The short course class has exploded in the last couple of years. 1/18 scale cars have also been quite popular over the same timeframe. It was only a matter of time before a 1/18 scale short course class popped up. Duratrax was the first to market with their Vendetta SC, but Team Associated has now thrown their hat into the ring. These two will be competing on the track for some time to come. I’m not much of a racer though, just a basher. So is the SC18 a good fit for us bashers?
Team Associated’s SC18 is one of their latest entries in the 1/18 scale market. The SC18 is a ready-to-run, belt driven, 4wd, short course truck powered by a 370 size electric motor. It’s electroncs package consists of AE’s new 2.4 GHz, 3-channel XP3-SS radio, a forward/reverse electronic speed control, a micro servo with attached servo saver, and a micro 4-channel receiver with programmable failsafe. The drivetrain rides on a full set of ball-bearings and it is protected by an adjustable slipper clutch. All of the tie-rods and links are solid pieces, no adjustments are available. Also included are an 1100 mAh 7.2v 2/3A battery pack, an overnight wall charger, tools, and decals. All you need to complete the SC18 is eight AA batteries for the transmitter. The MSRP is $280, but you should be able to find it at most hobby shops for around $200 or less.
Quite a few people assume that a RTR can just be taken out of the box, have the batteries installed, and be driven. If you’re one of those people it’s time to reconsider. Before driving it for the first time you should give your new r/c car the once over. Check for loose screws, make sure the wheels and drivetrain move freely, check if the suspension binds, or if the shocks have leaked. If you find a problem with your car, fix it before you drive it.
I gave my SC18 a good inspection and was very impressed by the assembly quality. Nothing needed tightening, adjusting, or fixing, it was well put together. Even the slipper clutch was set right. To get the truck ready all I had to do was put the antenna tube into it’s holder and stick some numbers to the number plates. The only thing left to do was charge the battery pack. I’m a very impatient person, so the included wall-wart charger wasn’t going to cut it. I put the battery on my MRC Super Brain 977 charger and set it to charge at two amps. 30 minutes later my pack was ready, so much better than waiting overnight.
I packed up my SC18, charger, some tools, and a couple extra battery packs and took off to find some appropriate bashing spots. I called my brother to go along so he could drive while I took all the awesome photos.
Our first choice for bashing was a dirt lot that is commonly used by dirt bike and quad riders. It’s main feature is a large hill that has many trails, jumps, and ledges all over it. There is a lot of soft dirt and weeds here though. We soon learned that those are virtual no-gos for the SC18. The limited ground clearance and small tires are the problem. In soft dirt, pegging the throttle will cause the tires to spin and dig in until the chassis is sitting flat on the ground. You have to very gingerly handle your throttle until you get out of it. Weeds pretty much stopped the SC18 right in it’s tracks when we tried to drive over them.
Our next stop was the local skate park. The SC18 really showed off it’s durability here as we skyed it off of pyramids, bowls, transitions, and steps. There was plenty of potential for damage as the SC18 flipped and tumbled it’s way around the park, but nothing broke. The only damage was purely cosmetic. The SC18 was very popular with the kids at the park, they all stopped to take notice and let us have the run of the park for about 20 minutes in exchange for a little wheel time. The SC18 performed well on the cement surface, there was quite a bit of oversteer, but that was easily fixed by adjusting the dual-rate on the transmitter. It also flew through the air quite nicely, but tended to nose down. Bad landings nearly always resulted in the SC18 rolling back over on it’s wheels and ready to go.
The performance of the SC18 at our first stop really made us consider our options for the third venue. We found another open lot that is popular with BMX riders. There were a lot of smaller jumps, a rhythm like section, and also plenty of flat, open space free of weeds. The ground was very hard packed and a little dusty, which seems to be just about as perfect an off-road surface as you’re going to find for the SC18. It really was dialed for this surface right out of the box. Being 4wd, the SC18 was super responsive and didn’t want to spin out at all. It handled the jumps and rhythms gracefully as well. Throughout the day the stock battery provided an average of about ten minutes of run time before it noticably started to die.
Disassembly for maintenance and cleaning was relatively easy thanks to the detailed instructions in the SC18′s manual. The sealed drivetrain did it’s job and kept all the crud out. Nothing came loose during any of the running. I haven’t really had to do any real maintenance so far, just clean up.
The small size of the SC18 is certainly a plus in the bashability column as you’ll need much less room to have a good time. A few minuses though are the low ground clearance, small tires, and little suspension travel, which limit you to only smooth and well groomed surfaces. The SC18 looks great, all of the small details make it very visually appealing. The durability is VERY basher friendly. The fact that it survived everything we threw at it unscathed is a testament to the materials and engineering that went into the SC18 to keep it tough. The SC18 can certainly be bashed around with gusto and come back asking for more.
But at the end of the day I would say this truck is more appropriate for people involved in club racing at a nice track than it is for those just wanting to get out and tear up the dirt. If you’re looking for something that’s just as small but more bashable, I would say go with a RC18T.
|Recommended venues||Similar vehicles|
|Time To Bash||9.0/10||Add batteries, stick on your numbers, secure the antenna tube, and go.|
|Workability||7.0/10||The SC18 is easy to work on but small cars mean small parts, have a container handy to keep them from disappearing.|
|Car Show Rating||6.5/10||The decals, paint, and body are high quality and look good, but it should have come stock with real life paint schemes like the SC10.|
|Bash-A-Bility||6.0/10||Yeah, it’s bash worthy if you have the right surface to run it on, but it’s more suited to racing on well groomed tracks.|
|Big Squid Rating||7.5/10||The SC18 is a great performer on the right surfaces, extremely durable, and the price is right. But it’s also very limited for an off-road truck because of it’s low ground clearance, little suspension travel, and small tires.|