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What's new: Monday, January 10th, 2011

For you Cougar SV owners in the audience Schumacher has a couple new pieces to make your buggy a bit more competitive.  Their new Chassis +8mm is exactly what it sounds like: a chassis with 8mm of length added to it.  The additional length changes the weight balance of the Cougar, shifting more weight to the rear of the buggy.  This, according to Schumacher, makes the Cougar more stable, easier to drive, and adds more rear traction on medium and low grip surfaces.

To complement the chassis, Schumacher also has a new top deck, which is also longer to match up to the additional length of the chassis.  It has also been designed to “provide optimal flex” for the new, longer chassis.

Both of these items are available now.  The chassis + 8mm has a price of £47.49 (or about $75 at current exchange rates) and the top deck is going for £14.99 (about $25) on the Schumacher store, though you should check with your local hobby shop for actual prices.  Hit up the Schumacher web site for more info.

Cubby Helloooo friends, and welcome back yet again to another amazingly tart edition of THE Cub Report, your weekly (sarcastically written) guide to our hobby.

Just after the start of each new year it doesn’t take long for full scale racing to get rocking. The Dakar rally is once again underway, and Feld/FIM Supercross kicked off its 2011 season last Saturday night in Anaheim California. Congrats to Monster/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto for taking the win against one of the most stacked supercross fields in years. Keep your tv tuned to Speed channel next Saturday night as the second round is aired live, just like the opening round was. While you are watching, keep an eye out for Traxxas commercials (featuring Mitch Payton’s Monster/Pro Circuit riders) and Traxxas banners lining the track.

So……… Traxxas announced that they are now the “official hobby class radio control truck of Monster Energy Supercross”. Ok, first off, some people just do not understand why Traxxas would ever want to sponsor a motorcycle series, I mean the big TRX doesn’t even sell an rc motorcycle. Here’s the answer, and it’s real simple- to cross market their current products to potential consumers who not already in our hobby. And just why would Traxxas want to market to the supercross crowd? For lots of good reasons, with the most important one being to simply make more money.

Traxxas could be the “exclusive rc car of bowling”, or the “official rc boat of underwater basket weaving”, but they aren’t, they chose to put their money into supercross, and for good reason. Supercross has slowly made itself mainstream- now it’s fashionably “hip” to wear Fox clothing (but the newly revived JT is sooo much cooler), to know who Ryan Dungey is, and to watch Bubba’s World on Fuel TV. And not only is supercross “hip”, but it’s Huge. The 2011 supercross calender sports 17 events, typically sold out to around 40-50,000 live spectators, and has a large tv audience of consumers in the perfect target demographic to market hobby grade rc products to. So once again, as much as I want to hate Traxxas, they’ve got their sh*& together, and are more than doing their part to put hobby rc products into the mainstream. So thanks Traxxas, you are helping the entire hobby, and more than a few of us out here appreciate it.

There are nothing but upsides for going mainstream with hobby rc. Quite simply, the more mainstream it blows up, the more money r & d departments have to engineer uber new gear for us core rc’ers, and the more people we have to race and bash with. But, there are some a#$munchers in our hobby that insist that going mainstream will ruin everything. They insist that having a bunch of noobs running around is a bad thing. These same people hate answering noob questions, and hate helping noobs perform routine maintenance. These are the people that feel their uber high tech rc race machines are well beyond what a mainstream noob should ever own. These people are the hobby snobs, people too dumb to realize that even the most uber 8th scale racing buggy is still a toy, plain and simple. If these people were to actually start working within the hobby, they’d realize that. Or even simpler, if they need confirmation they are indeed playing with toy cars, no matter how esoteric (or expensive) they might think, all they need to do is show up at Any form of full scale racing with their rc. If they were to do this, they’ll find out rc is cool, it is fun, but it’s just a bug in the grill of a full scale race machine, and the full scale driver risks life and limb while going for it, not just a broken $5 a-arm. Huge difference between rc (toy) and full scale (potential death around every corner).

These hobby snobs somehow get joy out of running people away from our hobby, and if you’ve been in this hobby more than a few months, I’m certain you’ve met your fair share of them. I will admit I was one of them too before I started working within the hobby, but two things allowed me to see the light. The first one was a Saturday afternoon when I was walking around a very busy suburban mall with an IFMAR world champion. I thought he was gonna be recognized all over the place, signing juggies and babies, but after walking around a mall for two hours, not one person seemed to know who he was. The second eye opener for me was a conference call with one of the industry big hitters just after I got into the industry. This man is a living legend in our hobby and while the hobby has clothed and fed his family for the last 20 years, it was obvious to me that he was vastly more concerned about what brand of tire to put on his full size Benz than with anything going on within the hobby. That particular person realized that an rc car is a great hobby and a lot of fun (and a way to making a living), but it’s not what the world revolves around like the hobby snobs will try to make you think.

Anyways…. in other big news, guess what? Traxxas had the other big news of the week with their new officially licensed Grave Digger and other monster truck models. I totally get this, if you are the big TRX, you pay the big bucks for the licensing fees, then put the cool bodies on an inexpensive chassis and sell a zillion of’em to noobs and Feld monster truck enthusiasts. I get it, but I don’t dig it. If a company wants to cut the gigantic check for use of the Grave Digger name and likeness, they might as well design a realistic chassis under it (fyi- a 2wd Pede is NOT it). An officially licensed Grave Digger truck that is scale (inside and out) would just be soooooo much more uber than what Traxxas is putting out. Real rc hobbyists would dig it, and genuine hardcore Grave Digger fans would as well. Oh well, maybe in the future…….

So…. after all the Traxxas news in the last couple weeks, in case you haven’t gotten the memo, Traxxas is kicking all the other manufactures a$$es. Associated? Pwned. Losi? Pwned. If what Traxxas is doing right now doesn’t light some serious fires under their competitors a$#es, nothing will. Sure, no doubt, I’m coming across like some Traxxas fanboy right now, but I’m only calling it like I see it- Traxxas owns the hobby showrooms, and are boldly surging forward while all the other rc manufactures look like bumbling fools. Harsh words for sure, but maybe it’ll open some eyes and get the competitions heads back into the game before they wake up smell nothing other than bankruptcy.

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading and support your local hobby shops, tracks and bash spots!

YOUR Cub Reporter

What's new: Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Traxxas 1/16 Summit 550 Traxxas 1/16 Summit 550

Haven’t seen this posted anywhere, so thought I’d share. It looks like Traxxas has a new version of the 1/16 Summit on the way! Looking through all the details, it appears to be identical to the current 1/16 Summit VXL except for the radio and ESC/Motor. This new version will come with the Traxxas AM radio and the Titan 12T 550 motor and XL-2.5 ESC! This is the same motor as some of the Traxxas 1/10th scale vehicles! It is still all waterproof and will be able to take a serious bashing.
Why a new version when there is already a brushless VXL version? My guess is to save us people on a budget about $100!

I’d tell you to hit the Traxxas web site for more info, but they don’t have this one listed yet. But after breaking the news here, expect it to be up on their site VERY soon, that’s usually how it goes.

Photo of the Week:

It’s still a slow time out there in interwebs land.  I guess most of you are still playing with your new R/C Christmas presents or maybe you’re still buried under snow.

Contest: Januray 2011 Photo Contest – Theme is Creative:SPECIAL EFFECTS, but no photoshopping!

Forum Thread: Ever do something dumb? – Yes, all the time.

Timely: How To Make “Suchomel Chains” – A new style of snow chains for your R/C car tires.

Video of the Week:


Stilzkin Indrik Arctic Vehicle
– R/C Lego tracked vehicles.

What's new: Friday, January 7th, 2011

Update: We uploaded a video from Traxxas of these trucks in action, it’s embedded after the break.  The video sheds some light on other trucks that will be included in the lineup.  You can also expect to find Monster Mutt and Maximum Destruction in addition to Grave Digger and Grinder.  Also, Traxxas is now the “Official RC Truck of Monster Jam.”

Traxxas seems to be big on the officially licensed stuff now-a-days.   The jammin’ monster trucks of Monster Jam are next in line to receive the Traxxas miniaturization treatment.  You can look forward to finding the Advance Auto Parts sponsored Grave Digger and  Grinder right next to all the Stampedes on hobby shop shelves very soon.  Traxxas didn’t stop at just the bodies though, they created a new set of wheels and tires to go along with them.  The wheels are a faux bead-lock style and the tires have been designed to look like the hand-carved tires that all real monster trucks use.  The electronics package will consist of Traxxas’ waterproof XL5 brushed speed control paired to a Titan 12T 550 motor and the TQ 27MHz AM radio system.  A 7-cell NiMH pack and charger are also included.  The announcement doesn’t go into much detail but from the looks of it Traxxas are using the old Stampede 2wd chassis as the basis of these new RTRs.

Hit up the Traxxas web site for more info.

READ MORE

Have you been snapping the front shock tower on your SC10 or T4 with shocking regularity?  Then you might want to invest in RPM‘s latest product, a drop-in replacement front shock tower that will also fit the RC10GT2.  Being made out of the Basher Approved RPM material makes this new part tough enough to survive crashes that would break the stock pieces.  But that’s not all, this re-engineered shock tower also weighs less than the stock tower.

So how much would you expect to pay for better features and greater peace of mind?  How does an MSRP of $9.95 sound?  Good, right?  Expect it to be hitting the hobby shop shelves soon.  Check out RPM’s web site for more info.

In a never ending attempt to market their small racing toys to big racing fans, Traxxas have now taken to giving away full scale motorcycles.  You may have recently heard (elsewhere, because I apparently dropped the ball) about Traxxas putting up the cash to become the “Official RC Truck of Supercross.”  Well to capitalize on that, at every round of the Supercross 2011 season Traxxas will be giving away a Kawasaki KX450 dirt bike that’s dolled up in Traxxas sponsorship style.  No details about how the giveaways are going to go down have been given yet, but I suspect you’ll have to attend one of the rounds of the Supercross 2011 season.

What's new: Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Cubby

Day after I day I patiently sit at my desk doing nothing other than waiting for your emails, thankfully this week you guys came through…


Hey guys, Been waiting on the De10 review forever. Any update ?
Mike

Cubby- You caught us with our pants down Mike, we’ve had a Duratrax DE 10 speedo in hand for weeks now but we still haven’t busted out the review. Because of your email, I have officially taken control of BigSquidRC and have demoted Brian from bigwhig down to cleaning crew, Jeffro from uber web dude down to gofer, and our wrench freak Bill down to, well, I guess wrenching is as far down the ladder as it goes. But seriously, we’ve been slack’n and we know it, so after one of our famous “no holds barred” meetings, we’ve decided to put really get to work and bust out a review EVERY Tuesday. So ya, you tune into BigSquid every single Tuesday and there will be a new “to the point- no bullsh*&- just what you need to know” review.

Oh and Mike, ya, it might still be a couple weeks before the Duratrax review goes up, but so far its worked flawlessly and the digital programmer is very easy to use.


“Wow!

Great work guys. What a fantastic site. I’m an old school RC guy from back in the Tamia Fox/RC-10 days. Just recently getting pulled back in. Your
site has some great information and it’s getting me back up to speed quickly. I’m currently running an SC10 Team Truck, an HPI Savage, a Losi SC Micro and my newest purchase yet to arrive is the 1/5 scale Killer Krawler. I’d love to see a Squid review on that beast. One of the advantages of being “old school”, you can afford all the cool new stuff.
Anyway, keep up the good work and I’ve got you firmly set in my favorites list.
Patrick

Cubby- Yo Patrick, thanks for the props, glad ya dig the site, and we hope to make it even better in 11′.


Hey guys I’ve only just heard of ur site and so far I’m diggin it. I’ve been off the r/c scene for a while but lookin to get back in. Just for starters I want something all-terrain and affordable but I also like speed. So I was thinking about the Evader DT. As it stands I think I’m gonna go with the EXT2 ST instead because it seems to show more potential. So the questions I have are… 1) is the tranny in the DT brushless ready should I want to upgrade it And 2) one thing I want is somethin to run in the snow so aside from the electronics what else needs to be sealed up if I were to purchase something like the traxxas Vilenion brushless set up? I’d greatly appreciate it if u could help me out. And… I WANT STICKERS!!! I’d gladly tat my new truck up with ur stuff.
Erich

Cubby- Hey now Erich, thanks for the email.

About question #1- Is the Duratrax Evader DT tranny “brushless ready”? Yes and no. We’ve run it on “typical” (2S low kv) BL power with no issues. So if you aren’t putting in crazy power, you shouldn’t have any issues. But… lets say you wanna crank in some ridiculous power (high cells counts and/or high kv’s), in that case the DT comes stock with a metal pinion, plastic spur, metal top shaft, plastic idler, plastic diff gear, metal planetary gears. and steel dog-bones. So…. to bomb proof the drivetrain for ultra high power use you’ll need to at least replace the idler (easy enough with Duratrax’s #DTXC8081- Aluminum Idler) and the diff gear. The most popular upgrade to the diff is to replace it with the one off an Associated B2. As far as I know, metal diff gears for the Evader are not readily available. If any of you readers out there have a hook-up for metal Evader diff gears, shoot us an email. Anywhos, the Associated B2 diff set-up can take substantially higher power than the stocker, but will not handle stupid power such as 3S plus.

Question 2- Once you’ve got all your electronics waterproofed, yes, there is still an issue with water/snow- your bearings. If you go out and get your snow drive’n on, the bearings in your wheels, tranny etc can (and will) rust in a matter of hours. After you run in snow/water, WD40 is your best friend, hit all your bearings with it.

Lastly, hit me with an addy and your stickers will be on the way.


That’s it for yet another week- submit your questions, comments, suggestions and apple pie recipes to Cubby at BigSquidRC dot com!

YOUR Cub Reporter

What's new: Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

RC Helicopter on TV

Adding yet another story to our RC On TV section, Adam spotted a guy trying to sell two nitro helicopters on the TruTV show Hardcore Pawn. The guy did a little demo with some 3D flying, but wanted too much for the Pawn guys to make a jump on the deal.

RC Helicopter on TV RC Helicopter on TV

Always cool to see RC getting a little mainstream tv coverage!

Hitec has decided that your RTR’s servo sucks.   So they’re offering you two new, affordable sport servos.  The HS-5495BH features Hitec’s “Karbonite” composite plastic gear set.  It puts out a respectable 89 oz/in at a transit time of 0.17 second when powered by 6 volts, or 104 oz/in at 0.15 second when juiced with 7.4 volts.  The HS-5496MH is built with an all metal gear set and offers up 83 oz/in, 0.18, at 6v or 100 oz/in, 0.15, at 7.4v.

These will be reasonably priced, likely going for about $30 for the HS-5495BH and just shy of $50 for the HS-5496MH.  Head on over to the Hitec web site for more info.

What's new: Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

The Losi XXX-SCT may be new to the scene but ST Racing Concepts is already on their way to producing big time hop-ups for it.  They sent along a bunch of CAD renderings for us to gaze at while we wait for them to hit the market around the third week of this month.  If it’s a part on the XXX-SCT, STRC is making an aluminum or carbon fiber piece to replace it.  You can expect hub carriers front and rear, steering knuckles, a steering bellcrank, bulkheads, a few carbon fiber braces and straps. plus a ton more.  Probably the trickest looking piece that they are preparing is the threaded aluminum shock bodies pictured at right.

The guys didn’t offer up any details on pricing at this point, but it’s probably safe to assume that they’ll fall in line with the aluminum hop-ups that STRC offers for the other short course trucks out there.  When we get more info it’ll be passed on to you.  Check out some of the renderings in the gallery below then hit up the ST Racing Concepts web site just for fun.

Thunder Power Z4R Brushless Thunder Power z3R brushless back

Starting off the new year with a bang, we just got word from Thunder Power RC announcing their new Z3R 540 Sensored Brushless Motors!
File this one in the “Didn’t see that coming” box! Known for their awesome LiPo Batteries, Thunder Power is tossing their hat into the brushless motor ring. They are introducing the Z3R-S Stock Spec and Z3R-M Modified 540-Class sensored brushless motors for cars, trucks buggies and more. They will be available in a ton of different winds, all ROAR approved and ready to rock. They have a feature on the back that allows easy adjusting of timing from 0-50 degrees and fast-switching to help maximize performance.

Pretty big news from the Thunder Power folks to start off the new year! Head over to the Thunder Power RC site for all the details!

The Stampede 4×4 is, by all accounts, a pretty awesome truck.  You know what would make it more awesome though?  RPM products all over it.  And wouldn’t you know it, just today we received a press release from the guys at RPM with a whole list of already existing RPM products that will fit the Stampede 4×4 just fine.  So if you got your Stampede 4×4 for Christmas and have been looking for hop-ups check out these compatible part numbers and prices.

  • 70362 – Rear Shock Tower – $10.95
  • 70392 – Front Shock Tower – $10.95
  • 73932 – Adjustable Height Body Mounts (Rear only) – $10.95
  • 80702 – Black Front or Rear A-arms – $11.95
  • 80705 – Blue Front or Rear A-arms – $11.95
  • 80732 – Rear Axle Carriers – $10.95