The 2014 Axial RECON G6 event series is underway! Here at Big Squid HQ we are preparing for the “Iron Mountain Depot RECON G6” taking place April 12th in O’fallon, MO (click here for full event rules, details, and registration) and I was recently able to catch up with series founder and “course master” Brian Parker (everyone knows him as Parker) for a quick interview. Before we get to that though, let me drop some 411 on you uninitiated folk who may be wondering “what the heck is this G6 thing?”
The Axial RECON G6 Adventure Series, in simplest terms, is a timed scale cross-country race. Drivers are tasked with driving a set course (courses can sometimes be several hours long) through a variety of gates and “challenges” designed to push their scale machine to the limit. Touching your vehicle is forbidden and you must use a recovery strap or winch to get you through when stuck or upside down. Relying on your fellow driver is crucial. Drivers are given a log book and must use hole punches/stamps located at various checkpoints to mark their progress and also prove they ran the course. The motto of the series is “Finishing a G6 is like the winning a G6″. It’s all about teamwork and having a good time with fellow like minded scale off-roaders.
Ok, so with that in mind let’s get to the interview. Click the “Read More” below to see my interview with Parker and to check out a few pictures from last year’s St. Louis event.
Happy Friday! I hope everyone out there is in as good a mood as I am. The weather is FINALLY turning around, my beloved St. Louis Blues just landed a star goalie (Ryan Miller), my favorite band just released an awesome new record (Drive-by Truckers), my favorite game has a sequel coming out in a couple days (Dark Souls) and I have an RC4WD Gelande 2 on the way! Yes, a great week indeed.
RC4WD announced the Gelande 2 (G2) last year and it’s been on my “to-do” list ever since. After recently finishing up a few different builds I’m finally ready to give this thing a whirl. I’d show some unboxing photos but the kit is still enroute to my LHS for pickup. Hopefully next week I can show it off. I already have 2 scale Jeeps in my fleet so I’m pretty pumped to add a “Landy” to the collection. I can’t wait to build it up and post my impressions and some video.
For you whippersnappers out there, the G2 kit is based on the legendary Land Rover Defender Ninety (D90). Just hearing “D90″ brings to mind images of a bright yellow truck tearing through the jungle or driving through a river with water up to the windshield (thanks to the Camel Trophy Series, more on this in a minute). Whereas the American born Jeep has always exuded more of a macho aura (open top, removable doors, big tires), the British Land Rover gives off a more a more refined aura (simple box design, very tall with lots of cargo space/extra seating). This used to be the case at least. Anyways, the kit looks trick what with a chassis mounted servo, front mounted motor that feeds into a transfer case, and that super detailed D90 hardbody.
For many people in my age bracket (I turned 30 last week) the Land Rover is synonymous with the aforementioned Camel Trophy Series. The series ran annually throughout the 80′s and 90′s and was a wild cross country race pitting man and machine vs. the elements. The location changed every year (frozen wastes of Siberia to the jungles of the Amazon) but the one constant was the brand of vehicle: yup, the Land Rover. I used to catch clips of the race when watching old motorsports highlight shows and thought it was the coolest. If you want to waste some time on your Friday, check out this old series documentary on YouTube. They put these trucks through pure hell!
The Camel series was actually a very big inspiration for the r/c Axial RECON G6 Adventure Series. Next week look for my interview with series founder/director/scale freak Brian Parker as well as information on the upcoming April 12 St. Louis stop of the tour (of which Big Squid will have a big presence). Have a great weekend!
Want to see more scale r/c news on BigSquid? Try right here. Want to see the latest RC4WD goodies? Hit up this link.
When I posted my first Everybody’s Scalin’ video on our YouTube channel a couple weeks back, user “Bad Wobble” asked if I could provide an update on my Gmade Sawback. Well Mr. Wobble, it’s your lucky day! The “first impressions” article I wrote went up a few months ago (view it right here), and in the time that’s passed I’ve put a few miles on the odometer. Time for an update.
You may of noticed I switched drivers and tires since last time. Yeah, the first driver I picked was a little small (people didn’t hesitate to let me know this, heh) but the new “Hunter Dan” figure from Cabelas is just about right. I had to make a few modifications with my dremel to get him to fit (Dan no longer has feet) but now he’s perfect. The second big change was putting on a set of Pro-Line TSL’s (the smaller ones, NOT the XL’s) as they perform extremely well and look great.
I guess the biggest news to report is that there isn’t much news to report. My initial thoughts are still pretty much how I feel today. It’s not going to replace your Axial SCX10 but it’s still a stout little truck. The only problem I had with mine were the stock driveshafts – the yokes are pretty weak and snap easily. I replaced them with Axial Wild Boars (they are a direct fit) and I haven’t had any problems since. Despite the transmission being loud as heck and the ring and pinions being made of a cheap pot metal it’s held up fine with no other breakage to report. My leafs are still springy with no sag and provide good articulation for what they are. The axle hop that happens when fighting for traction on certain obstacles really adds to the overall charm. You can see what I mean in the video I linked above. I’m not trying to give this a free pass for having a stiff suspension…but come on man, that’s kinda what you are paying for here. You want an authentic experience and it gives it to you – I’ve had my teeth rattled driving a 1:1 1942 Willy’s MB and I’d imagine Hunter Dan would probably be able to relate.
All in all I really enjoy the Sawback and it’s found a permanent spot in my collection. It handles very realistically and is great fun when trying to tackle the terrain accordingly. A hardcore bashing scaler this is not though, so if you want an all out performance machine you should look elsewhere. For the hobbyist that loves the iconic look of the classic Jeep and/or that wants to dip their toes into the waters of extreme scale suspension I think you’ll be happy.
Gmade Sawback Gallery
Want to see more Gmade news? Click here.
Last weekend I made the trip from St. Louis to Sturgeon, MO to take part in some pulling action. Sturgeon may be a sleepy little town (nestled just north of Columbia, home of Mizzou) but it’s one of the hottest locations in the world of r/c pulling. The Mid Missouri R/C Truck & Tractor Pulling Assocation (MMRCTPA) calls the area home and each winter puts on an awesome semi-weekly program.
I was really excited to get down there because it marked my first pull of 2014. I had two brand new vehicles, my Ford 9600 “Mad Mule” pro stock tractor and my blue 1979 Ford “Missouri Mule #2″ (currently no graphics on the side) super modified 2wd pulling truck, that were itching for some action. My tractor had only made a few test hooks and the truck was literally finished at the pull site so yeah…didn’t do too hot against all these strong runnin’ rigs. I was way off on weight placement and had some hitch issues but as a wise man once said, “The worst day of tractor pulling is better than the best day of work”. I still had a great time and will get my team of Mules re-weighted and try ‘er again later this year.
The sheer variety of scale machinery on display was awesome. Everything from relatively stock Axial SCX10′s to handbuilt tractors; Fords, Chevys, Dodges, John Deeres, Allis Chalmers, Case IH; if the real thing pulls you’ll probably see a scale representation here. Big thanks to Travis Sutton (of Sutton Motorsports Pulling Products) and the MMRCTPA for all the help and hospitality. Until then, for more information on MMRCTPA please click here for their website. To see where else the Big Squid Bash Crew have been lately click here.
Hit the Read More button below for more galleries from the pull.
MMRCTPA Pulling Gallery 1
MMRCTPA Pulling Gallery 2
To see Part 1 of this build CLICK HERE , to see Part 2 CLICK HERE
It’s ALIVE! I recently received the final and most important piece of my build; the tractor tires and wheels. After a quick shot of flat black paint it was time to mount em’ up and see what this thing could do. Click the “Read More” below to see Part 3 of this Axial Deadbolt to Mega Truck build series.
It’s been a big week for Ghostbusters fans as LEGO just announced an Ecto-1 “30th Anniversary” kit that will be released in June (photo below). As a lifelong fan of the series (and car) you bet your unlicensed proton accelerator that I’ll be picking one of those sets up. As far as my favorite “movie cars” go, Ecto-1 shares a spot in my heart with only the 1989 Batmobile for coolest of all time. Sorry folks, the Bullitt Mustang is cool and all, but it never was used to save New York from the forces of Gozer the Destructor. It also never did kid birthday parties for a cheap buck. Anyways, so with Ray Parker’s classic theme now hopefully pumping through your brain, check out a sweet pair of anti-supernatural scalers that a couple readers decided to share.
First up is Micheal Matthews’s tribute to the famed Ecto-1 Cadillac Ambulance. His off-road version of Ecto-1 is based on an HPI Graverobber body sitting on top of a highly modified Axial SCX10 chassis. He made custom links to stretch the wheelbase to fit and used RC4WD 1.55 Steel Wheels (painted red) and Desert King tires. Many of the scale pieces of ghostbusting equipment you see on top were custom made and all the lights are fully functional. He wanted to give a shout-out to Josh Harris for doing all the wiring. Great looking rig Micheal. That would be a heck of a truck to have on a night run!
In keeping with our supernatural motif, the next truck up is Nicholas Klein’s Scooby Doo “Mystery Machine” inspired Axial SCX10 JK. Nicholas said he decided to do this theme because the actual Mystery Machine always seemed to do well off-road. You know, now that you think about it he’s right. That old van was constantly in the woods, on old dirt roads, and other tough spots while in hot pursuit of Old Man Caruthers. Guess ol’ Shaggy and Fred must’ve locked the diffs, eh? Thanks for sharing Nicholas.
Mystery Machine Gallery
Do you want to show off your scale truck like one of the above fine gentleman? Do you like free stickers? Great! Shoot an e-mail to doug at bigsquidrc.com and include a brief description along with some good lookin’ pics.
So you’re the proud owner of a brand new ready to run Axial SCX10. Congrats, the truck is a lot of fun right outta the box! If you are like most people I know though, the first thing you’ll do (after giving it a test drive, of course) is hop on the internet, go to your favorite r/c forum/facebook page, and start a “I have a brand new SCX10 what should I upgrade first PLEASE HELP ME!” thread. It’s ok, we’ve all been there. I remember my first foray into scale 4×4′s and how overwhelming it was. Fret not, dear reader, for I am here to start a recurring feature on the upgrade path you should take. While this is obviously just one Joe Schmoe’s opinion, I’ve owned 5 SCX10′s (2 currently) and have gone through the rigamarole plenty of times myself.
For “Stage 1″ I’m going to limit the upgrade budget to just $20 because you most likely just dropped 300-400 dollars on that shiny new SCX10 and may not have much dough left over. Click read more to check it out.
Ugh, this winter sucks. Last year I was scaling nearly every weekend thanks to mild weather. This year has just been snow after snow with sub 0º temperatures to boot. Oh well, with spring (hopefully) right around the corner I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know my buddies and I are chomping at the bit to get outside.
The awesome King of the Hammers race took place last week in California and as usual was filled with all sorts of spectacular carnage. I strongly suggest you head to YouTube and checkout some clips, particularly those showing highlights of the “Back Door” section. It was also a big weekend for scale r/c as the 2014 RECON G6 series of events kicked off with their own version of an “Ultra 4″ race. Axial always has a big presence at this event and this year debuted a custom Falken Tires themed SCX10 Jeep (pictured below). You can view more pics on Axial’s site right here. It looks great and the most noteworthy thing about it is the tires. Those are actual Falken Wildpeak replicas and look hot. Axial claims that the truck is a one off, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the next RTR in their line of SCX10′s. At the very least I’d be shocked if the tires weren’t released. The tread pattern looks like it would hook up great and clean out very well. This is all baseless speculation however, as I have no inside knowledge.
Speaking of Axial and RECON G6, my club is hosting the G6 crew for a St. Louis, MO tour stop on April 12, 2014. The event is being dubbed the “Axial Iron Mountain Depot RECON G6” and will be taking place in O’Fallon, MO. It’s only 2 months away and, if the weather ever breaks, we will be out there preparing some gnarly stuff for everyone to tackle. It should be a great time! Big Squid will have a big presence and I’ll post the full event details right here when they are released.
Lastly, thanks for all the feedback I’ve received on my mega-truck project (Part 1 here, Part 2 here). As it turns out it’s a pretty good thing I picked this time of year to build one as the snow has served as an ok replacement for mud while putting the truck through rigorous testing. Part 3 of the build won’t post for a couple more weeks as I’m waiting on both the tires AND for warmer weather to properly go boggin’, but thus far I’ve been having a blast with the truck. While waiting on my narrowed Tamiya Clodbuster tires to arrive I’ve been using the stock Axial Trepador 2.2′s that came with the Deadbolt. I gave them a custom “mud cut” and they give the truck a great holeshot. Here’s a teaser of what it looks like right now -
Lastly, keep sending me pics (and descriptions) of your scale rides! Showmescalers at gmail dot com is my addy. Since I sounded the horn last week you guys have sent me some awesome stuff. I’m going to start showing them off next week so keep em’ coming. Remember, anything scale is cool no matter if it’s surface, air, or water oriented. The more outlandish the better! Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.
Note – To see Part 1 of this build CLICK HERE
Last week I started converting our stock Axial Deadbolt to a full blown mega/monster truck with help from a CPE Barbarian chassis. In part 2 I’m detailing what parts I changed from the stock setup, offering initial testing impressions, and showing off what body I’m going to top the truck with. Let’s get to it. Click ‘Read More’
This week I’m taking a break from the standard “written” column to debut a new YouTube video series. I’ll be doing an episode about once a month and will try to give it a “Wide World of Sports®” vibe that covers all different areas of scale rc (trails, monster trucks, drag racing, sand rails, hill climbing, etc). This first video features both my modified RECON G6 edition Axial SCX10 and bone stock Gmade Sawback. Myself and good friend Mike Ewens took them to the banks of the Missouri River for some wooded trailing and had a blast on a very chilly day.
A couple pieces of housekeeping before we go. In case you missed it earlier this week I started a build series converting an Axial Deadbolt into a high flying mega truck. Part 2 should go live early next week. I’ve been testing the truck and it’s a beast! Also, do you have a cool build/ride that you want to showcase to the scale community? Shoot an e-mail to showmescalers at gmail dot com and if you have some pretty pictures of your rig doin’ work you could see it right here (and score a few Big Squid RC stickers to boot).
I’d also like to thank all the readers who have thus far been reading my scale ramblings every Friday. I have quite a bit planned as far as builds, event coverage, and how-to’s for 2014….if it would ever stop snowing! It’s getting to the point where if I ever plan on getting outside again I’m going to need to build a Kyosho Blizzard. Hmm, a Blizzard does sound pretty cool, right?
Being a scale/crawler dude can be tough when you are surrounded by speed demons like the majority of Big Squid staffers. Let’s be honest with ourselves here – scalers aren’t exactly known for high speed thrills. I think Cubby wanted to kill me when I built the Axial RECON G6 SCX10 for review and put in a slow 18.5 crawler system! I’ve never built a scale truck where speed (and jumpability) was the end goal. That needed to change. Building a scale mega truck is just what the doctor ordered! (If you are unfamiliar with what a “mega truck” is checkout my column here.)
I knew I wanted to base the truck off of the Axial Deadbolt platform due to the stout AR60 axles, rugged transmission, rabid aftermarket support, and my familiarity with the model. I’m getting to the point where I think I could build a truck just with all the spare Axial parts I’ve accumulated over the years. I also knew that for this truck to do everything I wanted I’d have to get pretty wild with the modifications. It would need a powerful brushless system, had to be waterproofed for deep mud, needed big tractor tires to navigate said mud, and required a suspension that could handle speed and air. A very tall order.
The crux of this build is a Crawford Performance Engineering (CPE) Barbarian chassis (pic below). It turns an Axial Wraith, Deadbolt, or Ridgecrest into a scale monster/mega truck by utilizing the stock axles, shocks, transmission, and other miscellaneous pieces. The all aluminum 1:1 inspired frame features heavy duty links and sway bars and adds about an inch of wheelbase to the stock Deadbolt. This has become the hot setup in scale monster truck racing and I’m pretty excited to build a mud truck out of it.
With my plans now in place I ordered a slew of parts. I already had the motor on hand so I decided to throw that in the stock truck and see how the drivetrain would handle it without any modification. I pulled out the RTR ESC and 20t motor to install a Castle Mamba Max Pro 6900 kv system. Go big or go home! The result was impressive. The big motor yanked the front wheels up with hardly any throttle (see the top pic). The change in power was akin to going from a V6 to a super-charged big block. I’m also happy to report that the stock Axial drivetrain held up to this big power with no breakage whatsoever. It also jumped surprisingly well considering this vehicle was presumably designed without hang time being a big priority.
After a little over a week, all my parts had finally arrived. It was time to start building. Part 2 of this series is coming up very soon, but here’s a teaser (see below) showing off the Barbarian chassis with the Deadbolt rear end partly installed.
Before we go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the tires I’m planning on using. Can you say cut & shut Clodbuster wheels/tires narrowed to about 2 inches? That should nail the tractor look I’m going for. Look for Part 2 of this build series coming soon!
We are only a month into 2014 and based on the Nuremberg Toy Fair it already looks like this will be the year of the r/c monster truck. It seems EVERYONE just released a new or updated monster kit. I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn’t 2004. All of them come with big brushless power (except for the standout of the bunch, the gas guzzling Losi LST XXL-2) and look to be heavy duty bash machines. While 2014 looks to be titled “The Monster Truck Strikes Back®”, I’m not here today to talk about them. Nope, I’m talking about a relative newcomer to the full size world of off-roading that’s starting to spill over into the scale r/c scene.
Ah yes, the mega truck (also sometimes called mega mud truck). What started as a southern thing about a decade ago (southern USA for you international folk) has spread like wildfire across the country. The mega-truck started as a throwback to original monster trucking; throw big tractor tires on a truck, soup up the engine and hit the mud hole. They’ve evolved into a cross between a mud racer, monster truck, and swamp buggy. For an overly simplified description you basically take a modern four linked monster truck, lose about half the weight, add a set of tractor style tires and there you go. The trucks are obscenely overpowered and can just as easily fly through the sky as they can rip through the mud. These vehicles are basically the 1:1 version of a great r/c bashing truck. Here’s a video of one:
Don’t look now but the r/c mega truck movement is already on the up and up. Many builders that I know of have either already started or plan to build a scale mega. For example, check out my friend Josh Thiede’s (aka Harley Designs) killer looking scale tube truck build pictured below. The current crop of scale rock crawlers and monster trucks also lend themselves very well to conversion. You just need a big power plant, waterproof electronics, and a set of mud tires. The last couple years guys have been primarily narrowing old Traxxas T/E-Maxx tires to get the desired “rice and cane” tractor look, but with RC4WD recently releasing their 1.9 Mud Basher tractor tire (see the green-flamed Axial SCX10 below) its now much easier to get in on some mega action without any tire hacking required. Hopefully they will release the Mud Basher in a much bigger 2.2 size to accommodate bigger trucks.
Do you remember our recent review of the Axial Deadbolt? Sure you do. The Squid crew have turned the truck over to me and mega truck conversion is already well underway. I’ll be posting my first build article next week!
Viva La Mega Truck Gallery
All gearheads have a certain motorsport that REALLY gets them pumped. For some its the smell of nitro-methane and burnt rubber at the local drag strip, others live for the high flying thrills of motocross; as for me, nothing makes me happier than listening to four blown hemis roaring in unison or watching black smoke billow out of a quadruple turbocharged diesel engine. I’m speaking about the world of truck and tractor pulling.
For those that aren’t familiar with the sport, pulling consists of hooking a vehicle up to a weight transfer sled ( normally on a 300 foot track) and measuring who can pull it the farthest. There are multiple classes of vehicles ranging from stock pickup trucks to the outlandish modified tractors using multiple engine configurations (including helicopter turbines) that crank out thousands of horsepower. The sport is huge in the midwest (my stomping grounds) and you would be hard pressed to find a county fair that doesn’t include one. So what does this have to do with scale r/c?
R/C pulling has been around for awhile as a sort of underground/ultra niche thing, but ever since the scale movement started a few years ago its becoming more popular. Thanks to the Axial SCX10 platform many clubs have a “stock truck” class where you can take a RTR Honcho or JK and just slap a hitch on it and you are good to go. On the other end of spectrum you have all the purpose built modified pullers like the custom tractors and wheel standing two wheel drive trucks. While all the vehicles use relatively similar aluminum chassis layouts the bodies can be wildly different and many are hand built out of balsa wood (like the tractors). If you are wondering what kind of power these vehicles pack, a typical modified 4×4 truck runs around 6000-7900 kv motors with 3s power. Some of the classes have unlimited power/battery rules so whatever you can cram in and hook up is legal; 4 nitro engines on a single chassis isn’t unheard of.
Inches Matter Gallery 1
The saying in full scale pulling is “inches matter” and when you are talking 1:10 scale the words only ring more true. A track is 30 foot long and many times first place is decided by a fraction of an inch. This is a builder’s sport and how you set your rig up is everything. You have to read the track and “hit your weight” to make the best run possible. While every class has a weight limit (you cross the scale before running to check legality) you are free to put that weight where you’d like. High bite surfaces require more weight on the front so you don’t do a wheelstand the whole course, a loose track needs more weight on the rear axle so you get the traction for a fast ground speed. Most of the tires you see are all Tamiya or RC4WD based with a custom tread pattern cut by hand.
So that’s a very basic overview of r/c pulling. Much like its cousin drag racing, it’s not for everyone, but the people that do it are pretty hardcore (raises hand). If you’re a fan of the real thing but don’t want to blow upwards of $100k on a 1:1 diesel burning John Deere then this just may be your ticket to ride.
Inches Matter Gallery 2