Author Archives: Tim Gluth

Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer: The Review

Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer: The Review

A 1/18-scale, off-roading, bundle of fun.

One way in which I gauge my interest in a radio-controlled car or truck is how often I take it for a drive. While there’s not enough time in the day to run every machine, I have to go with my gut and grab the vehicle that best-fits my schedule and location.

Soon after picking up one of Axial’s two newest 1/18-scale entries, the Yeti Jr. Rock Racer, I felt the urge to pick up and drive this machine more so than others. Between the size, the speed, and the overall fun factor that this off-road buggy carries with it, there are many great aspects of Axial’s first step into the world of small-scale R/C.

Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer Specifications

  • Length 11.6” (330mm)
  • Width: 6.9″ (175mm)
  • Height:5.0″ (128mm)
  • Wheelbase:8.1″ (206mm)
  • Ground Clearance:1.1″ (27mm)
  • Weight:1.75lbs (0.80kg)
  • Model Type: Ready-to-Run (RTR) with included battery
  • Motor: Axial 380 40T Electric Motor (Brushed)
  • Radio: Tactic TTX200 2-channel SLT radio, 2.4gHz
  • Servos: Tactic TSX106 Servo
  • ESC: Tactic RE20 forward/reverse, 2S LiPo max with cut-off enabled
  • Price: $159.99

What’s in the Box

  • 1 Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer 1/18-scale
  • 1 Tactic TTX200 transmitter
  • 1 Onyx 7.2v 1300mah NiMh battery
  • 1 Onyx USB Battery charger
  • 1 Parts bag
  • 1 Instruction manual

The Chassis

No matter the scale, you’d expect a radio-controlled vehicle that’s geared for off-road use to feature Durable components and include room to customize and fine-tune its performance. The Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer doesn’t disappoint in this area.

The chassis tub is molded from impact-resistant material and the connected suspension components are equally as strong and battle tested. My first experiences with this vehicle were held indoors, so my top speed didn’t reach its full potential. That said, There were a fair amount of tumbles, flips, and rollovers to test the strength of the Yeti Jr’s chassis.

Oil-filled shocks provide ample cushion when traveling over bumps and rough terrain. While the weight of the Yeti Jr. Rock Racer isn’t what I’d call “heavy”, it’s enough to compress the suspension when landing a jump. To that end, the suspension travel is adequate enough to prevent the machine from excessively bottoming out after catching air.

As a scaled-down version of the 1/10 Yeti, this little rock buggy can take a fair amount of abuse without much cause for concern.

The Body

The shell of the Yeti Jr. Mimics the appearance of its larger-scale cousin. That’s one of the reasons I’ve grown to enjoy this little machine as much as I do. Visually-aggressive and eye-catching (thanks to the orange, gray, and black graphics), this radio-controlled vehicle is easy to spot, no matter where you’re driving it.

 

On the durability side, the polycarbonate “lid” is quite resistant to damage from basic rolls, and impacts. That said, I’m sure you could find a way to crack it and bust it up if you try hard enough.

The Motor

Axial’s Yeti Jr. Rock Racer motors along dutifully thanks to a 40-turn brushed motor. While that high turn number might trick you into thinking this buggy has more torque than top-end, you’d be mistaken. Thankfully, the gearing is such that there’s a fair amount of takeoff and full-throttle speed with the stock setup.

The Controller

My familiarity with Tactic radio transmitters only extends as far as the models that were bundled with my Axial RR10 Rock Racer and the Yeti Jr. Focusing on the TTX200, it is a solid controller with a basic set of features. No frills, no unnecessary buttons or knobs, just what you need, when you need it.

Comfort-wise, it’s taken me longer to get used to the feel of the TTX200 as opposed to other transmitters that I’ve used. Whether the grip size is larger than what I’d expect or the placement of the throttle trigger isn’t what I’m used to, there’s something About this controller that I’m not entirely at-ease with.

Aside from the feel, the trim buttons, while easy to find, can take some getting used to when making adjustments. This is one area of the Yeti Jr. that’s caused me to refer to the instruction manual more than once.

A Ton of Fun in a Small Package

Not to give too much away in that heading, but I’ve become quite a fan of the Yeti Jr. Whether I wanted to drive a vehicle around to kill some time or if I needed a distraction and a chance to “reset”, this vehicle didn’t and hasn’t disappointed me in the level of fun that it brings to the table.

Indoors or out, there’s plenty of speed from the stock motor and Gearing provide ample pep and top-end speed is decent. While it could always be faster, the Yeti Jr. Is a quick performer that seems happiest when bouncing over bumpy terrain and floating over jumps.

Out of the box, the handling performance Of this machine is quite good. I have made some small compression-level adjustments to the shocks, but other than that, this rock racer has retained its stock setup.

When I first picked this vehicle up, there was a mix of snow and slush on the ground. No vehicle, save for the RR10, has delighted me more in snowy conditions as this one has. Its light weight allows it float across snow and it can thrash around in slush without much trouble.

As we’ve transitioned from winter into spring, the Yeti Jr. has proven to be a great machine on grass and pavement as well. Tall grass will slow it down, but it is still able to get traction and keep on moving. Short grass, coupled with a few log jumps and obstacles make for a great opportunity for some airborne fun.

Repeated launches and landings didn’t affect this machine at all and the shocks took in the impact as-intended.

One Small Change…

There is one small item that I view as a downside to this model. The stock steering servo ( Tactic TSX106) lacks turning turning power, especially in thick grass or snow. I encountered a few instances where the wheels wouldn’t return to neutral when the steering wheel was centered. The added manual control became a point of frustration after a few drives and I decided to swap out the servo for a higher-torque model.

Is the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer Right for You?

As small-scale, off-road R/C vehicles go, the Yeti Jr. Rock Racer is a powerful option, combining both fun and versatility. The compact, 1/18-scale size makes it a excellent “grab and go” vehicle, which is something that I take into consideration when reviewing the qualities of any radio-controlled machine.

While the steering servo isn’t as powerful as I might have liked, that’s not to be seen as a deal breaker, in my eyes. There are a number of servo upgrade options available and, for a minimal investment, you can keep the stock servo on-hand, should you need a spare.

Seeing as how this is one of my go-to vehicles for driving, jumping, and just messing around with, I’d say the Yeti Jr. is great for adding to (or starting up) your R/C collection.

When this model was introduced in December 2016, it was priced at $179.99. Since that time, the price has been reduced to $159.99. At that price, this machine, and it’s SCORE Trophy Truck cousin is well worth the cost.

Where to Buy the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer

A Small-Scale Skatepark Assault Featuring Carisma’s GT24M & GT24TR [Video]

A Small-Scale Skatepark Assault Featuring Carisma’s GT24M & GT24TR [Video]

One of the lingering questions you get after buying a new R/C vehicle is wondering how hard you can push the vehicle…before it breaks. While no vehicle is bulletproof, there are some brands which have made a name for themselves from a durability standpoint. While Traxxas, LaTrax, ECX, and even Redcat Racing have showcased the strength of their models, they aren’t the only ones who know how to build a tough, yet fun radio-controlled machine.

Carisma recently released a video featuring two of their GT24 series vehicles, the GT24T monster truck and the GT24TR truggy, tearing around a skatepark with reckless abandon.

With help from FPV quadcopter pilot and racer, Jon Smoky Rogers (Smoky FPV), the Carisma GT24M monster truck and GT24TR truggy were put through their paces in a high-flying series of skatepark runs.

From big-air jumps to near picture-perfect landings, these two 1/24-scale trucks put on a show that’s worth watching a time or two.

Learn more about the Carisma GT24 series:

Image credit: Carisma

Change Your POV with New FPV Vehicles from Dromida

On-road or off, these new 1/18-scale machines will give you a new perspective on your hobby.

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to see the track or path that your radio-controlled car or truck is traveling on, from the ground level? While on-board cameras such as the Go-Pro and others make it easy to experience that sensation after the fact, purpose-built, surface R/C vehicles with realtime FPV (first person view) equipment included haven’t quite made their mark yet.

This summer, Dromida is hoping to change that with the introduction of two new, ready-to-run (RTR) 1/18-scale vehicles, featuring FPV cameras and goggles. Whether your interests take on on or off-road, a monster truck and rally car will be the first vehicle types in Dromida’s lineup to introduce this new camera gear.

Both the rally car and the monster truck are powered by 370-size, brushed motors and feature four-wheel drive. Waterproof electronics and a 2.4GHz radio system can also be found in each model.

What sets these new machines apart from the pack is an array of included Tactic FPV gear. A 600TVL FPV camera, 5.8GHz video transmitter, and 5.8GHz monitor, along with FPV goggles, are part of each vehicle set. The camera is pre-installed and shouldn’t require much calibration before the first run. Simply install your batteries, put on your goggles, and go.

These vehicles are both priced at $229.99 And can be expected to hit hobby store shelves in the summer of 2017. Learn more about these two new FPV-equipped vehicles and sign up for email updates on both of them at dromida.com.

Image credit: Dromida

Losi’s Pint-sized Mini 8ight DB

Losi’s Pint-sized Mini 8ight DB

A 1/14-scale off-roader, packing plenty of power.

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
  • Scale:1/14
  • 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
  • Suspension: Independent
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Tire Type: All terrain
  • Motor or Engine: 380 long can (3800Kv)
  • Speed Control: Brushless Waterproof 25A
  • Radio: STX2 2 Ch Radio
  • Servos: Mini
  • 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)
  • Kit/RTR: RTR
  • 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.

Learn more about the Losi Mini 8ight DB at losi.com.

Image credit: Losi

Upgrades and Hop-Ups for the Axial Yeti Jr. (Rock Racer & SCORE Trophy Truck)

Upgrades and Hop-Ups for the Axial Yeti Jr. (Rock Racer & SCORE Trophy Truck)

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.

Steering Servo

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.

Suspension, Chassis and Drivetrain

If you’re looking to improve the appearance and handling of your 1/18 Yeti Jr, there are a number of chassis and suspension components that you can upgrade.

Wheels and Tires

Not only will a new set of tires and wheels enhance 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.

Body & Panels

While I’m personally a fan of the bodies which are included with the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer and Yeti Jr. SCORE Trophy Truck, adding some individual flair can help set your machine apart from the rest.

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.

TheToyz Rolls Out New Aluminum Upgrade Parts for the Axial Yeti Jr.

TheToyz Rolls Out New Aluminum Upgrade Parts for the Axial Yeti Jr.

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).

Aluminum Rear Lower Chassis Link Parts

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.

Image credit: TheToyz

LC Racing’s EMB-1H 1/14-Scale Brushless R/C Buggy

LC Racing’s EMB-1H 1/14-Scale Brushless R/C Buggy

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.

LC Racing 1-14 Brushless Buggy Front

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

LC Racing 1-14 Brushless Buggy Rear

The LC Racing EMB-1H is priced at $199.99 and can be found through a variety of online hobby retailers. Learn more about this 1/14-scale buggy at LCRacing.net.

Image credit: LC Racing

Dromida’s 1/18-scale, Brushless-powered Monster Truck

Dromida’s 1/18-scale, Brushless-powered Monster Truck

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.

Dromida 1_18-Scale Brushless Monster Truck - Taking on the elements

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.

Dromida Brushless Monster Truck - Chassis

Dromida Brushless Monster Truck Specifications

  • Length: 10.6 in (270 mm)
  • Width: 7.8 in (198 mm)
  • Height: 4.6 in (117 mm)
  • Weight w/battery: 1.4 lb (632 g)

The Dromida Brushless Monster Truck carries a pricetag of $149.99 and is available for pre-order on Dromida’s website. Learn more about this, and other Dromida small-scale models, at dromida.com.

Image credit: Dromida

 

How-To: Upgrade the Steering Servo on the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer

How-To: Upgrade the Steering Servo on the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer

Installing the Savox SH-0263 Metal Gear servo for smoother performance.

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

Traxxas 1/16 E-Revo Sale

Traxxas 1/16 E-Revo Sale

Save money on a small(er)-scale bashing machine.

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.

The Traxxas 2017 1/16 E-Revo

With decent discounts on both the brushed and brushless E-Revo models, now is a great time to check out this radio-controlled monster truck. Learn more about this sale at traxxas.com.

Image credit: Traxxas