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Mad Ax

UK Scale Nationals 2023 - Pics and Review

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Having had so much fun with the BOM, I stayed out to do another course.

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After that I went back to the pitting area, and I saw that Jamie Booth had arrived with some of his SMD stock to sell at special prices.  That's when I saw this:

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It's a 1:18 scale CRX Flat Cage from Hobby Tech, 6x6 and RTR with a little 2s softie included.  Same size packs as my FTX Outback 1:18s, and I already had some charged.  This was kind of an impulse purchase and I had a bit of buyers remorse after - I literally never use my other 1:18, and when I do I find it disappointing, it needs a lot of mods to get it to stay upright as it's very top-heavy.  That said, I can't fault the CRX - it's very well balanced, the weight is low, it's got plenty of torque and the tyres are grippy.  It could do with more weight in the wheels, and a steering axle on the rear would improve the turning circle, but for the money, it's an awesome little truck.  And, well, it looks just fab, doesn't it?  I guess I just fell in love with it and had to have it!

I took it for a drive around the small-scale courses.  They were designed for 1:24, so it was a bit tight in places, and I had to assist it over some of the climbs, but it generally went very well.  Sadly no pics as I was using the included RTR handset and didn't have a camera mount on it.

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After that, I did some courses with the CFX-W.  It hadn't had a run so far this weekend, and if memory serves I didn't run it at the SST either, so it was overdue for some playtime.

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IMO, this completely captures the scenery at the Nationals.

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I'd been alone most of the day, but at this point I bumped into fellow TC member, who I'd met a couple of weeks back at the Tamiya Junkies meet.  He was pitting his CFX FJ against the terrain, so we decided to tackle the course together.  This is one of the best bits of the Nationals - meeting random people on the trail and joining up to beat it together.

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Then it was back to the pits for a bacon roll and a chance to rest my legs.  At that point people were starting to get ready for the big raffle draw, so I didn't want to go too far away.  A bit of a mistake really as I'd have had time to tackle another trail before the draw took place.  But then, I had the SCX10 set up with the trailer on, and the trailer body kept popping off the chassis - something I need to look at.  In the end I parked it up and hung around chatting while waiting for the draw.

I never spend a lot on tickets, but I had a little flutter and was rewarded with...  Well, I have no idea what it is.  A lanyard, a pulley bearing (I think it's for a winch block - I'll probably do something with that as I want to make a better ground anchor) and a strange metal thing.  I don't know what it's for.

And then it was time to pack up and go home.  Starting later due to the clock change meant an hour less on the trails - the sunset was an hour earlier, and we had to be off site before it was dark.  So, like most people, I packed up, said some lazy goodbyes, and got back on the road before it got dark.

The journey home was reasonably quiet - Sunday afternoon in autumn isn't too bad a time to travel, although it got busy near the motorway.  I made good time, and I got off the motorway two stops early to tackle one of my favourite roads, Frocester Hill, and come back home via country roads.  I made it back in time for a pizza from the freezer and some comedy TV to unwind after such a long and crazy weekend.

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So, how was it?

Absolutely epic.  Great fun.  Everything it's been before, and everything I want from a crawler event.

What went wrong?  Nothing, really.  The body kept coming off the trailer, and I forgot to take my static tow line every time I went out.  I didn't really need it, but I might have offered it earlier if I'd had it with me.  I did use the kinetic tow strap at one point, and the static would have been better.  Getting involved with other people on the trails adds another dimension, and having the kit with me to do that would definitely help.

I'm thinking of making a Trail Pouch to keep all my stuff in - ground anchors, tow straps, kinetic straps, anything I want quickly to hand to help on the trails.

Oh, and the food van almost running out of food - that would have been a disaster.  Maybe next year I'll bring an emergency sandwich, or at the very least, the kettle and a pot noodle.

What would I do differently?  I took all the cars in the van without boxes, which made them difficult to stack.  Just cars littered all over the van.  The boxes take a lot of space, but at least I can shuffle them around.  A proper tailgate awning so I can put them outside and not worry about the van getting wet would be nice.  I was just too lazy to put my tarp up, to be honest, and I shouldn't have been.  Being less lazy would be good.

The Scale Nationals crew have been trying to help out their sponsors by getting some better videos.  This one has a few shots of the BOM making it over some tricky terrain, but you should really watch the whole thing - that's the way videos are made.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja5fBTvo-MI

And if you really want to waste all afternoon, there are loads more photos here that didn't make it into the final cut of this post:

https://tcphotos.net/album/ZOx8/?sort=date_asc&page=1

Roll on next May, when they'll be doing another UK Scale Nationals event - I'll have to see if it conflicts (or complements) any of the Iconic Cup rounds...

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15 hours ago, Mad Ax said:

I'd been alone most of the day, but at this point I bumped into fellow TC member, who I'd met a couple of weeks back at the Tamiya Junkies meet.  He was pitting his CFX FJ against the terrain, so we decided to tackle the course together.  This is one of the best bits of the Nationals - meeting random people on the trail and joining up to beat it together.

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Great write up, this was me with the mst cfx land cruiser.

I'm glad you told me about this event at the Junkies meet.  I'd never done a crawler/ scaler type event before but really enjoyed it and will definitely go again. I've done a bit of research and found a place in nottingham called Springwoods RC which also looks worth a visit. 

The CFX has been on my workbench since I got back as I'm doing a few mods which will hopefully make it even better next time.

 

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14 minutes ago, davidwj95 said:

this was me with the mst cfx land cruiser

I'm glad you reminded me, I almost tagged the wrong user :lol:

Glad you had a good time - I was absolutely stoked after my first visit, immediately started pulling my truck apart and doing mods to improve it.  Of course as well as the CFX you'll also need a Class 2 rig, and a Class 3, and a rock bouncer.  Oh, and a trailer, and a micro.  And a rucksack with tools and spares, and a little pouch with tow straps, ground anchors and suchlike.  Oh, and a trailsnack.

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Haha yes I can see it might get expensive, I've been looking at the Element builders kit as an option for my next build.  

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1 hour ago, davidwj95 said:

Haha yes I can see it might get expensive, I've been looking at the Element builders kit as an option for my next build.  

It's a very good option if you want to add your own flair.  I've not driven a stock Element that much (my daughter's one has barely been used) but they're a great build, super-smooth transmission and the shocks are like butter.  You get a proper shock that actually works, unlike most other crawler kits.  IMO the only build quality issue is the smaller screws for the diff - buy a tap, and replace the little screws with stainless.

The axles are quite wide too, so works better with a bigger body.

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Great write up. I have to say it’s whetted my appetite to try something like this. Currently I’m just a solitary trail walker with a bit of slippery slope climbing thrown in. The camaraderie is something I miss. I think SC models ( my nearest LHS) is going to start a monthly meet mainly for buggies but there will be crawler course as well so might take the 6 wheel Unimog and the TRX4 and get some practice in. Sadly there are no rocks near where I live😢
 

I noticed a tank in the lineup!!!! How far did it get.

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32 minutes ago, Busdriver said:

I think SC models ( my nearest LHS) is going to start a monthly meet mainly for buggies 

Ooh. If that happens please do post something up. It's not crazy far from where I work. 

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1 hour ago, Mad Ax said:

It's a very good option if you want to add your own flair.  I've not driven a stock Element that much (my daughter's one has barely been used) but they're a great build, super-smooth transmission and the shocks are like butter.  You get a proper shock that actually works, unlike most other crawler kits.  IMO the only build quality issue is the smaller screws for the diff - buy a tap, and replace the little screws with stainless.

The axles are quite wide too, so works better with a bigger body.

Thanks for the info, are there any others you could recommend?  I also like the look of the HPI venture builders kit which is a bit cheaper than the element.  My main requirements are that I want a kit not RTR and have good spares availability. 

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22 minutes ago, davidwj95 said:

Thanks for the info, are there any others you could recommend?

In terms of branded stuff, it's hard to go wrong with any of them, IMO.  IIRC I've never run any HPI car, the Venture was popular a while back, I think HPI's continual financial struggles puts me off but maybe things are more stable now, I have no idea.

I like my MST CFX-W, I think we discussed before that MST parts in the UK are hard to find, so you have to import from Asiatees or Europe.  I fitted cheap solid propshafts, Proline tyres and the shorter shock set, but otherwise it's great out of the box.

G-made BOM - you can read my thread for all my trials and tribulations with this kit, but seriously, since I've got the shocks sorted, it's been awesome.  I've never broken anything on it (although I might have bent am axle shaft, I need to check why the wheel is wobbling) and it's got a very neat transmission.  Mine is on the earlier chassis, the later version has a 2-speed transmission, arch liners and looks different.  The included tyres with the BOM are fantastic.  Not sure what UK parts are like.

Axial SCX10 - mine is absolutely ancient but still going strong, I don't think I've ever broken anything on it.  I think the SCX10-II builders kit is still around, the SCX10-III has more features.

I've never owned a Traxxas crawler but those who own them love them, TRX-4 Sport Kit (with fewer features and a generic body) and full-fat builder's kits are available.

Carisma seem to be priced a little lower and more towards the scale end of the market, but they do look good.  I've never owned, built or driven one.

SMD had a neat CRX Pug 504 kit in stock at the Nationals at a competitive price, looked like a very detailed kit and a leftfield choice for the body.  I was so taken with it I very almost bought one.

IMO the world is your oyster - if you can afford a brand-name truck, I don't think you'll get a bad one - although as with anything you'll probably want to spend on it as soon as it hits the trails, because nothing ever seems to be quite right out of the box (tyres being the main problem on the trucks I've bought).

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47 minutes ago, BuggyDad said:

Ooh. If that happens please do post something up. It's not crazy far from where I work. 

Will do

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5 minutes ago, Mad Ax said:

In terms of branded stuff, it's hard to go wrong with any of them, IMO.  IIRC I've never run any HPI car, the Venture was popular a while back, I think HPI's continual financial struggles puts me off but maybe things are more stable now, I have no idea.

I like my MST CFX-W, I think we discussed before that MST parts in the UK are hard to find, so you have to import from Asiatees or Europe.  I fitted cheap solid propshafts, Proline tyres and the shorter shock set, but otherwise it's great out of the box.

G-made BOM - you can read my thread for all my trials and tribulations with this kit, but seriously, since I've got the shocks sorted, it's been awesome.  I've never broken anything on it (although I might have bent am axle shaft, I need to check why the wheel is wobbling) and it's got a very neat transmission.  Mine is on the earlier chassis, the later version has a 2-speed transmission, arch liners and looks different.  The included tyres with the BOM are fantastic.  Not sure what UK parts are like.

Axial SCX10 - mine is absolutely ancient but still going strong, I don't think I've ever broken anything on it.  I think the SCX10-II builders kit is still around, the SCX10-III has more features.

I've never owned a Traxxas crawler but those who own them love them, TRX-4 Sport Kit (with fewer features and a generic body) and full-fat builder's kits are available.

Carisma seem to be priced a little lower and more towards the scale end of the market, but they do look good.  I've never owned, built or driven one.

SMD had a neat CRX Pug 504 kit in stock at the Nationals at a competitive price, looked like a very detailed kit and a leftfield choice for the body.  I was so taken with it I very almost bought one.

IMO the world is your oyster - if you can afford a brand-name truck, I don't think you'll get a bad one - although as with anything you'll probably want to spend on it as soon as it hits the trails, because nothing ever seems to be quite right out of the box (tyres being the main problem on the trucks I've bought).

Even the TRX benefits from heavier wheels and better tyres. Proline Hyrax are my current favourites!!

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3 hours ago, Busdriver said:

I noticed a tank in the lineup!!!! How far did it get.

I didn't actually see it drive - my experience is they don't actually do too well, they don't seem to have the clearance or traction.

There were some large scale tanks at the SST, and they were doing a fairly impressive crawl around the bottom end of the woods section, mostly by demolishing everything in their path.

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5 hours ago, Mad Ax said:

In terms of branded stuff, it's hard to go wrong with any of them, IMO.  IIRC I've never run any HPI car, the Venture was popular a while back, I think HPI's continual financial struggles puts me off but maybe things are more stable now, I have no idea.

I like my MST CFX-W, I think we discussed before that MST parts in the UK are hard to find, so you have to import from Asiatees or Europe.  I fitted cheap solid propshafts, Proline tyres and the shorter shock set, but otherwise it's great out of the box.

G-made BOM - you can read my thread for all my trials and tribulations with this kit, but seriously, since I've got the shocks sorted, it's been awesome.  I've never broken anything on it (although I might have bent am axle shaft, I need to check why the wheel is wobbling) and it's got a very neat transmission.  Mine is on the earlier chassis, the later version has a 2-speed transmission, arch liners and looks different.  The included tyres with the BOM are fantastic.  Not sure what UK parts are like.

Axial SCX10 - mine is absolutely ancient but still going strong, I don't think I've ever broken anything on it.  I think the SCX10-II builders kit is still around, the SCX10-III has more features.

I've never owned a Traxxas crawler but those who own them love them, TRX-4 Sport Kit (with fewer features and a generic body) and full-fat builder's kits are available.

Carisma seem to be priced a little lower and more towards the scale end of the market, but they do look good.  I've never owned, built or driven one.

SMD had a neat CRX Pug 504 kit in stock at the Nationals at a competitive price, looked like a very detailed kit and a leftfield choice for the body.  I was so taken with it I very almost bought one.

IMO the world is your oyster - if you can afford a brand-name truck, I don't think you'll get a bad one - although as with anything you'll probably want to spend on it as soon as it hits the trails, because nothing ever seems to be quite right out of the box (tyres being the main problem on the trucks I've bought).

Thanks for the detailed reply, that gives me plenty to look into. 

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