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Axial SCX10 is the Jeep Wrangler of the RC world

By Matt Raudonikis, 15 Oct 2019 Gear

Axial SCX10 is the Jeep Wrangler of the RC world

Building a custom RC rock crawler on a budget.

FOLLOWING the build of the Axial Bomber builder’s kit I was keen to build another RC off-roader, but unlike the RR10 Bomber, I wanted to build it my way. Like 1:1 scale 4x4s, I reckon small-scale ones are best built to your own tastes. Customised, modified and swapped-out to keep them interesting and individual.

Just as I would when building a full-scale 4x4, I went looking for an older secondhand RC to base my project on. I set my sights on the popular Axial SCX10 due to the massive range of aftermarket products that are available for it. The SCX10 is like the Jeep Wrangler of the RC world, with all the gear you can buy for it both from the manufacturer and aftermarket. In fact, there is a selection of Jeep bodies offered for this platform. I found a complete and running Axial Honcho for the right money not far from home and, just like the real thing, I stripped it back to a pair of bare chassis rails as soon as possible.

I already had a few ideas of what I wanted from this build, but it did take many months to complete. I love the Nukizer 715 concept truck that Jeep built for Moab back in 2010 and wanted to build a truck in that style. Fortunately Axial offers an RC replica of the concept truck, so I ordered one of those bodies.

RC CRAWLER: Axial Bomber RR10

I also wanted to replace as many of the standard plastic parts of the original car as possible using metal ones, so I hit the online classifieds to see what was around. Again, just like the real trucks, the choices are only limited by your budget and I soon had a complete set of front and rear axles, 4-links, cross member and military-look wheels shipping over from China, all in aluminium.

Axial SCX10 Nukizer off-road

The replacement cross members and links all bolted into place without too much hassle but did require a bit of refining to fit correctly, and I was soon getting towards a rolling chassis. I still needed tyres and wanted a set of BFGoodrich KX Krawler T/As which are made under licence by Axial. These don’t come cheap from China, so I looked for the best online resource and came across AMain Hobbies in the USA.

AMain had the BFGs and everything else I would need to complete the build. To get the most from the shipping I also ordered a set of metal Incision steel drive shafts, Incision shock absorbers, Incision steel transmission gears, and a BP Customs battery relocation tray.

The parts arrived from the USA faster than you can get things shipped in Australia and I soon had my chassis rolling and looking tough. This was the inspiration I needed to push on with the build. The OE electrics, motor and drivetrain out of the Honcho were cleaned up and the stronger Incision gears fitted to the transmission, before it was all refitted to the refurbished chassis and fired up for a test run. Just like the real thing, once it’s rolling and running you can’t wait to get it completed.

Axial SCX10 Nukizer chassis

The Lexan body was trimmed and test-fitted, flexing the suspension to full travel to check for clearance and then trimming some more before it was prepped for paint. The clear Lexan bodies need to be painted with a special paint for polycarbonates to get the best adhesion and the paint applied to the inside. Tamiya has the biggest range of PC spray paints, although I was disappointed to find a lack of NATO drab colours to get keep the military look. I settled on plain blue and applied a selection of the decals that come supplied with the body. While not true to the Jeep concept Nukizer, I’m still pleased with the result and the overall look of the rig.

LONG-TERMER: JL Wrangler review

I also tidied up the original rock sliders and Proline front bumper with some fine sand paper and refitted them, and it was ready to go.

With the stock motor and drivetrain, the Nukizer is slow but crawls nicely. The axle articulation is good but not great and it could use some tweaking, but the BFGs are super soft and flex nicely over obstacles.

Axial SCX10 Nukizer rear diff

Like most project cars, this one’s never finished. I reckon a Warn 8274 would look great on the front bumper with a few more scale accessories and an interior to complete the look. I don’t want to trash the Nukizer body, but thankfully the used Honcho body still fits on this wheelbase and can be fitted for use that is more likely to cause damage.

Using a combination of a secondhand complete car, cheap online parts and quality accessories from AMain has resulted in an affordable project that delivers on the tracks and maintains its cool looks.


AMain Hobbies: www.amainhobbies.com

Axial: www.axialracing.com