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What's new: Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Novak wants you to dump the Velineon system from your Slash 4×4.  Why would they want you to do that?  Because they have a replacement for it.  They’ve taken their sportsman class, inexpensive GTB 2 ESC, paired it with their Ballistic 550 motor and have called it GTB 2 / Ballistic 550 Traxxas 4WD BL Combo.  Among all the usual features of the GTB 2 system, which include one-touch programming, built in low-voltage cutoff, and minimum and drag brake settings, there is now a preinstalled Traxxas High-Current Connector.  The motor is a long , 4.5 turn, 550 size which will produce the huge amount of torque that you need to get your Slash 4×4, or any other 4wd short course truck, moving along at a respectable clip.

The GTB 2/550 Traxxas 4wd combo will be available sometime next month at a list price of $339, though street price should be much lower.  Check out the Novak website for more info.

DE Wheels for Losi TEN-SCTE

Lookin’ for some new wheels for your Losi TEN-SCTEDE Racing has you covered.  Their new line of Trinidad wheels offer many of the same features you’ve come to know from DE Racing such as:

- Bolt-on OEM fit
- Realistic Scale Appearance
- ROAR legal widths and diameters
- Fits both front and rear of TEN-SCTE
- Made in the U.S.A.

They are currently avaliable in black, but will be released in white and silver soon.  Head over to DE Racing and check ‘em out!

What's new: Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

From: Electrix RC
Direct Link: Electrix Ruckus

Review by Brian

Electrix Ruckus

When we first heard about the Electrix brand, it was one of those situations where you knew there was only two possible outcomes. There have been a good handful of companies that have tried to put out a very economical and durable RC, and most seem to fail. Did Electrix pull off a win, or were they going to follow in the footsteps of many.. keep reading to find out.. READ MORE

The latest issue of HobbyTown‘s Hobby Outlook digital magazine has just been published and we have, once again, contributed an article of awesome utility. We show you how to assemble an all in one portable charging box. Inside the easy to carry case you will find two chargers, a power distribution panel, and 12 volt battery to power it all when away from the grid. You can read the magazine embedded after the break or you can click on through to the Hobby Outlook page for a look at the current and past issues. Our article starts on page 12.

What's new: Monday, March 14th, 2011

So now Team Associated has come to their senses and released their RC Cheat Sheets smart phone app for Android based phones.  It shares all the same features as the iPhone version, but now it works on phones that don’t require you to wear black turtleneck shirts and thick framed glasses.  Some of those features include setup sheets for most AE cars and trucks, a lap counter, maintenance checklist, and various calculators for gear ratio, roll out, final drive ratio, and transmission ratio.  There’s a ton of other tools included as well and since it’s only $2.99 in the Android Market, it won’t cost you a lot to find out what else is in there.

Check out the Team Associated website for more info.

Cubby The season opener of F1 is just around the corner, the cars roll off for the first practice session in 10 days, 17 hours, 12 minutes and 8 seconds, but who’s counting? LOL

Chad Reed pulled the holeshot Saturday night at the AMA Supercross in Indy, then later on the first lap Ryan Villopoto blew by him in a rhythm section like he was dragging a boat anchor. RV2 laid down 20 solid laps and took yet another win, putting him a full race ahead of the entire field in the overall points. Leading by a full race is great for RV2, but has got to have Bubba (and Reed, and Dungey) in full on panic mode.

The Monster/Pro-Circuit/Kawi/Traxxas Lites team had a rough time in Indy. Last weeks winner Blake Bagget got squirrelly while leading and dorked it over the finish line jump, while his teammate Deanooo Wilson has been suffering from a bad case of “WTF?” the last couple weeks. The Monster/PC team rarely struggles for long, they’ll be putting Traxxas back on the top spot on the podium before you know it.

I hear our “Tuesday Review” is going to be some type of Horizon truck. Which truck is it, and how well did it handle Brian and Bills relentless bashing? Tune in Tuesday to find out.

What happens when you hand the controller of the new Venom Gambler Brushless short course truck to Adam “the lead fingered” Intern? Well… just stay tuned, we’ll have the complete test up in a few weeks.

Can you believe it? Brian “Chuck Norris” Kinwald is back with Thunder Tiger/Associated after all these years, and I gotta say he looks damn good in AE blue. Brian is a living legend, here’s to seeing BK at a bunch of events this year under the AE banner. And… he doesn’t even have to win, it’s great PR for AE just to have him under their tent again. Brian won enough for 10 pro careers back in the 90′s, and while it would be nice to see him back on top again, AE are gonna get every pennies worth from the PR and R & D he’ll be delivering to them.

How many times have I mentioned that a sanctioning body really only has two major responsibilities- 1. make rules and 2. to provide officials? Over the past 2 years I’ve probably mentioned that a dozen times. Well, it seems the head cheese at ROAR thinks that getting on internet forums and looking like a vitriolic idiot is also a priority (hey, that’s my job!). I mean seriously, didn’t ROAR get the memo about how internet forums work? I guess they didn’t, so ROAR, here’s two free lessons (next time I’m charging, so pay achtung!)-

Lesson one- nobody EVER wins an argument on an internet forum. You can be Steven Hawking, LosiDude420, or freak’n Thomas “Neo” Anderson, and you will never win a forum argument. If you are a sanctioning body, your time is better spent making rules and providing officials than doing something you can never win.

Lession two- while there can never be a winner, it is very quite possible that there can be a loser. How can that be? Well… if you take a person with a real name (the better known they are, the worse it is for them.. LOL), and put them against the anonymous hordes, the person with the real name will Always be the loser. They will always end up coming across as an @sshole during a forum argument. Hell, even the “real person” taking the time to respond to the anonymous hordes comes across as a loss, no matter how right or wrong they may actually be on the subject matter. To boil it down, it’s better to stay off the forums entirely than come across negatively.

On to better news……

What’s in the water over at Horizon/Losi? Must be something good, as their new Losi 1/10th XXX SCB short course/scale buggy is exactly what the market is looking for right now. The Losi XXX SCB isn’t the first entry into that genre, as the Kyosho Ultima DB (desert buggy) has been out for quite some time, but it takes a name like Losi to cement in consumers minds that it’s a class worth having.

Anywhos- what exactly is the XXX SCB? Scroll down a bit to see photos of it on our main page, but essentially it’s a 10th scale 2wd electric buggy (off a XXX platform) that looks very scale. I suck at predictions, I was the guy that said the Slash would never sell, and that the HPI Mini-Trophy truck was the next big thing, but I really like the SCB (perhaps the kiss of death for it? LOL). I hate Horizon/Losi with a passion, but I REALLY want an XXX SCB. Around the office people are split, half REALLY like it, the other half think it’s just a bit off the mark, leaving the door open to competitors who put out an even more scale appearing buggy. Does it have what it takes to do for the buggy class what the Traxxas Slash did for truck? Looks like we’ll find out this summer, can’t wait to drive/race/bash one!

Dear Associated, here’s your official memo about the 10th scale desert/short course buggy class- you need one, and fast. Associated- you are late to the party again. (Where’s the Associated that we all remember and love who were ahead of the curve, not two years behind it?)

I’ve run out of satire for this week. Thanks for reading, get out, support your hobby, and hit up your LHS, tracks and local bash spots!

YOUR Cub Reporter

What's new: Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Axial Rock Racer
A reader just sent in a link to a few images of what may be a Axial rock racer in the near future! Now were talking! I always enjoyed having the ‘fastest’ rock crawler when I was at events.. while others were climbing, I was jumping! I’m excited to see where this goes. We don’t have a lot of info at this time, but it looks sweet, and everyone in the office is saying ‘yes please!’ Thanks to Matt for the heads up!

Axial Rock Racer Axial Rock Racer
Check out Axial’s site, maybe some details will show up soon!

March Bashness

[Update: Comments are now closed, we took the 16 most popular names from your comments below and now we’re building the bracket, keep an eye on the front page for the first round of polling, coming very soon.]

Ok Big Squid RC readers, listen up! This is your chance to voice your opinion for best bashing vehicle! This is how it’s going to work, post in the comments what vehicle you think should be put into our bracket for best bashing vehicle! It can be ANY vehicle you think is worthy of being voted ‘Best Basher!’ This is going to be completely based on readers choice and voting! We will take the top 16 vehicle people think belong in the bracket, then we will create the bracket and every few days allow the readers to vote online for what vehicle moves on, and what one goes home. At then end, there can be only one, and it will be up to our readers to decide! As we get close to the finals, look for some sort of contest, where we’ll pick a random winner from the voters to win something sweet! (prize TBA)

So the comments for this post are ON! You can even suggest a few vehicles if you like, they don’t have to be new, but they do have to be available! (No votes from the future). Please no wars in the comments, we don’t need to know why one sucks, or why one is better, just comment what vehicle you think should be in the bracket!

What's new: Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Need some bling and durability? The folks over at GH Racing have some new aluminum hop-up parts for you!

Aluminum Receiver Box Aluminum Receiver Box
First up they have a new Aluminum Receiver Box for the Traxxas 1/16 Vehicles, E-Revo, Slash, Rally and Summit. It replaces the stock plastic receiver box and comes in Red, Orange and Silver!

Aluminum Servo Horn Aluminum Servo Horn
Next up is an Aluminum Servo Horn for the HPI Mini Trophy Truck! They have a 24T for the Hitec Servo and 25T for Futaba. These are available in Red or Orange.

Aluminum Wrench Set Aluminum Wrench Set
Finally, they have two new Mini Wrench sets. Standard size has 3 pieces with 3/16, 1/4, and 11/32, and a Metric set with 4.5, 5.0, 5.5 and 7.0.

Head over to the official GH Racing site for details.

Photo of the Week:

By Ariel Leshinsky

Build Log: PontiacGT201′s SCX10 Project with recent changes.

Build Log 2: Building a kit isn’t that hard, don’t be afraid. – A good step-by-step log of building a Tamiya CR-01.

Not quite jetpacks and flying cars: Short Course Buggies – The Future?

True basher vs. rest of the world: Not much to see here, but it’s funny that a guy wants to go balls out crazy with a dual motored Savage Flux and everybody else is saying it’s too much and silly to do. Those people obviously don’t know that there’s no such thing as too much when it comes to our toys.

Quake Aftermath: A couple pictures from Kyosho’s warehouse and office in Japan, obviously there are others that are much worse off than this. If you can spare a few bucks the Red Cross is already on the front lines of the disaster and could use it.

Video of the Week:

What's new: Thursday, March 10th, 2011

We would like to start off by thanking Jeff and Axial for their time, and for being the first in one of our new segments where we talk to people at the top of the fastest moving companies in RC. These interviews are not just with the company PR guys, we go as high up the food chain as possible, and try to ask the hard questions nobody else would dare ask.

Jeff Johns of Axial Big Squid: Can you please tell who you are, your official title at Axial, how you obtained this title, and when.

JJ: My name is Jeff Johns; title is President/CEO of Axial. I’m part owner and one of the founders of Axial. My business partner and I started Axial in 2005.

Big Squid: Was this your first venture into the world of RC? What/where were You before Axial?
JJ: My first venture into RC was in the early 80’s when my cousin and I built a Tamiya 1/10th Scale Sand Scorcher. I’ve been in the RC industry for a little over 12 years. I started with a major brand in RC in 1998 and then started Axial in 2005.

Big Squid: Going back a few years, there’s a video on Big Squid RC where Axial was showing the Robitronic Trophy Truck in their booth at iHobby. We also remember everyone was trying to figure out how to jam a Axial .28 into a T-Maxx. In the blink of a eye, that Axial changed to the current Axial. What happened? How did it happen? Did it seem overnight to you, or did you see this change coming?

JJ: Axial started as an engine, body, accessory company in 2005. Our engine line took off as the performance to dollar vale was really high. From there, we focused on delivering a wider variety of engines and engine accessories. As our engine line and accessories were received well by consumers, we started working with our friends at Robitronic in 2006 to help them get established in the USA. The Robitronic line did well for us. But our vision for being a bigger part of the industry and offering a complete car kit was where we wanted to be. In 2007, we released our first kit – the AX10 Scorpion 1/10th Scale Rock Crawler.

Our focus on kits and engines continues to be a large part of our business and with the success of each new kit release, so has accessories for those kits. I feel we are sticking to our business plan from the start. We’re thankful for the reception of the Axial brand from our consumers, retail outlets and distributors.

Jeff Johns Axial Big Squid: Who and how did you come up with the design for the XR10? It’s a radical change from the other vehicles in your product line.

JJ: Since the AX10 revolutionized RC Rock Crawling, with the competition side of RC Rock Crawling moving to the next level. Axial wanted give back to the people who helped us get to where we are today by setting the bar at a level that would again revolutionize RC Rock Crawling. The XR10 was developed from our years of competition experience input from AX10 designer Matt Kearney, XR10 designer Brandon Coonce, team drivers and our customers.

Big Squid: Speaking of XR10, what’s up with all the Vanquish Support? Not only did they have products in the kit, but tons of aftermarket stuff ready the day it shipped! Someone at Axial own Vanquish? What’s the deal there?

Losi‘s latest is going off in a different direction.  After more than a few releases aimed at the racing market, we now have a vehicle that appears to be giving Kyosho’s Ultima DB a bit of a run for it’s money.  This buggy is kinda based on the XXX platform and outfitted with some great scale looking roll bar pieces and the 2.2″/3.0″ Eclipse tire and wheel combination from the XXX-SCT.  The RTR comes with a LiPo compatible ESC, powering a LM-32k brushed 550 motor, a Losi DSM 2.4 GHz radio system, and a three piece Lexan body.  It’ll be available in Stronghold, ReadyLift, and Rockstar liveries, just like the XXX-SCT.

The XXX-SCB will be available soon with an MSRP of $319.99.  For more info click on through to the Horizon website.


Cubby- In a previous edition of ASK Cub Reporter I posted a letter from a Tommy K. that was about his Slash having poor range after he got it wet. At the end of my post I asked Tommy to shoot us a letter back to let us know what the problem ended up being, so here is the scoop (and a good testimonial about Traxxas customer service).

“So, I found out Traxxas has a drop-off window at their corporate office to accept walk-in service requests. I took my separation anxiety stricken slash in on my lunch break on a nice Friday afternoon. A friendly service tech came and hand me fill out some paper work and give him my Slash for repair. Since we weren’t sure what exactly the problem was, I just gave him everything. He took my phone number and said they would call when the work was done and that it would take 3 to 5 business days. About a week later, I received an email from Traxxas stating that they tested my Slash with their transmitter and had no problem, but since I didn’t send in my transmitter they were unable to diagnose it but guessed the problem was with the transmitter. They also said they would ship the Slash back to me soon. I emailed back that this was wrong and told them that I had given them my transmitter and requested they not ship anything. It was a Saturday morning and I was worried my request would go un-noticed and come Monday morning I would have a package en-route and an even larger problem.

So far, this isn’t the happiest service experience. Stay with me though. I called their service department on Monday and told the friendly guy on the phone what happened. He was able to pull up my service ticket number and see all the correspondence. He put me on hold for about five minutes and went to talk to the technician that worked on my Slash. When he got back, he said that the transmitter wasn’t with the Slash when it got to the tech and he didn’t know what had happened to it. The service rep then promised to look into it some more and call me back the next day. I waited for a call all day Tuesday and then around 6:00 pm he called me back. The first thing he did was apologize for taking so long to get back to me but that it took a while to resolve my problem. I don’t think they ever found my transmitter, but he said since the tech department felt that was the problem, they were giving me a new one and I could come pick everything up at my convenience.

Yes, there was a goof-up and they made a mistake. Through the whole process though, I was treated kindly and they never got angry or made me feel like it was my fault. They honored their warranty and supported their product 100%, no questions asked. Traxxas not only makes good product. They treat customers the right way.
Tommy K”

Cubby- To boil it down, it was the transmitter that had gone bad, and Traxxas did a good job of making things right. Thanks for letting us know how it turned out Tommy, and props to Traxxas for taking care of their customers like they should.

Can you send me some stickers?

But I also have another question. I have 2 Ice chargers and I only use Lipo batteries but they don’t balance charge. Is there some way to balance with them or do I need to buy new chargers?
Skip W.

Cubby- What’s up Skip? Thanks for the email.

Can you have some stickers? Sure no problem, you can click on the BSRC Shop link at the top of the page, or you can shoot me your mailing addy and I’ll send some to ya.

Can you balance charge with a Duratrax ICE charger?