Get to know the heavy-hitters in the world of small-scale R/C

Get to know the heavy-hitters in the world of small-scale R/C

If you’re just getting into the R/C hobby or are looking at adding a few new vehicles to your garage, it’s good to know who’s- who and who makes what.  While there numerous makes and models to choose from, I’ve highlighted a few of the “bigger” names in the small-scale radio-control universe.

With prices ranging from $35 to $350, these models are perfect as a budget-buy or an additional, use-anywhere vehicle.



Besides making a line of 1/8 and 1/10 scale R/C vehicles, ECX also makes some fun 1/18, 1/24, and 1/36 scale machines.  Owning one of their now-discontinued models, the Smash, I can speak from experience when I say ECX makes some tough trucks.  While I have been fairly gentle with how I drive my small-scaler, my kids have put it through the paces on more than one occasion. After almost two years of use, I’ve only had to perform a motor replacement. Not bad for a budget-minded radio-controlled car.

The ECX lineup




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Dromida hit the scene in late 2013 with a number of small-scale offerings. With a lineup that features a short course truck, a monster truck, and a buggy, they’ve done a nice job covering their bases when it comes to affordable, well-built machines.  Recent updates have added some fun, new options to select models as well.

The Dromida lineup


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Spun off of the more well-known Traxxas brand in 2013, LaTrax has a focus on tough, affordable, 1/18 scale vehicles.  Starting things off with a rally car, they have quickly added monster truck and a newly-announced SST stadium truck to their lineup.  Using the same manufacturing techniques and materials as Traxxas, these cars and trucks are all built to take a beating.

The LaTrax lineup


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While it may be a stretch to call the 1/16 scale vehicles from Traxxas “small-scale” they technically are smaller than the 1/10th-and-larger rigs that have become common among hobbyists.  Traxxas didn’t set out to break any new ground with their smaller line of machines, but they did take a number of their popular 1/10 trucks and cars and shrink them down a bit.

The Traxxas lineup


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Out of all of the “big-name/small-scale” brands mentioned, Losi is the only one that has a virtual fleet of mini and micro R/C vehicles.  Rally cars, trail trucks, monster trucks…you name it, they have it.

The Losi lineup




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Redcat Racing

While they don’t have the instant brand recognition of some of the brands mentioned earlier, Redcat Racing knows how to build a good R/C car.  Along with building the “big stuff”, they offer a nice array of smaller radio-controlled vehicles that are great for any age and any occasion.

The Redcat Racing lineup



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Going from a name that’s a bit newer to a name that is instantly-associated with the R/C hobby, Kyosho blends both scale realism and precision into their micro and mini lineup.   With a large volume of body styles to choose from, I’m listing out their sub-categories rather than their individual models.  Trust me, you’d be scrolling forever if I listed everything.

The Kyosho lineup




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Another well-known brand in the world of R/C is HPI. Over the years, they’ve created a variety of on and off-road vehicles in many scale classes.  Their popular Micro RS4 model has seen some nice updates over the past year and features popular, contemporary body styles.

The HPI lineup



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In the past year, I’ve gotten to experience a few of the smaller-scale vehicles from Carisma and have been blown away by their performance. Not only are they fast, powered by a brushless motor and 1S/2S LiPo battery, but they’ve survived some crazy tumbles and jumps.

This combination of durability and performance puts the GT24 lineup toward the top of my list of small-scale, radio-controlled vehicles.

The Carisma lineup


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If you enjoy fine details and “scale” radio-controlled rigs, you’ll love the Gelande II from RC4WD. This higher-end model features details and features that you’d typically find on 1:1 vehicles and is a perfect “take anywhere” option when you want to enjoy R/C action on the go.

The RC4WD lineup


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When you think of Axial, you probably think about their 1/10 scale trail lineup, rock racers, and monster trucks. In late 2016, they released two new smaller-scale models, bringing their brand of fun and off-road durability to another level.

The Axial lineup


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Following the path of RC4WD, Pro-Line introduced a small-scale trail vehicle in 2016. Their 1/25-scale machine is one of the smallest R/C “scalers” on the market, making it a fun indoor and outdoor machine.

The Pro-Line lineup


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Team Associated

Known for both competition and general R/C fun, Team Associated introduced a number of smaller-scale vehicles to the market in 2016. Fun fact; fans of their previous 1/18-scale models might be happy to hear that the hop-ups for those older models will work with this new line of cars and trucks.

The Team Associated lineup



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