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Archive for December, 2012

Around the end of November a buzz starts to happen around the office. People start chatting, discussing, then arguing about what vehicles should be considered for our “BASH VEHICLE of the YEAR” award. This years decision was EXTREMELY close. Last years winner, the Thunder Tiger MT4 was a little easier to settle on, but this year there were two standouts. It was so close, we had to go to the white board and list off the good and the bad to get a better idea of a clear winner. Even then there were people on both sides of the fence.

arrma granite

All that being said, we’d like to congratulate ARRMA RC on the ARRMA GRANITE as winning our BASH VEHICLE of the YEAR 2012! The Granite proved basically indestructible as you can check out in our Beat Down VIDEO, and it also won the 2WD Monster Truck Shootout, and Basher Approved Status! It’s at a great price point, and a awesome vehicle to get into the hobby with that will bring smiles to many backyard bashers.

Props to the runner up. In a VERY close second was the ECX Torment! The Torment has been a great go-to vehicle for the last year, but there were just a few more things keeping it from winning. It is also a great truck, and you can’t really go wrong with choosing one. There are a lot of companies that should take a look at the durability of this short course!

Other considerations were the Axial EXO and Atomik 1/18 Metal Mulisha Rally Car. Both great vehicles that saw a lot of use this year.

Congrats again to ARRMA RC and their awesome monster truck, the ARRMA GRANITE!

iPhone 5 Case Mickey Thompson From RC4WD
Want to have the sickest iPhone 5 case at your local bash spot? Sure you do! To claim that title you’ll need one of the new Officially Licensed Mickey Thompson iPhone cases from the crew over at RC4WD. The new case incorporates the famous Baja Claw design right into the case and is sure to turn heads, even on your non-rc friends. Some other information includes-

* Officially Licensed by Mickey Thompson
* Baja Claw Tread design
* Fits iPhone 5
* Molded top and side buttons
* Snug Fit for iPhone
* Part number- #Z-S0726

Look for a street price of $17 on this one, and they are available right now. For even more information on this and all of RC4WD’s products hit up their Official Website.

Looking for more RC4WD news? THIS is the link you want.

We do NOT condone this, nor do we recommend messing with any type of officials of any kind. Heck, we only had maybe 2 police incidents this year, which is way better than previous years! All that being said, this was one of those videos (even though it may be wrong) that made me laugh. Those TBS Discovery guys are nuts.

Speaking of quads, have you seen all of our recent Quad Reviews?

st racing concepts traxxas nitro slash hop-ups
Plan on adding a new Traxxas Nitro Slash to your rc garage this year? Lucky for you, ST Racing Concepts already has hop-up parts available and they have more on the way. Many of the parts from the electric Slash work on the Nitro version, hence the reason STRC has plenty of bling-bling goodness ready to go. Hit up THIS link on STRC’s website to see all the parts already available.

Looking for more Traxxas news? Click HERE for the Traxxas section right here on BigSquidRC.

onyx brushless

The folks from Duratrax have sent word for people looking to upgrade to brushless systems to consider making the jump to Onyx. Onyx Brushless Systems are available in 1/10th scale and 1/8 scale versions with several KV’s in each size. They even have 4 pole versions, and also a programming card that makes dialing in your system easy to do just about anywhere. If you are looking to save some cash, they are a pretty cheap system to upgrade too..

DTXC3164 Onyx 1/10 Scale Brushless System 3930kV. . . . . . . . . . $150
DTXC3165 Onyx 1/10 Scale Brushless System 4420kV. . . . . . . . . . 150
DTXC3166 Onyx 1/10 Scale Brushless System 5900kV. . . . . . . . . . 150
DTXC3172 Onyx 1/10 Scale Brushless SC System 3650kV . . . . . . . 160
DTXC3174 Onyx 1/10 Scale Brushless SC System 4550kV . . . . . . . 160
DTXC3194 Onyx 1/8 Scale Brushless System 2200kV. . . . . . . . . . . 249
DTXC3195 Onyx 1/8 Scale Brushless System 2650kV. . . . . . . . . . . 249
DTXC1352 Onyx ESC Programming Card. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19.99

Need more Onyx news? Check HERE.

cubbysquidBeing the last day of the year it’s only fitting that I write up my annual year in review. I not only looked back over the last 94 pages of posts here on BigSquidRC, but also called some of my industry homies to “boil down” how the year 2012 will go down in the rc history books. Lets dive in shall we?

Biggest news of the year- There was tons of “big” news in 2012, but the biggest of the big was the announcement that Traxxas was entering the air market with their QR-1 quad and DR-1 heli. Announced late in the year Traxxas was still able to get these on LHS shelves before X-mas, and speaking to shop owners they sold very well. However, hard-core Traxxas loyalists were left in disbelief, not understanding why Traxxas would jump into the air market while so much of their surface line is in desperate need of updating.

While the air gear was their biggest news, Traxxas kept themselves in the limelight all year long. The XO-1 Supercar was announced late in 11′, but shipping in Feb 12′, and you couldn’t get away from the hype machine around it. A couple months later came the widely publicized but poorly received Traxxas drag car. Throw in their new Rally car and LCG Slash 4×4 and Traxxas had yet another year at the top of the buzz (and sales) charts.

Second biggest news- Early in the year it was announced that the Champaign behemoth Hobbico had made a deal to acquire Axial, Durango, and ARRMA. This was some serious eye popping news to many industry peeps, they knew Hobbico has the cubic cash and market savvy to use those lines to take their world domination to a completely new level. Axial was already a hot name brand in America, but during the year you would have to blind not see how Durango and ARRMA climbing the sales charts here in the USA.

Biggest dropping of the ball- It was August 2011 when HPI first announced that they were attempting to put gas (not nitro) engines in regular 10th/8th scale rc vehicles. A few months later in February 12′ at the Nuremberg Toy Fair, HPI had multiple models on display all showing off their “Xtreme/Octane” series engine. While HPI did tease us once again a few weeks ago in mid December, we’ve yet so see one come to fruition. We really just want to drive one.

Biggest head-scratcher of the year- When the announcement came off the wire that HPI was now the exclusive distributor for Hobao in North America we weren’t the only ones scratching our heads.

Euro gear coming in style- You may or may not still consider Durango a European name, but alas, companies like X-Ray, Serpent and Schumacher also made positive strides in America. Many industry types make claims like the Euro’s are just trying harder right now, they are more focused, pushing harder, the internet is changing the game, etc, and I think you can look for more European brands to start making waves in the American market in the next 12 months.

Product trends of the year- 2012 will go down as the year that saw the emergence of the Rally car, quadcopters, scale off road buggies, nitro powered SCT’s, an uber battery charger war, and of the 8th scale roller “XO-1″ killers.

Rally has never been “so cool” here in America, and both Traxxas and HPI capitalized on this by putting out new rally style cars.

Quads which were once considered $19 stocking stuffers by true hobbyists, but they became a hot item after Traxxas announced their QR-1.

For scale buggies, Axial got their EXO Terra Buggy to the market, the HPI Apache hit (and missed), and even Associated threw their hat in the ring with the SC10B.

Associated made the news again with their SC10GT, Losi announced their Nitro Ten SCT, and finally Traxxas showed their hand and entered the nitro SCT market with their Nitro 2wd Slash. New offerings for the nitro crowd have been minimal in recent years, but the nitro SCT’s of 2012 gave fuel burners something new to play with.

After years of brushless/Lipo dominance, the battery charger companies went balls to the wall in 12′. Everywhere you turned was another company putting out some uber mega high current charger. Venom put out a charger with built in speakers, iCharger put out a charger you can probably weld with, and TrakPower put out one of the most esoteric chargers the market has ever seen. And.. uber chargers weren’t only about putting out ridiculously huge amounts of power, they were also about doing so on multiple channels. Reading some of the specs now days reminds me of the old car stereo days- 4 channels, bridgeable, mono-block, 500 watts, etc.

Why pay over a grand for a Traxxas XO-1 when you’ve already got all the electronics sitting in your garage? Late 2012 showed multiple brands putting out 8th scale roller on-road cars ready to bust out triple digit mph numbers once you’ve slammed in your own electronic goodies. Going crazy fast on-road should continue to be a big trend in 13′.

Accessory companies blowing up- Pro-line is no stranger to having huge years, but a number of other accessory companies put their dent on the scene in 12′ as well.

Pro-Line was everywhere in 12′. Their product line-up exploded with items for not just racers, but also for scalers and bashers. Pro-Line also went WFO on the 2wd Slash, now offering nearly a complete truck of their own in replacement parts. Also of note was the staggering amount of product give-aways that Pro-Line did over the course of the year. 2012 was Pro-lines 30th anniversary and they certain did it up the right way.

JConcepts made their waves too. They are living the dream, getting bigger and bigger and 12′ was a banner year for them. From spur gears for the Slash, to a high speed Traxxas truck body, to tons of racer gear, to sponsoring tons of races across the country, JConcepts was pushing it hard all year long.

RPM ventured out to numerous new models in 2012 and put out perhaps their most involved product yet- a tranny case and metal motor mount for Traxxas 2wd trucks. Consumers have been asking RPM to branch out a bit for years, in 12′ they arguably branches out more than ever before.

MIP, who has been a player in the rc game for years, saw a fresh resurgence in 2012. Their Pro4mance kit for the Losi SCTE and uber shock pistons got the ball rolling early in the year, and they are looking more solid than ever going into 13′.

RDRP blew up on the accessory scene in 12′. A little known Euro company a few months ago, they are now one of the “hot” brands to have in your pit at the local track.

Exotek was once a tiny company making a few 18th scale parts, in 2012 they really expanded their product catalog and market share.

You can’t talk about upgrade parts without talking about STRC. They landed a big deal with Great Planes and keep putting out more and more parts for nearly every vehicle (worth owning) on the market, plus their LCG Chassis for 2WD and 4WD Slash Vehicles!

Other significant happenings-

Thunder Tiger was once a joke in the American market. Today, with distribution from Great Planes, they are one of the biggest names in the bashing market. After multiple new releases in Q4 of 12′, expect their market share to keep on growing in 13′.

Firelands Group is making some waves. From Anza hop-up parts, to Helion, to Radient, to Ares, they might just be the model company of the future.

Venom Group had a big year. From putting out loads of innovative products, to changing their name to Atomik (and seemingly failing, everyone still calls them Venom), to inking a deal to sell Brian Deegan/Metal Mulisha gear, Venom is working their way towards the front of the pack.

Associated made the news here and there, the introduction of their SC10B was huge news, as was their announcement of their new “Qualifier Series” basher line-up.

ECX also had a big year. Sales were solid and they ventured into uncharted territory with their new 8th scales, one electric, and one nitro. Expect to see more big things from ECX in 2013.

Kyosho made a push in 12′ with loads of new products (the Scorpion XXL Ve for example) and a solid marketing push. Unfortunately their distribution blows here in the states and most consumers only saw the new stuff on the web, not in their LHS.

Oh ya, BigSquidRC had pretty good year too, thanks to you guys-

Our March Bash-Ness contest was huge again, and it sported a controversial winner, the Helion Dominus. We did a great job of busting out juicy Traxxas news in good time and our “chat with us in the forums” morphed into our live Google Plus show. We also had solid coverage of not only iHobby, but of RCX SoCal, Nuremberg, and the HobbyTown USA show. And lastly… traffic was once again way up, for that we must salute you guys out there!

That’s it for this week ya’ll, next week will be my also annual “looking forward to the coming year” Cub Report, till then, support your local hobby shops and bash spots!

YOUR Cub Reporter

review update

We just updated our Review Page with a TON of previous posts! For those that don’t check daily, our review page is a great place to catch up on our thoughts of what’s worth your hard earned money! Thinking about buying a new short course, quad, or charger? We have you covered!

This update consisted of the following reviews: Traxxas QR-1 Quad, AKA Enduro SC Tires, RPM Hop-Ups for the Losi Ten SCTE, Heli-Max 1SQ Quadcopter, Thunder Tiger TS4e, Durango DESC410R, Ares RC Ethos QX 75 Quad, Kyosho NeXXt Buggy, Dynamite SpeedPack 3S Lipo, Durango DEST210 RTR Truck, Helion RC Dominus 10TR Truggy, Pro-Line Pro-2 LCG Chassis for the Traxxas Slash, RPM RC A-Arms for the Axial EXO, Atomik RC Metal Mulisha Rally Car, Hitec HS-7985 Servo, the Updated ECX Torment RTR SC Truck, Futaba 4PKS-R Transmitter, Duratrax Onyx 150 Lipo Charger, Dynamite Passport Ultra Duo Charger and more…

So if you are not all caught up on our latest reviews, head over to the Review Page and get reading.

Hitec Lipo Universal Balancing Board
Tired of having to use adapters to balance your Lipo battery pack? Hitec has just announced their new Universal Balancing Board to solve this problem. The new Hitec universal balancing board works on all the “X” and “H” series Hitec battery chargers and includes XH, EH, TP, and HP ports. Part number is #44178, it has a street price of $15, and it comes with a plastic bottom case for strength and extra protection. Hit up the official Hitec Website for more information on this and the rest of their fine products.

Another work week is nearly over, TGIF, time to get those trucks out and have some fun.

BestRC.com December Deals
Hobbico has announced the last of their December Deal specials at BestRC.com. The new deals last from now till December 30th and they have specials on products from Tactic, Axial, Duratrax, OS Engines, and Futaba. Hit up THIS LINK to view all the deals.

TGIF, how can you resist clicking a BigSquidRC Mystery Link?

Open Hobby 11v to 27 volt power supply
The crew over at Open Hobby have shown a rendering of a DC power supply for their upcoming Zenith EX battery charger. The power supply is made to dock in an upright position right next to the Zenith, using a small footprint to leave plenty of space on your table to wrench on. Output for this switched mode power supply is stated to be 11-27 VDC. More information on all of Open Hobby’s products is said to be coming in early 2013.

Open Hobby’s website is not fully operational as it’s still being tested (it is not usable at this time), but you can view it at THIS link. To view the posts we’ve already done on their trick looking transmitter and battery charger hit up THIS link.

Hey, we’ve made it to yet another Friday, to celebrate why don’t you try a Mystery link?

xo-1 rumor

File this deep in the Rumor Mill box, but we have heard that Traxxas was recently doing some driving and filming of some down hill speed run action featuring the XO-1. Our informant mentions a group of guys in a Traxxas ‘wrapped’ Hummer (maybe) were up north of us running vehicles down some huge mountain side. When our ‘guy’ stopped to chat a bit, he said the Traxxas guy was claiming they were in the 140mph range with the vehicle. Cubby, just about coughed up a lung when I mentioned this to him. We have ALL run high speed here, and we know how difficult it is. We also know how difficult it was getting the XO-1 even close to 100mph. Down hill or not, there are a lot of physics and air things happening at those speeds that really raise the bar on making that work.

Only time will tell if we see something officially from Traxxas on this. Maybe there is a Traxxas XO-2 in the works being tested? Or maybe some new hop-ups?

Have you read our review of the Traxxas XO-1? Click HERE to check it out.

Traxxas Nitro Slash

Our own 3DBill stopped by the Hobby Town in Orland Park, IL. and snapped a few pictures of the new Traxxas Nitro Slash. First impressions were decent, though he’s not a nitro guy at all. Apparently he’s waiting for a gas version. I don’t suggest holding your breath on that one. I’m not so sure I like the looks of that battery box hanging out back there. The way we play demo derby, I hope that thing is bullet proof.

Enjoy the pics.

Looking for other Traxxas news on BigSquidRC? Click HERE to check it out.

Traxxas QR-1 Quad-Rotor Review

traxxas quad

Adding yet another quad to the quadcopter craze, we take a look at the Traxxas QR-1 Quad-Rotor. It seems like we have been flying quads more than driving vehicles lately, but it has been a nice change. So how does the first flyer from Traxxas hold up against the other recent releases? Keep reading to find out..
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