Hello to all on my first blog post for Aussie RC News!
For those of you that know me, you know that I love Rally, in both it’s full size and small scale versions. Even to the extent of keeping up with what is happening with the fairly active Colorado RC Rally Championship.
Given the recent release of a Rally car from Team Associated, I thought we would have a stroll through the RC Rally cars that are available on the market today, or soon in some cases.
Today I am going to focus on three similar vehicles mostly, the Losi TEN Rally X, the Team Associated ProRally and the Traxxas Rally. Why? Because all there are a similar size, 4wd Short Course truck based, Ready to Run vehicles. These are a good compromise between looks ,handling, durability, capability and price. Let’s start with some numbers, prices I have pulled from Amain Hobbies and are a guide only.
Losi TEN-Rally X
LCG Slash 4×4
Of these three focus vehicles the Traxxas Rally was the first to the party with the first release of the official Low Center of Gravity (LCG) Chassis for the slash 4×4 platform. Fitted with a low hatch type body and rally tyres the Rally expanded on an already popular shaft driven 4×4 platform for Traxxas. By all accounts it has certainly hit the spot with regards to durability and price although there has been some criticism of its BFGoodrich replica tyres and handling, but it was never a dedicated rally platform to start with so you shouldn’t expecting handling like the rally cars on television. Some criticism has also been leveled at the car for it’s lack of resemblance in shape and livery to a real vehicle, but I don’t think that is enough to not want to buy it. http://traxxas.com/products/models/electric/7407rally
Losi TEN-Rally X
Whilst the Traxxas Rally isn’t exactly an older vehicle, the Losi TEN-Rally X is a fairly new release and was one of Losi’s first models to be released with Active Vehicle Control from Spektrum. Similar in appearance to it’s 1:24 micro scale cousin, it is a much larger package with a bigger punch. Shaft driven and in the conventional layout of most 4×4 short course trucks, it is fitted with rally inspired tyres and a hot hatch style rally body. However the addition of the AVC to this vehicle appears to contribute to it’s price, almost a clear $100 more than the offerings from Traxxas and Team Associated. http://www.losi.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=LOS03000
Team Associated ProRally
Released less than a week ago this rally beast is based on the Prolite 4×4 short course truck from Team Associated. The associated has a much more realistic looking hatch body with a Rockstar sponsored livery that makes it look spot on like a real rally car. A good price point which appears to be under $400 USD this vehicle is listed as having water resistant components, whereas the other two vehicles here are listed as being waterproof. How waterproof any are in real life I can’t ascertain from here, but as more real world reviews appear that will reveal itself. http://www.teamassociated.com/cars_and_trucks/Pro_Rally_4WD/RTR/
Other Rally Options
Now these three are far from your only options when it comes to rally cars, there is everything available form 1:24 rally cars up to the gigantic 1:5 Rally Car (both form Losi actually).
The HPI WR8 Flux available currently in the Ken Block 2013 GRC (Global Rallycross) livery is one that comes to mind. Marketed as a 1:8 scale vehicle it has a similar wheelbase to the above three vehicles, but is actually a much smaller vehicle than these supposedly 1:10 scale vehicles from Traxxas, Losi and Associated. The big difference is the WR8 is much narrower and is not only a licensed body shape with a real livery, but is nearer to a more accurate model in it’s scale. At $480 USD it is a great looking vehicle for the money, and very durable and powerful, but a bit of an orphan when it comes to wheels, tyres and bodies with it being almost a unique size and scale outside of HPI. http://www.hpiracing.com/en/kit/112715
The Tamiya XV-01 is another that I really wanted to include, mainly because this is my personal rally ride at the moment. With a range of realistic bodies available because it is the standard 1:10 size of most touring and drift cars. For scale realism, this is the car that ticks the boxes. This belt driven vehicle has protection for not only the belts from dirt and debris, but for the electronics of the radio and ESC as well. The motor is front mounted giving this vehicle an amazing scale handling characteristic. However where it falls down is it’s small scale. You really need to find some scale terrain to drive it on. On blue metal, it suffers and gets rocks jammed in the steering, on a 1:10 off road course the obstacles are simply too large. Whilst I have loved it, I have found fewer off road places to drive it than I expected. Don’t let that put you off, if you have the right kind of terrain, it is an absolute BLAST to drive. https://www.tamiyausa.com/items/radio-control-kits-30/4wd-rally-on-road-(xv)-36180/rc-subaru-impreza-wrx-sti-58528
Rally cars can not be spoken of without looking at the Rally Legends models. Whilst not the most technically complex or advanced vehicles, they more than make up for this in incredible scale looks. With licensed bodies and liveries of famous rally cars such as the Lancia Stratos, Fiat 131 Abarth, Lancia Delta S4, Lancia 037, Ford Escort and Iveco Tracker Dakar Truck. http://www.rallylegendsrc.com/ and http://www.rallylegendmodels.com/RLM_-_Online_Store.html
In the LARGE scale, you have the monstrous, $2000 Losi Mini WRC car, complete with AVC, 29cc petrol engine with EFI, 800 cc fuel tank, remote operated start and a licensed Mini Body. Great looks and would sound great, but out of the budget of many drivers. http://www.losi.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=LOS05000
Slightly smaller is the Kyosho DRX VE, marketed as a 1:8 and 1:9, but more like a 1:7 scale vehicle. Realistically it is a similar size to the three short course converted vehicles featured in this article, but the electric and nitro versions of this model have been on the market for some time. With a few licensed bodies available the DRX VE is more like a converted 8th scale buggy than short course truck in it’s layout, size and configuration fitted with tenth scale electronics. At around $400 USD it is a big model capable of covering a broad range of terrain. There are some weak points of the DRX design, however while the model price is good, bodies can be very expensive to replace. However all in all it is acknowledged to be a good rc car. http://www.kyosho.com/eng/products/rc/detail.html?product_id=108654
There are a lot of other rally cars of varying scales available, but I thought I would cover the more popular ones today rather than every one on the market!
RC Cars have gone through a roller coaster ride of popularity over the years. It would be hard to find any adult who doesn’t have the big kid inside us just waiting to get out and play when the opportunity presents itself.
Radio control car racing traces it’s origins back to a boom in the 80’s in electric 10th scale off road racing. In the noughties, nitro 8th scale was king of the RC off road racing crowd, big, loud and fast. However there has always been a core of “Bashers” who just have whatever car that they like, and drive at local parks, tracks etc. Monster trucks have always been popular here, but the release of the big HPI Baja brought 5th scale into popular RC culture in both racing and bashing in Australia. In recent years there has been a re emergence of electric 10th scale off road racing, with new 2wd biggies, 4wd buggies and stadium trucks hitting the shelves from a range of manufacturers.
However the real boon in RC in recent years has been vehicles that look great, and are fairly accurate in appearance and scale. It is because of this that in many ways the hobby of driving radio control cars has gained a foothold in the mainstream with many hobby grade rc cars appearing in toy stores around the country. Drift cars, clubs and tracks have been sprouting up all around the country, spurned on by the increasingly popular car culture in Australia, combined with the increasing awareness of drifting as a sport in Australia. Likewise radio control crawlers, again with incredible levels of detail and accessories available, have gained a cult following with a whole range of new RC enthusiasts. Sporting clubs, competitions, and a real passion for detail at almost unheard of levels, crawling has introduced an amazing new aspect of RC cars in recent years. Ok, so great products at a good price from Axial Racing have certainly helped Crawlers to grow, but hit up any forum and see the incredible level of detail in vehicles that have been built from scratch, and you can see that crawlers have become an unstoppable juggernaut.
Even rally cars have increased in popularity thanks to great vehicles such as the Tamiya DF-03 and XV-01, the entire Rally Legends range, they Kyosho DRX and the sport of Rallying in general becoming more popular though the likes of Ken Block and his Gymkhana videos (and scale versions of his car from Traxxas and HPI). There is even an Australian RC Rally group on facebook trying to increase levels of interest in this area of RC to levels as seen in Europe, and Colorado RC Rally Championship.
Even RC racing has taken a scale hit. In On Road Racing (of which I am admittedly not as well versed as off road) the Vintage Trans Am classes sporting 60’s and 70’s muscle car low down force bodies are very popular in the US, and are gathering a foothold in some parts of Australia. In Off Road Short Course Trucks have a major footing in almost every off road club with their more realistic looks and handling, low price, and excellent durability. Even Short Course Buggies are gaining interest in some parts of the country, vehicles which somewhat resemble the pro buggies from the Australian Off Road Championships, even the Extreme 4wd vehicles are similar in appearance and build to Short Course Trucks.
I guess what I am saying here, is bring on more scale, it is helping to re invigorate our fantastic hobby and bring whole new generations into the fold of loving to drive toy cars!