What Racing Stadium Truck – 2016 Edition

What Racing Stadium Truck – 2016 Edition

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My old HPI E Firestorm

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.

22t20

Xray

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!

xt2

Team Associated

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.

t5m

Kyosho

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.

RB6

Team C

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.

tc02t-1

X Factory

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.

Team Durango

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!

Has Drifting and Street Racers saved the Touring Car?

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.

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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.

Tamiya reveal TRF211XM 2WD Buggy for Shizuoka Hobby Show

Tamiyablog have revealed that Tamiya is currently working on the successor of the TRF201XM 2WD off-road buggy that won the manufacturer the runner-up spot at the 2013 IFMAR Worlds. With this year’s event being held on home soil Tamiya is really trying to bring home the silverware.

No information or images of the TRF211XM are available as of now but the buggy will make a (first) public appearance at the forthcoming Shizuoka Hobby Show that will be held from the 14th to 17th of May.

Source: http://tamiyablog.com/

What 4wd Buggy to race for 2014

I have written a couple of “What to Buy” type articles before, and with the release of the B44.3 I thought I would add a what 4wd Buggy to the list! We won’t separate into RTR or Kits because there are very few competition level 4wd buggies that are available as RTR’s. Mid mount or rear mount motors, well there are variations to positioning, but in 4wd they are all mid mounted. I may have missed out some, but I think I have most of the major models in the 4wd game at the moment.

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Team Losi / TLR

TLR had a bit of a gap in their lineup until recently when the 22-4 was added to their range.  A development of the older XX-4 (not the XXX-4 that replaced that) it is unusual in that it sports a triple belt drive system rather than the driveshaft arrangement found more commonly in other 4wd Buggies.  Featuring an alloy chassis that is the current trend in buggy chassis it follows the norms there, but the forward motor, triple belt drive system certainly makes it look a bit different under the hood.  Ball Differentials at each end to provide drive and a cab forward body finish off what is an impressive package.  TLR even throw in two sets of wheels for the 22-4! Battery wise, it is Saddle packs here, although you can accommodate a few different sized packs.
http://www.tlracing.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=TLR03005

Team Associated

The newest player on the 4wd block, although with a revised rather than all new car, is the Associated B44.3.  The B44 platform has been no slouch, and the .3 iteration adds some important updates.  An Alloy chassis being one notable feature update for this model along with a floating motor and servo mounts. Weight distribution is also a key flexibility with the ability to run a Front motor, rear saddle battery pack configuration, or flip it all around to with a rear motor configuration with a shorty pack on the opposite side. Gear differentials are a new feature to cater for the current generation of high grip, and/or indoor tracks, however the previous generation ball differentials are compatible.
http://www.teamassociated.com/cars_and_trucks/B44.3/Factory_Team/

Kyosho

The new ZX-6 Buggy is the natural choice for a Buggy form Kyosho which comes as a kit as with the B44.3 and 22-4 above, however there is a 2nd choice from Koysho.  That 2nd choice comes in the Ready to Run Dirt Hog Buggy which is a fraction of the price of the ZX-6 Kit.  Yes, it is nowhere near as competitive as it’s big brother, but as a vehicle for somebody wanting to try out 4wd Buggy for a smaller slice of your hard earned dollars, or a younger driver getting in to the hobby.  Based on the Fazer platform it comes with a 2.4ghz radio, slipper clutch, 27t brushed motor and ESC, NiMH battery and charger.
http://www.kyoshoamerica.com/Dirt-Hog-Type-1-Orange-4WD-Bug_p_23265.html

Let’s talk about big brother now, the ZX-6.  Like the B44.3 the ZX-6 has a configuration that can be altered from a shorty battery on the right or left, through to a saddle pack layout, although the ZX-6 has a few more configurations available than the B44.3.  Alloy chassis is the name of the game here as well, and the shocks are the quality we have come to expect from the ZX line of Kyosho vehicles.  Ball differentials at both ends and an aggressive cab forward body finish off what is always a high quality product.
http://www.kyoshoamerica.com/LAZER-ZX-6-4WD-Kit_p_23216.html

Traxxas

For the most part Traxxas is a Basher brand, not racing.  This is illustrated by them not having a 1:10 4wd Buggy in their lineup.  So if you are a Traxxas Fan, move along, nothing to see here.

HPI / HB

The much hyped, and long delayed D413 is the still hard to get Buggy from HPI/HB. It’s layout is a little different to the norm with it’s designer, Torrance Deguzman focusing on strength first to give the driver confidence to push on.  It has a very similar layout to it’s predecessor, the Hot bodies D4 and D4 WCE with a Carbon Fibre chassis, but very different front bulkheads/shock towers, with a triangular arrangement with front and rear arms bracing the arrangement.  Gear differentials x3 (front, centre & rear) are another defining feature.  This is something normally reserved for the big 1:8 buggies, but has been packed into the small D413 platform.  Another unusual feature is monocoque suspension arms with adjustable stiffness plates.  A Saddle Pack or Shorty configuration are also battery placement options along with Front or Rear motor placement options.  Whilst one of the more unusually configured buggies, it has proved itself at the 2013 Roar Nationals at the hands of Ty Tessmann where he took the win in the D413.
http://www.hpiracing.com/en/kit/112723

Xray

Xray are no strangers to off road racing with their luxury, and very competitive, 8th scale buggies, and now they have a fighter in the 10th scale ring in the form of the XB4, with the XB4 2014 being the latest version of the Buggy.  A key feature of the XB4 is the composite chassis frame with separate front and rear chassis plates allowing the entire rear suspension to be mounted in the standard position, or directly to the aluminium chassis with some optional parts. The front and read differentials are bevel gear types for lifespan and reliability, however optional ball differentials are available.  Saddle pack batters are the only battery configuration option here.
http://www.teamxray.com/xb4/

Schumacher

The CAT series of 4wd Buggies from Schumacher are legendary in their home country of England, and the latest version, the CAT K1 Aero is no exception. Sporting a Carbon Fibre chassis, nut guards on the shock towers to protect them from damage, gear differentials front and rear, twin efficient belt transmission and awesome black anodised parts, it is a car that looks as good as it performs.  Not the cheapest car with all the carbon fibre, but one that can perform on any world stage.
http://www.racing-cars.com/pp/Car_Showroom/CAT_K1_Aero.html

SWorkz

Bolstered by the addition of Atsushi Hara to their ranks of racers they have suddenly shot into the limelight.  It’s not that they are new, they just had a much lower profile in the west until recently.  In 1:10 their platform is the S104 EK1 which is a little hard to find much information about from their website, and to be honest, i’ve not seen anybody in Australia racing one, but it’s an option none the less.  I have seen a Kit and RTR version in different places which is unusual for a competition 4wd buggy.  It comes with two different bodies as well, one for salle pack configuration and a different one for shorty battery packs. Alloy chassis and shaft driven it’s layout is fairly conventional with maybe the exception of the 14mm wheel hexes.
http://www.sworkz.com/s104_EK1.html

Team Durango

Now onto it’s fourth version, the DEX410 V4 is an affordable car that is well engineered and proven itself on a range of race tracks around the world.  Stronger gear differentials and a narrow alloy chassis are features of the Buggy. The saddle pack battery configuration is a little different with the rear driveshaft running over the top of the batteries, and removed in order to change them.  The car comes with an almost bewildering range of adjustments, which means it can be made to work well on any circuit.
http://www.team-durango.com/race-cars/dex410v4/

Yokomo

Yokomo also has a player in the 4wd game with their B-Max 4 III.  I’m afraid to say I know little about this platform, although I have seen a few people racing them.  Shaft driven, Gear differentials, Saddle Pack battery configuration and an alloy chassis all look top notch quality, and up to date in terms of their design.  It is just a manufacturer that we don’t hear a lot about.
http://www.teamyokomo.eu/yokomo-europe/eshop/1-1-Yokomo-Chassis/0/5/1649-Yokomo-B-MAX4-III

Tamiya

A big name in RC Cars, but one that you don’t often see on the tracks with their TRF503 4wd Buggy.  Perhaps it is the price, nearly double some of its competitors, or maybe it is the …… no, really it;s the price that puts it out of reach for the average racer and for that much more over some fantastic other buggies in this sector that cost less, it’s hard to justify.
http://www.tamiyausa.com/items/radio-control-kits-30/off-road-buggies-36450/rc-trf503-chassis-kit-42275

More Tamiya cars on the way!

Tamiya has launched a raft of new cars this week so we thought we should cover what is on the way.

We will start with the oldies, No.1 of which is the Hornet which many will remember fondly.  This time it is the Hornet Black Metallic which will be a limited edition to celebrate 30 years since the release of the original!

Next is the interesting looking M-06 Lowride Pumpkin, An interesting looking vehicle at what should be a good price.  I am sure it will appeal to a lot of drivers out there.

The Toyota Mountain Rider is a re release of the Mountaneer with a revamped 4×4 chassis with centre diff lock, live axles and all the bling you could need.  I must admit, it looks like an interesting one as I never knew the original I am embarrassed to admit.

And last but not least, the Eneos Sustina RC F, a Japanese Super GT Series entry car which is based upon the stylish Lexus RC F coupe.  Compared with many of it’s on road brethren, it really looks the goods with an accurate scale appearance to my way of looking at it. The TB-04 platform under it is a shaft driven arrangement .

What to Buy – Rally Cars

Hello to all on my first blog post for Aussie RC News!

For those of you that know me, you know that I love Rally, in both it’s full size and small scale versions.  Even to the extent of keeping up with what is happening with the fairly active Colorado RC Rally Championship.

Given the recent release of a Rally car from Team Associated, I thought we would have a stroll through the RC Rally cars that are available on the market today, or soon in some cases.

Today I am going to focus on three similar vehicles mostly, the Losi TEN Rally X, the Team Associated ProRally and the Traxxas Rally.  Why?  Because all there are a similar size, 4wd Short Course truck based, Ready to Run vehicles. These are a good compromise between looks ,handling, durability, capability and price. Let’s start with some numbers, prices I have pulled from Amain Hobbies and are a guide only.

Traxxas Rally Losi TEN-Rally X Associated ProRally
Length 552 mm 540 mm 535 mm
Wheelbase 324 mm 334 mm 324 mm
Width 297 mm 296 mm 296 mm
Based on LCG Slash 4×4 Ten-SCTE ProLite 4×4
Waterproof Yes Yes Resistant
Motor 3500 KV 3900 KV 3500 KV
Tech  – AVC  –
Price  $410  $520  $380

Traxxas Rally

Of these three focus vehicles the Traxxas Rally was the first to the party with the first release of the official Low Center of Gravity (LCG) Chassis for the slash 4×4 platform.  Fitted with a low hatch type body and rally tyres the Rally expanded on an already popular shaft driven 4×4  platform for Traxxas. By all accounts it has certainly hit the spot with regards to durability and price although there has been some criticism of its BFGoodrich replica tyres and handling, but it was never a dedicated rally platform to start with so you shouldn’t expecting handling like the rally cars on television. Some criticism has also been leveled at the car for it’s lack of resemblance in shape and livery to a real vehicle, but I don’t think that is enough to not want to buy it. http://traxxas.com/products/models/electric/7407rally

I am quite partial to the Traxxas Rally in green.

Losi TEN-Rally X

Whilst the Traxxas Rally isn’t exactly an older vehicle, the Losi TEN-Rally X is a fairly new release and was one of Losi’s first models to be released with Active Vehicle Control from Spektrum.  Similar in appearance to it’s 1:24 micro scale cousin, it is a much larger package with a bigger punch.  Shaft driven and in the conventional layout of most 4×4 short course trucks, it is fitted with rally inspired tyres and a hot hatch style rally body. However the addition of the AVC to this vehicle appears to contribute to it’s price, almost a clear $100 more than the offerings from Traxxas and Team Associated. http://www.losi.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=LOS03000

Looks great in action.

Team Associated ProRally

Released less than a week ago this rally beast is based on the Prolite 4×4 short course truck from Team Associated.  The associated has a much more realistic looking hatch body with a Rockstar sponsored livery that makes it look spot on like a real rally car. A good price point which appears to be under $400 USD this vehicle is listed as having water resistant components, whereas the other two vehicles here are listed as being waterproof.  How waterproof any are in real life I can’t ascertain from here, but as more real world reviews appear that will reveal itself. http://www.teamassociated.com/cars_and_trucks/Pro_Rally_4WD/RTR/

Looks more like the real thing, and a good price.

Other Rally Options

Now these three are far from your only options when it comes to rally cars, there is everything available form 1:24 rally cars up to the gigantic 1:5 Rally Car (both form Losi actually).

The HPI WR8 Flux available currently in the Ken Block 2013 GRC (Global Rallycross) livery is one that comes to mind.  Marketed as a 1:8 scale vehicle it has a similar wheelbase to the above three vehicles, but is actually a much smaller vehicle than these supposedly 1:10 scale vehicles from Traxxas, Losi and Associated.  The big difference is the WR8 is much narrower and is not only a licensed body shape with a real livery, but is nearer to a more accurate model in it’s scale.  At $480 USD it is a great looking vehicle for the money, and very durable and powerful, but a bit of an orphan when it comes to wheels, tyres and bodies with it being almost a unique size and scale outside of HPI. http://www.hpiracing.com/en/kit/112715

The Tamiya XV-01 is another that I really wanted to include, mainly because this is my personal rally ride at the moment.  With a range of realistic bodies available because it is the standard 1:10 size of most touring and drift cars. For scale realism, this is the car that ticks the boxes.  This belt driven vehicle has protection for not only the belts from dirt and debris, but for the electronics of the radio and ESC as well.  The motor is front mounted giving this vehicle an amazing scale handling characteristic.  However where it falls down is it’s small scale.  You really need to find some scale terrain to drive it on.  On blue metal, it suffers and gets rocks jammed in the steering, on a 1:10 off road course the obstacles are simply too large.  Whilst I have loved it, I have found fewer off road places to drive it than I expected.  Don’t let that put you off, if you have the right kind of terrain, it is an absolute BLAST to drive.  https://www.tamiyausa.com/items/radio-control-kits-30/4wd-rally-on-road-(xv)-36180/rc-subaru-impreza-wrx-sti-58528

Rally cars can not be spoken of without looking at the Rally Legends models.  Whilst not the most technically complex or advanced vehicles, they more than make up for this in incredible scale looks.  With licensed bodies and liveries of famous rally cars such as the Lancia Stratos, Fiat 131 Abarth, Lancia Delta S4, Lancia 037, Ford Escort and Iveco Tracker Dakar Truck.  http://www.rallylegendsrc.com/ and http://www.rallylegendmodels.com/RLM_-_Online_Store.html

In the LARGE scale, you have the monstrous, $2000 Losi Mini WRC car, complete with AVC, 29cc petrol engine with EFI, 800 cc fuel tank, remote operated start and a licensed Mini Body.  Great looks and would sound great, but out of the budget of many drivers. http://www.losi.com/Products/Default.aspx?ProdID=LOS05000

Slightly smaller is the Kyosho DRX VE, marketed as a 1:8 and 1:9, but more like a 1:7 scale vehicle.  Realistically it is a similar size to the three short course converted vehicles featured in this article, but the electric and nitro versions of this model have been on the market for some time.  With a few licensed bodies available the DRX VE is more like a converted 8th scale buggy than short course truck in it’s layout, size and configuration fitted with tenth scale electronics.  At around $400 USD it is a big model capable of covering a broad range of terrain.  There are some weak points of the DRX design, however while the model price is good, bodies can be very expensive to replace. However all in all it is acknowledged to be a good rc car.  http://www.kyosho.com/eng/products/rc/detail.html?product_id=108654

There are a lot of other rally cars of varying scales available, but I thought I would cover the more popular ones today rather than every one on the market!

New Tamiya Toyota FJ Cruiser

The ever popular CC-01 platform from Tamiya has announced a new wardrobe, this time a Tamiya FJ Cruiser, ironically a vehicle slated to be discontinued in the next year or so.  The body looks to have an excellent level of detail that will appeal to crawlers and trail drivers alike. The part number is 58588 – 1/10 R/C Toyota FJ Cruiser (CC-01) with a MSRP of  $304.00.