Is this the best SCX24 yet?
The Axial SCX24 has become a juggernaut in the small-scale R/C crawling scene despite its size. Beginning with the original SCX24 Deadbolt, Axial has grown its lineup of 1/24-scale crawlers to include stunning replicas of 1:1 vehicles. Their latest addition, the SCX24 Jeep JT Gladiator ($149.99), not only brings an extra-long wheelbase into the mix but also delivers an array of scale details to the mix that hasn’t been seen before. It’s also worth mentioning that there are some minor tweaks under the hood, making this an outstanding performer right out of the box.
- Axial SCX24 Jeep JT Gladiator RTR
- 2.4GHz, 4-channel Radio Transmitter
- A USB Charger
- A 7.4V, 2S LiPo Battery
- Instruction Manual
Body & Scale Details
Axial is no stranger to the Jeep brand, having replicated the Jeep Wrangler over several model releases and scales. While it’s easy to assume that much of the SCX24 Jeep Wrangler made its way over to the JT Gladiator, there are some subtle differences between their visuals. Some of the Gladiator’s graphics appear to be re-done and crisper, which is a nice touch for fans of scale detail. Another differentiator between the Gladiator and its SCX24 siblings is the molded interior tray mounted to the inside of the Gladiator body.
Attached with two pieces of double-sided tape, this interior features a detailed interior, complete with a molded driver and steering wheel. Far from the ultra-realistic interiors that you’d find on larger-scale models, this is a nice touch for this 1/24-scale rig. Another visual perk is the lack of a front body post and clip. Instead, the SCX24 Jeep JT Gladiator uses hook and loop material to secure the front of the body to the chassis, allowing for a much neater and cleaner visual (compared to past SCX24 models).
While the polycarbonate body certainly helps sell the appeal of this rig, the bed-mounted overland rack, accessory set, and overland tent case are the icing on the cake. These body accessories offer impressive visual impact and can be modified to match your taste. Attached with screws, you could remove some or all of these details if you wanted to, but honestly, they help forecast the types of adventures you can have with this rig that you’d be missing out on by removing them. And while it’s easy to label some of the scale add-ons as pure decoration, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sand ladders are easily detachable and can be pressed into service at a moment’s notice. Talk about scale realism!
Aside from the increased length, the chassis on the SCX24 Jeep JT Gladiator is set up just like that of its platform siblings. With its ladder-frame chassis and ultra-sensitive shocks (there’s magic in those springs), this small-scale rig certainly looks the part of an off-road adventurer as it motors over terrain.
Controller & Electronics
When this model was announced, I was so enamored by the visual aspects that I completely glossed over the changes that Axial had put in place under the hood. The motor, transmission, and servo all remain the same across the SCX24 lineup. However, the ESC and radio system is different and, dare I say, quite improved over previous models. While I’ve never had any complaints against the performance of the earlier SCX24 ESC and radio system, fellow hobbyists have sung the praises of aftermarket options.
The throttle control offered by the SCX24 Jeep Gladiator is smooth and consistent, with impressive low-end performance that’s balanced with a modest top-end cruising speed. Smooth performance alone is a nice surprise, but Axial’s gone even further by setting this small-scale rig up with a four-channel radio system that offers multi-stage LED lighting and an open auxiliary port for additional accessories. These may not be major updates, but they sure don’t go unnoticed.
A true test of any vehicle, regardless of its size, is how it performs. Based on past performance, the SCX24 platform has amazed me from day one, and I feel that it’s only gotten better with each new iteration. The Jeep SCX24 Jeep Gladiator follows in the tire tracks of its predecessors, delivering solid performance right out of the box. Whether driving indoors over mountains of pillows and blankets or venturing outdoors for a more natural trail experience, this small-scale rig took on all obstacles with relative ease.
The rear-mounted accessories can make this rig a bit uneasy, inviting the use of wheel weights or other lower-chassis “grounding,” but overall, this rig felt fantastic no matter what I was driving over. Throttle response is amazing, especially under low-input situations. This rig takes very little effort to get up and over obstacles, making it an excellent crawler for indoor and outdoor use. With its longer wheelbase, the SCX24 Jeep Gladiator is best suited for trail driving versus hardcore crawling, but I still managed to traverse some tricky terrain.
What’s the Verdict?
If you couldn’t tell from the subheading on this review, I’m a fan of this SCX24 model. Not only did Axial raise their game in terms of scale detail (that alone made me buy not one but two of these rigs), but they’ve smoothed out some performance aspects and made what I consider to be a solid small-scale platform even better. Whether you’re new to small-scale crawling or have a fleet of 1/24-scale rigs in your R/C garage, the Axial SCX24 Jeep JT Gladiator is well worth the investment and should reward you with hours upon hours of fun.