What 2wd Short Course Truck for racing in 2014?

In my mind the Short Course Truck has done a lot to invigorate electric 1:10 off road since it’s appearance in the form of the Traxxas Slash which brought the fun (and fender rubbing) back to a lot of RC Racers.  The Short Course Truck was also affordable, durable and brought a lot of new people into RC racing with it’s scale looks and handling.  Now another two generations down the line, what are the options out there at the moment if you want to buy a Short Course truck for racing in your local 2wd SCT category.

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Traxxas

The Slash is still the original Short Course Truck, and it is still available almost unaltered from when it was first released back in 2008 as a RTR.  In racing terms, the slash died off when the 2nd generation of lower centre of gravity short course trucks appeared.  That said, I have seen many a beginner racing a slash, and in some cases very successfully, partially through the Traxxas Low CG chassis version that was released recently, and the Proline Low CG conversion kit that has now resulted in the Pro-2 truck. Today there are no less than 6 different versions of the Slash available varying from the original through to Robbie Gordon editions, Ford F150 SVT Raptor versions, and the latest version with an On Board Sound generator to sound like the real thing! Interestingly there is no version which comes with the Low CG chassis as seen in the Traxxas Rally, but it is an option for around $40 USD.  The Slash is still tough as nails, and always looks great, but as a racer has been dynamically eclipsed in most forms.

Team Associated

Associated were the 2nd cab off the rank in the Short Course Truck market releasing the SC10 in 2009.  Based on the popular RC10T4 it had a much lower CG and was if you like the style of the 2nd generation of Short Course Trucks to hit the market.  Whilst still durable, it was more competitive and race oriented due to it’s close relationship with the T4. Today you can still buys a SC10 RTR or you can get the SC10RS (Race Spec) with some upgrades, or the SC10.2 is available as a kit.  Now the kits are always something that racers like because they can build up their car, add upgrades and electronics of their liking to them.  Ironically few RTR versions of SCT’s actually meet the motor and esc requirements for the AARCMCC sanctioned SCT class as most are sensorless.  Associated also hit the mark with the SC10 for another reason, they came with a plethora of good looking bodies, in many cases modeled off the real thing in one of the various Truck Racing Classes from TORC, CORR or Baja. Like all trucks of the time, it is still rear motor configuration only, but on most tracks that still works just fine.

HPI Racing

HPI came to the short course party in late 2009, and like the SC10, it too was based on a Stadium Truck, in this instance the bulletproof E-Firestorm.  The Blitz was a RTR with scale Maxxis Trepador tyres, a 15t brushed motor and NiMH battery with wall charger. This was the Short Course that I wanted as I had an E-Firestorm at the time.  However I never actually bought one because as a racing vehicle it was soon overshadowed by the Blitz ESE Kit released in 2010.  The ESE stood for Erik Shauver Edition , the designer of this racing special variant of the ESE.  Visually it stood in stark contrast the the black plastics of the Blitz because it used stiffer White and Grey plastics in virtually every single part of the vehicle.  This was a blessing in terms of handling, but a curse in terms of durability.  Personally I have snapped two ESE Chassis, but the 3rd one is still going strong, as is the whole vehicle some 4 years of racing later, although it is for sale at the moment, but more on that later.  This was the first all white kit I had seen since the very early Associated Kits, and something that is still fairly unusual, probably because it always ends up looking dirty! Today the only variant of the blitz still on sale is the Blitz Flux RTR, a brushless version of the standard kit with new electronics, radio and tyres. THe Blitz still is available in a rear motor mount only configuration.

Kyosho

The Ultima SC hit the tracks in 2010 based on a lengthened RB5 Buggy, and it was a good platform, albeit one that I didn’t see much of personally.  There was also a kit version with the upgrades you would expect in the form of the Ultima SC-R as well.  However the Ultima SC6 released early this year was the truck that really brought Kyosho back to the rest of the pack. The offspring of the RB6 Buggy and RT6 Stadium Truck, it very much looks like a stretched alloy chassis that is in the RT6 with all of the Short Course parts that you expect to see.  As well as the alloy chassis, there is mid or rear motor configurations making it a true 3rd generation truck. Great shocks and a competitive platform well and truly makes the SC6 a top of the line competitive SCT.

Losi & TLR

Losi started in the SCT game with their Strike in 2010, and from the little I saw of it, it wasn’t particularly popular, at least not at my club. However things greatly improved for Losi when their new racing arm, TLR, released the 22SCT based on their popular TLR22 Buggy in 2012.  This was a quantum leap forward in vehicle dynamics, bringing a narrow alloy chassis and a re configurable motor position that allowed for the traditional rear mounted motor, or a mid mounted configuration for high traction surfaces that were becoming popular at the time.  In essence defining the layout of the 3rd generation of Short Course Trucks. Today the same revolutionary platform is still available in an updates form of the 22SCT 2.0 boasting a range of updates and improvements, and is still one of the top choices for racers around the globe. The added benefit of the 22SCT using the buggy platform is that you have some parts commonality between the 22 Buggy, 22SCT Short Course and 22T Stadium truck if you race a few classes.

Team Durango

Team Durango is a very young RC manufacturer, starting with a 4wd Buggy of their own design in 2009 and branching out into many different classes after that.  Today they have fantastic 2wd and 4wd platforms in 1:10, as well as Buggy and Truggy platforms in 1:8 scale.  2011 saw the release of Durango’s DEX210 2wd Buggy, but it was not until 2012 that the DEST210 Stadium Truck and DESC210 Short Course Truck were released on the same platform.  Like the Losi, the Durango features a variable configuration that allows mid and centre motor placement which in my mind places it as another 3rd generation SCT.  However unlike the Buggy which has a narrow alloy chassis, the Stadium Truck and SCT feature a composite chassis.  To all accounts the platform is a good one, and I’ve got a DEX210 Buggy myself now. The DEX210 is on the upgraded V2 version now, and I hear that the V2 SCT is on the way soon as well, but for now the original DESC210 is still for sale, and for a rather good price, which is why I am finally saying goodbye to my Blitz ESE (or trying to) in order to get a DESC210 to become my Short Course race truck.

Serpent

A late comer to the Short Course game, Serpent only released their Short Course Truck earlier this year in the shape of the Spyder SCT SRX-2 RM (I know, long name).  Based on the buggy with almost as long a name, it has some interesting design features such as lexan inserts on the side nerf bars to try and stop some of the parachute effect that Short Course Trucks are famous for when jumping. Like the Durango it uses a composite chassis although rumor has it the buggy is having some issues with breaking chassis. It looks like Serpent is going to go the route of different models for Mid and Rear motor mounts, but unlike the buggy, there has been no sighting of a mid mount version yet, but I think that is only a matter of time before it appears.  A Kit or RTR version of the Spyder SCT is currently available.

Other Players in the SCT Marketplace

There are many other Short Course Trucks in the marketplace from players such as ECX, ARRMA and Helion, and I am not for a minute saying that they can’t cope with the rigors of a race track, it’s just that they are not designed as racers, and the design and upgrades available for them reflect that, as well as the strength of the materials used.  A bashing vehicle tends to have softer more flexible parts which will take a hit readily, but a race vehicle tends to trade durability for composure and handling on the circuit through stiffer or lighter materials.

Short Course Trucks have not found favour with every manufacturer either.  Tamiya have no SCT offering, which is interesting as some of their early trucks could certainly be pointed to as the source of SCT, but in truth it’s popularity was fuelled by the Traxxas Slash despite it not being the first to the party by some years. To date there is no SCT from Schumacher for example, although photos of prototypes have appeared in recent times.  Xray is another major racing brand that still does not offer a SCT.  I suspect to some of these manufacturers still see Short Course racing as a fad that won’t last, and for a long time that is how it was considered by many in the industry I think.  However SCT has brought a lot of new people o the RC Racing scene and many have stayed and loved it.  I know the close racing and low level of repairs is what attracted me to it initially, as well as strong numbers at my local club.

It is also interesting to note that many people who started in Short Course Trucks are also stepping up into the Stadium Truck class which is helping to fuel a re emergence of interest in that class to levels not seen for a decade.

2nd Hand Trucks

I have said it before, and i’ll say it again, don’t discount looking at a 2nd hand truck.  You do not have to have the world’s best Short Course Truck to race and have fun.  In fact nowhere is this more true than in the short course class. This is especially true of the offerings from Losi, Team Durango and Kyosho where their 3rd generation trucks have had upgrades to new versions, sparking some very good deals to be had out there.

Will SCT Last?  I don’t know, nobody does, but for the time being it is a popular and fun class that looks more realistic than any other being raced.  If you haven’t had a try, beg borrow or, well borrow not steal, and give it a go, you might just like it!

First Images of HB Pro 5

Thurs-HBPro5-6-620x363

Redrc have posted what are the first photos of the new Pro 5 from HB (Hot Bodies). See all of the photos at http://events.redrc.net/2014/10/first-images-hb-pro-5-touring-car/

Team HB are making their race debut here in Kissimmee with their all new Pro 5 platform. As to be expected it is somewhat of a conventional layout and configuration but as with almost all touring cars on the market it is the details that matter. With only the rear uprights and the front driveshafts carried over from its predecessor the car has been completely revamped. Up front the steering knuckles have keyed carbon levers for adjusting the Ackermann, the floating steering servo mount features an integrated antenna holder and battery stop.

Thurs-HBPro5-1

The motor mount has been lowered and integrated with the centre pulley mount and through its three top deck mounts can be used to adjust the flex of the car. Probably the most unique feature on the car is its infinitely adjustable inner camber link mount. Completing the changes are big bore shocks, guided lower suspension blocks and bigger pulleys. Factory team drivers Andy Moore and JJ Wang, who are using the new car here, have been extremely positive about the Pro 5’s performance in pre event testing and even with limited practice here in Florida are already very pleased with their new ride.

Source: http://events.redrc.net/2014/10/first-images-hb-pro-5-touring-car/

Axial Yeti XL details released

I know it’s kinda odd to post a review of a vehicle before the release details, but sometimes that is the way it goes with Axial Racing. Whilst i”m not sold on the rock racer vs rock crawler thing, I have to say the sheer size of this unit appeals.

So, the AX90032 Yeti XL™ Monster Buggy 1/8th Scale Electric 4WD – RTR is one BIG R/C car. While they are calling it 1:8, it’s nearly the size of a 1:5 HPI Baja. RRP is listed as $700, so i’m not sure how that will translate here in Australia with the Aussie Dollar falling somewhat of late.

From Axial:

he Axial Yeti XL™ Monster Buggy; a new category, a new frontier, a new dimension. From the beginning of the concept through the design phase, we drew upon our brand philosophy to develop and deliver something different to the R/C monster truck arena. Monster trucks are known for bashability, so we jumped head first into the segment by creating a vehicle with insane brushless power along with features that would allow it to withstand the abuse that comes with the territory. From the outset, the goal of maintaining brand heritage was a priority. Our research and development team took those traits and attributes, mixed them with the Axial design ethos which is heavily rooted in full size rock racing, and developed what could be considered the next level in R/C monster truck design. The Yeti XL™ is powered by a Castle Creations 2200KV 4-pole Vanguard XL brushless motor and it’s equipped with the industry’s first 8th scale solid rear axle with an independent front suspension [IFS] chassis system. Everything’s kept under control by massive 20mm aluminum shock bodies that house Big Bore 16™ (16mm) pistons on beefy 4mm shock shafts which help maintain high speed stability when running through a wide variety of terrain. With this, we have yet again skirted the mainstream and delivered a vehicle that falls into it’s own niche, the Monster Buggy.

• Powered By: Castle Creations 2200KV 4-Pole Vanguard XL brushless motor
• Massive 20mm aluminum shock bodies, 16mm pistons, 4mm shock shafts
• AR60 XL™ solid rear axle, 4-linked with multiple tuning options
• Independent front suspension (IFS)
• Front CVJ metal universals
• All metal gear transmission, CNC metal cut differential gears
• BFGoodrich® Krawler™ T/A® KX tires on 3.8 Raceline Monster wheels
• Vanguard AE-4 XL ESC, 4S / 6S LiPo, waterproof
• Metal gear Tactic TSX45 MG servo, 151 oz-in, water resistant
• Waterproof receiver box

HB Pro 5 Announced

I was excited to see the headline that the HB (Hot Bodies) Pro 5 Touring car was being released, and expecting to see new photos as it’s been a while since HPI / HB released an all new 1:10 touring car.  However disappointingly it was just that, an announcement with no details as yet.  All I can say to that is “Boo, show us the pictures”

HPI did have this to say:

From the World Championship winning team at HB, comes the latest in a long line of ground breaking state of the art racing chassis, we proudly present to you the PRO 5 Competition 1/10th Scale 4WD Touring Car! Using its vast knowledge of competition chassis design, the HB R&D Design Team set out to the create the next level Touring Car platform. While the pursuit of outright speed is still paramount, the Team also strived to create a platform that provides the driver with the ultimate level of “stability” and “flow”.

With today’s vast array of ultra powerful and ultra fast motors, races are becoming amazing festivals of speed with drivers continuously pushing the speed envelope beyond levels previously seen. In order to truly harness this newfound speed, drivers need to have the ultimate confidence and control in their race machines. With these goals in mind, the HB R&D Design Team determined that a complete re-think of the standard TC design was needed. utilizing the latest state of the art resources and the input of World Championship winning team driver, the Team arrived at the basic concept design of the PRO 5.

The Team then further refined this concept to achieve the ultimate goal of supreme “stability” and “flow” in a no holds barred next level top competition chassis. The resulting PRO 5 chassis affords the driver with the ultimate stability at speed coupled with the edge in being able to smoothly flow in the transition areas. The superior combination of these features makes the HB PRO 5 truly the next level in TC design and performance!

Stay tuned for more information on the HB PRO 5 Competition 1/10th Scale 4WD Touring Car!

I just hope that the release is not as protracted as that of the D413 and Savage Octane as if they do the same thing and not have the vehicle available for 6 months to a year, I think they will loose a lot of fans.

Source: http://www.hpiracing.com/en/article/view/2014100201

New 1:10 and 1:24 releases from Losi

Rather than do three separate posts about these vehicles, I thought I would roll them all into one post.

Ok, First cab off the rank is the brushless XXX-SCB.

Ok, there isn’t a lot new here, of course it is brushless now, and it includes AVC.  Not 100% sure, but this is the first 2wd AVC vehicle I can remember seeing. More details at Losi http://www.losi.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=LOS03003

Next is the 1:24 scale Micro SCT.   Also brushless, and also a revamp of an existing platform, but no AVC on this micro pocket rocket. Basically an update with a Spektrum radio instead of a losi one. More details at http://www.losi.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=LOS00001T2

Lastly another updated vehicle, this time the 1:24 Micro Rally. More details at http://www.losi.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=LOS00002T1

McAllister RC Bodies

I’ve been floating around RC cars for a while now, but it was a surprise to stumble across McAllister’s website today at http://www.mcallisterracing.com/.

It came up on the US VTA page where two of their new bodies are VTA approved (on this page http://www.mcallisterracing.com/index_files/Page592.htm)

#253 SEDAN MODIFIED body 1/10th scale

I know that Pan and Oval cars aren’t huge in Australia, but it’s refreshing to see another company producing excellent bodies. That said, I can certainly see the appeal of the World GT classes, they look ice and simple, and lots of fun.

I do love some of their Stadium Truck Bodies as well as it’s unusual to see something different in that class.

SS-R RETRO PICKUP BODY

Why Ask Ray Munday for Help?

So who is Ray Munday and why should you be asking him for help with your race RC Car?

You see Ray  wants to make sure as many people as possible are aware that they can talk to the factory drivers and ask questions, not just wait them to write about what they are interested in in magazines, forums or blogs.

Why Ray?

Well Ray is a sponsored driver, he is sponsored by JConcepts, Novak and Team Associated off-road electric products in Australia.  You will often see articles written by Ray in Racing Lines about vehicles, or setups that work in different areas. However what more is there to know about Ray?  Well have a read below to see what Ray had to say about himself.

My Background: I have been racing electric off-road since 1992 and am the Australian factory driver for Associated / Reedy, JConcepts and Team Novak. I race 1/10 electric off road only (2wd, 4wd and SCT) and am based in Melbourne.

Outside R/C racing: I am a professional mechanical engineer working in full-size off-road vehicle development (for Toyota) and have previously worked in F1, WRC and Dakar.

The help thread was started as a way to assist people to get the most out of their cars and equipment in Australian conditions. A lot of the setups online are for high grip, smooth, perfect tracks – not like most in Australia. I’m happy to field questions on all topics in rc, and not just on the brands I am sponsored by.

The thread that Ray refers to is the Ask Ray Munday thread on the gigantic RCTech forums, specifically linked below.

http://www.rctech.net/forum/australian-racing/617877-ask-ray-munday-jconcepts-novak-associated-aussie-support-thread.html

The thread itself is certainly worth a read with reviews, insights, hints and tips on so many facets of RC Off Road racing. These include setups, reviews of cars, reviews of tyres, driving tips and all sorts of hints and help offered to people over the years.

So instead of reading about it in Racing Lines, be a part of it and get your questions answered!