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axial-scx10-cr-edition-unboxingAxial’s latest SCX10 has hit the Big Squid offices, the RTR Jeep Wrangler Unlimited C/R Edition. You can checkout the shots below to see what lies underneath when you dig into the box. Two things really jumped out at us:

- The gigantic tires. This is the first rig to include Axial’s new ultra scale 1.9 BF Goodrich KRAWLER T/A’s (in comp grade R35 compound). These are some big hunks o’ rubber (4.7” tall) which give the JK a very aggressive stance.

- The trick looking Rigid Industries light bars. The truck comes packed to the gills with auxillary lighting so the fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down.

Our full review is coming soon, but in the meantime why don’t you click here to see a comprehensive “tale of the tape”.

For more Axial news on BigSquidRC you can click this link.


Click here to read Part 1 of this series or click here for Part 2.

The servo that comes with the RTR Axial SCX10 isn’t bad for a stock unit, but the combination of running aluminum steering links (you upgraded, right?!) coupled with bigger and heavier tires/wheels make a servo upgrade a high priority. The factory unit is also decidedly NOT waterproof, which can be a huge negative depending on where you want to run.

Like everything else in this series, my recommendations are made based on what I’ve used “in the field”. Without a doubt my personal favorite is the Hitec HS-5646WP Waterproof Servo (click here for full specs). It provides enough torque to easily turn 1.9 tires on the rocks (if you are sporting big 2.2′s you may want something more powerful) and with a street price of around $50 the price to performance ratio is very nice. And while the light blue case is sealed and ready for the drink, the relatively low price point makes it MUCH easier to dunk with reckless abandon. Even though I’ve never had one fail on me it’s still nice to know that if it did (hey, it happens when dealing with water and electronics) I wouldn’t be out a couple C-notes.

The servo comes with a thick plastic horn that works very well with some slight modification. The stock bolt mounting hole just needs to be drilled/reamed out slightly and it will fit snug. The plastic is hardy enough that I’ve never had a breakage or stripping issue in over 14 months of heavy use (with 3 of these servos).

axial scx10 with waterproof hitec servo

Ok, so lets talk battery placement. If you have a Trail Honcho you are fine (they come with the mount up front) but if you have the JK RTR you will need to relocate. The parts you need should be in your extra trees (they were for mine when I purchased one a year ago). Click here to check out an excellent guide on the procedure over at Axial’s site. Getting that battery up front will make a huge difference when climbing.

So yeah, at this point you should have a serious trail machine. When we drop Part 4 of this guide we’ll take a look at over/ under drive gears, what exactly they do, and if they are right for you.

Click Here for more Axial news on BigSquidRC.


When I posted my first Everybody’s Scalin’ video on our YouTube channel a couple weeks back, user “Bad Wobble” asked if I could provide an update on my Gmade Sawback. Well Mr. Wobble, it’s your lucky day! The “first impressions” article I wrote went up a few months ago (view it right here), and in the time that’s passed I’ve put a few miles on the odometer. Time for an update.

You may of noticed I switched drivers and tires since last time. Yeah, the first driver I picked was a little small (people didn’t hesitate to let me know this, heh) but the new “Hunter Dan” figure from Cabelas is just about right. I had to make a few modifications with my dremel to get him to fit (Dan no longer has feet) but now he’s perfect. The second big change was putting on a set of Pro-Line TSL’s (the smaller ones, NOT the XL’s) as they perform extremely well and look great.

I guess the biggest news to report is that there isn’t much news to report. My initial thoughts are still pretty much how I feel today. It’s not going to replace your Axial SCX10 but it’s still a stout little truck. The only problem I had with mine were the stock driveshafts – the yokes are pretty weak and snap easily. I replaced them with Axial Wild Boars (they are a direct fit) and I haven’t had any problems since. Despite the transmission being loud as heck and the ring and pinions being made of a cheap pot metal it’s held up fine with no other breakage to report. My leafs are still springy with no sag and provide good articulation for what they are. The axle hop that happens when fighting for traction on certain obstacles really adds to the overall charm. You can see what I mean in the video I linked above. I’m not trying to give this a free pass for having a stiff suspension…but come on man, that’s kinda what you are paying for here. You want an authentic experience and it gives it to you – I’ve had my teeth rattled driving a 1:1 1942 Willy’s MB and I’d imagine Hunter Dan would probably be able to relate.

All in all I really enjoy the Sawback and it’s found a permanent spot in my collection. It handles very realistically and is great fun when trying to tackle the terrain accordingly. A hardcore bashing scaler this is not though, so if you want an all out performance machine you should look elsewhere. For the hobbyist that loves the iconic look of the classic Jeep and/or that wants to dip their toes into the waters of extreme scale suspension I think you’ll be happy.

Want to see more Gmade news? Click here.

Axial RECON G6 SCX10

This week I’m taking a break from the standard “written” column to debut a new YouTube video series. I’ll be doing an episode about once a month and will try to give it a “Wide World of Sports®” vibe that covers all different areas of scale rc (trails, monster trucks, drag racing, sand rails, hill climbing, etc). This first video features both my modified RECON G6 edition Axial SCX10 and bone stock Gmade Sawback. Myself and good friend Mike Ewens took them to the banks of the Missouri River for some wooded trailing and had a blast on a very chilly day.

A couple pieces of housekeeping before we go. In case you missed it earlier this week I started a build series converting an Axial Deadbolt into a high flying mega truck. Part 2 should go live early next week. I’ve been testing the truck and it’s a beast! Also, do you have a cool build/ride that you want to showcase to the scale community? Shoot an e-mail to showmescalers at gmail dot com and if you have some pretty pictures of your rig doin’ work you could see it right here (and score a few Big Squid RC stickers to boot).

I’d also like to thank all the readers who have thus far been reading my scale ramblings every Friday. I have quite a bit planned as far as builds, event coverage, and how-to’s for 2014….if it would ever stop snowing! It’s getting to the point where if I ever plan on getting outside again I’m going to need to build a Kyosho Blizzard. Hmm, a Blizzard does sound pretty cool, right?


6x6 clodbuster semi

Exceed announced their RTR Mad Torque 6×6 last week and it’s caused quite a stir in the scale/crawling community. Regardless of what you think of the actual truck (personally, I think it looks pretty cool) it shows that 6×6 trucks are growing in popularity. In many cases they are actually 6x6x6 (that means six wheel drive with six wheel steering). It’s becoming more and more common to see one of these monstrosities out at your local bash/crawling spot. To this point they are all custom built but I expect to see those Mad Torques start popping up at club meets soon.

Most of the 6×6′s I’ve seen locally are Tamiya Clodbuster based due to the simplicity of not needing to mess with extra driveshafts (Clods are motor on axle i.e. no driveshafts or central transmissions, the new Exceed is the same setup) but shaft driven stuff is gaining in popularity due to the availability of Axial axles and parts. The 2nd axle typically has two output shafts in which the backside connects to a standard third axle via driveshaft. It’s not very complicated and just requires a few additional axle pieces and an extra set of shocks to hook up to the back of the frame.

The colossal truck in the picture above deserves special recognition as it has become something of a local legend here in St. Louis, MO. It belongs to my good buddy Dan Ryan and is always the most popular vehicle with drivers/gawkers when he has it out. It uses a custom chassis with trick aluminum Clodbuster axle housings. Power is supplied by three Tekin ESCs, three 45 turn motors, and an 8 channel radio (!). The tires are gargantuan RC4WD 40 Series Roc Lox that tower almost 9 inches off the ground and all three axles steer. That kind of rubber needs big torque so 400 oz servos are equipped on each axle. It’s topped off by a Tamiya Bullhead cab and tips the scales at a whopping 20 lbs. Whenever we hook it to a pulling sled we have trouble finding enough weight to stop it! Even a Traxxas Summit looks like a puny vehicle in comparison to this big rig.

A conservative pricing estimate places this truck just north of $1,500, but that doesn’t include all the blood (and I literally do mean blood…when this thing falls off a hill it freaking hurts to catch it), sweat, & tears. If you are hoping to see video of this big boy in action then soon you will be in luck! I hope to launch a scaling video series very soon as a sort of companion piece to this column.

A six wheeler like Dan’s is a nice mix of engineering, redneck ingenuity, and sheer lunacy…basically everything scaling is all about! I’d also like to give a shout out to Dan for hooking me up with the Big Squid crew last spring. If not for him I wouldn’t be able to waste several minutes of your work day each week! I hope everyone has a great weekend and be sure to check back next Friday where I’m taking a look at my favorite niche of hardcore scale R/C…truck and tractor pulling!

Exceed 6x6 MadTorque CrawlerLooking for a big crawling machine? Is 4×4 just not enough for you? If so, the picture above of the Exceed MadTorque 6×6 should get your attention.

The MadTorque uses 3 solid axles to put the power to the ground from its three 540 brushed motors and two electronic speed controllers. An aluminum chassis, six oil filled shocks, and multi-link suspension help it climb over tough rock sections. Some of its other features & specifications include-

* RTR w/ 2.4GHz radio system
* Waterproof
* Comes with 6 cell 3300mAh Ni-MH battery
* Equipped with ball bearings
* Bead lock wheels
* High torque servo
* Length- 790mm
* Wheelbase- 630mm
* Width- 360mm

The part number for the MadTorque is #03C20 and it has a street price of $289. Hit up This Link for more information.

You Never Know what is behind a BigSquidRC TGIF Mystery Link.

Tamiya TLT-1 FJ

A few weeks ago I wrote about a recent club outing and tried to answer the question, “What exactly is an r/c trail run?” The article actually spurred a good number of questions from people wanting me to go more in depth on the subject so it’s now going to be a recurring theme.

Running on trails with scale trucks presents an interesting battery dilemma. This is one of the few forms of r/c where a hobbyist plans to play all day yet (most of the time) has no access to a battery charger. You won’t find many power outlets while deep in the forest or climbing the side of a mountain. The right battery(ies) is imperative because no one wants to run out of juice and be forced to make the “walk of shame” all the way back to the parking lot.

While everyone has differing opinions, I’ve found the sweet spot for a scaling lipo to be a 2S around 5000 mah with a 20-30c discharge rate. With a high turn motor (27t+ brushed, 18.5t+ brushless) I get run times of around 2 hours per battery. If I’m really heavy on the throttle this drops to about 1 hour. The bottom line is that most guys don’t use much throttle when walking behind a truck and really only give it gas when attacking an obstacle. I always take two 5000 mah packs with me and it works out great. 3S has also become popular while using high turn motors because you get the torque/run time associated with them but the increased voltage gives you good wheel speed when you need it. Just remember that the hotter motor you run, the quicker you will suck juice.

If you are serious about going on longer trail runs then I would always recommend at least one spare battery, even if you don’t necessarily think you’ll need it. I’ve seen lipos quit due to being dunked, de-soldering during nasty tumbles, or simply just losing charge due a manufacturing defect. A bad battery sucks with any type of r/c bashing/racing but when you have a very long walk back to your house/vehicle it’s downright infuriating.

Ok so you have your brand new Axial SCX10 or Deadbolt, have a nice battery or two, maybe even a shiny new pair of tires…what else should a newbie do to prepare for the really gnarly stuff? Next week I will write a short checklist for a backpack as well as a few simple (and free!) mods to do to your stock truck. Have a great weekend!

THE Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler G6 Review

Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler G6 Kit Review

Axial Recon G6 events are all the rage right now, but they aren’t just for the hardest of the hardcore scalers, they are for everyone. You won’t find a bunch of people stressing out over the win, what you will find is a bunch of guys out having fun with their scale rc trucks. The latest machine from Axial is their SCX10 Jeep Wrangler G6 Edition, a machine for competing in G6 events or for simply having a good time on a trail run. Is the G6 edition a good trail machine? Is it worthy of the G6 designation? More importantly, is it worth your hard earned cash? Click that “Read More” button to find out…



The virtual ink hasn’t even dried yet on our review of the Axial RECON G6 SCX10 but it’s time to talk upgrades! When I mentioned I was building it a few weeks ago in this very column, I said I had big plans for it. Well, it’s time to discuss said plans.

The first thing I did was switch out the stock wheels and tires for a set of beastly Pro-Line Swamper XLs mounted on Axial beadlocks with 3 oz of weight in each front. The memory foam that comes with the Swampers works well, but I went ahead and splurged on a set of Crawler Innovations closed cell foams to better support the weight of the rig and avoid flat spotting. The addition of the tires was profound; the truck looks gnarly, has better ground clearance, and the big lugs make quick work of most terrain.

The next thing I’m going to be doing is swapping the stock ring & pinions for a pair of hardened Axial beveled gears. This will increase durability while eliminating slop. I’m going to use the overdrive (OD) gear set in the front and underdrive (UD) in the rear, which will cause the front tires to spin slightly faster than the rear. This eliminates torque twist, allows for a tighter turning radius and (most importantly) since the front “drags” the rear, it really helps its vertical climbing ability. (NOTE – If you don’t understand OD/UD, fret not, I’ll be doing a full explanation in a future column)

Oh, but I’m just getting started. The ultimate goal of this project is to compete and complete the St. Louis RECON G6 event coming up on Saturday April 12, 2014. This is a good start, but I still have much work to do before then! Part 2 of this build will include new recovery gear (hello scale Warn winch!), waterproofing the ESC, installing a functional light bar, and adding a driver!

Axial SCX10 Dually

My club held our annual pre-Thanksgiving trail run a few weeks ago and despite the temperature being in the low 20s we still had over 30 people show up. Doing three miles of frozen mountain terrain was tough on both driver and vehicle but it was a freakin’ blast! As you check out the pics of our latest adventure below, let me explain to the non-indoctrinated what exactly a scale trail run is and why scalers across the world enjoy them so much.

Trailing is the lifeblood of almost any 4×4 club. While in our case its 1:10 scale, it’s still the same old adage of man and his machine taking on the elements. The premise is simple; pick a location (mountain bike trails work great), meet up with your buddies and set off. Depending on how long you intend to wheel, you will want to bring a backpack with spare parts, batteries and food/water. A run can be anything from a jaunt in the backyard creek to an all-day affair encompassing many miles.

We normally run the designated path until someone finds a cool spot to hit. It can be anything; a mud hole, rocky cliff, steep hill, etc. It’s all about seeing what your rig can handle and one-upping your buddies. Someone will see something that looks very difficult or impossible and everyone has a go. Broken parts and nuked electronics are worn like badges of honor.

I would recommend any r/c’er to give scale trailing a go at least once, regardless of whether you are a hardcore racer or are picking up a transmitter for the first time. It can be a relaxing way to explore your local parks and make friends, or an intense experience as you tackle terrain so extreme that the penalty for failure is most likely the destruction of your vehicle. That’s the beauty of scaling; it’s whatever you want it to be.

Before we go, quick shout out to the RC Car Cast podcast. They had me on as a guest this past week (episode 6) discussing scale r/c, how I hooked up with Big Squid RC and the time I got behind the wheel of a monster truck. Look the show up on YouTube or iTunes.



Two weeks ago I got word from my hobby shop that, lo and behold, my Gmade Sawback had finally arrived. I wasted no time in picking it up and starting to wrench. After the build was finished, I tested it out over a variety of different terrain. While this isn’t a true review, with so many scale off-roaders wanting to find out if this truck is worth their time (especially with Christmas coming up) I wanted to post some detailed first impressions.

Being a completely new kit, I expected the gremlins you typically find in early production runs (misdrilled holes, missing parts, etc.) but was pleasantly surprised to have the whole thing go together very smoothly. The instructions were detailed and all parts were present. Having Phillips hardware instead of hex is pretty lame, but it wasn’t as bad as I initially thought because at least the screws weren’t the cheesy “will strip if you look at them” variety. For those wondering about electronics, I used a Savox SW-0230MG Waterproof Servo, Axial AE-2 ESC, 27t motor, and a Spektrum SR3001 receiver. I also painted the wheels white, put 3 oz of lead weights in each front wheel and topped it off with an action figure in the driver’s seat (a Demoman from Team Fortress 2).

Listen, I totally expected this thing to be more of a shelf queen than a rugged trail truck…but it appears I was way off in that line of thinking. I have bashed this truck on the beach, wooded trail, rocks, creek and construction yard, and it’s handled them all with ease. Despite having a very scale leaf-spring suspension, the Sawback still has plenty of travel and can hit lines you’d never think it would be able to. The included tires are soft and work well but are too small for my taste.  I wound up ditching them for some taller Axial Trepadors that I had lying on my bench and it really helped performance due to increased ground clearance. The drive shafts are thick plastic with screw-through design and seem to be holding together very nicely. I’m running 2S lipo and have had no problems and I have a friend with one that runs a 35t motor on 3S (a popular crawling setup) and the drive train has held up just fine.


The truck does have negatives. As I mentioned before, the Phillips’ hardware isn’t cool and the truck is too heavy and stiff to be a good all-around basher. If you plan to jump this rig I hope you are ready to purchase new leaf springs because it wasn’t made for that style of driving. It also doesn’t perform as well on the rocks as a 4-linked truck (i.e. Axial SCX10).

That being said, from a scaler’s point of view, this truck is great. I’ve been very impressed with the durability, looks and performance. I know of several other “early adopters” who share similar opinions. Many hobbyists aren’t familiar with Gmade, but, given the buzz the truck is creating amongst the scale community, I think the Sawback changes that.

So what’s next? I’m preparing the Sawback for a club Top Truck Challenge next month, where it will be put through the meat grinder of mud bogging, rock crawling and truck pulling. I’ll be chronicling the whole thing in this very column, so be on the lookout for that soon. Have a great weekend and remember to stay dirty my friends!


A belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope you all gorged yourself on fixin’s and football like I did. If you’re out and about on Black Friday, best of luck to you. And please, remember to keep your head up and eyes sharp so you aren’t trampled by some lunatic who will stop at nothing to get $10 dollars off a crock pot.

It’s been an extremely busy start to the holiday season for your scale columnist. I’m in the process of finishing up an Axial RECON G6 SCX10 JK. I’ll soon be handing it off to the Big Squid Bash Crew for a proper review, so expect that within the next couple weeks. The included two-door JK body is dovetailed and much leaner than the bigger 4-door version currently available, so I thought it needed a different type of paint scheme to reflect that. Big thanks to my buddy Todd Claire (of Bodyz by TC) for giving it a hot rod airbrush job. The truck will be left stock for review, but wait until you see the modifications I have planned for it. Trust me, it will be worthy of those flames on the hood!

The SCX10 isn’t the only new truck sitting on my bench, though. Matter of fact, it’s not even the only Jeep! I have a brand new Gmade Sawback that’s begging to be built. I’ve been excited to build this leaf-sprung Willy’s ever since it was announced months ago, so it will be interesting to finally see if it’s all show or has plenty of go. Most guys are doing them up in classic WW2 inspired Olive Drab, but I’m going for a civilian look – blue with white wheels.

Well, these kits aren’t going to build themselves so I guess I’d best get going. Be sure to stop by next Friday as I’ll be showing off both trucks and offering my initial impressions.



“What tire is the best for my truck?”

That is the first question most newbie scalers ask upon picking up their new ready-to-run (RTR) truck. Like all r/cs, tires are probably the most important performance choice you can make on a scale rig.  Most RTR trucks come with tires that are made of a hard compound that easily slip off obstacles, and I’ve never seen any that come weighted. When you compare this to a soft and sticky aftermarket tire that has weight in the front wheels to lower your center of gravity, the difference is night and day.

While I can’t give one definitive answer as to which is best, I can give you four very solid choices. It just so happens that these four types of tires are available in both 1.9 and 2.2 versions, so size of your rig shouldn’t limit availability. Go with an Axial Maxxis Trepador (R35 compound), Pro-Line TSL Super Swamper, Pit Bull Rock Beast, or RC4WD Baja Claw (X2-SS Compound) and you should be ready to rock (pun intended). I’ve used all four of these extensively over the last year and I’d recommend any of them without hesitation.

So my advice to you, new truck owner, is ditch the stockers, pick out a set of the aforementioned tires that you think look the coolest, add 2-3 ounces of lead weight to your front wheels and then go tear up the trail. Be warned though, as you can quickly develop a dangerous case of scale tire addiction, a disease with nasty side effects like a depleted bank account, bead-lock induced potty mouth and a work bench that resembles the Simpsons’ Springfield Tire Fire. I’m currently sporting a dually setup with 6 of the new XL Super Swampers (see pic below), but I routinely change my body/tire combo for what I feel like running on any given day.

Before we go, it’s shameless plug time; if you are around the St. Louis, MO area, consider this your formal invitation to attend our club’s 2nd Annual Turkey Trail Run, taking place this Sunday (Nov 24) at West Tyson Park in Eureka, MO. We are meeting around 10:30am and will be running around four miles of the treacherous Chubb Trail. If you’ve ever wanted to go scaling with 30-40 other like-minded lunatics, here is your chance!