When it comes to uber-scale, RC4WD is known as the leader in the hobby. They recently updated a vehicle that in many ways is their flagship rig; the Trail Finder 2. Can this leaf spring equipped ‘Yota take a beating? Let’s find out.
Review By: Doug Welker
Pictures By: Doug Welker
RTR or Kit: RTR
2wd or 4wd: 4wd
Shaft or Belt: Shaft
Electric or Gas: Electric
Weight w/ battery: 6.5 lbs
Motor: RC4WD 45t (brushed)
Speed Controller: RC4WD Outcry (brushed) ESC w/ 5A Turbo BEC
Radio: XR3 3 Channel 2.4 ghz
Stability Control: No
Sound Module: No
Differential: Twin Locked
Shocks: Aluminum construction, internal springs
Servo Saver: No
Tires: RC4WD 1.55″ Mud Thrashers
Battery: Not Included
Part Number: Z-RTR0024
Street Price: $459.99
Warranty: 30 Days
Front wheel travel: 3/4″
Rear wheel travel: 3/4″
Wheelie on demand: No
Backflip off ramps: No
Top Speed (measured by BSRC): 3mph 2S, 4mph on 3S
Runtime (measured by BSRC): A looooooooooooong time on 5000 mah.
Primary Competition: All other 1/10 scale crawlers i.e. Axial, Vaterra, Gmade, and even RC4WD’s other models.
What’s Needed To Complete: A battery as well as 8 AA’s for the transmitter. ESC has a Tamiya plug so you may need a different connector as well.
Build Quality: Knowing that this was primarily metal on metal, the truck was gone through and only 2 chassis screws were loose. Everything else was good and gear mesh was spot on.
Test Drivers: Claude Buster, Lily the Explorer, and myself.
Test Venues: Mark Twain Hobby Center, Bangert Island State Park, the Missouri River, and several construction yards.
Set-up Notes: We used Pro-Match Lipos with Deans connectors so we used a Tamiya-to-Deans adapter on the ESC. Other than that, it was run as-is from the box.
Trailing: “Trail” is literally in this truck’s name and we can report it’s definitely earned. The TF2 is a fantastic trailing machine. The lil’ Toyota works well in the mud, dirt, sticks, and brush.
The truck isn’t advertised as waterproof but regardless of that we took it into the drink and it performed well. No glitching or other issues from the water and the truck also showed to be a very capable mud bogger. Just make sure you lube up the moving parts (driveshafts, leaf shackles) well after playing in the wet stuff!
Rock Crawling: Let’s make one thing clear from the get-go, compared to a 4 linked performance based scale crawler like an Axial SCX10 or Vaterra Ascender it can’t make the same lines as it just doesn’t have that level of articulation or crawlability….but therein lies the rub as this is an ultra scale leaf spring equipped rig with smaller 1.55 tires.
Our testers all had a blast tackling gnarly rocks much like a 1:1 would. The TF2’s 45t motor provides plenty of torque to lift the heavy truck over most obstacles and the drag brake makes precision crawling very easy. While the suspension started off very stiff, once you drive the vehicle for a bit the leafs will start to break in and offer much smoother flex.
As implied earlier, extreme off-camber sections or massive step-ups will be problematic because the articulation just isn’t there, but once you learn how to correctly identify the lines the vehicle can take it becomes very satisfying to conquer a section of course/trail.
Climbing: Even with the battery located in the mid-rear of the vehicle, there is still a great front weight bias thanks to the steering and motor/trans being mounted over the front axle. And just like you’d expect with this setup, it’s a great climber. The only knock against it is that when you start to dig in on an extreme incline you will experience axle hop thanks to the leaf springs. And while that is technically a negative, it’s the same thing a 1:1 rig experiences and is very cool to watch and manage!
Tumbling: We sent the TF2 into all manner of spills – endos off the top of a hill, barrel rolling of a side hill, and even a nose dive off a bike bridge. The truck held together nicely with no exterior damage. Hey, you know what’s a great idea? The rubber rearview mirrors. They can bend and flex and as such they are first trail truck we’ve had that didn’t immediately snap them off in a hard fall.
Turning: With low gearing and two locked differentials it is not going to be winning any handling competitions. However, due to the speed it’s pretty much impossible to traction roll, so there’s that!
The included BEC is a nice touch and even when in a hard bind on the rocks it kept power to everything with no shut-downs.
Jumping: Uh, no. The 3 mph top speed combined with the metal construction means that is falls off ramps. You can bounce some shallow whoops but that’s about it.
Power: The included 45t system is designed for crawling and as such does the job well. Combined with the low gearing, it has plenty of torque to pull the heavy truck up and over obstacles. It also makes for ludicrously long run times and is easy on parts. The downside is that an in-shape tortoise could pose a credible threat in a drag race. Kidding aside, for a trail truck this works out just fine as its right at walking speed and this isn’t a rig for a speed demon.
Radio: We all found the included 3 channel radio to be nice, especially for a RTR. That extra channel means you can immediately add a winch if you like without needing a swap. It was comfy in the hands as well.
Broken Parts: The little Toyota proved to be quite the tank as our only mechanical failures during normal testing were related to screws backing out of holes. You will definitely want to go through this vehicle upon opening the box and make sure you hit all loose screws with some blue thread lock, especially your driveshaft pins and transfer case skid plate.
At the end of testing we put it through a dose of heavy, bound up crawling and managed to pop a driveshaft. Thanks to the dismount testing our front leaf springs were also starting to show a bit of sag. All in all a pretty tough rig.
The Mojave 2 body included with the RTR Trail Finder 2 doesn’t have a full interior which actually helps the performance quite a bit. The body is hard plastic but doesn’t weigh too much more than a similarly sized lexan one.
Speaking of the body, it attaches by way of 2 standard body posts in the rear and 4 hex screws in the side. It’s a bit of a PITA to take on and off, but it sure looks great. Being screwed down also eliminates slop.
The Mud Thrasher tires are pretty good scaling tire. They aren’t super soft but still give the TF2 substantial grip. They also clean out well when they get caked.
The adjustable bumpers are made of plastic and while being flexible is a good thing, they do feel a tad bit flimsy. No problems with the review units to report, but you may want to be wary of this if you plan on installing a winch up front.
Can you say head turner? This little pickup looks about as good as any r/c you’ll ever see and we had hikers and passers-by constantly asking us about it.
Best Mod: Pickup a set of Punisher driveshafts. The plastic ones are definitely the weak link in an otherwise very solid driveline.
A = Outstanding/Best in Class, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average, F = Horrific
Time To Bash: C Just add transmitter AA’s and your favorite battery and you are good to go. Just be aware that the included connector is a Tamiya so you may need to change it out.
Workability: B The scale truck chassis is very easy to work on and most assemblies come out with just a few bolts. However, the body removal process is a bit tedious requiring both standard pins as well as actual screws to remove.
Car Show Rating: A The Mojave 2 body looks fantastic and overall the Trail Finder 2 is one the best looking vehicles you can buy in all of hobby-land. It’s about as close to looking like the real thing as you can get.
Bash-A-Bility: B The Trail Finder 2 proved to be a strong truck with minimal breakage, although the low top speed definitely contributes to this.
Fun Factor: B Our crew really enjoyed wheeling the TF2, especially when it was doing its thing on the trail. Seldom have we driven a rig that so closely mimics the full scale experience.
Handling: C The TF2 handles like most other scale crawlers. It’s nothing to write home about but it is par for the course.
Value: B While the street price is quite high, the abundance of machined aluminum parts (nearly the whole vehicle), detailed plastic body, and nice crawling electronics package make it a lot of truck for the money.
Parts Availability: B RC4WD wares are available at many hobby shops nowadays and they are also easy to find online. The Trail Finder 2 platform has been available for a couple years now and as such you can find many hop ups and option parts with relative ease.
BigSquid Rating: B Those looking for high speed thrills or extreme crawling will probably want to look elsewhere, but if you are a scale nut looking to attack the trails with something that truly looks and acts like the real thing (without having to build it yourself) there are few vehicles we’d recommend more than the RC4WD Trail Finder 2. It’s a great rig!