Category Archives: Reviews

Review – HobbyKing GT2E Radio

Yes, i have had this for a while now, but things have been so busy I forgot to finish this review. So let’s do this!

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The Review

So, we are looking at the HobbyKing HK-GT2E radio, it appears in a few places as radios in cheaper cars as well as of course through HobbyKing.  Cost wise, it is WAAYYY at the budget end of the scale at about $28 Australian depending on sales etc etc. Recievers if you ever need to purchase more, are only about $9.  Personally I like how it looks, and it is light and easy to use.  Yes you don’t get the adjust-ability of a more expensive radio’s features etc, but you get the regular reversal of channels, dual rate, steering and throttle trim that you get on a regular DX2E for example.

It has just the 2 channels and takes 4x AA batteries.  The receiver, weighing in at 5 grams, is a 3 channel and is nicely compact, which is good as it went into my space poor Tamiya XV-01 rally car freeing up space that the Spektrum receiver was eating up.

Summing it up!

So, it works well, looks ok, has good range and is cheap.  What more do you really need in a radio for that extra car, rock crawler etc etc.  Ok, it was a little more with freight but I still consider it a good buy, and for some months it has been working flawlessly in my Rally Car.  So i’m happy to recommend them to anybody looking for an extra radio.  Would I race with it?  if I had to, sure why not, reaction speeds were fine, but it wouldn’t be ideal in the situation.

Is that I hear you cry? well i’m not sure what else you need to hear, but if you have any questions, feel free to post on here, or on facebook!

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http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__61777__Hobbyking_GT2E_AFHDS_2A_2_4ghz_2_Channel_Radio_System.html

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Team Yokomo YZ-4 by Chris Sturdy

Who better to review the new Team Yokomo 4wd, 1:10 buggy, than one of the people who steers them best, Chris Sturdy.

Yokomo YZ-4 Review!!!

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Quality…One word that describes this buggy, The quality of this kit in my honest opinion is second to none.

The Build

The build was perfect, everything went together so nicely. The fit and finish is perfect and feels amazing. As you can tell this buggy is a whole lot different to the Bmax4III. I’ll point out some of the major changes. Lets start with the biggest change and one that a lot of people seem to think makes this buggy worse than the Bmax4III….Yes the belts. But it really isn’t what you think. The way Yokomo have designed the drive train it still has great acceleration and does not feel at all like there is a slight delay with the belts at all. On track the Drive line feels amazing, super smooth through the power range while without loosing any acceleration. The belts are very heavy duty as well and nothing like what i have used before.

Next is the steering assembly. Very different to the Bmax4III, similar design to the YZ-2, In fact it uses the same Bell crank parts. This eliminate the servo saver which on the Bmax4III had a habit of coming loose at the wrong time. This assembly also has 4 extra bearings to its predecessor when using the alloy assembly on the YZ-4. The kit comes with plastic parts (insert Oh No its Plastic jokes here) that are insanely tough and feel very rigid. The same can be said about the plastic suspension mount parts for the rear arms and the plastic shock towers, they feel very ridgid and by no means feel cheap.  Keep in mind how much it costs to make a mould to produce plastic parts before you go saying that plastic parts are cheap especially this high quality. I opted for the alloy suspension mounts as that’s what Yokomo sent me otherwise i would have just used all the plastic parts that came in the kit. One more addition to this buggy is the use of a front clicker pulley. I recommend this for stock as it works similar to a one-way diff in the front of a TC car. The clicker takes drive off the front of the car entering corners allowing the brakes to pivot the car more like a 2wd buggy. For modified I suggest taking the spring out all together.

One negative with this buggy is that due to the belt drive train, is it is harder to remove the gearboxes compared the the BMAX4III but by no means is it difficult, its just abit more work. There is so much more i I could write about new additions to the buggy but would make this article A LOT longer.

Here is a full list of all the Option parts that i recommend getting for adjustability:

  • Z2-300RF – Rear suspension mount (Front side)
  • Z4-300SRR – Rear suspension mount (Back side, for S4 arm)
  • Z4-300FU – Aluminum Front Upper Arm Mount (L / R)
  • Z4-412 – Anti-roll bar set x2

The Drive

The drive was honestly surprising, I didn’t really know what to expect but was honestly surprised with how easy the buggy was to drive. So much easier to turn corners than the Bmax4III and consistent from entry to exit. The buggy hugged the apex’s on low speed corners and didnt slide when I got on the power too early. We actually spent most of the day trying to get rid of a bit of the rear grip the buggy had. A the end of the day we took the wheels off the YZ-4 and put them straight on the Bmax4III and ran the Bmax4III once.  After spending all day driving the YZ-4 I realised how much more edgy the Bmax4III was. I have spent alot of time getting the Bmax4III as good as it was for that track and after 3.5 Hrs testing the YZ-4, the YZ-4 was already slightly faster but so much more consistent and we have only scratched the surface with the setup if even that! All up I think if you thought the YZ-4 wasn’t going to work on dirt all I have to say is…THINK AGAIN!

I would also like to Thank Team Yokomo for their continued support, I’m honoured to be able to represent them!

Review: Team Durango DESC210R Short Course Truck

Ok, this is actually my fifth full review of a vehicle as it turns out!  However it has been a little delayed for a few reason’s, like being in the 2nd new job since the last review, some back dramas and a busy family life.  Let’s just say that I was doing thorough testing and move on 😉

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Manufacturer: Team Durango
Kit: DESC210R
Type: 1:10 Short Course Truck
Website: http://www.team-durango.com/race-cars/desc210r/
Servo: Savox SC-1251MG
Radio: Spektrum DX2 with SR3000Rx
ESC: Novak GTB2
Motor: Novak 13.5T and Speed Passion 10.5T
Body: Proline F150 Raptor Flo-Tek
Rims: Team Durango
Tyres Front: Schumacher Mini Pin Blue
Tyres Rear: Schumacher Mini Pin Blue
Differential: Gear
Motor Configuration: Mid Mount
Optional Items: Gear Differential and Christmas Lights (I was feeling like some LED Glow last race meet! )

The Build

So this was the first Durango kit that I had from new as my buggy was a 2nd hand purchase.  I was very impressed with the way the whole kit went together from start to finish.  Great fit and finish, some great design in a number of areas and so on.  BUT, what I didn’t like was the manual.  There were some places where part numbers were missing or downright wrong.  I know this is an older kit now, and considering I paid $165 US on special at Tower Hobbies (about $210 AUD landed at my door) I can’t complain too much as it was an absolute steal!  Another Bittersweet moment was the updated parts.  As well as an updated chassis there was a few related updated parts to install as well, and as there were 2-3 updates on top of one another, it was very confusing in places.  Team Durango really need to look at a revised manual encompassing the changes and removing the pieces that are not required. However I suspect a new 2wd SCT will be forthcoming from them soon, so it is a moot point in a sense.  So while the kit stacked up to, and exceeded the quality of, other kits I had made, the instructions were inferior to the Tamiya and HPI manuals I am accustomed to.

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The shocks I think deserve a special mention. They go together so well, bleed easily and inspire confidence in their design.

First Impressions

I took one slightly unconventional step here of not painting the Team Durango body, and it still remains on the shelf in the shed.  Why? Because I had a perfectly good Proline SCT body sitting there in my colour scheme that I had not sold with the Blitz, so with some careful re drilling, and a little trimming around the rear bumper, the Proline body is fitted, and works quite well!  The front bumper actually sits behind the front of the body, but that doesn’t fuss me.  Otherwise, it looks good, has so much adjustability that I don’t know where to start, and seems strongly built in the right places.  I like the way that the front and rear bumpers move in a solid hit taking some of the shock out of the impact.  I think the empty rear motor mount looks a littles strange sitting out the back all empty, but I guess it does the job and expatiates the mid to rear mount changeover with a minimal number of parts. One design that I didn’t like is undoing the spur gear cover on the updated chassis, the lower screw is really hard to get at because of the reinforcing that is not there on the original chassis.  But i’d rather a tough to get at screw than a broken chassis.

Here is the cover screw in question, the bottom one of 2 screws that hold on the spur gear cover.
Here is the cover screw in question, the bottom one of 2 screws that hold on the spur gear cover.

The Drive

So mostly I have been driving this car on the carpet track at Launceston R/C, but I have had it on some dirt and on the bitumen as well, and to be honest, even as a mid mount it handles everything I can throw at it.  Being a racing kit, with a huge range of adjustment, you can make it handle any situation with the right tuning.  However the setup I am running with is working pretty well for me so far with some good decreases in lap times as I make adjustments.

Most of the adjustments on the DESC10R are the normal ones, pistons, shock tower and body position etc etc.  It is the caster adjusted by removable slugs that I find fascinating and a very accurate way of doing the adjustment without a bag full of spare parts.  The toe is at the rear is adjusted in the same way. Similarly the adjustment of the front axle positions, trailing or leading, is adjusted with inserts provided with the kit. These design features make for an impressive array of accurate adjustability right out of the box. Another tuning option that gives a lot of flexibility is the battery position.  You can run a full standard length pack in mid or rear configuration, with space to spare to move the pack forwards or backwards.  The only problems arise when you lose the foam blocks or steal them for your buggy.  I do need to get some more of those!
Droop screws are also an unusual feature in a kit of this scale, something that does get adjustment with the low height that SCT’s on the track here tend to use.
I did purchase and fit the optional gear differential instead of the ball differential because me and ball diffs, we don’t get along!  and on carpet the gear differential seemed more suited to the surface.

Damage

Unlike on my last review, I am the primary driver of this vehicle and it gets raced against some very quick opposition at my local club.  It also gets raced against some less than gentle opposition, which combined with my less than pro driver ability, means that the durability has had quite a workout, on the track at least.  So far massive air, bug crashes, and a lot of traction rolls while improving the setup have resulted in, well …. no damage to date. So i’m pretty happy as I hate spending parts on spares!

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Parts Availability and Maintenance

Ok, so far I have not needed any spares, which is a pus, but parts are readily available from Local Hobby Stores as well as the big overseas stores.  So you should have no problems there.  Prices are generally very good as well.

Maintenance has been fairly easy this far, shock oils are quick and easy to change, gearing adjustment is a little tricky thanks to the issue that I mentioned earlier with the spur gear cover.  All in all an easy truck to work on.

Photos

Final Thoughts

This truck would suit anybody from a first timer through to a pro.  The only major downside being the confusing updated parts.  The only thing I am really disappointed with is the wheel bearings which will be receiving an upgrade when I get the chance.  Equaly at home on the track or in the yard as a basher, this jack of all trades has it all in my opinion.  Durability for the beginner and precision and adjustability for a racer.

Review: Yokomo YZ-2 2wd Buggy by Chris Sturdy

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Sometimes I can review cars because I own one, sometimes borrow one, so far nobody is giving me any to review, but sometimes other review cars for me which is the case here.  In this instance, a new reviewer in the form of Team Yokomo driver Chris Sturdy who has just recently built his new YZ-2.  So we asked Chris to give us his thoughts on his new ride and this is what he had to say!

The Build

Like all Yokomo kits the bags are all marked in number order allowing for easy identification of each bag and what order they need to be opened in. From the new bell crank and steering assembly to the all new rear suspension mounts the quality was top notch. I had no issues with the build, screws went into the plastic nice and smoothly without the need for excessive force while tightening.
Some new features. Yokomo has redesigned their steering system and is a big step up from previous buggies. The new system now includes 8 bearings instead of 4 like the Bmax2 allowing for a super free motion with the bell cranks. The new C-Hub design allows for a screw and kingpin instead of a suspension shaft this alloys for a very low friction steering system that feels great on track. The new C-Hub design also includes changeable inserts to change Caster angles, In corporation with either the 25 degrees or 30 degrees suspension mounts the inserts now alloy for a maximum of 35 Degrees caster and a minimum of 20. The biggest addition to the YZ-2 is the new Low-Profile forward Gearbox, The gearbox includes the top shaft, 2 idler gears and the differential. this kit include the Alloy top shaft as standard alloying for less weight in the gearbox giving faster acceleration and a lower enter of gravity. The idler gears are plastic but are a much bulkier design so durability isn’t an issue allowing for lighter idler gears instead of the alloy ones most people used on the Bmax2.
The gearbox is now mounted on 3 rubber sheets which alloy for a floating gearbox which aids in forward traction.
The new Rear suspension mounts incorporate the 4wd design using plastic inserts for easy adjustment of toe and anti-squat, the Shims that can either be placed under or on top of the RR block and RF block allow for a better adjustment of the roll centre by raising or lowering the suspension arms.
Some things to note, whenever I build a car, any screw that is being installed into Alloy parts I always add a dab of locktite to the screw. this will almost guarantee that the screw will not come loose while on track.
When installing the differential into the gearbox housing always check for any excessive left to right play and use very fine shims to adjust, In this kit I added a 0.1 shim on both the left and right outdrives inside the gearbox case.
Here is a list of all the running gear I installed aswell as all the option parts I installed on the buggy.
Motor: Fantom Ion5 8.5T Team Edition Motor
ESC: Hobbywing V3.1 running in Mode 8
Battery: Fantom Short 4600
Servo: ProAmps Prototype (Released soon)
Radio: Futaba 4PKS-R with Fasst BTA Receiver
Tires: Slicks ( works best at GCRC Raceway)
Bearings: Plaig Bearings YZ-2 Kit (available shortly)
Option parts include:  Alloy rear Hubs 0Deg, Full Titanium Screw Kit, Full Ti Turn-buckle set 52mm, Alloy front and  rear Shock Caps, Machined pistons, Ball Diff
All together the car weighed in at a feather weight of 1550g with added weight included.

The first run

Before the first run I was sceptical, but once I did a lap there was no doubt, this buggy was FAST, within the first 15 Laps I matched my best lap from the Bmax2MR the week before and only got better from there. I played around with camber links, camber, springs but didn’t change too much from first run and got used to the buggy. Compared to the Bmax2MR which I also ran on track during the day, The YZ-2 feels more nimble, Smoother cornering and turns more precise and aggressive without the rear end snapping through corner. The buggy jumps a lot flatter allowing for easy adjustment of throttle and steering through the air allowing for much more precise and smoother landings. Despite the more forward motor position the buggy still had tremendous forward grip and was wheel standing at some points. By the end of the night i posted my fastest 2wd lap, We are only starting to scratch the surface with the setup now and I look forward to testing the buggy more and more in the coming weeks.
Here are some photos of the build and a video of a few laps at GCRC Raceway.
I would like to thank Team Yokomo for the support and the All new YZ-2, a weapon straight out of the box!

Chris Sturdy
 
Yokomo, Fantom Racing, Hobbywing, Jconcpets, ProAmps Servos, Plaig Bearings, Wild Turbo Fan, StickIt1Racing, BittyDesign Australia, S2H Bodies, GCRC Raceway

HB D413 Review Pt1 from Neobuggy

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We have seen in the hands of the pros what the D413 from HB is capable of, now it is time to see how it stacks up for us mere mortals.

Neobuggy is doing a review of the D413, and whilst this part 1 only covers the build, it always gives an interesting insight into a kit as how the build goes. Check out all of the action at http://www.neobuggy.net/2014/11/28/hb-d413-review-the-build/

So far they seem to be fairly psitive about the kit with a couple of disliked items, but they are holding back on judgement to see if they work.  We will make sure we bring you further parts of this review, so keep an eye open.

Review: HPI Blitz ESE

Ready to Race!
Ready to Race!

I thought it was about time for another review, one that could in truth be called a long term test as I have had the vehicle for a number of years.  When Short Course Trucks came onto the scene I loved the way that they looked, but I had other RC cars at the time, in fact I had 5 different vehicles before I got a Short Course truck, and as they were all from HPI / HB, it was only natural to get a Blitz, and with some cash in hand I lashed out and got the racing version, the Blitz ESE so named after it’s designer (Erik Shauver Edition).  At the time I also owned a E-firestorm, the platform that the Blitz was based on, so it made sense to get something with a level of parts commonality.
This was my first true Kit as well, with my previous vehicles, in order, being a new MT2, 2nd hand E-Savage, a new RTR E-Firestorm, a 2nd hand D8 which I never got around to converting to an electric vehicle, and a very 2nd hand Sprint 2. A little while after I got my E-Firestorm I became involved with a local club starting up, so I raced the E-Firestorm and Sprint 2 there, however the ESE was to be my racing mainstay as SCT was the most popular class at my local. So in October 2010 I started building my new kit.

Manufacturer: HPI
Kit: Blitz ESE
Website: http://www.hpiracing.com/en/kit/104559
Servo: Savox SC1251MG
Radio: Spektrum SR3000 and Dx2.0
ESC: Novak GTB2
Motor: Novak 13.5
Body: Blitz ESE & Proline F150 Raptor Flo-Tek
Rims: HPI, Proline & DE Racing
Tyres Front: HPI Trepadors, Kyosho UMT601 & Schumacher Blue Mini Pin
Tyres Rear: HPI Trepadors, Kyosho UMT601 & Schumacher Blue Mini Pin
Differential: E-Firestorm Gear Differential
Motor Configuration: Rear Mount
Optional Items: For the most part my Blitz stayed fairly stock standard, but one optional part it benefited from was a STRC alloy steering rack.

The Build

Building the kit was a new experience for me, sure I had repaired breakages and maintained the cars that I had, but never guilt one from scratch.  The excellent HPI manual made it very easy for me and I had no problems at all, even with the ball differential which was something new to me. Plenty of space for electronics to be installed and no fit or finish problems of any kind I am please to report.

First Impressions

Initially the car was fitted with the stock ESE body which was a little thinner than the standard blitz one, in the name of saving weight.  I actually found that this body lasted some years, even under the duress of my terrible driving. I think that the thinner lexan allowed the body to flex more and crack less, even on the concrete and bitumen surface I was racing on indoors.  Tyres of choice for the track I was on was the HPI Trepador, and so that is what I fitted to some HPI rims painted metallic green. As I mentioned before, I was impressed with the kit on the whole.

The Drive

Driving the Short course truck was fun, it had realistic body roll and happily hung the tail out when pushed too fast.  Racing was close with other drivers side by side and competitors of all experience in good supply. I had some trouble at the time with understeer, but after consulting with local guru Scott Guyatt it turned out that my driving (too fast into the corner) was more to blame than any setup issue. All in all it was well behaved without any quirks and did everything I asked of it, and then some!

Jumps are often the folly of the short course truck were handled with aplomb, with about 1/2 throttle applied while in the air a flat landing was easy to achieve.  Our track had little in the way of bumpy sections depending on the configuration at the time, however the bumps were handled well.

Now don’t for a second think that this truck was pampered and only ever driven on an indoor track, it was also used whenever I had a chance for bashing at wherever I found.  The Trepador tyres handled most conditions well, but as the surface became very loose and dusty, or on long grass, wheel spin and spins became more commonplace.  The suspension however soaked up the lumps and bumps thrown at it very well, even those that really were much too large for it to handle.

A major change in the surface that I drive on came in late 2012 when the venue my club raced at went broke prompting a 6 month search for a new venue.  Once that was found, the concrete surface was a polished one which was unsuitable for driving on unless you wanted ice dancing, so more carpet and artifical turf was acquired until the track was composed of 100% Turf and Carpet.  This in turn created a whole new world of grip significantly increasing grip with the right type of tyres.  I found my Trepadors too slippery and moved to the Kyosho Ultima tyres.  You see we have a tyre list at Launceston RC to keep racing close, and costs down.  However as time went on, Carpet tyres from Schumacher and Proline were added by the committee to the approved tyre list, and Schumacher Blue Mini Pin tyres from Action RC were fitted to my truck.  Whilst the grip was similar to that of the kyoshos, it was far more constant, and the tyres are looking to wear much better, and evenly.  This high traction surface calls for a whole different style of driving and car setup and whereas the blitz was happy on the old surface, on this surface it is really felling dated in terms of car dynamics.  Newer Mid Mounted SCT’s from Losi, Team Durango and Kyosho to name a few are performing better on this surface than the older chassis.  It’s not that the Blitz ESE is bad here, it is just not as suited to the conditions as other chassis, and the mid mounted engine balance makes a significant difference.

Damage

The list of damage over three years of bashing and racing were surprisingly short for a vehicle with a more stiff plastic than the normal Blitz (and therefor more brittle).  No matter how much air I got on jumps, or how ugly the landing, I never broke anything jumping the truck.

How collisions, that was another matter!  The bumpers on the Blitz ESE do well to soak up the impact with a variety of objects, but some things are just insurmountably hard.  For example, a concrete slab that my brother in law crashed head on into.  Result? One broken chassis just in front of the servo.  This is one place that the chassis has been stretched over the firestorm chassis and appears to have resulted in a weak spot.  One broken chassis isn’t really enough to come to that conclusion, a 2nd one broken in the same place however convinced me of it.  On the 2nd occasion, another driver came of a jumps section and we collided at a fairly high speed head on.  The break was almost precisely in the same place (I should have take a photo of the 2 broken chassis as I have them both at home!) and so I am on my 3rd chassis.  Now I don’t know if HPI changed the material that the chassis were made of, but in the last 2 years I have not broken the chassis in the same place.  I have not added any further bracing to that area as some alloy parts are available to do that.  The only other thing I have broken has been a few steering knuckles, which is a natural part of my average driving skills!  Not bad for 3 years worth of driving.

Parts Availability

With a major distributor in Australia in the form of Hobbies Australia, parts are fairly easy to find reasonably well priced.  Stock however was often an issue with many stores not carrying the parts, so more often than not I purchased parts online from mainland Australia, or in the US. There is also a plethora of aftermarket parts available in a range of materials and colours.  Most SCT bodies fit and the majority of 12mm hex rims fit.  I did have a set of Proline Rims that I purchased which fitted, but bound on the steering hub.  I wrote to proline at the time because it was stated that the rims suited the Blitz.  That said, the Blitz ESE has a slightly narrower alloy hex vs the thicker plastic one on the Blitz, but the fine print on the part stated that some cutting would be needed to make the rim fit.  So after taking the dremel to the fins on the back of the hub, it fitted just fine, but it certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.  I’ve since moved to DE Racing Rims and have been very happy with them.

Another part that I did change was the Ball Differential.  The EXE came with a ball differential made by HPI.  The later ESE Pro came with a MIP one, but I just could never get it right, it was either coming loose, crushing balls or not behaving as I wanted.  Strangely enough the Gear differential from the Blitz could not be purchased as a complete unit, only as parts, and the E-Firestorm differential which is the same was in the same boat.  On this case Ebay came to the rescue with one from a new kit being parted out, and I have never looked back!

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Final Thoughts

I have loved the Blitz design from the outset, and I have had a blast with my ESE.  It’s been reliable, fun and a real blast to race and play with.  However it’s days in my garage are dated as it’s been used more and more for racing, a situation where it isn’t working as well for me as it could be.  If I was racing on dirt or our old surface I doubt I would be looking to replace it, but as it is the old girl has the “For Sale” sign up and will be replaced with a Team Durango DESC210R when I can for parts and design commonality with my DEX210.