Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon RTR - First Impressions

By: Tim Gluth

In the two years that I've been involved in this hobby, I have seen my taste in vehicle types grow and change and my free time shrink. Between the time crunch and what seems to be a shrinking yard, my use of my Slash had felt the same downsizing as well. When you realize you've only had a vehicle out once in the past year (and it was a very light run at that) you come to the quick conclusion that it may be time to trade in, or trade up, to something that matches your current situation.

After picking up an entry-level rock crawler (Redcat Racing RS10) I quickly fell into the obsession that is crawling and quickly discovered that, for me, scale realism, in these vehicles specifically, is where it's at for me. With much time spent researching, staking out deals, and a little waiting, I snagged an Axial SCX10 right after Christmas. After a few indoor runs with this machine, I wanted to share some of my immediate reactions.

Rock 'n Roll
Before I pulled the trigger on the SCX10 I went through quite a few rounds of research, reading articles, watching YouTube reviews and trail runs, and picking the brains of some friends within the hobby. While I’ve been happy with the RS10, I’ve been drawn into Axial and their view on the hobby.  In short, they have a great product, great support, and a great community that’s been built up around them. These things aside, their vehicles appeared to be well built, have the ability to withstand a decent bit of on-trail abuse, and are expandable and can be modified to match whatever you may want to create.

Keep your Axial SCX10 running with a Tenergy 7.2V 5000mAh NiMH battery pack. (affiliate)

Having had this vehicle for less than a week, and only making a few indoor runs with it, I haven’t gotten to fully experience what it can do in outdoor conditions.  That said, I’ve gotten more run time in with the SCX10, just driving it around my house for a few minutes, than I had with the Slash all last year.  That should tell you something.

A Work in Progress
While this is a great vehicle out of the box, there are a few upgrades and enhancements I’m planning on working on. They are, in no particular order:

  • Lights - Adding lights to the bumpers as the first phase and eventually, adding them to the headlight, taillight, and blinker areas.  A light bar may be added down the road.
  • Upgrading the lower links and steering links - One of the trade-offs in getting the RTR version of the SCX10 versus the kit is the linkage material.  The RTR model comes with plastic links, while the kit comes with aluminum.  I’ve noticed a little flex when driving over some indoor obstacles (a little too much flex) and I’d like to tighten that up a bit.  Initial thoughts on this upgrade are to build my own to try to save a little money.  If that plan doesn’t work out, I may get another set of the 30-degree bend links that I had picked up for the RS10 Frankencrawler.
  • Waterproofing the electronics - I’ve got some good guides that I’ll be referring to for this task.  This machine is too cool not to get it a little wet and dirty.
  • Scale goodies - This vehicle screams scale. I’m thinking a canoe, some sleeping bags/pads, and tow rope are in order.  After that, I may upgrade a few of the already-installed details to metal.
  • Battery relocation - Many folks have said this, and after seeing the SCX10 in action, I agree.  The battery needs to be in the front of the rig for crawling up and over steep (and not-so-steep) obstacles.

To put it mildly, I'm excited to see where I can take this machine. I've always been energized by this hobby, but I feel an extra boost with this vehicle. A great hobby with great people will do that to you, I guess.


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