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Mad Ax

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About Mad Ax

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  • Location
    Lurking among the gothic shadows of Bath
  • Interests
    Streetfighters, motorbikes, fiction writing

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  1. I've been putting it off for a couple of years, if I'm honest. Some other (non-local) friends say they take trucks out on the dog walks etc, but I always thought it would be a distraction. Actually, taking a truck added something else, and although there was no really fun challenging terrain like there would be on a proper event course, just the challenge of getting to the end without recovery forced me to think about lines and routes. One clumsy rollover would have ruined it. I take a lot of photos when I walk, but nobody ever sees them. Taking a truck forced me to rethink how I shoot the scenery - and having to get right down on the ground to get the scale photos definitely gave me more exercise than I usually get. Going out with friends is good fun, and if you can find a time when you're all free then go for it - you can tackle harder terrain when you have others to help you recover if you get stuck - but going out alone turned out to be way more fun than I ever expected. I'm still thinking about which rig to take next...
  2. mmm, yeah, ok, maybe not then... Don't get me wrong, I really like the boxart, but it seems there's a fair bit of interest and I don't want to end up with the same truck everyone else has. Plus I don't want to have to spend extra to get a clear body. Shame, I was more excited about this than any other Tamiya release in the last few years, but if I had a pre-order down I'd cancel it now.
  3. 3x 2200mAh 3S LiPos. The last one dumped a 3rd of a mile from the finish line! If I hadn't got stuck so much on the wet grass I'd probably have made it on 3 packs. But, to not get stuck on the grass, I'd have needed bigger wheels - so, maybe the taller gearing would have offset the lower throttle needed to get over the grass. Or maybe the gearing is way too low with those little wheels and I'd go farther with a big-wheel rig. I might take the SCX10 next time and see how far that runs on some 4250mAh 3S LiPos.
  4. Addendum: I wrote the bulk of this thread yesterday, a full 20 hours after the event, at a local softplay centre, while my daughter was off making friends and making dens with giant spongy brick things. Today was Workshop Sunday, and I had to do a few things with my FlySky FS-i6 transmitter, which was my hand-held companion for the entire 8.7 mile walk. Unfortunately, it was misbehaving as soon as I turned it on, and despite being opened up and left to air all day, it still isn't working properly. None of the microswitches work any more - the throttle trim is now 100% backwards and won't budge, left trim is erratic, and I can't get into any of the menus. It seems the rain storm was too much for it, and is a reminder that I really need to remember my mitter-mitt if the weather is going to be bad. As the nights cool off, it will help my hands stay warm, too. Side-note: I was walking The Ridge back in December '22, when we had a real cold spell. I went to take a sip through the drinking tube from the water pouch in my rucksack, and it was frozen solid. A couple of months later, I was walking The Ridge in the opposite direction. I'd descended the valley to Stalker Farm via the lane, walking right into thick cloud, then climbed out of it again towards the barn where I'd put my blister plaster on in this post. At the far end of The Ridge, I started smiling at an internal thought, and my face felt odd. When I put my hand up to figure out why, I found the clouds had condensed on my beard and then frozen solid. Back to the task at hand: a new FS-i6X has been ordered today, hopefully be with me in a couple of days, soon enough that I can set up all 20 models in the memory again ready for Tamiya Junkies and then the Scaler Nationals, both in October. It's also worth adding that I've had to take several doses of weapons-grade codeine to get over the back pain I've had since Friday evening. I can usually do an 8 mile walk without too much pain, but perhaps walking with the transmitter was more awkward than I thought. Today has not been an entirely pleasant day. Although, thanks to a combination of codeine and Budweiser, now is pretty gosh-darned good...
  5. Close enough that I didn't bother to break out the bungee cord to put the truck on the rucksack - I just picked it up and carried it for the final 3rd of a mile. I kind of regretted that, it's not exactly light and there aren't many good carrying points, I got terrible cramp in my wrist and my fingers went numb. But at that point it was a nice distraction from the pain in my legs and feet. And, finally, here we are! 8.68 miles, almost dead on 4 hours, back at the van and about ready to strip out of my wet walking trousers and slip into the clean, dry jeans for the 25 minute drive home. Well, what can I say? I started off feeling a little daft, just driving a truck along open fields with no real challenges, but I soon realised that the challenge was going to be getting it all the way around with no outside assistance. And I almost did that. Only some long grass stopped me. With 3.75 miles to the first pack, I should have got 9 miles out of all 3, if only I hadn't had to drive so hard over the grass. In the end, I had an absolute blast. I only met about half a dozen humans (or close approximations thereof) the whole time I was out, and the same number, give or take, of dogs. Every human had at least one dog (or, perhaps, it was the other way around). I can't say I had much in the way of positive comments but I didn't get any negative ones. The truck was absolutely brilliant, and did way better than I thought over the deepest grass. So, will I do this again? Absolutely! Maybe not every walk - I was significantly slower, I usually average 2.5 - 2.6mph over an 8 mile walk, and although the truck is capable of beating that most of the time, I just don't tend to walk so fast when I'm focussing on driving. And what will I change? Well, while the grass is still long (it'll disappear in winter) I'll have to use a bigger truck. Big 6 is out - I just don't have enough batteries. The CFX-W would be good, with its big tyres and portals giving it plenty of clearance. The BOM would probably be OK too - there's not many places it can fall over. The SCX10 sits lower to the ground, so it might struggle over the longest grass, but it's also the most scale, so will look best out on the tracks. Or - and I'm just throwin' this out there - perhaps I need a real big wheel truck. Sure, the LMT would eat this terrain for breakfast, but having to drive it so slowly would be hard work. Even on 2S it would be too fast, and I'm not sure how much mileage I'd get from them. Also it has no lights, which is a problem now the nights are getting shorter. So - do I need to build a specific truck for this? A while back I started work on a leaf-sprung monster with a Clod body. I had it on 2.2 monster tyres, but it would go just as well with a set of mega truck tyres, which would probably offer more traction on the grass. That little extra clearance might be what it really needs. I can only find RC4WD tyres at over £80 per set, or JConcepts tyres that will need short course staggered diameter rims, but that's a problem for another day - that truck doesn't even run yet. But it's something to bear in mind.
  6. Even this is lighter than it was to my eyes, but it's a great shot. And now we've got about a mile and a half of gravel to go. Nothing to do but drive and walk, walk and drive. Oh, and stand aside for the military Land Rover that patrols up and down here from time to time, plus the random tourist in a Mini that completely grounded out his sump a little further up where the central ridge is very pronounced. Found some puddles further up the track. I tried to get photos of the bow waves, but it was too dark to get any moving pics without loads of motion blur. Finally, 8.35 miles into the walk, the last battery dumped. We were so close. That black square on the horizon is a water tower at the highest point of the hill. That's where the van was parked, and where I took the picture right at the start, with the truck beside that puddle. The tower was literally just out of shot. So, that's how close we got.
  7. We made it over the deep grass and puddly section that I'd earlier avoided, and were finally on the long, long, long arcing path that ascends from the deepest part of the valley, right up onto Imber Path, which is the permissive byway that runs along the border of the firing range, and on which I'd parked the van around 3 hours ago. Somewhere approaching the top, but a long way from the van From this point, looking back across the valley towards The Ridge. The place where I took the photo looking at that arcing hedge line, over an hour ago, is just to the right in this photo. And finally, we're back on the Imber Path. It's pretty rough gravel here. Just behind that mound is the firing range, out of bounds to civilians. The village of Imber lies down there - it was bought by the government during WW2 to use for training, and nobody has lived there since. It's usually open for 1 day in the summer for people to walk in and visit the old church, although it has been seen several times on Top Clarkson. The camera does a very good job of making it look a lot lighter than it is!
  8. The gravel track ends where this farm lane begins. I can either cut across deep grass and puddles (it looked impassable by man or truck), or I can follow the farm track. I chose farm track. Then I came across this. And then my battery went flat. It lasted less distance than the previous battery, partly because I had all the lights on now but mostly because of having to run at full throttle over those grassy fields. OK, the truck can probably make this... However at this point the pumpkin got hung up on something... I figured it was safer to reverse back than risk rolling it over. If it went in, I'd have to wade out to get it, and that's deeper than my boots! Almost rolled it on the reverse, but managed to get it free without any hand interference.
  9. At the highest point along the track, I can head left and cut off a corner of a field. You can just about make out the track heading diagonally up the hill. (The hedge arcing to the right is the one I pointed out from the top of the hill a few posts back). The path isn't established, and the grass is long and wet - having already driven through one hellish field and carried the truck across another, I wasn't going to attempt this. The alternative was to descend on the gravel track, losing the altitude I'd gained, and attack the hill from the very bottom, via a muddy track. At the bottom of the hill is a derelict barn. In the depths of winter, when the skies are grey and the trees are bare and the colour is sucked out of everything, this looks just like a scene from the film Stalker. This place feels so remote it's sometimes like being in the Zone. I had to crawl around on the wet floor to get these shots. The sun is officially gone now. We're on twilight and truck light only. (I have a headtorch in my rucksack in case it gets too dark).
  10. A steep climb on a compacted gravel track. We're now heading directly back towards the van, although there's a lot of hill to cover and some steep valleys to avoid.
  11. And at the bottom, it's pretty boggy. I was tempted to drive through this, but as I'm at probably my lowest and furthest point from the van, I didn't fancy having to carry the rig all the way if it failed. Out of the cover of the trees, and more rain was on the horizon - although I was hoping this little squall would miss me completely. Despite being only late September, the air had a particularly cold feel to it and another soaking to the legs (which were largely dry by now) would make the last few miles rather unpleasant.
  12. This is the path I should have taken from the gravel track, although it would have been uphill when I should have joined it. The grass was short enough here that it was no bother to drive on. At the bottom of the hill we reach a slippery chalky track, which is nicely wet after all the rain. Arguably this is the most fun section for driving trucks on.
  13. We actually got really bogged down in grass at this point, so I had no choice but to extend the winch and assist the truck along while still trying to drive. The winch was shorter than I remembered, so I couldn't clip to my belt - I had to sort of walk in a half-crouch, while trying to drive with one hand. Although I did have time to stop for a sunset pic. Things seemed to get easier, so I started to wind the winch in, then it jammed and wouldn't go in or out. I didn't fancy a trail repair so I tied it back to the cargo net and drove on. Sadly I wouldn't get far before the worst happened. At this point I realised it would be a losing battle, and I was also losing time and daylight, so I picked up the rig and took big strides to the path. I realised here I'd actualy taken a wrong turn, and got off the footpath too early, so things might have been easier had I taken the right path. Well, whatever, I was on a good track now, so I continued east, still heading away from the van, with the sun behind me.
  14. It was a lot more overgrown here than last time I came along, but the sun was fully back out by now, so it was nice Another nice view across West Wilts Here I turned right to get back onto my usual bath, but as I suspected, I had to cross a seriously tough field of grass to regain the path.
  15. This photo was taken from the road. There's a barn on the right, used by the military for training, where I stopped to evict the water from my socks and put on a blister plaster (wet socks are bad!), and I came out to see what the noise was. It's hard to see, as my camera doesn't have a long lens, but there are two silver dots, behind the trees and just beneath the far ridge - these are military helicopters on exercise. We see all sorts up here - last year I was walking along The Ridge when a Chinook landed right in front of me and about 20 soldiers in full battle gear ran out the back; the year before that I was buzzed by a Bell-Boeing V22 Osprey (which must have been an American bird on training). Back along the lane... And onto the gravel path
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