Best RC Car – The Definitive Guide

Best RC Car – The Definitive Guide

Last updated: July 2023

What Are the Best RC Cars?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for the best RC cars currently available. If you simply want to browse different models, click through the categories on homepage. We have a growing library of articles and videos. Also, there’s a list of our best-of-category picks further down in this article.

This is a long one, but if you have the time to read along, we have a few goals to help you in your journey:

  1. To help you get a feel for what’s current in the hobby.
  2. To help you work out what you want from RC.
  3. To give you some direction on making a shortlist and making a choice.

Whatever you’re into, there’s never been a better time to get into RC cars. Choice and variety are abundant – how exciting! We’re looking to set you on the right path from the start. Want to find the best RC car for you? Let’s get to it!

Traxxas TRX6 Ultimate Hauler

Trust & Marketing

First, a quick note about us: RC-TNT is a hobbyist content creator with a focus on fun. We love the tech specs and the comparisons as much as you do, but having fun is the number one priority! We’re not a shopping site. We do have some sales affiliate links in this article, primarily with our favourite international hobby store, (aka. ATees). We’ve been buying from them for years, long before RC-TNT ever existed.

It’s a thrill to be able to partner with ATees now for some great picks, though we’ll also have vehicles from other places below. However, as with all our articles and videos, any affiliate links or marketing does not and will never influence our recommendations to you. Integrity matters and you’ll find that here. We don’t do cheap, mass-produced click-bait articles with long lists of Amazon marketing links. Everything here is written and filmed by hobbyists, for hobbyists – just the way it should be!

RC-TNT Rlaarlo Review

State of the Art


You may be pleasantly surprised at the price to performance of RC models these days, especially if you have never investigated the world of RC before. Electronics are small, reliable, and often waterproof. Detailed plastic manufacturing is now very good, as is the quality and availability of CNC aluminum parts. Gears are wonderfully strong, and axles don’t break often. Even on cheaper models, parts are tougher and smoother than ever before.

TRX6 Hauler Underneath


Then there’s power: motors are incredibly good these days. Brushed motors (the old electric style) are still cheap and plentiful, but newer brushless motors are making their way into cheaper models. Brushless is high-efficiency and big on power output and it’s a wonderous thing.

The loud engines that used to be common in RC models (that’s nitro) is still a thing, but it’s become niche. If nitro is what you like, there’s still plenty of choice. However, brushless power is where the ultimate performance is found.

MT10 Brushless Motor


Batteries are a whole new thing these days, also. We recently reviewed a great all-rounder battery that would suit many RC cars, the Ovonic 2S 100C LiPO (Lithium-Polymer; see our article for more on batteries). There’s choice for days, whether you’re into RC trucks, heavy machinery (including real hydraulics!), RC crawlers, drift cars, high-speed racers, off-road buggies, epic stunt trucks, large scale bashers and sand blasting Baja rigs.

The older NiMH rechargeable batteries are still common, while NiCAD has been made largely obsolete by LiPO. Many RTR (Ready To Run) models come with a basic NiMH battery and charger, whilst performance and runtime gains are usually found in switching to LiPO. Our article here is a decent primer on modern batteries.


What Do YOU Want?

So, there’s choice galore. But where to start? Having walked this path, my advice is to begin with considering what you want to experience from the hobby. Many vehicles can scratch an itch, whether its conquering rock problems with a crawler or setting high-speed, straight-line drag records. But many find they value the feeling that comes from these pursuits. It’s what people end up chasing and where personal satisfaction and fulfillment can be found. Then, sharing it with others often focuses and enhances that satisfaction, leading to a deeper appreciation of the hobby. Sound enticing?

RC Rock Crawlers


Some things to consider with location and experience:

  • Do you know of tracks or other promising local areas that may inform your choice of model?
  • Are you looking for plain old fun wherever you can find it, blasting something around a bumpy bike track, on gravel and over home-made jumps?
  • Do you want to run something at high speed, on or off-road? Are there areas nearby for that?

Some like the idea of competition and working to make a name for themselves. If you’re into scale realism or getting epic air at the skate park, again, there are niches in RC that will be perfect for you. (Side note, watch this recent video for feel of driving on bitumen, dirt, jumps, trails, water and rocks.  It’s worth a watch as a primer to RC, different terrain and modern batteries).

RGT Rescuer


One last important consideration is the social element: who else runs RCs near you? Are there clubs you want to check out? Do you have a friend or two who socially drive regularly that you want to join? The social element of RC is a huge draw, and we recommend social drives and events as a benefit to your mental health and general wellbeing. Find more on that topic and RC crawling in particular in this article.

Deadbolt Comp

Sorting Through It All

How Much?

At this point you may have a few ideas of what you want to try. We haven’t discussed budget yet, but some vehicles cost vastly more than others. As a quick primer, ‘cheap’ RC cars that are still somewhat hobby-grade will be obtainable for $50 to $130 (all prices in this article are in USD). Various things will influence the price, from level of preparation required to run the model, to its performance, complexity, and size. High-end, larger-scale vehicles can cost up to around $1,000.

Specialist, niche models can get quite expensive, even up to many thousands of dollars. There are nearly endless ways to niche-down on a vehicle type, but big money is definitely not a pre-requisite for enjoying RC cars. Broadly speaking, quality hobby-grade 1/10 and 1/8 RC vehicles will cost roughly $200 to $600. There are many exceptions, this is just a general idea.

Redcat Marksman Interior

Simple Fun?

If you know that you just want to have some fun, we suggest you get something that can run off-road and take a tumble. We’ll call this the ‘Yard & Park Fun’ category, and you can find this at the top of the shortlist, further down this page.

But what if you’ve followed along so far but are still completely unsure what you want? If you still have questions beyond simply, “What’s fun?”, then read on! We’ll help you work it out!

Traxxas Bandit XL-5

Budgets Aren’t Just For Money

So far, we’ve considered where and how you might run an RC car. Off-road, on-road, drift, gravel, jumps, stunts, yard and parks, skate park, rocks, and rivers. You’ve thought about what you want to get out of the hobby and perhaps you have a setting in mind. Great start!

However, there are a few other factors to consider before we’re ready to make a shortlist – you want to get this right, after all! And you can always come back and do it again for the next vehicle if you don’t end up stopping with just one. Below are some other factors for which you may want to budget.

Redcat Marksman Size Comparison 2

Time and Space

Will you have hours to put into running this thing here and there, or will it be more an opportunistic 20 minutes here and half an hour there? Will you have daylight hours to enjoy your RC car or is it likely to be in the evenings, after school or work? Is build and maintenance time something you want to enjoy as part of the hobby, or do you want to be able to just grab and go?

If you have a few locations or types of spaces in mind, are they nearby? Are they huge, or small? (This may influence the scale of what you get. Some cars get nearly as big as the back seat of your car, whilst others could fit in a cargo pants pocket, for example). If running noisy models, can you do it somewhere you’re not disturbing other people? Do you have a safe place to run the really fast stuff without endangering yourself, traffic, other people or animals?

SCX6 Water Splash

Preparation and Mechanical Requirements

Are you ready to do the setup and post-run maintenance of a more involved nitro model? Do you have the tools and the mindset to tune and adjust things yourself and to find answers to problems that may crop up in such cars? Do you want it to ‘just work’ with minimal hassle and fuss? Consider electric vs nitro here.

Electric stuff is clean, easy to run, and has minimal maintenance requirements. That is, unless you get into fine dust, mud or water – everything needs a little love after that kind of treatment! Also, electric systems don’t require periodic tuning and rebuilds like nitro engines.

BRX01 Transfer Cases


We’ve got a few huge models here, such as the Traxxas X-Maxx 8S and the Axial SCX6. Nose to tail, these two will barely fit in the back seat of a car. You need somewhere for such monsters to live when they’re not being driven!

Batteries come under this heading, too – both these vehicles go best with a pair of hefty lithium-polymer batteries, which need a decent charger and safe storage place themselves. Keep that in mind as you think through your options!

RC Scale Difference


Most RC vehicles will need the odd bit of tinkering, as well as basic hobby supplies for the odd repair, upgrade or maintenance. Nicer hand tools make life easier, but this all costs money. Many RTR (Ready To Run) models do come with their own tools, but some cars really need knowledge and tools that aren’t included with the car at all.

For example, we recently tested the HPI Vorza 4.6 Big Block nitro truck (video here). To get going, we also needed to buy fuel, an engine starter, a receiver battery (we made our own) and basic tools for tuning and adjustment. There were also the little things you don’t think of until you need them. For the Vorza, we needed some old rags, iR thermometer and heat gun for running-in, space and a couple of bricks to sit the model off the ground for running-in, and so on. This all needs to be on-hand when you need it, so keep in mind the need to ask “what else do I need” when you are looking at your final choices.

SCX10 III Kit Axles

Best RC Cars Shortlist

Ok, this is it. You’ve got an idea of what you want from RC. Your shortlist of models will be different to that of others, so our job at this point is to nudge you in the right direction. We’ll give some examples typical of each category below, and then you’ll be on your way to finding other potential machines on your own. Let’s get to it!

MT10 Berm Jump

Yard & Park Fun

Known as ‘bashers’, this is the car you wanted as a kid. It’ll take off-road adventures and back yard fun. It’s a general fun category and is broad in scope. General purpose vehicles like this are easy to find, maintain and drive. Most 1/10 scale short course trucks (SCT), monster trucks (MT), truggies (truck + buggy design elements) and buggies will deliver on fun and durability. They will also serve to help familiarise newcomers to modern RC cars. We’d recommend one of the following for general fun:

There are many other great options, but these are a good start. Plus, we own and run all four, so this recommendation is from direct experience!

Fazer Mk II Glamor
TT-01E and TT-02

Parking Lot Fun

This category also covers bashers but tends toward the more classic scale models of the past couple of decades from the likes of Tamiya and Kyosho. This is where you’ll find the pretty car and truck models from Tamiya’s TT-01, TT-01e and TT-02 range of vehicles. These are all fairly slow cars in stock form.

We’ve recently built a TT-01e racing truck and a TT-02 saloon car. Both are designed for your driveway or local street, but we’ve been running ours on a local track. Faster but still brushed is the Kyosho Fazer Mk II range of cars. The Tamiya TT models are considerably cheaper to buy but there’s a LOT of work in the body in particular. They’re a great first car if you want to learn to build your first RC model, but performance is limited, even with hop-up parts.

We’ve got a video of our Fazers on the local track – in the wet, which is not generally the done thing. There’s some maintenance to consider with wet running, but water plus RC is seriously quite fun, whether its on or off road. Check out our little video here for a taste of that.

We recently (July 2023) looked at the MJX RC Hyper Go, a 1/14 4WD brushless road car that delivers bigly on value – it’s under $200, fast and quite durable. Article here for that one!

And for something different, the MST MTX-1 4WD Monster Truck Kit is an interesting option. You’ll need to build it yourself and supply the electronics, but as a project on a budget, it could be a rewarding experience. For older kids, this could be a memorable first hobby-grade project car. Check it out here.

RC Drift

Best RC Drift Car

Drift is a category that is unique from the others. It is also one of two categories where RC-TNT cannot give you deeper advice based on direct experience, as it’s a category we’ve yet to really delve into. The next best thing we can recommend is some knowledge and technique pages to help you get a grasp of this category:

  • Start with a solid beginner’s guide for drifting. Super-G R/C Drift Arena is probably worth a look (their beginner’s guide is here).
  • We also found a sweet technique and practice guide on (guide is here).
  • We recently reviewed the MJX RC Hyper Go, a pocket rocket that has 4WD and a gyro! Video here.
  • Lastly AsiaTees has an impressive catalogue of MST, Himoto and HRC Arena vehicles and many parts for drift, listed here.
BRX01 Water Drive

Best RC Car for Rock & Trail

This category is all about RC crawlers, the bread and butter of RC-TNT. We’re all about crawling and we have an article written to take you through getting the best RC crawler for your needs. Find that article right here on the site: What Is The Best RC Rock Crawler?

Rlaarlo XDKJ-006

Gravel and Dirt

Who doesn’t love hooking up the tires and ripping giant rooster tails in the softer stuff? You’re well catered for in this category if gravel and dirt running are your thing. If you’re reading this guide, we’ll want to look at more entry-level machines to start with and add some more premium choices further down:

  • Traxxas Bandit XL-5 1/10 Buggy (article; video). It’s not a pure race machine, but for the price you can expect a solid starting point if you want to build a budget buggy for local comp meets. For a basher, it’s a light to moderate duty fun machine that will benefit from mechanical sympathy and regular maintenance. The Bandit is a stalwart of the RC off-road hobby and its value proposition for a fun and simple dirt blaster is hard to beat.
  • Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 1/14 Truggy (article; video). This thing is fun. It’s fast for its size and its well-made. The 005 gives you predictable handling, linear steering response, less-than-expected heat after hard running and it looks great. It’s a smaller size than the 1/10 models we’re covering on this page, but it’s cheaper and takes a brushless upgrade well (which you can see at the end of this video about another excellent option, the AM-X12).
  • HPI Jumpshot SC V2 (article; video). RWD Short Course Truck (SCT) that takes a brushless upgrade without needing to upgrade other parts. Only weak point is the steering arms, which can be replaced with more traditional links and ball ends for a few dollars. Fun, durable and a very pretty vehicle. Check it out!
  • Arrma Senton BLX 3S 1/10 SCT (video review). This is a brushless vehicle and it is tough. Boy, is it tough! It costs more than the other two listed here, but it’s very, very good. You can turn the throttle down on the radio, too, so younger folks can have a go without destroying it or themselves in the process. Easy to recommend, the Senton is just tops.
  • Arrma Kraton V3 6S 1/8 Truggy. This vehicle stars in our recent battery-review video here. We have an older version to the current V5, but being easy to upgrade and tune, ours is very close to what you get with the V5. For high performance on gravel and dirt, if you can afford it, the Kraton 6S is an easy recommendation. (We don’t have a Typhon, but that would also be worth looking into if gravel and dirt are your thing).
  • HPI Vortex 4.6 Big Block 1/8 Nitro Truggy (video). Something different, this one is big, loud, and a bit more involved. There’s nothing quite like nitro, so if you have the space and the freedom to run something obnoxiously noisy, check out the video for more info.
Rlaarlo XDKJ-006 Small Jump

Jumps & Stunts

SCT (Short Course Trucks) can handle big air, but this is where MT (Monster Trucks) truly excel. We have a few recommendations on this one, ordered from small and cheap to big and expensive. Keep in mind that there are HEAPS of options not listed here, but these are ones we’ve all tested and can recommend quite happily:

  • Rlaarlo XDKJ-005 1/14 Truggy (article; video) and its faster brushless sibling, the XDKJ-006 1/14 Buggy (article; video). These are both built on the same platform, but the 006 has a carbon fibre chassis and a lightweight, brushless system. It’s very tough. Take a look at the abuse it took at a skate park (video) where we were intentionally trying to kill it in order to find its limits. Most impressive! Also, the AM-X12 was recently released and is worth checking out, but it won’t be as agile in the air with its longer wheelbase.
  • Team Associated MT10 Rival 1/10 MT (article; video). If you’re considering a skate park bash session, make sure you give this video a watch. A truly impressive machine, this one.
  • Arrma Senton BLX 3S 1/10 SCT (video review). We mentioned the Senton above, but make sure you check out our upgrade and skate park video as it really shows off its considerable durability.
  • Arrma Kraton 6S 1/8 Truggy. We don’t have an article or video review for this one, but it’s totally worth including. We do have footage of this machine in a related video where you can learn about batteries at the same time – check that out here. We have the V3 and while the V5 is current, the Arrma vehicles are famously modular and easy to upgrade and tune. It won’t handle endless abuse like the next entry in this list, but for larger-scale fun on a moderate budget, the Kraton 6S is hard to beat.
  • Traxxas X-Maxx 8S 1/5 MT. (article; video) we’ve been running and upgrading one for several months now. It’s a popular choice for all-out durability and big air. Handling isn’t great, given its high center of gravity, but it can really take a lot of abuse. There’s plastic throughout, granting it the flexibility to absorb bad landings in a way that vehicles with an aluminum chassis simply cannot match.
144001 Speed Mod

Straight Line Speed

This is the other of two categories where our experience is limited to only a few cars. For RC no-prep drag racing in particular, we don’t have enough knowledge to recommend a starting point, beyond knowing of a few options. Best thing to do is try a quick start guide (like this on Nankin Hobby) or to read this interesting interview and follow the links at the end of the article.

However, we do have some experience with building and running faster things and have a few useful suggestions to get you started.

Smaller Scale

We have been playing around with making slow cars go faster in 2022. This year we mainly were experimenting with suspension and tires on a few of the 1/14 buggies, such as the 144001, and fitting epic brushless systems and stabilization aids (aka. steering gyros) to help support the power. You might also be interested in reading about a recent speed run contest that Rlaarlo ran – they asked us to do a write-up for them, which you can find here. You won’t believe how fast these guys got the XDKJ-006, it was quite a contest

Halfway between small and large is the Rlaarlo AK-917, a 2023 release that hit some shipping delays for many, but as of July is now going out promptly for the foreseeable future. This is a 1/10 4WD brushed and brushless vehicle that has open diffs and comes in alloy and carbon fiber chassis variants. They even sell a few rollers (BYO electronics). Worth checking out (article; video).

Larger Scale

Out of the box, there are two big names that have high speed associated with them:

The first and older of the two is the Traxxas XO-1 1/7 Touring Car. We haven’t had this car so recommend you try YouTube for more info and drive demos. If you like the sound of 0-60 mph in 2.3 seconds and 0-100 mph in under 5 seconds, this may be for you. Handling is apparently better on the newer version than it used to be.

What we can speak to is the Arrma Infraction 6S 1/6 Pickup (and its sibling, the Arrma Felony 6S 1/6 Muscle Car). Capable of 80mph+ out of the box, they’re an impressive option. We’ll have videos and an article coming soon for this thing and will update this post at that time. Meanwhile, we’ve been driving and modifying it as we get to know the vehicle and can recommend it for sheer power, stability and presence. It’s quite an experience to drive.

Also, Arrma make the Limitless 1/7 Roller, now in V2. This is a BYO electronics deal where you get the rolling chassis and add the power and radio system of your choice. If you want high speeds, Arrma is currently the popular, mainstream option.

Arrma Infraction 6S

Off-Road Trucks

This category tends to the more expensive and labor-intensive builds. There are some RTR trucks that give you decent quality and play so we’ll list them first, sorted by high to low price:

Then there are the kits, which are many, varied and amazing. We’ve got a YT Playlist on 1/14 scale trucks that shows off everything in the below list and might be worth a browse if you’re curious. Here’s a list of great models to consider:

At the very cheapest end of such kits, the King Kong RC ZL-130 4×2 Tractor Truck is a fun little build. It’s available here. We’ve built one and combined it with a 20’ container trailer from Herc Hobby. The ZL-130 features in this fun little video we did last year.

You also may wish to look into models from Cross RC. Here’s their catalogue. We’ve built and run the BC8 Flagship, the HC-6 kit and the King Kong RC tractor truck. Cross RC US, as linked above, also sells the AT4 and JT4 – check out our article here for the EMO AT4, it’s a brilliant machine. Lastly, if you’re into towing and trailers, Cross RC sell a wide variety of them. Their biggest one, the T247, featured in a recent video, along with the BC8 and the JDM Zetros. We also use and love the T835 Logging Trailer (video here).

Off-Road Trucks

Large Scale RC

The big stuff! If you have a large-scale club nearby where you can visit to check out what 1/5 scale is all about, that’d be a great first move. There are nitro, petrol and electric options in this category. Electric is the fastest, cleanest and simplest, while the internal combustion powered vehicles have the drama and presence that electric can’t match. Here’s a list of the fast stuff to check out:

And of course, we’ll finish this list with something big and slow, the Axial SCX6. We have a comprehensive YT Playlist for the SCX6 and an article with more details here.

3 SCX6

Next Steps

We’ve not even touched on flying, FPV/drones, boats or construction equipment – and there are big followings for all of these and more. But now you probably have some idea of what you’d like to start with. We’ll continue to publish regular videos on our YouTube channel, covering the above categories on a regular basis.

To find like-minded folks online, there are two great resources we can recommend:

  1. RC Groups forums:
  2. RCCars Subreddit:

Sign up to either or both of these and take advantage of the Search function on either site. If you have questions, chances are they’ve been asked before. There are many great discussions, projects and resources on each of these sites.

Thank you for reading our guide! It’s a big one and we hope the time you invested has paid for itself. Now go find the best RC car for you, get out there and have fun! We’ll catch you next time here on RC-TNT.

RC4WD TF2 and TF3
Craig Veness

Craig Veness


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 🙂

The Best Battery for RC ?

The Best Battery for RC ?

Ovonic 2S 5800mAh 100C

Today we’re taking a look at Ovonic (or Ampow in USA, CAN and UK markets) lithium polymer batteries. Recently they sent us their latest high performance 2S battery, a soft-cell 5800mAh 100C pack with a 2S2P configuration. They sent two of them, in fact.

Today we’re going to take a close look at these shiny new Ovonic packs. We’ll put them through their paces and evaluate how well they deliver on their spec sheets’ claims. But first, some history and context…


Power Struggle

The highest performance RC models are but shelf queens without a power source. I recall back in the 80s and 90s I used to dream of runtime longer than 7 or 8 minutes. I was stuck with NiCADs with my first RC models – Nickel Cadmium – a battery chemistry that is capable of high discharge but low capacity. That’s not to mention the memory effect, something I’m so pleased we don’t need to worry about anymore!

NiCADs could pack a punch but their power density was low, so they didn’t last long. When they were charged up, though, you really got some fun out of them! They were the best batteries for RC at that time. Still, they left you wanting.

Back to the 80s: the Tamiya Bigwig!

The Next Generation

In the late 90s and through the next decade, we hobbyists were increasingly using NiMH – Nickel Metal Hydride – cells. Racers still used NiCADs for their high discharge capability. But for the rest of us, NiMH packs had a higher power density than NiCAD batteries, but a lower discharge ceiling. In other words, our model runtime improved with the NiMH cells. Also, there was no more memory effect (woohoo!). These were the new best batteries for RC!

The downside was somewhat slower models, as the discharge potential from NiMH is lower than NiCAD and they just couldn’t dump the same instant power into the speed controllers. Still, that extra runtime was a real win.

BRX01 Water Drive

Present Day

The revolution came with the advent of Lithium Polymer batteries – LiPOs! Lithium Ion and LiPO battery packs are similar in that they cannot be discharged completely without suffering internal damage. They also don’t like being full for too long. Importantly, lithium-based batteries need to be balanced across the individual cells inside a given battery pack during charge and discharge process. Many early battery packs did not have a balance lead to help keep this in check, leading to many of the horror stories of people’s garages or houses burning down.

Thankfully, things changed quickly as the market demanded safer options. Batteries came with balance leads and chargers came with balance ports. Now, lithium batteries could be charged and balanced safely. This was huge. These are now the best batteries for RC!

SCX6 Water Splash

Why LiPO is King

Lithium polymer batteries are revolutionary to RC due to their power density that exceeds that of NiMH and their discharge potential that rivals and sometimes exceeds that of NiCAD. With no memory effect and the flexibility to ‘build’ a LiPO cell in 3.7v increments, LiPO batteries deliver the best of both NiCAD and NiMH worlds.

Fast forward to today and there is nearly endless choice of LiPO batteries for our RC models. Although we’ve been at the limit of chemical engineering with regards to power density and associated capacity and discharge potential, not all LiPOs are created equal.

Beast II Comp

What’s In a Battery?

There are three main factors that determine how a LiPO battery will perform. First, you should know that lithium-polymer chemistry has a nominal voltage of 3.7V and a working range of 3.0V to 4.2V (you can go lower or higher than that range but it brings risk of damaging the cell). Here are the three main factors we use to measure LiPO batteries:

  1. Cell count: how many cells a LiPO battery has. The cell count of a battery is denoted with ‘S’. So, a 1S battery will be a LiPO with a single cell. A 2S battery will be a 7.4v battery with a working range of 6v to 8.4v. A 3S battery will be an 11.1v battery with a range of 9v to 12.6v, and so on.
  2. Capacity: how much power does the battery contain? This is measured in milliamp hours, or mAh. More mAh means longer runtime, but also means a bigger physical pack. The smallest LiPO batteries in the RC hobby are 50 to 100mAh 1S batteries that are usually in tiny scale cars and quadcopters. The batteries I use in competition rock crawling are 450mAh to 700mAh, while the pack size commonly used in trail driving and in ‘bashers’ (faster, muck-around buggies and trucks) is typically 4000mAh to 7000mAh.
  3. Discharge potential: also known as a battery’s ‘C rating’, discharge potential is denoted by a number next to ‘C’. The C-rating is a number times the pack’s capacity. For example, a 2000mAh 50C battery should be able to deliver 100 amps, or 50x its 2000mAh capacity.

Performance & Runtime

If you want to run for longer, it’s usually as simple as getting the biggest pack that fits your vehicle. This is with the proviso that the battery’s C-rating is sufficient to meet the power draw of whatever vehicle it’s powering. If this is not the case, you’ll have poor performance at best or a failed battery (sometimes violently so) at worst. Crawlers usually only need a 30C pack, but some high-performance machines might need 50C or better. Bashers and high-performance quadcopters should be given the highest C-rated battery you can afford. This is how you find the best battery for RC for your application.

The runtime a battery can deliver is a function of its capacity and its quality. I’m not a chemist but I have years of experience working with batteries, alongside my hobby pursuits. In my experience I’ve consistently found that a higher C-rated battery will generally last longer in a high-drain application than a low C-rated battery of same rated capacity. As long as your C-rating is sufficient for the vehicle, the only other factor to consider is weight. Bigger batteries weigh more, so there’s a trade-off in performance whether its in the air, on the rocks or on the race track.

Deadbolt Comp

What’s the Best Battery for RC?

This brings us to the focus of today’s article: the new Ovonic 2S 5800mAh 100C LiPO battery. Since you now know what the numbers mean in its label, you may be able to tell that these Ovonic batteries are best suited for bashing or larger trail rigs.

It’s a 2-cell battery, meaning 7.4v nominal. The 5800mAh capacity means it’ll be a long-lasting pack and 100C means it can theoretically deliver 100x its capacity in a moment – 580 amps, in this case. It may not be able to actually meet that level, as I suspect 70C may be about as high as lithium polymer cells can realistically deliver, but nonetheless, 100C means it should be about as high quality as this battery chemistry allows.

Does this battery actually deliver on those specs? Is it the best battery for RC bashing and trail driving? We put it to the test to find out. Check out our video below and if you’re interested in trying one of these for yourself, you can buy it here.

A spoiler: I really like these batteries and will personally be using more Ovonic LiPOs in future. These have been perfect. Our thanks to Ovonic for supplying them for review – knowing how good they are, I’m going to buy more!

Craig Veness

Craig Veness


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 🙂

Redcat Marksman 1/8 RC Crawler

Redcat Marksman 1/8 RC Crawler

What Is It?

The Redcat Marksman is a different RTR RC crawler in more ways than its 1/8 scale size. It sports a (mostly) decent electronics package and 2.2” wheels. A pretty body with paint on the outside gives the polycarbonate body an interesting finish.

Whilst not a flawless execution, there’s a compelling case to be made for price to performance, especially if you’re after a trail-oriented rig. Join us as we take a closer look at this interesting, larger-scale crawler.

Redcat Marksman Front Bumper
Redcat Marksman Side-On
Redcat Marksman Wheel & Tire

How Big Is It?

For some comparison, we’ve put the Redcat Marksman between a Traxxas TRX4 2021 Bronco 1/10 and an Axial SCX6 1/6 RC crawler. Note that while the Marksman is similar in length to the TRX4 Bronco, the track width is considerably greater on the Marksman. Also, the overall vehicle size is similar to 1/10 scale rigs, but width is the greatest difference – if a little less than obvious at first glance.

The vehicle doesn’t weigh more than many 1/10 scale crawlers and its close enough in ‘feel’ that you could reasonably trail this with others driving 1/10 scale rigs and fit right in. Certainly, some rock problems that might defeat the Redcat Marksman may be traversable by smaller rigs on account of that track width! More on performance in a bit. First, let’s look at what you get with this RTR model.

Redcat Marksman Size Comparison 2
Redcat Marksman Size Comparison 3
Redcat Marksman Size Comparison

What’s In The Box?

There’s the vehicle itself, the radio transmitter, manual, scale accessories and ESC programming card. The Redcat Marksman is a Ready To Run (RTR) model, which means all you need to get it going is a battery for the rig and 4x AAs for the radio transmitter. The included Electronic Speed Control (ESC) is a HobbyWing WP-1080. This gives you the flexibility to run either 6-to-8 cell NiMH or 2S or 3S LiPO batteries.

Redcat also includes an accessories bag with some red plastic scale parts – though no obvious way to mount these to the body. There’s a spare wheel adapter for the back of the body – pictured below – but no spare wheel. We’ve used an old Axial Trepador from the original SCX10 on ours as its nice and lightweight and still looks convincing near the Marksman’s larger tires.

Redcat Marksman Box Contents

Radio System

The radio is the standard rebranded Flysky FS-GT2E AFHDS 2A transmitter, though the sticker calls it an RCR-2CE. This is the 2-channel unit Redcat Racing uses on their entire ground model range at present (2021 and 2022).

One nice thing to note is it runs Flysky’s AFHDS 2A protocol, so if you already have a FS-GT5 for other models, you can bind that to the Marksman here as well. The radio feels good in the hand and has a nice feel on the wheel. There is a sufficient, if sparce, amount of adjustment on the dials and it isn’t heavy. Overall, a good basic radio.

Redcat Marksman Radio
Redcat Marksman Transmitter
Redcat Marksman Radio Box

Holmes Hobbies For The Win!

The brushed motor in this machine is a Holmes Hobbies Crawlmaster Sport. This is a 13-turn 5-pole (or 5-slot) 550-sized motor. Being a 5-pole means you get buttery smooth torque at the expense of the punch delivered by 3-pole motors. On a crawler, this is generally desirable.

For trail use, the motor is a perfect choice. There’s sufficient speed for trail driving and still enough low speed control to be satisfying on the rocks. However, we found that if you’re more biased toward crawling than trailing with this rig, a motor with slightly more turns may give a more rewarding experience.

After some testing, we’d recommend the 16-turn 550 Crawlmaster Sport and the same gearing. On 3S power, you’ll be all set with long runtimes, good low speed control and more than ample speed for trail driving. If you keep the 13-turn motor, going down one tooth size on the pinion and sticking on 2S power could also be a reasonable way to slow it down enough to feel a bit better on trickier rock problems. Of course, this is largely a case of personal preference and the stock configuration is fine.

Redcat Marksman Motor

HobbyWing Is Good!

We have a good, solid radio system and a workhorse motor. Redcat have opted for a high-quality ESC for the Marksman in the HobbyWing WP-1080. This is a popular ESC for good reason. It delivers smooth and reliable control and is very customisable. We like this ESC so much that we’ve written an entire how-to article for programming it, right here on!

You can use the stock settings for the most part, but we would recommend making one change in particular before running it. Enable freewheeling, which is option 15 on the programming card. Set that to 1 instead of 2 and you’ll effectively have an active drag brake. That means the WP-1080 will apply braking to the wheels even while you’re giving throttle input, helping to hold the vehicle on a hill at the speed you’re indicating, rather than allowing the rig to run away down the hill. A good thing!

Redcat Marksman ESC

Servo Avoido

The electronics package with the Redcat Marksman is excellent! That is, until you come to the servo. This is the same Hexfly 25KG 4.8v-6.8v unit that Redcat puts in most of their vehicles, even their diminutive 1/10 short course truck (which is really a 1/12 sized machine). The servo is slow and too weak even on the smaller Redcat Gen 8 V2, we’ve found. That they’ve also put it on the Marksman leaves one wondering if they’ve actually, y’know, tested the big rig with it. Because it isn’t good.

If you change just one thing on the Redcat Marksman, make the servo your first upgrade. The WP-1080 has an adjustable BEC and while it comes at 6V by default, you can change that to 7.4V with an upgraded servo and the Marksman will be worlds better. Seriously, budget for this if you plan to buy this rig.

Nearly any other crawling servo would be better. Here are a few options we use and recommend, from cheap to expensive:

  • JX Servo WP-5318HV ~16.5kg @ 7.4v, waterproof, cored, metal gear (lower rating but much better than the stock Hexfly unit).
  • JX Servo CLS-6336HV 35kg @ 7.4v, waterproof, coreless, metal gear.
  • JX Servo BLS-HV7132MG 32kg @ 7.4, splashproof, brushless, metal gear, alu case. (Fast and doesn’t fade under heavy load. Probably our favourite semi-budget crawler servo).
  • JX Servo CLS-HV7346MG 46kg @ 7.4v, waterproof, coreless, alu case, metal gear.
  • Holmes Hobbies SCX500v3 ~42kg @ 11.1v (direct run from 3S), waterproof, brushless, ultra tough – our favourite comp servo!
Redcat Marksman Servo Mounted
Redcat Marksman Servo

Body and Accessories

In a break from the usual, the Redcat Marksman sports a polycarbonate body that has been painted on both sides! The matte green finish on the outside looks very smart. They’ve finished the inside of the body in a rust-brown color. If you think about it, as the outside green paint gets scratched off on rocks and branches, the underside’s brown will gradually show through, giving the appearance of rust! Very clever little scale-ageing trick they’ve incorporated there!

There are light buckets for headlights only – taillights are stickers on this body. The plastics and faux interior on the Marksman are all of a high quality. Finish is solid and this body should last well. It’s very attractive and is enhanced further by the spare wheel holder included in the accessories package. We’ve mounted ours and the weight difference is minimal on a bigger crawler like this, so we found it very worthwhile for the improved look. You do have to poke a few holes in the pretty body to add this extra bit, so think about it before you do it – but we can at least show you how it looks. We like it!

Redcat Marksman Scale Accessories

Chassis & Running Gear

The steel C-channel chassis rails are solid. Reinforced with plastic cross-braces, the Marksman has a nice, rigid feel. We like that the vehicle doesn’t weigh a lot, despite its size, and as you can see from the photo below, there’s a lot of spare room on the chassis. Included wheel wells are a nice touch also – you get the aesthetic benefits when the body is on, and they also work to keep crud and debris out of the internals.

The axles are solid and well designed. They’re straight rather than portals, which is nice to see when portals seem to be everywhere. You’re going to be scraping the diff pumpkins over rocks, given the width of the vehicle. Larger tires are helpful, but clearance will be something to keep in mind when driving. For us, this adds to the appeal of scale fun. The skid plate is also intelligently implemented and has a nice, smooth finish. Drive shafts are tough plastic with steel universals. All up, the Marksman is a strong and lightweight platform. Simple and reliable.

Redcat Marksman Chassis

Drive Feel

We said earlier we found this vehicle to feel a little faster than we’d like on the rocks. On the trail, the speed is good and it turns well at speed – impressive given its size and locked axles! The adjustability from the WP-1080 ESC means you can make the Marksman feel more like a cruisy trail rig or a precise rock crawler. It’s nice to have that control.

Another thing to note is torque twist. This is the phenomenon where the chassis twists under throttle in the opposite rotational direction to the drive shafts. It’s quite pronounced on this vehicle. On a smaller rig, torque twist can unsettle a crawler significantly. While it’s pretty pronounced on the Marksman, even to the point of lifting a wheel at times, the whole machine does not lose its track or become unsettled. It could be that the effect is weakened by its greater wheelbase and track width than on 1/10 crawlers. Something to be aware of, then, but not a deal-breaker.

The only let-down in the rig is that weak Hexfly servo. We almost never say this as we don’t like to waste things, but do budget in a better servo when you buy the Redcat Marksman. It’s the only shortcoming we’ve found after running several packs through it.

Redcat Marksman
Redcat Marksman Underneath

Our Verdict

This is a mid-range crawler as far as pricing goes. You have the choice of numerous 1/10 scale crawlers for similar money. If you like the idea of walking a trail and crawling obstacles as you find them, the Redcat Marksman could be for you. It’s not as capable as some 1/10 scale crawlers largely on account of that track width, but it’s a lovely, smooth machine. We haven’t driven it enough yet to give an idea of longer-term durability but will update this section in a few months to note this.

We love its look. Its simplicity under the body is alluring and it feels great on the rocks. What do you think? Feel free to leave comments and questions in our review video above and stay tuned for more videos in future on the Marksman’s performance, what upgrades we do (*cough* servo *cough*) and how we find its durability. After a few LiPO packs so far, we really like it.

Get Yours Here

AsiaTees sells the Redcat Marksman globally. Get it here.

Redcat Marksman Rear
Craig Veness

Craig Veness


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 🙂

Team Associated MT10 Rival 1/10 RTR Monster Truck

Team Associated MT10 Rival 1/10 RTR Monster Truck

MT10 Rival

The Team Associated MT10 Rival is a budget option in big-name bashing. It’s a 1/10 scale 4×4 brushless monster truck that’s ready to go out of the box. We’ve heard good things about it and decided we should really test it out!

MT10 Berm Jump

Out With the Old

Story time! Back in 2012 we ordered a Traxxas Stampede VXL 4X4 RTR. It had similar specifications and overall dimensions to the MT10 Rival and accounting for inflation, was about 20% more expensive. It had a number of issues that needed sorting before it could be bashed with any level of severity beyond yard running. The truck flipped over a lot and the tires were not great. We put over $1000 into strength and handling upgrades (build log archived here) and eventually it was reasonably reliable and a lot of fun.

Stampede VXL Jump

Credit: sandman77, AusRC forums

In With the New

What a difference a decade makes! Many of the things we changed on the Stampede are included out of the box with the MT10 Rival. The tires are excellent, there are front and rear anti-roll (or sway) bars and there are even lights, both front and rear. There is a mesh cover to keep stones and dust out of the bucket chassis and there is a hard cover over the drive-shaft so wires don’t get twisted and ripped off – and it keeps the stones out from grinding through the shaft, too!

A Paradigm Shift

Probably the biggest improvement in the MT10 Rival over the Stampede VXL is something that we were not ever able to mod into ours: a center differential. This extra level of tuning and performance is what takes the MT10 Rival to the level of bigger, more expensive jump and bash trucks. Combine this with the low weight and flexible plastics used throughout the vehicle and you have an exceptionally durable, low-maintenance and high-performance monster truck.

We can’t really over-emphasise how big this is in RC: there are not many vehicles in any category of the hobby that give you all three of Cheap, Durable and Fast. The MT10 Rival may just be that elusive unicorn!

MT10 Rival Features

  • 2.4GHz 2-channel radio system
  • High-Torque digital servo with spring-style servo saver
  • Powerful Reedy 3300kV 4-pole brushless motor
  • Water-resistant high-power Reedy brushless speed control with T-plug connector and LiPo low-voltage cutoff
  • Three sealed gear differentials
  • 12mm hex wheels inspired by Method Race Wheels
  • Threaded, oil-filled, coil-over shock absorbers
  • 4mm heavy-duty adjustable steel turnbuckles
  • Durable slider-type drive shafts
  • Factory-finished RIVAL monster-truck-inspired style body
  • High-traction, all-terrain tires
  • Steel center drive shaft
  • Rugged, adjustable wheelie bar with LEDs
  • Four-wheel independent suspension
  • Durable, impact-absorbing front bumper with LEDs

MT10 Rival Specs

  • Length: 507mm (19.96in)
  • Width: 325mm (12.8in)
  • Wheelbase: 285mm (11.22in)
  • Weight: 2850g (6.28lbs)
  • Internal Gear Ratio: 2.85:1
MT10 Wheelie Bar
MT10 Rival Chassis Rear
MT10 Method Wheels
MT10 Rival Chassis Front

Our Test Drive

We cracked ours out of the box and got it immediately onto the skate park. The MT10 Rival never had a chance to do any tame driving; we had ours headed for the clouds straight away! The radio is comfy to use and getting the truck set up is easy. There is a T-connector on the ESC and it takes 2S and 3S power. We used 2S in our testing but will return to the skate park with 3S soon.

The vehicle was plenty fast and the suspension perfectly tuned to handle big air. It’s a lightweight truck and jumps well. The turning circle is rather massive – one of just two things we’d like to change on this machine. It’s forgivable given the price and otherwise stellar performance, but it would have been nice to have a tighter turning circle.

MT10 RTR Package

Air Authority

The other shortcoming concerns flight! That is, when the vehicle is not on the ground at all. When your truck is in the air, you can brake to drop the nose or accelerate to raise it. You can not only ensure you land on the wheels most of the time, but with practice, you can pull off various forward- and back-flips, all with the use of your throttle input. This is what we call ‘air authority’ in relation to controlling the vehicle in the air after a big jump.

The MT10 Rival is 4WD and has big monster truck wheels and tires. This should be a recipe for decent air authority – but this seems to be the one area the MT10 doesn’t quite deliver. Braking to drop the nose was reliably good, but we often found we couldn’t bring the nose up. It just didn’t have the power to generate the sudden wheel speed needed to raise the nose on many jumps.

There are two ways to address this: one is to put heavier wheels and tires on, such as the Pro-Line Trenchers we used on our old Stampede. Those tires weigh a lot more and it gives you ALL the air authority! But with such heavy wheels you then start breaking drive shafts. The better and simpler way will be to go to 3S (12V) instead of 2S (8V). This should have the desired effect. We’ll post the follow-up video here when it’s done.

Final Thoughts

The 3300kv motor is a perfect size for this size and weight of vehicle. There’s plenty of punch on tap and battery life is quite reasonable too. The MT10 Rival is easy to drive, takes bad landings and other abuse very well and looks great doing it. We heartily recommend this as a budget, big-name, durable basher. Go grab one, you won’t be disappointed!


Manufacturer’s page:

MT10 Front-Under
MT10 Chassis Uncovered
MT10 Rear-Under
Craig Veness

Craig Veness


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 🙂

Element RC Enduro Ecto Trail Truck RTR

Element RC Enduro Ecto Trail Truck RTR

Element RC for Fun

If you are returning to the world of RC (Radio Control) after some years, you’ll be familiar with Associated Electrics (AE). You may not be so familiar with one of their newer brands, Element RC. AE is known for its off-road racing heritage, going back to the slot car era from 1965. Meanwhile, Element RC is a more fun and family focussed brand with community and exploration as core concepts rather than AE’s trophies and podiums.

Reedy Power is another AE brand. This covers motors, speed controls, batteries, chargers, servos and accessories. Under the one umbrella, AE can deliver a complete in-house package in the Element RC Enduro platform. And that’s what we’re looking at today.

Ecto Top-Down

The Elemental Platform

In recent years, Element RC has run on a single flexible platform known as the Enduro. There’s a current kit option in the Enduro Trail Truck Builder’s Kit 2. The rest of the range is RTR (Ready To Run) and models are differentiated by modular options of body, suspension, axle type and wheelbase.

We’ve reviewed and enjoyed the very capable Sendero HD, a trail truck with a scale body and live axles at each end. The Knightrunner is another interesting unit, also a scale trail truck but with IFS (Independent Front Suspension). Rounding out our collection is the Gatekeeper with its rear trailing arms and anti-roll bar.

At the heart of all these models is the same StealthX transmission, which provides drive to front and rear axles and a mid-mounted motor over the skid plate. The StealthX transmission features a 5.7% overdrive output to the front axle. Also, all Enduro vehicles include an additional gear set that grants 11.83% overdrive to the front instead of the default 5.7%. The vehicles all ship with a steel C-rail chassis, 5-pole motor, waterproof & metal geared steering servo, a Reedy brushed ESC and the XP-130 radio system. It’s a solid platform that allows a variety of implementations for different effects on the trail and rocks.

Gatekeeper & Ecto
StealthX Overdrive Gearing

Element Ecto Chamber

Given how similar the two vehicles are, our experiences with the Gatekeeper are going to be quite relevant to our expectations of the Element Ecto’s performance. We had a very good experience with the Gatekeeper when we tested it a few months ago. It was a very capable machine, if a little top-heavy with that hinged exocage on top. (Check out our GK series here on YouTube). With the modular design of the Enduro platform in mind, the Ecto would appear to be very similar indeed to the Gatekeeper. The only differences that jump out on first inspection are the lighter-weight polycarbonate body and the straight links, rather than the bent links of the Gatekeeper.

Both Ecto and Gatekeeper use the same Reedy 14-turn, 550-size brushed motor and other electronics. Gearing is the same and the trailing-arm rear suspension are identical too. The bent links of the Gatekeeper give the CVD joints (Constant Velocity Drive) in the drive shafts a slightly better angle on the Gatekeeper. Other than that, the Ecto appears to be the better-equipped of the two for sheer rock crawling performance – and that’s what we’re interested in.

Suspension Similarities

Fit For Purpose?

We wondered about this when we compared the Gatekeeper to the Axial Capra in a video last year (view that here, if you’re interested). The trailing arm suspension of the Gatekeeper is what we called “go-fast suspension”. Given the suspension choice, the Gatekeeper and Ecto are ostensibly more aimed at rock racing rather than rock crawling – faster rather than slower, technical driving.

However, we found that although the Capra did indeed outperform the Gatekeeper on the rocks, the GK wasn’t far behind. Both vehicles could complete our 6-problem course and the overdrive from the StealthX transmission definitely helped.

Gatekeeper vs Ecto
Underneath Ecto

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?

Ecto vs Gatekeeper vs Capra

The Element Ecto is lighter than the Gatekeeper. The Axial Capra is heavier than both. The Ecto’s COG (Center Of Gravity) is lower because of that polycarbonate body – the Gatekeeper’s exocage was heavy! We therefore expect the machine to do quite well on the rocks. However, the suspension and faster 14-turn 550 motor still make us wonder. Can it best the Capra on the rocks? The Capra has a DIG (DIsengageable Gear) that gives it quite an edge.

Honestly, we’re not sure. This article is being written during a week-long rain period here locally and while we’ve done a little testing in our review video this week, we still haven’t been able to get the Ecto onto dry rocks for a more precise comparison. Stay tuned for an Ecto vs Capra video soon as well as an Ecto vs Gatekeeper video. We are excited for both and can’t wait to see how they stack up!

Ecto on Rock

What’s in the Box?

Element RC Ecto RTR, XP-130 radio, manual, sticker sheet, spare plastics and body trim. No tools, no battery, no charger. That’s the default box contents. Check out our review (below) to see how we set our rig up in preparation for rock crawling. We’ve left it largely stock for comparison purposes, but even in that configuration we expect it will be a performer. Here’s the full review and initial rock run:

Should You Buy It?

If you’re into this style of body and are looking for a capable rock crawler, then yes – the Element Ecto is for you! If you’re on the fence about the body but still want a capable crawler and you like the Element RC Enduro range, take a look at the Gatekeeper or the Sendero HD. Both are superbly capable crawlers. Aside from suspension and motor turns in the Sendero HD, both share the same reliable and well-designed components of the Ecto.

If you’re after a capable scale crawler and are wondering what else might meet your needs, there are a few other rigs you might consider:

Whatever you choose, the selection available today is better than ever before. Any of these rigs will serve you well. We plan to have some head-to-head action between many of the above vehicles soon, too. In the meantime, the Element Ecto is impressive. Time will tell, but we think it may just be the cream of the Element RC Enduro crop.

More Info

See the manufacturer’s page here:

Grab one here, shipping is world-wide (and using this link helps support us at no extra cost to you – thank you kindly if you use it)!

Ecto Approach Angle
Craig Veness

Craig Veness


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 🙂