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Go Figure! Get the Right Driver For Your Scale Crawler

Nothing throws off the look of a moving scale crawler quite like an empty driver seat. The positive twist is nothing completes the look of scale crawler like a driver at the wheel. So, where do you get that personal pilot? The top place is the toy store, but there’s more to than just grabbing a biped you like and tossing him in the cab of your truck. This is what you need to know.

SIZE MATTERS
The average height of an adult male is about 6′. So, if your scale RC truck is 1/10 scale, the typical 7-inch action figure turned driver is perfect and the popular choice. Reverse engineering the math works like this: 7.2 inches in 1/10 scale would be 72 inches or 6′ in full size.

RC trucks–even the most detailed scale masterpieces–aren’t often perfectly scale. For optimized performance, designers take a few liberties with scale. So, while you could determine the actual scale of your RC scale crawler, it is unlikely to provide you with good results. For example, if the Axial SCX10 is a scale representative of a Land Rover Defender 90, it is actually closer to 1/8 scale than 1/10 scale (using wheelbase and width as the scale determiners). That would call for a 9-inch tall driver figure which would look significantly out of proportion since the 9-inch tall Axial SCX10 Dingo is closer to 1/9 scale (using height as a scale determiner).

The bottom line is the eye will always yield better results than the calculator, and it is also often better to err on the side of too small rather too large. A driver that looks like he had to be shoehorned into the interior of what would be a full-size truck doesn’t look too realistic.

  

SECURELY SEATED
There are a number of ways to secure your driver figure. One of the most popular choices is using simple silicone glue. This flexible glue can be removed if needed and yet is incredible strong.

If you’re the tinkering type, a fantastic way to secure a driver figure is will magnets. Stores like RadioShack sell magnet sets that can be secured in the seat and figure using two-part epoxy. The magnets work great and only cost a few dollars. The best way to use the magnets is to hollow out two indentations in your driver figure’s body with two matching indentations in the seat. As mentioned above, two-part epoxy should be used to secure the magnets.

Another option is to use cable ties (AKA zip ties). This may sound hack, but the right size cable ties make for scale looking seat belts. As an added bonus, a quick snip gets the driver out of the way if needed.

Scale seats are available from Axial, RC4WD and other RC-specific sources. A search on eBay will reveal cell phone holders that make perfect scale seats.

READY FOR ACTION
The number one question in regard to driver figures is where do I get one? Well, maybe that question is tied with who do you use as a driver figure? I have basically one answer for both questions. Since action figures are the top choice, the top locations are toy stores such as Toys”R”Us and the toy department at department stores such as Wal-Mart. Get out there and see what you can find.

A trip down an isle at one of the above mentioned locations will reveal many choices. Wrestlers from a variety of sources are great, but proceed with caution. Keep in mind that what looks like a fun choice while it’s still in the package will look like the same screaming ‘roid raging nut job driver hundreds of your fellow hobbyists have also snapped up. Unless you’re going for that “lost my mind coming back from the gym” look, avoid the wrestlers with snarled mouths and ridiculously gigantic biceps. Besides looking more silly than scale, many have such overgrown upper bodies that they do not readily fit in scale seats. Shop around before making a selection.

In addition to the wrestlers, there are a variety of action figures modeled from pop culture sources such as movies, TV shows and sports. The same rules apply. Don’t buy the first figure you see, go for a figure that looks real and too small is better than too big.

While there are plenty of 7-inch action figures available, if you have a larger scale model, check out a toy called Hunter Dan. Hunter Dan is a 8-inch tall sportsman action figure that can be found online and at outdoors stores at Cabela’s.

 

Target stores recently started offering a miniature skate boarder figure that is perfect for scale RC use. The figures are called Street League Flex Figures. The figures are well detailed, flexible and have realistic clothes.They’re permanently attached to the skate board, but with a little work, the board is easily removed. The Street League Flex Figures are made by Ronin Syndicate which also makes 1/12-scale Metal Mulisha figures with dirt bikes.

TAMIYA DRIVERS
Tamiya’s Wild Willy drivers have been used in dozens of scale builds. The comically oversized helmet works for some builds, but is distracting in most. Tamiya’s Holiday Buggy (recently rereleased) has a driver that isn’t as complete of a figure as the Wild Willy, but has a very realistic head complete with cowboy hat. The downside of Tamiya drivers is that you’ll need to paint in detail them yourself unless you pickup a driver out of a RTR Wild Willy.

MAKING THE CUT
You just paid between $12 to $20 (maybe more) for a driver figure and I’m about to suggest you completely ruin it and cut it to pieces. Why? Well, none of the action figures I have ever seen–even if they have 20 movable joints and Kung Fu grip–are really made to sit in a driver’s seat. Add that to the fact that most RC truck interiors aren’t really made to hold passengers and you probably have some fitment issues to deal with.

If possible, remove the seat from the truck and test fit your driver. If you’re lucky, the driver will fit the seat and bend in the right places enough to actually sit in the seat. After you get over the disappointment that your wheelman doesn’t want to get behind the wheel, you’ll need to identify what the problem is. The deeper you can get your driver to sit in the seat, the more upright he’ll be behind the wheel and the more realistic he’ll look.

Some figures will need to be cut at the waist, repositioned and glued back together. Others will need to have their lower legs removed. Still others will need to have the unfortunate surgery to remove their entire lower half. For example, if your truck has a shallow interior such as in Axial Dingo shell.

Links
Axial
RC4WD

 

READERS’ SCALE DRIVERS

Chris Goris, Axial SCX10, Marcus (Terminator Salvation)
Ed Hayes, Axial Honcho, Marvel Legends Union Jack (modified)
Jim Hustins, Axial Wraith, Duke Nukem action figure

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38 Comments

  1. Good article, finding a driver for a 1:10 scale anything can be tricky. Sometimes you can cruise Toys R Us and find some good deals. I ended up with some “Terminator Salvation” toys for under 3 bucks apiece. Getting your driver at a bargain makes it easier when your hacking it up.

  2. There are Steve Irwin(the croc hunter) figures available on eBay, one even comes with a raft that would look cool on top of a rig. I think i’m gonna get one for the Wraith I plan on buying soon. The figure might be a little small, but if it isn’t, i think it would be a cool “driver”.

  3. I have the splinter cell character he moves in all the right places in my wraith .took me a while to get him but he has normal clothes on so he looks pretty real in the truck,no pics of him in it yet have to mod the steering wheel so it goes to his hands.

  4. I like the croc hunter figure with the raft. he is 6″ inches tall.do you think he will fit In an axial wraith? Please reply soon.

  5. A great written article. You don’t have to spend $20 on a scale figure though. If you just want a dude to drive, look for a dollar store (Dollar Tree, Dollar General or something similar). You can usually find 6-7″ wrestlers there for a dollar. Sure they are that flexible and some of them have their mouths open in a dumb look. The upside is that $1 I don’t mind heating them with a lighter to “mold” them how I want, or chopping their legs off to shove them in a dingo interior. It’s pretty easy to make real clothes for them out of an old tshirt so they look a little better. I’m even thinking of glueing a beard on one to make it look more handsome. 😉

  6. so im intrested in the axial scx10 jeep rtr (grey) and i have two options for drivers a 3.5 lego guy or so or a 7 inch tall jhon cena wrestler and i dont know wich one to use so i guess my question is how deep is the stock rtr scx10 grey jeep interior but please reply to my facebook @ Chance Hatch bcuz my email is a bitch my profile pic is a man in a red motorcycle jersey

  7. I have a brand new Axial SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. The 7″ figure I have bought is the NECA Splinter Cell Sam Fisher, which looks very realistic and his knees bend too.

    Rather than cut the figure I am considering cutting the foot well of the Jeep for both his legs to fit through. Is that something reasonable to do or is it not advised?

    I think by removing his feet (they pull off and simply push back on) I can cut two round holes just either side of the centre of the steering wheel, fit his legs through and reattach the feet.

    What do you think?

    Regards

    Philip

    Penrith, UK

    1. Cancel last, I pulled his legs off and he sits too high with his head above the roll cage. Looks like I will have to saw him in half where his green jumper ends just below waist level.

  8. so with the new scx10 g6 falken rtr is it waterproof, what can it do and is there a tan version of the g6 also how many inches deep is the intirior

    1. It is not waterproof. The G6 is a kit with a clear body, so you could paint it tan if you like. The Falken version comes with the Falken color scheme. The interior is half interior, so it isn’t really deep at all.

  9. so what about the honcho scx10 from axial( partial to axial sorry) bcuz i know it hAS no interior but could it still look cool in tan ( because i want one thats army themed i lied the jeep rtr scx10 grey because i could just bolt a KNEX turret gun to the roll bar but i could mount the turret to the honcho if i did a bit of mods to the body so which one would be the best for an army platform

    1. What’s available is constantly changing. I’d start checking out the big toy stores or seaching for army action figure on a online search engine. Figure out the approximate height you want and add that to the search to narrow the results. good luck and let us know what you go with.

  10. ok so im going with the axial rtr trail honcho and have a new set back i have a new bright rc jeep thats 1/15 scale i think would it match ip to the honcho body mounts ill try to post a picture of what it would possibly look like soon but im just curious also how do i make scale rc guns out of house hold stuff thanks matt higgins your awesome and have helped me a lot

  11. Hi …… I have been looking all over to get the right model to fit in my sawback jeep, guess it is a 1:9 scale. Could you please help and advise where I can purchase these online? Thank you so much……regards from sunny Bali.

  12. If you’re in socal you can check out a collectors show that is twice a week called frank-n-sons, I believe in Walnut, Ca. Some great deals to be had, and more action figures in multiple sizes to drool over.

  13. so i have a question i want to build netting to go arounfd the softtop im building what do i use also are the wwe jhon cena action figures the right size (7INCH) any way to build a sound system for it (bluetooth or not )

  14. Hey,

    I am looking to be rid of the bland helmet heads on my Deadbolt. Any place sell heads of that size?

    LoosenutRC

  15. Is there a particular toy driver that works better for movement? I had a great driver for a while now, but his movement is almost zero and I want to setup my steering wheel with a servo to move with the wheels.

    just wondering if there’s a line of action figures with the right movement available to them where they would allow the arm to twist with the wheel without ripping them out of the seat?

    thanks!

  16. Other than Tamyia, most companies are not listing the accurate scale.It should be simple to find out….
    A 1/10 scale model, means that you divide the measurement of the real car by 10….
    Most companies are way off except for Tamyia….for example, I measured the GMade Sawback jeep (CJ3) and it is about 1/8 scale.They list it at 1/10 scale.It’s way off….The LandRover D90 sold by rc4wd is a 1/9 scale….The Axial Jeeps are also off…they are in fact 1/9 scale.Not sure why companies are not listing accurate scales….

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