It has often been said that good things come in small packages, and the latest release from RC4WD is no exception. Some of you may be saying, oh another Trail Finder 2 with a Mojave II body, and yes it is, but look closer, this is 1:24 scale, it is absolutely tiny when you compare it with our 4Runner Trail Finder 2. For those of you that are wondering how small, 1:24 is a common size for Die Cast model cars, and is only a little larger than your average Scalextric car. At only 203mm long it really does fit in the palm of your hand, toy sized. But does that toy size equate to toy performance, well read on!
Unboxing & First Impressions
When this parcel arrived I was a little surprised at the size, as RC4WD aren’t generally known for their small scale vehicles. This 1/24 vehicle puts it squarely in the path of a few different competitors such as the SCX24 from Axial Racing, the Kyosho MiniZ 4×4 and the C24 cars from WPL. The packaging itself looks very tidy, and includes absolutely everything you need. A USB charger for the car, AA batteries for the radio, even spare velcro in the box. The truck comes with 4 different combinations of stickers for the truck, as well as a variety of small stickers to place if and where you please. There was also stick on mirrored pieces to add to the rear view mirrors. Our truck is the Yellow model, but it also comes in Blue and Red (which appears to have black instead of white rims). The level of detail is impressive with mirrors that fold in so that they don’t break when you inevitably push too far, windscreen wipers, even tiny light buckets that allow you to add LED lights later on if you want. A full interior inside with steering wheel on the correct side and gearstick also takes pride of place in the cabin and you can look closely and spot tiny clear indicator side lights added to the bodywork.
Attention to detail continues under the hood with adjustable velcro body mounts fixed to the metal chassis with a clever body pin mounting. Something that could probably scale up well to a 1:10 car with sufficiently strong velcro. The rubber band strap for the battery works well and the micro server is tucked in right behind the grille at the front of the truck. We were also lucky enough that RC4WD threw in a high powered motor and another set of velcro straps which are a limited time promotion. It is worth noting that, as always, RC4WD are thinking ahead as the back of the chassis has six different mounting positions for the rear shocks and three for the trailing arms allowing a variety of wheelbases to be achieved from the kit configuration of 120mm down to 115mm and 125mm for short and long wheelbase versions of the chassis. This already has me thinking about 3d printing bodies to fit on this vehicle as the velcro mountings would make it easy to affix them to the chassis, and the size would allow a 1 piece body to be printed on many common 3d printers. Even diecast bodies could be adapted, although their weight could prove problematic.
Live axles and coil springs certainly give this truck an impressive scale appearance, but also surprising performance. There is no open differentials, so the turning circle is fairly large, but it still manages to tackle tight obstacles with aplomb. The accurate reproductions of the Mickey Thompson tyres lot only look absolutely spot on, but also function quite well. The wheels even feature sunrasia rims with working wheel nuts used to hold the tyres on to the rim, although I don’t think I have a socket small enough to undo them.
This is where the problems started. Ok, before you get concerned, I am talking about family problems, not truck problems. You see my Daughter is into horses in both full size and toy size. She has a variety of them including a number from Schleich, which turns out is very near to 1/24 scale. In fact the hay bales from the set make a few appearances in the photos here as perfect scale accessories. So what is the problem? Getting the controller out of her hands for long enough to be able to test the vehicle for myself! Parents be warned, you may need a 2nd vehicle for your children!!!
So upon wrestling control of the vehicle back from my 11 year old Daughter I finally got some time behind the wheel. Fast this truck is not, but then i shouldn’t be, it’s a rock crawler not a race car. However that lack of speed is because this truck is all torque. With a R6 1/24 mini transmission complete with gears and ball bearings, it has enough power to pull itself up obstacles until gravity simply overcomes what traction is available from the tyres. The locked diffs may hinder the turning circle, but they allow you to climb almost any obstacle in it’s way. The tyres themselves provide plenty of grip, and perform quite well, it is simply the scale that will unstick you more often than not. Even driving around a garden bed sees lumps of soil and rocks that seem tiny get you hung up on one of the D44 scale axles. This isn’t a criticism of the truck at all, it’s just that as a driver you have to readjust your concept of the size and relative scale of the terrain that you are driving on. Large rocks however for excellent playgrounds for mini courses and challenges. I mean forget about cruising across your thick lawn, the tyres simply aren’t tall enough, but almost anything else can be turned into a miniature playground. Even my Daughters Schleich barn became an obstacle to drive through on our indoor off road course made up of toys, books and other odds and ends.
So far the battery has also been a surprise, with about 15 minutes of driving each time I have used the vehicle for an extended time. In fact by the time you are stopping and starting you could be driving for 20 minutes comfortably before the tank is empty. The radio is comfortable in your hand, and features all the usual adjustments that you would expect to find. it is a little smaller than a full size radio, but it never feels like you are holding a small or delicate instrument rater than a remote control.
This is my first small scale vehicle, and whilst it might me small in size, it is just as much fin, if not more, than it’s “Full Size” 1:10 counterpart. The vehicle seems well designed, and well put together, with maintenance and replacing parts seeming to be quite straight forward. In honesty i’m not sure how you could break any of them (with the exception of the hard body which is naturally vulnerable in crashes and roll overs). That said, i’m sure people will manage to break them somehow. This truck isn’t something I would have sought out and purchased for myself, but I wouldn’t have known what I was missing out on. It’s a blast to drive and it will take pride of place on my desk, where it fits just nicely beside my computer monitor, ready to be used at a moments notice (or a moment of my supervisor’s inattention).
We also need to send a big shout out to the team at RC4WD for sending us this amazing little rig to test, keep up the good work!