Every year different race classes in different parts of the country enjoy surges and waning in popularity. Stadium trucks have been around since the Tamiya Stadium Blitzer and RC10T graced on tracks around the world in the early 90’s however have not enjoyed popularity for some time.
Hi Everyone, I’m happy to be writing my first post here as a contributor to Aussie RC.
Some of you may know me, but if not…allow me to briefly introduce myself:
Im Chris Mitchell, 25, from Perth WA. I’ve been racing RC for 5 years now and currently race 1/10 EP OFR at tracks around Perth, but i’ve been known to pick up other peoples cars in other classes and fly around for a while before something breaks (you can guess how I got the name ‘Crash’).
Aside from racing, Ive been involved in the West Coast Model RC committee for a few years now, having the pleasure of being the club President in 2016, and being able to host the 2016 AARCMCC EP OFR Australian Championships at my home track late last year. These days apart from racing, I serve on the EP OFR Committee for AARCMCC, helping to coordinate rule changes and matters arising for sanctioned events around Australia.
I also have a well known talent for being able to talk the back legs off a pool table, as as such I have the pleasure of announcing and race directing some of the biggest RC race events in Australia. Anyone who races the AARCMCC 1/8 Off Road Nationals Series at the moment will have gotten sick of me by now! I’ve had some amazing opportunities and attended some fantastic events in the last couple of years because of this, all starting at the 2015 1/8 Nationals at MORBC.
So, I am here to help bring more stories to the Aussie RC page, if anyone has something to share, feel free to contact me via Facebook. Thanks for reading!
So I have 3 Team Durango vehicles that I race, and my son one as well, 4 vehicles in all. However I face the prospect of looking to change camps because Team Durango, that I do love for their flexibility and parts cost, have simply been silent for so long. It isn’t strictly the lack of new releases that bothers me as their two new 2wd buggies are not that old, but after their release was a deafening silence about EVERYTHING! Parts are hard to get, bodies near on impossible and in the current financial climate, you can;t help but think things are going very badly. My only thread of hope is rumours of a Chinese factory making parts went under and stopped the supply of parts rather than the company itself.
So I looked at what other Buggies were on the market to see what is our there and what they cost. For the purposes of this article I looked at Amain Hobbies in the US (I know, boo me, but hear me out), you see I wanted to see how they compared in price, and few stores if any in Australia stock the new buggies from all the main brands. However as one friend said to me, make sure you look at parts cost too because that realy varies across the board. Now i’m not a good enough racer for design to make all that much difference, however strength is important to me, but racing on Carpet/Astroturf, I was looking at the carpet edition cars.
Immediately I took the Hot Bodies car out of the equasion because unlike the current generation carpet cars, no laydown gearbox. Something also lacking in my Durango, but partially fixed in the more expensive DEX210F. So I looked at the new Losi 22 4.0, Team Associated B6, Serpent SER-2, Xray 2017 XB2 CE, Kyosho RB6.6 and Yokomo YZ-2 CA.
In terms of parts I took into account the cost of the following assortment of standardly broken parts: Front & rear towers, front & rear arm pairs, front hub & knuckle pairs, rear hubs and spur gears. In honesty, I was surprised by the results overall. And yes, I know different cars break differnet parts, but I had to lay a baseline and these seemed the most reasonable choices.
$310 – Team Associated B6
$330 – Losi 22 4.0
$330 – Serpent SRX-2
$350 – Yokomo YZ-2 CA
$350 – Xray XB2 CE 2017
$400 – Kyosho RB6.6
$90 difference over all the kits, sales aside of course, not as much as I was expecting, although prices have certainly not stayed still of late as you used to be able to pick up 2wd kit under $300, although the new generation of kits are more complex and include more fancy (alloy or carbon) parts.
Similarly the cost of parts encompased only a $100 bridge as well as you can see below. However this plays an even more important factor if you are looking at a 2nd hand car with a cheaper initial purchase price. However there is a but in here as well, some cars have composite rear hubs and shock towers, some alloy rear hubs and carbon towers, and naturally those items are far more expensive.
$402 – Losi
$428 – Associated
$454 – Serpent
$473 – Kyosho
$480 – Yokomo
$500 – Xray
So overall the order was fairly much the same for the parts with the exception of the most expensive places with Kyosho tipping out Xray and Yokomo because of their kit’s more expensive purchase price when kit and parts are included.
$732 – Losi
$738 – Associated
$784 – Serpent
$830 – Yokomo
$850 – Xray
$873 – Kyosho
So first place to last is a whopping $141 differenice. And the more parts you buy, the bigger that gap becomes! Now this of course is not telling the whole story because differentials are an expensive item, and vary in price from $40 to $72 which is a lot, the story there, don’t break em!! However the expense did seem to match the overall expense of the kits and parts.
Of course performance plays a part in choice, and it’s hard to say that the Xray car is anything but a stellar performer in international competition but then so is the Yokomo buggy. Other variants play a part in m decision making too, I love my stadium truck, so a company that does both with common parts is a big plus (ala Team Durango). At the moment I have to admit to leaning towards the Losi product as they make a ST as well and seem to do it with a minimum of exotic materials, however I really want to see some real world results before making any jump, and I have enough parts (and little money) to have to make any choices just yet, so keep tuned to see where this race eventually finishes!
The gist of it is that the new DNX8 buggy from Team Durango is showing on Tower Hobbies/Hobbico as Discontinued. Now this car was only announced early in 2015, a 1.5 year lifetime is extremely short for any platform. Ok, so the IFMAR 1/8 World Championships are coming up, but it seems a little off to me. Other models are also listed as temporarily unavailable as well. Of note these items are not listed as unavailable or discontinued on the Team Durango website.
Next came the confirmation this afternoon (again hinted at in the Inside Line RC article) that Travis Amezcua, who is to many the public face of Team Durango, has parted ways with the company. Again this could be a case of greener pastures, or just time to move on, however the only thing hinted at in recent online postings from Travis was only hinting at new products that couldn’t be revealed. Exciting maybe, but then to leave in the next breath seems … odd. Maybe it’s the conspiracy theorist in me LOL.
I would suggest that something big is in the works for Team Durango. A swath of new vehicles seems unlikely, however big news at a company level seems to be a likely outcome. What that news is for better, or for worse, is yet to be seen. Certainly it would be a pity to see such an innovative player in the market disappear, especially one that discards the norms that have been set by other manufacturers and stands up to clearly say, “i’m doing things my way.”
Still, it adds a certain amount of drama to the lead up to the IFMAR Worlds doesn’t it!
It is strange the things that motivate you sometimes, after racing at a major race meet on the weekend, and being perfectly happy with my RC Fleet, I find myself desiring a Stadium Truck once again after having a HPI E-Firestorm many years ago which had a number of modifications for racing, only to have nobody to race against!! Unfortunately Team Durango are no longer making their DEST210R truck, so maybe I need to convert my Short Course DESC210R with a few parts….
However this, combined with teasers of the new Xray XT2 Stadium Truck got me thinking about what is available out there, so let’s have a look! I’ll look at racing kits at this stage, I will cover RTR Stadium Trucks another day as there is a lot of them out there.
Now don’t be fooled into thinking that all stadium trucks are electric, this is far from the case with many nitro powered trucks appearing over the years and a few that are still available. Kyosho and HPI both still sell Nitro powered Stadium Trucks, they have just fallen from favor when 1:8 Truggies started taking center stage.
Now a little history for those who may not be aware, Stadium Trucks, often just referred to as trucks are based on 2wd buggies with truck bodies, wider arms, larger tyres and often longer chassis. And while that remains true of many of the original Stadium Trucks like the Tamiya Stadium Blitzer, the same remains true today.
Team Losi / TLR
So the current ST from TLR is the 22T 2.0 which is an upgrade from the original 22T released not so long ago as a part of the re invigoration of the Losi racing range under the TLR banner. Rear or mid motor mount is your choice in this kit in a very sleek design with a narrow (and not so spacious, chassis.
The newest Stadium Truck on the block, and the one about which we know the least! We presume it will be based on the XB2, and that is about all we know. When we know, you will know!
RC10T5M or the shorter name it is most commonly known by, T5M is the latest from Team Associated, however with the release of the B6 and B6D there may well be a new version out some time in the near future. This kit can trace it’s roots back to one of the original Team Associated Classics, the RC10T, and what a classic that is. Honestly with the original RC10 being re released, I am amased the RC10T has not followed suit.
The T4.2 however is also still available in it’s rear motor mount only setup, but as an RTR, so that is for another day. The T5M conversely is mid mount only so you really need to choose a kit to suit the surface that you are driving on, loose dirt or high traction clay or carpet/astroturf.
The Ultima RT6 is the latest truck from Kyosho released not too long after the new RB6 buggy. Kyosho design and quality is hard to go by if you can afford it. All in all a beautiful truck that has all the adjustment and tuning you could ever need. It almost goes without saying that Mid and Rear engine mount configurations can be built from this truck kit.
Team C isn’t a name you hear that often about the traps, but they do still sell a Stadium Truck in the form of the TC02T truck based once again from their buggy. Whilst it is a slightly older design than some of the other trucks available, it will still put a smile on your dial.
This one is slightly from left field, but X Factory have been making conversion kits for Team Associated cars for many years. Their X-60CF kit takes a T4 / 4.1 / 4.2 and turns converts it to the X Factory ST with a carbon fiber chassis and Mid motor configuration, something Associated only has done with the T5M recently.
Last but not least I do have to mention one sadly departed kit, the Team Durango DEST210R. Yes, I know that it is no longer in production, but I mention it because A) I hope a new version will appear, and B) because it was the first ST (correct me if I am wrong here) to come where you could choose a Mid or Rear mounted motor position right out of the box, and switch them as needed. Team Durango’s kits have been doing this since they released the DEX210 in 2011 and this feature has carried through to the Stadium Truck and Short Course Truck based on the same platform. As i’ve gotten back into ST’s I am thinking that I will buy the needed parts to convert my Short Course Durango into a Stadium Truck (Chassis, body and wheels), so i’ll let you know how that goes!
Ok, ok, I know that touring car racing is not dead, but there has been a significant increase in the number of cars designed to either cater to those wanting sideways action, or some social street driving or racing. Much like their crawling cousins, scale accessories and scale detail are also king in this arena of public opinion. However this new brand of on road driver has certainly resurrected some interest in On Road chassis.
Today’s release of two muscle cars from Kyosho on the Fazer platform, a 1970 Dodge Charger and a 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat are further evidence, and while I don’t know how these vehicles are selling, I certainly see a few around the place, and there is certainly a lot of chatter generated by them. Heck i’d be quite happy with one the the offerings on the Vaterra V100 platform or the new HPI RS4 Sport 3 platform (and I almost forgot the Team Associated Apex cars). All of these platforms have a number of attributes in common, great looking scale bodies, scale tyres and rims, basic shaft driven platforms and affordable pricing. This is fast turning into a what RC car to buy for street fun article, but I will resist!
Now none of these are what you would call drift vehicles despite being labeled as such and coming with hard tyres. Yes they do a decent job, but in my mind a drift car has to at least have an optional set of gearing to allow a Counter steer (or CS) conversion. What does that mean? Well the rear wheels turn faster than the front ones. Why? Because it’s easier to keep the car sideways, and who doesn’t like a bit of sideways action sometimes. None of the cars mentioned before have much in the way of adjustment either with all having fixed suspension links, but most have aftermarket or factory adjustable ones available to allow for some adjustment. That said, this keeps the price of these units down, and there is nothing like a car that is fun to drive, a decent price to buy and looks great as well. Personally I love how the BMW M3 and Subaru BRZ models on the HPI Sport 3 chassis look, but the 1969 Corvette from Vaterra looks amazing as well.
Many of this new breed of street cars also come with waterproof electronics, so even a rainy day isn’t able to keep you off the streets. About the only feature that I am a little disappointed is still on these cars is the ubiquitous post body mounts. Yes, they work well, but there are some great magnetic body mounts available today which eliminate the posts and give the car a much clearer look, but are still strong enough to stop the body coming off easily.
There is a whole range of chassis and bodies out there, and there are some offerings from Yokomo, MST and Sakura which are true drift chassis, but expect to be paying more than the cars we are discussing here today.
I guess what I am saying is don’t be a chassis snob, grab one of these budget street brawlers, grab some mates and go outside and have some fun! And because everybody loves some eye candy, here is a slide show of some of the offerings on sale at the moment.
PS, yes, I completely missed out on the Tamiya TT-01 and TT02 platforms, I could say I was focusing on new platforms, but the TT-02 is a new platform, Maybe i have a bit of tunnel vision, but check out the Tamiya cars as well as they have a huge range of cars and bodies available.
There are many secrets to going fast, and the fastest motor is far from the answer in 99% of cases. Going fast is somewhat of a black art made up of 1 part car preparation, 1 part equipment, 1 part car tuning, 1 part driving line and 1 part driver. I once asked Scott Guyatt to watch me drive one day to see what I could do better in car setup and driving line to go faster, and his answer was to go slower. I was simply hitting corners too hot, and losing time and not making the best racing line as a result.
At the time when I did not understand what to change on my car, it was the one thing that made the biggest difference over any other. For me more often than not, trying to go fast is still my biggest failing. However today we will talk about car setup, and hopefully we can help you understand what you need to do on the track to make your car work for you.
Now for a disclaimer of sorts here, what works for one person to go fast on a race track, will not work for another. The dichotomy of my brother’s racing style in Short Course Trucks, and my own is a good example. I like my truck to be stable, and fairly responsive to turn in with a little give in the tail if go in too hot rather than rolling over. My brother on the other hand (who incidentally is much faster than me) sets his truck up to slide around corners in an almost drift style, but that works for him.
Now I am certainly no expert on setup, and I won’t preach here to pretend that I am, rather I will refer you to the same bible that I use, a well written document available for free written by the aforementioned Scott Guyatt. Originally written for touring cars the 2004 version is on this page of Action R/C http://www.actionrc.com.au/?page_id=14
I have a copy of the 2005 version printed and stowed safely in my pit back because I can never remember the right setup change to make!
The R/C Handbook is well written and encompasses most tuning options and conditions that you may encounter, just look up what you want to change, see what you need to and make a small adjustment at a time to see what effect it has on your car, for better or for worse. This is where keeping track of your records can help find what makes you faster, but the feel of the car is the biggest difference for me.
So now you know my secret to getting the right setup change, I hope it helps you de mistify what you need to make changes to on your RC car.
Why do we care what is happening with some US rules? Because many AARCMCC regulations are derived from ROAR rules, and what happens there tends to have an influence around the world.
Now i never understood the controversy around the bigger 2.4 rims (diameter, not width) were banned last year be ROAR as the rules never allowed them. However the announcement today is an about face from their position in 2014 that is effective immediarely.
Now the height and width of the tyres is not changing, just the size of the rim, and a lower profile tyre will not suit all conditions, just like with 1:1 cars.
If anything i am relieved to see the rule makers moving with the times a little, although i don’t see it changing the nature if how we race much.
ROAR is introducing a rules change with immediate effect that results in 2 different wheel configurations being available as options for manufacturers and competitors: – the existing 2.2″ nominal wheels – the newer 2.4″ or 61mm nominal wheels The new rules do not include dimensions compatible with vintage style wheels as they are generally not used in ROAR sanctioned competition. Dimensions for the traditional 2.2″ wheel will be: – Mounting Bead Diameter – 2.20 inch (55.88mm) +/-.013 inch (.30mm) – Maximum Overall Diameter – 2.42 inch (61.468 mm) – Width – 1.513 inch (38.43mm) maximum Dimensions for the newer wheel style will be: – Mounting Bead Diameter – 2.380 – 2.427 inch (60.45 – 61.65 mm) – Maximum Overall Diameter – 2.571 inch (65.3 mm) – Width – 1.513 inch (38.43mm) maximum
There was some fanfare about B5M Factory Lite kit when it came out as a great, lightweight, stock class racer, and I thought what a good idea, lighter is faster! 75g lighter than the regular B5mM, fantastic!!
However something about the touted weights seemed familiar but I never looked into it. However my recent acquisition of some 2nd hand shorty packs prompted me to think about the weight saving of these packs as well as the punch provided by them as they are MUCH newer than my existing packs. So I thought I would re look at the B5M and it’s lighteright sibling.
While official weights have not been published, I have seen the B5M noted as weighing 1342g without a battery or weights by a user online, so a Factory Lite should be around 1267g. So I took the battery out of my DEX210 (details here of what it is fitted with) and it came in at 1312g. Ok, it has an alloy chassis, not plastic, gear diff, steel driveshafts, still a slipper clutch, transponder fitted etc etc. Now minimum buggy weight under the AARCMCC regulations is 1500g, so anything under that really is a pointless saving. So with a battery fitted I weighed in at 1600g, a little on the weighty side of things. However with the new shorty fitted there was a 75g saving in weight, an uncannily similar figure from higher up the page bringing me down to 1525, not bad all in all I think for somebody who isn’t a truly serious racer.
So all that weight saving is pointless? well, no not at all. Yes, you still have to be over 1500g, and my buggy can loose a little weight (much like it’s driver), but with a shorty battery as the weight saving instead of in the kit, it means I have the flexibility to move the battery around to help tune the handling of the buggy, something that made a big difference on my first night of running the new shorty batteries. Mind you, with a lightweight buggy you can add weights to tune the performance, but i’m too lazy to mess around with those, and it’s just another part that I need to buy!
It has been interesting seeing the capacity and C rating of Lipo batteries rise and rise of late, and I have always wondered how long that increase was sustainable on the currently available technology. Now it looks like SMC may have answered that for me!
Superior Matching Concepts, or SMC, is a brand of battery that I was shown by then fellow racer Scott Guyatt as a good bang for your buck battery much akin to the Intellect batteries I am/was running at the time. I am afraid I am yet to buy any, but I am in need of some younger batteries so whey are moving up the list in priority and these are at the top of the list.
However a post on their facebook page today caught my attention so I thought I would re-post it for our readers to see. The complete statement is included below.
I’m making this post to try and help educate everyone about how crazy the Lipo ratings have become and are pretty much useless. I know most of you will appreciate this post and some will think I’m just using this to promote SMC but this is really to open some eyes.
First let me explain the fact that their is no true C rate testing standards. Some factories use mAh retention and others use heat and voltage curve to determine the C rate. Every factory knows the C rate of their cells based on one of these 2 methods of C rate testing.
When I started testing and buying Lipos 8 years ago the C rates were 10 to 20C for car packs. At that time the factories were giving true C rates based on their testing method for C rate. Within a few years C rates doubled but this was just marketing to try and sell more packs and make more money. Now 8 years later it’s even crazier with some outrageous C rate claims and mAh has also started to increase on the labels but not on the cells. In my opinion 80% or more of the packs being sold in car market today have a true C rate of 15 to 25C using the heat and voltage curve method for C rate testing. Using the mAh retention you can add 5C. There are some 30C and 35C packs available but these are very rare and cost more to make.
C rate is the amp rate at which the cell/pack can be discharged at. So a 5000-20C can do 100amps. A 7200-20C can do 144 amps and so on. IR(Internal Resistance) is directly related to a cells ability to handle amp loads. So it’s not possible for a pack to have higher C rate and higher IR. This means a 7200-20C has to be lower in IR than a 5000-20C. The size of the cell also limits it’s mAh or C rate/IR. In car packs with hard cases we’re limited by the size of the case. This means if you want to increase mAh you must increase IR or vice versa. A 7200-25C will have higher IR than a 6000-35C. The 7200 will be able to do 180 amps and the 6000 will be able to do 210 amps. Only way the 6000 can provide more amps is to have lower IR.
Now that we know this if true C ratings would exist the consumer/racer would be able to know what pack better suits his needs. Unfortunately this isn’t the case so there really is no way for the customer/racer to know. SMC is no different than others as we also use inflated C rates as we have no choice. If we would use true C rates we would be out of business. What we do try and do that is different is make sure that our ratings mean something. For example our 5000-40C will have higher IR than our 5000-50C and so on.
Here is something that I find interesting and frustrating at the same time. Some of our competitors buying the same packs we do offer them with higher ratings. This leads to some customers buying these higher priced packs instead of ours. Here are 2 examples. The 4400-60C shorty which we sell for 29.95 is being offered as a 4600-90C at 44.95 and it’s the exact same pack that we offer. The 7200-60C-2S pack we offer for 39.95 is being offered as a 7600-75C for 64.95.
Something else interesting is that a customer who bought one of our 5000-40C-2S packs at 24.95 compared it to a 5450-120C-2S pack at 129.99 and told me that our 40C pack ran longer and faster in the same vehicle and the 120C pack was new to make a fair comparison.
Now that we know C rates are all made up and it’s actually getting a bit ridiculous to claim even higher C rates it seems like in the past few years mAh is now what is being inflated. Recently I tested a 7000-1S pack that only put out 6222mAh. I will admit some of our packs also have a bit lower mAh than claimed but this is due to the model being improved to provide lower IR. If you drop the IR the mAh drops.
I hope this post can help some of you not fall for all the BS and hype and don’t be surprised if SMC starts releasing higher rated packs to try and keep up as it’s very frustrating to under rate our packs and lose sales.