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iron-mountain-depot-recon-g6-20The Axial Iron Mountain Depot RECON G6 was held this past weekend in St. Louis, MO, and it was quite the event. It set the attendance record for the traveling tour (i.e. not Axialfest) with a staggering 143 day / 97 night entries, and 9 states were represented So how did the event actually go? What exactly is an “Iron Mountain Depot” anyways? Click the “Read More” below to see our full coverage.

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rc-mega-truck-raceEver since I held a scale mud bog last year, the wheels have been turning in my head to do a mud racing series with purpose built trucks. Once I started building a Mega Truck I knew it was going to be “when” versus “if”. When I found out that the Axial RECON G6 series was descending upon my hometown (St. Louis, MO) I figured it would be the perfect time to get something together. Last weekend the event finally took place and it was a blast! Well, until I had to clean up that is. Click the Read More below to see some sweet rigs get VERY dirty.

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recon-g6-jk-captain-america

It’s a RECON G6 weekend here in St. Louis! While you can get the event details right here there is one very important change to note. The actual G6 event (and mud race) on Saturday will take place right down the road from the listed spot on the website. The new location is Sports Center Park in St. Peters, MO. The recent torrential rain forced us to move last minute. All is well though, we are ready for a great day!

I’m riding into G6 battle with two rigs; my Captain America piloted Axial G6 SCX10 for the main day stage, and our SCX10 C/R Edition fresh off of review. The G6 truck is waterproofed and heavily modified…the C/R is bone stock (save for the battery plate being moved to the front). It will be interesting to see how they do.

I’m also pumped up for the Mega Truck mud race taking place in between stages. I’ve been heavily testing the truck and it’s as ready to go as it’s gonna be. I took out the Castle 6900 motor and slotted in a 4600. It’s got gobs of torque and is much easier to handle (the 6900 was just way too hot). Here are some of my testing pictures.

I did a new body for it, a Pro-Line 1966 F-100 (#3415-00) that I’ve dubbed the Monster Mule (in the spirit of my Clodbuster with the same name). I’m ready to hit the pit and see what she’s made of. And speaking of blue Fords, my friends at BIGFOOT 4×4 have donated a very cool trophy for the mud race – a section of driveshaft loop that was recently used (and grenaded) on a BIGFOOT race truck!

monster-mule-rc-mega-truck

Look for a full event rundown next week on Big Squid. Ok, I’m off to ride the G-Train. Hope to see a few of you there!

For more scale r/c news here on BSRC hit up this link.

vaterra-glamis-fear-sand-rail_8

The Vaterra Glamis Fear is the first straight up bash machine that I’ve owned in forever and it’s been a breath of fresh air. I have a ton of fun with my fleet of scalers but sometimes you just wanna go to the dirt pile and rip, ya know? In addition to wanting an off-road machine for myself, I have a three year old daughter who is quickly becoming enamored with the world of r/c. I wanted to get a vehicle we could both enjoy together (i.e. her jumping and smashing into things at speed). Look, I love my little girl to death but I don’t exactly feel comfortable letting her wheel, say, my RC4WD Gelande 2. So after beating on the Fear in stock trim for awhile (she LOVES this thing), I wanted to customize it in a way that made both of us happy. SAND RAIL!

I took her to the hobby shop and let her pick any color she wanted. Naturally, she chose a closeout bottle of Pactra (R.I.P.) hot pink. While she was picking out paint, I snagged a set of Pro-Line Sling Shot paddle tires from the r/c counter. When we got home I took the body panels off, peeled off the stickers, and shot the body with a white backer. My daughter then helped shoot the pink (again, she thought this was the coolest thing).  I shot the wheels in flat black and mounted the Sling Shots. Very cool that Vaterra’s included wheels are bead-lock and therefore make changing tires a breeze. After everything was dry and mounted it looked great…there was just something needing tweaking. I wound up taking off the whole rear wing assembly leaving just the cage around the motor (like a 1:1 rail) and that did the trick. Time to hit the beach!

We’ve had torrential rains here in St. Louis the last few days but that didn’t stop me from hitting up a local lake with shore front. The sand was packed very tight but the Sling Shots hooked hard. The thing was a blast to drive and an absolute animal on 3S power. I spent a good hour carving up the beach and hitting the tide pools. The Fear ripped through everything with no problem and I was surprised at how well it handled. I’m pumped to take it (and her, of course) out to the sand bars on the river once things dry up a bit. I’ll be sure to bring my video camera along!

Next week is going to be very busy for me as RECON G6 rolls into town. I’ll be running the 1.9 modified Jeep Wrangler class (open to all Axial JK’s) which is supposed to have the toughest lines. My hot rodded JK is completely prepped, waterproofed and ready to rock. There is going to be plenty of event coverage taking place here over the next couple weeks, so be on the lookout for lots of scale off-road goodness.

RECON G6 isn’t the only thing happening next weekend though. During the intermission between the day and night stages of the event we are holding a “Battle of the Mega-Trucks” mud race. I’ve been testing out my mega to get ready and you can look for my report to go live early next week, right here on BigSquidRC. Checkout a teaser below. Have a great weekend!

rc-mega-truck-barbarianWant to see more Vaterra news on BigSquidRC? Click here. For more news from the world of scale r/c click here.

axial-scx10-trail-honcho-tacoma

The Axial SCX10 is a very popular truck; probably the most popular scaling rig of all time. It’s available in many different “flavors” and at press time there are currently six versions on the market. The differences aren’t all cosmetic as some have different wheelbases, tires, lights, etc. It can make a newbie’s head spin. Here’s a handy guide to see the main differences between models…which hopefully will help clarify things for those that are confused. For brevity I’m going to just list the notable features of each one. We’ll start with all the “ready-to-runs” (RTR) and then delve into the kits, organized by average street price. Click the “Read More” below to check it out.

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rc4wd-gelande-2-water-running

I had been eying one of RC4WD‘s uber scale kits for quite some time so a few weeks ago I finally took the plunge on a Gelande 2. I’ve now had the time to give it a proper beating and see what it’s really made of. Is the beauty merely skin deep? Click “Read More” below to find out what I think.

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scx10-with-proline-ridgeline

Click here to read Part 1 of this series or click here for Part 2.

The servo that comes with the RTR Axial SCX10 isn’t bad for a stock unit, but the combination of running aluminum steering links (you upgraded, right?!) coupled with bigger and heavier tires/wheels make a servo upgrade a high priority. The factory unit is also decidedly NOT waterproof, which can be a huge negative depending on where you want to run.

Like everything else in this series, my recommendations are made based on what I’ve used “in the field”. Without a doubt my personal favorite is the Hitec HS-5646WP Waterproof Servo (click here for full specs). It provides enough torque to easily turn 1.9 tires on the rocks (if you are sporting big 2.2′s you may want something more powerful) and with a street price of around $50 the price to performance ratio is very nice. And while the light blue case is sealed and ready for the drink, the relatively low price point makes it MUCH easier to dunk with reckless abandon. Even though I’ve never had one fail on me it’s still nice to know that if it did (hey, it happens when dealing with water and electronics) I wouldn’t be out a couple C-notes.

The servo comes with a thick plastic horn that works very well with some slight modification. The stock bolt mounting hole just needs to be drilled/reamed out slightly and it will fit snug. The plastic is hardy enough that I’ve never had a breakage or stripping issue in over 14 months of heavy use (with 3 of these servos).

axial scx10 with waterproof hitec servo

Ok, so lets talk battery placement. If you have a Trail Honcho you are fine (they come with the mount up front) but if you have the JK RTR you will need to relocate. The parts you need should be in your extra trees (they were for mine when I purchased one a year ago). Click here to check out an excellent guide on the procedure over at Axial’s site. Getting that battery up front will make a huge difference when climbing.

So yeah, at this point you should have a serious trail machine. When we drop Part 4 of this guide we’ll take a look at over/ under drive gears, what exactly they do, and if they are right for you.

Click Here for more Axial news on BigSquidRC.

rc4wd-gelande-2-chassis

It’s been a very busy week over here so forgive me for being a bit scatterbrained! TGIF indeed.

As the pic above shows, I received my RC4WD Gelande 2 and have started the build. Thus far I’ve been very impressed with the kit. Everything was laid out in well marked screw bags or packed neatly in foam (many of the pieces are pre-assembled like the tranny, axles, and transfer case). The truck is loaded with metal goodies and the machine work is all top notch. The super detailed body feels way lighter than I thought it would be. Hopefully the heavy chassis and (relatively) light hard body make for a rig that isn’t too top heavy. I’m gonna finish her up this weekend and test it so look forward to some hot Land Rover action gracing this virtual space next Friday.

We just posted our review of Carisma’s Porsche 959 Rally and I strongly recommend you take a gander. Watching a big on road car being hucked repeatedly off a ramp is pretty impressive. Yes, Tim, Cubby, and the rest of the Bash Crew pounded the car and it took it like a champ. It’s becoming harder and harder for your scale columnist to resist splurging on a rally car, and doubly so with kits like that gorgeous Porsche readily available.

RECON G6  is coming up really soon here in St. Louis (April 12) and with my club “playing host” we have been putting in a lot of work getting the grounds ready for the influx of scalers. There is going to be a “Big Squid RC Driver’s Challenge” series of special gates on the course that I’m overseeing and I hope to give you a tease of that next week as well. It’s going to be comprised of several man made obstacles and a muddy frame twister section. Drivers are going to hate me!

And finally, forgive me for treading on Kevin’s territory but I want to talk helicopters for a minute. So I had been thinking about getting a quad forever when our latest quad shootout article went live (please note, I did not take part in the shootout, only edited the video and read the article). That kicked me over the hump and I decided to purchase the winner, the Ares Ethos 130 QX. I headed down to my local Hobbytown USA and plunked down the $100 to finally get my fly on. I’m a total noob to aerial r/c but this copter has been a joy to fly from day 1. The toughness of the platform cannot be understated – I’ve flown it into buildings/trees, it’s had several scary 100+ foot drops, and my 3 year old has had a few wrestling matches with the garage ceiling (the ceiling is undefeated FYI). You know what’s broke? One LED. It’s one rugged S.O.B. I’m definitely still a landlubber but in 2 months of owning the Ares it’s been nothing but good times.

Hopefully Spring has sprung wherever you live so you can get out and bash this weekend. It’s 70 degrees here so I’m counting down the minutes until I can leave the office and hit the rocks. Til next time!

For more scale r/c news on Big Squid click here.

vaterra_glamis_fear_closeup

When I got started in the hobby (a little over 20 years ago) all’s I ever wanted to do was race. I remember when I first found out that hobby grade r/c cars existed. I had a sweet new Nikko Black Thunder that I was all about, so when my dad heard from a friend there was a local “radio controlled car track” he decided he would bring me there for a special treat. Walking into that old hobby shop for the first time (R.I.P. All Seasons Hobby & Raceway, O’Fallon, MO) was like discovering the lost city of El Dorado. I marveled at the (now vintage) RC10′s, JRX2′s, and various Tamiyas that bombed around the track. They all looked really slick. It was like watching the Mickey Thompson stadium series in miniature form! A few guys would let me take a lap or two with their truck if I corner marshalled for them (ingenious, really). I was totally hooked and when Christmas rolled around I became the proud owner of a brand spankin’ new Traxxas Hawk. I was now an official racer.

Fast forward to 2008. I had been out of the hobby for several years. A buddy forwarded me an e-mail with a pic of a Traxxas Slash. When I saw it I immediately went to my LHS and bought one. I was back in the game, baby! I had great fun racing it in the “spec slash” class before it got phased out (for 17.5 stock short course, bleh). The truck just looked so dang cool. The Slash was a “gateway drug” that led me back into the world of r/c racing and before long I had a fleet of buggies and trucks. I quickly fizzled out though, as I became bored with the cookie cutter spaceship looking vehicles and other facets of the competitive racing scene (which is why I got out in the early 2000′s in the first place). I soon found the Axial SCX10, hit my first trail, and I’ve never really looked back. The spark was gone (for off-road at least…I still LOVE dirt oval racing).

There is something happening which may get me back on the track though; scale is starting to bleed it’s way into the world of performance off-road r/c’ing. The Vaterra series of buggies look trick and run as well as they look (this is especially true for the Vaterra Glamis Fear, seen above). Pro-Line’s new buggy conversion for their Pro-2 has me drooling. The Losi and Associated “short course buggies” also look great. If that type of “scale buggy” became popular at the track I’d get one in a heartbeat. Sadly though, around here they are just an afterthought.

Pro-Line PRO-2 Performance Buggy Conversion Kit

You know what I REALLY want to see? One of the “big boys” release a solid rear / independent front true-to-scale short course truck. I think they’d sell like hotcakes (if the price and performance were right) and lure many people to the track…sort of like the original Slash did a few years ago. There have long been rumors that this very type of kit is in development somewhere, but thus far nothing has come to fruition. I know one thing though, if someone ever releases one you can bet your lunch I’ll be back at the track. Racing will never be as fun to me as scaling, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to enjoy it again from time to time.

For more scale r/c news here on BigSquidRC, hit up this link.

stl_recon_g6_4

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.

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RC4WD Gelande II Truck Kit w/Defender D90 Body

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.

RC4WD Gelande II Truck Kit

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.

 

gmade_sawback_front

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.

Want to see more Gmade news? Click here.

rc-2wd-modified-pulling-truck

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.

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