4×4 RC Trucks Mudding Will Make Your Day
You’ve always dreamed of owning the biggest, baddest monster truck in town, or a powerhouse 4×4 rig which scares away young children and animals whenever it growls through the neighborhood – but you can’t afford it just yet. So until then, the next best thing could be a smaller version: a radio controlled (RC) scale model which does exactly the same as its big brother or sister, but is just 1/10th of the size.
Some might think this is crazy, but the RC car and truck culture is growing – and fast. Radio controlled trucks already have a huge online presence with stills and websites showing these cool mini rigs in off-road action, with teams, clubs and whole communities springing up to go crawling and mudding in the woods. The mantra is ‘fun, friends and total carnage’, and it really is that simple – joining up and taking part is easy.
And for anyone thinking this is all about teenagers out messing with their toys in the mud, think again. RC trucking attracts people from all walks of life: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, families and groups of friends, and even high-powered businessman looking for a fun GTG (Group Trail Gathering) break from the drudgery of nine to five office work. So where do you begin?
Search the Internet and there are RC trucks for sale pretty much everywhere, so starting off is easy. Places such as HobbyTron and TowerHobbies offer everything from basic models,
Get Your Rig
Search the Internet and there are RC trucks for sale pretty much everywhere, so starting off is easy. Places such as HobbyTron and TowerHobbies offer everything from basic models, some of which are under thirty dollars for reasonably durable chunks of plastic on wheels, up to 4×4 Monster Trucks for five hundred a pop. Model legends Tamiya are deep in the game already with a raft of trucks, equipment, scales and prices to choose from, including the absolute behemoth that is the Toyota 4×4 Mountain Rider which – with its three speed transmission, solid axle leaf spring suspension and semi-pneumatic tires – will set you back a cool $1,200, and that’s before you start modifications and upgrades to transform it into your very own miniature beast.
Axial offers high end kits too, with a selection of four wheel drive off-roaders, while Traxxas has a long list of 4x4s, including many which are, crucially for a newbie, Ready to Run (RTR). RTR RC trucks are pre-assembled and work pretty much straight-out-of-the-box, meaning you’re ready to rock and roll through dirt, grass and mud immediately. They also give you a great platform to work from, so once you’re proficient you can easily mod your 4×4 until it’s bashing, racing and plowing through mud sludges with the best of them.
Electric or Nitro?
What power source would you like your RC truck to have? Electric, with its battery powered motor, is usually the first choice for new RC truckers as they are simple to operate and repair, and run quietly as the truck covers terrain. With nitro fuel, the opposite is true – those things make a hell of a noise and cough out a ton of smoke, but some feel this is more authentic and love the extra muscle nitro provides. Unfortunately with extra power comes extra expense – the fuel and maintenance a nitro-powered RC truck requires can prove costly over time. Many RC fiends like both, but most prefer one or the other – either power sources are widely available, either in RTR kits or as parts when you scratch build your new rig.
Everything you need to scratch-build your RC 4×4 is out there, from body sets of various scales to part-assembled chassis, 4 piece wheels, motors, radio control electronics, decals, snazzy paint jobs and much more. The possibilities are endless, but some tech and electronics proficiency are essential, despite the online vids and free how-to-make-your-own manuals that are available. It takes considerable time and effort to create a mini rig, but the feeling of doing it yourself is exhilarating – and it also means you can modify existing kits right there and then, or pre-plan for future awesome mods once your new RC truck has been put through its paces in the field.
Modify that Muscle
To become a serious player out in the mud and ditches means your truck will need upgrades. Just like those who build their own, RC lovers have endless equipment and accessories to choose from. Waterproofing is often the first improvement, with brushed motors and water resistant lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries being popular additions to help get your truck through deep water and keep it out there amongst the competition. Even if your rig becomes bogged down and the engine shorts due to dirty water – an occasional problem – dunking your waterproofed RC truck in a nearby river and running the motor to cycle out any nasty stuff works every time. Speed, performance, stability and agility are boosted by swapping in super-powerful engines, upgrading your radio controller, and even turning your rig into a monster tire ‘dually’ – fixing four wheels onto the rear axle to help sidehill those steep slopes and improve ground clearance. And once your truck is doing serious business across miniature ravines and up epic hill climbs, you can make it look the part with brash paint jobs, roll cages, stickers and enhancements so that it is the envy of your friends and family.
Below you can check out some of the best in the business, RC Sparks Studio. These are so fun and well made that you’ll want to see more. Enjoy and share with your friends!