These days we think of RC4WD synonymously with rock crawling; the brand is one of the cornerstones of that genre and I think it is fair to say no company has done more to advance the cause of scale realism in RC. Kits like the Trail Finder and Gelande have advanced the science of scale-accurate suspension and chassis tech, but even more influential has been RC4WD’s scale accessories which are an industry standard. Licensed scale versions of numerous off-road parts—everything from roof racks to sliders to winches and tools to scale interiors to full bodies, and, yes, wheels and tires—have been used to help enhance the look of virtually every other brand vehicle on the market. Attend a scale event today and you’d be hard pressed to find a top truck without an RC4WD piece somewhere on it!
Of course, the tire package is arguably the single most important component to nailing both the look of a vehicle and its performance on the trail. And when it comes to tires no company is more steeped in off-roader history than BFGoodrich. No surprise then that RC4WD offers a robust lineup of BFGs in various sizes for installation on its own trucks as well as any comparable 1:10 scale crawler. But for 2020 RC4WD and BFGoodrich have expanded their relationship to help commemorate this year’s 150th anniversary of the brand named after founder Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich way back in 1870. To do it they have released special BF Goodrich-themed versions of its two signature scale trucks, the Trail Finder 2 and the one you see here on these pages, the Galande II (G2). Both come in RTR form decked out with detailed scale bodies wearing red-white-and-blue 150th Anniversary paint schemes that are a clear nod to BF Goodrich’s classic racing livery and include factory-applied BFG decals.
Scale on the Surface – and Below
The goodness actually starts well below that Anniversary-themed body with a machined billet aluminum ladder frame. It includes the servo mount and hard body mounting points right into the chassis for strength, reliability and ease of use. In the looks department the chassis includes link mounts and scale shock hoops machined in, which serve as the mounting points for the RC4WD 80mm Dual Spring Shocks. These scale-looking dampers have billet aluminum shock bodies so you can rebuild them with your choice of oil to get just the right feel on the trail. Suspension is RC4WD’s double-triangulated 4 Link rear coupled with a 3 Link/Panhard bar setup in front tied to the chassis-mounted steering servo. It’s a beefy one too; the G2 comes with RC4WD’s Twister metal gear digital servo offering up 277oz-in. of torque on 6V.
Dressed to Cruise Custom Trails
The G2 gets the sweet-looking “Cruiser” body set which is the spitting image of the classic Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser. This hard body is loaded with realistic details, including a top that is removable just like the full-size version. There are tons of accurate scale trim pieces too: grille, mirrors, door handles. The mesh behind that iconic white-painted FJ grille is metal, and the lights and marker lights are set up to accept the optional LED light kit. All told the body kit comprises more than 70 parts, including a gorgeous interior set which has fully detailed seats, gear shift, e-brake and a full dash. The Cruiser body is the ideal match for RC4WD’s rendering of BFGoodrich’s Mud Terrain T/A KM3 tires. They are 1.9 size in X2 compound to give excellent all-around trail grip for a scale tire, and come mounted on a set of machined billet aluminum Chrome Beadlock wheels.
Scale Power – And then Some
Getting up a trail in a fashion befitting the BFG legacy requires sufficient grunt, and duty for that falls to the RC4WD 45-turn crawler motor. The focus here is on durability, reliability and effortless torque—as it should be with a scale crawler. It is paired with RC4WD’s Outcry III Waterproof ESC. This rugged all-weather controller is set up for 5 to 9 cells NiMH or 2S or 3S Lipo (with low voltage protection) and has a 6V/3A BEC. It is mounted above the rear axle, just in front of the radio box cleverly disguised as a fuel cell. Just in front of the ESC is a transverse battery tray with adjustable straps for a variety of pack options.
Delivering the power is some pretty heady driveline hardware. Starting upstream is the sturdy R3 single-speed transmission, selected for its cast metal case, wide gears and slipper clutch installed on the Delrin spur gear—again demonstrating durability as the top priority. Aft of that is the “Hammer” transfer case, also with a widened gearset that is mounted in a metal case cast to look like the real thing. That sends power through “Punisher” drive shafts featuring steel universal joints to the class-leading Yota II Ultimate Scale axles.
Looks the Part, But How do the Parts Work?
Like a Gelande II, thank you very much! Which is to say it is among the more capable ultra-scale crawlers in stock form. The suspensions have good articulation, although the shocks seem a tad stiff so it bumps around a little as it loads and unloads individual tires and of course the Cruiser body is tall, so it has a tendency to lean. But neither of those traits takes away from the G2’s inherent chassis stability which is aided by the weight down low of the billet aluminum wheels. The BFGs seem pretty grippy too, so the G2 can claw its way up some fairly challenging grades with the steady torque of that 45-turn motor churning away.
SRC4WD Gelande II RTR with BF Goodrich FJ40 Cruiser Body Set
Item no.: Z-RTR0102
Wheelbase: 10.8in / 275mm
Length: 18.3in / 465mm
Width: 8.2in / 210mm
Height: 10.7in / 274mm
Ground Clearance: 2.4in / 61mm
Final Drive Ratio: 31.9:1
Weight: 8.35Lbs / 3.79Kg
Body: pre-painted and decaled injection molded hard plastic
Chassis: Billet aluminum ladder frame
Suspension: 3 link with Panhard bar (front); Double-triangulated 4 Link (rear)
Motor: RC4WD 45-turn Crawler brushed 540 motor (installed)
Speed Control: Outcry III waterproof brushed ESC; built in drag brake and 6V/3A BEC (installed)
Transmission: R3 single speed transmission with wide .8 steel gears and a slipper clutch
Transfer Case: Hammer transfer case with scale cast-metal housing and wide .8 hardened steel gears
Drive Shafts: Punisher telescoping drive shafts with steel universal joints
Axles: Yota II Ultimate Scale axles, cast metal housings
Shocks: Scale dual-spring 80mm, billet aluminum body, oil-filled
Wheels/Tires: RC4WD BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM3 1.9 Tires on Chrome 1.9” Beadlock Wheels
Radio system: RC4WD XR3 2.4GHz (installed)
Servo: Twister metal gear digital servo; 277.6 oz-in. @6V; chassis-mounted (installed)
Battery: 2-3S Lipo; 5-9-cell NiMH (required)
RC4WD’s G2 has a well-deserved reputation for scale trail performance to go along with its extraordinary realism. The BFGoodrich 150th Anniversary Edition livery and the BFG Mud Terrain T/A KM3 tires take both of those up a notch. If there’s one flaw with this package it’s that the red, white and blue body is so pretty you kinda hate to get it dirty! You get over that pretty quick, though, and the all-weather electronics make sure it’s as easy to hose off as it is to get muddy in the first place. And of course RC4WD’s industry-leading line of aftermarket scale accessories means this G2 is nearly infinitely customizable; (listing all of the available parts for the G2 here would double the size of this article!) But even if you don’t add a thing this truck is an absolute beauty, and a blast to truck up the trails with.
Text by Matt Boyd
Images by Jerry Tsai