Small-scale RC has been on the rise in recent years, with every major player releasing miniatures of their most popular models. Mini crawlers are an especially hot ticket, as you’ll find 1/18, 1/24 and even 1/27-scale models from the likes of Axial, RC4WD and others. Smaller than 1/10-scale crawlers do have their drawbacks, but we must admit, they are tons of fun and have plenty of benefits you can’t get from a “full-size” RC.
FMS has been making steady inroads into the surface RC market in recent years. The brand is well-known amongst RC airplane enthusiasts for their exceptional RTF (ready to fly) aircraft, but their unique yet highly detailed off-road vehicles are still a relatively new sight to ground-bound RC enthusiasts. What any casual observer will notice about FMS, however, is that the brand has steadily made a name for itself in smaller-scale RC.
The company’s RC truck and car releases can easily be mistaken for static model kits due to their incredibly accurate scale and precise detail. All of their vehicles feature hard plastic bodies, hidden electronics, fully detailed undersides and even LED lighting. Their reputation for high quality, model-like RC is being cemented with every new release. This brings us to their latest release, the FCX24 Power Wagon.
The FCX24 Power Wagon is similar in many ways to FMS’s previous releases. It’s got an ultra-detailed hard plastic body, realistic chassis, lifelike wheels and tires, working lights and mostly hidden signs that it is in fact an operable RC vehicle. The one thing missing from the Power Wagon that you’ll find in all other FMS vehicles is a detailed interior. We’ll forgive them for that, however, because of the ground-breaking innovations that it boasts.
Let’s start off with the basics. The FCX24 is a 1/24-scale crawler that is powered by an FMS Power Dash RS-S130 motor and FMS 7.4V 380mAh 5C LiPo. It’s a small motor, but this Power Wagon weighs less than 14 ounces and has a total length of a little over 8 inches. It’s a small RC for sure, but dang it, it looks good. It has a fully functioning 4-link suspension that’s tied to oil-filled coilover shocks and it sits on really great-looking red step-lipped, steelie-style wheels and all-terrain, farm-equipment-looking tires. You see a theme going on here? Yes, we do love its looks.
The Power Wagon gets even more interesting when you look underneath its body. The FCX24 is, as far as we understand it, the only 1/24-scale RC equipped with a 2-speed transmission and portal axles. Those are two features that push the 1/24-scale RC crawler genre from a fun novelty into the direction of a serious performance vehicle. It may not be there yet, but we can see small-scale crawling becoming even more of a thing in the near future.
Seasoned crawler drivers know the benefits of both innovations. A 2-speed transmission allows for quick driving on one setting, and when it’s switched to low gear, you get a slower but more powerful crawler that can take on steeper inclines and slipperier surfaces. A tiny servo helps switch the gears in the transmission with a flip of the Channel 3 switch on the included transmitter. Prior to the FCX24, 1/24-scale crawlers had to deal with having only a single transmission gear setting.
Portal axles give the FCX24 greater ground clearance and therefore more crawling capability. For a small-scale crawler, this is essential. With the portal axles in play, the Power Wagon gets a smidge over one inch of ground clearance. This doesn’t sounds like much, but we sure felt it when we took the rig out for a crawl on a hiking trail. Both innovations together give the FCX24 plenty to boast about, and we’re loving it.
The truck comes with a straight axle by default, but an optional planetary gear differential equipped with high-viscosity silicone oil can be swapped out to simulate the driving effect of an LSD limited-slip differential.
The highly detailed body does not have opening doors or an interior, but LED lighting comes standard, which is a nice touch. The forward-looking headlights are activated via the Channel 4 button found on the transmitter. It can be cycled through for low-beam and high-beam output. Clear windows, molded door handles, door hinges and moveable windshield wipers are just some of the fantastic details found on the body. Our model came in yellow, but if that’s not your color, red and blue versions are also available.
Two sticker sheets come with the Power Wagon featuring alternate license plates and a cool “Butcher Butch” logo in different colors. This is not a licensed body, so instead of Dodge logos we are treated to “Doug” logos. We think it’s a fun touch and are now simply calling the truck Doug.
UNBOXING & ASSEMBLY
As with FMS’s other releases, Power Wagon comes in a sturdy foam case, which offers plenty of protection for the truck whether in transit to you or in storage at your place. The RC truck comes with parts to build its rear cage, spare tire carrier and fuel tank. It also comes with a USB charger, extra parts, sticker sheets, manual, cross wrench and even a gift part from FMS. From what we heard, these free hop-ups are packed randomly. Ours happened to come with a servo mount and servo horn set.
The truck comes assembled, but the rear hoop and tire carrier needed to be installed. It’s pretty straightforward and everything snaps into place. The one thing we got hung up on is the included gas tank and gas tank nozzle. The tank itself comes in two pieces and also comes with a strip of double-stick tape for placement onto the rear of the truck. The instructions didn’t call it out, but the gas tank needs to be glued together, as does the nozzle that attaches to it. We used some Pro-Line tire glue and were in business. Once the parts were glued together, we used the double-stick take to mount it and we were good to go.
Installing the charged battery required us to remove the body, which is done using four tabs found on the underside of the chassis. It’s a bit tight to get in there, but it wasn’t a big problem. A rubberized O-ring holds the battery down. It makes for a tight fit, but the O-ring does hold the battery down nice and taught. We then snapped the body back on and headed out for a hike.
While on the hiking trail, we unleashed the Power Wagon. It’s surprising how quick it was in high gear, even over bumps. We didn’t need to switch to low gear until we purposely drove it over large tree roots, fallen branches and suitably sized rocks. But once we did, low gear was great to have.
FXC24’s portal axles did allow for much more clearance than another small-scale crawler that we brought with us on the trail run. As with their 1/10-scale brethren, portal axles give you more ground clearance but also raise your center of gravity, making your rig top-heavy. Power Wagon is not immune to these effects. With a hard plastic body and high-mounted electronics and battery, it surely is a top-heavy truck. We did roll over a few times but, amazingly, it landed back on its tires each and every time. Did FMS design it to do that or were we just lucky? We can’t be sure. What we were sure of is how much fun we had crawling it.
FMS 1/24-Scale FCX24 Power Wagon VEHICLE SPECS
Height: 5.2 in. (132mm)
Length: 8.27 in. (210mm)
Width: 4.9 in. (124mm)
Wheelbase: 5.4 in. (138mm)
Ground Clearance: 1.02 in. (26mm)
Weight as Tested: 13.8 oz. (390g)
Shocks: Oil-filled dampers
Body: Pre-painted, hard plastic
Wheels: Red steelies
ESC/Receiver: FMS combination unit
Motor: FMS Power Dash RS-S130
Radio: FMS V3 (4-channel)
Charger: FMS USB
Battery: FMS 7.4V 380mAh 5C LiPo
We used to see small-scale crawlers as just fun toys, but with the latest ones to hit the market, especially the FCX24, we’re inclined to take them much more seriously. The Power Wagon’s 1/24 scale allows you to crawl it in more places than a 1/10-scale rig, even on your own desk or bed. It’s been fun setting up crawling courses on our desks at work to practice our driving lines and vehicle control. Knowing FMS, we’re sure to see another FCX24 chassis-based release in the near future. We’re already excited for more great-looking—and performing—releases from FMS.
Source: FMS fmsmodel.com
Text and Images by Jerry Tsai