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. GearBest.com 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?
- 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.
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.
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.
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.