Hello RC Car Action readers! My name is Mike Ortelli, but my friends call me Mike RC Guy, aka MuckBoots. I have been in the hobby for over 10 years and would like to say it is an honor to be featured in an issue of RC Car Action. It all started when I went to my first RC event, which happened to be Axialfest Badlands 2020.
It was at the event that I realized it was time for me to add an Axial crawler to my ever-growing fleet of RC cars. Before the event started, I hit up the Horizon Hobby booth to see what show specials they were offering. Out of the wide variety of rigs, the gray-colored RTR SCX10 III Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JLU with portals was what I was really looking for. I picked one up on the spot and could now properly enjoy Axialfest to the fullest.
Once I had my batteries charged, I hit the Axialfest trails with my new Jeep. I spent the next three days crawling them all, with no issues mind you, and having a blast with my new rig. Even with my Jeep running like a champ throughout the whole event, I knew from the start that I wanted to change things up on it.
Prior to Axialfest, I spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos about RC overlanding and stumbled across the blue SCX10 III that Big Squid RC had built. What most grabbed my attention was its roof rack loaded up with scale accessories. It was an overland rig I would love to own in real life, so I figured I could make a scale version of it for now.
The first thing I did was find a freshly painted body from a buddy in our local crawler club. As luck would have it the body happened to be blue, the same color I want my future overlanding Jeep to be. From there, I ran to the Club 5 Racing website and proceeded to order a massive amount of scale items. I added so many accessories to the shopping cart—parts like front and rear bumpers, side steps, body fender flares, scale door hinges and a much-needed light kit.
Once all of the new Club 5 Racing parts arrived, my buddy Waynes_RC_World and I had a build night so we could knock it out. While Wayne worked on soldering the lights up, I worked on the interior, painted the driver and installed a scale Bluetooth speaker from Guru RC Shack. From there, I went to my local hobby shop and picked up a Yeah Racing SCX10 III roof rack, RC4WD Warn winch, RC4WD 1.9 Ballistic beadlock wheels and a set of RC4WD 1.9 Milestar Patagonia M/T scale tires. After a day or two of taking out the interior to install the roof rack and mounting up the new wheels and tires, my RC overland build started to take shape. Just like a lot of others in the scale world, I am a fan of scale stickers. So when it came time to deck out the Jeep with stickers, I was more than ready.
After it was completed and running I just had fun with it, trailed it all the time, and have taken it to every event I could make it out to. At the Ultimate Scale Truck Expo this past year I found a scale awning for it. It was the missing piece that I didn’t even know that I needed. You know what they say—“a build is never finished.” My Overland Jeep is no different. It’s ever-changing and evolving. In fact, I don’t think the build will ever done.
HOW IT COMPARES
I own about 25 RC vehicles, from boats to 1/14 semi-trucks and even some 1/14 construction equipment. I love it all. Out of all of them, my Axial SCX10 III Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JLU tends to be my go-to rig when I’m hitting the trails. One of my favorite things to do while out running scale rigs is to set up scale camping scenes for photos. I love to add scale accessories, as it adds to the realism of the scale photos. Making a scale rig look as real as a full-size is half the fun of the hobby.
The other half is the scale driving. An overland-style rig is very top heavy, so keeping all the scale items on the roof rack is a challenge in itself. Scale driving lets you mimic how it would be done in the full-size world. Hitting an obstacle full-send is not what you do in real off-road crawling; if so, your day is going to be short and expensive. So I drive my Jeep like I would if I was sitting in the driver seat, which has made for more of an enjoyable experience in my opinion. I have other makes and models of RC crawlers, but my Jeep handles any terrain I toss its way, all while looking super scale in the process.
Base Kit: Axial SCX10 III Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JLU with Portals RTR
Motor: Holmes Hobbies 550 can 17T
ESC: Hobbywing 1080
Servo: Reefs RC 444
Receiver: Spektrum SR515
Winch: RC4WD Warn winch
Shocks: Incision 90mm
Shock Towers: Samix
Roof Rack: Yeah Racing SCX10 III roof rack
Wheels: RC4WD 1.9 Ballistic beadlock
Tires: RC4WD 1.9 Milestar Patagonia M/T
Tire Foams: Pro-Line dual stage
Scale Accessories: Club 5 Racing, GURU RC Shack, Outlaw RC
Battery: Spektrum Smart 3S LiPo 4,000mAh
With That Said
Seeing how far my SCX10 III has gotten gives me a sense of pride, from box stock to winning Axialfest Badlands Adventure Gallery. This rig will always have its parking space in my scale shop. I have to thank my buddy Waynes_RC_World for helping me with the build. Without him, I’m sure my lights wouldn’t work. As for the Jeep, it will lay waiting for special occasions and events. Hopefully my build can inspire someone else the way I was inspired by someone else’s customized Axial crawler a few years ago.
To see more of Mike Ortelli’s builds, check out his Instagram @Muckbootscrawler; while you’re at it, check out @Waynes_RC_World too!
Axial Racing axialracing.com
Horizon Hobby horizonhobby.com
Text by Mike Ortelli and RCCA Staff
Images by Mike Ortelli