Monster Truck Madness – 1/5 Scale Primal RC Raminator Impressions
It finally happened- I got in some trigger time with a 1/5 Scale Primal RC Raminator! We actually had not one, but two of them on hand over the weekend.
My friends and I are working on building a new dedicated monster truck track to hold our monthly events, and for a build/play day our friend Daniel “Cheech” Agosh came down to help. Cheech also happens to be employed as a crew member by Hall Bros. Racing aka the owners of the full sized Raminator Monster Truck.
He routinely races his r/c monsters with us when his travel schedule allows, and he was kind enough to bring a pair of these behemoths down south from Champaign, IL to St. Louis, MO. Note that because our time with them was limited to a weekend of bashing, I won’t be writing up a full review. For that, we like to do more in-depth testing. Still, I feel very comfortable writing up some detailed impressions here.
What we liked
It’s massive – The Primal R/C Raminator is freaking gigantic. Yeah, you think you have an idea how big it is. It feels bigger in person. It’s also extremely heavy. The official weigh in for the rig is 80 lbs, and it feels like it. You can see in the pic above how it towers over not just a Clod, but even a Traxxas X-Maxx!
It’s very well built – If you decide to cut the big check for one of these (around $3k), know that you are getting what appears to be a well engineered and burly product. Given the fact you can’t exactly go to the hobby shop for upgrades, this is a good thing. Almost everything on the truck is machined, and the machine work looks very nice.
It’s a lot of fun to drive – A smile was locked onto the faces of our drivers pretty much the whole time the truck was under power. When racing two of them together, it was REALLY fun. It feels very good carving up the track in one of these big boys, and let me tell you, you are CARVING up the track. Most r/c monster trucks feel skatey and light. Not this. You feel the mass and it digs hard!
It looks awesome – The Primal R/C team did a nice job with the truck from the cosmetics department. It may not be “perfect” (we will discuss that below) but the team really got it close. The tires in particular are great as they look like full size 66″ MT tires. The proportions are also well done.
The engine runs strong and smooth – The gasoline engine ran very well during our time with the trucks, staying hassle free even when it was upside down. It was also really cool to get that haptic feedback of being hard on the throttle that only a gas burning mill can give you. Listening to the truck roar is part of the experience!
What we didn’t like
It feels a bit sluggish – you definitely feel the truck’s weight when accelerating and cornering. Speed isn’t the end all be-all given the size here, but it’s still worth noting that it does feel slightly under-powered. However, we are happy this thing is gas because of the overall experience it provides. If I can ever procure one of these to keep for myself, I would look forward to tuning the engine and seeing what I could get out of it.
The truck sits a little high and short – this is more of a “looks” complaint versus something performance based. The truck just sits a weeee bit higher and shorter than your average full size modern monster truck. It would look (and most likely handle) better with a lower, more aggressive stance where the 4 link bars ran parallel with the ground.
After a hard weekend of bashing, one of our trucks had a servo go poof. The trucks each have twin large scale servos, but it needs both to do the job. One of them going boom effectively ended it’s day as steering wasn’t really possible. Outside of that, it was just loose screws that had be tightened. They are built well!
For better or worse, this is THE authentic monster truck experience in r/c form
Monster trucks are large, heavy, loud and, well, LOOK monsterous. The Primal R/C Raminator checks every box here. Wheeling and bashing one of these goliaths is a visceral experience. From the roar of the throttle to the massive “thud” when it comes back down to earth, this is definitely a monster truck.
Much like the real thing, it’s also expensive and requires a lot of routine maintenance to keep it out doing it’s thing. This is definitely NOT for a beginner and if you are the kind of hobbyist that would rather not wrench but only run their vehicle, it’s probably not for you either. That’s not to say it’s complicated to work on, just that if you want to keep it running smooth it will need regular service pre and post running, particularly when it comes making sure hardware stays tight. Blue loctite is your friend!
So what’s the verdict on these things based on a weekend of play? I think they are really cool. I hope that Primal R/C keeps these in production for a good while and continues to improve the design, as what’s here is very solid already. Here’s to hoping one of these winds up in my fleet someday!
Here’s some video for you that we shot!