Words: Rodney Wills
Build Photos: Zoltan Cisk of Leo Workshop


I’ve always liked the DAKAR Rally and especially the big trucks and motorcycles competing in the event.


I’ve personally competed in rallies here in the USA on four wheels, so these other two ends of the extreme-spectrum excite me! If I was to compete in the DAKAR Rally, it would either be on the motorcycles or piloting one of the massive trucks!
We all have to dream, right!?


January is the annual start of the DAKAR Rally! The DAKAR Rally is the greatest offroad motorsport adventure race of all time! OK, maybe the Camel Trophy might rival DAKAR, that within itself can be a long debate. But, the DAKAR Rally, since 1979, is still a globally followed motorsport event happening still today! Put this into your thought processor, the DAKAR Rally is 13-days and over 5,000 miles! For physical size comparison, lets think about this for a moment as we in the USA/North America have the SCORE INTERNATIONAL BAJA1000 that is just that, a thousand miles from Ensenada to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Bring that state-side and that is roughly the distance from Seattle Washington to Los Angeles, California. The USA itself is 2,802 miles from Florida to Washington state! Now that you think about it like that, the DAKAR is like racing back and forth across the USA with some change left over. That’s two consecutive Gumball Rally’s!

But let’s add a twist!
Unimog-Nemesis-Red-Bull-KAMAZ-4911-Dakar-T4-Hero-31Being and R/C enthusiast and more poignantly, an 4X4 offroad enthusiast AND a especially an Axial SCX10 fan… trucks are a natural! The DAKAR Rally is very well known for the TRUCKS! Not these little Ford, Dodge, Chevy and Toyota things we call trucks here in the USA. We are talking names like MAN, IVECO, TARTA, DAF and KAMAZ! BIG TRUCKS in excess of seven thousand pounds worth of trucks! So the search began with Google “SCX10” and “Dakar” clicking on images will result quite a few very cool builds! That sat on the back burner for a while…

We have a friend from Austria, Daniel Siegl, as he is very involved in the R/C community over there… home to KTM! His family has been very connected to KTM motorcycles and KTM itself has been dominate in the motorcycle division of DAKAR. Thus, Daniel has loads of information on both KTM and the TRUCKS that support both my passion and intrigue! But that too is a whole other black hole… moving along.

Through our recent DAKAR discussions, he also showed me an Axial SCX10 based DAKAR truck built by Zoltan Cisk, who I met while attending the 2014 Austrian G6.
But lets first ask the question…

Why trucks in the DAKAR rally in the first place?
Because man is involved… No, not MAN the brand, but the species of human race. We will race anything and everything, so why not trucks?!

The DAKAR Rally does not allow “outside” help to the competitors within the race, only the competitors within the race can help one another. Therefore, if the race team has entered support trucks into the race itself, the trucks can haul all the allowed support items to help its other efforts in the other divisions; motorcycle, ATV, UTV, car, buggy, light duty SUV’s. But where there is man and competition, the big trucks will race to win! So, categories were developed. I’m sure at some point a team had a motorcycle in the race along with a support truck and the truck driver drove past his broken-down motorcycle colleague in effort to beat one of the other trucks as they were entangled in their own battle! This made for even more classifications to be added to the DAKAR Rally truck division!

The Truck class (T4), first run as a separate category in 1980, is made up of vehicles weighing more than 3,500 kg (7,716 lb). Trucks participating in the competition are subdivided into Series Production Trucks (Group: T4.1) and Modified Trucks (Group: T4.2), and Group T4.3 (formerly known as T5) trucks are rally support trucks – meaning they travel from bivouac* to bivouac* to support the competition vehicles.

Production Series Trucks – Group: T4.1
This is a full Race Truck with the primary mission to win the T4.1 Truck Category.

Modified Trucks – Group: T4.2
These are fast support trucks with the dual mission to race, but their job is to stop and help their motorcycle or car team mates.

Rapid Assistance Trucks Group T4.3, formally known as the T5 Class.
This class mission is for full support of the race team and travel at a “normal” pace from bivouac to bivouac.

OK, now that you have some background and classification on DAKAR Trucks, what does it take to get one… OK, dream on! So, lets get real… how about one-tenth the size?! The inspiration!  You too can race DAKAR! Bringing dreams to reality in scale form and scale cost too! But you do have to bring out more than JUST your checkbook or credit card. No, not JUST your PayPal either. Styrene & Xacto blades cost money and like any race vehicle, fabrication is involved, therefore its going to cost you time and elbow grease! But hey, you are building a race vehicle!

Our friend “LEO” Zoltan Cisk from Gödöllő, Hungary set out to build a DAKAR rally raid truck based on a Axial Racing SCX10 chassis. Leo started to build a “scratch built” body inspired by a REDBULL KAMAZ DAKAR Rally truck as seen in the “inspiration” above.

Take a look at the following pictures to get some insight on the process involved in building this unique masterpiece from the ground up or as we say, from scratch.2.planning2: With wheelbase measurements sorted, a flat image template is created on heavy card stock, based on the inspirational image above.

3: Styrene plates are made from the stencil. These are the rear panel side pieces.

4.3ddetailswork14: Three dimensional details such as wheel flares are made by cutting additional pieces of Styrene, sanding and glued into place.

5.backendwork25: Assembly of the panels starts to reveal the back portion of the truck.

6.shappingupCab6: It’s a labor of love and the practice of patience. But hey, you are building a RACE TRUCK!

7.GrillDetailwork47: The tedious intricate patience of grill work, much like dental work! A steady hand is a good thing!

8.FinalFitmentwork58: Finally, all the bits, pieces and panels are all assembled to resemble your dream truck!

9.fitmentPreview9: Test fitment on the Axial SCX10 chassis and anticipation builds!

10.PaintWork10: Auto paintwork please!

11.FullPaintDetails11: With the paintwork done, next comes striping and window details in place.
Next comes the flavor!

12.logoapplication OH! You are a factory team!13.FrontProfile Now that we are looking very factory! It’s time…14.DSCF8451 15.DSCF8457

17.DSCF878516: Now to sneak off and do some testing before you meet up with your friendly rivals!

18.Leo's-workshopThank you Leo’s Workshop for sharing these images and thank you for choosing Axial SCX10 for your chassis of choice!

                                    ••••MORE DAKAR••••
Extended reading in English about Gerard De Rooy’s IVECO Powerstar T4 and all the detailed undercarriage and interior photos!

More about the DAKAR Rally History:

A great video with great truck coverage • Dakar Syndrome from RaceFace S&M:

Leo Workshop’s Original thread:


bivouac* pronounced ˈbivo͞oˌak or in my Bama’engrish, “biv-o-wack”
The word bivouac is French and ultimately derives from an 18th-century Swiss German usage of beiwacht (bei by, wacht watch or patrol).

A bivouac shelter is any of a variety of improvised camp sites such as those used in scouting and mountain climbing. It may often refer to sleeping in the open with a bivouac sack, but it may also refer to a shelter constructed of natural materials like a structure of branches to form a frame, which is then covered with leaves, ferns, and similar material for waterproofing and duff (leaf litter) for insulation. It is sometimes called a bivvy for short.

Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build


Words and photos by Tony Phalen

Whenever I get a new vehicle, I like to take the first couple weeks to just drive it in box-stock form to learn about its traits; how it handles, any quirky nuances, etc. During this time I also take some time to review any hop ups that might become available, giving me an idea on how my long-term upgrade process is going to play out. Thankfully, the SCORE Trophy Truck shares the same platform as the Yeti Rock Racer, which means that there are a slew of performance goodies already available. Armed with a bag of aluminum bits, I decided it was time to install them prior to getting this rig all dirty. Not only did that make it a lot easier to deal with (read: no dirt!), it also looks much prettier in pictures. Time for an Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build!

Step 1

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Here are the parts I’ll be installing in this article. I’ve got quite a bit of work ahead; shocks, gears, machined parts and turnbuckles. A full list of the parts I installed is included at the bottom of this article.

Step 2

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Since I’m going to need to remove the center transmission for upgrades, I disconnected the motor wires from the ESC. Pay attention to how the wires connect; if you have a photographic memory, you’re good to go. If not (like me), you can mark them to keep things straight. I put one silver mark for the A wire, 2 for the B and 3 for the C.

Step 3

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build I’m going to be working on the front end of the SCORE TT first. I started by removing the top deck support brace. It requires the removal of 10 screws in two different lengths so, to keep things organized, I put them back in the holes after removal.

Step 4

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Once the top deck support brace has been lifted off, removal of the front clip is easy. There are 4 screws underneath the chassis and the two hinge pin screws. I also disconnected the fixed-length steering turnbuckles as well – I’m replacing them with adjustable ones.

Step 5

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Separate the gearbox from the shock tower by removing the 4 screws holding them together. I’m only working with the differential at this time so I set the rest of the front clip assembly aside. Note the orientation of the diff in the gearbox. You’ll want to make sure you re-install it the same way.

Step 6

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Next, I removed the differential and bevel gear assemblies from the gearbox. I’m replacing them with the AX30395 Heavy Duty Bevel Gear Set shown in the picture. One thing to notice is that the assemblies have straight cut gears; this design is pretty strong and easy to machine. The new HD versions are helical cut, or machined with a slight angle in them. These are great for high-torque applications like crawlers or, in this case, hardcore trophy trucks! To replace, remove the 4 screws on the diff to release the gear, set the new gear in place and re-install the 4 screws. If you’re the tinkering type, you might think about adding some optional fluid to the diff prior to putting it back together (I did, 1000wt). The HD bevel gear is a one-piece unit so replacing the stock part is a simple pull-and-replace operation. One final step I performed was to remove the rubber stops that are installed in each diff outdrive. If you hold the diff on its side, you’ll see them down inside there. These are used to keep the dogbones tight and prevent them from ejecting during a hard crash, however they hinder the up and down suspension movement slightly. Since I’ll be replacing the dogbones with universals, they’re not needed anymore.

Step 7

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Next up was the AX31170 Machined Front Shock Tower and AX31169 Machined Body Post Mount. These parts are a direct bolt on and work the same as the stock parts, however as you can see there are a few extra pieces. I’ll get to those in a bit.

Step 8

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build I disassembled the front clip down to the front shock tower assembly. The only part I’ll be reusing from this is the plastic body post.

Step 9

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build I attached the AX31169 Machined Body Post Mount to the AX31170 Machined Front Shock Tower. Since this is an aluminum-to-aluminum connection, I used a dab of threadlocker on the screws to make sure they don’t loosen up. I slid the plastic body post into the mount and used the screws provided to secure.

Step 10

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build I’m ditching the stock dogbone setup for a set of Axial’s AX31135 94mm Universal Axle Set. These come as a pair, are pre-assembled and slide right into place.

Step 11

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build I re-assembled the front clip – the new shock tower to the gearbox and the front bumper to the tower. I left the shocks off for now since I was replacing them with a full set of Axial’s Icons. You can also see the aluminum upper shock mounts that are included with the aluminum shock tower.

Step 12

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build For strength and additional tuning, I’m adding a full set of front adjustable turnbuckles (AX31249 Yeti Turnbuckle Set). This kit includes an excellent build sheet, so assembly is very easy. Just build the turnbuckles to the appropriate lengths and you’re good to go. I would suggest keeping them separate during the build so you don’t mix up the steering links with the camber links; the two are different.

Step 13

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Before attaching the front clip back on the TT, I need to do a little work on the transmission. I pulled it from the TT and removed the gear cover, motor, plastic backing plate and plastic motor mount.

Step 14

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build I installed Axial’s AX31156 Machined Adjustable Motor Mount, a 2-piece unit that includes the main mount that attaches to the gearbox and a mount that attaches to the motor. The motor mount part swivels to adjust the gear mesh and uses an upper clamp to keep it securely in place. Because it’s aluminum, this system is SUPER strong and helps pull unwanted heat away from the motor. I re-attached the plastic backing plate followed by the spur gear assembly (I used Axial’s AX31161 32P 64T Steel Spur Gear and AX31164 Machined Slipper Plates in place of the stock parts). These upgrades look awesome and should make the gearbox virtually bulletproof. After I tightened everything up, I went ahead and re-installed the gearbox into the TT.

Step 15

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Time to get the front back together, so I started by sliding the front clip onto the chassis and securing with the 4 screws from underneath as well as the two hinge pins. I made sure to key the center universal into the outdrive located under the transmission. It’s a little tricky, so I would suggest rotating the transmission gears (using the back tires) until you see the slots in the outdrive; this will make it easier to key the universal. Next, I slid the front axles through the steering blocks, attaching the wheel hexes to keep them in place. I installed the steering and camber links, making sure to key the axle bones into the outdrives. A little care has to be taken here to make sure the axle bones stay inside the outdrive.

Step 16

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Now that the front is back on and looking good, it was time to move on to the rear clip and the installation of a lot of performance parts. The first thing I needed to do is separate the rear clip from the rest of the chassis; front cage screws, rear cage screws and the 4-link mounts. If you did it right, this is what you should be left with.

Step 17

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build My first plan of attack is the rear differential. To extract it, I needed to remove the diff cover, the straight axle hub carriers and the axles (just pull them out slightly). I also removed the two plastic diff-capture plates that hold the diff in place. Note the orientation of the diff gear inside the housing.

Step 18

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Replacement of the diff gear and bevel gear is the same as the front. Once completed, re-assemble by inserting the diff gear, diff-capture plates and axles (key and slide back into place). I installed the optional AX30789 AR60 OCP Aluminum Straight Axle Hub Carrier.

Step 19

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build To strengthen the rear end, I replaced the stock plastic 4-link mount with the AX31165 Machined 4-Link Mounts as well as added Axial’s AX31244 Upper Link Plate Set. Both are direct bolt ons; the Upper Link Plate Set uses existing holes in the plastic links.

Step 20

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build I also installed Axial’s AX31245 Lower Link Plate Set. These also bolt right on using existing holes in the plastic links. I would suggest installing and tightening the two end screws while leaving the centermost pair loose. They can be tightened up when you re-install the shocks and anti-roll bar.

Step 21

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Here is the rear clip assembled with all of the aluminum parts installed. You can see I’ve also added the AX31166 Machined Shock Mount Plates, AX30830 AR60 OCP Machined Link Mounts and AX31167 Machined Sway Bar Clamps. The Machined Sway Bar Clamps are a little hard to see, but I’ve added some additional pictures at the end that help show their install. When re-attaching the rear clip back to the chassis, add some threadlocker to the screws that secure the aluminum 4-link mounts. This will help prevent the screws from backing out when you’re out having a good time.

Step 22

Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build While I loved the look of the King shocks, I couldn’t pass up installing a full set of Axial’s Icons. Per the included instructions, I built a set of front and rears and installed them in place of the Kings. I have an additional set of shocks to create a dual-shock setup, but I’m going to give it a whirl with the single shocks first. The dual-shock install (and tuning) will be for a later article. As you can see from the pictures, the aluminum parts look awesome and will provide additional strength as well as give the truck a bit more of a ‘factory’ look. Time for me to get outside and get this thing dirty!

Here’s the list of parts used in this article.

AX30395 Heavy Duty Bevel Gear Set – 38T/13T (x2)

AX30789 AR60 OCP Aluminum Straight Axle Hub Carrier

AX30829 AR60 OCP Machined Low-Profile Differential Cover

AX30830 AR60 OCP Machined Link Mount

AX31135 Universal Axle Set 94mm

AX30836 Aluminum Servo Horn 25T

AX31136 Icon 87-125mm Aluminum Shock Set

AX31156 Machined Adjustable Motor Mount

AX31161 Steel Spur Gear 32P 64T

AX31164 Machined Slipper Plate

AX31165 Machined 4 Link Mounts

AX31166 Machined Shock Mount Plates

AX31167 Machined Sway Bar Clamp

AX31169 Machined Body Post Mount

AX31170 Machined Front Shock Tower

AX31172 Icon 67-90mm Aluminum Shock Set

AX31244 Upper Link Plate Set

AX31245 Lower Link Plate Set

AX31249 Yeti Turnbuckle Set

Additional Photos Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck Full Option Build IMG_0552 IMG_0557 IMG_0555 IMG_0556

Axial – The Official R/C vehicles of Ultra4 Racing – King of the Hammers 2016


(Mission Viejo, CA) January 11, 2016.

Axial R/C Inc., A subsidiary of Hobbico Inc., is proud to announce Axial as the Official R/C Vehicles of Ultra4 / King of the Hammers for 2016.

Ultra4 Racing is the latest and greatest off road motorsport event on earth. This style of racing challenges man to a duel with the elements. Unlike standard off road racing in a stadium or in the wide open desert, Ultra4 vehicles face challenges that no other motorsport demands. Competitors are not only made to cross vast areas of open desert, they also travel up boulder strewn canyons and negotiate terrain that appears impassable. To compete in such a demanding environment, competitors build custom four wheel drive vehicles that are made to crawl over the harshest terrain, then conquer the wide open desert at exhilarating triple digit speeds. This element of automotive enthusiasm is precisely what Axial R/C has set out to deliver in 1:10 scale, so the relationship between Axial R/C and Ultra4 is a very natural fit.

Axial’s roots are directly tied to motorsports, especially competitive rock crawling. As full size competitive rock crawling transcended into what is now rock racing, the sport became globally recognized in a short five years, most notably the King of the Hammers [KOH] held annually in Johnson Valley, California. Axial followed suit with its own version of vehicles that translated well within this segment of the off road community. Axial has been very off-road lifestyle driven and fits perfectly with Ultra4 and the King of the Hammers event which is the mecca of enthusiasts pushing the boundaries of rock racing. Axial will be on site at the 2016 King of the Hammers offering enthusiasts an opportunity to experience the endless fun that these rock racing and trail navigating R/Cs have to offer.

Come out and join us at the 2016 King of the Hammers in the Axial compound located smack dab in the middle of Hammertown, USA. This year’s compound will feature a rock racing track and a scale trail where you can traverse a challenging course with your SCX10 vehicles and rip around the track with your Yeti, Wraith or RR10 Bomber. The scale trail will be open for runs during the day, then be closed down for some rock racing in the evenings.

Axial to support drivers chasing the Crown
In 2016, the Axial team will be supporting, following, and cheering on several teams competing in events all week long. Please show these teams some love!

Randy Slawson – Bomber Fab
Casey Currie
Savvy Motorsports
Desert Turtle Racing
Poison Spyder Motorsports
Cody Waggoner – LaserNut
Tom Wayes

The schedule for Axial events is as follows:

Axial Booth open daily Tuesday through Friday 9 AM until Race completion nightly

Tuesday February 2nd, 2016
11-1 Scale Adventure
1:30-2:30 Scale Adventure
3-5 Track open Practice
6PM Outlaw KOH Race for points

Wednesday February 3rd, 2016
11-1 Scale Adventure
1:30-2:30 Scale Adventure
3-5 Track open Practice
6PM Outlaw KOH Race for points

Thursday February 4th, 2016
11-1 Scale Adventure
1:30-2:30 Scale Adventure
3-5 Track open Practice
6PM Outlaw KOH Race for points
Awards immediately following Final Race.

Friday Feb 5th, 2016
Race Day – Get out in the desert and watch the full size racers go for broke chasing the coveted crown and title of “King of the Hammers” for 2016

Outlaw Classes Rules:
1.9 Axial Based Chassis (Except Yeti)
2.2 Axial Based Chassis (Except Yeti)
Yeti Trophy Trucks
Yeti Class (No XL)

Demo Rules:
One try per day – per person
Under 18 – Parent MUST be present.
If you have your own rig, Scale rules apply, Respect the Course!!

**Important Note for 2016**  
There will NOT be a G6 event on Saturday at this year’s King of the Hammers.

About Axial
Founded in 2005, Axial R/C, Inc. has quickly became a global brand leader of hobby grade radio controlled products as Axial is a company of enthusiasts for enthusiasts. We manufacture chassis and accessory products predominantly for the Rock Crawling and Overland Adventure segments, with design emphasis on rugged construction and scale realism. Axial is regularly involved in local and national events which allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of R/C culture, thus earning us awards every year from 2007 through 2010, including “Best Truck”, “Most Innovative”, “Best Engineered Product of the Year”, and “People’s Choice.”

For more information on Axial and Axial products please visit

About Ultra4
Ultra4 Racing is the official website of Hammerking Productions. The founders of Hammerking are the force behind the toughest one-day off-road race on the planet: King of The Hammers. King of the Hammers takes place each year in February, on public lands in Johnson Valley, CA. The race has evolved from 12 teams racing for bragging rights and a case of beer, to more than 150 teams competing before thousands of fans both live and online. Due to the incredible success of King of the Hammers, Hammerking has created an equally difficult off-road endurance race called The Stampede which occurs annually in Reno, NV.

In addition to these races, Hammerking has established a racing class known as the Ultra4 class. The defining characteristic of this class is that all cars must be capable of 4-wheel drive. Beyond that, the class is unlimited, which means these cars come in all shapes and sizes and are capable of speeds over 100+ MPH and still contain gear ratios as low as 100 to 1 for technical rock crawling.

To give these cars and their drivers a chance to showcase their unique capabilities, Hammerking has formed the Ultra4 Racing series. The series challenges drivers to compete in a wide variety of terrain from endurance desert racing to competition-style rock crawls to short course racing. Hammerking currently produces five of the six races in the series on their own. The races take place on both public lands and in private motorsports parks across the country including: Exit 28 Motorsports Park in Nevada, Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania and Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

If you would like to know more about Hammerking, Ultra4, the races produced and/or the movies created, please visit


Rock Racing Tires


yeti rock racing

If you didn’t already know, tires make the single biggest difference in the overall performance of a competition vehicle. A fast motor will increase top speed, but if you want lower lap times, if you want to be in front of the competition, if you want to win, it is absolutely essential you spend time to getting the right tire setup on your Axial Racing vehicle. This includes tread pattern, rubber compound, size, inserts and even, to some extent, wheels.

While all Axial Racing vehicles include high-performance scale tires, there is no single best tire. What works perfectly at one rock racing track simply may not work at all at another track. Also, track conditions change, so what worked at one point in a race day might not be the ideal choice later in the same day.

Rock racing is tricky because what works exceptionally well on rocks is unlikely to work on high-speed dirt sections and vice versa. It is essentially impossible to pick out a rock racing tire without making some sort of compromise. The specific track you are racing on will determine which way you want to compromise performance.


Tread Pattern
The tread is the most obvious feature of a tire. All of the other features in a tire design matter to varying degrees, but it’s hard to argue that tread pattern makes a big difference.

Treads with taller, flexible lugs can sometimes be beneficial on rocks, but they are unlikely to do well on typical hard racing surfaces where the tread easily folds over. When the lug folds over, it provides inconsistent and unpredictable handling as they can slightly squirm around. If a track has a lot of silt, which is very common, tall lugs do help. Most racing-specific tires, however, have short lugs, so if the rock racing track you’re competing on has a lot of fast sections, select a tires with smaller, closer-spaced lugs.

Large voids (open spaces) between lugs help keep tires from clogging with soft, wet dirt. If the track is muddy due to weather conditions or heavy watering by the track crew, consider a tire with large spaces between the treads such as the Axial BFGoodrich Krawler T/A tire.


Another part of the tread to look at is the sidewall. Tires such as the Axial Maxxis Trepador and Axial Ripsaw have significant tread wrapping down the side of the tire carcass. These side treads can be a huge advantage on the rocky section and typically won’t impact handling on the fast sections.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match tires to achieve the desired handling. Often rock racers have a hard time with squirrelly handling on the fast sections and at the start. Going with a less aggressive front tire can help reduce oversteer. If the car slides (not spins out) in the corners, it will benefit a more aggressive front tire and might need more traction overall.


Rubber Compound
There are numerous rubber compounds to choose from. Softer compounds such as Axial’s R35 compound (white dot) are softer and stickier. Soft compounds provide more traction, but wear faster. A soft compound such as R35 is almost always better for rock racing.

In the same way treads can be mixed and matched, different compounds can be used the front compared to the rear. It might make sense to start with R35 compound with the rear tires only.


Often, when selecting tires for rock crawling, the focus is on tire height, but width is just as important when choosing a rock racing tire. In general, and with all things being equal, a wider tire has an increased contact patch and will provide more traction. Narrow tires up front teamed up with wider rear tires can be an ideal setup. This is especially worth trying if your truck is struggling to track well in the corners.

While width is important when looking for the right front to rear balance, height is still important. The main benefit of taller tires is increased ground clearance. Taller tires also have taller sidewalls since we only use a few wheel sizes in R/C. Taller sidewalls have no benefit on the fast sections, but tall sidewalls do allow for a more flexible tire that can wrap around rocks and aid in climbing.


In full-size tires, compressed air supports the tire. There are a few exceptions, of course. In R/C, foam inserts replaces the air, and just like the air inside a full-size tire, the foam supports the tire. Firmer foam is like higher PSI and softer foam is like less PSI.

Foam can be divided into four groups: open-cell, closed cell, memory, and multi-stage.

Open-cell foam is the most common type of foam found in R/C. Not all open-cell foam is the same; there are countless varieties. This is the same for all of the foam types. Axial Racing includes a medium density (firmness) foam insert.

Closed-cell foam is molded foam and in the last five years has become the most common type of foam used with racing vehicles. A solid closed-cell insert is, however, almost always too firm to work well for rock racing.

Memory foam is often used in rock crawling, but it can have some ill effects when rock racing. Memory foam is heavier than both open- and closed-cell foam. This helps with rock crawling, but can actually cause accelerated parts wear. Unlike traditional foam, memory foam is slow to return to its original shape after encountering an obstacle. This characteristic of memory foam helps when rock crawling where going slow is the norm. The memory foam conforms to and wraps around obstacles. When rock racing, if memory foam is compressed it will cause an out-of-balance tires and erratic handling.

Multi-stage foams use more than one type of foam and allow you to have a “best of both worlds” setup. Just about any combination is possible, but the best setup for rock racing would be a closed-cell inner ring surrounded by an open-cell outer ring.



How the foam fits inside the tire also impacts how firm it feels. For rock racing, it is best to use a foam insert properly sized to the tire. An oversized foam insert will make the foam firmer than possibly desired and an undersized foam will provide erratic handling as it moves around inside the tire. In high-speed racing, a slight air gap (space between outside top of the foam and inside of the tread are) will increase traction without hampering handling as long air gap isn’t too large. Creating a consistent air gap when using open-cell foam can be difficult, but with careful attention to detail it is possible.

An important item to consider is that foam inserts wear out. Sometimes tires might not show a lot of visible wear, but the inserts inside have broken down. Open-cell foam wears out the fastest. Often simply squeezing a tire doesn’t demonstrate how the foam is holding up. Instead, squeeze all of the tires and make sure the foam rebounds at the same in rate in all of the tires. Carefully feel the tires to see if the is an increased gap between the tire and the foam insert. If you’re using bead lock wheels, disassembling the tires and wheels may be in order.


Where rock crawlers often favor heavier aluminum wheels, lightweight wheels are best rock racing. Increasing rotational mass, such as with heavy wheels, is never desirable on a high-speed vehicle. In fact, lightweight and more flexible wheels will most likely improve handling over bumps and jumps.

While bead lock wheels have the advantages of being easily reused and unlikely to fail (have a tire come apart) if properly installed, they are heavier. Glue-up style one-piece wheels are often appropriately flexible and lightweight, which, as stated, are good qualities for racing.

Jeep Comanche with Camper



There’s no denying the scale scene when it comes creativity and 1:1 to scale xeroxability. Especially in some instances were a mere double take is simply not enough to confirm nor deny whether a vehicle is a full size 1:1 rig or a scale R/C rig.


Inspiration behind the build

Take this early 80′s to early 90′s Jeep Comanche with camper for example. Upon first glance one can help but think it’s just your run of the mill Jeep Comanche with a camper ready for adventure. Impressive. But then you look closer and the R/C side starts to appear, again, double take required. At which point you agree it’s a great looking scale rig, yet the eye focuses back on the camper hanging off the truck bed. That camper is not one of those bought off the shelf deals, it’s hand built! The builder, Mark Mühlenpfordt, put some serious effort into this camper build. From the looks of it he started with bulsa wood for the main infrastructure followed by styrene for textural detail.


Cut lines market on bulsa wood with a pencil.


Each side is connected via four posts.


Rough frame mounted onto the truck bed for fitment check.


To scale, that’s a big window.


Primer coat applied and ready for white main coat.


Tip, using small amounts of heat is a great way to form plastic tubes.


Used a small belt sander to sand down the bulsa so that the rear door hinges lay flat.

The Build Process 12380035_514839515357280_942941959_n 12380473_514839565357275_618034861_n 12395101_514839545357277_1240391044_n 12395534_514839555357276_97941008_n

Final Product 12395644_514839102023988_10383463_n 12395592_514839275357304_1079691754_n 12395537_514839108690654_891491752_n 12395403_514839258690639_1458741446_n 12395359_514839268690638_1285200186_n 12388128_514839068690658_657384755_n 12386554_514839262023972_186632468_n