The search for a capable and fun small-scale R/C trail rig has been my personal holy grail/white whale expedition for quite some time. While I’ve driven some vehicles that come close to being “spot on” with regards to handling and overall performance, there are small items that cause the overall experience to fall a bit short.
When the ECX Barrage 1/24 was announced last fall, I was pumped, to say the least, to see another small-scale vehicle hit the market. I had become a loyal fan of the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4, and having another similarly-sized, lower-priced option had me anxiously awaiting its release.
Now that I’ve had an opportunity to wheel this tiny truck for a few months, it’s become one of my favorite indoor machines, but it not without a few quirks.
- 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
Style-wise, the ECX Barrage 1/24 features a fun “Trail Honcho-inspired” body with an exposed rear cage/bed. The small details that are built into this truck make it as fun to look at as is to drive. A functional spare tire, rear roll cage, and molded side-steps/rock sliders give this little machine a rough, and rugged feel.
If you’re familiar with 1/10-scale (or larger) R/C rock crawlers or “scalers”, you’ll immediately recognize the ladder-frame chassis which serves as the foundation for a majority of the models on the market. The ECX Barrage 1/24, though small, also features a ladder-frame chassis setup, complete with four-link suspension.
With this type of suspension arrangement, the Barrage 1/24 is able to twist and contort itself over obstacles, all while remaining stable. Now there are some instances where you may lose balance and roll, but the wide stance of this truck (4.0“/120mm) does an admirable job of keeping the tires on the trail.
The Tires & Wheels
Speaking of tires, I was a bit shocked to discover that the scaled-down, Falken Wildpeak tires don’t contain foams. It’s been a while (quite a while, honestly), since I’ve run any of my trail rigs without tire foams. Initially, I had reservations about the lack of tire foams and the extreme “squishiness” of the tires, however, they’ve proven to be solid performers.
The wheels don’t provide much in the way of performance, but they do look quite nice. The wheel and tire combo on the ECX Barrage 1/24 fits the overall look of the truck, and sets the tone for where this truck will be driven.
As small-scale R/C controllers go, the Barrage 1/24 transmitter features a comfortable grip, easy-to-access controls, and not much else. If this were a 1/10-scale or large trail truck, I’d like to see more options for adjustments, however, for what this vehicle offers, you don’t need much more than the trim adjustment (throttle and steering)t and dual rate (throttle and steering) tuning.
Reception and range is very good, making this a solid option for a DIY FPV rig, if you’re looking to shake things up a bit.
Taking on the Trail with the ECX Barrage 1/24
On the outside, the ECX Barrage seems like a solid, well-thought-out trail truck. When you put your finger on the throttle, however, you may notice a few discrepancies between your expectations and reality.
Before opening the box on this small-scale trail truck, I thought I had a firm grasp on how it would perform, based solely on my experiences with the Pro-Line Ambush 4×4. Once I fired up the Barrage 1/24, however, it quickly became apparent that all small-scale trail trucks aren’t made equal.
While cruising around indoors (and outside) is an easy chore, this truck struggles when it comes to technical crawling and climbing. Specifically, when you need to get a burst of power to get up and over an obstacle, you may be left wanting. More often than not, I’ve found the Barrage 1/24 to “stall” whenever I encounter a steep embankment or stepped terrain. Paying close attention to the truck while this happens, I’m not sure if it’s a lack of power, the foam-less tires or a combination of the two.
At any rate, if you’re a fan of 1/10 or ⅛-scale radio-controlled rock crawlers, you’ll need to leave some expectations at the door. The ECX Barrage isn’t going to perform exactly as you’d hope, however, that’s not to say it isn’t fun to drive.
When I leave those expectations aside and just enjoy the Barrage 1/24 for what it is, that’s when I find myself having the most fun. Cruising around my basement, blasting over toys and other obstacles, these are areas where the Barrage excels. While it’s not a fine-tuned technical crawler, out of the box, it is a fun, compact off-road truck.
Is the ECX Barrage the right small-scale R/C crawler for you?
This is a vehicle that I want to love, however, it falls short for me in a few areas. That said, if I was to do it over again, I’d still purchase one, simply because it’s a fun change of pace from my other small-scale R/C vehicles.
Out of the box, the Barrage 1/24 is a fun little cruiser, but if you’re willing to put some work into it (changing the pinion gears, wheels, and battery), you might be able to wring more performance out of this truck than you might expect. Seeing where this truck tends to stall or bind, I’m looking at throwing a new set of wheels and tires at it to see what type of a difference that may make. Even without those changes, the ECX Barrage is a fun indoor and outdoor vehicle that can satisfy your R/C fix in a pinch.