The Most Basic Yet
The Axial Base Camp is something familiar, yet also quite different. In the third generation of SCX10 vehicles, Axial has released numerous models in both RTR (Ready To Run) and kit form and in varying wheel-bases. To date, we’ve tested and reviewed the Gladiator and more recently, the JLU kit. Both were capable and interesting vehicles and both had Axial’s trick new DIG (DIs-engageable Gear) and 2-speed transmission. Both were Jeeps and both ran Nitto Grappler tires.
No so with the Base Camp, Axial’s latest and cheapest SCX10 ever. But don’t let the concept of ‘budget’ confuse your expectations of performance from this new rig. We expect the Base Camp will be a fixture at social crawls and comp meets for years to come. This thing is cheaper than the other SCX10 IIIs, but ‘premium’ is still its middle name. Let’s dive in!
Axial Base Camp in More Detail
We’ve just completed a detailed review of the new Axial Base Camp. Our unit was the AXI03027T2 RTR – the green one. Rather than going over every section of the vehicle, we’ll take a different tack in this article and suggest you watch our video review. We cover every part of the new vehicle and we test it on our 6-problem course to evaluate its performance. Spoiler: it does not disappoint!
Check the video out here:
Price and Performance
In our recent 4-part upgrade-and-test series, we watched the RGT Pioneer EX86110 go from a middling 1/10 scale budget crawler to a real performer on the rocks – and on a tight budget at that! The Pioneer is 60% the cost of the Axial Base Camp and its performance is right up there with other 1/10 scale crawlers. So, what makes the Base Camp so special?
It does cost more than the Pioneer, it’s true. However, the rig is still cheaper than its other SCX10 III stablemates and the ‘fat’ has been trimmed in just the right places to simplify it, make it more rugged, and to really eke out the performance. In short, it’s out-of-the-box performance blew us away!
Counting Loss as Gain
It’s a fair question, right? Premium though the Axial Base Camp is, we’re still talking about a ‘basic’ rock crawler. It doesn’t have the DIG or the 2-speed transmission of the others. There are not moulded-plastic details adorning the body. No wheel wells, nor hidden body clips. Glued tires fit the Black Rhino rims rather than the beadlock wheels of the other SCX10 III family members. Even the links are a thinner 3.5mm diameter than the 6mm links of the other SCX10 III vehicles.
But that’s only one side of the coin. In listing what’s been lost from the other, more expensive Axial options, there are several things gained in the transaction:
- Simplicity – no mini shifting servos to fail (as ours did on the new Gladiator during the first ten minutes!);
- Durability – no sliding parts inside the transmission to foul with mud or silt. Just sealed ball-bearings inside a sealed plastic enclosure;
- Center of Gravity – with a more basic body and less electronics on board, the weight is lower on the vehicle, greatly enhancing its performance potential;
- Body Choices – with the more traditional body posts and adjustable chassis rails, its going to be a lot easier to fit other Lexan bodies to the Axial Base Camp than to other SCX10 variants.
Better Than the Others
There are some new components on the Axial Base Camp that help draw this rig to higher levels of performance than its SCX10 III brethren:
- All-aluminum shocks – these are new, oil-filled units with new coil springs to suit. They’re adjustable, give a plush ride and are well-sealed. They cycled smoothly in our testing and are absolutely worth keeping on the vehicle, even if you plan on prepping the Base Camp for pure competition use;
- Falken Wildpeak M/T tires – the Nitto Grapplers on the other SCX10 III variants are reasonable performers on dry rock. They’re not so hot on wet rock and dirt, as we’ve found in our tire comparisons last year. The new 4.7” R35 compound tires on the Axial Base Camp are rock stars, at least in the dry (we have yet to test in the wet). So far, we’re very impressed.
- Adjustable chassis rails – like the Vaterra Ascender, the wheelbase can be changed on the Base Camp to suit a different body or to tune for comp use. Note, some competition rules (including the RCCA rule-set) may not allow adjustable chassis rails in Performance Scale/Class 2, so you may need to spot-weld the chassis to a locked position to pass muster. Apart from this note, the adjustable rail length is very welcome.
- New transmission – this may be a gain or loss, depending on your needs. The new transmission and motor assembly is positioned on the skid plate, keeping the weight nice and low. Also, the new LCXU transmission gives you a reversible drive option to allow for straight axles rather than the AR45 portal axles, making reverse motor rotation unnecessary. A small thing for most – until the day you decide to do the conversion!
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?
We’ve tested many crawlers on our 6-problem course over the past year. There aren’t many 1/10 RC crawlers that can finish all 6 problems in stock form. After some modifications, things get a little more interesting. But if a crawler can conquer all 6 in stock form, it’s an impressive machine indeed.
To date, these vehicles have finished all 6 in stock form:
- Traxxas TRX6 6×6 (did it in the wet!) – video here;
- Cross RC EMO AT4 (kit build with heavy weighted wheels) – video here;
- GMade BOM TC (also a kit build, running plastic wheels – most impressive) – video here;
- Element RC Gatekeeper (kit build with weighted wheels) – video here; and,
- The Axial Capra (kit build with weighted wheels and DIG) – video here.
That’s the whole list! We’ve tested crawlers from all of the big names and some of the lesser known manufacturers. (All our reviews can be found here). Several rigs have made 4 or 5 of the 6 problems – few get all 6.
Good news for the performance-minded drivers: the Axial Base Camp is RC-TNT 6-Probems Approved™.
We like this truck and if you’re into performance crawling, it’s likely you will too. Recommended.
Find the manufacturer’s page here: http://www.axialracing.com/products/axi03027t2
Wondering which crawler to get? We have a recent video that covers some of our favourites from the last year. Check that video out 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 🙂