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big-orange-axial-ax10-xtrail1When it comes to scale crawling hop-up discussion, over/underdrive gears never fail to confuse noobs. What does “overdrive” even mean? Will it hurt your truck? Click the “Read More” below to get the skinny on a mod that can help your Axial truck get its Billy Goat on.

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axial-wraith-crawling-comp3Bashing your scale truck is a ton of fun, but have you ever thought about competing with it? Any form of competition can be intimidating but you may be surprised at how much you enjoy it if you just give it a try! If you’ve ever thought about taking that new Axial Deadbolt or SCX10 to a comp but weren’t sure what it actually entails, click the “Read More” to get the lowdown on the most common event types.

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proline-pro-2-dirt-modified-4Note – You can read Part 1 of this article right here.

In part 1 of this series I took a brand new Pro-Line Pro-2 short course truck and converted it from the intended purpose of SCT to a dirt oval modified car. Since then the car has been completely finished and put through it’s paces on two race nights. Click the “Read More” below to see how it performed and see a lot of pictures!

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roughneckscalers-trailrun6Happy 4th of July!

I recently had the pleasure of heading out to one of the first official trail runs for the Roughneck Scalers Missouri Chapter and had a heck of a time. The club originally hails from California but recently expanded to St. Louis, MO due to the exploding scale off-road scene in the area.

The trail spot was Bangert Island Park in St. Charles, MO. The densely wooded trails run along the banks of the Missouri River and are a popular destination for those looking to get their scale on. While the park generally houses a wide array of terrain (river silt, rocky creek, dirt paths) today it was mud, mud and mud. The area saw torrential rains the night before but there are no rain outs in scaling. You kwitcherbitchin’ and get out there!

Despite the thick mud and awful Missouri humidity about 20 people showed up and we had a blast. It was also a lot of fun watching a few tug-o-war competitions take place on the sandy river banks. Motors were smoked, parts broken and a good times were had by all. Big thanks to the Roughneck Scaler guys for having me out and letting me wheel my trusty old “Missouri Mule” Axial SCX10 with them. For more info on the Missouri branch of the Roughneck Scalers you can check them out on Facebook right here. Have a safe holiday weekend everyone!

To see 5 more galleries of scalers getting very, very dirty click the “Read More” below.

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Axial Yeti Review_00008In case you missed it, last week Axial made a huge announcement: the Axial Yeti 1:10 Rock Racer. Regardless of your personal opinion on the vehicle, the release is a big deal for the hobby. If you don’t believe me you should see the outrageous web traffic that our review has been doing! It’s sparked a ton of discussion on message boards and Facebook groups as well. I’ve heard that pre-orders for the vehicle are super high. So yeah, you can tell people are interested. I only speak for myself here, but let me discuss why the release excites me. Click the “Read More” below to see my ramblings.

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Asiatees Hobbies Scale Accessories
Scale rc continues to be hot again this summer so Asiatees Hobbies wanted us to let you know about some of their scale accessories. They now stock scale accessories from Boom Racing to give your rc garage a real authentic look. From a female scale figure to bottles of Coke, they offer a bunch of different scale items that you can check out At This Link on their official website.

Find out more about Asiatees at This Link on BigSquidRC.

traxxas-summit-scalingNote – Yes, I know there was a huge Axial announcement this week. You’ll hear PLENTY about it very soon on BigSquidRC. :)

It’s no secret that the crawling community is hard on Traxxas (then again, isn’t everyone these days?). Many hardcores have long felt slighted by the Big T. Suffice it to say, when discussion on the trail inevitably turns to shop talk, Traxxas garners more than a few eye-rolls. I bring this up not to hate but to show how interesting it is that even with the scene’s general malaise towards the manufacturer, one vehicle in their portfolio is still shown a begrudging respect by almost everyone within the community: the Summit.

The truck has plenty of negatives. It costs a king’s ransom ($629 currently), takes two batteries to operate, is a pain to work on, weighs a ton and doesn’t have one specific purpose it excels at. This is balanced by a long list of positives – it has a reliable 2 speed tranny, remote locking diffs, an aggressive exo-cage body, it’s tough, waterproof and can do a bit of everything. It’s also freaking gigantic. In general, it’s just a crazy vehicle.

While I used mine primarily as a basher, it’s cool to see one of these goliaths out on the trail. No, even when the axles are locked and it’s in low gear it won’t out-crawl an Axial SCX10, but it’s still a blast to watch it take on crazy obstacles that even the heavily modified trail trucks won’t do. I’ve seen them hucked off of cliffs, ford deep creeks (they float thanks to the tires), and climb some pretty gnarly hills…all the while driving away completely unscathed. It’s also cool to see a vehicle of that size plowing around the woods. Even an Axial Wraith looks small next to one.

The Traxxas Summit may not have solid axles or look super scale, but somewhere in that servo-laden monster truck chassis beats the heart of a scaler. I think that’s why it’s endeared itself to the community. The truck is the “crazy cousin who is fun to hang out with on the weekends” of the scale 4×4 r/c scene.

Looking for more scale r/c news on Big Squid? You can click here.

waterproof-scalers-1

Here’s a little secret for some of you guys – just because a vehicle isn’t “100% Waterproof®!” from the manufacturer doesn’t mean it will explode the moment it makes contact with the wet stuff. Many scalers work just fine in axle deep water without any modification whatsoever. I’ve blown way more stock servos on rocks than I have in shallow water (none). Don’t be afraid to dip those tires in and get wet. Keep the water below your wheel nuts and most likely it’ll be fine without any modification. If you’re a river/mud rat like me though, you’ll need to do some upgrading.

Let’s start with the servo. Most scalers have the servo mounted directly on the axle and therefore it’s close to the ground. This makes it the most important thing to modify/upgrade first (IMO). You can seal one fairly easily by using silicone or opt for a nice waterproof unit. I recommend rocking the Hitec HS-5646WP (wrote about it here). It’s got a good amount of yank and has a street price of $54.99. I run it on all of my trail/mud trucks and it’s a quality product at a good price.

Up next is electronics. I think every major scaler currently on the market has a water resistant receiver box, but if you plan on boggin’ go ahead and wrap the rx in a balloon for an added layer of protection. A balloon is my method of choice for wrapping up the ESC as well. If you are geared conservatively you shouldn’t have a problem with heat. I recently ran a 3 hour RECON G6 with a ballooned Novak Timbuk 2 / Ballistic 18.5 Crawler system and it never got noticeably hot. I use a sealed plastic bag in my mega truck and it’s worked fine. Check out the pics of both below.

Speaking of brushless systems, if you are using a sensored one (and you pretty much have to for crawling) the sensor ports are going to be trouble. Back when we did our review of the Axial RECON G6 SCX10, Tim and Cubby got waterlogged because when I built the truck I didn’t bother sealing the sensor plugs and the snow did it in. Luckily it worked fine after drying out, though. After the review I used liquid electrical tape to seal both plug connections and it’s worked swimmingly (pun intended) ever since.

Sealing your axles is wise if you want to make sure your internals stay gunk-free. Marine bearing grease can be had on the cheap at many auto parts stores (a small tub will be more than enough) and you simply just pack the axles with the stuff. This keeps the muck and water out and assures that your axle guts will stay well lubed and rust free.

One last piece of advice for those of you looking to get your swamp buggy on – make sure you have some type of air source (compressor or canned) to blow off the vehicle after use. Pay special attention to your exposed bearings. If they aren’t sealed (another recommended upgrade) you need to keep them clean to avoid seizing. It’s also a good idea to hit the metal parts with a shot of WD-40 to avoid rust. If you do wind up with rusty screws just shoot them with a little Blaster Penetrating Catalyst (or other penetrating oil) and that should knock it off. Now get wet ya scallywags!

For more scale news on BigSquidRC you can click here.

king-sling-rc-mega-truck

The Trigger King R/C Mega Truck Series held it’s first official event last weekend in Wentzville, MO (suburb about 50 miles west of St. Louis). The series was put together to combine the fun of scaling/bashing with the excitement of full scale elimination mud racing. While the aforementioned mega trucks are the main event of the show, there is also a “run what ya brung” open class where any vehicle that can safely fit on the track is welcome.

The track consists of two similar “lanes” featuring jumps and mud holes where the drivers race against each other heads-up style. The event starts out with qualifying. Drivers are allowed to run each lane once and take their best of the two times. Qualifying not only seeds the elimination bracket, but the highest qualifier between trucks will always get lane choice. Once the brackets are set, it’s time for elimination racing. After each class crowned a winner, the track lane markers were removed and people started to freestyle bash on the open course.

The most popular setup for the mega class is combining Axial running gear with a CPE Barbarian chassis. The scale rice & cane tires were mainly narrowed Traxxas Maxx, Tamiya Clodbuster, or RC4WD Mud Bashers. All the trucks looked really scale (including replicas of the famous King Sling and Opielicious 1:1 mega trucks) and most of the drivers have finally figured out how to set these beasts up. The open class saw everything from Axial Wraith’s to Traxxas Slashes compete and were extremely wild to watch. When all was said and done, the event belonged to Jeff Bourgoine as he swept both classes (light blue Chevy Axial/Barbarian mega and black Traxxas Slash).

The series is something that myself and a few buddies have been wanting to launch for sometime now, so it was great to see everyone’s hard work pay off for a fun first event. And while us hardcore scalers got our fix, it was also great to see some of the noobs bash the crap out of their rigs. I had a blast running my “Mega Mule” and look forward to beating the snot out of my truck all summer long.

Click the “Read More” below to get event results and see a ton of pictures.

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rc-scaler-trail-backpackThe passing of Memorial Weekend means the unofficial start of summer. It also means scaling season is now in full swing! In an ongoing effort to educate newbie scalers, here’s a quick guide to something many people overlook until they are broke down in the woods – a backpack. I know I’ve mentioned a backpack in passing before, but I recently solicited my scaling club for a consensus on what to pack. The resulting list is what everyone agreed on. I didn’t include spare parts because this is a general guide, but obviously packing things like extra driveshafts, c-hubs and knuckles  (these are the most common broken plastic parts on Axial trucks) will never hurt.

Hex/Screw Drivers - This is the most important thing on the list. No matter whether you are driving a bone stock Tamiya High-lift or a Vanquish’d out competition Axial Wraith, a loose screw can stop them all in their tracks. Make sure you carry 3 or 4 vehicle appropriate drivers. Blue thread lock is also not a bad idea. If you don’t have a good wrench set at least make sure you take some allen wrenches.

Wheel Wrench – Much like a good driver set, this is crucial. You may need to remove a wheel to makes a repair or tighten up a nut that’s loose.

Magnet - This may sound like an odd thing to have initially, but when you inevitably lose a screw or misplace a body clip (very easy to do in dirt or grass) a small magnet is invaluable.

Needle Nose Pliers - A set of pliers has saved me numerous times when something has become tangled in the drive train. If you run anywhere near large bodies of water you will probably experience a nasty case of fishing line tangle at some point (trust me, you may not see it but it’s there). The same thing goes for roots and weeds when running in densely wooded area. Oh, and you may need them for field repairs.

Knife - A good knife is always handy. It’s also great for getting your vehicle out of really nasty tangles like moss.

Duct/Servo/Electrical Tape - I’ve (hilariously) seen vehicles make it back to the trail head multiple times by the power of the all mighty duct tape. From busted four links, broken shock caps, and even pretzeled driveshafts, duct tape can get you back without making a walk of shame. Servo tape is necessary for when you electronics come loose, and electrical tape can patch up wires or in some cases even patch up de-soldered lead.

Zip Ties - Much like a good roll of duct tape, zip ties are great for “in a pinch” field repairs.

Extra Battery (if lipo have a safety sack) – Always good to have extra juice in case a battery dumps or you decide to play an extra long time. Most scale off-road trucks can last an hour or two with a single 5000 mah pack (most average powerplants), but this can deplete much faster if you are using a lot of wheel speed.

Bottled Water – It seems this is what most people forget. A truck that starts getting hot can be turned off to cool down but you don’t have that luxury. Stay hydrated!

A Friend With a Backpack Carrying All of the Above - If you have this you can skip the above suggestions. What, you think I’m joking?

For more scale news on BigSquidRC click here.

rc-mega-truck

It’s Memorial Day Weekend here in the States, so before getting into this weeks piece let me give a big THANK YOU to all the veterans out there! My younger brother (also a lifetime r/c junkie) just went on a six month Air Force deployment to the Middle East so a big hello if you’re reading this! Our soldiers sacrifice so much so people like you and me can go out and do nonsensical things like play with toy trucks every weekend. And playing with toy trucks is exactly what I’m gettin’ ready to do.

Well, toy cars I suppose. I’m taking my Pro-Line Pro-2 oval car out for it’s maiden race this weekend at the SmacTrac Midwest Shootout in St. Charles, MO. Speaking of that, I appreciate all the nice feedback I received for the build article last week. I know oval isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it’s my goal to try and showcase some of the “r/c paths less traveled”. Anyways, I’m a bit nervous getting back in the saddle again for a competitive race. Will part #2 of the build series consist of a wadded up hunk of plastic and wires? I guess we’ll all find out soon, heh.

I’ve also been seriously wrenching on my Mega Truck preparing for the first Trigger King RC Mega Truck Series race on June 1st in Wentzville, MO. I put together the series with a couple friends and we’ve been feverishly working to create a difficult track full of mud, air, and close racing. I’ve also changed up my mud truck considerably since my last build article and I’ll be detailing what I’ve done to it very soon. Here’s our plans for the track, most of which is laid out and already finished.

rc-mega-truck-track

Ok all, I’m keeping it short this week. Enjoy the weekend, be safe and pull LOTS of trigger.

For more scale news on BigSquidRC you can click here.

proline-pro-2-dirt-oval-modified

While I haven’t raced in around 4 years, each spring when the weather turns I start getting the itch to build an oval car. Sure, I spent the majority of my “racer days” doing the off-road thing, but once I first went WFO and got sideways with a friend’s open wheel modified I quickly became a convert. I wound up purchasing a Losi Mini Late Model and enjoyed racing it for a season to get my feet wet. Soon I was involved in a variety of classes and fielding multiple cars before coming down with a nasty case of general racing burnout. I got rid of all my race cars/trucks but always knew I’d be back someday.

Let’s get something out of the way; I’m well aware that the thought of racing in a circle sounds very boring to many people. Heck, I won’t really disagree with you….if we are talking asphalt or carpet that is. I subscribe to the thinking”Asphalt is for getting to the track, dirt is for racing.” I love the speed and mayhem that comes with the dirt and I’m a big fan of World of Outlaws racing. I try taking in my local Saturday night short track program whenever I can. Several longtime buddies of mine own 1:1 cars and battle at tracks across the midwest every weekend (at least as often as their bank accounts will allow). So yeah, I loves me some dirt trackin’.

A "stock" Pro-Line Pro-2 Short Course Truck (w/ extended rear body mount)

My “stock” Pro-Line Pro-2 Short Course Truck (w/ extended rear body mount) before getting the oval treatment.

As it pertains to this piece, my home region (St. Louis, MO) is a hotbed of r/c dirt oval racing and every year it seems another track springs up. I can count 4 really nice ones within about an hours driving distance from me. All of them have very active communities and *gasp* are super accommodating to noobs (gee, I can’t imagine why they are successful).

While sprint cars and late models are really popular (Custom Works, Murfdogg, and Hyperdrive are a few popular manufacturers) I’m particularly drawn to the open wheel modified short course class. Some of the constant gripes you hear about off-road SC racing (the trucks are too big, races are too rough, etc) are precisely why they’ve caught on like wild fire as a DO class. The vehicles are easy to convert and look scale as they carve their way around the track. They are a blast to drive and are known for being a rubbin’ is racin’ type of wild class. You have to go into a race fully expecting contact and know how to deal with it. Given that the vehicles are normally packing big power, the wrecks are often spectacular. And while pretty much any short course truck can be converted to a modified car, my weapon of choice is a Pro-Line Pro-2 topped by a BBE (Bodies by Ed) modified body.

Click the “Read More” below to read the full article.

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cliff-cave-rc-trail-run12With beautiful weather on tap, last weekend my scaling club decided it would be a good time to explore a new trail. We hit up Cliff Cave Park, just south of St. Louis, MO (a popular spot with the Big Squid Bash Crew), and decided to run a very tight stretch of mountain bike trail to see what it held. Batteries were charged, parts were packed, and off we went into the woods.

The pack of vehicles was very diverse with many manufacturers represented; Axial, Gmade, Tamiya, RC4WD, Vaterra, TraxxasRedcat, and various scratch built rigs were out roaming the wild. Variety is the spice of life and it’s great to see so many quality options available right now.

As we trekked uphill in a single file line we kept finding rock formation after rock formation to tackle. The best part about trailing is finding a good spot and seeing who can make it over or through…even if it destroys your vehicle in the process. The wooded forest canopy finally gave way to what we were looking for; expansive craggy bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. The view of the river and park from the high vantage point was spectacular. The terrain was also top notch as the jagged rock was a blast to crawl. We eventually made our way back down to the trail head and decided to play in the adjacent creek before calling it a day.

By the end of the afternoon we were all tired and many of the trucks were broke or waterlogged. Nonetheless, a great time was had by all. Days like this are why I love scaling.


Click the “Read More” below for more pictures.

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