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Posts Tagged ‘RC Rock Crawling

Axial Yeti with Pro-Line Volkswagen Bug Body

As 2014 draws to a close, I think it’s time for a bit of reflection. This was the year when the budding scale movement of 2012 and 2013 officially turned into a raging fire across all of r/c land. It’s not just scale crawlers either. Many bashing vehicles have now fallen in line with the trend and at the very least their bodies make an attempt at looking realistic.

The biggest release this past year was unquestionably the Axial Yeti. It was the first vehicle to really marry the basher mentality with that of a traditional scaler. The announcement and ensuing hype led to massive pre-order numbers and hobby shops fighting to keep them in stock. Axial was already the leader in scale trucks for several years prior but the Yeti pushed them to the next level. It’s hard to argue that they aren’t the hottest company in the entire hobby right now.

Nipping at the big dog’s heels were Vaterra. 2014 saw them drop the Ascender, the first truck available on the market to truly challenge Axial’s stalwart SCX10 line. Ascenders are starting to become very common out on the trail and the aftermarket is ramping up in support of it.

Speaking of the aftermarket, never has so much cool stuff been so readily (and affordably!) available for your scale truck. Just a couple years ago it was hard to find a set of tires with many people resorting to cutting or making their own. Now, companies like Pro-Line and RC4WD offer almost as many choices as a 1:1 off-roader has. Lights, bumpers and bodies (like the new Pro-Line VW Bug Yeti lid as shown above) are available in any flavor you want. The scale crawling market has proven to be a big vat of consumer money that everyone seems to be tapping into nowadays. I don’t see that drying up anytime soon.

So if you’ll allow me to put on my tinfoil hat for a bit, I see a couple things happening in 2015.

For starters, I think a few other big companies are going to get involved in the scale crawling scene. Whether that’s a good or bad thing I don’t know. If innovation and one-upmanship are shown than it will be great for us all. If it turns into a glut of SCX10 or Yeti clones then I’m not keen on it. If you remember the short course boom from years past then you’ll recall roughly 6,000 vehicles that look and drive almost exactly alike. Let’s hope that innovation stays at the forefront.

And finally, because I’m contractually obligated to bring it up once per month, I predict a true to scale short course truck will release and ignite another off-road racing boom. Hey, a guy can dream right?

Next week myself and Adam the Intern (our other scale dude) are going to lay out our respective favorite scale 4×4 releases of 2014. Not necessarily the best, the one that sold the most or whatever….but our personal favorites. I’m not sure what Adam’s is yet but mine will probably come as a surprise to some people. Heck, it was a surprise to me that I enjoyed this truck as much as I did. Until next time, have a great weekend!

For more scale r/c news on BigSquidRC you can click here.

RC4WD Gelande II D110 Truck Kit With Hard BodyThe latest RC4WD release for you scale enthusiasts is the Gelande II D110 Truck Kit with Defender Hard Body. The G2 has numerous new features like Yota II axles, an R3 single speed tranny, and the servo mount is up on the chassis for a more scale appearance. A four link suspension is used on the rear while a 3 link with panhard bar is used up front.

* Designed for true to scale looks
* Long wheelbase G2 chassis
* Metal axles with locked diffs
* Center mounted transfer case
* Dirt Grabber 1.9″ tires
* 5 lug 1.9 beadlock wheels
* Dual spring oil shocks
* Width- 7.87″
* Length- 22.44″
* Wheelbase- 13″
* Weight- 105.6oz

The part number is #Z-K0047, it is street priced at $599, and you can hit up This Link for more details over on RC4WD’s website.

Want to learn about more RC4WD products? Click Here to find more on BigSquidRC.

Boom Racing ShocksThe Asiatees Hobbies crew has announced that Boom Racing has Boomrang Internal Spring Aluminum Shocks for your bashing enjoyment. These are designed to give your trail/scale/crawling rig more droop, keeping it closer to the ground for a lower center of gravity. Available in 5 different colors and in three different lengths, they can improve the handling of your truck as well as adding a nice touch of bling.

The shocks are priced at $17 per pair and you can click Right Here to get more details over on Asiatee’s website.

Let the weekend begin, have a TGIF Mystery Link on us!

axial-wraith-spawn-review

When the original Wraith was released a few years ago there was nothing else like it on the market. It combined size, speed and scale appeal into a package that instantly made it a hit. Fast forward to late 2014 and the platform has been updated with the release of the Axial Wraith Spawn. The scale 4×4 genre is now ultra competitive with many quality kits vying for your dollar. Is the Wraith Spawn worth your cash? Click the “Read More” to see what we thought.
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rc-trail-run-recon-g6

I’ve never run an e-mail in this spot before, but reader “Pfuture” sent me a few questions that I thought would be better served to answer/rant here.

Hello Doug,

One suggestion I have would be doing a guide for new scalers going on rides if you haven’t made one already. I don’t mean to sound bitter, scaling is one of my favorite activities ever.  Maybe you already wrote such a guide and i don’t remember it?  I have been organizing friendly rides for about a year in Montreal, Canada.  That’s little experience compared to lots of other scalers.

 

I often had to give transmitter batteries or some common parts like plastic servo horns to help someone.  People often do not bring tools, forget to charge their packs properly and don’t check their trucks before leaving home.  Also, i would insist that showing up late to a scale ride is very bad.  Every time i organize a ride, there is a new person showing up more than 15 minutes late.  Yesterday we drove around close to the start point because someone told us he’d be 40 minutes late.  His batteries were not even properly charged when he showed up. If you have ideas on how to deal with late people without being too harsh, i’m all ears!

 

I probably shouldn’t have told you all this, you most likely have experience all the same and more.  Maybe this could inspire a squidink comic or two? Hope this was helpful, forgive my sometimes strange english (I’m from Montreal). Have a nice day, can’t wait to read your next articles.  Even those about F-1 racing.

 

Pfuture

 

I actually did a write a basic “what to bring to a trail run” piece a few months ago, you can check that out right here (more importantly, show your friends!). As for the part of your question dealing with event organization (people being late, unprepared), I’ll tackle that in detail. I’ve organized events for around 2 years now, including lots of trail runs, so I really do feel your pain. Click the “Read More” below to see my advice….most of which I learned the hard way.

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axial_wraith_spawn_01

Axial has given the go ahead to talk about the new Axial Racing Wraith Spawn Rock Racer. Besides the Axial standard of plenty of licensed parts, they have continued to update and refine the already proven Wraith platform. Axial continues to drive towards more waterproofing, and with winter coming up, we know that’s an important box to check off. The ESC, Steering Servo, and Receiver box now all claim waterproof. For those of you that have been thinking about picking up a Wraith, maybe this is the one that tickles your fancy?

Some highlight features are:
• WB8 HD Wildboar™ driveshafts
• Dual slipper clutch
• Single-coil, adjustable shocks
• Heavy duty differential lockers
• Officially licensed 2.2 Method IFD™ beadlock wheels
• New Spawn body on full tube frame composite chassis
• Driver figure and molded interior
• 2.2 Ripsaw™ tires
• AE-5 ESC w/ drag brake – 3S LiPo capable (waterproof)
• 20T motor
• Metal gear Tactic TSX45 MG servo, 151 oz-in, water resistant
• Waterproof receiver box
• Spawn body compatible with Wraith, AX10 and SCX10 chassis

The part number is #AX90045, and it is priced at $369. You can get complete details by heading over to This Link on the Axial website.

Make sure to check out the video below!

vaterra_ascender_trail2

While the gang was at iHobby last weekend, I was busy getting in wheel time with arguably the biggest “traditional” scaling platform release this year; the Vaterra Ascender. Big thanks to my trailing buddy Matt Worthington for letting me have at his new truck for an afternoon of trailing and neighborhood crawling. Given that this isn’t my own truck and parts of it have been changed from stock (like the tires/wheels) this won’t be a super detailed synopsis, but I still wanted to share a few thoughts.

The truck used in this piece was outfitted with big power – a Tekin Roc 412 (the crème de la crème of scaling motors) mated to a Castle Mamba Max Pro with drag brake dialed in. He opted to forgo the stock wheels and tires for Pitbull Growlers and RC4WD Mickey Thompson wheels. The servo is a waterproof Hitec 5646WP with a Spektrum radio system running the show. Click the “Read More” to see what I thought.


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axial-scx10-jeep-cherokee-xj

As the gang is busy in Chicago breaking exclusives, I’m stuck back here in STL holding down the fort. Don’t worry about me though, it’s nice coming in at 10 and leaving by 2 getting a quick breather before a torrent of news hits. And since we are in the calm before the storm, this gives me a few minutes to talk about the scale scene in general. No, not just scale crawlers…I mean as it pertains to the whole industry. Click the “Read More” below to read my wall o’ text.

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Pro-Line RAM 1500 Clear Crawler Body
After some teasing over the weekend, our friends over at Pro-Line have released full details on their new 1/10 Ram 1500 Clear Crawler Body.

The Ram was designed to look as awesome as it performs on the trail. Officially licensed by Ram, it gives you the scale realism you are looking to top your 1/10 crawler off with. To make the Ram look even cooler, it comes with fender flares and a special area in the bed for mounting a spare tire. A detailed sticker sheet helps round out the package.

The part number is #3434-00, it is priced at $38, and you can hit up This Link for complete details over on Pro-Line’s official website.

Click Here to read more Pro-Line news on BigSquidRC.

THE Axial SCX10 Ram Power Wagon Review

Axial Ram Power Wagon Review

There is no doubt that Axial is scalding hot right now. Everything they touch seems to turn to gold and for good reason, they’ve been putting out some incredible looking vehicles that can take all you can dish out. Their latest version of the SCX10 is the Ram Power Wagon. Does the Ram live up to the Axial reputation? Can it hold its own on the trail? Is it worth your cash? Hit the “Read More” to find out…

READ MORE

axial_ram_scx10_12

Brushed vs. Brushless is a non argument pretty much everywhere in the hobby. Everyone knows brushless technology offers the most speed, reliability, ease of use, etc at this point so why even bring it up? Because scaling/crawling is one of the last stands for brushed motors, a place where the discussion still takes place with merit to both sides, that’s why. Click the “Read More” to see both points of view (and for a guest appearance by a famous talking rock). READ MORE

iron-mountain-depot-recon-g6-25Drag brake is one of the most important and subjective things you’ll deal with when getting into scale crawling. Some guys like a ton, some none at all. So what is it?

Simply put, drag brake is the amount of stopping power applied when there is no throttle input on the transmitter. It’s measured in percentage. 20% DB means that when you aren’t on the gas the vehicle is getting 20% of the standard full brake input. For a basher or racer you can use a mild DB to help a truck that wants to flip over backwards when jumping stay more neutral in the air without having to manual apply the brake yourself. It’s important in crawling because when you are climbing over an obstacle at slow speed you won’t just roll off if you let go of the throttle. (Bare in mind the motor factors into the equation as well, as mills with stronger magnets will hold better than weaker ones…but that’s for another piece.)

Competition crawling vehicles famously utilized crazy amounts of DB when that scene was hot. It would take a tow truck to move one of these rigs when there was no throttle applied. This works great when trying to adjust your line on some gnarly rock, but as crawling vehicles are being asked to do more nowadays the philosophies are starting to change. If you are rocking down the trail with 3S power and a front weight bias, ya know what happens when you let off the go-stick with a ton of DB enabled? You are gonna go a$$-over-tea kettle. Even if you don’t have bookoo power, descending a hill can be a chore when the truck jerks to a stop every time you let off the gas.

All decent ESC’s allow customization to control the amount of DB (dedicated crawling ones generally have the higher available settings) by either using push button programming or manually hooking it up to a computer (Castle Link, for example). I strongly recommend playing around with different settings and see what you like best.

When I started out with my first Axial truck a few years ago I was using a system with 90% DB (mated to a high torque 55t brushed motor) and it drove me mad. I kept with it because I thought “well, that’s what crawlers are supposed to be like”. That’s hogwash! I generally now roll with around with 40-50% DB and love the way it feels.

I like having a “looser” ESC setting so my truck doesn’t completely lockup when coming off throttle. Being the big fan of hill climbing that I am, I like how the truck will gradually descend a hill by itself with a lower DB versus having to burp the throttle manually (and therefore jerk back to a stop) with a heavy setting.

Is mine the “right way”? Absolutely not! There is no right way, only YOUR way. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your drag brake setting. It can wildly change the way your rig handles the trail. You may want ludicrous stopping power, you may just want a smidge. Grab your manual (or download a PDF, all reputable manufacturers have product manuals online) and start tweaking! You can always go back to the default setting later, after all.

So your backwater ESC doesn’t allow customization you say? Well you’re in luck. With the holiday season fast approaching I’m in the preliminary stages of putting together a big piece on popular brushed AND brushless crawling/trailing setups for you folk looking to make an upgrade. It’s going to have stuff for both penny pinchers and Scrooge McDuck types. Look for that to drop later this fall.

Until next time, have a great holiday weekend. And remember, if you are in the Chicago area you should come on out to our Back to School Bash taking place!

For more RC Rock Crawling news on BigSquidRC you can click here. For news of the scale variety why don’t you check this link out.

vaterra-ascender

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