Everybody’s Scalin’ – Fuel Engines
For about 10 years I was a big nitro guy. This wasn’t because I enjoyed it over electricity, it’s because that’s where the hobby was at during the late 90’s through mid 2000’s.
Nitro was messy, loud, somewhat dangerous if you weren’t careful (killing a motor by clogging up the exhaust burnt many fingertips!), headache inducing by way of fumes and routinely a PITA to tune.
Still, if you wanted performance and run time, you went nitro. Also, despite the headaches associated with it, electric had just as many, be it needing to constantly mess with motor brushes, cycle battery packs, etc.
Once brushless motors and Lipo came about, I (and the majority) never looked back. You get more performance for less hassle. This technology hit maturity in time for it to be a gigantic contributor to the success of scaling. There is no doubt in my mind that scaling would be a small niche if not for modern electric r/c technology.
With all those caveats out of the way, I find myself sort of wondering what a fuel-powered scaler would be like. Probably not nitro, but more so a small gasser. Small gasoline engine tech isn’t quite there yet, but it’s not unreasonable to think at some point in the near future someone will get it right.
For all of the faults of a fuel engine, and there are many, there is also something inherently cool about using a real internal combustion engine on a model truck. There’s also something to be said for when you finally nail that tune and get your rig running like a song.
The problem is that even if someone designed a small gas mill that could be run without much fuss, r/c clutches are completely unsuited for crawling. Drag brake just isn’t achievable when using something that’s equipped with a clutch bell—you’d just get immediate slippage from any rock when you let off the throttle. When finesse is the name of the game, electric is where it’s at.
We’ve all seen videos where some insane/brilliant person recreates a small operational v8 or v12- in a perfect imaginary world can you imagine how cool it would be to have a real working v8 under the hood of your Trail Finder 2? You could even have a scale oil puddle in your garage!
Even though it may never be practical in a scaler – can you imagine the crap a Park Ranger would give you? – I’m still slightly nostalgic for the tactic feedback that only a nitro/gas engine gives off.
However, I’m sure that nostalgia would probably go away within 5 minutes of erroneously performing carb adjustments, so I guess I’ll just be thankful for what we have!