Whoa, look at this thing! While everyone else is offering Jeeps, Blazers, and Land Rovers on their 4X4 chassis, ECX has gone not only “outside the box” but also outside of reality with a radical wasteland warrior in the Barrage Doomsday. The all-terrain terror truck is based on the ECX Barrage trail truck (which we like a lot—see the March 2017 review) and gets new, wider axles to go with its monster makeover. If you look beyond its Mad Max outfit, you’ll find lots of steel parts, waterproof electronics, LED lighting, and a battery and charger—that’s a lot of truck for $200. The Doomsday will likely find a lot of customers based on its radioactive looks alone, but there’s a serious trail truck under the rust. Let’s take a look.
Stout Solid-Axle Drivetrain
The Doomsday has a lot more metal in it than expected for the price. Metal ring-and-pinion gears are tucked into the axle housings, and steel universal joints outfit the fat telescoping shafts that join the axles to the transmission. Plated aluminum C-hubs are fitted up front, with CV-style joints contributing to smooth power delivery. Notably, the Doomsday uses wider axles than the Barrage, which shares its axles with the ECX Temper mini-crawler. The axles are capped by standard 12mm drive hexes, making it easy to fit aftermarket wheels.
390 Brushed Power
The Doomsday gets a larger motor than the Barrage trail truck. Instead of a “370” can, it’s a longer “390,” and it’s about 3mm larger in diameter with a 22-turn armature.
That means more rpm and torque. Voltage is fed via a Dynamite speed control rated at 60 amps, and it’s programmable via jumper plugs—no button pushing or flash/beep counting required. From the factory, the unit is set for NiMH batteries and forward/brake/reverse operation, but you can also activate low-voltage detection for LiPo use and choose a “crawl” setting with a powerful hold brake.
Steel Ladder Chassis
The Doomsday shares its chassis with the Barrage trail truck, but it mounts the battery in the rear and the electronics up front (it’s vice versa in the Barrage). ECX didn’t skimp on the steel chassis rails, which have a tall cross-section and are deeply stamped to make the chassis exceptionally rigid front to rear. Cross-bracing is minimal, so the chassis is easy to flex torsionally—which isn’t a bad thing since the truck is very light and the extra twist may augment axle articulation. The transmission is held in place by a compact plastic skidplate, and the shock towers hold adjustable-height body posts. The plow-style front and stamped-aluminum rear bumpers are adjustable too, and telescope in and out with about 35mm of adjustment apiece.
Steel 4-Link Suspension
Both of the Doomsday’s solid axles are located by upper and lower links that look like aluminum but are actually steel, which is even better because it concentrates more weight down low and will slide over rocks more easily. The plastic-body shocks are shared with the Barrage trail truck, but the Doomsday mounts its shocks outside the chassis rails and skips the Barrage’s travel limiters. Articulation is improved over the Barrage, and since the steering servo is mounted on the axle, there’s no bump steer. The steering linkages are 5mm steel rods, just like the suspension links.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
The Doomsday includes a 100mAh charger, so you can get rolling without having to buy anything extra. But if you want to minimize downtime, I suggest you buy something extra—namely a fast charger, like the Dynamite Prophet Sport NiMH or a similar unit. The Prophet Sport will only set you back $30, and will charge the Doomsday’s included pack in half an hour instead of six-plus hours. I went ahead and fast-charged the pack to hit the trail sooner, and hoofed it about a quarter mile via sidewalk to get to my favorite spot. Since it’s geared like a trail truck, the Doomsday is only a click or two faster than a brisk walk but has mounds of torque. I let the truck get ahead of me so that I could point it at obstacles along the way, and the Doomsday showed off good articulation as it rolled over landscaping boulders and roots. The speed control is set for normal forward/brake/reverse operation, so the truck stopped gently when I let off the throttle and it was easy to drive smoothly. My test spot is located beneath an elevated road and along a creekbed, and the first challenge I gave the Doomsday was a run up the 43-degree concrete embankment that reaches up to the road. I expected the truck’s firm-ish tires to slip from the start, but Doomsday made it a good 10 feet straight up before the bar treads began to give up grip. I backed down by easing into neutral and letting gravity do the rest, with a bit of brake when the truck built up more steam than I liked. With the speed control’s Crawl mode activated, the Doomsday has a powerful hold brake at neutral that will only allow a slow roll on steep pitches. On the bank of the creekbed, the Doomsday’s wide tires floated over the soft silt instead of knifing in like narrower trail rubber, and the bar tread gave good forward grip. Sidehilling resulted in some slip but not enough to impede forward progress. Exposed rocks and roots were easily scaled as long as they weren’t large enough to high-center the chassis, and the waterproof electronics got a test-out when I exceeded the truck’s lean angle and rolled it all the way into the creek—no issues. I got lucky and the truck landed on all fours, so I just drove out of the creek. Along the way, I noted an added bonus of the chevron tread design: It doesn’t pack with mud easily. In all, I found the Doomsday to be a fun 4X4, and it looks great in action.
If you’re looking at the Doomsday and thinking, “Wow, that thing must look so cool when it sprays roost and rips wheelies,” you will be disappointed. It’s not designed to do that, and it doesn’t do that. On the other hand, if you’re going in with the understanding that the Doomsday is a “trail monster truck” meant to roll over anything in its path with torque and axle articulation and not hit warp speeds, then you’ll love it. On trail-style terrain with obstacles to conquer, the Doomsday is a capable machine, and at $200 RTR, it’s a monster value. The detailed body, many metal parts, waterproof electronics, LED lighting, and full-size transmitter all belie the truck’s low price, and the platform is a keeper that can be transformed with body, wheel, and tire swaps down the road. Nice truck!