's quality was celebrated when it produced its highly popular radio-controlled model version back in the 1980s. Toyota is now returning with its own, custom-built working replica of this miniature hero - the Hilux Bruiser.

The big difference is the full-size machine is kitted out for the extreme elements of off-road driving, courtesy of the team that built the Arctic-conquering Polar Hilux.

Hilux Bruiser: How was it made?

The one and only Hilux Bruiser is based on a new Hilux Extra Cab model so it can retain the model's two-door appearance.

To scale-up to the original model's big wheeled look, Arctic Trucks installed its AT35 conversion, fitting 17-inch wheels with massive, land-devouring 305/80 R17 types. This consisted of engineering changes with uprated Fox Shox suppression with new gear ratios to maintain the speedometer accuracy with flared wheel arches.

Toyota Hilux Side car view with miniature remote control car

The new chromed alloy wheels now harmonise with those of the model and the bodywork is wrapped in a high-metallic Diamond Blue vinyl. The Bruiser's Hog Heaven were all digitally reproduced by hand with distinctive tri-colour stripes that run alongside the length of the body and frame of the bonnet.

Located on the tailgate, the TOYOTA legends have a stampede look into the metal with an effect achieved using a special domed gel. The same materials were used to simulate the raised windows around the white 'sleeper cab' section for the cabin. Similar to the model, the Hilux Bruiser has a louvred rear window. As it was near enough impossible to find a retro-conversion for this modern vehicle, therefore a two-dimensional vinyl print has been applied to looks just like the real thing, even at a close look.

Robert Selway, an expert model-maker and fabricator was responsible for recreating some of the details in 1:1 scale, including a replica on/off switch in the load bed, R-shape body clips and tubular bumpers and rock sliders. The magnetic body clips on the bonnet and load bed are only for show while the bumpers and rock sliders are fabricated from stainless steel exhaust tubing wrapped in white vinyl to help them look like the model's plastic parts.

Toyota Hilux Bruiser Switch

In a shift away from the Tamiya original, Toyota's Hilux Bruiser has a large antenna behind the cab to reinforce the idea of it being a radio-controlled model.

James Clark, Toyota GB Press Relations Manager, said: “While Hilux is all about capability, owners and all fans of pick-ups and big trucks know a big part of the experience is also about having fun. In that spirit, we wanted to do something truly original to celebrate the latest Hilux and carry forward the great relationship we have with Tamiya. “The Hilux Bruiser combines all the colour and character of the wonderful model while also being a seriously engineered machine that can cut it in the roughest conditions.”

Hilux Bruiser: What's under the bonnet?

The Hilux Bruiser is powered by the standard 148bhp four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with all-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission whilst the Tamiya model runs an electric motor delivering a three-speed gearbox. It is even street legal and will make appearances around the country.

The Hilux Bruisers' development is a take on the little and large scheme including the fact it can cope with tough driving conditions, just like its bigger brother.