Vaterra Low Roller 1968 Ford F100 Truck

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NEW from Vaterra, this 1/10-scale recreation of a slammed ’68 F-100 is all attitude. From its aggressive, low-profile lines to the power and poise of its V100-S chassis, it looks and drives like the big-block muscle trucks that inspired it. Its potent Dynamite® power system and shaft-driven 4WD provide a perfect blend of speed, traction and control that make this truck fun to drive right out of the box. It comes completely ready to run with everything you need to hit the streets. You can even trick it out with aluminum option parts and different style wheels, all sold separately.

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Sat on the V100-S chassis this is a make your own hot rod truck with a range of hop up parts and accessories available.  I’m not sure i’ve seen anything quite like this from any of the major RTR players in recent times, and it is certainly refreshing to see something different!

For more details visit http://www.vaterrarc.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdId=VTR03028

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How to bring more juniors back into racing?

I eluded to this post earlier today when I was reading an interesting piece titled Do Juniors Matter? in the latest Racing Lines magazine.

The simple answer to that question is, of course they do, they are the future of our sport.  However I am sure you knew that already! How to bring more of them back into racing is the much harder question to answer.  Certainly the steps taken by AARCMCC recently to create a Junior class with 2wd buggies and 17.5 turn motors is a step in the right direction.  What I am unsure of is if it is a large enough step, and if it is in the wrong direction?

In March 2014 I wrote a piece titled Do we need to modernise how we race?  where I lamented the lack of realism, and above all else, Fun! And I think that three letter word is part of the key in this instance, and not only for children.  Racers at all levels from club to 1:1 F1 driver tend to be intensely competitive, but if you aren’t having fun, to my mind it’s a waste of time.

Again in June 2014 I wrote about fun being an important factor for juniors in Why so serious? Now that post was a mix of my frustration at another too serious driver as well as the joy of 3 very young drivers having fun on the track.  These thoughts came into my mind recently as I hope that my son will race at the club a little this year in the novice class, and in the Junior class at our major event for the year, the Launceston R/C Cup.   While AARCMCC has very specific regulations for Junior, much the same as Stock 2wd Buggy in fact, our normal novice class is open to any 10th vehicle.  For the Launceston R/C Cup we are a little more specific, and I will paste them below:

  • This is an open 10th scale off-road class for drivers 13 years of age and younger
  • It is intended to provide an enjoyable class for younger children to race
  • The class is open to 2wd Short Course Trucks (following the normal rules for that class), Stadium Trucks and 10th Off-road buggies to minimum 17.5 turn brushless motors or RTR brushed.
  • No turbo/dynamic timing to be used on ESCs
  • 8th buggies/truggies are not permitted in this class.

So pretty much any reasonable 1:10 vehicle can race with either a 17.5 system, or a RTR system.  This opens things up to a very broad range of vehicles with Monster Trucks being pretty much the only thing that we try and avoid because of the significant scale difference.  Short Course Trucks are popular due to strength and availability, many have 2wd buggies and occasionally a brushed 4wd buggy and on the odd occasion, a rally car.  The point is that kids can race with THEIR car against kids of roughly their age, and have fun.  Most don’t care about how many laps they do, how fast their lap times are or what setup changes they need to do, they come along, race, and have fun.  This more open, FUN focused class is I think where the Junior class needs to be. Yes, it does not offer a level paying field, but if a junior driver is that competitive, it is time to race with the adults anyway as some of our U13 drivers do and have done in the past. Less serious regulations, more FUN!

Ok, so this is a very off road oriented answer, but for an on road answer I ask you to cast your eyes to, of all places, Italy.  You see Italy is the home of one of my favourite RC companies, Rally Legends (big rally fan here remember).  Rally legends make uncomplicated, great looking, RC Rally cars (and a dakar truck).  Basic, affordable, and, well, fun.  The company themselves run a race series called Back2Fun. For full details you can visit the information page at http://www.rallylegendseries.com/#!back2fun-eng/ctno  and http://www.rallylegendseries.com/. To quote Rally Legends, it is about “a return to the origins, to low cost fun and realism.” Sounds like a big tick to me.  Any Rally Legends car is eligible to race, but as they only make one chassis, really it is just different bodies. A full list of the rules are available and I do like rule 4 about behavior being in the class rules so to speak.  No modifications and minimal hop ups (upgrades) are allowed ad the stock 540 brushed motor is the only one allowed and there are limits to which pinion you can run with which tyres, a very level playing field all in all where the fun is the focus of the race.

I know, this is not the answer for every club or group everywhere in the country, but it allowes for less money to be spent, and more of the focus to be on fun that anything else.  In Off Road you could have cars like the Traxxas Bandit and Helion Criterion racing against a HPI Blitz, ARRMA Fury and ECX Circuit 2wd stadium truck, all with different motors and shapes and styles, but all having FUN!

I think I have had my 10c worth, so I will leave you with some footage from one of the Back2Fun rounds in Italy.

Racing Lines 226 – July hitting shelves

I might sound like a broken record, but i love this publication and as the only aussie rc car mag, we need to support it.   

So in this issue we have:

  • Details of the new Team Associated RC8B3
  • Testbench looks at the Hitec Lynx 4S radio
  • Living the dream speaks with Kyle McBride
  • RC history examines the Kyosho scale cars
  • A review of the AARMA Granite monster truck
  • A review of the Xray X1 F1
  • All the latest Australian racing, news and events (something i have been slack covering of late)
  • Soapbox examines “Do juniors matter?”. I have some opinions about this, but that is a different post to this one.
  • Tech talk has Ray Munday looking at his new Reedy Blackbox power system

Speed Secrets: Car Tuning – the R/C Handbook

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

A more general version penned in 2005 can be found on petitrc here http://www.petitrc.com/reglages/RC_HandbookV3-4.pdf

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.

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.

New 2wd Buggy for Team Durango?

You often see scoops of prototype cars from big race meets and so on from the media, but for a manufacturer to scoop their own R&D team, unusual, but that is what Team Durango has done!

Looks like a very low slung 2wd prototype, probably specifically for the World Championships at Yatabe Arena. Some are suggesting a flat gearbox like some other manufacturers have available or aftermarket, only time will tell I guess!

FEMCA 2015 Championships Perth

Yes, I have been a bit slack about racing news, and this is a somewhat large omission, the Far East Model Car Association Championships here in Perth Australia that kicked off today officially!

After practice yesterday the standings looked like this with some familiar names from around Australia featuring prominently.

results from today’s racing can be found on the MORBC website (the hosting Club) here: http://morbc.org.au/live/Web/index.html

Want to see the action live? MORBC have teamed up with Livestream so that you can, check it out at the MORBC website here http://www.morbc.org.au/

Neobuggy are covering the event with photos and reports of which the first can be found at http://www.neobuggy.net/2015/06/03/stringer-sets-practice-pace-at-femcas/

Source: http://www.morbc.org.au/Stage25/ and http://www.neobuggy.net/2015/06/03/stringer-sets-practice-pace-at-femcas/