There is something therapeutic about this hobby. It brings my kids and me so much joy. I wanted to be able to spend more time doing the things I love with the people I love. This hobby has changed my life and I want to help change the lives of others through my RC accessories brand, Little Uglies RC.
Little Uglies RC was created from a dream and vision to make SCX24 products for people just like me. I didn’t know how I was going to do it or when it would happen. All I knew was I was in it for life. Axial’s SCX24 is where the obsession started for me. I am passionate about the RC hobby and am willing to go the extra mile to create the perfect upgrades for my favorite platform.
What’s In A Name?
My team and I got the name Little Uglies RC from my very first build. It was little and ugly… and the rest is history. We started 3D-printing and painting SCX24 bodies that were rusted and ugly, in our kitchen, and selling them on Etsy. I wanted to do more, and provide people with new and reliable products. I wanted to design and create products that were not yet available on the market.
To go a bit more in-depth, the brand name comes from my first lesson on painting RC bodies. Don’t use paint stripper on Lexan! My first body melted after I tried to remove its original paint, but I ran it anyway. It sort of looked like a patina, so I just left it. People started calling my vehicle “Little Ugly” and it stuck.
During the months locked inside our homes, people found all sorts of new hobbies and learned how to stay entertained. For me, it was Axial’s 1/24-scale SCX24 crawler. It was a life-changing moment opening the box and slow crawling it for the first time on my kitchen counter. Right away I started building courses to crawl on at home, shaping them out of spray foam. My wife didn’t know what to think.
I would crawl for hours and tune my rig. Adding and subtracting, moving weight around, trying different setups. I went scale at first, and then I went into competition mode. I really learned to appreciate both. I tinkered with it so much that I even wore the screws out! I added every upgrade I could. I found brands that worked and ones that didn’t. I wanted more.
I didn’t know how I was going to do it or when it would happen. All I knew was I was in it for life and wanted to make this my career. I started by designing parts and 3D-printing them. Axles, wheels, anything I could dream up. I went to local events and built more realistic courses. My main things were bodies, weathering them and selling them on Etsy. Not that it was my biggest interest, but it was the most popular item in my Etsy store.
GETTING TO BUSINESS
I eventually was noticed by like-minded people who enjoyed my work and had the means to produce my ideas on a larger scale. We now have a design team that consists of RC enthusiasts, so they are passionate about the products we make. That said, we don’t leave it to all up to the design team or myself to design our products, though. We listen to what people are asking for, what they like and what they don’t like. We test and run our products into the ground. If we don’t like it and it doesn’t perform, we won’t release it. If we release something and we hear of a flaw, we change it. We are always evolving and improving.
There’s a great future in the 1/24-scale RC market and I am excited about what’s coming, what’s in development, and getting more people into the RC hobby. I consider SCX24 the “gateway drug” into crawling because it is affordable and it really is a micro version of the real thing.
The build you see here is one of our favorite “fun” builds. We went for a scale Baja Bug at first, but it was just too tempting to go extreme on this one. We put our Knuckle Dragger carbon fiber LCG chassis on our brass portals to keep the weight low, with 14% overdrive to pull the rig over obstacles.
The Baja Bug originally started out as Axial’s SCX24 1967 Chevrolet C10 4WD RTR, but as you can tell, it has gotten a total makeover, Little Uglies RC style. The original C10 electronics are all that’s left of its former self. We did keep the high-clearance links C10-length to fit the Bug body as well.
For night crawling (and going to 1/24-scale raves), we put our Angel Eye 12-mode headlights in the custom-painted Old Time RC Baja Bug. We discovered Old Time RC at Axial Fest and really like the unique products they make. Our Black Spare Steely wheels really pull the paint scheme together and keep the old Bug theme classy. We used Pit Bull PBX tires as the perfect match for our wheels. Pit Bull’s Alien compound is excellent on the rocks and stays sticky no matter what.
Really taking time upgrading and figuring out what works and what doesn’t for each build is the fun part for me. You don’t have to fully upgrade all your parts at once. Doing it piece by piece becomes an evolution as you figure out what capabilities you want to hone in on. As for Little Uglies RC, I’m glad to see it gaining more traction. It has definitely been an adventure, and I love every bit of it.
Little Uglies RC
Text by Joshua Vannatta and RCCA Staff
Images by Jerry Tsai