Author Archives: Tim Gluth

Taking the ECX Torment 1/18 SCT to the Track

Taking the ECX Torment 1/18 SCT to the Track

How does this entry-level small-scale racer hold up after a day at the track?

The following is a guest review of the ECX Torment 1/18-scale short course truck by Jacob Dohrmann of Rove RC.

ECX Torment 1/18 Specifications

  • Type: 4WD Short Course Truck
  • Scale: 1/18
  • Length: 12.04 in (306mm)
  • Width: 7.17 in (182mm)
  • Height: 4.21 in (107mm)
  • Ground Clearance: 1.22 in (31mm)
  • Wheelbase: 7.01 in (178mm)
  • Weight: 1.75 lbs (793g)
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Motor or Engine: 380 Brushed
  • Radio: 2Ch, 2.4GHZ
  • Batteries: 7.2V 900mAh Stick pack
  • Charger: Included
  • Gear Pitch: 0.5 Module
  • Wheel Size: 1.38 in (35mm Diameter) 0.91 in (23mm Width)
  • Kit/RTR: RTR
  • Shock Type: Coil over oil filled
  • Ball Bearings: Transmission only

We have been racing minis in Reese, MI for nearly two years now.  Many different cars have come forward as being the go-to car for certain classes.  One class that always is a guessing game is 1/18.  1/18-scale cars are readily available from multiple suppliers, and can often be found at a competitive price point.  Many of these 1/18 vehicles are designed with the basher in mind.  Going fast and slinging dirt are what they do best.  We race indoor off-road carpet, so the expectations of the vehicles go beyond bashing requirements.  

The number one difficulty with the 1/18 class is the size.  When you make the car smaller, everything gets smaller.  The shocks are smaller in diameter, the driveshafts aren’t as beefy, and many other suspension and drivetrain components follow suit.  If you look back at the podium pictures from our races you find Dromida and Team Associated dominating the podium spots, but each has its own drawback.  These drawbacks led me to the 1/18 ECX Torment.

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The 1/18 ECX Torment is a brushed direct gear drive unit like the Dromida.  The full coverage of the short course body seemed promising to protect the important drivetrain and suspension components.  Upon further inspection I found other important components in place to survive a carpet off road race.  The first component I noticed was the shielded lower mount for the shocks.  1/18 shocks are often bent or broken because the lower ball cup mount is exposed.  The other component I noticed was the steering blocks and knuckles near the front wheels.  They are very rugged and seem to be ready for some punishment.  

I swapped some foams for the stock rubber tires (The 12mm hex was handy) and went racing.  The brushed system in the truck seems to have ample power for the track.  I was running no spacers or shims on the shock springs.  The truck still seemed to be sitting up a little high, but I ran it.  The first round was a little rough.  The Torment wanted to lean really bad in the corners.  This was causing the tires to get caught on the body in the front and pretty much stop the vehicle.  The next qualifying round I put some preload on the front springs to see if that would help the chassis leaning.  It did help the leaning some, but it still would get stuck every so often.  After that round I ended up trimming the body back over the front tires to see if that would help for the mains.

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There was a lot of racers for the 1/18 scale.  We had enough for two heats.  After chasing my issues I was seeded in the B main.  The change with the body fixed my problem with getting stuck in the turns.  I left the spacers on my front shocks, so it would cause me to traction roll from having the high center of gravity.  I ended up running faster laps than I had all day.  I look forward to making some changes the next time I race.  I plan on turning the tires down to get the car to sit lower.  I also plan to put some limiting shims in the shocks to get the front arms level and the rear driveshafts level as a starting point.  

Overall the durability was a big plus for the ECX Torment.  For right now I’m going to leave it brushed and tune the suspension.  I think it will be race ready once I get it closer to the ground.  Another update coming in January or February.

Where to Buy the ECX Torment ⅛ Short Course Truck

Review: Carisma’s GT24B R/C Buggy

Review: Carisma’s GT24B R/C Buggy

Having completed my review of the Carisma GT24T, I turned my attention to another one of Carisma’s small-scale machines, the equally sporty GT24B buggy. Although these two cars share many of the same components, their similarities stop when you mash the throttle. And believe me, there was plenty of throttle-mashing during this review.

Carisma GT24B Specifications

  • Scale: 1/24
  • Height: 64mm
  • Length: 180mm
  • Width: 107mm
  • Wheel Base: 119mm
  • 2 or 4-wheel Drive: 4-wheel drive
  • Brushless Motor (8000KV)
  • Friction shocks
  • Rubber tires
  • Kit/RTR: Ready-to-Run (RTR)
  • Price: $99.99 (no-battery) $109.99 (with battery)

Carisma GT24B 1/24 Buggy

What’s Included:

  • 1 Carisma GT24B 1/24-scale buggy
  • 1 Carisma CTX8000 2-channel transmitter/controller
  • 1 USB charging adapter and cable
  • 2 AA batteries (for the transmitter/controller)
  • 1 Instruction manual
  • 1 Decal sheet

Unboxing the Carisma GT24B Buggy

The Chassis

The GT24B buggy shares the same base chassis and suspension components as the other vehicles in Carisma’s GT24 lineup. If you’re after a true performance-tuned machine, swapping the stock shocks for the optional oil-filled shocks, or changing the stock springs to the harder optional set might be worth the investment. When taking on bigger jumps, the “bounciness” of the stock shocks shows through.

As for stock handling and performance, the GT24B was a pure joy to drive. For indoor, carpeted conditions, the smoother tires allow the buggy to break traction and slide around corners. This made for some exciting laps around the basement as I maneuvered around furniture and a debris field of toys. When the GT24B does get out of shape, it can easily be pointed in the right direction thanks to its four-wheel drive system.

When taken outdoors, this buggy still maintains a crisp level of handling, although you’re able to achieve more slides and spins on concrete and asphalt surfaces.

The Motor

At the heart of the GT24B is a brushless, 800KV motor. While I’ve driven several brushed and brushless vehicles, the stock speed and power that this model has is simply impressive. No matter what I was looking to do with the GT24B, straightline speed runs, zipping through a makeshift race course, or jumping ramps, there was no shortage or either torque or top-end speed.

The model that I was sent to review didn’t include a LiPo battery, so I needed to supply my own. After some research, I found a 3.7V 1S LiPo option from Dromida that fit the snug battery compartment of this monster truck. It’s worth noting that the Carisma GT24B (along with the other models in the GT24 lineup) can handle a 2S LiPo, however, the included USB charger won’t be able to charge it as you’ll need a charger with a balance cable.

If speed is truly what you’re after, Carisma offers a 12000KV Mini 130 brushless motor that will really make any GT24 series vehicle scream.

The Body

If you’re a fan of clean body lines, you’ll appreciate the fact that the GT24B doesn’t use any body pins to keep its small buggy body attached to the chassis. There is one plastic split/anchor-style post that sticks through the body toward the rear of the vehicle, however, the front is attached by an extended tab that’s molded into the body.

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Both of these attachment methods are very secure and neither one caused any failures during indoor or outdoor driving. The sleek, aggressive design of the body is what I’d call “standard” for many modern R/C buggies. While I wouldn’t call myself a fan of this body style on 1/10-scale machines, there’s something about this vehicle that I’m drawn to.

The Controller

The CTX8000 controller may be the most surprising piece of this RTR package. I’ve come across many a number of small-scale radio-controlled vehicles during my time in the hobby, and you never know what to expect from the controller. The physical size of the included CTX8000, a 2.4GHz, 2-channel transmitter, is the same as what you’d find in a 1/10 (or larger) model. It feels great in your hand and has amazing response and feedback when you’re whipping this small buggy around a driving course.

Carisma CX8000

Outside of the comfort and feel, there are several settings and adjustments that can be made on the transmitter. Throttle and steering direction, trim, steering servo travel, and an included function button are all easily available from the right-side panel. Having handled a number of RTR-packaged controllers throughout my time in the hobby, this model might be my favorite.

Time to Roll

Having experienced the GT24T in both indoor and outdoor conditions, I had a baseline expectation for how this buggy would handle and perform. Most of those expectations were spot-on, while others were a bit off-base.

The handling performance of this small-scale buggy is very close to that of the GT24T. It’s a great indoor performer with the ability to corner and slide through tight turns and dart around obstacles. That said, the handling performance is slightly better than its monster truck cousin, in that the low-grip tires allow you to slide around more and break traction with greater ease.

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Don’t let the phrase “break traction” scare you into thinking this is a sloppy handling machine. This performance trait, coupled with a four-wheel drive system, give the Carisma GT24B the ability to self-correct and maintain general control through the most wicked corners you can think of. There are cases where I did over-correct and nosed the buggy into a wall or table leg, but more times than not, I experienced a level of control that was highly enjoyable.

The cornering and turning performance that the GT24B possesses allows for tighter turns and maneuverability in smaller spaces. This was a welcome improvement over the wider turning of the GT24T monster truck.

Speed performance was stellar with the 8000KV putting out ample power with a 1S LiPo battery. No matter the environment, there was no shortage in pep from the motor. I crossed my basement “office” in record time and an outdoor voyage let the GT24B stretch its legs. Straightaway speed is great and there is plenty of torque to to boost over jumps and any obstacles I’d encounter.

Carisma GT24B 1/24 Buggy

Not only did I have a great time driving this machine, but my kids did as well. At one point, I thought I’d have to pry the controller out of my oldest son’s hands to have a turn at wheeling this buggy.

Is the Carisma GT24B the Right Small-Scale R/C Buggy for You?

Picking a R/C vehicle to start or add to your collection typically comes down to personal preference and driving location. The beauty of small-scale vehicles lies within their size and performance. This is a model that you can drive just about anywhere and not feel that you’re having to compromise.

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Carisma offers two versions of GT24B, one with an included 1S LiPo battery ($109.99) and one without ($99.99). While these two options don’t present a noticeable price difference, you’ll ultimately save on shipping cost as this model runs on a LiPo battery and is being shipped overseas. Paring this model with a third-party/aftermarket battery is one way to save on shipping costs, but the choice is up to you.

Like the GT24T, the GT24B is an amazing vehicle for the price and offers fun driving experiences, no matter what age you may be.

Where to Buy the Carisma GT24B 1/24-scale R/C Buggy

Team Associated’s Latest Tiny Truck: The SC28 Short Course Truck

Team Associated’s Latest Tiny Truck: The SC28 Short Course Truck

A 1/28-scale replica of Carl Renezeder’s Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series Machine

Small-scale is the new big thing in the world of R/C. Team Associated has embraced small-scale with their release of three 1/18-scale vehicles earlier this year and they’re adding one more micro machine to their lineup.

The SC29 is a 1/28-scale, ready-to-run (RTR) short course truck that features a replica body styled after Carl Renezeder’s Lucas Oil Off Road Racing series truck. Carl and Team Associated have enjoyed a long and rich history, producing ⅛ and 1/10-scale vehicles featuring his race truck’s paint scheme.

This tiny truck is the first 1/28-scale vehicle from Team Associated and features a chassis design that’s similar to what’s found on HPI’s Q32 series of micro R/C vehicles. With no front suspension and a dual rear shock package, this vehicle looks like it’s geared for indoor use. At a length just shy of seven inches and a width that’s just less than four inches, this is another radio-controlled machine that would be perfect for basement driving during the long winter months.

Team Associated SC28 Specifications

  • Power Source: Electric
  • Terrain: Off-Road
  • Body Style: Truck
  • Scale Size: 1:28 Scale
  • Assembly Level: Ready-To-Run*
  • Length: 175mm (6.89in)
  • Width: 96.5mm (3.8in)
  • Wheelbase: 99.1mm (3.9in)=
  • Weight: 100.6g (0.22lbs)
  • Drive: 2WD

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What surprised me more about this vehicle announcement was the price. At just $49.95, this is a budget-friendly vehicle that can easily serve as an add-on vehicle to your current radio-controlled car collection. If you’re really looking for a winter boredom buster, buy a few and set up indoor races among family members and friends.

Learn more about the Team Associated SC28 1/28 scale Short Course Truck at teamassociated.com.

Image credit: Team Associated

Review: Carisma GT24T R/C Monster Truck

Review: Carisma GT24T R/C Monster Truck

Small and speedy sum up this brushless-powered, 1/24-scale, 4-wheel drive monster truck.

Smaller-scale (1/18 and under) radio-controlled vehicles can get a bad rap for not being on-par with their larger-scale counterparts. I’ve written, on more than one occasion, how my view of these small machines has changed over the years. Smaller doesn’t always mean less.

The GT24T is labeled as a monster truck. That name evokes images of massive, thunderous machines, something that the 1/24 size doesn’t allow for. What this model lacks in physical size, it more than makes up for in speed and handling. When you marry a brushless motor (8000KV) to a lightweight chassis, you get a combination that can provide fun no matter where you’re driving.

My personal “fun meter” was pegged the first time I popped a fresh battery into the GT24T that Carisma supplied me with. With each run after that, that meter was pushed to its limits.

Carisma GT24T Specifications

  • Scale: 1/24
  • Height: 64mm
  • Length: 180mm
  • Width: 107mm
  • Wheel Base: 119mm
  • 2 or 4-wheel Drive: 4-wheel drive
  • Brushless Motor (8000KV)
  • Friction shocks
  • Rubber tires
  • Kit/RTR: Ready-to-Run (RTR)
  • Price: $99.99 (no-battery) $109.99 (with battery)

Carisma GT24T 1/24 Monster Truck

What’s Included:

  • 1 Carisma GT24B 1/24-scale buggy
  • 1 Carisma CTX8000 2-channel transmitter/controller
  • 1 USB charging adapter and cable
  • 2 AA batteries (for the transmitter/controller)
  • 1 Instruction manual
  • 1 Decal sheet

Unboxing the Carisma GT24T Monster Truck

Note:

  • I incorrectly referred to the GT24T as a “stadium truck” in the video. I suppose you could go either monster truck or stadium truck with the official category, it’s up to you.
  • The ATV dial on the transmitter controls the Adjustable Travel Volume of the steering servo. I was unfamiliar with the “ATV” term, but thanks to Futaba’s Glossary of Terms (http://www.futabarc.com/techsupport/glossary.html), I was brought up the speed quickly.

The Chassis

The GT24T shares the same base chassis and suspension components as the other vehicles in Carisma’s GT24 lineup. What makes this model a “monster truck” are the “beefier” steering components, larger wheels and meaty tires. While the monster truck name may indicate a top-heavy, lumbering machine, the GT24T couldn’t be farther from that idea.

The handling of this machine is impressive, both on carpet and concrete. The tires provide ample grip for launching off of ramps and obstacles, but still allow for plenty of slide and drifting ability on a variety of surfaces. On a full charge, a 1S LiPo battery launches the GT24T like a rocket, and you can see some front-wheel lift under the right conditions.

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The friction shocks perform well and have an impressive amount of travel. In pushing down on the truck, it takes a substantial amount of force to bottom-out the chassis. In my tests, I rarely experienced contact between the chassis and ground. If you’re after a true performance-tuned machine, swapping the stock shocks for the optional oil-filled shocks, or changing the stock springs to the harder optional set might be worth the investment. When taking on bigger jumps, the “bounciness” of the stock shocks shows through.

I’ve often pointed to Traxxas (and their entry-level LaTrax brand) as being the gold standard of chassis and component durability. It seems you can put their vehicles through just about any type of thrill-seeking torture and they come out looking, and functioning, perfectly. Although my experience with Carisma vehicles has been limited, I may have to put the GT24 series build quality at or near Traxxas level.

Whether I was driving around my basement and having close encounters with furniture and abandoned toys or outside playing bumper tag with one of my children (who were driving another Carisma GT24 machine), nothing we did to them pushed them past the breaking point. Knowing you have a vehicle that can stand up to a little rough and tumble action is nice peace of mind to have.

The Motor

Along with the chassis, the heart of the GT24T is a brushless, 800KV motor. While I’ve driven several brushed and brushless vehicles, the stock speed and power that this model has is simply impressive. No matter what I was looking to do with the GT24T, straightline speed runs, zipping through a makeshift race course, or jumping ramps, there was no shortage or either torque or top-end speed.

Carisma GT24T 1/24 Monster Truck

The model that I was sent to review didn’t include a LiPo battery, so I needed to supply my own. After some research, I found a 3.7V 1S LiPo option from Dromida that fit the snug battery compartment of this monster truck. It’s worth noting that the Carisma GT24T can handle a 2S LiPo, however, the included USB charger won’t be able to charge it as you’ll need a charger with a balance cable.

If speed is truly what you’re after, Carisma offers a 12000KV Mini 130 brushless motor that will really make any GT24 series vehicle scream.

The Body

When you glance at the GT24T, you might not notice a missing component that many other R/C cars and trucks have. The body on this monster truck is free of any exposed body posts or body post holes. Attached to the chassis with Velcro, the body remains intact through many rough and tumble episodes. I experienced some body shift after a few awkward landings, but it wasn’t anything that caused long term issues.

The body design is what you’d expect from a monster truck, however the visual graphics are especially appealing, not to mention easy to spot when driving.

The Controller

The GT24T controller may be the most surprising piece of this RTR package. I’ve come across many a number of small-scale radio-controlled vehicles during my time in the hobby, and you never know what to expect from the controller. The physical size of the included CTX8000, a 2.4GHz, 2-channel transmitter, is the same as what you’d find in a 1/10 (or larger) model. It feels great when holding it and the amount of steering wheel tension may be the highest that I’ve ever come across.

Carisma CX8000

Outside of the comfort and feel, there are several settings and adjustments that can be made on the CTX8000. Throttle and steering direction, trim, steering servo travel, and an included function button are all easily available from the right-side panel. As far as RTR-packaged controllers are concerned, this model might be my favorite.

Where the Rubber Hits the Road (or Carpet)

Small-scale radio-controlled vehicles have appealed to me for a variety of reasons, the primary being their compact size and ability to drive just about anywhere. Living in Wisconsin, our winters tend to be a bit drawn out and dreadful, so many of my wintertime R/C adventures take place indoors. Having vehicles that I can quickly take off the shelf and drive is a great way to pass time or practice skills if the weather outside is…frightful.

Carisma GT24T 1/24 Monster Truck

The Carisma GT24 monster truck is pure fun to drive, no matter if you’re indoors our outside. While most of my testing came in the form of indoor, carpet driving, I did take this model outside and witnessed it on pavement. No matter the driving surface, this truck is easy to slide, spin, jump, and race around.

The turning radius isn’t as tight as I’d like it to be (when driving in restrictive spaces), however, this doesn’t diminish the overall fun that I’ve had with it. For taking on ramps and other obstacles, I’ve been having a blast launching the GT24 into the air and working on my landing technique.

Is the Carisma GT24T the Right Small-Scale R/C Vehicle for You?

The decision to buy a radio-controlled car or truck ultimately comes down to personal preference and driving location. Again, the beauty of compact vehicles such as the GT24T lies in their size and nimble performance. This is a model that you can drive just about anywhere and not miss a beat in terms of fun.

Carisma offers two versions of GT24T, one with an included 1S LiPo battery ($109.99) and one without ($99.99). While these two options don’t present a noticeable price difference, you’ll ultimately save on shipping cost as this model runs on a LiPo battery and is being shipped overseas. Paring this model with a third-party/aftermarket battery is one way to save on shipping costs, but the choice is up to you.

Carisma GT24T 1/24 Monster Truck & Carisma GT24B 1/24Buggy

As small-scale vehicles are concerned, I haven’t driven many that have left such a lasting, feel-good impression on me as this model from Carisma has done. For the price, you’ll get hours upon hours of fun out of it, and may even sharpen your R/C driving skills along the way.

Where to Buy the Carisma GT24B 1/24-scale R/C Buggy

Replacement Parts Now Available for the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4

Replacement Parts Now Available for the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4

Pro-Line’s Ambush 4×4 is a well-built micro rig that can take its licks and roll on. For owners of this 1/25-scale trail machine, there’s now an array of replacement parts for fixing up your rig or simply stocking up on spare components.

With 12 parts options available, from batteries to frame sets, and everything in-between, you won’t be stuck in the cold if your personal rig needs repairs.

Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 Replacement Parts

Learn more about these new releases at prolineracing.com. And don’t forget, you can save 10% off of your next online order at prolineracing.com with coupon code “RCNEWB10”.

Image credit: Pro-Line

Helion Animus 18DT

Helion Animus 18DT

One brand that’s well-known for their 1/10 radio-controlled cars and trucks, Helion has added a new 1/18-scale vehicle to their small-scale lineup, and it looks tough. The Animus 18DT is a desert truck that features a body style similar to what you’ll find on many off-road, endurance racing trucks.

This 4-wheel drive, ready-to-run (RTR) R/C truck is powered by a brushed motor (370 size) and an included 1100mAh 7.2V NiMH battery. From the looks of the specs and the introductory running video, this machine has plenty of get-up-and-go right out of the box, making performance-minded enthusiasts happy.

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A 3-in-1 “ERS” (ESC/receiver/servo) keep the internal components of the Animus 18DT clean and clutter-free. Simply plug in the battery and power the truck on and you’ll be ready for your next adventure.

Sticking on the performance and handling path, this truck features “big bore” oil-filled shocks and allows ride height tuning for optimal handling based on your running environment. The Animus 18DT rolls on tires that feature an aggressive tread pattern that should allow it to handle varying conditions and obstacles with ease.

The electronics are water resistant and this model features a 2.4GHz radio system. An included Ikonnik SR2 2-channel transmitter will give comfort and control while driving, and excellent long-range performance.

helion-animus-18dt-side

From the exterior, this is a truck that looks like it’s ready to take on the world, no matter the conditions. LED headlights and taillights help illuminate the path if your adventure extends into nighttime. When the sun is shining, you can easily spot this R/C truck thanks to the two solid-color body shells it is offered in (red or blue). 

Helion also points out the fact that this new truck is still part of the Animus 1/18-scale family and can be outfitted with various aluminum hop-up parts. Ranging from shock towers and drive shafts to battery straps and chassis components, you can amp up the “under the hood” looks of this ride with relative ease.

Specifications

  • Motor: 370 size brushed
  • Battery: 1100mAh 7.2V NiMH with HCT-plug
  • Gear Pitch: M0.6
  • Wheels: 44mm (1.73in) x 25mm (1.0in)
  • Length: 236mm (9.29in)
  • Height: 105mm (4.13in)
  • Width:195mm (7.68in)
  • Wheelbase: 159mm (6.26in)
  • Weight w/ battery: 596g (1.5lb) approx.
  • Internal Gear Ratio: 8.8:1

See the Helion Animus 18DT in Action

As smaller-scale radio-controlled cars and trucks go, you may see prices vary from double to triple digits, depending on the scale and internal components. The 18DT is sitting pretty with a reasonable price of $99.99, making this an attractive addition to any R/C garage.

This 1/18-scale desert truck can be purchased online or through your local HobbyTown store. Learn more about the Helion 18DT at helion-rc.com.

Image credit: Helion

 

HPI Announces the Q32 Trophy Truggy

HPI Announces the Q32 Trophy Truggy

HPI has endured an up and down year, but all signs point to them ending 2016 with a bang. They have added another 1/32-scale vehicle to their expanding Q32 lineup with the addition of the Q32 Trophy Truggy. As we’ve seen from the other Q32 models, these vehicles aren’t short on fun, even with their small size.

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Using the same base chassis as the Q32 Baja Buggy, Q32 D8T Tessmann Edition and Formula Q32 machines, but with a different body shell, rear wing design, and wheels.

No other details are available for the Q32 Trophy Truggy at this time, however, I’m guessing the base specs will match those of the Q32 Baja Buggy. Using their “True Steer” proportional steering to give this small-scaler 1/10-like handling, it will most-likely include a 2.4GHz radio system, and use a transmitter that doubles as a charging station.

hpi-q32-trophy-truggy-side

If the visual style of a buggy isn’t what you’re looking for, this sleek, aggressive truggy might be a great small-scale option for you.

A price hasn’t been posted for this ready-to-run (RTR) vehicle just yet, however it should retail around $60 (the price of the other Q32 models) when it becomes available.

Learn more about the HPI Q32 Trophy Truggy at hpiracing.com.

Image credit: HPI

First Impressions: Carisma GT24B Radio-Controlled Buggy

First Impressions: Carisma GT24B Radio-Controlled Buggy

Following in the tire tracks of our last “first impressions” look is another small-scale, radio-controlled vehicle from Carisma. This time around, I’m taking a look at their GT24B buggy. As with other models in their GT24 lineup, this vehicle features 4-wheel drive, brushless (8000kV) power and runs on either 1S or 2S LiPo batteries.

Unboxing the Carisma GT24B

What’s Included:

  • 1 Carisma GT24B 1/24-scale buggy
  • 1 Carisma CTX8000 2-channel transmitter/controller
  • 1 USB charging adapter and cable
  • 2 AA batteries (for the transmitter/controller)
  • 1 Instruction manual
  • 1 Decal sheet

Buy the Carisma GT24B at carisma-shop.com

Initial Impressions of the GT24T

The Chassis – The GT24B shares the same chassis and underbody components as the GT24T, however there are some differences that set these two models apart. Using friction shocks, there appears to be ample travel of these components, as well as the overall suspension setup.

The Tires – The tires are much smoother than what you’ll find on the GT24B’s monster truck cousin. That said, the GT24B tires are textured and provide enough grip to get the buggy straightened out when things get squirrelly.

The rubber compound is soft, but not super tacky. After a quick test on carpet, the tires have a decent amount of grip while still allowing the GT24B to slide the rear end (in a controlled fashion).

The Body – The Carisma GT24B features a body that’s similar to what you’ll find on larger-scale radio-controlled buggies. Having that same look on a 1/24-scale model is both fun to look at and clean to work with. The body is attached to the chassis with a front-facing tab (part of the body) and a body post hole (that doesn’t use body pins) in the rear. After a series of jumps and general indoor driving, the body remained intact and mounted as if it was just taken out of the box.

The Controller – The GT24T controller may be the most surprising piece of this RTR package. I’ve come across many a number of small-scale radio-controlled vehicles during my time in the hobby, and you never know what to expect from the controller. The physical size of the included CTX8000, a 2.4GHz, 2-channel transmitter, is the same as what you’d find in a 1/10 (or larger) model. It feels great when holding it and the amount of steering wheel tension may be the highest that I’ve ever come across.

There are numerous settings and adjustments that can be made on the CTX8000. Throttle and steering direction, trim, steering servo travel, and an included function button are all easily available from the right-side panel.

Carisma GT24B

Two Ready-to-Run Options to Choose From

Carisma offers two versions of GT24B, one that includes a 1S LiPo battery ($109.99) and one without ($99.99). While these two options don’t present a noticeable price difference, you’ll ultimately save on shipping cost as this model runs on a LiPo battery and is being shipped overseas.

With my review unit being of the “no-battery” variety, I searched out a compatible power pack to continue my testing. After some research, I found that Dromida’s 3.7V, 1S LiPo battery fits perfectly in the battery component of the GT24 series vehicles.

Time to Test

That’s all for this quick review of the GT24B R/C buggy. After a handful of indoor tests, it has been a great vehicle to drive and is perfect for blasting away boredom when I need a break from the daily grind. For hobbyists that are looking for a compact vehicle that doesn’t compromise on speed or performance, this might be a good option to take a look at.

Buy the Carisma GT24B at carisma-shop.com

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Pro-Line Ambush 4×4: The Review

Pro-Line Ambush 4×4: The Review

Throughout my time spent in the R/C hobby, I’ve come to appreciate certain avenues that I never thought I would. The funny thing about it has been how my appreciation has evolved into an obsession. If you were to ask me what “sides” of the hobby I enjoy the most, my split-second response would be “scale radio-controlled vehicles/trail rigs” and “smaller-scale, mini/micro R/C machines”.

When a radio-controlled car or truck manages to combine those two aspects, my attention is piqued. Pro-Line had my full attention when they announced their 1/25-scale Ambush 4×4 Mini Scale Crawler a few months ago. On the outside, it appeared to be the perfect combination of scale visual elements, scale chassis components, and a compact radio-controlled crawler. Thankfully, I was able to get a first-hand look at this ready-to-run (RTR) micro-model, courtesy of Pro-Line.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been testing, examining, and flat-out enjoying this model. Through it alI, I have discovered where it excels, in what areas it falls short, and above-all, how much fun it brings to the table.

Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 Mini Scale Crawler Specifications

  • Length: 7.80″ [198mm]
  • Width: 3.75″ [95mm]
  • Wheelbase: 4.52″ [115mm]
  • Weight: 0.68lbs. [308g]
  • Price: $195.46

What’s in the Box

  • 1 Pro-Line Ambush 1/25-scale vehicle
  • 1 350mAH Lithium Ion battery (vehicle)
  • 1 USB Lithium Ion battery charger
  • 1 decal sheet
  • 1 2.4GHz pistol-grip transmitter
  • 1 wheel wrench
  • 1 instruction manual
  • 4 AA batteries (transmitter)

The Chassis

Starting at the bottom and working our way up, the design of the Ambush 4×4 chassis uses the same ladder frame setup that you’ll find on many 1/10 scale trail rigs. That provides the base for the scale aspects that this micro trail rig aims to deliver.

Mounted onto the frame, from front-to-rear, you’ll find the battery tray/compartment, motor, and combined electronic speed control (ESC) and receiver. The receiver and transmitter are both capable of three channels, with the third channel port left open and available by default. Should you want to add lights or a micro winch to this rig, you’re given an opportunity to do so.

Pro-Line Ambush 4x4

Capping off each end of the chassis are scale bumpers, complete with LED mounting holes and a winch slot, perfect matches for that third receiver channel. The scale “feel” of the chassis doesn’t stop there. Four internal-spring shocks, paired with four leaf-springs, provide the suspension and dampening for this small crawler. The use of leaf-springs truly caps off the visual appearance of this machine.

When the rubber meets the road, the Ambush 4×4 rolls on scaled-down Pro-Line Flat Iron tires that are mounted on Pro-Line Denali wheels. The look of the tires and wheels is the perfect compliment to the rest of this rig’s appearance. But these tires don’t just rely on their looks. They’re built to perform, and they perform very well. And that’s just what lurks underneath the polycarbonate body.

Pro-Line Ambush 4x4

The Body

Speaking of which, the lid for this 1/25-scale trail machine is one that has a rich history. Even though the Ambush 4×4 is a new model, its namesake has been out on the trail for quite some time. The original Pro-Line Ambush nameplate was first attached to a 1/10-scale rock crawling body and mimicked the body styling of the International Scout and Ford Broncos of the 1970’s.

Pro-Line Ambush 4x4

Between the scale chassis components and the body style of the Ambush 4×4, I was hooked from the moment I first saw it. I’ve had a longstanding appreciation and love for the International Scout and having the opportunity to own one, in any scale, has been an automotive dream of mine.

The body alone is beautiful, but the additional details, including the open-air design, roll cage, and headlight/grille indentations, really provide a “wow” factor that makes this tiny truck stand out. But a closer look at the body reveals one major missing item. Body post holes. There are none, and this is a welcome and  glorious omission.

Pro-Line Ambush 4x4

The small size and light weight of this body allow it to be secured onto the chassis with Velcro. The adhesion of these strips is good enough to keep the body intact while on the trail, but you need to be careful if you pick the rig up by its outer shell.

The Battery

At the time it was announced, I spent a good amount of time reviewing the details and description of the Ambush 4×4. While the scale details and compact chassis components grabbed my attention, the battery and battery tray were items that also struck me as being unique.

The battery, a 350mAH Lithium Ion pack, is a custom fit to this micro scaler. Enclosed inside of a hard case, the battery lacks a “loose” connection cable and instead uses a male connector that “snaps” into the battery tray of the rig. This design keeps the internal clutter to a minimum, but that clean look comes with a small price.

However, the use of a proprietary battery pack and connector means you can’t buy an aftermarket battery from your local hobby shop, install it, and hit the trail. I’m hopeful that Pro-Line will build on the popularity of this model and introduce longer run-time batteries and other accessories. Speaking of running time, I’ve managed to wring out an impressive amount of short, 3-5 minute runs on a single charge of the stock pack.

When the battery does need to be recharged, an included USB charger gets the job done quickly. Featuring a LED indicator (two-red/two-green) to communicate the charging status, you can quickly glance at the charging cable to see how your recharge session is coming along.

The Controller

I’d argue that the controller is one of the more-important components of any radio-controlled vehicle, whether it be kit or RTR. Through the years, I have encountered a large number of controllers, each with their own quirks and intricacies. In some cases, smaller-scale models carry that petite size over to their controllers. With the Pro-Line Ambush transmitter, you’re getting something in-between.

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While the physical size of the controller doesn’t quite match up with other 1/10 models, it isn’t “small” and doesn’t feel cramped. The primary controls are both easy to reach and easy to distinguish should you need to make adjustments on the run. Along with on-controller settings for throttle/steering trim, throttle/steering direction, third-channel activity,  and dual-rate adjustments, a sliding, on-the-fly speed selector will help you conquer whatever obstacles lay before you.

This specific feature came in handy, more than once, as I needed a little help navigating a trail obstacles and indoor barriers. The low and mid-range settings work quite well when you need greater throttle control and finesse to get yourself out of a situation.

It should be noted that this setting affects the flow of power to the motor and doesn’t act as a transmission/gearing change. Battery strength also plays a large part in how effective the low-speed option is. When my battery charge was at half-strength, the Ambush 4×4 had trouble getting free of binding situations and powering over blockages.

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As for comfort, the controller feels great when you’re holding it and the steering wheel provides ample grip while maneuvering the Ambush 4×4. Your hands won’t feel fatigued after a day on the trail and you’ll find it hard to put the radio down once you get rolling.

I will point out that the throttle response, when transitioning from forward to backward (and back again), seemed a little sluggish. I did adjust the throttle trim on more than one occasion and was able to dial the settings in, but some lag still existed.

An Indoor Boredom Buster

The scale of this rig just begs to be used indoors. Offices, warehouses, basements, you name the place, and the Ambush 4×4 is ready to rock. For my indoor testing, my basement turned out to be a prime location.

Much to my chagrin, my kids have trouble picking up their toys after they’re done playing. While this typically isn’t something I’m happy about, it proved to be the perfect proving ground for my review.

Pro-Line Ambush 4x4

Zigging and zagging around and over a wasteland of toys, the Ambush motored through it all, rarely needing “hand-of-God” assistance. Its 1/25 size did prevent it from driving over obstacles that my 1/10 rigs can clear with ease, however I came away from my indoor tests very impressed with the performance of this machine.

Tackling inclines is one test that I perform on all of my crawling and trail rigs. I did have some questions and doubts about how the Ambush 4×4 would handle these procedures, given the small motor and scaled-down stature of the tires. Thankfully, there wasn’t much to worry about once I got rolling. The grip offered by the smaller-scale Flat Iron rubber is second to none. Steep inclines proved to be no match for this tiny truck. It made quick work of whatever incline I put in front of it and gave the speed selection a workout. No matter what speed setting I chose, the Ambush 4×4 made its way up and down the path without breaking a sweat.

Changing up my indoor tests, I wanted to see how the leaf-spring suspension handled “drastic” elevation and obstacles at the same time. This is where the Ambush’s size and suspension components created difficulty when driving. The narrow width of this rig makes it easy to roll when one side is higher in the air than the other. Aiding this action is the lower amount of travel in the suspension.

While I was hoping the Ambush 4×4 would would have all of the traits and driving characteristics of a 1/10 trail rig, that just isn’t the case. There are many moments where you’ll have three tires making contact with terrain and obstacles, while the fourth is lifted into the air. In the end, there isn’t much flex from the suspension or the chassis, when traversing intense obstacles.

Having said that, almost every obstacle (save for one that required modification to better-suit a 1/25 vehicle) that was put in front of the Ambush, it conquered without much trouble. The previously-mentioned stiffness and low suspension travel made for some difficult driving at times, but I was forced to change my approach, adjust my line, and think my way out of “stickier” situations. And I had a blast while doing it.

Hitting the Trail in (Scale) Style

Given the size of this small-scale truck, it’s easy to think that it would perform at its best while indoors. After my indoor test revealed some handling quirks, I wanted to see how the Ambush took to the great outdoors.

For my first test, I brought the Ambush with me during my lunchtime break and visited a local park and hiking path. The path was on the “easy” side with parts of it being paved while the remainder of it was covered in mulch. It featured a beautiful forest backdrop and on each side of the path were sticks, twigs, and small gullies that were the perfect compliment to the vehicle I was carrying.

Pro-Line Ambush 4x4

Starting out on the paved path and quickly transitioning to the much-covered area, the Ambush 4×4 performed like a champ. The path was relatively clear of natural debris and I was able to drive anywhere I pleased without having to push the vehicle’s capabilities. After a few minutes of this, I ventured off the beaten path and onto the shoulder of the walkway. Here, I encountered larger sticks and logs, some of which were much larger than this tiny trail rider.

Using the handy speed setting adjustments on the transmitter, I had no trouble navigating these natural obstacles, making quick work of barriers and steep inclines. From the performance and handling side, the Ambush did everything that I asked of it. And on the visual front, it looked the part of a trail truck as it made it’s way down the path.

A few weeks later, I brought the Ambush 4×4 along for a family hike in a state park here in Wisconsin. Filled with elevation changes, differing terrain types, and pathways that featured roots and rocks, this was the perfect outdoor test of this tiny rig.

Pro-Line Ambush 4x4

The surroundings of this trail test were extreme, especially by 1/25-scale standards. There were a few flips, tumbles, and falls, but again, the level of fun never diminished. Overall, the Ambush 4×4 did everything I asked of it, and then some. While the extreme nature of the obstacles proved to be too taxing (at times), the  for the narrow width and previously-mentioned suspension/chassis challenges, it remained a blast to drive.

Is the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 the Right R/C for You?

After weeks of indoor and outdoor test, my overall enthusiasm for this small-scale rig hasn’t waned. Small-scale R/C vehicles have become my “go-to” when I want to unwind for a few minutes and forget about my day. No matter the scale, these vehicles all have the same effect; they bring the fun.

Pro-Line’s Ambush 4×4 also fits into this “fun” category, but offers some additional perks. The slower speed makes it a natural fit for indoor driving and the compact size enables you to take it anywhere and drive it. It’s the perfect messenger bag companion for a lunchtime drive around the office or stopping by a park on your way home from work. No matter what the situation, you can find time to drive this vehicle.

Pro-Line Ambush 4x4

The question you have to ask yourself is this; “Does Pro-Line’s Ambush 4×4 have a spot in my R/C collection?”. The two largest factors in that decision may be performance and price. Let’s tackle performance first.

From all of my testing and evaluation, the Ambush 4×4 doesn’t behave exactly as a 1/10-scale trail rig would. The narrow width and suspension setup don’t allow for much flex out of the box. You could do a few modifications to it, such as removing the internal shock springs, and to get closer to a larger-scale crawling rig, but you’re not going to see a mirror image, handling-wise.

As for price, the near-$200 price tag ($195.46) may cause you to think twice about this purchase. I have paid far more and far less for a variety of vehicles with multiple levels of build quality. In my mind, Pro-Line hits a home run with the quality and build craftsmanship of this rig. I didn’t see any craftsmanship issues or defects that caused issues during my testing, and I don’t foresee any cropping up down the road.

As hobbyists are quick to say, “you get what you pay for”. With the Ambush 4×4, you’re investing in a premium-level, small-scale trail and crawling rig that you can take, and drive, just about anywhere you could imagine. It blows away boredom with the flip of a switch and brings smiles to the faces of those driving, and watching it. You can’t put a price tag on fun, and the Ambush 4×4 brings the fun in spades.

Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 – $195.46

Save 10% when you buy the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4 at prolineracing.com. Use coupon code “RCNEWB10” to activate your savings!

First Impressions: Carisma GT24T Radio-Controlled Monster Truck

First Impressions: Carisma GT24T Radio-Controlled Monster Truck

Small and speedy sum up this brushless-powered, 1/24-scale, 4-wheel drive monster truck.

Carisma has been a brand of radio-controlled vehicle that I’ve long wanted to take a closer look at. Across their product lineup, they offer a number of attractive on-road and off-road vehicles, in multiple scales and appearance levels. While their larger-scale vehicles feature highly-detailed bodies and performance components, their smaller-scale offerings appear to be just as impressive.

Thanks to Carisma, I have two of these small-scale models in my hands for review. The first is the GT24T, a 1/24, 4-wheel drive monster truck. This is a ready-to-run (RTR) model features both compact size and ample power, making it a potent performer, both indoors and out.

Unboxing the Carisma GT24T Monster Truck

Note:

  • I incorrectly referred to the GT24T as a “stadium truck” in the video. I suppose you could go either monster truck or stadium truck with the official category, it’s up to you.
  • The ATV dial on the transmitter controls the Adjustable Travel Volume of the steering servo. I was unfamiliar with the “ATV” term, but thanks to Futaba’s Glossary of Terms (http://www.futabarc.com/techsupport/glossary.html), I was brought up the speed quickly.

What’s Included:

  • 1 Carisma GT24B 1/24-scale buggy
  • 1 Carisma CTX8000 2-channel transmitter/controller
  • 1 USB charging adapter and cable
  • 2 AA batteries (for the transmitter/controller)
  • 1 Instruction manual
  • 1 Decal sheet

Carisma GT24T Monster Truck – $99.99

Initial Impressions of the GT24T

The Chassis – On the handling side, the GT24T uses friction shocks to cushion it over jumps and rough terrain. After a few “press tests”, the shocks appear to have a substantial amount of travel and shouldn’t bottom out much (if at all) under normal driving conditions. Of course, the tendencies of each individual driver will determine what “normal conditions” are.

The tires that the GT24T rides on look to have impressive grip, both from the rubber compound used as well as their knobby texture.

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The Body – From the outside, the body shell features a fun and aggressive paint scheme and matches a monster truck/stadium truck theme. The body itself is attached to the chassis with two pieces of Velcro on either side of the truck and should keep the lid intact while at speed.

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The Controller – The GT24T controller may be the most surprising piece of this RTR package. I’ve come across many a number of small-scale radio-controlled vehicles during my time in the hobby, and you never know what to expect from the controller. The physical size of the included CTX8000, a 2.4GHz, 2-channel transmitter, is the same as what you’d find in a 1/10 (or larger) model. It feels great when holding it and the amount of steering wheel tension may be the highest that I’ve ever come across.

Outside of the comfort and feel, there are a number of settings and adjustments that can be made on the CTX8000. Throttle and steering direction, trim, steering servo travel, and an included function button are all easily available from the right-side panel.

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Ready to Roll

Carisma offers two versions of GT24T, one with an included 1S LiPo battery ($109.99) and one without ($99.99). While these two options don’t present a noticeable price difference, you’ll ultimately save on shipping cost as this model runs on a LiPo battery and is being shipped overseas.

My review unit is the non-battery type, so I have yet to take this machine out for a test drive. Until then, I’ll be impatiently staring at this machine as it sits on my shelf, just waiting to be set free.

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