He remembers seeing my post in 2009 about the craze of the OT-30 burning prices (selling at about 90€ for 4 tires on ebay but recently their prices peaked at about 60€ for 2).
Since then, Jose was developing a repro project of the OT-30 during his freetime (he badly needed 40 tires, lol), and this month (janury 2011), he ended the production of a good bunch of them and was planning to begin to sell them.
So it was pure coincidence when he saw that Marwan also did manage to repro the OT-30, from Koweit!
I for one own A LOT of 1st gen optima/javelin so I was very interested in a repro project of the most sought after parts ( OT-30 tires, OT-15 bumper, Javelin rollcage to name a few), and I succeeded in making molds for Optima Mid belt drive covers, and Mid gearboxes, but I never took the step of going further (I'm lazy and have too much projects/work already).
So I was very very curious about the process involved in copying existing tires, and asked Jose to present some "behind the scenes making-of" stories.
These pics were sent to me by Jose, and reveals a bit of his project's steps.
Jose realized Kyosho was a bit loose with the tire tolerances (dimensional variations between different tire specimens was wide), and had to slice 6 genuine tires (and wheels) to find an average.
Okay, you younger optimaniacs may not remember that time but drawing technical things WITHOUT a computer was actually very fun and rewarding. (btw I'm an architect who fell in love with sketchup but that's another story) :D
During the process, Jose jumped in the digital bandwagon and transfered the drawings into digital form.
I don't have a lot of info about this step, but Jose tells me that it takes a lot of patience to make a good mould with correct shape and measuring, the rest of the work being in the hands of skilled staff who mould rubber 8 hours a day. He struggled to convince these workers to treat his tires as precision work, otherwise they just mould the tire like any ordinary industrial rubber part...
I can imagine that, I also struggled to get the correct gold dye when trying to anodize some of my standard aluminium chassis to gold ones (just because I lacked some chassis rails because I bought incomplete gold chassis sets ... sigh...), and to refuse the work done by professional staff just by being picky is always hard to do.
Anyway, Jose had to produce 3 generations of moulds to achieve the degree of perfection he thought the optimaniacs deserve. Otherwise he would have launched the OT-30 repro-fest months ago. Jose is truly a crusader fighting for our cause :D
He's keeping some early generation OT-30 repros with different 320/40 VR18 lettering types for his own collection ;)
If you want to buy him some tires, please click the title of this post!
Photography by Jose R