Brandon’s Axial EXO RTR Terra Buggy goes Baja Bug!

The Axial EXO Terra Buggy stands out due is its unique looks and construction.  The integrated cage and multi-piece body seperates it from the norm, eliminating the standard body posts and bouncy lexan body found on most RC’s.  So what do you do when you feel the need to change the look of your EXO Terra Buggy?

First thing I did was find some inspiration.  While surfing the classified’s section on race-dezert I came across this heavily built VW Bug with an LS1 out back.  Perfect!  The EXO Terra Buggy is also V8 powered thanks to Turnkey.

Browsing Pro-Line’s website I found quite a few Baja Bug bodies.  After talking with them it looked like the Volkswagen Baja Bug Body 3283-62 was the best fit.

A few days later the fun began!  A quick trim and mock-up showed that this project had some potential. I started the build on my EXO Kit, so excuse its rough looks.

Some more trimming, fitting, and head scratching resulted in the following:

I immediately knew this body needed something to top it off…  How about Axial’s Universal Light Bar?  Part number: AX30709

Decision on the paint scheme was easy.  I know this is a VW and not a Toyota, but I couldn’t resist.

To finish off the lighting I installed a pair of the small round buckets included on the Axial Light Bucket Set.  Part Number: AX80045

Now for the fun part.  My AX90024 Axial EXO Terra Buggy RTR is still fresh and right out of the box.  Let the modifications begin.  With the body already trimmed to fit and the basic modifications required already laid out this was an easy build!

First things first, I removed those awesome green body panels. The rear wing was also removed for now.  Still undecided on the look with/without the wing.

Because the hood of the VW body is longer I had to look at finding a way to move the front bumper out of the way.  So for now I simply removed the bumper brace.  Add that to the pile of removed parts…

I also wanted to give this build more of a long travel stance.  Out of the box the EXO sets at about mid travel for ideal handling.  I decided to use some longer rear springs in the front to achieve the look I am after.  Some 14x70mm Firms did the trick.  Part Number: AX30221.

New longer springs vs. the stock front springs.  Both are Firm (Yellow) Springs.

End result, the new front stance.

To mount the VW baja body I decided to avoid using the existing hardware that was used to mount the EXO Terra Buggy body.  Instead I fabricated some body mounts.  Lots of ways to do this but here are the parts and placement I decided to go with.

I picked up some some threaded posts.  They were included with Traxxas TRA3727A.  The simply threaded into the existing hole that held down the old hood.

I also trimmed the hood mounts on the front to allow the body to sit as low as possible.  The two mounts circled in red were cut flush.

For the rear body mounts I dug through the parts box.  These started life as AX10 body mounts.  Part number: AX80005

I simply cut them to the required length and drilled a new hole in them.

Once my cut was cleaned up and I confirmed the length I used the existing holes on the EXO cage (where the original body mounts).  I used some M3x15mm Tapping Buttonheads that used to hold on the bumper compression brace.  Perfect length for this, and a great way to re-use parts from the “removed” pile.

The end result looks factory.  I even have some adjustment left to fine tune the fitment of the VW Baja Bug Body.

Next I decided to remove the rear light bezel.  The roof of the VW Baja Bug body will cover this, and removing this allowed me to get the body to set at the desired height.  Plus this gives me easy access to install the radiator.  Note: It is possible to remove the light bezel without removing the cage, I used an Axial 2.0mm ball driver.  Axial Part Number: AX20021

Guess what is included in the spare parts bag of the Axial EXO Terra Buggy RTR?  How about an officially licensed Griffin Radiator.  Score!

This parts tree is available separately as well.  Its a great accessory for your SCX10 or Wraith.  Part Number: AX80103

I decided to cut the radiator off and lay down some silver paint for scale realism.

Radiator assembly and installation.

Did you catch that additional parts tree with rod ends I showed in the picture of the radiator?  They provided a perfect solution for adjusting the position of the front bumper to fit the VW body.  I picked up some M3x25mm threaded turnbuckles, Part Number: AXA1633 to complete the assembly of the links. The following screws and nuts were used to mount the assembled links to the bumper and bulkhead:

M3x45mm Cap head.  Part Number: AXA0094
M3x18mm Button head.  Part Number: AXA118
M3 Thin Nylon Lock Nuts.  Part Number: AXA1052


One thing I really liked about the 1:1 inspiration was the overall width and stance.  I decided to mimic this look by simply installing some front wheels and tires on the back of the EXO.  The EXO Terra Buggy comes with narrow front wheels/tires and standard rear wheels/tires.  To match the narrow wheels/tires on all 4 corners I needed the following parts:

2.2 3.0 Raceline Renegade Wheels – 34mm (Chrome/Black) Part Number: AX08106
2.2 3.0 Hankook Dynapro Mud Terrain Tires 34mm Part Number: AX120107

Getting close!!

Here is my final pile of removed parts.  Looks like my EXO Kit gets some fresh body panels and a new wing now!

Here is a shot of the cutouts on the hood to clear the shocks.  Also note the cutouts for the front bumper, this wasn’t necessary but I didn’t want to take away too much clearance from the front by pushing the bumper any further forward.

Hmm, something is missing back here.

Ahhh, my Turnkey V8!  Axial Part Number: AX04031

This also includes the seats and dash, I’m saving that for a potential part 2 of this build.

Trimmed, painted, and stickers applied.  Too easy!  My EXO RTR should be much faster now…

Install time, simply remove the 2 button head tapping screws holding on the center brace from each side and it comes right out. (4 Screws total)

I grabbed 4 of the M2.6 button heads that held all the original green body panels to the cage.  These will be used again to mount the motor.

Once mounted it simply slides into place.  The detail of the motor and radiator should definitely make this VW Baja Build stand out.

Ready for it?!?

The completed build is definitely very unique.  It was surprisingly simple to do as well!  The EXO Terra Buggy platform has a ton of potential for scale builds and replica’s.  Already brainstorming the next EXO based project, hope you enjoyed this one.

NEW SCX10 Body Option!

With the addition of the AX10 Ridgecrest RTR to the Axial chassis line up came a new body. Now just because the description on the tag for AX04032 says AX10 Ridgecrest Body doesn’t mean it can only be used on that chassis. Jamie Seymour, the designer of the Ridgecrest and its body, thought we should see what it looks like on a SCX10 chassis. It sounded like a cool idea so we ran with it!

***Please keep safety in mind when using a Dremel and wear saftey glasses. Paint your body in a well ventilated area.***

The body as you will see it in the hobby shop.

Everything the body comes with including the plastic front and rear bumper pieces.

Masked up and ready to be fitted to the SCX10 chassis. I highly recommend fitting and drilling all holes in the body before paint is applied. This way when it’s all painted up you know without a doubt you’re not going to run into any surprises that may be difficult to overcome once the body is painted. Trying to mark body mount holes on a custom application like this when the body is painted is not easy trust me!

First we must remove the rock sliders.

Go ahead and remove the stock rear body posts because we will be using the ‘SUV’ body mount that comes in the spare parts bag that came with your SCX10. If you need to purchase one the part number is AX80031 Body Mount Parts Tree.

We won’t be needing the front bumper either.

For clearance reasons it’s best to remove the front bumper mount but it can be modified to work if you so desire.

We can now line up the body with the tires and chassis.

Once lined up mark with a Sharpie where the body mount holes will need to be.

Assemble the front and rear bumpers, line them up, mark the holes with the Sharpie, and drill them out. Be careful not to drill to big of holes because these holes are very close to the edge of the fender wells. I found it very helpful to have a friend hold the bumper in place while I marked the holes. Side note: if you’re planning on installing the light buckets from your Honcho front bumper to the Ridgecrest front bumper you will need to cut out the grill for clearance.

We thought the body looked best riding low on the chassis. To get the body riding low it was necessary to relocate the battery tray to the rear. You may find you like the body better a little higher on the chassis at which point the battery can remain in the front.

The three very long battery tray mounting screws will either need to be cut down or you can purchase shorter AXA464 M3X8mm Hex Socket Tapping Flat Head screws.

Screw the aluminum battery plate back to the tray.

Now that the battery is in the rear slam those front body mounts all the way down.

With the front end body mount taken care of it’s time to modify the rear ‘SUV’ body mount to get the back end down lower to match the front. Using side cutters I first cut the flange’s off.

I followed up with the Dremel to clean things up.

Since we had to remove the flange that supported the body two new holes on each side need to be drilled. Insert a body clip into the lower most hole to support the body then use the hole you drilled above it to hold the body in place. Make sense?

Using side cutters I cut off the rounded tops from the body mount because they now stick up way too far since we’ve lowered the body.

Lastly drill one hole on the lower part of the body mount so when you have the mount lowered all the way down you can clip it in place. I promise this is the last drilling and modifying needed on the rear body mount. Haha!

Now that we have the body sitting properly on the chassis it’s time for some paint! I used Tamiya Polycarbonate (PS series) specific paint so all my hard work doesn’t flake away when the body flex’s. The colors are as follows: PS-14 Copper, PS-1 White, and PS-5 Black. I tinted the windows using Pactra’s RC294 Window tint. Before you spray the black lines make sure you have backed the copper heavily with the white so the black doesn’t come through and darken the copper.

The body all painted up and fitting perfectly on the chassis since we spent the time before paint to insure a proper fit.

I applied the decals before installing the bumpers to the body.

Bumpers re-installed.

A view from the rear.

I folded the lower rockers, using my desk, right at the bottom of the door line for a cleaner look. Plus by doing so they are much less likely to get hung up on obstacles that come between the tires.

Look familiar? That’s because the AX10 RTC XC-1 bodies were folded like this as well.

All done!


Ok so Wraith RTR 2.2′s are a little big but she looks like a beast!

Mud bogging anyone?

A comparison against a stock SCX10 Honcho.

A comparison against a stock AX10 Ridgecrest.

For a few more pictures from this project visit Axial’s Flicker.