FMS Chevy K10
If you’re into American pickups from the 70’s and you’ve been thinking about a smaller scale crawler, your search is over. The FMS Chevy K10 scale RC crawler is a gorgeous, licensed hard-bodied model with moderate performance to match its looks. It’s an RTR (Ready To Run) and you only need to supply 4x AAA batteries and a USB 5V 2A charger to get going.
FMS Does Impress
We were recently impressed by the FMS Suzuki Jimny 1/12 model, with its exquisite scale detail inside and out. The FMS Chevy K10 is a little over a foot long and enjoys nearly the same level of detail on its body. The underside is tidy and the interior reasonably accurate, though somewhat more spartan than the Jimny. The price is accordingly lower than the little Suzuki and we think there’s a lot to like in this model. Let’s take a closer look.
1970s Hard Body
This model is all about the body. FMS makes a few other similar models with the same running gear and different tops. There’s a Hilux and FJ Cruiser, among others. The FMS Chevy K10 here has a lengthened rear to suit the long bed of this classic pickup truck. That means the trailing arms, drive shaft and chassis are longer than the others. This hurts performance, but oh boy, does it look good! Worth the trade off? We think so!
You get a shiny exterior, complete with chrome bumpers, grille, mirrors, and period-correct wheels. Black plastic door handles and wipers add to the scale detail. This thing just looks amazing when it’s rolling outdoors.
There is a pair of headlights in the FMS Chevy K10 that are pleasingly round and yellow when on. They have a standard light and high-beam setting. Underneath these, a pair of indicator lights are located just above the bumper. These can be set to flash with the corresponding steering direction like faux indicators, or to be set to ignore steering entirely, or to stay on in hazard-flash mode.
The rear of the tray features red brake lights that light up when the vehicle is in reverse. There aren’t taillights nor brake lights. Reverse lights should be white, but they are red. It’s forgivable, as they look great and aren’t distractingly incorrect; just a little incorrect! The car still looks fabulous.
The FMS Chevy K10 features a Chassis Mounted Servo (CMS). This setup hides the 1kg servo up and away from the front axle, helping to add to the scale appearance of the rig. There’s an 050 sized brushed motor, lights at each end and an all-in-one ESC, Receiver and Light Controller located in the engine bay area. The 2S 380mAh LiPO battery goes here too, along with the power switch. A 1A USB LiPO balance charger is included with the model.
The ESC is a 20A brushed unit designed to run on 7.6V. Note, no part of this vehicle’s electrics is waterproofed. There are ways to do this without buying different hardware components, but be aware of this break with the current norm in the hobby. Lack of waterproofing aside, it’s a tidy setup and everything works well together. However, the radio transmitter needs a little more explanation – read on.
It’s small in the hand and easy to operate. We found the springs under the 4x AAA batteries weren’t stiff enough and the radio would power-cycle and need to reconnect with the vehicle if it was shaken too much. Also, whilst there are many buttons on the transmitter and the appearance of 6-channels (including beeps when pressed), most of the extra buttons don’t serve any purpose with this model.
Confoundingly, there are several features programmed into this handset that do require extra buttons, but instead of using those Ch-3, 4, 5 and 6 buttons, the functions are instead accessed via multi-purpose buttons with the help of a Mode A/B switch. In Mode A, your Throttle Trim and Steering Reverse buttons work as labelled, but in Mode B, your Throttle Trim + button cycles through the light profiles while the Servo Reverse button acts as a steering end-point limiter, cycling through 30%, 50% and 100% of steering range. It’s not an intuitive system – but once you understand these functions, operation is easy enough.
The shiny chrome wheels perfectly suit the K10 body. The axle width is just right, and that soft rear suspension means the rear wheels tuck right up into the wheel well with articulation – it looks just like the real thing! The licensed Cooper Discoverer STT Pro tires complete the look for a stunning finish.
In real life we’ve been driving on Cooper tires for years on our 4WD vehicles. The 80-series here ran the Discoverer STTs and the 100-series is currently rolling on the Discoverer ST MAXX variants. We haven’t used the STT Pros before, but the Discoverer range is known for its rock ability, particularly for steep ascents and descents. This is a seemingly perfect match for the intended purpose of this plucky little model. Love!
Shocks, Coils & Links
Coil-over springs around plastic ‘friction’ shocks comprise the suspension on all four corners. The front shocks are nearly upright. The rears are laid forward at around 45 degrees – this ensures they fit under the bed. The laid-over shocks give the rear a very soft, bouncy character. Stiffer springs could help, but ultimately, laid-over shocks at such an angle give a diminished response part-way through articulation. This will compromise handling if you’re carrying anything in the tray, but on the plus side there is plenty of plush movement to help keep wheels on the ground in the slow and rocky stuff.
The links are a different matter. There’s a 4-link setup at both ends. This makes sense for the rear. There is the same 4-link setup in front, which would make sense if there was an axle-mounted servo. However, as this is a CMS vehicle, a panhard rod is required to ensure the suspension can cycle without lateral movement, which would otherwise compromise steering input. A panhard system works best with a 3-link arrangement, comprising one upper link rather than two. Panhard and CMS will work with a 4-link setup, but not so well as with 3-link. We think one of those two upper links should be removed to allow proper and smooth articulation of the front axle. We’ll cover this in more detail in a follow-up video where we address a few minor issues with this vehicle. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, the system works well enough as-is and we were able to enjoy it on the rocks.
Rock and Roller
Speaking of rocks, we took the FMS Chevy K10 to a favourite local river spot with large, round boulders and long slabs of rock. This is perfect terrain for a vehicle such as this. We enjoyed steep ascent and ascents, steps, side-hilling and (very) shallow water crossings. (Incidentally, the ball-bearings in this vehicle are not sealed. Along with the electronics, you’ll want to avoid water in your adventures whilst in stock form).
Gearing and motor size seem well matched to the intended purpose. The servo has sufficient strength and speed to handle such terrain. The radio was comfortable in the hand and the vehicle’s speed was a good compromise between low-speed torque and high-speed running. This thing will go happily at walking pace and still be able to bog right down on challenging obstacles with sufficient torque to turn the wheels. In a word, driving the K10 is fun.
The last FMS model we looked at was the Suzuki Jimny. This was a pleasant surprise, with a great mix of hard-body and scale features and able to deliver a reasonable off-road driving experience. This set the expectation for the Chevy K10 reasonably high.
Did the K10 deliver? We’re glad to report that it absolutely did! If you’re a fan of 1970s square style pickup trucks and you’re interested in a vehicle in this size, the FMS Chevy K10 should be on your short-list. We really like this thing! Check out our video review to see it in action!
- Size: 323.8 x 139 x 130.7mm
- Tire: D:54.8mm W:19.5mm
- Wheelbase: 196mm
- Ground Clearance: 37.7mm
- Approach Angle: 58.8º
- Departure Angle: 34.6º
- Speed: 5km/h Max
- Remote Control Distance: 80m
- Smart Lighting Effect
- Max Climbing Angle: 42º
- Approx. Runtime: 30mins
- 2.4GHz Transmitter
- 2-in-1 20A ESC & Receiver 3 Channel
- 3Y 1kg Digital Servo
- 050 Brushed Motor
- 1:18 CHEVROLET K10 RC Crawler x1
- Transmitter x 1
- Receiver x1
- USB Charger x1
- Battery 2S Lipo 7.4V 380mAh x1
- Manual x1
- Hex Wrench Socket x1
- Color: Red
- Package total weight: 1240.00 grams (incl. packaging)
- Package size: 19.00 x 43.00 x 18.00cm
- Factory description: FMS 1:18 CHEVROLET K10 1:18 Chevrolet K10 RC Crawler Hard Body (Officially Licensed) RTR
- Manufactured by FMS
- Manufacturer number: FMS/11808
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 🙂