It’s 1 AM. The sobbing starts. Sob, sob, gasp, whimper. Sob, sob, gasp, whimper. For me at least there’s a part of my brain that notices these things, and only wakes me up once it’s become a problem. Kids make noise. We don’t need to get up and check on every cough, sniff or tinkle or every time the dog door flaps closed (no raccoons in our neighborhood). So when my brain wakes me up to hear Rocket getting rolling, I know it’s been going for a few minutes and isn’t going to work itself out. It’s summer, we’re all sleeping in undies and the windows are open, a cool breeze breathing in the open windows. I go to his bed, gather him up in my arms and take him out to the couch. Turn on the sound bar, fire up the TV, load YouTube, start the latest episode of RC Sparks.
The little scale rock crawlers roll over rock garden race courses. with cheerful commentary. in minutes, Rocket is quiet. The show goes on, these little analog miniature trucks, like the one I’ve always wanted to own and build and drive writ small in some Canadian’s back yard. Halfway through the video Rocket is calmed down and before it’s over he’s breathing easy and we shuffle back to bed.
Yeah, TV in the middle of the night is counter indicated by the American Academy of Pediatrics, but any parent who has dealt with night terrors knows that a solution that works is one you don’t throw out unless it’s illegal. So that’s what we do.
Fast forward to our Monterey trip this thanksgiving when we met two awesome guys driving their scale RC trucks on the beach and we were hooked. We had to get one. Perhaps you too are interested in the world of RC Rock Crawlers, 4x4s, race cars etc. Where do you start? What do you need to get? That’s the topic of this week’s Vlog where Rocket and I show you our Axial SCX10 II Trail Honcho.
The Axial SCX10 II Trail Honcho
The name of this vehicle is daunting, though Rocket loves to rattle it off and will do so at the least impulse. Here’s a break down:
Axial: This is the manufacturer. They make a number of RC scale vehicle platforms.
SCX10 II: This is the chassis or vehicle platform. It’s the second generation of the SCX10 platform. It is 1/10 scale.
Trail Honcho: This is both the body and the kit. It’s a “Toyota Tacoma” front end with a tube bed rear end. It comes as a complete 1/10 scale truck ready-to-run or “RTR”.
The kit comes with the truck and the radio (Remote Control). You do not get a battery or a charger for the battery. You will have to purchase those items separately. The reason for this is that most RC hobbyists have these items already, they are a performance item and a preference item. It’s similar to how high end bikes don’t come with pedals.
When we got our truck we did not realize the above fact and had to figure out what battery to buy for the Trail Honcho. It was hard to find exact info on what the battery requirements are for this vehicle, but I did find a series of test videos showing how long one will run on various batteries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wUqx1UBfxg
Battery: Venom Smart Power 5000 MAH 7.4v 30c 2s LiPO
It’s a 2 cell Lithium Polymer battery in a hard plastic case. It has 5000 MAH of power at 7.4v. The 30C number refers to the discharge rate. Other RCs that go fast and have more powerful motors might need a battery with a higher discharge rate, this works really well for our truck.
One thing we learned from Andre and Korey in Monterey was how cool it is when you can drive the truck in a scale manner. Meaning slowly, crawling like you would crawl a real truck. Out of the box, the Trail Honcho does really drive much like a real truck. The drive train and suspension are engineered for that and there are endless mods and upgrades you can make to improve the scale driving experience.
Much of them center around adding mass to the vehicle. That makes sense if you think about the physics of a 1/10 scale vehicle. This truck is designed and built to-scale in volume only. Were it to scale by mass it might be around 1,80 kilograms, or 400 pounds.
The little trucks the kids have had so far have either had no suspension at all, relying on the tires or the duct tape re-treads to soak up the bumps, or simple springs you might get off a clicker pen. The Trail Honcho has actual coil overs with adjustable pre-load springs and oil filled shocks. They perform and respond as you would expect a real full size rock crawler to act.
The trail honcho may look like a Toyota, but underneath it has a suspension that only the most extremely modified Toyotas have IRL. In the rear it has a solid axle with triangulated 4 link suspension. This suspension lets the axle articulate amazingly. If it were a real truck it could get one wheel 6 feet off the ground and still have the other three getting traction.
Up front it has a solid axle with 3 link suspension with a track bar. This is similar to some older jeep suspensions. Again, the attention to detail is amazing. They gave it crossover steering with a drag link and tie rod just like a full size truck.
Fun to Drive
Most of the cheapo RC trucks we’ve gotten over the years have been a challenge for the kids to drive. They usually have tank steering but if they do have front wheel steering they are super twitchy, or have too limited range to be maneuverable for anything.
The Trail Honcho is easy to drive with the included Tactic remote. The trigger is sensitive and easy to modulate low to high power. Pulling the trigger makes it go forward and pushing the trigger reverses the truck.
The steering is easy to control and is neither twitchy or sluggish. Rocket and Lightning Dragon have no trouble managing the movements of the vehicle with the remote. Bottom line is it’s really fun for us all to drive!
The truck seems to be holding up very well. This model is fully water proof and you can see any number of videos on YouTube of them being driven in mud, water and snow. The body and plastic tubes have scuffs and scratches, but no damage. I just noticed that we lost the grill that covers one of the headlights.
Axial includes a bunch of spare parts in the kit. And the manual has part names and numbers for everything on the truck. You can buy them from Axial or get upgrades from any number of stores or makers.
While the truck can clearly take a beating it’s meant to be fixed, modified and repaired so don’t worry too much about breaking it or letting your kids break something. It can all be fixed.
Scale trucks are a hobby. Many enthusiasts are into modifying or building custom vehicles that are astonishingly life like and then driving them and filming them in a way that makes it hard to believe that they are not full size.
I don’t know that we’ll get much into the technical aspects of the hobby, but it would certainly make for a great introduction into mechanical topics as well as craftsmanship and artisanship, so we’ll see.
If you have any questions or corrections of this article or the video please post a comment and let us know. We’re very new to this, but super excited to go small!