Our hobby has seen it’s fair share of great rivalries. Back in the day Tamiya and Kyosho duked it out in a battle for monster truck supremacy. Associated, Losi and the aforementioned Big K have been waging war on the race track seemingly forever. When it comes to bashing it’s been Traxxas versus….well, everyone I suppose (at least for the last decade or so). It’s looking like another great rivalry could be on the cusp of happening – Axial vs. Vaterra in the crawling arena. (Note - RC4WD is also popular but I’m not counting them because they make aftermarket parts for other manufacturers in addition to offering their own kits).
Oh sure, Vaterra has been releasing vehicles for awhile now, but nothing like what was announced last week: the Ascender K5 Blazer. The rig has the scale crawling segment all hot & bothered and it looks like Axial’s SCX10 line could see its first true competition for market share. By now many of you have probably seen the press releases and all that, so let’s cut through the BS and talk about why certain features have scale 4×4 enthusiasts excited. Click the “Read More” below. READ MORE
Ah yes, suspension flex. The first thing a new crawler owner does after opening the box is head outside and snap a poser picture of the truck on rocks. This is the “flex shot”. “Flexy Fridays” are now a thing on r/c Facebook groups. Hey, we all do it. If you got the suspension why not show it off? The problem is that many people have gotten the wrong idea about suspension travel. You’ll see people using “it has two feet of suspension travel!” on for sale ads to entice noobs to buy their piles o’ junk. Click the “Read More” and let’s talk flex.
When it comes to scale crawling hop-up discussion, over/underdrive gears never fail to confuse noobs. What does “overdrive” even mean? Will it hurt your truck? Click the “Read More” below to get the skinny on a mod that can help your Axial truck get its Billy Goat on.
Happy 4th of July!
I recently had the pleasure of heading out to one of the first official trail runs for the Roughneck Scalers Missouri Chapter and had a heck of a time. The club originally hails from California but recently expanded to St. Louis, MO due to the exploding scale off-road scene in the area.
The trail spot was Bangert Island Park in St. Charles, MO. The densely wooded trails run along the banks of the Missouri River and are a popular destination for those looking to get their scale on. While the park generally houses a wide array of terrain (river silt, rocky creek, dirt paths) today it was mud, mud and mud. The area saw torrential rains the night before but there are no rain outs in scaling. You kwitcherbitchin’ and get out there!
Despite the thick mud and awful Missouri humidity about 20 people showed up and we had a blast. It was also a lot of fun watching a few tug-o-war competitions take place on the sandy river banks. Motors were smoked, parts broken and a good times were had by all. Big thanks to the Roughneck Scaler guys for having me out and letting me wheel my trusty old “Missouri Mule” Axial SCX10 with them. For more info on the Missouri branch of the Roughneck Scalers you can check them out on Facebook right here. Have a safe holiday weekend everyone!
Roughneck Scalers Trail Run Gallery 1
To see 5 more galleries of scalers getting very, very dirty click the “Read More” below.
Axial’s AE-5 ESC is affordable and loaded with features for the crawling/scaler crowd. To make it easier to program while out on the trail, the AE-5 uses jumpers instead of a traditional programming button. These jumpers are used to change settings for battery type and drag brake. The AE-5 is also waterproof, something that is a must for all those long trail drives, or for general bashing.
* Laser etched logo on heat sink
* Comes with Tamiya style connector
* Max cell count is 3S LiPo
* 5 volt 2 amp BEC
* Motor limits are 12 turn on 2S and 18 turn on 3S
* 1.8 x 1.3 x 1.1″ in size
The AE-5 has a part number of #AX31144, they are street priced at $38, and it is expected to start shipping in August. Click Here for full details over on Axial’s official website.
Check out more Axial news at This Link on BigSquidRC.
Looking for a new Axial vehicle? Check out the first shot of the Axial SCX10 Deadbolt. It’s a 1/10th scale RTR Rock Crawler that comes with a huge list of licensed parts like a Poison Spyder Rock Brawler Bumper, Maxxis Trepador tires, Walker Evans wheels and more.
It comes with a 27T Brushed motor, 2-channel 2.4ghz radio, and completely built, you just need to supply the batteries.
The part number for the SCX10 Deadbolt is #AX90044, it has a street price of $299, and they should start hitting hobby shops in late May. More information should be available soon on the Axial Website.
To find more Axial news on BigSquidRC This Is The Link you want.
RC4WD has announced their latest truck, a Trail Finder 2 RTR with Mojave Body Set. Being a ready to run, the Mojave TF2 makes it fast and easy to hit the trail, and like most other RC4WD products, its scale detailing is top notch. A 2.4GHz radio system eliminates radio conflicts, while its 45 turn brushed power system should put out plenty of smooth power to get over tough obstacles. To get that power to the ground, the Mojave uses an RC4WD R3 transmission and one of their Hammer transfer cases.
* Painted body with dropped bed
* R3 transmission
* Scale realistic tube bumpers, rock rails & skid plate
* Mud Thrasher tires on 1.55 steel beadlock wheels
* Leaf spring suspension
* Aluminum ladder frame chassis
* Metal axles with locked diffs
* Hammer 4×4 transfer case
* XR3b 2.4GHz radio system
* Outcry ESC w/ 45 turn brushed motor
* Twister digital metal gear servos
The part number is Z-RTR0019, street price is $459, and they are set for a Mid May release date. This is the link you want for more information over on RC4WD’s website.
Click Right Here for more RC4WD news on BigSquidRC.
RC4WD TF2 Mojave Gallery
Axial’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”.
Axial SCX10 Jeep C/R Edition Unboxing Gallery 1
Axial SCX10 Jeep C/R Edition Unboxing Gallery 2
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).
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.
Gmade Sawback Gallery
Want to see more Gmade news? Click here.
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?
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!
Looking 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
* 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.
6x6 MadTorque Gallery