R/C buggies and rock racers come in all shapes and sizes. And while you typically know what to expect from brands with household names, some brands and models might leave some questions in your mind. Thankfully, I’ve found some nice surprises among the sea of “off-brand” radio-controlled vehicles, including WLToys 1/12-scale 12428 rock buggy.
While the name leaves a bit to be desired, a few months of driving this rock buggy have found me giving a second look to other models in the WLToys lineup.
WLToys 12428 Specs:
- Scale: 1/12
- Vehicle type: Off-road buggy
- Radio: 2.4GHz
- Motor: Brushed
- Drive-type: 4wd
- Battery type: Lithium-Ion
- Price: $62.75
- 1 WLToys 12428 1/12-scale R/C Buggy
- 1 2.4GHz transmitter/controller
- 1 7.4V, 1200mah Li-Ion battery
- 1 Charging adapter
- 1 Instruction manual
Unboxing the WLToys 12428 R/C Buggy
The Chassis & Suspension
Much to my surprise, the chassis construction of the WLToys 12428 is extremely solid. And I mean extremely solid. Although it’s a nylon, tube-frame design, it’s bolted together in a way that makes it tough, durable, and almost inflexible.
This is a nice feature to have, seeing as how this buggy has a tendency to flip and/or roll, depending on how hard you’re driving it. The weight distribution of the vehicle itself, however, leaves room for improvement. Anytime this vehicle would get airborne, I knew I there was a good chance it wouldn’t land on its wheels. Between the uneven weight distribution and aggressive bounceback from the shock springs, this vehicle would either tumble or propel itself airborne upon landing, causing more tumbling.
While the shocks and shock bodies appear to be adjustable, I didn’t find this to be the case. In fact, I feel that adjustable shocks, or a new set of shocks altogether, would greatly improve the handling performance of this machine.
As with the chassis, the body panels on the WL12428 buggy are…solid. Made from a thick polycarbonate, they hold up to tumbles, rolls, and scapes caused by errant landings. The graphics package on the panels is eye-catching, however, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher if you’re trying to figure out what the various “sponsor names” mean.
The Tires and Wheels
After giving the tires on this buggy a squeeze, you might have your doubts about their grip level and overall performance. Once the rubber meets the road, however, those doubts drift away. With all four wheels turning and gripping the ground, this buggy launches into action and doesn’t appear to lack traction, even on a variety of surfaces.
From the moment I mashed the throttle on this buggy in my basement, I knew this would be a fun machine to drive. Not lacking for torque, the WLToys 12428 leaps into action upon trigger-squeeze, more-often-than-not lifting the front wheels off the ground in the process.
The top-end speed of this buggy is impressive as well. From pavement to grass and everywhere in-between, this radio-controlled beast motors along quickly.
The 1500mah Lithium-Ion pack that’s included with this model isn’t short on power. No sir, this little battery can put out some impressive power, which is eagerly devoured by the 12428’s motor.
Featuring Deans connectors, you can easily swap this battery our for a NiMh pack of similar size and output, not to mention a higher mah rating. My only complaint about the stock battery pack its relatively short runtime.
My collection of R/C controllers has swelled to an impressive number in recent years. As I look into that sea of (mostly) black, I can typically pick out my favorites. Sadly, I wouldn’t rank this controller in that category.
While it’s far from the worst controller that I’ve used, there are areas of performance which fall short for me. Overall throttle performance and response are very good, so I have no complaints in that area. The steering performance, however, has room for improvement. The amount of turning input that can be applied seems to end prematurely, causing wider-than-expected turning arcs.
This isn’t an issue if you’re driving in a wide-open space, but if you’re driving in a backyard with say, a swingset and garden to navigate around, it can create some problems.
Is the WLToys 12428 the right R/C buggy for you?
While this vehicle suffers from a few handling issues, it still provides fun whenever I pop a fresh battery pack into it. The combination of power, durability, and relatively nimble handling make for a fun backyard basher to play around with. Performance and handling “quirks” aside, it a cost-effective way to squeeze in some drive time, no matter where you may be.