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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 rc-tnt.com!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂