Most times when traveling for business, I find myself stuck in a town without transportation independence. I have rented bikes, taken taxis and buses, even purchased a moped to get out and see the sights. But for a Jeep guy who is often stuck in a hotel room, well after venturing hours, the immobility is hard to take.
Enter the world of RC cars. I have traveled fairly extensively with my 1/16 scale and 1/38 scale rigs. Taipei, Korea, Shenzhen, and Glasgow have all become speedways and crawling courses for my various rc toys. I have found the best way for me to stay out of the troubles is to have something to keep me entertained. Having small rigs to play in a hotel rock garden or a race at a local hobby store on club night is a great way to pass the monotony of travel.
My newest passion has been he Axial SCX 10 Jeep JK. I wanted to test this rig for several reasons. First is that now we own a new JK, I wanted something to emulate my 1:1 ride. The second, I wanted to review a true crawler. While my 16-scale Summit has been modified to play in a few local parks, noting beats a real scale crawler.
I have also wanted to find a way to get the adventure crew back outside to both the trails as well as our own backyard. I believe strongly that a family that finds common outdoor activities builds up better protective layers when storms arise. Having a soon-to-be middle school daughter, I wanted both solid insulation for the coming foul weather, as well as make opportunities for time together. As for our matriarch, we just need to get her outside in less stressful environments.
For the sake of testing, we went two distinct routes. Melissa’s rig is a “Ready-to Run” SCX 10, meaning you pull it out of the box, put AA batteries into the radio controller and NiMh or LiPo batteries on the rig, and you are ready for fun. Axial makes solid products and they are truly ready for the trails strait off the shelf.
We did a few minor modifications to Melissa’s crawler though. First, we swapped out the 27T motor for a 55T motor. To make it easier to understand, lower turn = higher top end/less torque and conversely, higher turn = lower top end/more torque. I wanted the ability to help her control her speed since crawling is more finesse that bashing through stuff. One of her frustrations was always wrecking her Traxxas Slash. Even with a slower motor, she was wrecking it.
Moving to a 55-turn motor decreased her speed, and gave her the torque she needed for crawling obstacles. It also eliminated the full speed/ 90 degree turn and flip syndrome as can happen with many high-speed RCs. We also swapped out her controller for a higher grade one from Spektrum. The controller Axial makes is awesome, but I had an opportunity to get her one at a steal so I couldn’t turn it down. The stock Axial is a 2.4 Ghz high quality controller. I resold it within 48 hours.
With my rig, still using the SCX-10 platform, we bought a kit. Even though, I have put a few kits together, based on time available and experience, I decided to let Troy Dewey from Team Dewey Hobbies put mine together. He built a great mini-version of my 1:1 rig. I also put in a 55T motor. With the kilt you need to supply all of your own electronics. If this is your first crawler, I recommend going with the RTR versus a kit, since you will want to be out there playing right away.
Its hard to think of this as a toy at times. You can quickly get sucked into a hobby that no one else understands. The realistic looks and upgrades can quickly turn into an obsession. I hate to think of how many hours I have wasted, errrr…reinvested into thinking of accessories alone.
The SCX-10 has phenomenal handling, and with the differentials locked, can climb more than you would expect. The suspension consists of four oil filled coil-over shocks, with dual spring rates, attached to front and rear four- link suspension. Like its 1:1 counterpart, the spring rate on the RC is preset pretty low, which helps to stabilize it when on the trails or crawling over objects like rocks or wood pallet based obstacles.
The absolute coolest thing about the SCX-10 Wranglers is the ability to upgrade ands add accessories. Like 1:1 Jeeps, a true Jeeper can park next to another Jeeper and the two rigs will be completely different. Performance upgrades such as tires or shocks and scale cosmetics like bikini tops, camping gear, roof, racks and working lights make any rig truly yours as you add custom options. Companies such as Rugged Ridge and Poison Spyder have rallied behind this rig to make scaled replicas of their primary products.