Author Archives: Tim Gluth

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

Image credit: RC4WD

Watch Four Axial Yeti Jr’s Battle to Win the “Hobbico 500” [Video]

Watch Four Axial Yeti Jr’s Battle to Win the “Hobbico 500” [Video]

February not only marks the start of the NASCAR season but it’s also a great opportunity to charge up your R/C machines and flex your competitive muscles. The folks at Hobbico and Keep It RC did just that with the running of their inaugural “Hobbico 500”.

This race placed four drivers in a head-to-head battle with Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racers on custom, indoor track. Not only does the Yeti Jr. make an appearance, but there are also other radio-controlled vehicles used in this competition, including an ARRMA Granite Monster Truck (pace truck) and an Axial SCX10 II Trail Honcho (wrecker/tow truck).

While this video serves as an advertisement for a number of Hobbico’s vehicles, it features some unique products and configurations (such as the towing crane on the SCX10 II). In all, it’s a fun way to enjoy the R/C hobby and gives me some ideas for an indoor track of my own.

Image credit: Hobbico

First Impressions: WPL B-24 “GAZ-66” 1/16-scale R/C Military Truck

First Impressions: WPL B-24 “GAZ-66” 1/16-scale R/C Military Truck

As a fan of scale realism in the R/C hobby, I love to see new models appear that are rich in details and visual flair. What makes these elements more appealing are when they’re packaged in a small-scale setup (simply because you don’t see many of those models on the market). Along with the WPL C14 “Hercules” model that I’m in the process of reviewing, also sent a few military-themed 1/16-scale radio-controlled models to take a closer look at.

One of these models is the WPL B-24, a 1/16-scale military truck which is based on the 1:1 GAZ-66. Although I’m not a huge military vehicle aficionado, I spent much of my youth playing with GI Joe toys and part of me wishes I had this truck back then.

After experiencing the C14, I wasn’t expecting much from the mechanics of the B-24, however, having a unique (and undeniably-cool) 1/16 truck to tool around with more than makes up for any electronic downsides that this machine may have.

WPL B24 - Side

What’s included:

  • 1 WPL B-24  “GAZ-66” 1/16-scale military truck
  • 1 2.4GHz trigger-style controller
  • 1 USB charging adapter
  • 1 6V, 700mah Ni-Cd battery
  • Select scale accessories/parts

Unboxing the WPL B-24 1/16-scale R/C Military Truck

Initial thoughts on the WPL B-24 R/C Military Truck

Getting this point out of the way early, this isn’t a hobby-grade radio-controlled truck. While it looks great, the internal components, specifically the steering motor (not a servo) are what I’d consider some of the weaker points of this machine. That said, I’ve kept this rig in a stock configuration and have been having quite a good time with it.

While it lacks proportional steering, the controller grip feels pleasant and the motor is peppy, allowing me to forgive the click and turn steering setup. Now onto the fun stuff…

WPL B24 - Front Close

Like the WPL C14 “Hercules”, this radio-controlled military truck features some impressive visual details. At its base is a chassis which blends aluminum/metal frame rails and multiple plastic cross members. These pieces combine to create a sturdy base for this truck, which I’d place somewhere between a crawler and a trail machine.

Metal leaf springs serve as the dampers for this model and they provide a decent amount of suspension travel and articulation. You won’t see “OG crawler-style” articulation, but you also won’t need to worry about rolling this truck onto its side when you drive across uneven terrain.

Whether it’s in motion or sitting still, this truck looks great. Even if you’re not a fan of military machines, this truck could serve as a throwback parts hauler, shop truck, or whatever else your imagination wants it to be. A can (or two) of spray paint and you can easily overhaul this truck into whatever you’d like.

WPL B24 - Side Top

The tires, while firm, appear to offer plenty of grip for indoor use. When this truck travels outside is when the real test will take place. In reading about and researching this model, it appears that there may be some issues with the plastic driveshafts (brittle, snapping when bound-up), so I’ll be keeping a close eye on that area of the truck.

The stock battery, a 6V NiCd pack, provides plenty of power and offers impressive run-time. Whether or not that system stays in place or is swapped out down the road remains to be seen.

While my first instinct is to replace the stock steering and electronic components with hobby-grade gear, I’m having a fun time with this truck in it’s out of the box configuration. All-in-all, it’s a fun truck to drive around and have a good time with. It’s easy to let your imagination roam free with this truck, and at a price of $32.99, you’re not spending much for a little creative release.

WPL B24 - Front Wide

Where to purchase the WPL B-24 1/16-scale R/C Military Truck:

Kyosho Mini-Z McLaren F1 GTR MR-03 RS

Kyosho Mini-Z McLaren F1 GTR MR-03 RS

If your small-scale R/C appeal centers around on-road vehicles, chances are, you’ve taken a look at Kyosho’s Mini-Z lineup. Between their fun performance and an array of ultra-realistic 1:1 bodies, this 1/27-scale radio-controlled car line is tough to beat.

A recent update has given these small-scale machines a new controller pairing, packaging this ready-to-run (RTR)/”Readyset” car with a Kyosho Syncro KT-531P transmitter. It’s noted that this upgrading transmitter won’t pair with previous models which used ASF/MHS/FHS 2.4GHz radio systems.

Kyosho MINI-Z RWD McLaren F1 GTR - Kit

Kyosho Mini-Z McLaren F1 GTR Specs:

  • Length: 184.0mm
  • Width: 79.0mm
  • Height: 44.0mm
  • Wheelbase: 98mm (LL)
  • Chassis: RWD (MR-03)
  • Front Wheel Offset: Narrow +2.5mm (for RWD)
  • Rear Wheel Offset: Wide +3.0mm (for RWD)
  • R/C System: Syncro KT-531P

Kyosho MINI-Z RWD McLaren F1 GTR - Rear

Priced at $129.99, the Kyosho Mini-Z McLaren F1 GTR will be available online. While it’s not the lowest cost small-scale machine on the market, you can’t deny it’s beautiful design and sharp looks.

Learn more about this model at

Image credit: Kyosho

RC4WD’s Super-scale Dakar Rally RTR Race Truck

RC4WD’s Super-scale Dakar Rally RTR Race Truck

The folks at RC4WD have released a unique off-road R/C machine that’s sure to be the talk of the trail (or dunes). Their latest release is a well-detailed, 1/14-scale Dakar Rally Race Truck. Whether your a fan of the 1:1 Dakar Rally or just a fan of well-built, intricately-designed radio-controlled machines, this vehicle has something for just about everyone.

Made from heavy-duty materials such as aluminum, copper, ABS plastic, and polycarbonate, this beast weighs in at over 20 pounds (10.5KG). All of that heft should suit this truck well, no matter where it’s driven.

RC4WDD Dakar Rally Scale RTR Racer - Side

What strikes me about this model is the complete attention to detail that RC4WD has built into it. Every angle of this truck has some new scale goodies to admire.

A combination of leaf-spring and traditional shock suspension cushion the chassis from impacts and the detailed treads on the tires should carry the Dakar Rally racer over a variety of terrain.

RC4WDD Dakar Rally Scale RTR Racer - Chassis Details

This truck, while small(er) in scale is big on price. Ringing in at $799.99, this truck is for the serious scale R/C enthusiast. Learn more about the 1/14 Dakar Rally Scale RTR Race Truck at

Image credit: RC4WD

RPP Hobby’s Week-long Axial Yeti Jr. Sale (1/19 – 1/26)

RPP Hobby’s Week-long Axial Yeti Jr. Sale (1/19 – 1/26)

While I enjoy running my small-scale R/C machines indoors, I can’t wait for warmer weather to hit the Midwest so I can get my fleet outside (and really have fun). If you’ve had your eye on expanding your own personal collection (or want to get into the hobby for the first time), RPP Hobby is running a week-long sale on the Axial Yeti Jr., a fully-capable (and fun) 1/18-scale off-road rig.

Originally priced at $159.99, you can pick up one of two Yeti Jr. models (either the Rock Racer or the SCORE Trophy Truck) for $139.99. Visit for complete details on this sale. If you want to learn more about the Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer, check out my review and see what hop-ups and upgrades are available for this small-scale R/C buggy.

Image credit: RPP Hobby

First Impressions: WPL C14 “Hercules” 1/16-scale RTR Trail Truck

First Impressions: WPL C14 “Hercules” 1/16-scale RTR Trail Truck

Over the years, my love for small-scale R/C vehicles has blended with my love for R/C scale and trail vehicles. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many 1/18-scale and smaller “trail rig-style” trucks on the market. When I find one, I tend to gravitate towards it, where it eventually finds a way into my collection.

WPL, an overseas brand that I have only recently become aware of, has been producing some smaller-scale, 1/16 off-road trucks which have gathered quite a bit of interest from fellow R/C fanatics. sent me a few WPL radio-controlled models to review, the first of which being the C14 Offroad “Hercules”.

At under $50, this truck looks great, but does the performance match its looks?


The Truck:

What’s Included:

  • 1 WPL C14 “Hercules” 1/16-scale trail truck
  • 1 2.4GHz trigger-style controller
  • 1 USB charging adapter
  • 1 6V, 700mah Ni-Cd battery
  • Various scale accessories/parts

Unboxing the WPL C14 “Hercules”

Initial Thoughts on the WPL C14 “Hercules”

At first-glance, the C14 (and it’s sibling the C24) looks like a scaled-down Toyota Hilux. With a hardbody front cab that’s surprisingly detailed, this truck will get your gears turning from the moment you pull it out of the box.

Two model types are available, a kit and a ready-to-run (RTR). My review models is of the RTR variety, so there wasn’t much work needed before getting it up and running. An included 6V, 700mah NiCd battery pack provides the power for this truck and is rechargeable via an included USB charging adapter/cable.

Before I dive into the details of the truck, I should state that this isn’t a hobby-grade machine as it arrives in the box. That fact is quite obvious after you handle the controller and turn the steering wheel. Rather than a smooth forward and backward travel motion, you’re met with a “click” to the front and a “click” to the back. This is the tell-tale sign of a non-proportional steering setup. Is this the end of the world? No. Does it provide the opportunity for future enhancements? You’d better believe it.

WPL C14 - Rear Side

The C14 truck itself has a blend of hobby and toy-grade traits blended together, which make for an interesting combination. At its core, the WPL C14 features a ladder-frame chassis and metal frame rails. Attached to it are a mid-mounted motor and transmission from which the driveline extends out. With the exception of the frame rails, there aren’t many non-plastic parts on this truck. Depending on how you plan to drive it, these could be seen as potential points of failure.

On the suspension side, there is a decent amount of travel from the spring-equipped shocks, leaving one to imagine that this truck might perform well out on the trail. The tire compound is somewhere around “medium” grip and compression, meaning that the rubber won’t wrap around rocks and trail obstacles (for improved grip), but you’re also not driving on hockey pucks either.

WPL C14 - Rear

Once powered up, the headlight-mounted LEDs give off an impressive amount of light and serve as another nice “scale” accessory. Throttle response is decent and the motor has a fair amount of “pep” to it, allowing this truck to cruise along at a decent pace. Steering, however, is “iffy”.

The RTR version of the WPL C14 uses a motor as its steering mechanism, rather than a traditional steering servo. Not only is the control not as precise (remember the lack of proportional steering on the controller?), but it’s also quite noisy. For as nice as this truck looks, the steering performance is a bit of a bummer. That said, it’s nothing that can’t be overcome.

If you purchase the kit version of the C14, you’re provided with a standard, proportional steering servo. Should you find yourself with the RTR version and you desire more steering performance, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a mini/micro steering servo to replace the stock steering motor.

WPL C14 - Flex


Time to hit the trail.

While it may seem that I’m a bit down on this truck (at least the steering), I’m excited to see how it performs out on the trail. For that matter, I’m excited to see how it performs indoors, with the size being perfect for either inside or outside exploration.

The looks alone are worth the $33.99 price and whether you run this truck stock or take the body and attach it to another rig, you’re not spending much to get a solid starting point for a small-scale trail rig. Who knows if my thoughts will change once I get this rig rolling, but for now, it’s looking like a fun little project truck with a mound of potential.


The Review: Dromida 1/18 FPV Rally Car

The Review: Dromida 1/18 FPV Rally Car

If the R/C hobby is addicting, you’ll only find yourself getting pulled in deeper once you experience the thrill of FPV. My journey into FPV began last summer, outfitting an Axial RR10 Bomber and Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer with a low-cost FPV setup.

This cobbled-together approach was a great starting point, however, I wanted to experience more. That’s when the Dromida FPV Rally Car entered the picture. This 1/18-scale rally car came equipped not only with an FPV camera but also an FPV monitor (Tactic RM2) and headset. It was everything you might want in a surface-FPV experience.

After extended drives, both indoors and out, my feelings toward this car (and the FPV experience) have only gotten stronger.

Dromida FPV Rally Car - Side


The Vehicle:

Dromida 1/18-scale FPV Rally Car ($229.99)

What’s Included:

  • 1 Dromida 1/18 FPV-equipped Rally Car
  • 1 2.4GHz trigger-style radio transmitter
  • 1 Tactic FPV RM2 FPV monitor
  • 1 Tactic FPV-G1 FPV headset
  • 1 Tactic FPV monitor sunshade
  • 2 charging adapters/cables (1 for the car and 1 for the FPV monitor)
  • 1 Instruction manual

Unboxing the Dromida 1/18 FPV Rally Car:

The Car

My thoughts on the Dromida FPV Rally Car’s appearance haven’t changed from my earlier “First Impressions” post. This car, like many rally cars, looks great. As a fan of “rally car design”, if there is such a thing, you’d have to go out of your way to create a compact, low-slung R/C racer that I didn’t enjoy looking at. But what about driving it?

Ah, that’s where the real fun sets in. This little rally car is an absolute blast to “wheel”, whether you’re driving it traditionally (line of sight) or with the FPV headset on, putting you directly inside the action. Nimble and precise, this car is a dart no matter where you’re driving it.

Dromida FPV Rally Car - Front Side

Between trips to a local park (and parking lot) to slinging around my basement when the outside temperature dropped, I never felt a shortage of fun while driving this car. Its stock setup is very sporty and the ability to adjust on that (by way of twistable shock rings and shock mounting location) setup only adds to the experience.

Speed-wise, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the brushed motor, having previously been spoiled by Dromida’s brushless BL Monster Truck. As soon as I mashed the throttle trigger, however, all of those fears went away. This car is quick. Not brushless-quick, mind you, but it’s fast enough to keep things interesting, while still maintaining control of the car. This does beg the question, what about strapping an FPV camera to a brushless-powered R/C car. Perhaps that’s a project for another day…

The FPV Gear

Dromida’s two FPV vehicles are nice on their own, but when you add the element of first-person-view video to the mix, you’re really upping your ante. Not only was this my first experience with an on-road Dromida car, but it also gave me the opportunity to check out some of Tactic’s FPV gear, specifically their FPV RM2 monitor and FPV G-1 headset. If purchased separately, these two components would cost $89.99, however, you get them as part of the Dromida FPV Rally Car’s $229.99 price.

Tactic FPV-RM2

The headset with FPV monitor installed is a bit heavier than what I’ve experienced with other models. That’s not to say it’s uncomfortable, but you do notice you have something strapped to your head, even when you find yourself immersed in action on the screen.

The video quality through the FPV RM2 monitor is quite good. Scary-good, in fact. It actually appears to be more crisp and clear than when viewing recorded video on your computer. The menu setup is very clear and the settings and mode buttons are easy to find and use. I managed to locate a clear reception channel less than a minute after powering on the monitor. The less time fiddling with controls means more time behind the wheel.

Tactic FPV-G1 Headset

I didn’t realize it at the time of the unboxing, but the Tactic FPV RM2 includes a DVR/video recording function, something that my Eachine setup lacks. Even though I’m not capturing HD-quality footage, it’s still fun to relive my R/C adventures, whether they be good or bad.

Getting Behind the Wheel

Now to the fun part, putting rubber on the road and goggles on your face. The element of FPV has given me more “white-knuckle” experiences while driving than any line-of-sight excursion ever has. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy line-of-site drives, it’s simply the fact that you have an entirely new perspective when it feels like you’re behind the wheel.

Maneuvers seem to be snappier, and my temptation to get closer to obstacles increases, simply because I know how close I am to the edge. And when I go over that line, lesson learned. It’s a real-life video game experience that no video game has managed to match, at least for me.

Is the Dromida FPV Rally Car Worth Adding to Your R/C Garage?

This car manages to check off a number of boxes, both as a radio-controlled car fiend and a fan of FPV. It’s fast, sporty, and well-designed, and that’s before you take it out of the box and power it on. Driving this car is easy, however, you can push this machine to extremes rather quickly. It has terrific handling and can put on a show during both line-of-sight and FPV driving.

Dromida FPV Rally Car - Park Front

While I feel that I say this quite often, this car has become a favorite “go-to” for me, whether I want to go for a quick spin indoors or out.

For the price, you’re getting a solid small-scale rally car and a solid FPV video setup, all in one package. Hobbyists of any experience level should get a thrill from this car, and the added dimension of FPV makes this car all the more appealing.

Where to Buy the Dromida FPV Rally Car


See it in Action: The ECX Barrage 1/24 Trail Truck

See it in Action: The ECX Barrage 1/24 Trail Truck

The ECX Barrage 1/24 is proving to be an interesting truck. What it lacks in low-end torque, it makes up for in trail-riding prowess. I recently set up an indoor crawling “course” on the top of a table and put both the ECX Barrage 1/24 and the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 to work.

Made up of rain gutter insert foam, wooden shims, and pieces of driftwood, this was a fun opportunity to not only see how both trucks worked on this terrain but also see where one may excel over the other.

The Barrage seems to have a tough time “boosting” itself over obstacles, but when it gets cruising, can be a fun vehicle to drive. The high-end speed is decent, for a vehicle of its size, and it’s relatively-wide stance allows it to handle multiple approach and decline angles with ease.

My testing of this tiny truck has only begun, and I’m excited to see what else it’s able to tackle and what areas can be modified for enhanced performance.

First Impressions: ECX Barrage 1/24 Micro R/C Crawler

First Impressions: ECX Barrage 1/24 Micro R/C Crawler

I’m always on the lookout for vehicles that can bring R/C fun both indoors and out. During the winter months (and when the weather doesn’t quite cooperate), having a vehicle that can be driven in a smaller amount of space, while still bringing big-time fun, is always at the top of my “must-have” list.

Thankfully, there are a variety of fun and capable small-scale radio-controlled vehicles to choose from. One model that had been at the top of my list is the ECX Barrage 1/24. Equal (or very close to it) in size to the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4, this scaled-down Barrage aims to bring a wide world of R/C adventure into your living room. After receiving my pre-order, I couldn’t wait to get this tiny truck fired up and rolling.

ECX Barrage 1-24 - Rear

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

Initial Thoughts on the ECX Barrage 1/24

Starting with its appearance, I love the job that ECX did with the body and chassis details for this truck. Echoing design queues from the 1/10-scale Axial SCX10/SCX10 II Trail Honcho, the ECX Barrage 1/24 packs a trail-ready design into a small-scale package.

Visual features such as the functional spare tire, rock sliders, winch-ready front bumper, and LED lights make this truck fun to look at, both while driving and when sitting still. With the amount of scale detail this truck has, it’s easy to get lost in the moment when driving across a living room or basement, dodging errant toys and other “unnatural terrain”.

ECX Barrage 1-24 - Side

Underneath the hood (or body) you’ll find a ladder-frame chassis, four-link suspension, and shocks with an impressive amount of travel. I’m resisting the urge to draw direct comparisons to the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4, however, it’s hard not to when you look at how the small-scale Barrage is set up.

The suspension and wheel travel on the Barrage is impressive for a vehicle of its size. Combined with a width of 4 inches (102mm), this truck is quite stable when driving over obstacles and uneven terrain. The stock springs are quite soft, which help the articulation of the truck, however, this also causes the truck to bounce and bobble which could lead to “bump steer”. All in all, the chassis and suspension of this truck are quite solid.

This leads me to the battery and motor for this rig. At “cruising speed”, this truck is an excellent performer, happily motoring along and getting to where it needs to go. This truck, however, begs to be driven over “trail-like” terrain, which is where I first put the Barrage 1/24 to work.

ECX Barrage 1-24 - Climbing Foam

Using my go-to indoor crawling obstacles (rain gutter foam inserts, wood shims, and crafting driftwood) I lined up my rig and set off to see how it performed. At first, it took to the makeshift trail like a champ, however, it quickly began to slow and eventually stop after the first encounter with a steep incline.

My approach to this incline was no different than that of a 1/10-scale R/C trail rig, minimal throttle, smooth approach. Whether it’s the battery (4.8v, 22mah NiMh), the stock gearing (12t pinion/64t spur), the motor, or a combination of all three, this truck doesn’t have much torque and seems to lack power when and where it needs it the most.

At first, I was a bit disappointed by this, however, subsequent trips around my “indoor adventureland” (aka: my house) have found me driving over 3-ring binders, blankets, and random kids toys without much issue. The power/gearing setup is an area that I’ll be looking into further and appears to be an item which could be improved.

ECX Barrage 1-24 and Pro-Line Ambush

In all, I’m still happy with this rig, as it’s a fun “grab and go” machine that looks great and can motor around to just about anywhere I’d like. We’ll see how it performs over time and ultimately, how it stacks up against other small-scale trail rigs in the 1/24/25-scale category.

Additional Information: