Losing grip – Vanquish VS4-11 Dragon
Having just finished building the chassis of my Vanquish VS4-10 Phoenix, but not yet done all the electronics, I am already looking forward to laying my hands on its successor. Naturally, it will be the VS4-11 Dragon, bringing a couple of improvements to an already great rig. Now mind that it hasn’t yet been released, development might actually not have started yet, but I am hoping for it. And, more importantly, I have a couple of suggestions.
It has been a great pleasure building the Phoenix, quality through and through, clear instructions and an intriguing gearbox. Considering how good a kit it is, a couple of details has seen me surprised.
First, the motor mount. Both the SCX10-III and the TRX-4 have motor plates with preset mounting positions for different pinion sizes. That way gear mesh is always perfect, no need to mess around with a piece of paper between the spur and pinion gear.
Vanquish, contrary to their innovative gear box, has an old style motor plate with infinite (and therefore less exact) motor mount positions. Not quite to the standards of the rest of the kit, in my opinion. To be addressed in the VS4-11, if I may suggest so.
Second, the VS4-10 is not fully waterproof. True, Vanquish doesn’t claim it to be so and even makes a point of noting that the gearbox is not dust proof, so no fault on their side. It’s just a bit surprising in an era where every second picture of an RC crawler sees it either fording a stream or being covered in dust. More and more servos come with a true IP67 (can be immersed in 1 meter of freshwater for up to 30 minutes) rating. Back when I built my Axial Yeti in 2017 I could only find a single manufacturer (Xpert servos) who had their servos rated. Finding a waterproof servo today is a piece of cake.
In this environment Vanquish has made a different stand, with a see-through gearbox and a receiver box without any seals at all. Living in Queensland in the beginning of El Niño this certainly won’t be a problem for me – I don’t expect to see a proper rain in at least twelve months – but again, surprising. Look at the picture below, where the shift arm enters the gearbox: an open hole. Same thing where the servo wires enter the receiver box, again an open hole. Sealing it would require quite a bit of engineering, will we see it done in the VS4-11?
Third, the thread on the steel links are all right handed. That is, same direction of thread at both ends. In my opinion, this ought to be illegal since it makes it impossible to make exact adjustment of link lengths. The least increment of adjustment is half a turn of a red end, which in M4 thread equals 0.35 mm. Sure, maybe not a big deal, but with one end of the rod threaded right hand and the other reverse, adjustments are infinite and its a breeze getting them exact. I’m pretty sure the SCX10-III got this right, the TRX-4 did not. An easy fix that I hope to see on the VS4-11.
Conclusion then? No mistake, the VS4-10 Phoenix is a great kit, and I might very well end up buying the straight axle version as well. Is it better than the Axial’s and Traxxas’ offerings in the category? Can’t say. It’s different and that’s why I got it. Like with most kits there’s room for improvement – but how fun would things be if there weren’t? I mean, if there was such a thing as the perfect RC car, why does anyone of us have more than one?
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