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Axial SCX10 Dingo Kit Review

With what I’ll readily acknowledge as a careful eye on the market and a strong connection with the crawling segment and community, Axial Racing has recently revamped and streamlined its popular SCX10 lineup of scale rock crawlers. Two versions are now available: the Honcho and the Dingo. The Dingo–reviewed here–is a do-it-yourself kit and Honcho is a pre-built ready-to-run. In addition to keeping it simple with the versions available, Axial has also upgraded the trucks. Read on and check out what’s new and see how this realistic crawler performs.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

> Unassembled kit

> $249.99

> Realistic steel ladder frame

> Solid axles

> 3-link suspension with aluminum lower links

> Lexan scale body with molded plastic roll cage

> Plastic fluid-filled shocks

> Solid axles with heavy-duty sintered spools

> Front or rear mount battery options

> Ripsaw 1.9 tires in soft R35 compound

> Licensed Walker Evans rims

FEATURES
Chassis
The SCX10–as most people would agree–is one of the most realistic scale chassis available. The stamped steel side rails are formed into C-channels and contoured just like a real ladder frame. Plastic cross members and a plastic center skid/tranny mount tie the two side rails together. The chassis design also allows the battery mount to be positioned in the front or in the rear of the truck. The battery tray can easily hold a “standard” 2-cell LiPo.

Suspension
The Dingo uses a 3-link suspension design with aluminum lower links and a wishbone style upper link. The springs are soft and configured in a two-stage setup. Optional springs are available in different rates for tuning. The shocks are plastic but threaded. Two shock cap options are offered—traditional caps and faux reservoir caps. The shocks mount to the chassis via molded hoops. Axial includes two axle trusses to allow a 4-link setup, but does not include the needed correct length links to complete the conversion. The plastic links included are too long for the shorter wheelbase Dingo.

Drivetrain
This is one area that Axial has made some valuable improvements. The transmission is now completely shielded with a cover for the pinion and spur gears. Previously these two gears were exposed and debris often made quick work of the plastic spur gear. Axial also now includes its newer WB8 Wild Boar drive shafts that were first introduced on the Wraith. In addition to the drive shafts, the transmission outputs and axle pinion gears have holes (as opposed to flat spots) to allow a retaining screw to pass through the shaft instead of using only a small set screw to hold the drive shaft in place. This new setup–gear cover, Wild Boar drive shafts and retaining pins–significantly improves the reliability of the drivetrain.

The transmission used on the Dingo is Axial’s proven stacked three-gear design that includes an aluminum motor mount and an adjustable slipper clutch.

Ball bearings are used throughout, and the front axle shafts use a bone and cup design for the sub axle—meaning it does not include a universal joint axle design. Universal front axle shafts (item no. AX30464) are available that are stronger and offer more steering throw.

Body
The Dingo is a two-door SUV style truck and resembles something you’d expect to see on safari in Africa–such as a Land Rover Defender Ninety. It’s molded out of Lexan and the windshield is a separate piece. The roll cage, fender flares, bumpers and rock sliders are all made of molded composite plastic. Axial includes a detailed decal sheet. The decals are made out of thin, flexible vinyl, so they are easy to work with.

Tires & Rims
One of the other updates Axial made to this generation of the SCX10 is the new tire and rim package. The tires are 1.9 Ripsaw tires in Axial’s R35 compound. The tires come with standard foam inserts and the overall package is extremely soft. In fact, the R35 compound is not only flexible, but also sticky. The rims are licensed replicas of Walker Evans Street Lock wheels and feature an extra thick amount of material around the 12mm hex area.

THE BUILD
Building the Dingo is easy and enjoyable. The manual breaks down each step into what is essentially an exploded view, and each screw size needed for a step is shown in actual size. It’s easy to figure out, but the end braces or caps for the frame are listed incorrectly in the manual. The correct part numbers are AX80039A1 (front) and AX80039B4 (rear). The orientation of the plastic windshield bracket is shown incorrectly in the manual. That too is pretty easy to figure out.

Build Tips

  • Do not over tighten the screws that thread into plastic. There is a very fine line between extra tight and stripped out.
  • Sharp little nubs on your parts look hack. Get quality flush cutters to trim the plastic parts cleanly from the parts trees. You can also use a hobby knife, but be careful.
  • After you slide the pinion gear’s input shaft through its two support bearings and out the front of the axle, pass a hex driver shaft through the hole in the end of the input shaft. Use the driver shaft as a grip to give a slow, smooth-but-firm tug on the input shaft. This will fully seat the bearings in the plastic axle housing and ensure proper gear mesh.
  • Tighten the ring gear to plastic “diff” housing completely. Make sure each of the four screws is tightened evenly.
  • Use a liberal amount of O-ring lubricant such as Team Associated’s Green Slime on the O-rings when building the shocks.
  • Do not grip the shock shaft with pliers when threading on the shock end. Use side cutters to grip the last thread. This will prevent the shock shaft from getting scratched.
  • Axial includes plastic hubs to cover the wheel lock nuts. Note that there are front and rear hubs. The fronts have the look of locking hubs.

 

RUNNING GEAR USED

> Hitec HSC-5996TG servo

> MaxAmps.com 6500mAh 2C LiPo

> Novak Fifty-Five brushed motor

> Novak Rooster Crawler speed control

> Spektrum DX3R Pro 2.4GHz radio system

PERFORMANCE
This Dingo wasn’t even close to being the first Axial SCX10 I’ve built and driven, so I knew what to expect. Like all of the other SCX10’s I’ve taken to the trails, the Dingo traversed over terrain extremely smoothly. While I prefer aluminum shocks for durability, the plastic shocks and stock springs work exceptionally well and the suspension geometry allows for a stable overall ride and a suspension that cycles without binding. It’s a professionally engineered kit and it shows. The 1.9 Ripsaw tires, however, were new to me. I’m happy to report that these tires worked great. I’m sure the fact that they are molded in Axial’s soft R35 compound helps considerably, but regardless of what makes them work, the fact is they grip.

Even though the Dingo has a wheelbase that is almost a full inch short than its Honcho stable mate, I didn’t experience any of the typical short wheelbase shortcomings, and this is even with a big hard-cased LiPo mounted on the rear of the chassis. This is likely because the suspension works well and because 11.4 inches isn’t that short.

On one outing, I ran the Dingo through a lot of loose dirt and sand. This isn’t an uncommon use of a scale crawler. The dust and debris that covered the chassis when I removed the body made me thankful for the new transmission gear cover.

Most crawlers—scale or otherwise—will eventually break if they get used. Thus far, the Dingo has held up just fine. Nothing has broken, come undone, or shown any sign of premature wear. I’ve run it on rocks, dirt, in a little mud and through the most sinister of all—sand—and it’s all good in the hood. I am loving the updated driveline. Drive shafts used to be the Achilles’ heel of every one of my shaft driven crawlers. Now, I’ll have to find something new to break. Well, eventually those plastic knuckles will snap upon landing from a nasty fall.

 

FINAL ASSESSMENT
The Dingo does a great job of proving scale realism doesn’t have to come at the expense of performance. The truck simply works very well, and the updates—tires and drivetrain—are awesome additions. This latest generation of the SCX10 is the best yet—as it should be. The molded plastic parts, such as the roll cage and fender flares, help increase the level of detail on the Lexan body. The only downside of the Dingo—and the Honcho is even worse—is that there are a lot of them out there and you’ll have to get pretty creative to make yours standout from the crowd without changing the whole body. Eventually I’ll add aluminum knuckles, universal axles and aluminum shocks, but I’m in no rush as the Dingo is one of the first rigs I’ve had on my bench in a long time that I wasn’t instantly creating a wish list for.

 

Hot

> High quality materials

> Well engineered

> Looks cool, but…

Not

> …you’re unlikely to have the only Dingo at any comp or get together

> Plastic knuckles

 

BEHIND THE DESIGN
When you want to learn about a product line such as the SCX10 there is no better way than to go right to the source. See what Axial VP Product Design Matt Kearney has to say about this extremely popular scale machine.

RC Truck Stop
The SCX10 was released in 2008. That’s almost an eternity in RC terms. How do you feel the SCX10 platform has stood the test of time so to speak?
Matt Kearney
In terms of performance and scalability I feel it still ranks near the top in its class right out of the box.  We spent quite a bit of time on the design to have proper suspension geometry while still allowing adjustability to fit a wide range of scale bodies on the market already.  The aftermarket support is incredible; end users can take the base chassis even further to fully customize their chassis. There have been several other great products in the RC world that have lasted longer so I like to think that the SCX10 is in the middle years of its product life.

RC Truck Stop
Knowing what you know now, is there anything you’d do differently with the early versions of the platform?
MK
We have to balance time to market with design goals and ideas when we work on a project.  There are so many variables we take into consideration, but inevitably project timelines dictate which ones get priority over others.  Hindsight is 20/20; there are several areas I see where I would have changed the design. I have a long list of ideas I would like to incorporate into another version when the opportunity comes for an update.

RC Truck Stop
Back in 2008 did you think that scale rock crawling would be as big as it is today?
MK
To me scale crawlers is where the rock crawling segment started; the comp side of things had started to take off when we entered the marketplace, so it got the majority of the attention.  The one thing that stood out to me at the first competition I ever attended was scale rock crawlers were everywhere. At the end of the day, the competitors would take out the scale rock crawlers and spend their free time hitting the scale trail. I knew it was going to be a viable market, but I couldn’t have predicted that it would still be going as strong for this long. The scale rock crawlers give people the opportunity to have a miniature of their one-to-one vehicle or what they hope to have one day.

RC Truck Stop
I just tested the new Dingo kit and it’s impressively capable in stock form, but what are the key hop-ups in your opinion?
MK
We designed the product to be very capable and reliable right out of the box, but we recognize that Axial customers like to customize and tune their trucks. There are three areas to consider customizing: performance, durability and detailing. In the performance area, I would suggest beadlocks, aluminum shock bodies and aluminum upper links.  To add durability, an aluminum servo horn, aluminum C-hubs, aluminum knuckles, aluminum rear axle adapters and a set of heavy duty gears. Detailing is up to the drivers; there really is no end, but Axial offers the NVS LED system, light bar, interior/exterior detail kits, and many other parts as an easy way to add scale realism.

RC Truck Stop
What’s next for the SCX10 lineup?
MK
We are always coming up with new ideas on products to make for the SCX10; any time we work on new product we strive for them to fit multiple chassis. For example, the light bar from the EXO has all the components needed to bolt directly to the SCX10, Wraith and short course trucks. There are plans to add to the SCX10 lineup with more body choices this year, but you will have to keep checking the Axial site to find out what they will be.

 

Links

Axial Racing

Hitec

MaxAmps.com

Novak

Spektrum

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37 Comments

  1. I got my dingo a couple of weeks back and lost track of time before I new it it was built ready to fit a brushless motor and speed control and 2.4 rad gear like you I will run it for a while but I’m sure I’ll adding the hop up bits plus some of aftermarket accessories. the only down side was the non bead lock rims being supplied not a fan of gluing tyresapart from that one lowpoint I can’t wait to run it against my honcho and see how they both handle the rock heap out back

  2. Man I would just love to see that “long list” of ideas for changes to the SCX 10, how exciting that would be!! I really like the truck the way it was and of course the new version also. Building them, to me, is allot of the fun and picking out a color is always a tough decision!

    1. It isn’t hard to build at all. If you’d prefer a kit over a ready-to-run (RTR), this kit is as good as any, really. Axial offers a number of RTR trucks too. Check out their site and have a look.

    1. The runtime time is extremely long with the 5000mAh LiPo pack. In fact, I have never run it from fully charged to completely discharged in one use. I hope that helps answer your question. With a 45- to 55-turn motor and a large capacity battery, the SCX10 will run for a long time.

    1. Out of the box, the Axial SCX10 will, indeed, out perform the RC4WD Trail Stomper. With the right tires, shocks and springs, the Trail stomper made be made to be a great performer. As for which is best, it is mostly personal preference. The Ready-to-run Trail Stomper is a good deal, in my opinion, but it has leaf springs that offer more scale realism than performance. Hope this helps.

  3. How have I not discovered this site until now?! Anyway thanks for the review. Been wanting to get into scale rock crawlers and this kit looks great. Out of curiosity, why did you use brushed instead of brushless? Any particular reason? Thanks again for the review.

    1. Glad you found the site, Ricardo! Great question on the motor. I do use brushless systems in some of my crawlers, but I like brushed systems for a number of reasons. Brushed systems are very reliable. That’s the number one reason. You also get a lot for your money with a good brushed system. And, I love the low speed control brushed motors provide. Sensored brushless systems do provide similar low speed control and performance, but sensor wires can fail sometimes brushless systems just get quirky in crawlers. I do go for brushless when I know I want a lot of power and speed. Combined with 3S LiPo (or more) a sensored brushless system is great for Top Truck Challenge type competitions. It’s worth mentioning that I never use sensorless systems in crawlers–no low speed control. I hope this helps explain the brushed motor. Thanks again for checking out RC Truck Stop!

      1. Hi Matt. Thanks for replying so quick. I have been out of electric RC for so long and am going to get this kit within the next few weeks. What is the maintenance for a brushless motor vs brushed? Also what run times are you getting with the brushed motor and a lipo battery? Thanks in advance.

        1. Some brushless motors need next to no maintenance and that was one of initial advantages that sold everyone on brushless. As more racing segments converted over to brushless, the cans started getting opened up for cooling and many brushless motors have just as many openings for dirt to get in as older brushed motors. If you want a motor that requires no maintenance, brushless is the way to go, but make sure it’s a sealed can style. A sealed brushless motor just needs to have the dust blown off every now and then. Brushed motors need to be cleaned and eventually the brushes need to be replaced.

          I use a LiPo pack with over 5000mAh, so it lasts forever. I charge it once for the whole day.

          1. Hey Matt, I decided to go with brushed after some research. I did get a sidewinder 3 just in case I want to try brushless. I don’t mind the maintenance withe brushed and was wondering what tools you use for your brushed motor maintenance. I know I need a lathe and was wondering if you could recommend one? Thanks again.

          2. Sounds like you made a wise decision.

            Interesting question. The number one tool in motor maintenance isn’t a tool at all–it’s just motor spray. Keeping it clean will make it last. I also recommend looking into a motor cover from Outerwears. The part of the question about needing a lathe is what makes this interesting. I have owned multiple lathes over the years, as well as tools to measure brush spring tension, hood alignment, bearing installation and alignment, a computerized dyno, bags of brushes and springs, etc., etc. I used all of these tools to (hopefully) get the absolute maximum performance out of a motor. There was a payoff for all of the money and time spent when oval racing where even a slight increase in power meant more speed, but I have never cut the comm (turned it down on a lathe) on a crawler motor. Instead, I keep my crawler motors clean and simply replace the motors when I feel there is a noticeable loss in power. Now, if you already owned a lathe, I wouldn’t say you shouldn’t use it, but I wouldn’t necessarily suggest buying a lathe for use on crawler motors.

    1. Well, first you have to decide if you want an RTR or kit. Do you have running gear already or will you have to buy running gear? Do you want to build it yourself or have something that is ready to go? Axial kits are easy builds and come slightly better equipped than the RTRs, but the RTRs come with good gear and provide a lot more instant gratification.

      Ruling out the RTR vs. kit aspect, Honcho vs. Dingo is strictly personal preference. I like the looks of both and both can be turned into just about anything you desire.

  4. hey…is it possible to make a 4 link suspension with the parts that come in the kit. Im new to this and notice there are some plastic links in the parts bag. so half would be aluminum and half plastic…if i change out the wishbone link

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