“Whoa”. That is the one word uttered by everyone who took a turn driving the Dromida BL Monster Truck during my review. Myself included. On the surface, this 1/18-scale R/C truck may not look like much, but once you mash the throttle, you’ll soon discover that there’s more to this machine than meets the eye.
When this model arrived on my doorstep, courtesy of Hobbico, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My recent 1/18-scale experiences had ranged from the low-slung LaTrax Rally to the off-road Axial Yeti Jr. Rock Racer. Both of those vehicles were amazing to drive and relatively fast. Nothing, however, could prepare me for the power that the BL Monster Truck was hiding under its hood.
A Quick-charge Summary
- Great handling and performance
- Durable and very resistant to crashes and tumbles
- An excellent choice for speed-seekers and bashers
Dromida BL 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)
- Price: $149.99
What’s in the Box
- 1 Dromida BL Monster Truck (1/18-scale, ready-to-run)
- 1 2.4GHz, 2-channel radio transmitter
- 1 7.2v, 1300 NiMh battery (for truck)
- 1 USB battery charger (for truck)
- 4 AA batteries (for transmitter)
- 1 Instruction manual
It may be easy to dismiss the appearance of a non-licensed R/C body, but there’s something to be said for making a “no-name” car or truck lid appealing. The BL Monster Truck features an eye-grabbing red base with white, orange, and black flames across the hood and sides. It looks mean, and it looks fast. The question now becomes, is it all show and no go?
Starting from the ground up, the Dromida BL Monster truck features a stance that’s somewhere between a 1:1 monster truck and a short course truck. With a wide stance, this truck has been surprisingly nimble and fun to drift and slide on pavement and gravel.
The chassis tub is compact and carries a low profile. The arrangement of the internal components is well thought-out, taking up almost every available millimeter of space. Weight has been distributed evenly, with the battery and motor on opposite sides of the chassis and the radio receiver, ESC (electronic speed control) and other components distributed throughout the chassis tub.
If (and when) the BL Monster Truck takes to the air, there isn’t much body lean (side-to-side or front to back). This overall balance makes jumping and launching the truck skyward almost as fun as keeping it glued to the ground.
When you do find yourself taking to the air, the fear of hard landings is quickly put to rest, thanks to the four ample, oil-filled shocks which provide cushion and support to this truck. The overall suspension travel is impressive. Quite impressive, actually.
After sending this truck into the air on more than one occasion (not to mention, in a variety of “maneuvers”), there are only a few select scuffs on the bottom of the chassis. This is a drastic contrast to other models that I’ve driven, and speaks volumes to the stock suspension setup.
During my review, I kept the BL Monster Truck in stock suspension setup. There are adjustment rings provided, however, I didn’t see the need to use them as I was very happy with the out-of-the-box performance.
Traction and handling performance was very crisp, with more than a few opportunities to let this truck slide around and drift around. The tires, although appearing to be big and beefy, have a low profile without much sidewall flex. This helped keep the truck nimble, allowing it to “thread the needle” of numerous obstacles.
While the battery of a RTR radio-controlled car or truck usually isn’t something to make note of, I must say that the run time and overall power provided by the 7.2v, 1300mah NiMh battery was quite impressive. I was seeing run times of 10-15 minutes on a full charge, with almost all of that time being spent hard on the throttle.
Charging time is decent, taking 20-35 minutes using the included USB charger. Plugging the unit into a computer will take the longest time to achieve a complete charge, so you’re better off using a smartphone or tablet USB charging adapter to get the job done quickly.
Regardless of where this topic sits in my review, the radio transmitter is one of the most important pieces of your R/C experience. Not only does it provide the control and range needed to drive (or fly), but it’s the only tactile connection you have to your R/C model. If the feel isn’t right, chances are, you won’t enjoy your time behind the wheel.
To that end, the controller which is included with the Dromida BL Monster Truck is quite comfortable. It has a smooth, ergonomic grip that feels great while holding it and the controls are all placed in easy to find, easy to reach locations. I could quickly adjust my steering and throttle trim without having to perform too many head-nods.
Range for the radio system was equally impressive as I was able to send the truck across a large parking lot and back again without any interruption.
Ah yes, this is where the real fun begins, and where memories of previous 1/18-scale experiences joined me in a chorus of “Whoa!”. The brushless motor of the Dromida BL Monster Truck is what really makes this beast shine. Your first reaction, at least my first reaction to handling any new R/C machine, is to mash the trigger and see what it can do. Don’t get me wrong, brushed motors can have their own level of pep, but that is quickly overshadowed by the raw, blinding speed achieved by a brushless system.
The 5300kv motor puts out more speed than I knew what to do with (in some cases). At least, it was more speed than my driveway was willing to handle. Thankfully, a road trip to a wide-open parking lot provided the perfect spot to let this truck roam free and stretch its legs.
Saturday was filled with R/C fun as we shook down the Dromida BL Monster Truck in a wide-open parking lot. I'm not sure which is more fun, jumping or sliding this truck around and burning the tires off of it. #rccar #rctrucks #monstertrucks #dromidarc #hobbico #smallscalerc #tinytrucks #hobbies #parkinglotplaytime
“I Wanna Go Fast!”
Everyone has their own, inner Ricky Bobby yearning to break free. The trouble, however, can be do you have the space needed to go fast? While 1/10-scale and larger R/C machines can carry impressive speed, the space required to accommodate, and fully appreciate that speed, can be excessive.
With smaller-scale R/C vehicles, the amount of space required for top-end performance is greatly reduced. For suburb-dwellers such as myself, that formula of size and speed made the Dromida BL Monster Truck an excellent test machine in that regard. From narrow sidewalks to a short driveway, not to mention a backyard that’s hardly a palatial spread. Would the space I had be enough to fully enjoy what this brushless-powered truck had to offer?
The answer to that question came to me as soon as I ran my first battery pack through the machine. I won’t come right out and say it, but the fact that I was able to rip through a full charge and couldn’t wait to recharge the battery for another spin.
No matter the terrain, this monster truck was a great performer. Although taller grass (1.5” and up) Gave the traction of the tires a tougher time, it motored through at a reasonable speed. I set up some ramps in the back yard and easily performed jumps, flips, and a few cartwheels (with one of my kids landing a sweet backwards flip).
From there it was time to test pavement performance, where the lower-profile tires were given a chance to shine. When I took this truck out of the box, the tires gave the appearance of being a harder compound, however, that appearance quickly went away after they were properly broken in through wheelspin.
The BL Monster Truck showed amazing performance on my driveway and sidewalk tests, which allowed for higher-speed jumps and durability testing. One one landing/crash, a dogbone axle/drive shaft popped out of place, causing a brief moment of panic. Popping it back into the socket was the quickest fix I’ve ever experienced with an R/C vehicle “repair”. After that, it was as good as new and ready to take on the next challenge.
Sparing the details of each small adventure this truck went on, I have driven it on a variety of surfaces and there wasn’t anything that gave this machine fits. Each time I had to pack it up and head home for a recharge, the grin on my face and the white-knuckle grip on my hand told the story of how my session played out.
Is the Dromida BL Monster Truck Right for You?
Now we get to the real meat of the review. Is this truck worth spending your money on? Without a doubt, I’d say “YES”! With this being my first experience with a Dromida surface vehicle, I wasn’t sure what to expect. From the build quality, and durability to the performance and overall joy this machine brought me (and others), it’s made me take a hard look at the other vehicles in Dromida’s lineup.
For the price of $149.99, you’d have to search high and low to find a vehicle that’s as durable, fast, and fun as the BL Monster Truck. It not only held up to my, at times, out of control driving, but it quickly became the favorite “go fast” truck for my kids. In fact, if it wasn’t securely nestled in my review “garage”, it would probably be stored in my oldest son’s room. That is, if it isn’t already there. Sneaky kid.
In all honesty, nothing about this model has disappointed me. And while I haven’t met a R/C vehicle that I haven’t enjoyed, I’m thankful that the Dromida BL Monster Truck is keeping that streak alive.