I’ve written a couple of articles so far on various vehicle categories on what is out there worth having, but they have mostly been aimed at race vehicles, so today I thought we would look at the Bashing offerings of the players offering large scale vehicles (5th scale or greater). For price comparisons I have tried to get prices from Australian stores where possible.
To a fair extent the credit for the popularity of 5th scale vehicles at the moment has to go to the Baja 5B released by HPI in 1996 for making 5th scale vehicles affordable for the masses, as well as widely available. For the most part the original Baja 5B remains unchanged with a RTR and SS kit versions available of this 2wd, 2 stroke, Baja styled buggy. However in the HPI lineup the Baja is no longer alone as it has spawned a range of younger siblings. The 5B and 5B SS are of course the mainstay of the range, but they have been joined by the quieter Baja 5B flux electric version as well as a Baja 5T truck based on the same underpinnings. Following on form the 5T was the addition of the Baja 5SC and 5SC SS Short Course Trucks, again on the same underpinnings as the Baja. On the electric side there was also the Super 5SC Flux which I loved, and was based on an extended Savage flux 4wd platform, but unfortunately that kit has been discontinued, but can be found or sale from time to time.
The Baja line of vehicles are available for a great price considering their sheer size and the range of upgrade, hoppups and accessories available for this range is nothing short of staggering! Looking at the Hobbyco website, he basic Baja 5B rtr with everything you need to get going already built retails for around the $1300 mark, where as the Flux version comes in at the higher $1600 mark without batteries.
Losi are a newer member of the 5th scale club, but when they came to the party it was with some impressive vehicles! Whilst there have been rumours of electric versions, at this stage the 5ive platform is Petrol 2 stroke only. First to be released in their 5ive fifth scale platform was the 5ive-T 4wd off road truck. Yes, unlike the Baja platform, this beast is 4wd from start to finish in this short course style truck. The most recent additions to this lineup are the Desert Buggy XL and 5ive Mini WRC car which represents both ends of the price spektrum with the Desert Buggy being the cheapest, and the Mini being the most expensive. The Modelflight website reveals the price of the 5ive-T at $1900, the Mini at $2300 and the Desert Buggy at $1300.
Now these are not the only fifth scale vehicles on the market by any measure, there are both cheaper, and more expensive alternatives out there from on road race cars, to knockoffs of the models that you can see mentioned above. HSP, Kingmotor, HRC, Rovan, Turnigy, Exceed RC and Smartech are all examples of cars at the more affordable end of the price spectrum. Within these vehicles there is variations from the reasonably good through to the downright terrible. Also beware that they may not be as durable as models from the major players, and parts may be difficult to source. I have spent some time with a Turnigy Trailblazer BX 1:5 buggy for example. Mainly in the repair of after a crash tore the front end off the vehicle. Whilst the scale and price were impressive, it’s plastics were not really strong enough for the job, the play and performance were terrible and I was left fairly unimpressed by everything but the sheer size of the beast Vs the price.
One range that does interest me is the Maverick range of vehicles sold by Frontline Hobbies with prices starting at about $800 for Electric and petrol 1:5 scale vehicles that you can see here. They look more sturdy than the average budget 5th scale vehicle, and of course parts are available through Frontline as well. I guess with the likes of Redcat that appear to have a good price point and parts availability these manufacturers fill a midway point between the high quality first line kits, and the lower quality and price vehicles. However my opinion still is that you are better off saving for longer to buy one of the quality HPI or Losi offerings, or find a 2nd hand one to buy. Advice one of our writers Richard Green has recently taken with regards to a 1:10 2wd buggy.
At the top end of price you can find manufacturers such as MCD Racing (http://www.mcdracing.com/) and FG Modellsport that make a range of racing 1:5 vars and trucks from Touring Cars through to monster trucks. There are a number of other manufacturers in this category, but unfortunately I am not familiar with who they are, however generally these are much more complicated ans expensive than your average bashing vehicle.