RC Car Action Membership Site http://www.rccaraction.com/members RC Car Action Membership Site Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:15:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 FUTABA 4PX http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/futaba-4px/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=futaba-4px http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/futaba-4px/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:15:30 +0000 The RC Car Action Team http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/futaba-4px/ TRIED · TESTED · TORTURED

A super-sized display, even greater adjustability, and unique sound and vibration features make the 4PX Futaba's most potent pistol yet

The new Futaba 4PX is the company's most technologically advanced radio with a long list of features that may make you rethink what a transmitter can do.

The front-mounted antenna can be swiveled vertical to increase its range. This also reveals the micro memory card slot.

Futaba has a reputation for providing some of the most cutting-edge products available. Their radios have graced the fingers of some of the most elite drivers in the world, including IFMAR World Champions Team Associated's Steven Hartson and TLR's Mark Pavidis, among others. With the release of their new flagship radio, the 4PX, Futaba hopes to continue to push the boundaries and change the perceptions of what a pistol grip radio is capable of. The new 4PX isn't an updated version of the 4PKS-R, but a complete redesign with new ergonomics, huge full-color screen, navigation and software that they feel will push it to the next level. However, Futaba didn't stop there. The company wants to expand your experience and has a few new tricks up its sleeve including vibration and a synthesized voice overlay. Intrigued? Read on.


  • Intuitive navigation

  • Excellent ergonomics

  • Telemetry-ready

  • Sound and vibration output


  • Trigger opening isn't adjustable

  • Expensive — even when compared to other high-end transmitters on the market


The Futaba 4PX uses their round “jog” clickable button and surrounding “edit buttons” on the face of the transmitter to navigate. These buttons work with the new full-color, backlit LCD screen and make things easy to see even in awkward lighting conditions. The screen's resolution is amazing and has definition more closely resembling a smartphone or laptop computer. Futaba has also made the features easily identifiable by using full words instead of abbreviations and the contrasting colors make things very obvious. The round jog button mimics a computer's mouse; it helps you scroll from screen to screen and can be clicked for more function. The steering wheel can be fine-tuned for tension and its location can be altered to be repositioned for left-handed users, or dropped lower with the included drop-down parts. Around the wheel are four switches that can be left in default mode and are used for steering and throttle trim, but can be programmed for other digital trims. Under the wheel are two more programmable digital trim switches and they are used for brake and dual rate in default mode. There is also a small digital dial toward the front, and assignable push switches spread out around the radio including a very unique push switch on the front lower area that can be activated by simply bumping it. I installed the system in my Team Associated B5M and went through the menu screens for easy settings on endpoints and trim without having to reference the manual. In other Futaba 4PK radios, small things like switching models required pressing two buttons simultaneously, but now things have been made simpler and just require an intuitive click in the appropriate place.



  • Item no.: FUTK4905

  • Price: $550

  • Channels: 4

  • Modulation: FHSS

  • Receiver: R304SB — 35 × 23 × 12mm; 200mm antenna

  • Model memory: 40

  • Display: Backlit color LCD

  • Telemetry data: RPM, Temperature, Voltage

  • Left-hand convertible: Yes

  • Weight w/LiFe battery: 1 lb., 3.72 oz. (559g)

  • Weight w/NiMH battery: 1 lb., 7.10 oz. (655g)

  • Weight w/ 4 AA batteries: 1 lb., 5.09 oz. (598g)


  • Two throttle trigger options with tension adjustments

  • Trigger unit can be adjusted forward or backward by 7mm

  • Multiple crawler functions — including 4WS mixing and Dual ESC mixing

  • Steering, brake, gyro, CPS (Channel Power Switch), and tilt mixer

  • Three grip choices (two are optional)

  • Adjustable rotating antenna

  • Low steering wheel position with drop-down option

  • Throttle acceleration (reduces time lag for gasoline engine cars)

  • Steering and throttle speed

  • Left-handed support

  • Mechanical ATL (adjustable brake stroke on throttle trigger)

  • Steering and throttle subtrim

  • Steering and throttle exponential

  • Idle-Up (Idle up at engine start)

  • Engine Cut

  • Start Function (Throttle preset at start function)

  • High Point Spring (removable)


  • 30% faster and 0.5 oz (15g) lighter than the 4PKS-R

  • 3.5” (89mm) QVGA (Quarter Video Graphics Array) TFT (Thin Film Transistor) color LCD screen

  • Large, assignable switch located on bottom of transmitter

  • Compatible with T-FHSS, S-FHSS and FASST receivers

  • 31 telemetry sensor slots available (sensors sold separately)

  • Synthesized voice for telemetry data

  • Internal aluminum frame

  • Multi-function jog switch

  • Grip with built-in vibration

  • Built-in S.Bus servo/Futaba ESC/telemetry sensor programmers

  • Anti-skid braking system (A.B.S.)

  • 32° and 34° wheel adapters

  • “Telemetry Disabled” LED indicator

  • Earphone jack

  • Battery charging jack

  • Built-in speaker

  • Micro memory card slot

  • Free user-updateable software

  • Push-button power switch with auto-off function

  • Clock and voltage meter

  • Racing Timer

  • Low Battery Alarm

  • Separate power and display switch

  • Non-telemetry LED

  • Neck strap holder


No need to take your hands off the wheel: the “belly button” on the radio's base is activated by tapping it against your body.

The Futaba 4PX is the company's pro-level pistol radio and has all the features you'd expect in a radio of this caliber, but takes it a bit further with a few things you may not have thought of. Sure, you can set endpoints, dual-rate, subtrim, and exponential curves, but the 4PX also includes five programmable mixes. Scale and crawler drivers will appreciate this and there are mixing menus for 4-wheel steering and speed control mixing among others. The 4PX is also compatible with S-Bus technology, meaning you can plug in an S-Bus servo and change things like dead-band, read the servo's settings, change its parameters, or just reset it. The 4PX will also work with my other Futaba receivers (as long as they are T-FHSS, S-FHSS and FASST receivers) and users can store up to 40 models in the radio's memory. If you need more, just use the memory card slot (micro SD cards sold separately) to transfer the info along with free program updates through futaba-rc.com. The radio can also operate in both normal and high-speed response modes for more flexibility. For nitro users, you can set the radio to “idle-up” as the car warms up. Driver assistance features like A.B.S. and gyro mixing are also included. The 4PX is also ready for their telemetry system (sold separately) and when driving you can hear it give you the info via a synthesized voice coming out of the built-in speaker, or plug in a set of headphones for private feedback. The voice will tell you things like voltage, temperature and rpm (when telemetry is installed). The 4PX can also be set to use vibration for alerts. Yeah, there are a lot features and many more that are all covered in the manual. With its huge array of features, the 4PX should cover just about any conceivable situation, and do so at a speed that's 30% faster and 0.5 oz. (15 grams) lighter than the Futaba 4PKS-R.


The 4PX comes with a R304SB receiver and it memorizes the transmitter's ID number to help prevent any other transmitter signal from interfering.

Hold the power button for a couple of seconds to switch the 4PX on (the delay is designed to prevent accidental power-up), and the radio comes to life with glowing colors and high-tech sound. This radio just has the high-quality, futuristic feel and along with the jog and other buttons, not to mention that big backlit LCD color screen, complete a pretty awesome package. Pairing it up with the included R304SB receiver was easy. The 4PX has a frame rate that's 30% faster than the older 4PKS-R, but we'll just say it's more than fast enough — it feels instantaneous.

First impressions are what you'd expect in a competition-level transmitter of this stature. You'll feel like you're part of an exclusive club. It just looks like it belongs on the hood of a Rolls-Royce or 90-foot yacht. The 4PX costs $550 and has some pretty impressive features that warrant such a price tag. When I first picked it up, it felt solid and balanced in my hand. Futaba opted to leave out batteries to help keep the overall cost down, but left the compartment ready for AA batteries, NiMH or 2S LiFe packs. After trying out AA batteries, I swapped them out for a rechargeable 2S LiFe pack and this helped lower the overall weight and improved its balance (just make sure you program the transmitter with the appropriate battery settings to avoid any unnecessary low-voltage alerts). I found that the spring tension in the trigger and steering wheel were a bit stiff, but a quick turn of the small hex-head screws and I found my sweet spot. Be aware, the screws can be backed out too far (there are no end stops) and if you go past the adjustment range you'll eject some very tiny springs. Next was my need to bring the wheel down a bit lower and swivel it a tad. Luckily, all the parts are included for this too. A few screws and reconnecting of the wires with the inner plugs and I was done (about a 10-minute process). Futaba also has a shim if you like to angle the wheel (sold separately), and there are optional rubber grips to change the interface with your hand. When making adjustments to the trigger to work with my long, skinny pointer finger, I found that I could move the trigger fore and aft 7mm and a wider trigger brake lever is included, but I couldn't change the opening of the trigger. My finger just didn't fill the space well and going from full throttle to full brake would cause a lag as my finger moved from one position to the other. Slipping a piece of fuel tubing over the brake trigger will help close the gap, but I would prefer a built-in adjustment. It would also be nice to see some texture on the trigger. Its smooth surface slipped around on my fingertip and I can only imagine when it's hot that would play an even bigger role.


Futaba offers telemetry sensors and they monitor temperature, voltage and rpm.

The 4PX is equipped for telemetry feedback when plugged into a telemetry-enabled receiver like the one included with the radio. The items are sold individually and you can choose the items to suit your own needs. There are a few telemetry sensors available and I had four to monitor temperature (SBS-01TE, $45 or SBS-01T, $75), RPM (SBS-01RM, $53) and voltage (SBS-01V, $55). Each comes with its own instructions and safety precautions and installs in a matter of minutes. On the track, it is pretty cool to hear the info relayed back to me through the ear piece in the radio's synthesized voice. Electric racers often concern themselves with motor temperature to help them in picking gearing and this was an easy way to see how it changed throughout a run. This, along with rpm and voltage, gave me a whole lot of data to comb through. Just keep in mind that there are only so many slots in your receiver, with my speed control, servo and transponder connected, I was only able to use two sensors at a time.


Futaba has built its reputation on providing the most cutting-edge radio equipment on the market, and the 4PX lived up to my expectations and at times, surpassed them. True, the price tag of $550 is on the upper end of the market and may catch some attention, but there's no doubt about its features; they don't just give feedback through your fingers, but incorporate vibration, site and sound to elevate these senses to a unique almost total body experience. It took just a few minutes to comfortably navigate and just a bit longer to explore a few of the other advances this radio has. When it's time to step up your game, the 4PX will give almost everything you can think of in a radio with a reliable signal and awesome performance. There are other transmitters on the market from other manufacturers, but the list of features in this radio is pretty tough to beat and the personalization I can do to make it an even better extension of my hands and coordination. –Carl Hyndman

http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/futaba-4px/feed/ 0
AXIAL YETI XL MONSTER BUGGY http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/axial-yeti-xl-monster-buggy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=axial-yeti-xl-monster-buggy http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/axial-yeti-xl-monster-buggy/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:15:30 +0000 Kevin Hetmanski http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/axial-yeti-xl-monster-buggy/ PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO


Axial's first-ever 1/8 scale pushes the limits of solid-axle performance

Axial has been knocking it out of the park when it comes to off-road vehicles. The company helped start the rock crawling boom with the AX10 and when scale trucks became popular, it was one of the first to step up to the plate with an affordable and capable scale truck called the SCX10. More recently, rock racing has grown in popularity and Axial was there again to jump in with both feet with the awesome Yeti. We reviewed the Yeti only a few issues ago and thought that we wouldn't be seeing any new vehicles out of Axial for a while — then they hit us with a big surprise. Out of nowhere, Axial introduced the Yeti XL Monster Buggy which, according to Axial, is 1/8-scale. Well, when you see how big this truck actually is and compare it to other 1/8-scale vehicles, you'll see that it's more like a 1/6-scale vehicle. Because of its size, the Yeti XL uses all-new parts and like the 1/10-scale Yeti, it features an independent front and 4-link rear suspension, metal gears and a trick-looking rock racer body. This one, however, has much larger tires and shocks, a di erent chassis design, and a 6S capable speed control and motor. There's a lot more to talk about, so let's get this ball rolling.


  • Item no.: AX90032

  • Scale: 1/8

  • Price: $700

  • Weight, as tested: 12.75 lb.


  • Material: Plastic

  • Type: Molded tub with tubular rear


  • Type (F/R): Independent/4-link w/ solid axle

  • Front inboard camber link positions: 4

  • Front outboard upper arm positions: 2

  • Rear upper link positions: 5

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 3/2

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 2/3


  • Bodies: Threaded aluminum 16mm bore

  • Shafts: 4mm steel

  • Volume compensation: None


  • Type: Shaft driven 4WD

  • Spur gear/pinion: 15/68

  • Differential F/R: Sealed bevel gear

  • Driveshafts F/R: Steel universal/steel straight shaft

  • Bearings: Rubber sealed


  • Wheels: Chrome-plated spoke

  • Tires: Scale all terrain

  • Inserts: Foam


  • Axial AX-3 Radio

  • Tactic TSX45 steering servo

  • Vanguard AE-4 XL speed control

  • Castle Creations 2200KV brushless motor


  • Two 2 or 3S battery packs

  • Charger

  • AA batteries for the radio


That speed control is made for Axial by Castle and it's capable of handling 6S LiPo power. A large fan keeps it cool and you can tweak the settings by way of a Castle Field Programming card or Castle Link software.

With a buggy this big it's only natural that you're go ing to have a speed control and motor capable of pro ducing big power. The Yeti XL comes equipped with an Axial Vanguard AE-4 XL speed control that was developed by Castle Cre ations. The waterproof speed control is able to handle 6S LiPo power and has a large fan to blow cool air over the heat sink. Its settings can be adjusted by way of a Castle Field Programming Card or by linking it to your speed control and using Castle Link software. 6mm bullet connectors link the speed control to a 75mm long Axial Vanguard 2200KV 4-pole brushless motor that was also developed by Castle Creations. The motor is almost 25mm longer than a standard 540-size brushless motor. Fins on the motor's can increase surface area and therefore cooling ability.


With the Yeti XL's body removed you can see that the chassis is made up of a molded tub section up front and in the rear there's a trick-looking tubular section.

The Yeti XL has a large molded plastic tub-like chassis and on the sides are molded-in pockets for the batteries; hinged doors are used to contain them. Two body clips keep the doors closed and foam blocks are used to space the battery from front to rear so you can shift the batteries to change the front and rear weight of the truck. The speed control, receiver and servo are mounted close to the truck's center line with the receiver being mounted in a sealed box below the speed control. The transmission is not only mounted on the truck's centerline but it's also centered from front to back to give the truck great balance. An aluminum skidplate protects the front bottom of the chassis and it's connected to a bumper that is functional and has a scale look. Normally, we see a smooth bottom on a chassis but that's not the case with the Yeti XL. There are sections under the steering servo and optional shifting servo locations that come down about 7mm below the rest of the chassis and the battery door hinges are also slightly below the bottom of the chassis.


The indepenent front suspension uses molded camber links and tie rods to resist crash damage. The 20mm aluminum shocks perform well, and earn style points with their faux reservoirs.

In the rear of the truck you'll find a 4-link solid axle suspension system with triangulated upper links to center the axle under the chassis. The unique links have stiffeners that are screwed to each side while the lower links have molded plastic U-shaped pieces that are secured by multiple screws that also increase stiffness. Multiple mounting positions are available for the upper links and that allows you to adjust anti squat. Up front is a completely different independent suspension system. The lower H-arms use a gull-wing design that gives good ground clearance while keeping the shock as low as possible for a lower center of gravity. Controlling the action of the suspension are large 20mm aluminum body shocks that have been threaded for easy ride height adjustment. Faux shock reservoirs are molded into the plastic shock caps and give the shocks a scale look.


There is a lot of weight in this buggy and a lot of power on tap so you get a transmission that is full of metal gears to handle the stresses that come along with it; even the spur gear is made of metal.

This truck weighs a lot and there's a lot of power going through it so it's no surprise to see a transmission that is packed full of metal gears. The transmission is designed specifically for this chassis and comes with high-speed gears installed but you can purchase an optional two-speed to get you the grunt of a low gear ratio and the speed that a high gear ratio will give you. A solid output shaft ensures that the front and rear tires get equal power at all times. A metal 32-pitch spur gear is also included with that set of metal gears and attached to it is an adjustable dual disc slipper clutch to protect the drivetrain form any sudden shock. Of course, the entire gearbox spins on ball bearings that keep things running smooth and increase the life of the transmission. Front and rear bevel gear differentials which are a bit of a surprise since the 1/10-scale version has a spool in the rear and a differential up front. The cases are sealed so that they can be filled with various fluids for tuning and according to the manual they come filled with 20,000 wt oil from the factory. Ring and pinion gears with aggressively sized large teeth are used to spin them.


  • Looks awesome

  • Lots of power

  • Metal gear transmission

  • Swaybars not included

  • Differentials unload easily

  • Flexy steering links

A multi-piece body with driver figures and injection-molded tube detailing gives the Yeti XL an impressive scale look.


Yep, those are some seriously big tires and they are licensed replicas of BF Goodrich's Krawler T/A KX tires.

Covering the Yeti XL's chassis is a multi-piece body that is attached to a durable molded plastic roll cage. The parts include a hood, roof, and side panels and various details such as a molded interior with driver figures, radiator and number plates complete the look. Clipped body mounts secure the front of the body while the rear pivots on the roll cage. Unlike the 1/10 Yeti, the rear of the Yeti XL's body is attached to its pivot point with screws instead of body clips, allowing the body to tilt up like a funny car's for chassis access. Part of what makes the Yeti XL so big are the tires and they are 7.8 inch diameter licensed replicas of BF Goodrich's Krawler T/A KX. This all-terrain tire has aggressive lugs that have been designed to be right at home on various surfaces. The tires come glued to 3.8 inch diameter officially licensed Raceline wheel replicas. Faux bead lock rings complete the look of the chrome plated wheel. Large foam inserts support the tires.


I started out my Yeti XL drive time with two 2S batteries for a total of 14.8 volts of power. Installing the packs was tricky. I needed one hand to hold the body up and two to install the battery packs. The body will stay up if you lift up on the buggy slightly and jam the back of the roll cage against the top of the rear axle but the second you put pressure on the chassis, the body falls down. Another problem that I had was with the body clips that hold the battery door closed. I had difficult time closing the door enough (because of the battery wires) to get the body clips that keep the door in place and this was also a challenge for me without batteries in place. With the battery install out of the way, the Yeti XL felt smooth with every pull of the trigger and had plenty of torque on tap with 4S power. Hard acceleration leaned the chassis and loaded the suspension, which made me wish Axial had spec's swaybars to help the suspension resist the twist. With the chassis twist I also noticed a slight amount of front differential slip when the right front tire lightened up. Along with that crazy power on tap, you also get some serious brakes. The speed control and motor do a great job of locking up those big tires. Having good brakes on a vehicle this big and fast is a good thing. The Yeti XL's size and weight really shines on the rough terrain where I do most of my testing; it's very stable when compared the Yeti and other 1/10-scale vehicles that I drive there. Jumping the buggy was fun and I found that after some jumps the suspension soaked up to the landings well and other times the rear end would hop slightly which would trip it up a bit. The 4-link rear hop would also show up from time to time when driving through rough ground. The Yeti XL has a slight push when steering on dirt and struggles a bit on pavement and I feel that this is due to the molded steering tie rods, which are flexible to ward off crash damage but don't transmit steering inputs as well as stiffer metal links would. Satisfied with 4S testing, I installed two 3S battery packs for 22.2 volts of power and the Yeti XL felt like another vehicle all together. This time it was much harder to drive. Once I gave the radio trigger a slight pull and the Yeti XL chassis quickly twisted considerably more than before and this time both differentials slipped as it sped away in a dramatic fashion. I had to roll on the throttle to get it to go in a straight line and I couldn't get it past half throttle without losing control of it. Turning was also difficult; the front end gets light (even at low speed) so the tires lose contact with the ground and the buggy wants to go straight. It's a wild ride and taming the wild beast can be fun, but 4S power is definitely the sweet spot for the Yeti XL — out of the box, at least.



When you see the Yeti XL for the first time it's very impressive due to its size and design and it has a lot of great features; I like the look of it, the large shocks, and the impressive power system. On the downside, the open diffs, soft steering links, and need for swaybars compromises handling performance, especially on 6S. According to Axial, swaybars will be available and I'm sure that spools and steel steering links will also be on the option part list. With those three things added to the buggy, I feel that it will greatly improve its performance and therefore make it feel like a completely different vehicle that is much easier to drive and has better performance. So, what's next for Axial? They have a new platform with new parts, which means that we will most likely see a new vehicle that will use those parts. I'm betting that we will see a 1/8-scale Wraith or Solid-axle monster truck next. Only time will tell.

http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/axial-yeti-xl-monster-buggy/feed/ 0
PRO-LINE PRO-MT http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/pro-line-pro-mt/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pro-line-pro-mt http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/pro-line-pro-mt/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:15:30 +0000 Kevin Hetmanski http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/pro-line-pro-mt/ PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO


Pro-grade specs deliver top-shelf 2WD monster performance

Everyone knows Pro-Line for its award-winning bodies, wheels, and tires (among other accessories) — in fact, the brand has won more Reader's Choice Awards than any other accessory maker. In late 2013, Pro-Line made the jump to kit manufacturer with the PRO-2 short course truck, which spawned the PRO-2 buggy (as reviewed in our October 2014 issue). Now, the PRO platform has returned as the PRO-MT, a 1/10-scale 2WD monster truck that puts all of Pro-Line's high-end specs to work as a big-tire brawler. This truck is unlike anything that is on the market today and it's designed to take a beating and give you great performance while doing it. With an aluminum chassis, beefy ProTrac suspension, steel telescoping drive-shafts and a proven PowerStroke shocks, the PRO-MT is an exceptionally well-equipped truck that should be a top performer based on our experience with the other PRO models. And it's a kit, so if you like to spin hex drivers, you're in luck. Let's put the PRO-MT together and hit the dirt.


  • Item no.: 4003-00

  • Scale: 1/10

  • Price: $390

  • Weight, as tested: 6lb. (2722g)


  • Material: Aluminum

  • Type: Plate with molded front brace


  • Type (F/R): H-arm with 4mm steel turnbuckle upper link

  • Inboard camber link positions: (F/R) 3/3

  • Outboard upper arm positions: (F/R) 2/3

  • Shock positions, towers: (F/R) 2/2

  • Shock positions, arms: (F/R) 2/4


  • Bodies: ffreaded aluminum, 10.8mm bore

  • Shafts: Titanium-nitride-coated steel, 3.5mm

  • Volume compensation: Bladder


  • Type: 2WD enclosed gearbox

  • Spur gear/pinion: 86T/pinion not included

  • Differential: Sealed bevel gear, silicone filled

  • Driveshafts: Pro-Spline HD Axles

  • Bearings: Rubber sealed


  • Wheels: Pro-Line F-11

  • Tires: Pro-Line Trenchers

  • Inserts: Foam


  • Transmitter: Airtronics MX-V

  • Receiver: Airtronics 92622 waterproof

  • Steering servo: Hitec HS-8330SH

  • Speed control: Castle Sidewinder SCT

  • Motor: Neu-Castle 1410 1Y 3800KV


PowerStroke shocks soak up the bumps. They are as smooth as some of the shocks that you'll find on today's hottest race cars.

Pro-Line's proven Pro Trac suspension adds durability to the truck and increases performance.

Pro-Line includes its proven Pro Trac suspension with the PRO-MT and if you take a look the pictures you will see that the arms are pretty thick and they should be able to take some serious hits without failing. On each end of the arms are hinge pins that use a lock nut to keep them in place instead of e-clips which is another added durability feature. The front suspension arms give your shocks two mounting positions while four can be found in the rear. The truck comes equipped with an aluminum front carrier which is something that is usually an option for other trucks and in the rear is a large beefed up hub which again is an option for other trucks.

Softening the blow from bumps and jumps are a complete set of Pro-Line PowerStroke shocks. The shocks use an aluminum shock body that has been threaded for ride height adjustment and it's topped off by an aluminum shock cap. The 3.5mm shock shaft slides through a pair of O-rings that keep the oil in and the dirt out and the shaft is kept in place by two shaft guides. What makes these shocks unique are the dual springs that are wrapped around the shock body; two springs with different rates are used to support the chassis. The top spring is soft while the bottom is a little stiffer which allows the upper spring to handle smaller bumps while the larger and longer lower spring takes care of larger bumps and jumps. The tops of the shocks are connected to thick molded plastic shock towers and each provides two mounting positions on all four corners.


Pro-Line's transmission is full of metal gears which can easily take the abuse of today's LiPo and brushless power.


Airtronics MX-V radio

To control my Pro-Line PRO-MT I chose to use Airtronics' MX-V radio which is a mid range radio that you can have for about $100 and it comes with a waterproof 3-channel receiver. Its functions are displayed on a large LCD screen on the top of the radio and navigating through all of them is done through some up and down buttons along with some positive and negative buttons that let you adjust the function. Some of the functions that are offered are anti lock braking, expo, dual rate, model memory and sub-trim. The radio feels good in your hand and it has a tight trigger which makes controlling a lot of power a little easier. I had full control of the PRO-MT no matter what the conditions were.

The three gear transmission design is the same as the one used in Pro-Line's PRO-2 SC and PRO-2 Buggy but the gear material has been upgraded to steel to handle the power of 2S and 3S batteries and today's powerful brushless systems. On the bottom of the housing is a sealed gear differential that allows you to fine tune its action with different thickness of silicone fluid. The aluminum motor plate dissipates the heat that builds up in the motor and it gives a sturdy mount for the motor. Slots have been machined out of the plate to reduce weight and to increase its surface area for better cooling. A slipper clutch is included to reduce shock to the transmission but with all the steel gears inside the slipper clutch is basically just a tuning option to help reduce tire slip in loose situations. The hard anodized aluminum plates in the slipper assembly have been vented to keep the temperature of the slipper pads down and consistency up.

Pro-Line's new Pro-Spline HD shafts make their debut on the PRO-MT. The design features CV-style joints at both ends, crosspins retained by the wheel bearings on the outboard ends and metal clips at the transmission. The shafts are comprised of splined, male and female halves that telescope to accommodate suspension action, and the all-steel construction is up for major horsepower.

Pro-Spline HD driveshafts get the power from the transmission to the tires. They are made up of all steel parts and are completely rebuildable.


The PRO-MT comes with a beefy aluminum plate chassis and has tall molded side guards that close the gap between the body and chassis. They also do a good job of keeping debris away from the running gear inside.

With a truck like this you need a durable base and that job goes to a narrow 3mm thick aluminum plate that has been anodized to enhance its look and increase durability. A molded front chassis brace connects the front bulkhead to the steering bell cranks and servo mount and all that increases the sti ness of the front end. The battery is mounted in the center of the chassis and its kept in place by a rear and front cup and two hook-and-loop straps. On the rear battery cup is a good-size plate for speed control mounting. We are used to seeing molded side guards on a vehicle with an aluminum plate chassis but we aren't used to seeing ones that are this big. The guards help keep dirt and debris out of the chassis and Pro-Line raised them up pretty high to take up the gap between the chassis and the body.


Trencher tires on F-11 wheels are standard — that's a $70 upgrade for other trucks.

A bashing truck is more fun when it has a set of aggressive tires bolted on to it and that's what you get with the PROMT. Trencher tires gives the truck great ground clearance, lots of traction and a very aggressive look. Foam inserts support the soft-compound M2 rubber and the tires come out of the box glued to Pro-Line's F-11 wheels. Topping off the truck is Pro-Line's new Sentinel body, which looks tough with its angular grille, extended-cab profile, and chunky proportions. The body is made out of thick .060 Lexan which will outlast the typical .040 Lexan most bodies use and is a nice plus for a truck that is definitely going to see a lot of hard use. It comes clear so the paint job is up to you; mine was painted by the gang at Pro-Line. Keeping the body in place are Pro-Line's trick Secure-Loc body mounts, which eliminate body clips in favor of threaded caps.


Part of what makes the PRO-MT so special is that Pro-Line has done some of the assembly for you. The chassis (along with bell cranks, transmission, shocks and tires come already put together so all you have to do is add the rest of the parts that come in the kit and you're ready to go. Here are a few things that you may want to do while completing your truck.


The shocks only need to be filled up before installing onto the truck. Before you fill them with fluid, take the time to lube up the seals with some Team Associated Green Slime. This lubricates the O-rings, which makes the shocks smoother and increases their ability to keep dirt out and the oil in.


Give the chassis a once-over to make sure that the screws are tight and that everything is where it belongs. Also check the steering bell cranks while you are there. Make sure that they move freely and that they are assembled correctly.


Remove the gear cover and give the spur gear a spin to make sure that the transmission rotates freely. Before you run the truck, check the slipper clutch setting to make sure that it's not too tight or too loose. With the battery plugged in and the truck turned on hold onto both rear tires and pull on the radio trigger. The front of the truck should rise up a few inches; any more than that means that the slipper is too tight and if it's any less the slipper is too loose.


The tires come glued and ready to bolt on. Before you do that give the edge of the tire a few tugs to make sure that they are properly glued to the wheels.


I started off running the PRO-MT on loose dirt and I was blown away at how much traction the truck had. Wheelies were no problem when I stabbed the throttle and when easing on it I didn't notice any wheel slip and steering on the same loose surface was just as impressive. When I was able to get the truck on to the pavement that traction made for some sketchy driving due to the aggressive side bite; from time to time I found the truck flipping in the turns. That's something that is to be expected when you have a high riding monster truck and grippy rubber. The PRO-MT isn't a race truck but it shares its ProTrac suspension with the race-ready PRO-2 short-course truck and buggy, so I took it over to Pro-Line's test track and ran a few laps just to see what this truck could do. The track had been sitting for days without water, which made it very loose. It's built for 1/8-scale buggies and truggies so I had some pretty serious gaps to jump over. I had driven a short course truck on this same track and in the same condition a few weeks before and it was a little on the loose side so I expected the PRO-MT to be a bit of a handful. Yeah, I was wrong. PRO-MT attacked the track felt way better than the short course truck that I ran. I was able to aggressively get into the throttle and clearing the jumps wasn't a problem at all. The suspension did a great job of taking care of the small imperfections on the track and landings off the large jumps were well controlled. The steering is very responsive and getting through the turns was easy because of this. Pro-Line says that this truck is built with durability in mind so I didn't take it easy while I was running it. After a few hot laps on the track, I lined the truck up to the large jump on the back stretch and worked on perfecting a back flip which I eventually got down but crashed a lot while trying to figure it out. The crashes didn't faze the PRO-MT; it kept coming back for more and showed no signs of breakage. After track testing, I went into the empty field next to the track and bombed around in the very rough dirt. There was a lot of traction to be had which led to lots of wheelies and that never gets old. From time to time, the truck would grab onto a branch or other immovable obstacle and would cartwheel out of control and most of the time I was able to get it to land on the tires and keep going. Again, there were no signs of damage.


  • Awesome traction

  • Very durable

  • Transmission, shocks, and chassis arrive pre-built


  • Expensive


Pro-Line has taken 2WD monster truck performance to another level with the PRO-MT. This truck has far exceeded my expectations in the performance and durability department and I really had fun driving it. The truck does come in kit form but the cool part is that Pro-Line helps you with the build by giving you items such as the shocks, transmission, and chassis already built to get you from the box to the dirt a little faster. It's not cheap at close to $400, but you truly get what you pay for. What's left to do to the truck? Other than adding your power system and electronics, nothing. You're basically getting a full-blown project truck like you would see in the pages of this magazine right out of the box, so there's really no need to bolt on accessories to improve performance, durability or traction. It's all right there!


http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/pro-line-pro-mt/feed/ 0
VATERRA/HORIZON HOBBY 1986 CHEVROLET K5 BLAZER ASCENDER http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/vaterrahorizon-hobby-1986-chevrolet-k5-blazer-ascender/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vaterrahorizon-hobby-1986-chevrolet-k5-blazer-ascender http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/vaterrahorizon-hobby-1986-chevrolet-k5-blazer-ascender/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 13:15:30 +0000 Kevin Hetmanski http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/vaterrahorizon-hobby-1986-chevrolet-k5-blazer-ascender/ WORDS AND PHOTOS BY KEVIN HETMANSKI


Vaterra hits the scaler scene with Blazer flavor

Vaterra has been beating down the door of the scale RC scene since it started with impressive vehicles such as the '69 Chevy Camaro, Twin Hammers and '67 Ford Mustang. These vehicles are well detailed and also do pretty well on the performance side of things. We were excited to learn that Vaterra was going to be introducing a new off-road truck because the bar has been set pretty high thanks to the other vehicles in the lineup and we were sure that the new truck would be equally as impressive. They are calling it the 1986 K-5 Blazer Ascender (we'll just call it Ascender to keep it short) and unlike other Vaterra vehicles, this truck is the first vehicle to come as a kit the first time out. When you look at this scale trail truck you quickly see that it is unlike any other truck on the market today. It has a long list of impressive features such as an adjustable wheelbase, floating battery tray, super aggressive steering angle and compact axles. We hear that it's also a real performer, so let's get this thing built and see if it's as awesome as we think it is.


  • Item no.: VTR03023

  • Scale: 1/10

  • Price: $320

  • Weight, as tested:5 lb. 7 oz.


  • Material: Steel

  • Type: Stamped plate with molded plastic crossmembers


  • Type (F/R): 3-link w/ Panhard Bar/4-link

  • Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 0/0

  • Outboard upper arm positions (F/R): 0/0

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 1/1

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 1/1


  • Bodies: Threaded plastic, 8mm bore

  • Shafts: 3mm steel

  • Volume compensation: None


  • Type: Shaft-driven 4WD

  • Spur gear/pinion: 82/14

  • Differential F/R: spool

  • Driveshafts F/R: Steel universal/steel solid axle

  • Bearings: Rubber sealed ball


  • Wheels: Chrome-plated spoke

  • Tires: Scale all terrain

  • Inserts: Foam


  • Transmitter: Spektrum DX4C

  • Receiver: Spektrum SR410

  • Throttle servo: Spektrum S6030

  • Speed control: Tekin FX-R

  • Receiver battery: Dynamite Reaction 7.4V 4000mAh 2S 50C LiPo

  • Motor: Tekin T35 HD brushed motor


The front and rear suspension is linked to give the Ascender the best possible performance. The rear uses a 4-link setup while the front has a 3-line with panhard bar. Long travel shocks smooth out the ride.

The Ascender's rear axle is controlled by way of a 4-link suspension while front axle uses a three-link setup with a Panhard bar to keep the axle centered under the chassis. All links consists of aluminum rod, long setscrews and rod ends. Vaterra spec'd molded plastic shocks with threaded bodies to control the axles and suspension on the Ascender. At 109mm long they are easily some of the longest shocks that you will find on a scale truck. There is no bladder inside to compensate for displaced oil when the shock shaft moves into the body as it's compressed. Dual springs are used to support the chassis and both have the same stiffness out of the box but optional rate springs can be used to fine-tune the feel.


You won't find more compact axles than that on a stock truck. Inside the housing is a one-piece spool/bevel gear that sends equal power to the left and right tires.

A three-gear transmission is used to transfer the rotation of the motor to the axles and inside you will find a complete set of metal gears and they are aligned and protected by a beefy transmission housing. A slipper clutch is used to add extra protection to the internals and axles and attached to that slipper clutch is a molded plastic spur gear. The transmission can be upgraded to make it a two-speed unit and has a mount for a shifting servo. Vaterra gave the Ascender axles that not only look scale but they are also very compact. The center pumpkin is about as small as you can make it and the diameter of the axles tubes are some of the smallest that you'll find. A chrome-plated cover on the pumpkin is removable and allows for inspection and greasing of the gears inside and a small molded skidplate on the bottom protects it from damage and helps lift the axles over obstacles. A spool transfers equal power to both sides of the axle and the spool and gear are one piece which reduces the risk of failure and getting the power to the tires are steel rebuildable universals in the front and solid shafts in the rear. Plastic slider drive shafts with rebuildable metal universals on each end connect the transmission to the axles. Steering throw on the ascender is very impressive; you can easily turn the tires more than 45 degrees with the stock setup, which is something you won't normally see unless the axles have been modified.


One end of the battery tray pivots on the chassis and the opposite end is connected to the front axle allow it to float in the chassis. This lower's the truck's center of gravity and puts weight on the front axle for improved traction.
The Ascender comes with a very realistic chassis. The rails are made out of stamped steel just like you would find on a full-size truck.

In a truck like this you would normally find a battery tray mounted in the front or rear of the chassis, but that's another area where the Ascender stands out. This truck uses a floating battery tray and a hook-and-loop strap to secure the battery to the chassis. One side of the battery tray is fixed to the chassis and pivots on metal bushings while the other side is connected to the top of the axle by way of a ball link. As the axle moves up and down the battery tray moves with it and this helps lower the truck's center of gravity and puts more weight on the axle to improve front end traction. The down side to the Vaterra design is that you are limited to shorty packs which reduces your battery choices for the truck.


Spektrum DX4C

Since the Vaterra Ascender comes as a kit I had to pick up some electronic gear to complete it. For control I went with Spektrum's DX4C 4-channel radio, which I consider to be a mid-level radio system. It's a 2.4GHz unit and has a compact antenna that is stylish at the same time. A push button is used to turn the radio on and off and a push/roll button is used to make your way through the menu that is shown on a easy to see display. Some of the radio's features are a 20-model memory, expo, switch assignments, and mixing. The radio is also setup to control AVC receivers and an SD slot behind the grip allows you to update the radio's software. Having a 4-channel for a truck like the Ascender allows you to not only control the throttle and steering of the truck but those other channels can be used to control things like a winch and light system.


Part of what makes a scale truck realistic is the chassis and Vaterra didn't disappoint in that area. The chassis is shaped to look like what you would find on a full-size truck and it's stamped and shaped out of steel plate. A black coating completes the look and keeps the metal from rusting. Plastic cross members spaced the chassis rails and providing mounting locations for various components. The receiver box helps keep debris away from the receiver and it has been molded to look like a fuel cell that you would find in a race vehicle. Molded clips on the sides of the chassis secure the battery, motor and servo wires which give the chassis a clean look and it keeps them out of harm's way. The servo is mounted directly in the chassis (which is an option for some vehicles) and there is an open position to add a second servo if you choose to convert one into a winch. The bumper has an opening in it for a fairlead if you decide to go this route. The bumpers and rock slider side bars are adjustable; the front and rear can be moved in closer for shorter bodies and the side bars can be moved in 12mm per side for narrower bodies


The front and rear chassis sections slide into each other and the marks on the side let you know what wheelbase you have the left and right frame rails set at. The rest of the adjustments are made through the suspension links.

Seeing a scale truck with an adjustable wheelbase isn't anything new but the extreme wheelbase adjustment available in the Ascender is. You can build the truck with a 278mm, 290mm, 302mm or 314mm wheelbase depending on the performance you're looking for or the body you want to use. The K-5 Blazer body calls for the 314mm wheelbase so that's what our test truck was built to. In order to make that happen, the chassis is able to expand or contract and spacers are added or removed from the suspension links.


Vaterra went with a Chevy K-5 Blazer body to cover the chassis of the Ascender and it's molded out of Lexan. What makes this body special is that the grille has been injection molded and bolts to the body to give the Blazer a little more detail. Light buckets and lenses are included and they are designed to hold 5mm LEDs if you decided to light your truck up for added scale realism. The look of the body is as close to the real thing as you can get with Lexan. It's about an inch or more wider than the standard bodies that we are used to seeing in this category. The extra width means more Lexan and when you combine that with the injection-molded grille it makes the body heavier than other RC bodies. The body comes clear with overspray film so the paint job is up to you; lots of stickers that add detail. I went with an orange and black paint job and did it using LRP paint. Traction and scale looks are provided by well molded Interco Super Swamper tires and foam inserts support the tread. The compound feels a bit firm when compared to other tires out there but only time on the dirt and rocks will tell if the compound and foam stiffness is right. The tires are glued to a set of chrome-plated spoke wheels that have a faux beadlock ring. The wheels are driven by metal 12mm hexes with ribs on the face to improve grip with the wheel and a setscrew pin secures them to the axles so they won't come off and the pin won't fall out when you remove the wheels.


While building the Ascender I found that the manual doesn't offer notes or advice to help you with the build and I was confused from time to time while putting the truck together. If you are new to kit building, I recommend that you take your time with the build and pay close attention. Here are a few notes that will help with the build.


When assembling the slipper clutch, the addendum sheet tells you to tighten the slipper nut all the way and back it off five turns. It's actually better to back it off six turns.


Two shims are included and are used between the bearings and spool. Place both shims on the gear side of the spool to push the gear closer to the pinion, which will tighten the gear mesh and improve the durability of the gear.


When tightening the screws that hold the diff cover onto the axle, make sure you don't overtighten them. Snug them up using light pressure and stop when the cover is flat against the axle housing. If you overtighten the screws, the head will push through the hole in the cover. Using a 1.5mm hex wrench to push the small lock nuts into the back side of the axles before screwing in the diff cover will make assembly much easier.


When assembling the chassis pay close attention to the diagram on the right side of the page. Figuring out where to place the rails to get the different wheelbases for the truck is easy but you have to pay close attention to where the plastic components that are mounted to the center of the chassis.


While you are at the hobby shop make sure you pick up a servo extension so you can connect the steering servo to the receiver. I used a nine-inch extension on my truck.


When assembling the front upper link, make sure you use a 61mm rod and not the 66mm one called out in the manual.


Part of what makes this truck look so real are the tires and wheels. Not only do they look the part, but they also perform.

Once I completed the Ascender build I found myself checking out three things; the floating battery tray, shocks, and the steering. The floating battery tray is trick and it's something that you would normally find on someone's modified scale rig, not a factory-built truck. I love watching the tray float up and down between the frame rails when I compress and extend the suspension. I was a little disappointed to see that plastic body shocks were included but after building the truck I can say that they feel as good or better than some of the aluminum body shocks that I have had on other vehicles. How about that steering throw? I didn't think it was possible to get that much steering out of anything and there are no modifications needed to make it happen. For testing I took the truck over to an area that had lots of different surfaces that included dirt, rocks, and water. When playing with the suspension I felt that the shocks were a bit on the stiff side and wondered how the truck would do over small bumps and debris. Would it be bouncy or soak them up well? I found the truck to be a little bouncy in the rough dirt when driving faster than walking speed but it wasn't anything major; I had plenty of control over the truck the entire time. Driving up hills was no problem thanks to the great grip of the tires and well-balanced chassis. I found a pile of rocks and made my way over and was impressed with how well the stock tires grabbed onto them. This is where the heavily damped shocks shined; they did a great job of controlling the axles over every peak and drop on the rocks. On occasion, the body showed its heft and caused the truck to tip when trying extreme moves. So what about the steering? Well, I am super impressed with how well this truck turns and it does it without the help of differentials. When a vehicle turns well, it's said to turn on a dime and the Ascender outperforms that statement. It's easy to maneuver the truck in the tightest of conditions without having to make a three- point turn. It was fun putting the truck into tight and challenging spots to see if I was able to get by with no problem and most of the time I had success.


  • Great scale look

  • Adjustable frame rails

  • Floating radio tray is trick

  • Compact axles


  • Body is a little big and heavy

  • Manual is vague



The answer to our question before is yes; this truck is pretty awesome. It's packed full of features and performance that you would normally find on a custom rig and that adds to the fun. The floating battery tray is awesome and I can't say enough about how great it is to have so much steering in a truck like this. I really had fun testing the Vaterra Ascender. So what am I going to do with the truck now? Besides driving it a lot, I'm going to add some scale accessories, remove the chrome from the pumpkin cover, paint the receiver box red and a do few other things to make it more scale. This is one fun truck. Great job, Vaterra!

http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2015/01/22/vaterrahorizon-hobby-1986-chevrolet-k5-blazer-ascender/feed/ 0
CASTLE CREATIONS SIDEWINDER 8TH SPEED CONTROL AND 1515B 2200KV MOTOR COMBO http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/castle-creations-sidewinder-8th-speed-control-and-1515b-2200kv-motor-combo/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=castle-creations-sidewinder-8th-speed-control-and-1515b-2200kv-motor-combo http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/castle-creations-sidewinder-8th-speed-control-and-1515b-2200kv-motor-combo/#comments Thu, 25 Dec 2014 11:20:00 +0000 The RC Car Action Team http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/castle-creations-sidewinder-8th-speed-control-and-1515b-2200kv-motor-combo/ TRIED · TESTED · TORTURED

Mamba-style power and performance, more a ordable price

The Sidewinder 8th looks a lot like the Mamba Monster 2 and performs a lot like it too. The 2200KV motor is equipped with a 5mm shaft for heavy-duty use.

Quick, think of a brushless power system for heavy-duty 1/8 scale electric rigs. If you know your RC, chances are the first combo that popped into your noggin was the Castle Creations Mamba Monster and a 2200KV Neu motor. It's a great setup, well proven in countless custom builds and factory equipment in some of RC's most power ful monster trucks. At about $350, macho monster power requires mucho dinero. Enter the Sidewinder 8th, Castle's latest power system for 1/8 scale buggies, truggies, and monster trucks — anything up to 11 pounds and running up to six cells of LiPo juice. At $220 (less if you look around), the Side-winder 8th trims $130 from the price of a Mamba Monster 2 combo, yet ofiers similar performance and features. The Sidewinder is rated for 90 amps continuous versus 120 for the Mamba, but it has all the same adjustable features and is built just as tough with massive 6.5mm gold-plated plugs, 10AWG wire, an integrated cooling fan, and a screw-mount case.


  • ⊕ Rugged, high-quality construction

  • ⊕ Ample output for heavy, high-power vehicles

  • ⊕ Waterproof


  • - Programming could be easier (get Castle Link!)

  • - Not offered with factory-installed battery connector


Before dropping the Sidewinder into your vehicle, you have to install a connector (or, if you're running dual batteries, a pair of connectors). Given the high-voltage required of the system, high-performance plugs are a must. Castle recommends Traxxas High Current connectors and Deans Ultra plugs, as well as their own super-sized Castle Connector, which I opted for (there's a mini-review on the next page). With connector in place, the speed control can be taped to the chassis in the usual way, or mounted using the supplied screw bosses. It's well worth drilling a couple of holes to go the screw-mount route if you're comfortable modding your chassis. With the motor and speed control in place, all that's left to do is calibrate the speed control to match your transmitter. The steps to do this are easy: you just plug the speed control into a battery while holding full throttle, then apply full brake and return the trigger to neutral when cued by the LEDS. The only tricky part is plugging in the pack one-handed so you can hold the transmitter's trigger at full throttle. I cheated and used a rubber band to squeeze the trigger for me.


The Duratrax 835E we reviewed back in the December 2013 issue became the lucky recipient of the Sidewinder 8th setup. On power-up, the speed control counts off the number of cells to confirm it's in LiPo mode with the low-voltage cutoff enabled. In this case, four beeps to coincide with the pair of 2S LiPo packs installed on the chassis, for a total of four cells. Slow-speed throttle precision is good, though I'm confident the typical Sidewinder buyer is more interested in hammering the throttle than exploring the system's low-speed control. Acceleration is instantaneous with the default “disabled” setting for Punch Control. Were the system in a monster truck, it would be wheelie city. In a buggy, all that power turns into instant velocity of you have traction, or a cloud of roost if you don't. It's fun, but if you find it's a handful, the lowest / low / medium /high settings can calm things down to suit your driving style and available traction. Likewise, motor timing can be tweaked, but I was happy with Normal for “the best mix of speed, punch, and efficiency” to quote the manual. Braking power is strong and easily modulated, and also adjustable. Maximum braking force and drag brake can be set independently. I used the default drag brake setting of 0%, which felt pretty good with the amount of natural drag in the Duratrax buggy's shaft-driven 4WD system. If you prefer more drag brake, it's there for you.

Programming via PC

The Castle Link software is very simple to use; just select the settings you want from the from menus. You can even customize power delivery by manipulating a visual representation of the throttle curve.

All of the Sidewinder's available settings and how to adjust them are clearly detailed in the manual and the programming logic isn't difficult to understand, but cycling through the settings in sequence and counting beeps along the way isn't exactly a blast. To easily exploit the Sidewinder's adjustability, I highly recommend the Castle Link programmer. The USB device connects the Sidewinder to your computer and allows you to adjust everything by making simple menu selections. There's nothing to figure out, no instructions required—just point, click, and upload the settings to the speed control. The software also maintains the latest firmware for Castle speed controls, so your speed control always has the latest specs, and resetting to factory defaults can be done with a single click.

Castle Connectors

Castle's 6.5mm plugs have massive contacts and are an excellent choice for high-voltage RC.

Castle sells the connectors in a male/female pack, as well as 3-packs of male or female plugs.

Castle has jumped into the plug market in a big way (literally, they have a big plug). Simply dubbed “Castle Connector,” the plug design is polarized so there's no chance of plugging in your battery “backwards,” and they come in two varieties: 6.5mm, for up to 200 amps of continuous current, and 4mm, for up to 75 amps. Installation is easy, but be sure to follow the instructions. As they clearly state, you first thread the wires through the plastic jacket, then solder the “bullets” (for male plugs) or “barrels” (for female plugs) to the wire. Once soldered into place, the jacket slides up and over the bullets/barrels. I used the 6.5mm plugs, which easily accommodate the Sidewinder's 10AWG wire. In fact, you can go as high as 6AWG if you want really big pipes. The plugs are excellent, with huge contact area and a tight grip for high efficiency. They take a stronger pull to separate than other brands, but that tight fit is what helps them perform so well. You can handle it.


Another high-quality, high-performance speed control and motor combo from Castle — not much surprise there. Even as a “less potent” power system than the Mamba Monster 2, the Sidewinder 8th is a high-output performer that should satisfy all but the most power-hungry heavyweight builds. Unless your machine is tipping the scales at more than 11 pounds, the Sidewinder 8th is all you need. It's ruggedly built, highly capable, and fully adjustable (make it easy on yourself and get the Castle Link). The only hitch is the need to install your own battery plug, but if you're playing with big-volt RC, you should be experienced enough to handle the job. –Peter Vieira



  • Item no.: 010-0139-00 (speed control and motor combo)

  • Price: $220

  • Input voltage: 2 – 6 LiPo cells (7.4 – 22.2volts)

  • Max. amps: 90A (continuous)

  • Max. vehicle weight: 11 lb.

  • BEC: 5.5V / 4.5A (8A peak)

  • Waterproof: Yes

  • Dimensions: L: 2.45 × 2.2 × 1.33 in. (62.2 × 56 × 34mm)

  • Weight: 3.52 oz. (100g)

  • Wires: 10 AWG

  • Motor connectors: 6.5mm bullet, gold plated

  • Requires: Battery connector


  • → Reverse lockout / “crawler reverse”

  • → Braking power % (25, 50, 75, 100)

  • → Reverse throttle % (25, 50, 75, 100)

  • → Punch / traction control (High, Medium, Low, Lowest, Disabled)

  • → Drag Brake % (0, 10, 20, 30, 40)

  • → Dead band (0.1500 ms – 0.0250 ms)

  • → Voltage cutoff (off; 3.2v per LiPo cell; 5, 6, 9, 12v NiMH pack)

  • → Motor timing (Lowest, Normal, Highest)

  • → Motor type (Brushless, Brushed reversing, Brushed high-power)


  • Type: Sensorless brushless

  • KV Rating: 2200

  • Maximum rpm: 60,000

  • Shaft diameter: 5mm

  • Weight (with wires): 15.3 oz. (435g)

http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/castle-creations-sidewinder-8th-speed-control-and-1515b-2200kv-motor-combo/feed/ 0
TLR/HORIZON HOBBY 8IGHT-T 3.0 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/tlrhorizon-hobby-8ight-t-3-0/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tlrhorizon-hobby-8ight-t-3-0 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/tlrhorizon-hobby-8ight-t-3-0/#comments Thu, 25 Dec 2014 11:20:00 +0000 Kevin Hetmanski http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/tlrhorizon-hobby-8ight-t-3-0/ 1/8-SCALE 4WD TRUGGY | KIT


TLR steps up to the plate with the best 8IGHT-T … ever

To me there's nothing like racing a truggy because even though they are fast, they make you feel like you are driving a high-end Cadillac. Truggies float over the bumps in the track and do a great job of soaking up landings and that alone can make anybody look good on the track. I've had the pleasure of testing many truggies over the years and one of the trucks that I really enjoyed was the TLR 8IGHT-T. It was at the top of the performance pile when it was introduced and it was very easy to drive right out of the box and for that reason, I jumped at the chance to review the 3.0 version. The 8IGHT-T 3.0 has improvements such as smoother suspension, lighter parts, and improved durability. How can you go wrong?


  • Item no.: TLR04001

  • Scale: 1/8

  • Price: $600

  • Weight, as tested: 9 lb., 1.6 oz. (4127g)


  • Material: 4mm hard anodized aluminum

  • Type: Plate chassis with plastic molded stiffeners


  • Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 3/5

  • Outboard upper arm positions (F/R): 1/4

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 3/3

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 2/3


  • Bodies: Threaded aluminum, 16mm bore

  • Shafts: 4mm steel w/ Titanium Carbo Nitride coating

  • Volume compensation: Bladder


  • Type: Shaft-driven 4WD

  • Spur gear/pinion: 50/12

  • DiTherential F/R: Sealed bevel gear

  • Driveshafts F/R: Steel CV-style

  • Bearings: Rubber sealed ball


  • Engine, pipe and manifold: Not included

  • Clutch: 4-shoe (two aluminum, two carbon) with steel clutch bell


  • Not included


  • Transmitter: Spektrum DX4R Pro

  • Receiver: Spektrum SR2000

  • Throttle servo: Spektrum S6090

  • Steering servo: Spektrum S6100

  • Receiver battery: Dynamite 7.4V 2000mAh receiver LiPo pack

  • Engine: Dynamite Platinum .21XPE

  • Tuned pipe: Dynamite mid-range exhaust

  • Fuel: Nitrotane 30%

  • Starter box: TLR 8IGHT/8IGHT-T 2.0/3.0 starter box

  • Glow starter: Twist lock glow igniter and charger combo

  • Tires: Pro-Line Blockade VTR 4.0” X3 compound

  • Wheels: Pro-Line Velocity VTR 4.0” wheels white


Machined pistons, hard anodized shock bodies and Titanium Carbo Nitride coated shocks shafts make these 16mm bore shocks some of the smoothest out there.

TLR doesn't spare the specs in the shock department, and equips the 8IGHT-T 3.0 with massive threaded-body dampers that are bored out to 16mm for plenty of jolt-absorbing capability. The shafts are heavy-duty 4mm steel units, each with a hard Titanium Carbo Nitride (TiCN) coating to resist scuffing and minimize friction. The machined pistons are marked on one side to make it easy to see what piston is in place. When you pull the shock cap off, instead of an e-clip or nut, each piston is secured by a 2-56 screw that threads into the shaft. Sealing the shocks are dual O-rings that are unlike what we are used to seeing; they feature a square profile instead of the usual rounded profile which allows more of the O-ring to touch the shaft that will keep the oil in and debris out. The aluminum bodies feature a hard anod ized coating which looks great, reduces wear and increases smoothness. Rigid shock towers are must for peak shock performance, and TLR obliges with 4mm-thick machined aluminum parts that are built for bear and milled in low-stress spots to keep weight down.


They look like solid fiber, but the brake rotors actually have steel cores.

The rear driveshaft is offset to hold the engine as close to the chassis' center as possible.

The 3.0 features a traditional three-differential, dual-brake shaft drive system with a few interesting features. The drive cups and the spur gear have been machined to reduce overall weight and rotating mass for improved fuel efficiency and acceleration. In a departure from the usual specs for a high-end car, the center driveshafts are dogbones instead of CV or universal joint shafts. According to TLR, this setup reduces friction and prevents binding that would occur as a CV or universal joint wears. On each side of the center diff are disc brakes with unique rotors. Each rotor has a steel core that the brake material is molded around, and the front rotor is larger than the rear since the front brake must provide most of the stopping force. A small lip on one side of the discs keep them from wobbling on the drive cup and springs are used between the brake pads to keep them away from the disc to eliminate the possibility of drag when not in use.

Another unusual feature is off set drive cup placement for the rear differential, made possible by flipping the rear differential's ring gear so it faces away from the diff housing. This configuration allows the center diff and engine to sit as close to the truck's centerline as possible. This also gives the rear dogbone a straight shot to the rear differential for efficient power transfer. However, this setup does give the front dogbone an extreme angle. The size of the gears in the 8IGHT-T 3.0 have been increased from 43/10 to 47/12 to provide more tooth engagement and therefore making the gears more durable and adding to that durability are gearboxes that are molded out of a stiffer material.

The chassis is made of hard anodized 7075 alloy and milled to reduce its overall weight and to allow the drivetrain components to sit as low as possible. Engine mount alignment marks are a nice touch.

The Gen III radio tray puts both servos up front for optimum weight distribution. A linkage and bellcrank allow the throttle servo to operate the carburetor and brake system.

TEST GEAR Dynamite Platinum .21 XPE

The Platinum's price is perfect for racers on a budget, yet it's still packed with performance features that anyone would love to have in their race vehicle. The most notable is the 14mm fluted crankshaft that improves fuel flow and the piston rides inside a 5-port sleeve. Cooling for the engine comes from a large heat sink head that has been drilled to reduce weight and increase surface area for improved cooling. Starting this engine for the first time was an easy chore and I had no trouble keeping it running throughout the break-in process. On the track I found that the engine had no trouble pushing the truck up to speed and there was plenty of grunt to get it over large jumps. Getting the engine tuned was pretty easy and it easily held its tune from tank to tank.

Dynamite's Platinum XPE delivers plentiful 5-port power and looks good doing it.


A 4mm-thick aluminum chassis is the backbone for the 8IGHT-T 3.0 and it has been machined in low stress areas to reduce overall weight. Molded plastic chassis stiffeners reduced front and rear end flex. The areas under the front and rear differential housings have been machined out to allow the housings and therefore the differentials to be mounted as low as possible; the same can be found under the center differential. Molded side guards help keep debris out of the chassis and provide protection to the radio tray and tuned pipe. A nice touch on the chassis are laser engraved marks that aid in engine alignment and gear mesh setting. Optional brass weights are available to bolt onto the chassis to bring it up to legal weight and to fine tune the performance of the truck.

New for the 3.0 is the Gen III radio tray, which puts the throttle and steering servos up front to put more weight on the front end to improve front traction, with the side benefit of improved servo life, according to TLR. This places the throttle servo far from the engine, so a linkage is used to operate the throttle and brake via a bellcrank. Two covers are provided for the battery box to accommodate LiPo and NiMH receiver packs.

While putting the TLR 8IGHT-T 3.0 together I found that the parts fit nicely but the instructions are a little off in some areas. I have a few tips that will help you with your build.

When installing the flanged bearings in the steering rack, the flange should sit underneath the steering rack, not on top.

The instructions tell you to fully compress the servo saver spring with the adjustment nut then back off five and a half turns. The spring is very stiff and it's hard to turn the adjustment nut to fully tighten and loosen the spring. Install the spring and tighten the nut until about one millimeter of thread from the servo saver is showing under the adjustment nut.

The brake discs are not identical in diameter. The larger disc should be installed on the gear side of the differential.

You may notice that even after shimming the rear differential that the gear mesh is still pretty tight. TLR purposely did this to ensure a tight fit between the gears, which will increase their life. After a few runs, the gears will wear in and the drivetrain will be smooth. It's a good idea to remove and clean the gears after a few runs and regrease.

The manual calls out three shims to be used to space the clutch bell but only shows two in the manual. Use two shims inside the clutch bell and one on the outside.


I packed up my testing gear and made my way to Thunder Alley in Beaumont, CA, for track time with the 8IGHT-T 3.0. I was excited to get behind the wheel of a new truggy with all the latest gear on board, but I'm used to racing on smaller tracks so I was worried about being able to put down consistent and fast laps. What I really like about racing a truggy is that they make an OK driver look good and a good driver look great, so I soon found my worries were for nothing. My first few laps on the track were slow ones so I could get used to the track layout that featured a few fast sections, large jumps, and a sick elevation change, and to make sure that the brakes and clutch were worn in properly. What I noticed right away was that the 8IGHT-T 3.0 wasn't as “lazy” as truggies I've driven in the past. It responded very well to throttle and steering inputs and speaking of steering, at the slow speeds that I was running I found the steering to be almost too good. It didn't take long for me to throw caution away and get on the throttle. The TLR 8IGHT-T 3.0 gave me a lot of confidence and before I knew it, I was hitting the big jumps on the track at full throttle. The truck is awesome in the air; it really loves to jump and gives you level flight but if you happen to get crossed up it's very easy to make corrections using steering, throttle and brake. Jump landings were uneventful as the shocks controlled the chassis like two hands catching the truck and placing it on the ground. Steering the truck at high speed was a pleasure; it was almost yelling at me to push it harder and faster in to the turns. You do find a point where there is a slight push at high speed but it's much less than trucks that I have run in the past. Like I mentioned, I am used to driving on smaller tracks where braking isn't that big a deal, but when you are driving on a track as big as Thunder Alley (where a lot of the top pros often run) much more speed is carried from corner to corner and precision braking is a must. Throughout testing the brakes felt strong with a smooth, linear feel.

  • +

  • Great fit and finish throughout

  • Laser engraved engine alignment marks

  • Very responsive on the track

  • -

  • Manual has a few errors


Overall, I have to say that I really like the TLR 8IGHT-T 3.0 and had a great experience with the truck. The instructions may be a little off but the fit, finish, durability, and performance of this truck more than makes up for that. When I have a truck that is fun to drive, I find that I do well when it comes to racing. The TLR 8IGHT-T 3.0 was a blast to drive out of the box and I don't think I'll be making many adjustments to improve performance.


http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/tlrhorizon-hobby-8ight-t-3-0/feed/ 0
KYOSHO PSYCHO KRUISER VE READYSET http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/kyosho-psycho-kruiser-ve-readyset/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kyosho-psycho-kruiser-ve-readyset http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/kyosho-psycho-kruiser-ve-readyset/#comments Thu, 25 Dec 2014 11:20:00 +0000 RC Car Action http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/kyosho-psycho-kruiser-ve-readyset/ TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOEL NAVARRO


Brute 6S power combined with Kyosho quality equal an unstoppable monster truck

When the topic of monster trucks is brought up, the first thoughts that you conjure up in your head are big-wheeled trucks flying through the air over a row of smashed cars at the monster truck rally. Kyosho is known mostly for championship-winning race vehicles, but they also carry a full line of monster trucks, which includes their newest addition, the Psycho Kruiser. The Psycho Kruiser doesn't fall into the standard mold of a monster truck, but rather a monster truck meets an exotic sports car. High quality, as to be expected from Kyosho, is standard on the Kruiser and includes a full arsenal of performance features to help you tackle anything that comes its way. A fully adjustable suspension and bulletproof drivetrain help to connect the 22.2 volts of a 6-cell LiPo battery to the ground. If the large super charger blower protruding from the hood is any indicator of how fast the Psycho Kruiser will go, I'm as excited as a kid in a candy store. Let's hit the dirt.


*with a 6-cell LiPo (not included)

  • Item no.: 30886B

  • Scale: 1/8

  • Price: $700

  • Weight, as tested: 10 lb., 36 oz. (4703g)


  • Material: Aluminum

  • Type: Plate


  • Type: H-arm with 4.5mm steel turnbuckle camber link

  • Inboard camber link positions (F/R): 1/4

  • Outboard upper arm positions (F/R): 1/2

  • Shock positions, towers (F/R): 4/6

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 3/5


  • Bodies: Aluminum, 16mm bore

  • Shafts: Plated steel, 3.5mm

  • Volume compensation: Bladder


  • Type: 4WD shaft

  • Spur gear/pinion: 48T / 16T

  • Differential F/R: Sealed Bevel gear W spiral cut ring and pinion gears

  • Driveshafts F/R: Steel CV-style / steel dogbone

  • Bearings: Metal-shielded ball


  • Wheels: One-piece plastic, bronze finish, 17mm hex

  • Tires: Rubber medium sized lug tread

  • Inserts: open-cell foam


  • Transmitter/receiver: Perfex KT-201 2.4GHz

  • Servo: Synchro KS-203, metal gear

  • Speed control: Orion 3-6s 150A with Deans plugs

  • Motor: 1500KV Team Orion NEON 7 brushless motor

  • Battery: not included


  • Charger

  • 8 AA batteries

  • Battery (2S — 3S LiPo, two required)


  • Battery: Peak Performance PowerMax Spt 4300 3S


Heavy duty used throughout the Kruiser. Thick steel driveshafts lead to the transmission steel outdrives. Little chance of breakage here.

The Psycho Kruiser packs a tremendous amount of horsepower, which in turn requires a drivetrain that can handle all that power. The steel-gear differentials come packed with grease from the factory, but the cases are sealed so you can fill them with oil if you prefer. The center diff features a steel 48-tooth spur gear that connects to the steel 16-tooth pinion used by the Orion Neon 7 brushless motor. The motor is mounted in place using a unique cast metal sliding motor mount that has easy access to the mounting screws from the top. Power from the motor is moved to the wheels via a pair of super-thick 4.5mm steel driveshafts that look like they'll withstand the blow of a sledgehammer. The rear end of the Psycho Kruiser uses dogbones while CV type axles are used up front, which spin with less bind while the front wheels are turned versus dogbones. The provided soft compound rubber tires feature an off-road racing oriented tread pattern that should deliver excellent traction in whatever situation you put the Psycho Kruiser.


Kyosho always does a nice job with its shocks. The aluminum dampers have slick 16mm bores and finely threaded bodies.

Cast steering knuckles and red-anodized 17mm hex hubs are standard. Toein is adjustable via threaded links.

Extra-large mudguards help prevent the rear suspension from packing up with mud and dirt, and make nice billboards for the Kyosho “K.”

Even though the Psycho Kruiser isn't a racing truck, it does possess a fully adjustable suspension that is derived directly from the ST-RR racing truck. Kyosho is known for their silky smooth high-quality shocks and a full set is included with the Kruiser. The threaded aluminum 16mm big bore shock bodies use threaded adjustment collars for quick ride height changes. They mount to stamped 3mm aluminum shock towers with plenty of position options to complement the positions on the suspension arms — if you like to experiment with your suspension setup, you can go nuts. Both ends of the Kruiser sport H-arm suspension with a bit of flex engineered into the material to ward off crash damage. To combat excessive chassis roll, both ends of the truck incorporate a pair of thick sway-bars to handle the 10-pound weight of this monster truck. Turnbuckles set camber, but you'll need to pop off a rod-end to adjust front toe-in, as the links are simply threaded rods instead of true turnbuckles.


Battery box? More like a battery vault. Your packs will not escape.

If you're familiar with Kyosho's line of Inferno vehicles, you will quickly recognize many of the components that are used in the Psycho Kruiser, which also means that any Inferno aftermarket upgrade part will bolt right on. The stamped, hardened aluminum chassis features beveled sides that work in conjunction with front and rear plastic chassis braces to increase lateral stiffness. You're going feel invincible when you're bashing around your neighborhood with the Psycho Kruiser and it is built tough, but for those times that things go wrong, your ride is protected. The front end of the Kruiser is protected with a beefy bumper that extends under chassis to protect it from wear and tear. The smaller rear bumper also extends under the chassis to protect it from impact during jump takeoffs and landings. Your delicate LiPo battery is protected as well with a two-piece battery box that forms a cage around the battery and is held in place with two Velcro straps.


Far left:The Kruiser's 1500KV Neon 7 motor looks like it means business and has power to back it up. The trick, sliding motor mount makes it easy to set gear mesh with its top-access screws.

Plenty of fan-cooled power capability here. Deans plugs are standard and you can plug in up to 6 cells worth of LiPo power.

The heart of the Psycho Kruiser is its power package. The 1500KV Orion Neon 7 sensorless brushless motor is rated for up to six LiPo cells, which definitely put the “psycho” in Psycho Kruiser. The motor's can is specially sealed to protect it from the elements, which allows you to drive the Kruiser in almost any situation. The Orion Vortex speed control arrives with Deans connectors, and is adjustable for drag brake force, low-voltage cutoff, Punch, and maximum brake force. The default low-voltage cutoff setting is 3.0 volts per cell, but this can be bumped up to 3.2 or 3.4 volts if you want to go easier on your packs.

The Synchro KT-201 transmitter is a step up from most RTR fare, offering not only a 2.4GHz signal and digital trim switches but also an LCD display and digital steering dual-rate adjustment. The top-mounted display shows the vital stats including battery voltage and all the trim, endpoint adjustment, and dual rate settings. The ergo-nomics are good too, with an offset wheel that makes the Synchro feel more like an expensive aftermarket system.

  • +

  • High-quality electronics

  • Insane high speeds

  • Computer radio included

  • Inferno parts compatibility

  • -

  • Expensive, like other trucks in its class.


I was very anxious to get the Psycho Kruiser out of the box and ready for action. It didn't take long; just add batteries and you're ready. First up was measuring how fast this rig could go. With a GPS unit mounted in the Kruiser, I hit the trigger and the truck immediately popped a wheelie and rode it while scraping up the back of the body. After doing it several more times and getting a good laugh, I got down to the business of doing some speed runs. I got the Psycho Kruiser up to speed on a nice, big empty street. I knew the tires would balloon up while flinging dirt, but they also ballooned while running in a straight line on tarmac and it's no wonder why, the GPS indicated a 52mph top speed, which broke the 35mph street speed limit by 17mph! Turning on pavement at those speeds isn't a good idea as I did manage to put the Psycho Kruiser into a violent traction roll that sent it flipping at least 10 times. To have not suffered a broken part is a true testament on how tough this truck is built. After a few more speed runs and a dozen or more hard accelerations, I temped the motor and it was barely hot at 118 degrees. I decided to pack up the Psycho Kruiser before I got a speeding ticket and headed to my favorite bashing spot to photo shoot the Kruiser on the dirt. For being a “monster truck” the Kruiser handled more like a truck with racing pedigree as it precisely went anywhere I pointed it. Wheelies weren't just an occurrence on asphalt, I could pull wheelies all day long in the dirt too. Traction from the big tires was excellent in the loose loamy dirt, but really excelled on hard-packed dirt where it could grab more grip. With so much power on tap, kicking up huge roosts on the banked turns was super easy and worked to my advantage as it allowed me to snap killer photos. The Kruiser was plenty fast on the dirt and I used that speed to launch it to astronomical heights. While in the air, the gyroscopic effect of the big tires gave me total control of the Kruiser allowing me to do front flips if I hit the brakes, or do back flips if I stayed on the gas. Hard landings didn't phase the Kruiser as the plush suspension easily soaked up the impact of returning to earth. One thing you have to watch out for is using caution when driving on small to medium-sized rocks. The Psycho Kruiser of course will have no problem tearing up anything it encounters, but it will also tear you up as it flings rocks at your head and camera equipment; always be prepared to jump out of the way!


I definitely do more racing than bashing, but after driving the Psycho Kruiser, I think things are going to change. When you get your hands on the Psycho Kruiser, you will quickly recognize Kyosho quality that every one of their vehicles possesses. Like other monster trucks in the dual-battery, brushless-power class, the Psycho Kruiser VE isn't cheap, but you get a lot of truck for your money with a mean machine that doesn't answer to anyone. The balance of exceptional fit and finish coupled with parts durability give the Kruiser and its driver the confidence that nothing will stop them. And then there's the speed. The next time you're asked, “how fast does it go?” prepare to have that the curious onlooker get his socks knocked off.


http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/kyosho-psycho-kruiser-ve-readyset/feed/ 0
HPI SAVAGE XL OCTANE http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/hpi-savage-xl-octane/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hpi-savage-xl-octane http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/hpi-savage-xl-octane/#comments Thu, 25 Dec 2014 11:20:00 +0000 Kevin Hetmanski http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/hpi-savage-xl-octane/ 1/8-SCALE 4WD TRUCK | RTR


The Savage goes gas with super-sized displacement for maximum petrol power

In the late 90s, nitro power boomed because electric cars were generally slow and had short run times. Meanwhile, nitro cars were enjoying the benefits of vastly improved engine quality and reliability that made nitro's greater power, higher speeds, and longer run times irresistible. Fuel power dominated well into the 2000s, until electric power caught up with LiPo battery and brushless motor tech, a one-two punch that swung the pendulum back to battery power. HPI put engine power back in the spotlight with the news of the Savage XL Octane, which was to run on regular pump gasoline instead of nitro — nothing new for ⅕-scale guys, but a revolution for monster truck guys. The truck has been long in coming, but the small-displacement-gas concept has already been embraced by customers appreciative of the big fuel savings – $4 a gallon versus $30 for nitro. Now that the Octane's long gestation period is finally over, we get our first crack at HPI's take on petrol-powered monster trucking. HPI combines proven Savage chassis and suspension tech with a new engine and ignition system designed expressly for gas, and displacing considerable more cubes than a nitro powerplant. It's definitely not what we're used to seeing, and we're looking forward to see how HPI does gas — so let's get started.


  • Item no.: 109073

  • Scale: 1/8

  • Price: $870

  • Weight: 15.6 lb. (7076g)


  • Type: Twin vertical plate

  • Material: 3mm aluminum


  • Type (F/R): Double-wishbone with fixed hub carriers

  • Inboard upper arm positions (F/R): 1/1

  • Outboard camber link positions (F/R): 1/1

  • Shock position, towers (F/R): 2/2

  • Shock positions, arms (F/R): 1/1


  • Bodies: Molded plastic, 14mm bore

  • Shafts: 3.5mm plated finish

  • Volume compensation: Bladder


  • Type: Shaft-driven 4WD

  • Pinion Spur: 14/47

  • Slipper Clutch: Dual disc, adjustable

  • Di… erentials: Sealed gear

  • Driveshafts (F/R): Steel dogbone

  • Bearings: Metal and rubber sealed


  • Wheels: HPI Mag 8

  • Tires: HPI Terra Pin

  • Inserts: Foam


  • Transmitter: HPI TF-20U 2.4GHz 2-channel pistol grip

  • Receiver: RF30

  • Throttle servo: HPI SF-10W

  • Steering servo: HPI SF-50WP

  • Receiver/ignition battery: HPI Plazma 6.0V 1200mAh


  • Unleaded gasoline

  • AA transmitter batteries


Look at the size of the heat sink on that engine. The photo doesn't do it justice.

A four-shoe aluminum clutch ensures that the power from the engine is in constant connection with the drivetrain at all times.

The obvious star here is the pull-start HPI GT15C gasoline engine. At a full 15cc, it's almost three times larger than the nitro engine used in the Savage XL 5.9 and uses a ring to seal the piston against the sleeve instead of an interference fit as in a nitro engine. Instead of a glow plug, the engine uses a small spark plug and electronic ignition system. An electronic pickup mounted to the front of the block senses a magnet on the flywheel and that tells the ignition box when to send a charge to the spark plug. The ignition system is powered by its own rechargeable receiver battery pack and controlled by its own switch, independent of the Octane's other electronics. It only takes a glance to recognize the engine as “not nitro” as your eyes are immediately drawn to the large vertically finned, cast aluminum heat sink head that looks similar to the ones used on airplane engines. A large carburetor similar to the one used on the Baja series engine meters air and fuel and features a primer bulb and mechanical choke. The 300cc tank is closed by a screw-cap as required for gasoline, and a clunk-style fuel filter sits submerged in gas regardless of the truck's position. A long, tubular manifold and large tuned pipe are joined via spring coupler and tuned specifically for the Octane. HPI includes a 4-shoe aluminum clutch to get the power of the engine to the 3-speed transmission and the clutch is mounted on a unique finned flywheel that pours cool air over the engine block.


Four very long shocks dampen the ride and they are connected to beefy plastic shock towers.

Only the front wheels actually steer, but the front and rear suspensions use the same steerable parts. Steel turnbuckle links set rear toe-in.

Like the other Savages before it, the Octane is equipped with long-travel oil-filled shocks to damp the suspension — in this case, one at each corner like the Savage X and XL RTR models instead of two as used by the Savage X SS. At 6” long, the Octane's shocks are the longest in RC unless you're talking ⅕ scale. Inside the shock are bladders to give the fluid inside somewhere to go when the shock is compressed and this make the shocks consistent and ultra smooth. Beefy molded plastic shock towers can be found in the front and rear of the truck and they offer up a few different mounting positions for shock tuning options. Clip-on spacers make ride height adjustments easy and consistent from shock to shock. The suspension consists of beefy lower arms with a fixed length molded upper link and this means that you won't be able to make camber adjustments. That's generally not a big deal when you are dealing with a monster truck that will be bashed more than raced.


With the body off, the Octane's narrow vertical-plate chassis and engine cage make it look like a monsterized buggy.

Most monster trucks use a horizontally mounted type aluminum plate chassis as a base but that's not the case with the Savage. The truck's components are sandwiched between a pair of vertically mounted 3mm-thick aluminum plates that give the Octane a very stiff and proven-tough backbone. Normally on a Savage chassis, you'll see a radio box in the front with the fuel tank mounted to the side of the chassis in the back but that's not the case with the Octane version. This version has the large fuel tank in front and a large radio box where you will find the throttle servo, ignition system and the two receiver batteries. A molded roll cage is used to protect the engine from damage and it supports the roof of the truck body. Four body clips hold the cage in place and makes it easy to remove for any maintenance that needs to be done.

The Savage XL Octane includes a TF-20E radio paired with a HPI RF-30 receiver. No frills here, just a wheel and trigger with a reliable 2.4GHz signal. A standard waterproof servo controls the carb and brakes while a much stronger 166 oz.-in. Waterproof servo handles the steering chores. HPI also includes a 5-cell rechargeable receiver battery to power the servos and receiver up and a universal wall charger packs in the juice.


A truck as big and heavy as the Octane needs to have good brakes and HPI delivers. Triple fiberglass discs get the job done.

A three-speed transmission gives the Octane a lot of get up and a lot of go. Each shift point is adjustable and the adjustment screws are easily accessible through an open ing in the transmission hous ing. All the gears used for the transmission are made out of metal to ensure that they will take a lot of abuse and last a long time. HPI even includes a slipper clutch to add extra protection from drivetrain shock. The power of that big engine is transferred to the tires through steel dogbone drive-shafts and proven metal gear differentials. The differentials are sealed, which means that they can be tuned with various thicknesses of fluid but come stock packed with grease. When you have a truck with this much power and speed you need strong brakes and the Savage Octane doesn't disappoint. Three brake discs are used to pull the reins on this big truck. The brake mount is constructed out of aluminum and finned to dissipate heat and when you combine that with vented discs you won't see any brake fade no matter how hard you drive this truck.


I have been a fan of nitro power for a long time now and I couldn't wait to see what a small gasoline engine would do for an RC car. After pouring in the included 2-stroke oil and mixing the gas and charging the two receiver batteries I was ready to go. After two pulls the engine showed signs of life so I removed the choke and the engine was running. The weirdest thing for me is not having to use a glow starter to get the engine to start. The ignition system does takes care of that when you yank on that starter cord. After the manual-mandated break-in procedure, it was time to pull the trigger and see what this truck could do. The Octane immediately pleased me with an impressive wheelie as it took off down the street while shifting through all three gears. When the time came to stop the truck, I quickly found out how good the brakes are; I pushed the trigger and the rear of the truck came up in the air. This truck is very loud when compared to a nitro truck and my neighbors weren't as excited about the noise as I was, so it was time to shut the engine off and pack up for some off-road action in another location where there are no people to annoy. With a nitro engine you can bump the flywheel, pinch the fuel line or plug the exhaust to shut the engine down, but with the GT 15cc engine all you have to do is turn off the engine switch. It shuts the power off to the ignition system and the engine dies. How nice is that? At my off-road testing site, the truck responded with an exciting spinning of all four tires and kicked dirt everywhere. While driving over the rough terrain the long shocks and suspension arms soaked up abuse as we've come to expect from the Savage series. There's no denying that this is not a lightweight truck, so I was very curious as to how well it would handle jumps. While walking around to find a good jump to send the truck off of I decided to let it sit and idle to see if it would stay running and if it would “load up” and stall like a nitro engine. No need to blip the throttle or ease into it with the Octane's gasoline engine, it'll happily idle and then snarl back into action without hesitation. When jumping the Savage XL Octane, I was expecting a truck that would feel heavy and by that I mean that it wouldn't jump very far or high and bottom out when landing and that wasn't the case at all. The truck jumps just as high as any and just as far. As for engine tuning, there is pretty much no tuning required. Once you have the carb set and the engine running properly, the settings don't need continued tweaking. This is a nice change from nitro power where depending on where you live and the weather conditions you pretty much have to tweak the carb every time you head out to run.

Gasoline Safety

Gasoline is much more volatile and noxious than nitro fuel and must be handled with caution. Follow these steps and stay safe when handling gasoline.

  • Store and mix your fuel in an approved gasoline container.

  • Keep the fuel container in a cool, well-ventilated area outside of the house.

  • Make sure you mix the fuel by shaking the container before dispensing. This will ensure that the oil and gas are properly mixed and will avoid a damaged engine.

  • Only handle gasoline when outside.

  • +

  • Gas power

  • Three speed transmission

  • Great brakes

  • Engine holds a tune

  • -

  • Very loud


We're a little late to the Octane party because we held out for HPI to deliver a revised truck that was up to the latest Octane specs and settings. Some customers who purchased trucks from the first batch HPI delivered to stores encountered problems with the engine. This was caused by faulty ignition boxes but they were few and far between. Another issue was that customers were trying to tune the engine like a nitro engine and getting the carb settings far off from where they need to be which made it hard to get the engine running or to keep it running. Now that the truck has been out there for a while, the ignition issue has been fixed and more customers are now understanding how to properly tune the engine's carb. If you have a Savage XL Octane and notice a change in performance, all you have to do is make sure the ignition battery has a full charge. If that doesn't change the engine's performance, it may be time for a new spark plug.


I am a big fan of nitro power and have been tuning and running nitro engines for years and after running this truck, I see how much more user friendly it is and how much easier it is on your wallet. I am excited to see where this technology will be going. The Savage was a fun truck before the gasoline version and is even more fun as the Octane thanks to the impressive power and ease of use of the GT 15cc engine. A lot of people including myself don't keep their RC vehicles stock for very long and thanks to the long time availability and love for this truck, there are a lot of option parts available through HPI and others. Well, HPI, what vehicle is this engine going into next? I can't wait to find out.


http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/25/hpi-savage-xl-octane/feed/ 0
RC Buyer’s Guide 2015 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/11/rc-buyers-guide-2015-2/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rc-buyers-guide-2015-2 http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/11/rc-buyers-guide-2015-2/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:10:34 +0000 RC Car Action Team http://www.rccaraction.com/members/?p=205973 The 2015 Buyer’s Guide special issue delivers: • Three amazing project vehicles • The best RC gear • More than 600 of this year’s hottest RC products • All you need to know to get started in RC The 2015 Buyer’s Guide is free to members, join now!]]>

The 2015 Buyer’s Guide special issue delivers:

• Three amazing project vehicles
• The best RC gear
• More than 600 of this year’s hottest RC products
• All you need to know to get started in RC

The 2015 Buyer’s Guide is free to members, join now!

http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/12/11/rc-buyers-guide-2015-2/feed/ 0
NOVAK WIRE STRIPPER/CUTTER http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/11/24/novak-wire-strippercutter/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=novak-wire-strippercutter http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/11/24/novak-wire-strippercutter/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:25:00 +0000 The RC Car Action Team http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/11/24/novak-wire-strippercutter/ Novak makes stripping and cutting wires an easy RC chore

The Novak wire stripper/cutter does a great job of cleanly pulling insulation from any size wire that you will find in RC.

I spend a lot of time cutting and stripping wires for various installs and projects and it's always important to me to have clean cuts and wires that have the same amount of insulation stripped to give me a clean look. I recently added Novak's Self-Adjusting Wire Stripper/Cutter Tool to my arsenal of tools and I couldn't be happier about it. The Novak wire stripper/ cutter tool is made up of several molded plastic and metal components and they are all housed in a stamped orange metal handle/housing. The tool is designed to self adjust to strip wire from 26 gauge to 10 gauge and on each side of the jaw are measurements; inch on one side and mm on the other. This shows you how much wire you are stripping and how far the insulation has been pulled. At the end of the jaw is a flat section that clamps down on the wire to hold it in place while two sharpened plates cut and pull the wire insulation. A twist knob at the back of the tool allows you to adjust the tension on the stripper jaws if necessary. Below the stripping jaw is a sharp metal wire cutter that has an opening large enough for thick 10-gauge wire. To test the stripper/cutter, I grabbed a variety of wire types and gauges and chewed through all of them with no problem. Stripping the wires was equally as fun. The stripper can strip the insulation off a wire faster than you can blink and it gives you a professional clean edge on the insulation. The stripper/cutter stripped thick, thin, hard and soft wire with no problem at all. This is a handy but bulky tool so it may be more at home on your workbench. This tool strips and cuts wire very well and will make you look like a professional wire installer. —Kevin Hetmanski

Item no. 5880, $19


  • Cuts wire like a champ

  • Easy to read measurement on jaw

  • Strips wire perfectly


  • A little bulky


http://www.rccaraction.com/members/2014/11/24/novak-wire-strippercutter/feed/ 0