After careful consideration (and many late nights reading and watching reviews), I came up with the following shortlist:
- Axial SCX10-II, the “new and improved” version of the highly regarded SCX10. A very capable all-rounder that should be on the shortlist of anybody looking for anything close to a 1:10 scale crawl or trial truck. It even comes in kit and several different RTR (Ready to Run) body styles. The kit even has upgraded, more robust hardware, but does not include the electronics (which was a “must-have” for me). And with electronics it would be much more costly than a RTR. Thus, the AX90047 Jeep Cherokee RTR made it on my shortlist.
- Traxxas TRX-4, the new kid on the block. Traxxas already has quite a reputation in RC cars, but this is their first entry in the “Scale and Trail Crawler” segment. And they entered with quite some fancy features like portal hubs, separately lockable differentials (diffs) and a 2-speed gearbox. At the time there was only the RTR with Land Rover Defender D110 body available, which fits nicely with my wishlist. (There is now also a fantasy “Tactical Unit” RTR set and a Broncho body and a kit version have also been announced). On the shortlist you go, TRX-4 Defender.
- Vaterra Ascender, a well established candidate that a friend of mine already had and also pops up in most online comparisons. Usually cheaper than the others and available in kit and RTR in different body types. On my shortlist I entered the Chevrolet K-5 Blazer Ascender RTR.
Coming from big Excel sheets with all kinds of pros and cons of a long list of options, having just a few cars on my shortlist was quite a relief! Once I had done all my research, the final choice was made by highlighting the for me most significant differences per car:
- Body: The SCX10-II and Ascender both have clear windows (good), but you can also see the inside of the body through the wheel wells (ugly). The TRX-4 has black stickers as windows (bad), inner wheel wells that look good and keep the insides clean (good) and an exoskeleton that makes the center of gravity higher (bad, car tips over sooner) but looks very good. Point goes to the TRX-4.
- Electronics: Reviews complain about bad stock steering servos on all cars, so no real difference there. The TRX-4 is better equipped with servos for both differentials and gear change, and a more sophisticated transmitter / receiver. Point goes to the TRX-4.
- Crawling / trailing capabilities: The TRX-4 has a disadvantage in rick crawling due to its heavy body resulting in a higher center of gravity. But it has an advantage over the other two in trailing due to the portal axles giving it more ground clearance around the axles and differentials. To me, that outweighs the disadvantage so point for the TRX-4.
- Upgradability / customizations: The TRX-4 is the new kid on the block, so there are many more options (and how-to YouTube videos!) for the SCX10-II and the Ascender. Most of them were for the SCX10-II, so 2 point for the SCX10-II and 1 point for the Ascender.
- Style / looks: Very personal, but also very important. For me that point goes to the TRX-4.
It is clear that for me the Traxxas TRX-4 Defender would be the bets choice.
Next challenge: In Green, Gunmetal or Red? Sometimes you have to make tough choices in life, but luckily my girlfriend is there to help me!
Red is usually my go-to color for this kind of stuff. Especially when it is such a lovely, deep red, looking good with all those black accents. Not very subtle though, and I hate how plastic the red jack on the back looks next to the red of the body…
Gunmetal (or just plain grey) is also the color I choose for my 1:1 car, so obviously I like it. Very subtle and stylish, but maybe a bit dull…
Green, a “special edition” color exclusively for the European market and not always easy to find. Fits well with a forest car, but would have been even better if it wasn’t so shiny…
Faced with such a tough choice, I asked help from my girlfriend. And she was quite clear: Green! Done, decision made! In my next post I write a bit about actually buying it.
(Pictures come from the manufacturers and Bing/Google Image search)