Friday, 16 December 2011

Losi Bind-N-Drive

One of my pet hates of the whole Ready-To-Race genre of R/C models is the fact that a collector who has several models will always end up with a pile of basic radio’s and receiver’s normally swapped out for something more advanced with a model memory and appropriate receivers.

It makes sense for the casual hobbyist, as they will only ever need one at a time, however i still wish manufacturers would give the outright choice of buying their models in either a RTR format (for newbies) or at least an “Almost-Ready-To-Race” format, giving the owner the opportunity to fit their favoured brand of radio gear, just like the old days when you used to build the model from the ground up.

As a secondary result, radio less kits would cost a little less and allow the expense to be applied to a new receiver. Instead of piling that on top and then hoping for a sale on the OEM radio kit.

Losi have almost made this a reality with their Bind-And-Drive models. The minor drawback is you need a Losi or Spektrum radio. No prizes for guessing… Losi and Spektrum are one and the same.

Traxxas do offer this too with the TQ radio systems, but its a horrid and messy affair trying to program the radio with the LED’s and buttons, however the TQi radio with the iPhone dock will more or less solve all those problems.

Anyway, a recent announcement, and back to the main point, a new Losi 1/16th Scale SCT with Brushless with capability for 3S LiPo’s is now available! All yours for a very reasonable £99… if you own an appropriate radio.

Perfect for back yard bashing though while the nights are long and cold.

losi_sct_brushless

Losi Product Page

Thursday, 15 December 2011

HPI WR8 3.0 Nitro Rally

I'm completely psyched by the announcement of HPI’s latest for 2012.

Years ago, one of my most cherished R/C models was an original HPI RS4 Rally, which took the usual RS4 setup and added longer shocks and a few beefed up components, and a pretty cool internal body shell, the bottom half providing a form of under tray, and the top half to stop debris collecting in the chassis and drivetrain components. It also sported a couple of moulded figures for the driver and co-driver for a bit of scale realism.

hpi rs4 rally internal

When i returned to the hobby after a few years of absence earlier this year, the first thing i looked for was a modern equivalent of the RS4 Rally, but was saddened to find that HPI had discontinued it years ago and there were no comparable models.

At the time it made me wish i had never sold my RS4-R as they are like hens teeth now! Back when i sold it on eBay it went for an unexpected and hefty price, around £200 if i remember rightly. I was then shocked it made that much, but over joyed, and obviously didn't realise how much it was worth!

So i am pleased today that HPI have announced the WR8 3.0.

Built on the proven Bullet Truck drivetrain, this is a 1/8th scale, Nitro Star G3.0 powered rally car, opposed to the 1/10 scale, brushed electric of the old RS4-R.

hpi_ws8_30_front

HPI say…

When you combine the ultra-tough Bullet 3.0 drivetrain with the true to scale look of the Ford Abu Dhabi WRC team, you get the HPI WR8 3.0: scale realism and awesome nitro power!

Rallying is the ultimate test of a road car, pushing it beyond its limits, and by starting with drivetrain from the Bullet 3.0 nitro-powered truck, our designers had the perfect starting point to make an all-new HPI rally car! By making improvements to the suspension and wheelbase, the WR8 3.0 chassis was born! The WR8 keeps the tough bevel gear differentials, 4WD shaft drivetrain, twin disc brakes and fully ball bearing-supported drivetrain of the Bullet nitro truck, but adds a new Nitro Star G3.0 High Output engine, racing-style clutch, new suspension geometry, thick sway bars, plus scale gravel tyres and wheels to make it a real rally contender!

To make it a complete scale package, our body shell designers got to work replicating the 2011 Ford Fiesta RS WRC used by the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, the official Ford works rally team. This car saw action all around the world, from New Zealand to Norway, Great Britain to Germany! The shape and decals of this championship contender are absolutely spot-on, and when you add the officially licensed Abu Dhabi/Castrol livery, Michelin gravel tyres and OZ wheels, it's impossible to distinguish it from the real thing!

Sounds great so far, plenty of tough components and a replica body shell.

It comes as an RTR model, so what's included?

The inevitable 2.4GHz TF-40 Radio.

hpi tf40 radio

hpi_ws8_30_1

Tough underbelly and debris guards.

hpi_ws8_30_2

Plenty of ground clearance.

hpi_ws8_30_3

Nitro Star 3.0 engine.

hpi_ws8_30_4

Dual disc brakes. As far as i can work out they are not exposed on the underside. A great method for stopping debris and small stones getting trapped in the pads.

hpi_ws8_30_5

Efficient tripled diff drive train. Again from the Bullet, but no word if they are metal gears?

hpi_ws8_30_6

Waterproof servo’s. A must for rallying of course!

hpi_ws8_30_7

Splash proof electronics box, again a bit of a must…

hpi_ws8_30_8

Chunky front bumper foam and skid plate, just in case your air time comes to a bit of an abrupt end.

hpi_ws8_30_9

Special suspension geometry and solid upper links.

hpi_ws8_30_10

Replica Michelin tyres and OZ wheels.

hpi_ws8_30_11

Sway bars front and rear.

hpi_ws8_30_12

Shock guards, a simply yet excellent solution!

hpi_ws8_30_13

The replica body. One of those that makes you feel reluctant to bash with and rather keep as a shelf queen!

hpi_ws8_30_14

As said its an RTR model, so you need the usual “Nitro Stuff” such as fuel, a glow ignitor, batteries and charger etc. to get it up and running.

A video of the car in action…

From HPI Official on YouTube

A summary of the WR8 3.0’s features.

  • Pre-Assembled 1/8th scale Rally Car
  • Based on the Bullet 3.0 nitro truck
  • Nitro G3.0 High Output engine with slide carb
  • TF-40/RF-40 2.4GHz 3-channel radio system with failsafe and drop-down steering wheel
  • Powerful & waterproof steering servo
  • 3mm aluminium chassis with centralized weight balance
  • Steel flywheel for improved idle stability and low RPM response
  • 1/8th buggy 2-shoe racing clutch for optimal throttle response
  • Dual steel disc brakes
  • Full-time 4WD for excellent control
  • Efficient and tough shaft drivetrain
  • Front skid plate with durable foam bumper
  • Splash proof receiver box
  • Composite chassis braces for extra driving feel
  • Tough oil-filled gear differentials
  • Realistic Michelin gravel rally tyres
  • Aluminium shock towers front and rear
  • High ground clearance for driving on most surfaces
  • Mud guards for rear shocks prevent dirt build-up
  • 75cc fuel tank for long runtimes
  • Quick access to all critical maintenance points
  • Dual bell crank steering
  • Cam type servo saver
  • All socket head hardware
  • Full set of rubber-sealed ball bearings

One question that is on my mind, and I'm sure a few others….

“Will HPI make a brushless electric version of the WR8”

I would expect so. There is a brushless Flux version of the Bullet to start with, so I'm sure that HPI will make an adaptation and create the WR8 Flux…

The thought of that personally leaves me torn…

The WR8 will defiantly be going on my Wishlist as i feel it will finally fill the void through the loss of the RS4 Rally, however i think it will be fantastic as both a Nitro and a potential Brushless model.

However a Brushless model would need more than "”Splash Proof” for the electronics, as to realise the full potential of a rally model… you really need to get it dirty!

“How much will the WR8 3.0 cost?”

RRP is £339.99

To conclude, i think this is a great addition to the line up and would like to see other manufacturers create their own proper rally models. Will just have to wait and see what materialises in the coming months, but there will be no doubt one makes it way into my fleet.

Pictures, videos and some wording are property of HPI Racing.

Official HPI Page can be found HERE!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

TQi Stand Alone Availability

As per my previous hopes, the Traxxas TQi Radio (6507) is indeed available as a separate item very soon (early 2012).

The TQi was released with the new Traxxas XO-1 Supercar.

For £150 you can get both the radio and the iPod/iPhone dock, and the 6518 5-Channel receiver, although no solid information for if the telemetry sensors are included.

Also no evidence yet of the availability and price of the lone docking station upgrade to allow owners of the XO-1 to get the full benefit.

The 6518 receivers are also available for a reasonable £45 for any additional models you may have, again, unsure if the receiver comes with a full kit of telemetry sensors.

Interestingly it first appeared that the docking station and the radio itself had their own independent power supplies. The radio states that it requires 4 AA batteries, and the dock also requires 4 AA’s but also has the ability to use the Traxxas 3037 NiMH hump pack to provide the juice, and will also keep your Apple device charged up.

This make would sense in a way as the iPhone element is not a critical element of the system so you wouldn't want it reducing the radio power to nothing and rendering everything unusable. At least with the radio still powered you can continue to operate your model.

Alas, studying the gallery images appear to paint a different picture, and several in particular demonstrate that the batteries are stored in the bottom of the hand grip.

traxxas_radio_batteries

I'm certainly leaning towards getting one of these for release day and see how well it all performs. If it lives to expectations and has an all-round improvement on the R/C experience i could be seriously tempted to make it a single system and swap out all of my Spektrum kit.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Traxxas TQi Radio System

Thankfully, it does look like Traxxas will be making the new TQi Radio available separate from the recently touted XO-1 Supercar.

This is great news as i would love to get my hands on one.

No real clue on the pricing for the unit, the iPhone dock or the App as of yet. Release dates state the end of December with the Apps release on the 20th.

http://traxxas.com/products/parts/transmitters/6507tqitraxxaslink2ch