THE Cub Report, Version 01.30.09
There was really only one big “news” story this week- the Associated SC10 electric short course truck. Here are some of the debates/issues/gossip raised by the first “Slash clone” to hit the market.
1. The hype was too much for the actual product. If you are gonna hype/tease something to death, it had damn well better be the second coming of you know who, not a new face on an old platform (the SC10 is based heavily on the AE T4 “stadium” truck”). The hype for the SC10 wasn’t as big of a let down as the Trinity P-94 debacle, but still, far too much teasing for the end result.
2. Is the SC10 a let down? Those that say yes blame no 4wd, and more importantly, the fact the truck is based on the aging T4 platform. AE could have busted out some really trick ideas on the SC10 to put it far ahead of the Slash (engineering wise), but went with the conservative (and cheaper), old platform routine. Associated could have gone with an even more “scale” suspension and chassis set-up than the Slash, but chose not to.
Do I think it’s a let down? Certainly not, it’s exactly what I expected. Big changes mean more money for research and design, and in tooling. No manufacture is willing to cut huge checks on “all new” platforms right now. AE did the financially smart move, a new truck for minimal outlay (in the hottest class in nearly a decade).
3. Is the SC10 going to be a sales giant? First, you have to look at the price point- which at this point in “kit” form, isn’t bad. In fact, the SC10 will sell for slightly less than the Slash, albeit it’s a kit compared to an RTR.
Secondly, will the fact that the SC10 is a kit going to hurt it on dealer shelves? Sadly the answer is yes. Of course, “kits” are good (and rare) to see, and perhaps good for the hobby as a whole. But, today’s typical buyer doesn’t want to spend two or three days building a new truck. They want to buy it, charge it up, and hit the street an hour later.
Will the fact the SC10 is basically one of the “old school” stadium trucks in new clothing hurt its sales? The racers, who are a vast minority of buyers, will eat up the fact it’s more of a “race bred” truck than the Slash. Truly core racers will even more love the fact the SC10 is a kit. But, the bashers know the T4 platform is relatively fragile compared to a Slash, and they also realize the SC10 won’t drive or look as scale when driven due to the low cg chassis set-up.
Personally? I feel it won’t have the sales numbers of the Slash, but will blow away the current sales of Associated’s T and B4’s combined. The SC10 will be a hit amongst “core” type racers, as it’s new, trick, and should be a better track weapon than a Slash. The SC10 will open AE’s gates to a new breed of basher as well, but not in the enormous numbers of the Slash pulled in for Traxxas.
4. Will the SC10 be in a completely different race class than the Slash? Here we freaking go again. If you are a regular reader of mine, you’ll know how much I hate the thought of additional classes. The thought of there being separate SC10 and Slash classes just pisses me off, as there are far too many classes already. But, no, it’s not really a fair fight to pit a high cg Slash against a low cg, long armed, huge-amount-of-stock-tuning-options SC10. The Slash is the perfect “spec” class truck, but, it’s also ripe for hop-up’s and being run in mod. Here’s hoping that local tracks run them together, even if the almighty Slash is at a bit of disadvantage.
5. Is the SC10 where electric 10th scale racing is headed? Well, it’s where it should be headed. Too many “outsiders” look at the cars we normally race and are turned off by how “goofy” and non-realistic they look. These same “outsiders” will be easier to hook on the hobby by more scale appearing cars/trucks. However, if the past is a good indicator of the future (and it always is), it may take a decade for ROAR to come up with rules for the class, and by that time who cares anyways (T-maxx and 18th scale come to mind here)? It’s a near certainty that the RC Pro Series will have rules within a few weeks of the SC10’s release, but the turnout for electric racing in the Pro Series has been abysmal. Maybe better electric promotion by the Pro Series, in combination with a new hot seller like the SC10 can turn that around.
In closing, every message board and track in the country will be abuzz with SC10 talk this weekend. Hopefully, it’s a sign of the long term future of our sport. Affordable, attractive, fun, a step towards greater realism, and perhaps even a step closer to increasing the acceptance and participation of our sport.
Support your sport, support your LHS and local tracks.
Your Cub Reporter