Category Archives: RC4wd

RC4WD Trail finder 2 Review

Yes yes, I know that the trail finder 2 has been around for a while, but this one is new to me and the amazing team at RC4WD were generous enough to send me one to test out their amazing new 4Runner body which I built and reviewed earlier this year, details can be found here.

Unboxing

I have made a few kits in the past, although admittedly none have them have been rock crawlers, and certainly nothing like the Trail Finder 2 from RC4WD. To put it simply, opening the box is like uncovering a paint by numbers masterpiece, especially with the chassis rails taking centre stage when you first open the box. Every nut, bolt and screw is in i’s own clearly labelled bag, and the instructions are incredibly thorough with very little ambiguity, if you read them through. I was honestly amazed at how small the box was as well, however there is a lot packed into that box very cleverly. Another thing you will find is very little plastic, almost all of the kit is metal parts with a few small exceptions, so make sure you pack some threadlock if you don’t already have some ready when you are building this kit.

Building

So you have gotten over your initial excitement and it is time to start building. The instructions follow a logical sequence stepping through the build of the vehicle. The screws and small parts are in bags labelled very clearly, and the instructions don’t presume to try and tell you numbers for the major parts, simply choosing to show an image which is more than enough to identify it by.

With all the metal screws in metal parts you will need your threadlock handy throughout most of the build. I found the build of the kit a somewhat cathartic experience compared to my past build of predominantly composite kits. once the two chassis rails come together for the first time to form that familiar ladder chassis was also a satisfying moment. With metal parts fitting so precisely and screws always just the right length, I know I sound a little OCD here, but I enjoyed the build.

Steps 29 and 30 however I had a little difficulty with as once they were fitted (and I had to back of the chassis side screws just a little to get the transmission to drop in), I was getting a little binding in the transmission and I couldn’t work out why or where. I ended up isolating the issue to the screws in step 19 which holds the transmission. It was like tightening them too much caused some tightness, however leaving them a little looser, but with some threadlock to hold them in place resulted in a silky smooth movement in the system.

One fascinating part of the Trail Finder 2 chassis is the 2 speed transmission, just like a full size 4wd. Initially I didn’t have a spare radio so I did not install the 2nd servo to control the High / Low shift. You still can use the vehicle and manually shift this from beneath the vehicle if and when it is needed, however there is something infinitely satisfying about hitting the channel 3 button to switch into low range from the radio. A 4 channel radio is the best money I have spent on a radio in years!

The place that I made the most mistakes in the build was step 46, the wheels. I got to this step on page 25 and thought yup, just bolt the wheels together. So I pushed and shoved the screws to try and get the wheel parts to clamp the tyres onto the internal beadlocks. It was hell on my hands and I ended up snapping one of the little M2 screws to boot. However I got them done and turned the page to 26 to continue the build. Then I saw step 48 where you use two longer screws to pull the wheel together before inserting the correct screws to finish the wheels. Then I cried for a while for being so stupid, dried my tears and moved on.

Then about 2 weeks later and a few runs on the trail I noticed I was missing wheel nuts on the right hand side of the vehicle, two on each wheel in fact. After puzzling over this for a while and examining the wheels I realised that after all the trouble I had with the beadlock wheel nuts and screws I had never thread locked those tiny nuts. I had also had trouble holding the nuts with pliers to tighten them as I didn’t have a small enough spanner to hold them, or so I thought…. I reached out to my local crawling group on Facebook and received an excellent piece of advice from Stephen (thanks mate) about a small set of Supercheap Spanners in a funky paint scheme. This rattled a memory and after a search of my tool box I found a set that I had purchased for a job on my Series 2 Land Rover, and low and behold, the smallest one (4mm) worked like it was made for the job, and made that job far simpler!

Building the body, well you can already read about the 4Runner build, so I won’t double up on that here. In terms of equipment, well an old 27 turn silver can took the motor stage as well as a couple of spare servos and finally a Spektrum DX4s took the radio slot and a spare hobbywing speed controller to drive the operation. Essentially what I had lying about the place. That said, a crawler isn’t a static thing, so expect that combination to change and evolve along the way, the same goes for accessories, a rig like this NEEDS some scale accessories added to the build!

The Drive

Now came that part I had been itching to do since I started this build, drive it!

To begin with, most of the time I had spent behind the wheel of a crawler to date has been driving a SCX10, what is probably one of the most common rock crawlers out there. Now before anybody yells at me, the Trail Finder 2 really is a Trail Truck or Scale Truck, rather than a Rock Crawler I know, but the SCX is an excellent baseline for me to compare to.

Dynamics of the Trail Finder 2 (TF2) are somewhat different to the average crawler, it is a little heavier than your average truck, and a LOT heavier than your average racing buggy. As such it has a much higher centre of gravity than I am used to. This certainly has an adverse effect on some obstacles such as side slopes and climbing / ascending. Even with leaf springs it will not tolerate as extreme angles across a slope.

Crossing rough terrain is a similar problem, large rocks and cross axle situations see the TF2 struggling to articulate enough to gain traction, and the narrower tyres limit the opportunities for grip. The locked differentials do help keep the vehicle moving forwards however. Approach and departure angles likewise mean that larger obstacles soon stop progress as compared with a SCX10.

BUT, this is a Trail Truck, not a rock crawler. Both it’s appearance, and performance are fare more accurate representations of a real life leaf sprung vehicle, in fact on suitable scale terrain, it is an absolute delight to watch traversing obstacles and trails, something it does with aplomb and grace. The more you drive it the more the suspension seems to loosen up and move with the terrain. Yes, the body can be hung up, but that is part of the fun ensuring that you pick lines where this isn’t a problem, and it is so satisfying when you get it right and glide through a tough section of track. From rocky terrain, to walking trails, 4wd tracks, playgrounds and paddocks, i’ve not found anywhere that the TF2 doesn’t shine at doing exactly what it is designed to do, with zero complaints or problems. Even the low range change is smooth and satisfying when it snicks home.

In honesty, I think this truck has spawned a new addiction for me, and my land rover addiction has me eyeing off the RC4WD Gelande II D110 , but I have more plans for the 4Runner first……

RC4WD 4Runner Review

I was ecstatic when RC4WD contacted me to review their new hard body for the Trail Finder 2 chassis late last year. However try as I may I couldn’t wheedle out of them what it was until it arrived at my door. As we know now, it was a Toyota 4Runner from 1985 that came out of that box, and today we can now reveal the finished product in all it’s 80’s glory!

First Impressions

My first impressions of the kit when I opened the box was of amazement at the level of detail that it included from big details like opening doors, tailgate and bonnet, down to stickers for the dashboard, instruction placard for 4wd and even the tiny indicator stalks on the steering column. At this time my excitement moved a little into the arena of panic. Whilst I have built an worked on a lot of RC cars from Kits to RTR’s, this was my first detailed hard body from any firm, let alone one with a reputation for amazing detail like Rc4wd, and I really didn’t want to make a mess of it. But then how different could it be to the model plane and tank kits I used to make not so many years ago…. right?

The Build

So working with a combination of tools for my radio control racing pit bag, and my modelling toolbox I set off on the build. Naturally the first step was reading the instructions and then I put it all away for the next most important step, research. Below are the images that I used for inspiration.

No, i’m not mad (ok, maybe a little) but a key part of any project like this is knowing what the vehicles looked like in real life, and knowing what colours you want to paint it, what markings (in this case stickers) you need to use, and details like bumper colours etc etc. With that done and deciding to go with a bright red colour scheme I purchased a can or red paint, some black and browns for the interior, and the build could begin in earnest.

Tip 1: know your size, 1 pressure pack of tamiya paint may be fine for a small tank in 1:72 or 1:48, but not a big 1:10 4wd! In the end I used 3 cans of paint.

Tip 2: Don’t spray on windy days, I suspect I lost almost a whole can battling the wind in trying to get the bodywork painted. Don’t Rush, take your time.

Interior detail is amazing!

Now I mentioned research and planning earlier, and planning is an important part of this built. If you just put the kit together as stated and tried to paint it, you would be left in a nightmare of close together parts that should be different colours. Even step one can’t really be completed until later in the build as you need to paint the taillights in 2 different colours, and the body needs to be painted before you can attach them. So plan ahead, and work out what gets put together before and after painting and you will be far happier with the result.

One thing I loved about the instructions is that they presume you know what you are doing. Parts are rarely needed to be labelled by their numbers, and the screws are also labelled clearly as to size and number needed for any given step. Not only that but each screw is in it’s own labelled bag, often with a spare in each size which I did need.

Tip 3: The screws that hold in the tail lights need 2 different screwdrivers, get it right or you strip the small M1.6 philips head screws. Spares in the kit to the rescue!

So whilst a first glance at the kit may be panic inducing, the steps move through logically and smoothly. All parts were good fits, especially the metal parts. I had to remove some moulding flash from a few parts, but it probably doesn’t show up when you look at it on a larger scale. I probably spent more time worrying about what colours what part would be than any concerns with the build itself.

I loved that all the lights have provision for LED lights to be fitted, and I thought the magnet built into the bonnet and frame to keep the bonnet closed (and a similar arrangement with the passenger doors) were very clever additions to this detailed kit. Similarly the great looking, but actually made of rubber so they don’t break off so easily rear view mirrors were also a clever inclusion.

Painting the large body proved to be my biggest headache with a lot more real estate to cover with paint than I am used to. As a result of rushing (yes, again take your time!) and inexperience I can see a slight variation in the colouring on a couple of my panels. Whilst it isn’t particularly noticeable it has given me a few ideas to weather the model from an as new look, to a work and repaired look of a well used vehicle, but that will be a topic of a different article.

Tip 4: Paint all of your exterior panels at the same time, and shake the c^@& out of the cans before you start spraying.

Tip 5: Don’t skimp on masking tape, the Tamiya tape is worth it over normal blue masking tape, and take it off as soon as you can, even between coats.

Tip 6: if you need to remove masking tape residue without damaging the paint, I found WD40 does wonder after trying about 20 other products.

Bits I didn’t like about the kit, well they are few and far between. The back of the headrests and interior of the canopy on the tray could have had a little more detail, but considering the detail there is to be found on this kit, it really is nit picking.

The Final Result

Well I would be telling porky pies of I said I was 100% happy with the result, but that is entirely down to small mistakes made on my part. As far is the kit is concerned, it is magnificent. It more than justifies it’s asking price and is rich in detail and features. Be it for a hard working crawler or shelf queen, it has certainly entered the annuls of the Crawler Hall of Fame as an iconic vehicle recreated with perfect clarity.

I have learnt a lot from the build, and enjoyed it more than a little, in fact I found myself contemplating what I could or would do differently, or improve upon, next time. I wonder what else RC4WD have up their sleeve. In the meantime, Brady, didn’t you have a Gelande 2 that needed some repairs ……

Want to get your hands on this 80’s goodness, then hit up RC4WD at
https://store.rc4wd.com/RC4WD-1985-Toyota-4Runner-Hard-Body-Complete-Set_p_7220.html

New Rc4wd 1985 Toyota 4Runner Hard Body

We can finally release details of the new 4Runner body from RC4WD. It has been in our hot little hands for just over a week now and we couldn’t say a word! For those that don’t know the 4Runner, it was basically a Toyota Hilux with an extra row of seats, a roll bar and a removable fibreglass canopy over the tray, and now you can have an RC one .

Now rc4wd have a reputation for amazing scale products, but I could not believe my eyes at the evel of detail when I opened the box, it was more like a fine scale model than rc model body. Opening doors, bonnet, removable tailgate, even warning label stickers! Newbies beware, some serious model making skills will be needed to complete this body to its full potential.

Needless to say, I will be taking my time to do the model justice, but I am wondering what colour I should paint it, any suggestions? Of course we will be keeping you all in the loop as the build progresses so keep an eye out for updates.

Specifications:
Injection Molded ABS Plastic
Clear ABS Windows
Full Interior
Dashboard with Steering Wheel
Opening Hood and Doors
Magnets Keep Hood/Doors Closed
Opening Tailgate
Removable Top for Open Air Feel
LED Compatible
Wheelbase: 11.3in / 287.0mm
Length: 19.1in / 484.2mm
Width: 7.73in / 196.4mm
Height: 5.57in / 141.5mm
Weight: 35.2oz / 997.0g

Finally a massive shout out to RC4WD for sending us this exciting body to test, as well as a trailfinder 2 to test it on, so keep your eyes peeled for that review too.

Pre order this body at https://store.rc4wd.com/RC4WD-1985-Toyota-4Runner-Hard-Body-Complete-Set_p_7220.html

Rough Stuff the Movie in Miniature

Movies written, produced and shot in Australia is something of a rarity.   Movies featuring four wheel drives instead of sports cars are uncommon, but those showing them in action off road can almost be counted on one hand.  A movie with both of those features is something that should be celebrated, and unfortunately in this instance it is sort of hidden in the sidelines for most people.

Yes, I understand I am one of the few people that enjoy taking my 4wd off road, and yes, I know this is a radio control website, but stay with me here! In movie making in major movies before computer graphics miniatures were often used to make scenes realistic, and Rough Stuff was no exception using radio control four wheel drives to shoot or supplement many scenes.  We decided our readers needed to know about this so we asked the Director (and Writer) of Rough Stuff,  Jonathan Adams, a few questions about the movie and the miniatures that they used.

ARN: Thankyou for answering some questions about the Rough Stuff movie and the miniatures used during filming.  Can you give us an overview of what the movie is about and how the movies production came to be?

JA: I had always wanted to do an honest-to-god adventure film which harkened back to the serials and jungle adventures of the 30s,40s, and 50s like “King Kong”“The Lost World”“The African Queen”, and “Jason and the Argonauts”. I’m also a huge fan of classic pulp adventure authors like Robert Louis StevensonSir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. So that kind of “journey into the unknown” genre just happens to float my boat in a big way.

At some point the idea of doing a kind of Australian “Indiana Jones” collided with my love of offroad adventure in what I felt was a compelling way – that I could substitute the Canoes from “The Lost World” or the venture from “King Kong” with 4WDs. Its also a bit of a “Western on wheels”. They become integral to the fabric of the story, and I thought that would be a really fun way of modernising the genre and grounding it in something I can relate to. So once I had that, I started to think what I could call the characters who drive these rigs, and I conceived something between a cowboy and a pirate in the Australian Outback. That got me very excited for the possibilities.

ARN: Why miniatures, was there a specific reason to shooting some of the action in miniature rather than full size?

JA: Absolutely – we needed to use VFX of some sort to create sequences that would be far too dangerous or costly achieve with the 1:1 vehicles. For the climax of the film I wanted to see the two rival vehicles face off in a final challenge – a daring climb up a mountainside. I wanted to see the vehicles climbing a mountainside without tracks, and I wanted the vehicles to be tiny compared to the scale of the mountain. Showing the scale of this sequence without VFX would have been impossible at any budget.

Of course, RC fans will be able to spot the vehicles, but the vast majority of audiences actually can’t tell. I’d wager our miniatures are more effective than any CGI vehicle that’s ever been used. We all know when we see a visual effect shot, but that’s kinda part of the fun.

ARN: Once you had decided on using the miniatures, how did you go about finding a suitable model, and what led you to RC4WD, did somebody on the crew already have experience with their vehicles?

JA: There’s a bit of chicken and egg here, because I was aware that lifelike RC scale vehicles existed, and I had a sense that if we got the technique right in terms of how we photographed them, we could make them look very close to the real thing. So it was a matter of keeping that in the back of my mind, and then when it came time to get serious it was a matter of doing a lot of googling and visiting hobby stores and just generally trying to get a sense of what was out there, and how much legwork has already been done that we could build on. I can’t remember if it was Andrew or myself who found RC4WD, but when we did it was obvious they were ahead of the game in terms of scale realism.  And it wasn’t just the bodies and the mechanics, it was all the accessories, like the branded ARB accessories and the Mickey Thompson tyres. I figured those were things Andrew would have to mould himself, or 3D print them, but RC4WD had already done a lot of that work for us. So, it made perfect sense for us to go with them.

 ARN: Did your choice of real world vehicles hinge on the availability of small scale ones at all?

JA: Not at all actually – I didn’t want to put too many limits on the hero vehicles, because they had to have an sense of identity and represent the characters who drove them, so it was always a case of hoping somehow or other we could manufacture the shell’s we needed.

ARN: So which models did you use in the end, did they need much modification?

JA: There are only two RC miniatures that appear in the movie – the Toyota FJ40 driven by the The Ranger, and the Nissan Patrol GQ driven by the hero Buzz.

ARN: Was much of the footage shot in miniature make the final cut of the movie?

JA: Shooting miniature footage is actually very time-consuming and fiddly. Because we shoot them in slow motion (most footage in the movie is shot at 60fps) and at a very tight aperture (usually f15 or above) we need a lot of light, so we can only shoot in broad sunny daylight. So we didn’t shoot a great deal of stuff that didn’t make the cut. There was one sequence we did some testing for, which was a Man from Snowy River-inspired high-speed descent down a mountainside.

ARN: I have seen photos of a patrol ute model that looks amazing and came all the way from Italy, how did you make contact with the model maker there?

JA: Like most things these days, it was with some help from Mr Google. We were just looking for someone who had already done the moulding for a GQ shell, and Giuseppe Musumeci it turned out has already done an amazing one. So we snapped that up and used it as a base to work from.

ARN: It wasn’t just the models that were made in miniature, but sets too, was it hard to find a matching place to build the sets, and then to make them look believable at the right scale?

JA: In a word, yes. I made the decision to shoot outside with real light with real bush backgrounds, with the belief that with the high speed and with some creative editing the scale wouldn’t really be noticeable in context. Then to fill it out Andrew added some scale trees and foliage detail to really sell it. I think it works really well. It just looks they’re driving through a forest of big trees, which is fine! The hardest thing was probably having to rake up all the leaves and create field of fine dirt. If you look carefully, you night see a few stray leaves still in a few shots!

ARN: What was the biggest advantage, as well as the biggest challenge, while doing the shoots with miniatures?

JA: The biggest advantage was that we could perform action without endangering people or the 1:1 vehicles. We didn’t have duplicate vehicles, so we didn’t have the option of rolling them or putting them in really precarious situations. So the miniatures allowed us more flexibility and to push the action into more epic and exciting places.

The biggest challenge from my point of view was replicating the dynamics of full scale action with the physics of a 1:10 scale vehicle. As all RC enthusiasts know, RC cars move really quickly and we it can be difficult to respond. This is because gravity and inertia effect smaller objects very differently to large ones. So trying to perform very specific actions with vehicles that seem to move from A to B before your brain even knows whats happening, was very challenging.

ARN: Do you think the movie would have had the same look and feel if you had not been able to shoot some scenes in small scale?JA: No, definitely not. As realistic as the miniatures look, I do think they contribute somewhat to “old fashioned” appeal of the movie. Miniatures were a major feature of the movies I loved growing up, like Star Wars, Aliens, Indiana Jones and many others. Having miniatures in Rough Stuff just helps place it alongside those films in style and texture.

ARN: What was your favourite scene in the movie, and favourite miniature scene?

JA: The miniature scene I think works the best is actually the GQ Patrol rollover in the opening scene. Almost no-one, even dedicated RC enthusiasts as wheelers, know its a miniature. So we’re really proud of that one. Fun fact, that rollover was shot by me and my friend Gabe – just the two of us, two idiots sitting outside in the dirt playing with toy cars. And there it is, in the movie, completely convincing.

ARN: For those who are interested, where can you see Rough Stuff the movie?

JA: Head to roughstuffmovie.com/how-to-watch to see all the options.

It is currently only available in Australia, but it will be released in the US soon (hopefully before the end of the year) and the rest of the world soon after again. Its a long road!

Aussie RC have a number of great exclusive videos, some of which you can see here, and a few others on our Brand New Youtube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F_24NNA4_M

For more visit Rough Stuff’s website, Youtube channel and Facebook page as linked below.

http://www.roughstuffmovie.com/

https://www.facebook.com/roughstuffmovie

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGPBSplO8yBMn3k_dDpImUQ

New Bodies and parts from RC4wd

If you have a crawler, you will know EXACTLY who RC4WD are as they make some of the best products and accessories available for Rock Crawling vehicles in the world.  If you didn’t know that before, you do now.

Some of their latest products are very tasty, as a Land Rover man I am loving their new Defender 90 Pickup Truck body.  Now the normal hard top has been available for some time as a body as well as on the RC4WD Gelande 2 kit, but the truck cab variant always looks fantastic and lends itself to modification as a longer bed 110, cab chassis or range of other variants when it comes to modifications.  Information about this new hard body is here http://store.rc4wd.com/110-Land-Rover-Defender-D90-Pick-Up-Truck-Hard-Plastic-Body-Kit_p_4180.html

Next is almost as exciting in many ways, a scale V8 Engine and transmission! You can put a standard crawler brushed motor in the V8 and the transmission is a single speed, working transmission, the combination of which looks amazing!

Shown installed with R4 Transmission (Z-U0031) and 540 Crawler Brushed Motor 45T (Z-E0004) for example (Not Included)

Shown installed on R4 Transmission (Z-U0031), 540 Crawler Brushed Motor 45T (Z-E0004) and TF2 V8 Engine Mounts (Z-S1239) for example (Not Included)

For more information visit http://store.rc4wd.com/RC4WD-110-V8-Scale-Engine_p_4175.html and http://store.rc4wd.com/RC4WD-R4-Ultimate-Scale-Single-Speed-Transmission_p_4173.html

Licensed Warn Winches from RC4WD

We all know that RC4WD have some of the best crawler and scale gear out there, and now they have collaborated with Warn to release a licensed version of their 9.5 winch for your crawler.  And not only can you get the winch, but you can get a wired or wireless controller for your vehicle in these fantastic scale additions to your rig.

To find out more details, prices, photos etc, head over to the RC4WD website here http://store.rc4wd.com/search.asp?keyword=Warn+Winch+1%2F10&search.x=0&search.y=0

winch controller Source: RC4WD