The small-scale R/C landscape has been relatively quiet in 2017. In fact, it’s been too quiet for my taste. Thankfully Losi has shaken things up with their latest release, a 1/14-scale, ready-to-run (RTR) desert buggy that’s loaded with features.
The Losi Mini 8ight DB is a brushless-powered desert buggy featuring four-wheel drive, waterproof electronics, and many other features and component specs that you’d find in 1/10 or larger models. This new, smaller-scale machine looks to be fun both indoors and out, and is a nice bit of competition for other off-roaders such as the Axial Yeti Jr. lineup (even if the sizes don’t line up completely).
In the box, you’ll find everything you’ll need to get rolling, from a complete Mini 8ight DB buggy, to a Spektrum STX2 2.4GHz transmitter and 2-channel Spektrum SRX200 receiver. Rounding out the electronics list is a Dynamite Mini Brushless ESC (electronic speed control) and Dynamite Fuze Mini Brushless motor (3800kv). As mentioned earlier, all of the electronics are waterproof/water resistant, so you won’t have to slow your roll when the elements decide to get nasty.
On the handling front, the Mini 8ight DB includes oil-filled, aluminum-bodied shocks and independent four-wheel suspension. The visual details on the body and the rollcage give this smaller ride an impressive stature.
Losi Mini 8ight DB Specifications
Type: 4WD Desert Buggy
Length:13.2 in (335mm)
Width: 8.2 in (208mm)
Height: 4.6 in (118mm)
Ground Clearance: 1.1 in (28mm)
Wheelbase: 8.8 in (223mm)
Weight: 2.5 lbs (1.1kg)
Chassis: 2.5mm aluminum plate
Tire Type: All terrain
Motor or Engine: 380 long can (3800Kv)
Speed Control: Brushless Waterproof 25A
Radio: STX2 2 Ch Radio
Batteries: 7.2v 1200 mAh NiMh Batt, Flat w/EC3
Charger: AC Wall 200mAh
Gear Pitch: 48P
Wheel Size: Diameter: 1.6/2.0 in (40.6/50.8mm), Width: 1.1 in. (27.9mm)
Shock Type: Aluminum, coil over, oil filled
Priced at $249.99, the Losi Mini 8ight DB is priced higher than some of its small-scale neighbors. That price, however, should be looked at along with the impressive feature list, as not many small-scale machines are packing brushless power straight out of the box.
Boost the performance of these versatile 1/18-scale vehicles with motor, servo, and chassis hop-ups.
The two vehicles in Axial’s 1/18 off-road lineup have gained an impressive following since being released in late 2016. The Yeti Jr. Rock Racer and Yeti Jr. SCORE Trophy Truck are quite capable out of the box, however there are always upgrades and adjustments you can make to wring out even more performance.
Here are a selection of upgrade parts to help you customize and enhance the looks, handling and power of these small-scale machines.
Motor and ESC (Electronic Speed Control)
Out of the box, the Yeti Jr’s 40-T brushed motor Is a capable and sporty option. That said, there is always room for improvement…and more speed. With a number of options available, swapping out the stock motor and ESC is an easy quick way to bump up the speed and power of this small-scale machine.
The stock servo that is shipped with the Axial Yeti Jr. is one area that you may want to look at replacing before anything else. Improve the steering response and power with the following, compatible options.
One final way to boost the appearance of your Axial Yeti Jr. is to give it a new set of wheels. Not only will the looks of your off-road rig get a boost, but you may be able to add a bit of weight to this featherlight vehicle.
No matter what upgrade path you choose, there are a number of great ways to customize the appearance, performance, and handling of your Axial Yeti Jr. Even swapping out internal component can turn this small-scale vehicle into an entirely-new machine.
Although Axial’s Yeti Jr. has been available for less than six months, there have been a number of upgrades and hop-ups available for it. If you own one of these 1/18-scale off-road vehicles, TheToyz has a few new aluminum upgrades to take a look at.
Aluminum 6-Spoke Wheels
Giving your Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer or Yeti Jr. SCORE Trophy Truck a fresh look at a low cost just got easier with a set of aluminum, 6-spoke wheels. Available in blue or black (and in pairs or sets of four).
Adding to the aluminum upgrade list are a pair of rear lower chassis links for the Axial Yeti Jr. SCORE Trophy Truck. Available in a variety of colors, these will help add durability and handling performance while giving your small-scale truck some visual flair.
With a large number of small-scale radio-controlled vehicles on the market, there are some that I’m more familiar with than others. LC Racing is one brand that I’ve been researching lately and have been impressed with the specs on their brushless-powered 1/14-scale vehicles.
One of the vehicles in their lineup is the EMB-1H, a ready-to-run (RTR) electric buggy. With aluminum components throughout, including shock bodies, shock towers, and chassis plate, the EMB-1H is a durable buggy that should pack quite the powerful punch.
That power comes from a 4500kV, 4-pole brushless motor that is juiced by an included 7.2V NiMh battery (1100mAh). A four-wheel metal drivetrain also helps ensure durability for bashing and on-track action.
The installed electronics of the LC Racing EMB-1H feature a Batan D115 digital mini servo, a Batan 2.4GHz radio system (transmitter and receiver) and a programmable ESC that’s LiPo (2S/3S) compatible.
LC Racing EMB-1H 1/14 Brushless Buggy Specifications
Scale: 1/14 EP Buggy
Length: 300mm (11.8in)
Width: 205mm (8in)
Height: 110mm (4.3in)
Wheelbase: 185mm (7.3in)
Weight: 0.90kg (1.9lbs with battery)
Wheel hexes: 12mm
Motor: Micro 380, 6.5T/4500kV, 4 Pole 2838 3.175mm Shaft Brushless Motor Modified
The lineup of on-and-off-road vehicles in Dromida’s lineup has been steadily growing, making fans of small-scale vehicles (such as myself), very happy. Their latest offering brings another machine to their brushless-powered fleet. Introducing the Dromida Brushless Monster Truck.
This 1/18-scale, 4-wheel drive truck is built for high-speed bashing and shares many of the same components found in its brushed-brother, the Dromida 4WD Monster Truck.
With oil-filled shocks, adjustable suspension elements (camber rods & shock mounting positions), ball bearings, and an “industry standard” 2.4GHz radio system, the Dromida Brushless Monster Truck is a compact vehicle that can take on just about anything.
The ESC and servo are both waterproof/water resistant, meaning you won’t have to shy away from blasting through puddles or mud with this small-scale monster truck. And when things get sticky, the 5300kv brushless motor should provide ample power to get you out of messy situations. Providing power to the motor is an included 6-cell, 1300mAH NiMH battery pack.
I gauge the interest that I have in a radio-controlled vehicle on how often I reach for it before heading out for a drive. Lately, my go-to machine has been the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer, a vehicle that I didn’t expect to be the level of fun with as I currently am.
As I’ve reached the half-way point in my review of Axial’s latest R/C machine, a few small items could stand to be improved.
The largest item has been the strength of the steering servo. After noting some of the issues with stock Tactic servo, I did some research and decided to swap it out for a Savox SH-0263-MG. Performing this upgrade is fairly simple, and you should be in-and-out within 30 minutes.
Additional details on the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer
When I stepped into the world of R/C five years ago, I was met with a wave of vehicles and options to sort through. One brand, Traxxas, stood out among the rest and I set out to learn more about them and what vehicles they offered. If you’ve been following this site for a while, you probably know the end of the story, with my first purchase being a 1/10-scale Traxxas Slash 4×4.
That said, another Traxxas model caught my eye; the Traxxas E-Revo, specifically the new (at the time) 1/16 version. The 1/10-scale variant had been a succesful and popular machine for hobbyists to thrash around with, and the scaled-down model promised to pack an equally large punch .
If the 1/16 E-Revo has been on your R/C wish list, you can now add one to your own collection (while saving money in the process). Traxxas has their two smaller-scale E-Revo models on sale, now through April 30,2017.
2016 introduced many new and interesting models into the R/C world. While monster trucks were one of the hot vehicle types on the 1/10 scene, there was also a boom in the number of small-scale vehicles hitting hobby shop shelves.
One of the most talked about releases of the year came during the close of 2016. Axial released two 1/18-scale models of their popular Yeti Rock Racer and Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck to much anticipation and buzz from radio-controlled enthusiasts. Not one to resist the call of a new small-scale vehicle, one of these scaled-down machines found its way into my R/C garage.
Deciding on which model to purchase may have been the hardest decision to make. While I love the looks of both the Yeti Jr. Rock Racer and the Yeti Jr. SCORE Trophy Truck, the rock racer won me over with its appearance (and for the fact that I’ve always wanted one of its larger-scale siblings).
1 Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer
1 Tactic TTX200 transmitter/controller
1 7.2V, 1300mAH NiMh Onyx battery
1 Onyx USB-powered battery charger
4 AA batteries (for the transmitter)
1 parts bag
1 instruction manual
Unboxing the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer
Initial Thoughts on the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer
Having owned Axial vehicles in the past, I’ve come to expect certain levels of build quality and detail in their models. The Axial SCX10 and RR10 Bomber are two of my favorite vehicles in my personal collection. From the moment I lifted the Yeti Jr. Rock Racer out of its packaging, I could tell that the same attention to detail and durability existed on this smaller-scale model.
The visual appearance of the Yeti Jr. is the same that you’ll find on its larger-scale siblings. While it isn’t modeled to be a replica of a specific 1:1 vehicle, it does have a unique, aggressive look to it. I’ve been a fan of the body style that the 1/10 and ⅛ Yeti models share and that same body was one of my main reasons for picking up the junior version.
A visually-stunning graphics package has been applied to the Yeti Jr. Rock racer, which aid in its appeal. The black/gray base with orange, silver and white accents make this machine easy to spot without losing its tough persona.
Many of the chassis characteristics of the 1/10 and ⅛ Yeti Rock Racer exist on the Yeti Jr. The suspension setup is the same, using independent front suspension and solid-axle suspension in the rear. Another aspect of the larger-scale models that has been carried over to the 1/18 version is the hinged, flip-up body provides a quick and easy way to get into the internals of this machine without much hassle. This is a feature that I have long admired and was happy to try out in person.
Getting deep into the electronic components on other models, regardless of their size, can be a bit of a pain. The Yeti Jr. Rock Racer’s hinged body design is a simple, effective approach that allows you to get into the guts of this machine easily. The minimal use of body pins is also a bonus, (from my standpoint).
The internal layout for the Yeti Jr. Is both compact and minimal. The motor, radio, receiver, and steering servo and nestled neatly into the body tray, only allowing for room to function (and little else). This model uses a combined electronic speed control (ESC)/receiver to minimize the amount of space needed. Also in the “minimized space” category is the positioning of the steering servo.
Rather than using a front-mounted position, the servo is positioned underneath the ESC/receiver and uses three linked arms to control the direction of this rock racer. This is my first experience with this type of a setup and my initial exposure to it has been interesting.
The battery rests in a rear-mounted tray with a hinged top brace that keeps it intact during your driving adventures. This is both easy to open and access and, again, keeps initial setup and activation time to a minimum.
Drawing power from that battery is a 40T brushed motor that joins the other electronics within the body tray. The higher the number of turns a motor is rated for, the more torque it is capable of putting out. As an example, the Axial Bomber RR10 (ready-to-run) uses a 35T motor, making it great for crawling and blasting out of sticky situations. I have swapped this motor out on my Bomber, opting for a 20T motor that provides more top-end speed (without giving up much on the bottom end).
Getting back to the Yeti Jr., the 40T rated motor gave me a moment of pause as I was expecting this machine to be a slow, lurking mini-beast. Thankfully, the transmission gearing is set up to allow for impressive top-end speed, while not sacrificing torque when taking off. As of this writing, I’ve only driven this machine indoors. To that point, I’ve been thrilled with the stock performance that I’ve seen out of this little rock racer so-far.
As Tactic’s lineup of controllers is concerned, I’m familiar with their TTX300 model (included with Axial’s RR10 Bomber), however, the TX200 has a design that I hadn’t quite seen before. While the TTX200 is smaller than the controller you’ll find in a 1/10-scale RTR package, it isn’t a “micro” controller. That said, there are some design characteristics that I’m still learning to get used to.
The grip circumference is slightly larger than what I’m used to with my other controllers, and has been the biggest (no pun intended) area that I’ve had concerns with during my few short drives. These concerns aren’t major, and are mainly centered around finding a comfort level when holding the controller. Outside of the ergonomics, the built-in functionality that the TTX200 possesses is what I’ve come to expect from a 2-channel remote.
An Indoor Yeti Sighting
As mentioned earlier, the only tricky terrain and adventure driving that my Yeti Jr. has seen has been confined to foam blocks and berber carpet. Current weather has kept my initial tests of this vehicle trapped indoors, but that’s not to say I haven’t managed to have fun during those housebound voyages.
Using a few well-placed foam ramps and barriers, I have sent the Axial Yeti Jr. flying and tumbling across the floor of my “testing lab”. From the initial takeoff burst to the final top-end speed, the quickness of this machine continues to impress. Handling is nimble and crisp, however I’ve noticed that, on some occasions, the Yeti Jr. steering doesn’t return to neutral after making a sharp turn. Whether or not this is due to the servo strength or the servo arm configuration remains to be seen.
Aside from that one noticeable detail, this vehicle has Axial DNA through and through. It’s fun to drive and can take its share of abuse. My next adventure with this mini rock racer will be a test of its outdoor prowess. If my brief indoor runs are any indication, this should be one amazing performer.
My first R/C vehicle that I ever got to tinkering with and upgrading was a XMods Nissan Skyline that I bought from a Radio Shack near my home. That was the vehicle that really set off the R/C hobbyist in me. I blew every cent of lawn mowing money that I could earn on upgrades from that same Radio Shack. Then on money for PVC pipe to build a big indoor track in my parent’s basement. I went nuts with it. From then on I had been interested in R/C. As with most of us who have been in the hobby for a decent length of time; that interest came in waves, some stronger than others. In all the time since, I have never owned another small-scale R/C vehicle. I went through my fair share of Traxxas, Losi, Shumacher, Tamiya, the list goes on. In all of that love and enjoyment of the hobby, I just never purchased anything smaller than a 1/10 scale vehicle. Why?
Because bigger is better. It’s in the Bible, somewhere near the part about the Ark, if I remember correctly…
Team Associated SC28 Lucas Oil 1:28 Short Course Truck Specs
Length: 6.9 in (175mm)
Width: 3.8 in (67mm)
Wheelbase: 3.9 in (99mm)
Weight: .22 lbs (101 g)
What’s In the Box
1 – Carl Renezeder short course replica body
1 – 1:28 SC28 vehicle
1 – 2.4ghz 2-channel transmitter
1 – Integrated ESC/receiver unit
1 – Battery and charger (charges from the radio only)
Enter the Team Associated SC28. A 1/28 scale short course truck with a great looking body (though that is subjective, but hey this subject thinks it’s cool!) priced at $49.99, plus shipping. If you are purchasing it from Tower Hobbies this price comes down to the $40 (or so) mark when utilizing their coupons. This price point, and cool body, had me at hooked. What I ended up getting for my money was just icing on the cake.
I don’t normally make knee jerk decisions on R/C vehicle purchases, but this was a right place right time thing that caught me on a wild hair type of day. I ordered it the same day that it was released for sale on Tower’s site (the closest hobby shop for me is over an hour away and rarely stocks anything but Traxxas).
Upon first opening the package I have to point out that, like many others have mentioned online, the body was leaning heavily to one side. If you are experiencing minor to severe body lean, please seek help from your doctor or other medical professional immediately, (I had to, I just had to…). Jokes aside, back to the SC28.
Check your front body post! Even though the lean appears to come from the rear of the vehicle, it’s origin lies in that front single body post. Remove the body, give that sucker a good solid twist to counter the lean, and with some playing you’ll have it lined up in no time.
After getting past that small issue it was on to shredding some living room floor for this little truck! My first endeavor was to zing up and down our long hallway. The floor there is laminate, and I have to say this was like driving on ice. That was somewhat to be expected; but with the surprisingly grippy feeling tires on this particular truck, I was hoping it would handle the slicker surfaces better than it did. The fact is, something this small is so light that grippy tires or not there just isn’t much traction to be had on these glassy smooth surfaces. That’s not to say that it can’t be driven on smooth floors without some bit of practice, but any precision you may want is going to be pretty hit and miss.
Onward my friends. To the basement!
Ok this was the place where I really felt that I was going to get my $50 out of this truck, and boy did I. My basement floor is, like many of your basement floors probably are, poured concrete. Nothing special, nothing super glassy, just poured concrete to act as a foundation for the home. This was where this truck seems to practically be built to run. I have tried it in places like tennis courts, gym floors, hardwood floors, sidewalks, and my gravel driveway (you know, just to see how many times I could flip over in 10 feet). Out of all of those places, my basement has garnered me the most sheer enjoyment driving this little truck.
The previously mentioned “grippy” feeling tires just bite, and they bite hard on concrete with even a tiny amount of texture to it such as tennis courts, sidewalks, and my basement. This very low slung truck can easily traction roll if you go full speed and full steering lock into a turn. Back it off just a tad and you’ve got a locked in feeling smooth turning very racey feeling truck… All small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
The front of the truck doesn’t actually have “shocks” in the typical sense. It has little plastic flexible camber links and a-arms that bend just enough to act as a very maintenance free shock absorption mechanism. No springs seems like no shocks you say? Yes, but at this scale you really don’t need them. The return rate on a shock this size and scale would technically be so quick that to our eyes it would appear almost immediate, just like the setup this truck has in the front tends to behave.
The rear end is essentially a solid axle that houses the mini quadcopter coreless brushed motor, which is allowed some play and flex through two almost laid down style plastic shocks. With the added weight back there of the motor and bulk of the electronics, the two springs offer a very smooth feeling truck at such a small scale. It’s a little bouncy when landing jumps, but in general I feel that it’s about as good as you could possibly hope for at this scale.. and especially at this price.
Finally, I have to mention this little guy’s durability. One of the biggest things I was looking for in a small scale R/C (pun perhaps intended), was durability. Not just for someone who knows how to drive an R/C, but for a 3 year old who has basically never driven one before. My daughter essentially did a durability test on this truck that rivals some of Jang’s most brutal durability montages. And you know what? It took all of it and just laughed. You see, my daughter doesn’t really understand how to “steer” an R/C yet. I meen who needs steering anyway right? She essentially pins the throttle across our basement until it smashes into something (down there it’s impacting solid concrete most of the time) and bounces around aiming itself another direction. Rinse and repeat… I’m not saying this didn’t make me cringe the first few times, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that the short course body and very little mass to this truck equals small scale Traxxas Slash-style durability.
Is the Team Associated SC28 the Right Small-Scale Short Course Truck for You?
As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, I have been involved in this wonderful hobby since before I could (legally…) drive actual vehicles. I now have kids, own a home, and all of the time absorbing responsibilities that comes along with those blessings. I still own a small stable of R/C’s.
As the winter began to set in I found myself browsing websites searching for something basement and living room friendly. I had kept an eye on these smaller scale vehicles over the years, but never could get myself to pull to digital wallet trigger on something so small. Why spend as much as half the cost of a 1/10 scale vehicle on something less than one quarter the size? Rigs like the Losi Micro SCT, HPI Baja Q32, ECX 1/24 Torment, and ECX Beatbox/Kickflip all drew my interest; but these quickly lost me on things like price, durability, features, or looks.
The SC28, for me anyway, is the perfect blend of all of those more popular small scale R/C’s all rolled into one neat little package. You have the great short course truck body shell durability and a-arm protection of the Losi Micro SCT and ECX 1/24 torment. You get the price point of the Baja Q32 and in fact beat that price by a few fast food meals. If you are looking for something with an upgrade path you will have to spend the extra cash on the Torment or a Losi micro, and there’s nothing wrong with that! However, for those just wanting one of the best all around small scale R/Cs currently available; I think the SC28 just may be what you’re looking for. Small, durable, good looking, and very affordable compared to other R/C’s in this general size class: the SC28 is definitely worth checking out.
Where to Buy the Team Associated SC28 Short Course Truck
The Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 is an outstanding small-scale trail rig in its own right. The details that have been built into it allow it to stand out from the pack and it’s a perfect “grab and go” vehicle for indoor and outdoor driving. The more I’ve been driving it, the more I’ve wanted to add some visual flair to it, and turn it into a super-small-scaler.
Coupling my interest in 3D printing and how it’s being applied to the R/C hobby, I designed two accessories specifically for the Ambush 4×4. The first is a roof-mounted carrier rack, easily attached using the existing roof panel mounting hardware. The second item is a clip-on spare tire mount. Attaching to the rear roll bars of the Ambush 4×4, this flat mount includes a hole to mount a spare wheel/tire or 3D-printed spare tire prop (coming soon) onto.