Author Archives: Tim Gluth

Get a Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 Before They’re Gone

Get a Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 Before They’re Gone

Late last year, I learned that one of my favorite small-scale R/C crawlers had been discontinued. While disappointing, I was happy to see other 1/24-scale crawlers in the market, available to fill the void.

If you’d hoped to pick up one of these 1/25-scale trail truck before they become too hard to find, Pro-Line has announced that they’ve got a few Ambush 4×4 models in stock. What’s more, they’re available for a reduced price of $135.96.

Read my review on the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 or visit prolineracing.com to buy one of your own.

Save 10% on your next order at prolineracing.com by using coupon code “RCNEWB10”!

An Outdoor Adventure with the WPL C14 “Hercules”

An Outdoor Adventure with the WPL C14 “Hercules”

The WPL C14 Hercules has proven to be quite an interesting project. Not satisfied with the stock electronics on the ready-to-run (RTR) version, I assembled the necessary parts to convert this 1/16-scale trail truck from a toy into a hobby-grade-like vehicle.

Sparing the details (for the time being), I finally had the opportunity to take this tiny trail machine out for a spin in my yard, and having done so gives me a better idea of its capabilities. While I did add a proportional steering servo and different ESC to this truck, the motor, transmission, and overall gearing are still stock. With the sun out and the green grass blowing in the breeze, it was time to let the C14 stretch its legs and get some fresh air.

While pavement and short/matted-down grass are the perfect types of terrain for this truck, it does handle quite well on slightly taller grass, although will get bogged down if you’re not careful. Attempts at technical driving over a few logs didn’t pan out as well as I’d hoped, however, I was still able to make my way over these obstacles with a bit of a running start.

This truck is a fun machine for a quick spin indoors or out, and with a few adjustments, you can swap out some of the electronics and turn this truck into something a bit closer to hobby-grade. If you’re looking for a small-scale project truck, this is worth taking a closer look at.

Where to buy the WPL C14:

Team Associated Re-launches the MT28 Monster Truck

Team Associated Re-launches the MT28 Monster Truck

Shortly after launching their MT28 Monster Truck late in 2018, Team Associated pulled this model from their lineup. After a short hiatus, the MT28 has re-emerged with some subtle changes.

What those changes are might be skin deep as the headlight decals appear to be the only visual change to this revised 1/28-scale truck. Comparing specs between the 2018 and 2017 models doesn’t uncover any differences.

The same Team Associated 2.4GHz transmitter/controller is included, allowing you to drive and charge this small-scale monster truck from one convenient location.

Team Associated MT28 - Controller and Chassis

If you’re a fan of small-scale radio-controlled machines and want to add a compact monster truck to your lineup, you’ll be happy to see this model reappear in the marketplace.

Team Associated MT28 Specs:

  • Power Source: Electric
  • Terrain: Off-Road
  • Body Style: Monster Truck
  • Scale Size: 1:28 Scale
  • Assembly Level: Ready-To-Run*=
  • Length: 147mm (5.79in)
  • Width: 93mm (3.66in)
  • Wheelbase: 99.1mm (3.9in)
  • Weight: 105.8g (0.23lbs)
  • Drive: 2WD

Priced at $54.99, the Team Associated MT28 monster truck will be available online and at your local Team Associated dealer. Visit teamassociated.com for complete details on this model.

Image credit: Team Associated

Review: ECX Barrage 1/24

Review: ECX Barrage 1/24

The search for a capable and fun small-scale R/C trail rig has been my personal holy grail/white whale expedition for quite some time. While I’ve driven some vehicles that come close to being “spot on” with regards to handling and overall performance, there are small items that cause the overall experience to fall a bit short.

When the ECX Barrage 1/24 was announced last fall, I was pumped, to say the least, to see another small-scale vehicle hit the market. I had become a loyal fan of the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4, and having another similarly-sized, lower-priced option had me anxiously awaiting its release.

Now that I’ve had an opportunity to wheel this tiny truck for a few months, it’s become one of my favorite indoor machines, but it not without a few quirks.

ECX Barrage 124 Front

What’s Included:

  • 1 ECX Barrage 1/24-scale Micro Crawler
  • 1 Controller/transmitter
  • 1 USB charging cable
  • 1 Decal sheet
  • 1 Instruction manual
  • 4 AA Batteries (for the transmitter)

Unboxing the ECX Barrage 1/24

The Body

Style-wise, the ECX Barrage 1/24 features a fun “Trail Honcho-inspired” body with an exposed rear cage/bed. The small details that are built into this truck make it as fun to look at as is to drive. A functional spare tire, rear roll cage, and molded side-steps/rock sliders give this little machine a rough, and rugged feel.

ECX Barrage 124 Front Up

The Chassis

If you’re familiar with 1/10-scale (or larger) R/C rock crawlers or “scalers”, you’ll immediately recognize the ladder-frame chassis which serves as the foundation for a majority of the models on the market. The ECX Barrage 1/24, though small, also features a ladder-frame chassis setup, complete with four-link suspension.

With this type of suspension arrangement, the Barrage 1/24 is able to twist and contort itself over obstacles, all while remaining stable. Now there are some instances where you may lose balance and roll, but the wide stance of this truck (4.0“/120mm) does an admirable job of keeping the tires on the trail.

ECX Barrage 124 Chassis - Near

The Tires & Wheels

Speaking of tires, I was a bit shocked to discover that the scaled-down, Falken Wildpeak tires don’t contain foams. It’s been a while (quite a while, honestly), since I’ve run any of my trail rigs without tire foams. Initially, I had reservations about the lack of tire foams and the extreme “squishiness” of the tires, however, they’ve proven to be solid performers.

The wheels don’t provide much in the way of performance, but they do look quite nice. The wheel and tire combo on the ECX Barrage 1/24 fits the overall look of the truck, and sets the tone for where this truck will be driven.

ECX Barrage 124 Side

The Controller

As small-scale R/C controllers go, the Barrage 1/24 transmitter features a comfortable grip, easy-to-access controls, and not much else. If this were a 1/10-scale or large trail truck, I’d like to see more options for adjustments, however, for what this vehicle offers, you don’t need much more than the trim adjustment (throttle and steering)t and dual rate (throttle and steering) tuning.

Reception and range is very good, making this a solid option for a DIY FPV rig, if you’re looking to shake things up a bit.

Taking on the Trail with the ECX Barrage 1/24

On the outside, the ECX Barrage seems like a solid, well-thought-out trail truck. When you put your finger on the throttle, however, you may notice a few discrepancies between your expectations and reality.

Before opening the box on this small-scale trail truck, I thought I had a firm grasp on how it would perform, based solely on my experiences with the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4. Once I fired up the Barrage 1/24, however, it quickly became apparent that all small-scale trail trucks aren’t made equal.

ECX Barrage 124 Side Front

While cruising around indoors (and outside) is an easy chore, this truck struggles when it comes to technical crawling and climbing. Specifically, when you need to get a burst of power to get up and over an obstacle, you may be left wanting. More often than not, I’ve found the Barrage 1/24 to “stall” whenever I encounter a steep embankment or stepped terrain. Paying close attention to the truck while this happens, I’m not sure if it’s a lack of power, the foam-less tires or a combination of the two.

At any rate, if you’re a fan of 1/10 or ⅛-scale radio-controlled rock crawlers, you’ll need to leave some expectations at the door. The ECX Barrage isn’t going to perform exactly as you’d hope, however, that’s not to say it isn’t fun to drive.

When I leave those expectations aside and just enjoy the Barrage 1/24 for what it is, that’s when I find myself having the most fun. Cruising around my basement, blasting over toys and other obstacles, these are areas where the Barrage excels. While it’s not a fine-tuned technical crawler, out of the box, it is a fun, compact off-road truck.

ECX Barrage 124 Bottom

Is the ECX Barrage the right small-scale R/C crawler for you?

This is a vehicle that I want to love, however, it falls short for me in a few areas. That said, if I was to do it over again, I’d still purchase one, simply because it’s a fun change of pace from my other small-scale R/C vehicles.

Out of the box, the Barrage 1/24 is a fun little cruiser, but if you’re willing to put some work into it (changing the pinion gears, wheels, and battery), you might be able to wring more performance out of this truck than you might expect. Seeing where this truck tends to stall or bind, I’m looking at throwing a new set of wheels and tires at it to see what type of a difference that may make. Even without those changes, the ECX Barrage is a fun indoor and outdoor vehicle that can satisfy your R/C fix in a pinch.

Where to Buy the ECX Barrage 1/24:

A New Graphics Option for the LaTrax Desert Prerunner 1/18 Off-road Truck

A New Graphics Option for the LaTrax Desert Prerunner 1/18 Off-road Truck

The LaTrax Prerunner 4×4 truck has received a splash of color for 2018. This recently redesigned 1/18-scale vehicle now features a “color splash” body design, similar to what Traxxas has been applying to a number of their other models.

This new color option is a real eye-catcher and stands out among the standard solid red and blue colors that had previously been introduced with this small-scale R/C machine.

At $129.99, this truck looks like big fun in a small package. Learn more about the LaTrax Desert Prerunner at LaTrax.com.

Image credit: LaTrax

See it in Action: RC4WD’s 1/14-scale Rally Truck

See it in Action: RC4WD’s 1/14-scale Rally Truck

What’s red, rugged, and ready to rumble? If you guessed the RC4WD Rally Truck, you’d win this round of R/C Jeopardy. This 1/14-scale off-road rig has created quite a stir among R/C fanatics, and now you can see what it looks like in action.

Inspired by 1:1 Dakar Rally trucks, this smaller-scale rig does an impressive job of mimicking realistic motion and driving characteristics. If you want to park one of these beasts in your R/C garage, you can find more information at rc4wd.com.

Image credit: RC4WD

Review: Team Associated RC28T

Review: Team Associated RC28T

As retro-styled, small-scale R/C vehicles go, there aren’t many to choose from. In fact, I’d say Team Associated has the market cornered with their two 1/28-scale models, the RC28T stadium truck and RC28 buggy. It’s this blend of old-school style and small-scale stature that forced me to add yet another R/C vehicle to my fleet.

While the RC28T stadium truck looks great, I’ve found the performance to not quite live up the hype that I’d built up around it. That said, it’s a fun radio-controlled truck, expertly designed for busting boredom and bringing R/C fun indoors.

Team Associated RC28T - Side

What’s Included:

  • 1 Team Associated RC28T Stadium Truck
  • 1 Trigger-style transmitter/controller
  • 1 Instruction manual
  • 1 Decal sheet

Unboxing the Team Associated RC28T Micro Stadium Truck:

The Body

The number one element that sold me on this truck was the body. After seeing the first product photos of this 1/28-scale truck, I was hooked. While I’ve never owned a 1/10-scale RC10T, the idea of having a miniature version of this iconic radio-controlled racer was too great to ignore.

When you strip away the decals and visual flair, there really isn’t much to the body that sits atop Team Associated’s established 1/28 chassis. That said the recreation of the 1990’s RC10T are what make this vehicle so appealing, not only when driving it, but when it’s charging on your shelf.

Team Associated RC28T - Rear Side

The Chassis, Wheels, and Tires

Typically, I’d cover these three items separately, however, this tiny truck ties those elements together in a way that’s hard to separate them. The chassis, while not much to look at, does a solid job when it comes to handling. Whether cornering or blasting over jumps, this little truck takes whatever you can throw at it…within reason.

The front wheels lack any active suspension, so you don’t want to drive the RC28T off a table too many times. That said, the impact resistance is very impressive, especially for a vehicle of this size. Active suspension can be found at the rear of the RC28T, thanks to dual, spring-equipped shocks. Although the setup may be minimal, it does a solid job of absorbing impacts.

The tires on the RC28T feature a knobby tread pattern, which makes them grip carpet incredibly well. Sharp turning often results in the vehicle flipping over rather than sliding, so if you have dreams of drifting in your living room, save those for another model.

Team Associated RC28T - Side Top

On smooth surfaces, this truck can slide and at times, struggles for traction. The rubber compound of the tires is around a “medium” level. The tires don’t feel tacky when you touch them, but they are able to be squeezed when pressure is applied. Honestly, I feel that they’re their just right for a vehicle of this size and weight.

The Motor

If I had one complaint about this truck, it would be the takeoff performance. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by other small-scale models, but I find the torque and initial power of the RC28T to be lacking. As I write this, I have to take a step back and state that the motor is a brushed, micro-sized power plant, so I am not expecting the same level of performance that you’d find with a Carisma GT24 series vehicle. That said, I feel that there could be increased “up-front performance” from this machine.

Team Associated RC28T Controller - Side

The Controller

Small-scale R/C car and truck controllers can be hit or miss, depending on what brand you purchase. There are some which provide you with a full-size controller that would be found on a 1/10-scale or larger model. Still, there are others that carry the small-scale theme through every aspect of the vehicle, including the controller.

Team Associated has bundled a controller with their RC28T that’s not too small, but not quite “full-size”. Although this controller is smaller than most, it feels nice when holding it, and driving it. There are instances where the fit and finish feel a bit low, however, the controller does a solid job of holding while mashing the throttle and working the steering wheel.

Team Associated RC28T - Front

Hitting the Road (or Carpet) with the RC28T

My first real test of the Team Associated RC28T came during a weekend getaway with my family. A two-day stay in a hotel seemed like a great time to test out this little truck, not only to see how it performed but also how it traveled.

My “R/C bag” was overkill when it came to transporting the tiny truck from our house to the hotel, further showcasing the small size of this machine. Shortly after we were checked-in, the RC28T was out of the bag and blasting across the floor of our room. The layout of the room featured tile and carpeting, so I was able to test out performance and handling on two very different surfaces.

Tile, as you might expect, was perfect for drifting, sliding, and simply “messing around”. When the tires did gain traction, it was best to keep the truck in a straight line, otherwise, things would get out of shape quickly.

The carpet of the hotel room floor was, as you might expect, well worn. There were a few visual imperfections (loose threads, gaps in fabric) which provided for some interesting obstacles to avoid, and the RC28T took them all on like a pro.

I, along with my test drivers, set up a small ramp and enjoyed jumping this truck over and over again, trying to get it to land on its wheels more than its lid. While not too technical in the approach, it did take some finesse behind the wheel to ensure things played out “just right”. A little bit of luck helped too.

Team Associated RC28T - Front Top

Charging Time

We ran the RC28T until the battery was empty, giving us an opportunity to re-charge and prepare for another round of fun. The charging time isn’t the best, however, you are charging this vehicle from the batteries in the controller. While I didn’t time the process, I’d estimate that it took 45 – 50 minutes for a complete charge.

Is the Team Associated RC28T the right small-scale R/C truck for you?

While the RC28T is a fun machine, I wouldn’t qualify it as a primary vehicle for your radio-controlled lineup. However, if you’re looking for a compact, fun, retro-styled machine to help you abolish boredom, this truck is well worth the price (under $50 at most online and local hobby shops).

Where to purchase the Team Associated RC28T Stadium Truck:

 

RC4WD Gelande II “Black Rock” 1/18 Scale Trail Rig

RC4WD Gelande II “Black Rock” 1/18 Scale Trail Rig

Small-scale trail fanatics now have more vehicle options to choose from than ever, thanks to the folks at RC4WD. Adding to their Gelande II line, three new models have been added, including a Jeep Wrangler clone, the Black Rock. This 1/18-scale trail machine utilizes the same under-the-body components as the original Gelande II but features a fresh, new body and bumper setup.

Working our way from the inside out, the RC4WD Gelande II “Black Rock” features a ladder-frame chassis design and four-link suspension setup, just like you’d find on larger (1/10 and up) R/C rock crawlers. A micro electric motor and 7.4V, 850mah 2S LiPo battery provide the power for this trail truck, while RC4WD Rock Crusher tires give it the grip needed to move over obstacles and tame the trail.

RC4WD Gelande II Black Rock - Chassis

On the visual side, this vehicle has a look that’s similar to that of the Jeep Wrangler, however, the body isn’t a licensed replica. Even without the official nameplates, Jeep fans should enjoy the attention to detail that has gone into the Black Rock body, including items such as windshield wipers, door handles, and side mirrors.

Clear headliight and fog light lenses add to the ultra-realistic vibe that this truck gives off. In all, it appears like a solid, ready-to-run package for fans of off-road trail driving.

RC4WD Gelande II “Black Rock” Specs:

  • Wheelbase: 130.71mm (5.15″)
  • Width: 108.19mm (4.26″)
  • Height: 110.57mm (4.35″)
  • Ground Clearance: 26.08mm (1.03″)
  • Final Drive Ratio: 112 : 1
  • Weight: 1.87lbs / 0.85kg
  • Transmission Total Gear Ratio: 5.5 : 1
  • Transmission Pinion Gear: 55P 10T
  • Transmission Gear Material: Hardened Brass and Steel
  • Transmission Case Material: Plastic Injection Molded
  • Axle Gear Ratio: 2.55 : 1
  • Axle Width at Hex : 92mm
  • Axle Case Material: Zinc Alloy

RC4WD Gelande II Black Rock - Rear

Priced at $229.99, the RC4WD Gelande II “Black Rock” is available for purchase online. Learn more about this model at rc4wd.com.

Image credit: RC4WD

Kyosho Mini-Z Buggy Chassis V2

Kyosho Mini-Z Buggy Chassis V2

If you want to experience the fun of building an R/C model, but enjoy small-scale vehicles, Kyosho has something for you. Their second-generation Mini-Z Buggy Chassis kit has been re-tuned and refined with new electronics and chassis components, increasing both the performance and the fun of this small-scale machine.

The highlights of this new kit include a Team Orion 8500kv brushless motor, a new ESC (which features improved throttle performance) and chassis enhancements such as a now-standard chassis under guard (MBW033). Personally, I’m thrilled to see another small-scale, brushless-powered vehicle hit the market.

Kyosho Mini-Z Buggy Chassis Set

If you haven’t-yet experienced brushless power in a small-scale, radio-controlled vehicle, you’re in for a treat.

Kyosho Mini-Z Buggy Kit V2 Specs:

  • Length: 163mm
  • Width: 105mm
  • Height: 46mm
  • Wheelbase: 115mm
  • Tread(F/R): 89mm/89mm
  • Tires(F/R): Sold Separately
  • Weight: 200g approx.
  • Motor: Team ORION 8500Kv XSPEED VE

The Kyosho Mini-Z V2 Buggy Kit is priced at $219.99 and is available online. Visit kyoshoamerica.com for complete details on this new model.

Image credit: Kyosho

RC4WD Gelande II “BlackJack” 1/18 R/C Crawler

RC4WD Gelande II “BlackJack” 1/18 R/C Crawler

RC4WD has added to their Gelande II line with the introduction of three new models. The first machine in the rollout is their Gelande II RTR “BlackJack”.  Featuring a body that’s reminiscent of an old-school Ford Bronco, this trail rig packs in plenty of scale detail, while staying true to its roots.

Based on an aluminum ladder-frame chassis, the Gelande II BlackJack features a four-link suspension design, internal-spring shocks, and Yota II cast front and rear axles. All of these internal components are the buildup to the showcase of this model, the body.

RC4WD Gelande II BlackJack - Rocks

Keeping in-line with the original Gelande II, the BlackJack brings massive amounts of scale details, despite the vehicle’s small size. Clear windows and a completely-detailed interior set this rig apart from other small-scale R/C crawlers and give fans of ultra-realistic trail trucks something to admire.

Chrome accent pieces set off the forest green color of the body while adding to the scale realism of this truck. While it’s not an officially licensed Ford body, it does carry strong Bronco DNA.

RC4WD Gelande II BlackJack

Bringing the overall look of this truck full-circle are the wheels. Stamped steel 1″ beadlock wheels (chrome finish) provide another glistening visual on this already impressive machine.

RC4WD Gelande II Specs:

  • Wheelbase: 130.71mm (5.15″)
  • Width: 108.19mm (4.26″)
  • Height: 112.36mm (4.42″)
  • Ground Clearance: 26.43mm (1.04″)=
  • Final Drive Ratio: 112 : 1
  • Weight: 1.87lbs / 0.85kg
  • Total Gear Ratio: 5.5 : 1
  • Pinion Gear: 55P 10T
  • Gear Material: Hardened Brass and Steel
  • Transmission Case Material: Plastic Injection Molded
  • Axle Gear Ratio: 2.55 : 1
  • Axle Width at Hex : 92mm
  • Axle Case Material: Zinc Alloy
  • Shocks: 40mm, Internal-spring (not to be oil-filled)

RC4WD Gelande II BlackJack - Chassis

Priced at $229.99, the RC4WD Gelande II “BlackJack” is available for purchase online. Learn more about this model at rc4wd.com.

Image credit: RC4WD