Skeeno’s Axialfest 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Build

After AXIALFEST2017, I started thinking that I needed to update my trailing rig.  Last year, I built a new racer for for the Altra Ultra 5K Enduro, but I needed something new to run on all the trials at AXIALFEST2018.

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As luck would have it, Brown Santa dropped off some Green Tape just before the Christmas season.  Merry Christmas to me!

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When I opened up the box, it was packed with the new SCX10 2 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited CRC.  This would be a great new trailing rig for AXIALFEST2018!

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My buddy, Mr. Werty over at WertyMade contacted me as soon as he found out I had the new rig.  He wanted to use it as a test mule for some parts he was making; rear bumpers, front bumpers, and rock sliders. Since we’ve been RC nerd friends for many years, I happily agreed to lend him my new trailing rig.

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He returned it to me in even better than tip top shape.  All the parts he test fitted, he left on there for me, score!  I immediately started thinking about the things I wanted to modify and add to improve the performance and looks of the 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited CRC. First up was to get a spare tire and some RotopaX on the rear bumper.

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Mr. Werty repossessed those D Rings, so that was one item I wanted to replace on that sweet front stinger.

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Check out those sweet sliders, indexed to hold the body, just like the stock plastic ones, but these are made out of steel.  The wrench logo in a nice touch, too.

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Next up was a new set of socks and shoes.  I’ve always liked beadlocks and the classic Axial 1.9 Beadlocks were my first choice.  Just as I got the wheels, Werty annouced these new Wrench Rings, and I just had to have a set.

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Look how awesome the rings look.

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In order to add a little crawling performance, I like to add some weight in the wheels to lower the center of gravity.  The Axial Internal Rings are a perfect fit. I also swapped out to a slightly beefier looking tire, the BFG All-Terrains are a classic tire and the KO2 version is even better than the original.

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They mount up easily, and you can adjust the weight using the inserts.

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At this point, I was loving this wheel/tire/ring combo, but I wasn’t digging looking at the electronics through the wheel wells.

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It was starting to look pretty good, but I still had a ways to go.

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Next up, I needed to add some swag to the rear.

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Since I wasn’t using the stock Nitto Trail Grabbers, I pressed one into service as the spare tire.

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Next, I hit up my local hobby shop, CKRC Hobbies and picked up these RotopaX gas cans from Scale by Chris AKA SBC.

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Don’t worry, the tire rack swings away, so you can still get into the back of the Jeep.

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Another modification I like to do is the 3654 Mod to the wheel hexes.  Eazy Elio from Two Chainz Scalerz taught me this trick to give any Axial scaler a slighly wider stance. Since the stock hexes are about 3mm, this modification adds about 10mm of width to the SCX10 2.

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While I was at CKRC picking up the SBC RotopaX cans, I spotted these brass 8mm hexes from Team KNK. It might be slight, but the brass hexes will also lower the center of gravity slighty.

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They fit perfectly and come with new wheel nuts and set screws to secure them to the axles.

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Next up was adding some wheel wells to hide the electronics.  I used the wheel wells for the original SCX10.

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They aren’t a perfect fit, but with a little creativity with the scissors, they worked out pretty well.

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The curve of the Jeep Wrangler body means you have to trim the fronts quite a bit.

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I ended up trimming that front tab off because I was worried it would hang up on twigs and things on the trail.

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After a little black paint, they look great.

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Black helps hide all the imperfections.

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That’s WAY better than before; no more unsightly wires can be seen under there.

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I almost forgot to mention this cool feature on the WertyMade bumper. Those four holes are for mounting a rear winch if you want one…

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And that hole is a bottle opener for those times when you need to hydrate during wrenching sessions!

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Next, it was time to add a some interior to give it a little more scale look, as well as to hide the electronics a little more.  I heard from the Anthony Rivas of Rivas Concepts and Matt Kett from the Scale Builders Guild that the 2012 Jeep Wrangler body was a perfect fit.

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Sadly, I had to kill a perfectly good body.  If you want to try this, you can probably find an old body from one of your local RC buddies to cut up.

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Be sure to cut around the lights and fender flares.

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The rear view mirror mounting holes make a great mounting point.  The two screws hold the front securely.

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I found that the door handle impressions lined up perfectly and made getting it in evenly easy.

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I cut a big hole to allow for the rear body mounts to pass through.

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Don’t worry, with the tinted rear windows, you can only see it if you are staring directly into the rear windows.

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Looking good so far. Time for paint.

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I wavered between black, red, and silver before settling on the silver.  I was happy with my choice because the bright color makes the interior pop against the red.

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That’s what I’m talking about.  No more unsightly electrics can be seen in there.

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Earlier, I got distracted by that big open space in the front bumper. TIme to remedy that.

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I pulled the winch off my old SCX10 and it mounted up easily.  It even had a matching red hook.

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Oh yeah! that looks way better with the winch in there.

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I found some D rings on some old parts trees to replace the ones Mr. Werty repossessed. I even put one on the rear bumper.

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Back to the interior.  Sticker time!

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I kept it pretty simple in here.  The only thing I added was the steering wheel I had in my parts box.  Low Rider Style with the chain ring.

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Boom!

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Bam! The silver and black really contrasts well against the red.

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There it is mounted up, two screws through the mirror holes and a little tape hold it in.

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There’s the mirror screws holding the mirrors on and the interior in.

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I also found some wipers on the spare parts tree and mounted them up.

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I really like the clean looks of it.

51 She’s just about ready to conquer all the trails at AXIALFEST2018!

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I just wanted to add a couple more scale details.  First I added the molded door handles.

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A bonus of the door handles is they also hold the interior in place.

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Then, I added the molded hood latches.  Both of these come on the spare parts trees in the box.

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I had to give it a quick trail run to test it out.

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I must say, this rig handles amazingly well.

58I’m thinking this rig is going to be amazing at AXIALFEST2018!

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One last item before I wrap up this build.  I need a few more lumens than the stock headlights, so I decided to add the JRC Offroad Roof Rack.

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Looks pretty good up there even though it’s originally meant for the 2000 Jeep Cherokee.

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The Rigid Light Bar fits perfectly up there.

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I used the 8 String LED and 3 Port High Output LED Controller.

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I’m really loving the look and capabilities of this rig.

 

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I’m definitely ready to emark on the adventures that Axialfest 2018 holds. I just wish July 18th would get here already!