Budget RTC Build

We received the first few RTC kits here at the Axial warehouse a couple days ago. I snatched one up as soon as they hit the floor out back. I drove it for a couple packs in bone stock form, and it works very well. But, I decided to make a few basic mods to see how capable I can make it, while keeping the money spent down to a bare minimum.

First up…………a few pics of the new box. Our marketing department even included a list with all our hop-up parts on the bottom.



Here’s a couple pics of the RTC straight out of the box.



Here’s a few tips on converting Axial’s new RTC rig into the most capable crawler possible on a tight budget. Some of the best mods can be done for little to no money. First off you’ll want to drill a couple breather holes in each wheel at 180* from each other. This will let the tires wrap around obstacles better. I used a body reamer to poke the holes in the wheels. Open them up so they measure about an 1/8″ in diameter. I drill the holes as close as possible to the inner bead seats. Because I’m also going to add a little weight to each wheel for better traction and stability. And I don’t want the weights to block the breather holes.


Now you’ll want to remove the tires from the wheels to add weight. I use standard 1:1 wheel weights for balancing real car tires. These can usually be found at your local tire shop. I’m going to add about 7 1/2 ounces to each front wheel, and about 4 1/2 ounces to each rear wheel. This will help the suspension cycle better as well as keep weight down low for a better center of gravity. The lower you can keep the bulk of your rigs weight, the better off you’ll be on steep climbs, descents and off camber situations. Again, just make sure you don’t block the breather holes you drilled in the previous step with the wheel weights.




Next, I installed the included clear lexan upper link plate on the front links. This will be where I place my 2 cell 1100mah MaxAmps lipo battery. For those that aren’t ready for lipos a standard flat 6 cell 2/3A battery pack should fit as well. I also switched out the stock Tamiya battery connector for a male Deans plug to match my battery.



Another option for mounting batteries is taking the stock standard 6 cell stick pack hook and loop straps that come with the kit and mount them on the front axle for 2/3A split packs which will lower your center of gravity even more. Just poke a couple holes with a punch through the straps, and run some short M3 screws through the holes into the axle housing.



Next thing I want to do is called siping the tires. The Pro-Line Hammer tires work good in stock form. But, cutting a little tread out of them will help the rig stay planted in off-camber situations. You can do this a few ways. One is using a couple cut-off wheels stacked back to back on a Dremel, but that gets very messy in a hurry. I personally prefer to use nice sharp wire cutters to cut sections of lug out of each tread block.

Here you can see I cut about an 1/8″ out of the solid lateral lugs on the right, compared to the stock lugs on the left. Now, I will go ahead and notch all the solid lugs on all 4 tires to match.


That’s pretty much it for now. I’m going to try and get a video shot/edited with these few modifications done asap. I’ll get it posted here as soon as it’s finished. These few mods should really take this RTC to the next level as far as performance goes, without breaking the bank.

Building Your Own Backyard Test Course

Most R/C rock crawlers spend countless hours tuning their rigs for optimum performance. One small modification can drastically change how your rig acts in the rocks, for better or worse. In order to tune your rig, and test it, consistently you need to have an area with an assortment of obstacles, steep climbs, descents, off camber sections, holes, etc. This can be time consuming and expensive if you have to drive to your local crawl spot just to test your latest modification. But, if you have a small rock pit set-up in your back yard you can test and tune your rig with ease. Here are a few basic tips on setting up your own test area.

1. Find an area that’s usable with some elevation changes on your property. If your yard is relatively flat, dig out some fairly large holes in a couple spots. Then use the dirt to make the elevation changes more drastic.

2. Lay your rocks out so that they are accessible and be prepared for a little trial and error when setting up your course. If you just start tossing rocks down randomly, then the course will probably change as you drive over it. You’ll want to arrange/assemble the rocks like a puzzle, making sure they don’t move when you drive or walk on them.

3. Start by laying flat rocks in the holes you dug earlier. If you use big round rocks in the holes, then the changes in elevation will be less apparent. It’s also a good idea to periodically drive the course in different directions as you set it up to make sure the lines are challenging but drivable. Don’t be afraid to set a few lines that aren’t makeable at the time either, this will give you room for improvements with your rig’s set-up in the future.

4. Now start stacking rocks on top of the dirt piles you’ve spread out over the designated crawl spot. This will give your bigger obstacles some separation, so they aren’t all in one specific area. If you have friends in the area that crawl too, invite them over for a barbeque and put them to work. We enlisted the help of 1:1 WEROCK competitor Cody Waggoner. It’s also good to have input from fellow crawlers when setting everything up as well.

5. Again, test drive the course as you go to ensure it’s going to be a challenge. Then start filling in the transitions between obstacles with smaller rocks, making sure everything fits together tightly.

6. Be creative when setting obstacles up too. We decided to build a small wooden bridge over one of our holes to add a different twist to the course. This also gives us more options when setting up our practice comp courses as far as lines go.

7. Once the finishing touches are in place, charge some batteries and start crawling. Now testing your newest set-up will be a breeze. And if for some reason your latest modifications don’t work out as planned, every tool you own is easily accessible to make the necessary changes. It’s tough to beat crawling in the great outdoors on natural terrain. But, for tuning purposes having a rock course in your back yard can be priceless.

2009 Annual RCX Show – Coverage 330+ Pics!


Crawl Try Me Mountain!
Sponsored by Axial Racing and RCP Tracks.

RC rock crawling is back at RCX! RCP Tracks is building a brand new display that stretches over 40 foot long and includes some amazing competition and scale rock crawling features. A new addition to this years rock crawling course is YOU the public get to drive on the course.  Axial Racing will be providing all the vehicles to give you the opportunity to test drive some of the best RC rock crawling trucks in the market on the all new RCX “Crawl Try Me” track.

The annual 2009 Radio Control Expo will be held at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA April 18th-19th.

2009 RCX Show Coverage
Words: staff Photos: staff
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Over several months of planning, it all came down to 2 days that consisted of 330+ images and several hours of HD video footage (not available yet, but we hope that we put it to use very soon). Until then, enjoy the pics.

The Saturday morning line at RCX

The Saturday morning line at RCX

Better than watching RC crawling is to actually "try it"

Better than watching RC crawling is to actually "try it"

One of the major attractions of the Axial RCX booth was the extremely well done and highly detailed “try me” track. This track was designed and fabricated by none other than John Billig of RCP Tracks.

Paul and the not so big Vanessa

Pauls “puppy dog” like eyes only gets this big when somebody has their eye’s on his pizza.  His left-hand woman Vanessa reassured him of his pizza’s safety.  Everything worked out, and nobody was harmed although we can’t say the same for that ill-fated pizza.

Brandon C's SCX10 on the "try me" course

Brandon C's SCX10 on the "try me" course

Ashley Sarto in the Axial 1:1 Rock Crawler

Ashley Sarto in the Axial 1:1 Rock Crawler

Some of you might recognize Ashley Sarto (www.myspace.com/ashleysarto) because she’s actually the 2009 Hankook tire spokesmodel.  She’s also been featured in Import Tuner, DSport, Super Street, and several other very popular magazines.  Be sure to check her out!

Jake Hallenbecks Axial rigs. His 1:1 and RC rig.

Jake Hallenbecks Axial rigs. His 1:1 and RC rig.

Jake Hallenbek’s rig, was also one of the main attractions of the Axial Booth. You can read more about this in our other blog posts “Jake Hallenbeck’s Full-Sized Axial Rock Crawler” or the “King of the Hammers” blog posts.

RCP Tracks

RCP Tracks

This was just one of the many tracks at RCX this year – This one gave me motion sickness, but besides that, it was really fun to watch. It kind of reminded me of my experience with that (FPS) First Person Shooter “Descent” and “Doom.” I kept wanting to watch or play, but damn the nausea. For the record, I have no problem with either Call of Duty 4 or 5.

Slot car track

Slot car track

Rescue was needed because this boat started to take on water.

Rescue was needed because this boat started to take on water.

While watching this boat getting plucked out from the water because it was taking on water, RC CarActions Brandon Wilcox almost couldn’t resist the temptation to follow the guy into the water to cool down.

Tank battalion out in front of RCX

Tank battalion out front of RCX. Definitely one of my favorite exhibits each year

RCX had a ton of product for sale

RCX had a ton of product for sale

Hobbytown, Corona, CA had a TON of product on-hand for sale.  If you’re still looking for something, be sure  to check them out at 351 Magnolia Ave #101, Corona, CA 92879 (951-272-4020).  Be sure to tell them that you saw them on Axial’s website.  Also for a Hobbytown in your area, be sure to check out HobbyTown.com

Xtreme RC

Xtreme RC Magazine

Here we have Derek B. (right-side) who was doing his seated push-ups to maintain his toned upper body.  Be sure to pick-up a copy of Xtreme RC or RC heli (I lost 8lbs reading it).

Proline Booth

Pro-line definitely does Rock Crawlers

Kal-gard was in attendance with their line of lubricants

Kal-Gard was in attendance with their line of lubricants

I think Kal-Gard has found some new found love from the RC market because it looks as though their full range of lubricants has some extremely useful applications in the RC market (stay tuned for more info in an upcoming blog).

This love shouldn’t be a surprise or mistaken as a quick fling.  They’ve become the lubricant of choice for MX, ATV, and a fast growing company for the entire off-road community.  Kal-Gard has 20+ years of heritage with motorcycles and the aerospace industry, and has become a technology leader within these markets.  I’m sure they’ll do the same with RC.  It’s only a matter time.

Travis "T-bone" S. and Ashley Sarto

Travis "T-bone" S. and Ashley Sarto

Any of you living in SoCal and you’re involved with off-roading in the IE should definitely check out Dirt Alliances events.  They have several events a year that range from their Dirt Tour to the M4SX “side X side” racing series…. oh, and not to mention all those hot chica’s that come out to the event.

Dirt Alliance's HD video "From the Dirt". Find it at dirtalliance.com and No Fear stores

Dirt Alliance's HD video "From the Dirt".

Find it at “No Fear” stores (www.nofear.com)

RC Drifting

RC Drifting

I have a friend who’s written a book on drifting and is a hardcore drifting enthusiast who’s contributed countless editorial on drifting, but the both of us had a hard time with RC drifting. Much like the 1:1 stuff, it definitely takes some amazing talent and skill to do what these guys do.  I think I’ll just stick to watching.

Squadron of planes

Squadron of planes

Further down, they had several of Lockheed Martins “Area 51″ planes, the SR-71  Blackbird and F-117.  I was surprised to see an RC version of the F-117 Nighthawk because it requires a lot of avionics to keep the real plane in the sky.

The planes and helicopters were located in the 2nd building

The planes and helicopters were located in the 2nd building

The scale (it was huge) and level of detail in this Sikorsky biplane was IMPRESSIVE!!! I’m taking a guess that this is a Sikorsky S-35 from the 1920′s??

the Aftermath

the Aftermath

Ashley’s lunch consisted of a vanilla ice cream cone and some crinkle cut fries.

All in all, an amazing show! Visit Axialracing.com for more updates from other shows.

Product Release – AX10 Scorpion RTC (AX90011)

Based upon the award winning AX10 Scorpion – KIT!


• Complete Ready-to-Crawl (RTC) out of the box
• Full Time 4 Wheel Drive (4WD)
• Mount a standard stick pack to get up and running quickly, or use the included upper link plate to mount smaller batteries lower in the chassis for improved crawling performance
• 14T pinion paired with an 87T spur gear gives you a decent amount of wheel speed and great low-end torque.
• True beadlocks
• Hi-quality composite plastic and metals
• 55T electric motor
• Durable (ESC) Electronic Speed Controller: Hi-quality forward and reverse speed controller.
• Hi-torque Metal Gear Servo help hold your line when rock crawling
• Solid rear axle lockouts improve ground clearance when crawling
• Slipper clutch: Allows motor to work more efficiently and greatly enhances the durability of the drivetrain.
• Aluminum chassis plates with a molded nylon skid plate provide a solid and rigid chassis
• Full ball bearings
• Overall gear ratio range from 15:1 to 74:1
• Transmission: Ultra compact and lightweight with a 2.6:1 ratio
• Differentials: Locked Front and Rear
• Tires: Pro-Line Hammers® with Pro-Line® Memory Foams
• Wheels: Axial 2.2 8 hole satin chrome beadlocks with “Rock” beadlock rings included
• Suspension: 3 Link
• Drive Shafts: Universal front and rear with new and improved yokes
• XC-1 Body included
• New beefed up lower links
• New stronger steering tie rods


• 72-103mm shock length, helps lower the center of gravity
• Threaded shock body for easier pre-load adjustments
• 3.5mm shock shaft reduces lateral movement
• Cartridge style bottom helps reduce lateral movement while providing a better steal for less leakage
• Silicone diaphragm provides more consistent feel and better seal to prevent leakage
• Silicone bushing in cap holds shock in place while allowing freedom of movement to prevent binding and prevents the shock cap from popping off


• Wheelbase: 316mm~332mm (12.4”~13”)
• Width: 254mm (10”)
• Height: 156mm (6.125”)
• Weight: 1588g (3.5 lbs)
• Articulation: 70°
• Ground Clearance: 68mm (2.7”)


• Radio: 2 Channel
• Servos: 1 hi-torque metal gear (standard size)
• Forward/Reverse ESC
• Motor: 55T 540 Size

2009 Axial 2.2 Midwest Crawler Challenge

• Words: Tony Arnold • Photography: Tony Arnold

That Kevin Costner movie was right… build it and they WILL come. Except this time it was one state over from Iowa in Nebraska and it had nothing to do with baseball, it was all about 10th scale 2.2 class rock crawling. This year’s 2009 Axial 2.2 Midwest Indoor Challenge happened and in a very big way with over 100 entrants and over 400 attendees.  Not only did I have a ring side seat as a competitor, I was the promoter for this event hosted by my very own club, the NSCA (Nebraska Scale Crawlers Association).  In an era of 200+ person ROAR competitions, why get excited over 100 entrants? Simple, because it’s never happened before in crawling at any 2.2 class event and it shows just how huge crawling has become.  What’s more amazing was that there were twenty three states represented, yep nearly half the US and they all made the pilgrimage March 14th to Omaha, NE.


Event planning started early January when the Kansas City club lost their venue for this third annual event.  Our newly formed club picked up the ball and decided on using the HobbyTown Hobby Plex with a massive retail showroom and even larger pitted indoor track arena as the stage for this year’s Axial sponsored event.

The $50 tickets sold out in less than 30 days. Sharp readers will notice the title included  “indoor” which means that we didn’t simply stumble into a state park the day of the event and throw down gate markers.  Every course had to be hand made, set up, and torn down after the event. Of course there is the expense as well… over $4000 in course construction costs for wood, foam, and nearly 20 tons of rock and T-shirts, venue costs, prizes, and other misc event costs tipped the budget to over $6000. Through gracious sponsorship from our title sponsor Axial, and Platinum sponsors MaxAmps, DNA, Hitec, and Tekin, we were able to have enough to pay for the course construction  and all the costs.  The result was one of the most sadistically designed set of man made and natural crawler courses ever conceived that pushed every competitor and rig to the very limit.  The courses were so hard that not one competitor finished all five courses… based on USRCCA rules everyone either pointed or timed out.


You get one shot at clearing each course with penalty points touch/reposition, roll-over, reverse, hitting gatemarkers or boundary markers and you have to stop once the time limit set per course has been reached.  Basically try to get through all the gates in the time allotted without hitting anything or tipping over.  See full USRCC rules at USRCCA.com, but those are the basics. All competitors had to do was assure their rigs were USRCCA rules compliant during a very brief tech check and then start lining up and working through the courses in any order of their choosing, but the courses were not that easy.


This year’s event consisted of five courses plus a finals course.  Looking at the pictures you would think that these should have been pretty easy to run, however Gerame (from Eritex Wheels) club trail boss and course designer and Tom (our club president) both decided to make it very tough this year with pitfalls in all the wrong places. Each of the five initial courses were composed of man made obstacles including hollow landscaping stones, contoured foam boards sprayed with slick black truck bed liner, and natural river & limestone rock and logs.

The Axial “double V” course was the toughest of them all and assured that not one person finished the Axial course. The course was basically an oval track where you would finish where you started.  Axial’s title course was composed of loose and fixed natural rough limestone with two 60+ degree ascents, two equally steep descents with table top with fixed logs with and rock overhangs as obstacles.  Most competitors only cleared the first gate.

The next hardest courses was the Tekin Sponsored course.

Tekin’s course had a concrete covered 60+ degree incline embedded with river stones followed by a foam/bedliner slide with rough limestone between each  section and only let about a half dozen competitors pass.  One would think that a rough concrete 60+ degree incline wouldn’t have been a huge problem, however most only made it a foot up the incline before tumbling back down.

DNA’s 100% man made materials course started with a slick steep foam/bedliner incline that only a few ascended.

Once at the top of the incline the man made sculpted concrete and foam-based boulders with extremely tight turns, high clearance breakovers, deep passes, and a near vertical drop off that needed to cleared to finish the course.

Hitec’s incredible tight course used similar materials to DNA’s but focused on traversing very tall Moab UT style deep valleys and crevices that required your to clear the first gates by wiggling through sideways.

The next segments required near 90 degree turns and transitioning wide and deep chasms. Only the most experienced or lucky crawlers passed.

Most people enjoyed the MaxAmps course because it provided a more typical rock and forest Rubicon style course, however it was one of the most deceiving.

Competitors either completed it quickly or struggled through every gate.  Tom, our Club President has jammed a number of log branches and rocks upward that snagged on almost everyone’s chassis.


To put the difficultly of the five courses in perspective imagine if you had an 1/8th buggy course that no competitor, even the best in the world, could lap once… that’s how hard and technical these courses were and as far as us crawlers are concerned it was almost perfect.

As I watched the top drivers in the US point and time out on every course, I knew I had little hope of finishing anywhere but at the bottom of the Pro Class so I like many others just had fun and put on a show with my 3S Tekin powered Axial crawler.  The experience of competing is completely different from crawling around on the rock with friends.  Points and time become the limiting factors and planning crawling lines far ahead of the rock in front of your wheels.  To get involved take a look at the local competitions in your area on RCCrawler.com > Competitions. I can guarantee with nearly every state now with local crawler groups, you and your Axial kit will be in a comp in no time.

What I think everyone enjoyed the most was seeing 101 variations on Axial and other crawlers.  Very few competitors ran stock crawlers, in fact most were very heavily modified.  Some featured more typical bodied stock designs, other were bodiless designs featuring custom and hand made tube style chassis and other variations.

As you can tell from the excited looks on the above drivers at 6AM, the event started in the early dawn and the finals course run extended competition well until after 10:20PM, but there were no regrets and only smiling faces even on those that didn’t place well.

Axial’s own Brad Dumont was a top ten competitor with his Bender Customs Axial Chassis (above). Axial Sponsored Austin Dunn not far behind (left).

No elbowing off the drivers stands, no drivers yelling at other drivers for nudging them… it was just a bunch of people who all enjoyed crawling and wanted to hang out together and help each other.  I saw parts being given from one competitor to another who in the 1/8th scale buggy world would have been mortal enemies.  Competitors who did clear a gate were telling other competitors what to watch out for.  This was not a competition against other competitors, it was a competition against the course and everyone wanted to see the course beaten.

Entire families showed up for the event.  Although the majority of competitors are middle aged males, it was nice to see that we had several females and a bunch of kids competing this year and I might add doing very well.

The Amateur top placements were dominated by near stock ARTR Axial rigs that with only a little tuning put their drivers in top placement.  With tons of vendors a family friendly environment at the HobbyTown, the Axial 2.2 Challenge was the biggest single class crawler event ever and is guaranteed to be even bigger next year.

A cornfield in Iowa may be the place for baseball, but even here in near pancake flat Nebraska we can build some of the hardest crawling the world of 2.2 crawling has ever seen. *