What’s New About the RGT 136100V3?
This is the successor to the budget performer, the RGT 136100 V2 Rock Cruiser. The Rock Cruiser V3 (or 136100 RC-4 V3, or 136100V3) may have a confusing name, but it is still a recognizable evolution of the V2 under the lid. The same chassis and running gear are present, but this is a very different vehicle.
In short, the body is the immediately-obvious update. The body is unlicensed, but it’s easily recognizable. Also, there are a bunch of new plastic pieces adorning the exterior. The lights have gotten a trick overhaul too. There’s a functional spare wheel, a higher turn motor and better suspension. But even all that notwithstanding, the new version brings something special that is largely new to the entire hobby, not just this model family!
It’s All in One, Jim!
The headline change to this model is the integrated ESC, receiver and light controller. There’s a radio transmitter to match and combined, the RGT 136100V3 delivers a very slick driver experience.
The magic is the result of a collaboration between HobbyWing and FlySky. The former specialises in motors and speed controllers, whilst the latter is known for their radio systems. HobbyWing has integrated a FlySky radio system with a 40A brushed ESC that also has a wide range of light control and LED output ports, plus 4 useable channels. It’s quite an impressive device. More on this in a moment.
What’s in the Box?
There’s a 1500mAh NiMH 6-cell battery and a 100v-250v 500mAh wall charger, both with Deans/T-connectors. The battery is secured by hook & loop straps in the vehicle when shipped. There’s a radio transmitter that needs 4x AA batteries – you have to supply those yourself, but that’s the only thing you need to add to get it running. There’s a manual that unfolds into a large sheet of paper. It has exploded parts diagrams on one side and radio and lighting system how-to on the other. There’s also a small bag with front & rear wipers and hubcaps & screws for the beadlock wheels – an optional aesthetic decision for the owner. Lastly, there’s a sticker sheet – the same as the one included with the 136100V2.
The gearbox is a basic, three-gear design. It’s the same design type as the center-mounted transmission you’ll find in the original SCX10 (and in many similar and cloned rigs in the following decade). While the box claims ‘Reverse Drive Transmission’, this is not accurate. The transmission outputs front and rear shafts in the same direction, so torque twist is moderately present in the 136100 V3. It isn’t hugely pronounced and is acceptable. Just worth noting the error in the claimed specs.
The motor is a 25-turn 390 brushed motor. The V2 had a 20-turn motor, which was too fast for the gearing and correspondingly hard on the battery. On the V3, this motor is more suitable for trail and rock driving and is a good match to the stock gearing. No complaints.
The drive shafts have the same steel universals and plastic shafts. They’re up to the task of driving this rig and should last the life of the model. Axles are also tough with steel gears and ball bearings throughout. We noted no slop at either end in the shafts and gears, so out of the box, this part of the vehicle is well-sorted.
Wheels & Tires
The Rock Cruiser V2 had white, plastic wheels and tires glued to the rims. While the design suited the body, this was clearly a cheap approach. It suited the budget truck quite well and we had impressive rock performance from the standard tires. For the price, it was most impressive.
The 136100 V3 comes with much higher quality wheels. They’re a 1.9” beadlock design with 6 screws around the outsides to keep them clamped onto the tire bead. The wheels are plastic but they’re attractive and amply strong, both in holding shape and keeping the bead secure. We had no problem with them during testing and they look great.
The tires are a scale-looking, all-terrain tread and the rubber is sticky and pliant on the rocks. Foams are appropriate to the vehicle weight and they really dress up the car. There’s a functional spare wheel on the rear. The donuts are a strength on this car, even given its higher price relative to the V2.
There’s a claimed maximum steering angle of 45°. However, we found that after extending the EPA (End Point Adjustment) on the radio to get that full range of steering, the front-left tire contacted the coil-over preload adjustment collar. When under articulation on the rocks, this had the result of winding the adjustment collar right down, compressing that front-left spring. This unbalanced the whole vehicle. To fix this, you’d either want to run a lick of tape around that adjustment collar or else back off the steering maximum left throw a tad.
The servo is a 6kg waterproof unit with nylon gears. It’s mounted on the axle, so while that isn’t as ‘scale’, the steering performance benefits from the more direct control over the steering arm. The 136100V3 has adjustable front caster angle and the front axles are universal joints rather than CVDs, which helps give that extra angle potential (CVDs max out at around 42° typically).
Our servo failed pretty much from the start of testing. We replaced it with a cheap 15KG waterproof metal geared unit and that was much better suited to this vehicle. Steering was precise and the sticky tires were not a problem for the heavier unit, even on tough rock problems.
Suspension & Links
Link setup is 4-link at each end. Links are nickel-coated steel with stainless steel ball ends. Articulation is generous for the vehicle type without being excessive. Is the setup an accurate scale replica of the Jimny? No – the full-size vehicle uses a 3-link system at both ends. The real Jimny does have rigid axles and coils at both ends, but the panhard system delivers a better and safer on-road ride while the 4-link system in the RGT 136100V3 is arguably a logical sacrifice to scale detail in favour of better crawling ability.
The shocks themselves are plastic, oil-filled units and the coil-over springs are on the soft side with adjustable pre-load. It’s a plush system overall and it works well with this model. (There’s a pleasing amount of body roll, too – check out our video review at the end of this article to see that. It’s quite fun).
The Jimny body attaches without visible body pins. This is a welcome trend in the hobby and we hope to see more of this! Still, not all systems are equal – some can be straightforward while others can be downright frustrating (I’m looking at you, SCX10 III Gladiator). On the RGT 136100V3, there are two pins through body posts underneath the front grille area and the body slips easily onto the chassis mounts.
In the rear is a hinge system that can be unscrewed to fully remove the body – but it opens right up on that hinge, so you should rarely need to do this. The only catch is that the light wires aren’t quite long enough (just an extra 3” or so would be good) to allow the body to fully hinge open. A minor criticism on an otherwise well-executed hidden mount system.
Is It 1/8, 1/10 or 1/12? Yes. Also, No.
RGT’s own marketing material for the RC4 V3 claims they’ve “chosen an off-road vehicle with a relatively historical brand”. Growing up, I loved the Suzuki Sierra (aka. Samauri in other markets) and the new Jimny is a progressive step forward for safety and capability while still retaining that light-weight, short wheelbase design that made its predecessor so beloved for so many years.
However, the body itself is not branded. They appear to have used the design without licensing; we cannot confirm this, but the absence of any branding is telling. The reproduction is pretty good, though the wheelbase, tire & wheel size and overall dimensions are not aligned. Compared to the real 2021 Jimny, this model is roughly a 1/8 scale, though it’s similar in size to other 1/12 scale models. Here’s the thinking behind the 1/8 scale claim, despite this being sold as a 1/10 scale car:
This is one of the party tricks the RGT 136100V3 has up its sleeve. While many model crawlers now come with at least basic white/red front/rear lights today, there aren’t as many with a proper light-control system. Indeed, the best light system we’ve found in recent times was in another RGT model, the Rescuer (EX86190) – see our review here for that one.
The light control system in this car is different to that of the Rescuer, however. The Rescuer had its own discrete light control unit, a separate ESC and separate radio receiver. On the RGT 136100V3, all three of these components have been combined into the HobbyWing/FlySky HW-711. That’s just one central hub for all electronics control, from light to motor to steering. This is actually pretty neat, though the execution is a little lacking.
The biggest drawback is the confusing number of wires and how they connect to the HW-711. Ours popped out during filming when the lid got bumped open harder than intended. We found reconnecting the right wires to the right ports was not as simple as you’d think. The wires all have their own numbers on them, yes, but there are multiple ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ wires and it wasn’t clear what went where, exactly. Further, there are a few spare ports on the HW-711 for future additional lights to be added (taillights and roof lights are vacant but possible to add – a good thing in itself). Finding what wire went where was not straightforward, but once everything is where it should be, there’s quite an array of possible lighting configurations you can eke from the system.
The 25-turn, brushed 390 motor is an appropriate upgrade to the 20-turn motor of the 136100V2. The latter was too fast and drew excessive current, running the battery down too quickly. In the world of brushed motors, more turns means less speed and less power draw, and conversely more torque (to a point). In a 390 size motor, perhaps a 30-turn motor could be even better for crawling, but for trail driving, RGT has nailed it with a 25-turn. There is sufficient speed for walking on a trail behind the car, but enough low-speed control that it’s not as jumpy as the V2 was.
The plush suspension and accompanying body roll is pleasing to the eye. It soaks up the bumps. The motor is reasonably quiet and the car looks great on the trail. The tires are not particularly aggressive, but the all-terrain style of tread in combination with the sticky rubber compound is enough to give the rig plenty of grip.
The integrated ESC, receiver and light controller is waterproof! This is huge – the vehicle is wet-weather ready from out of the box. All told, the Rock Cruiser RC4 is an excellent little trail rig and is very easy to recommend for this purpose.
Things fall apart a little for the RGT 136100V3 when it comes to heavier-duty rock crawling. The 136100V2 was a rock-crawling powerhouse, if limited compared to larger 1/10 scale crawlers. For its size and especially its price, the V2 was truly impressive. (You can see our video review of that here).
The RGT 136100V3 is about double the price of the V2. That is, in Australia, as of May 2022 – it may be cheaper when you’re reading this or if you’re elsewhere in the world. It’s nicer in nearly every way than the V2, with the glaring and important exception of rock crawling ability. Where the V2 manages to claw its way over problems that challenge some 1/10 scale vehicles, the V3 tends to tumble or scrabble in vain. Steep climbs and side-hilling were both challenging to the V3. Its sticky tire compound made up for some of this and after we replaced the servo with a stronger unit, steering wasn’t an issue. But the rig really struggled more than we expected. It did manage to finish Problem 1 (out of 6 total) on our regular 1/10 scale test course. It’s good that it could do this, but it really should have at least been able to get Problem 5 finished as well.
Our Test Course
If you’re not familiar with how we test RC rock crawlers, we have a course that challenges any 4x4 RC crawler in many ways:
- Approach and departure angle: these are challenged on Problems 2 and 3;
- Side-hill ability: tested on Problems 1, 3 and 5;
- Breakover (skid clearance): tested on Problems 4 and 6;
- Suspension articulation and centre of gravity: challenged on problems 2 and 5; and lastly,
- A punishing ascent on problem 6 tests all of balance, break-over, articulation, tire traction and approach and departure angles.
Put together, we have a gnarly, challenging set of problems that challenge all crawlers. If a rig can conquer 3 or more of them, chances are you have a reasonably high-performance rock crawler. There are some machines that can claim all success on all six in stock form – but not many!
As you've seen in the video above, our Remo Hobby 10275 only managed to finish Problem 1. Still, one is better than none, right?
Value for Money
Possibly the weakest point of the RGT 136100V3 is its value proposition. The V2 was a steal at A$200/USD$150, but the V3 sells for around A$320-A$380 (or around a little under USD$300). It is an improvement in many ways over the V2, it is true. It looks great, has interesting electronics and a tightly integrated radio and power and lighting system. The tires and wheels are very good and the suspension is well implemented.
It really struggles on the rocks and the steering is a glaring weakness. For some, this author included, these can be a deal-breaker on a “1/10 scale crawler” purchase. However, for others, this will still represent a good deal on a pretty and still quite capable little scale trail truck. It is certainly a reasonable machine at its price point – we just would have liked slightly more rock performance at this price, or else to see a lower asking price to better match its rock crawling ability. Let’s call it a matter of subjective preference, as both buying it and passing on this one are completely understandable decisions.
Could it be better? Absolutely. Is it worth the money? Kinda-sorta. Do we regret buying ours? Nope.
Why? Because it’s still fun to drive. In our video review we discussed the concept of ‘smiles per mile’ as a reasonable measure of value. If a car looks great and handles in a pleasing way, even if it isn’t as capable as other crawlers on the rocks, well, the fun is still there. And if its enjoyable to drive, the purchase is probably justifiable.
We’re going to look into improving its abilities on the rocks in a future episode. We’ll also fix a few of the issues with the design, such as lengthening the lighting harness so the body can open the whole way. We’re going to achieve these things for $10 or less as there are a few optimisations to be found with just a few hand tools and some creative changes.
With all this in mind, the RGT 136100V3 is a fun vehicle with potential for better performance. It looks great on the trail and there are enough well-implemented changes over the V2 to reasonably justify the price. It isn’t for everyone, but if you’re into the Jimny and have a focus on trail over rock driving, this may just be a model for you. Check out our video review combo for more:
Where to Get It
The servo we’d recommend to improve steering is the jxServo WP5323LV. It’s a full-size unit that runs on 6v, so it’ll be a straight swap with the stock, nylon-geared 6KG unit.
(The above are affiliate links, which help support us at no extra cost to you – thank you for your support!!)
For more info on this vehicle, check out RGT’s website for this car here. If you’re in a country that has FTX brand more readily available than RGT, the FTX-equivalent model is the Outback Peso 3.0. Find the FTX site for this car here.
Lastly, in the videos we mentioned the RGT Pioneer EX86110. That’s a brilliant 1/10 performer. Read all about it in our review of that one here.
Craig has been into radio control since the 90s and into RC crawling since about 2010, when a Losi MRC started the obsession! Now it’s all rocks this and crawl that and upgrade all the things! …You know how it is, right? Welcome home 🙂