Growing in R/C Scale Goodness

Chris January 28, 2014 7

Hey, who let the new guy in! Yes, it’s Chris from GCM Racing here to blog you up!

About 6 years ago, I built my first scaler, a Walmart Jeep stuck on top of an X-Trail chassis and a donor AX-10 crawler. This was really big news, because up until that point, there was really nothing on the scale truck market that had more than 1/2 inch of suspension flex (read Tamiya) and could actually be taken out to the rocks. I sure did love my AX-10 crawler, but the look of it demanded more, and Walmart had the answer…. Well, Walmart and TCS Crawlers, and some Lexan body mounts, that is.

This truck lasted in this form for quite a long time… in fact I crawled and scaled it for a year before the new GCM chassis came out, and this began the growing. Growing in scale goodness, that is. The change began when I finally got fed up with the all-too-short X-Trail chassis, and made up a whole new design. Remember, the SCX wasn’t even invented yet, this was a whole new world- to have a framed scale truck with decent suspension!

Full length frames on the Jeep builds grew into more detailed and more scale trucks, like exo-cage tube work with tube bumpers, full interiors with Shaggy and his crew driving the rigs, and then into LED lighting and some antenna and accessories additions. That was another great time of growth in scale goodness. Right around this time, I discovered the ‘video’ button on my camera, and everything changed forever after.

Pictures are great, you line them up, and click. Yep, it’s a keeper. But the video scene now demanded a new level of growth in scale goodness. Now I had to make the truck look real, not just at a single shot angle, but passing by. Not just static, but the way it moves, the way the lights shine on the terrain, the need to cover up wires and see-through parts. This level changed the way GCM parts were being designed, it changed the way we built trucks, and it changed the way we drove trucks. But best of all, it proved there’s never an end to growing in scale goodness. Never.

This very natural progression also opened my eyes to a whole new R/C Community: the Scale Truck community. We’ve all wished we could have that replica of our favorite vehicle, but it was actually attainable now within the scale truck community, and thanks to body manufacturing also catching up with the demand, we can all have a great looking Tacoma, F-250, or Jeep to get around! And we haven’t even hit the hardbody group yet, that’s still the user-friendly Lexan bodies we all love to pound on!

Of course, the next growth in scale goodness comes with rubber and rollers. I was no longer satisfied with ProLine Hammer M2 tires on 2.2 wheels, and with the new introduction of the Honcho on 1.9 rims, even the Flat-Iron tires didn’t fit the scale truck goodness I was looking for. Beadlock bolts and rings on a grocery getting city-truck replica just didn’t make sense either. For this, we all need manufacturers to step up and produce these rim and tire items, and RC4WD, GCM Racing, PitBull, and many others have come up batting some home-runs in the scale wheel and tire departments. And of course with any growth, there has to be some reasonable guidelines to follow so when we all get together, we can slightly level the playing field (or trail as it may be).

It’s so much fun to get together with the buds on the trails and rocks, I can barely wait for our first gathering every spring! There’s always a whole bunch of builds done over the snowy months, and so much new stuff to see and play with after the weather lets us. Single handedly the winner of the R/C enjoyment award for me is playtime, but we’ve also come into some problems because of the level of scale goodness available to the builders these days!

Outside of trail runs, and fun times, there’s a level of competition that has opened up, likely due to the level of testosterone floating around the R/C world. We all love to climb over that obstacle, to get through that hard sidehilling spot, to make it through the mud hole alive, to win sometime. But how can we really have a winner in competition with so much variety of rigs and sizes and capabilities and details? We can, and it’s all defined in the Class designation.

Let’s compare a couple of great scale trucks for a minute. One is a low and slow 1956 Lexan body Ford F-100 pickup on leaf springs, and one is a jacked up full coil-over competition built 2007 Hardbody JK Unlimited Jeep with all the fixings.  Both of these trucks run the rocks and trails at the local R/C gatherings, and both are exciting to drive and watch, but they are oh-so-different. Even in the description, you can gather that representing 51 years of difference in the replicas will alone make you wonder how they could ever run together in the real world. They can’t.

According to the well subscribed SORRCA 2014 rules, the scale truck Class 1 is really designed to represent a stock truck model, and something you would see with full road license and fenders, and lights, and enough components to be considered a dealership-bought vehicle in stock trim. That sure separates some things in our scale truck world, because so much of what we love to run is nothing like that at all. We can’t call a RTR Honcho or Dingo a stock truck, but there’s hope! There’s the Class 2 rigs where you can represent a modified version of a stock truck, something that looks far more offroad capable and would hold it’s own on the rocky trail of life if you decided to take it there- under license or on the trailer. And of course, if you just have to have a full tube buggy and do some KOH tuff-stuff, then there’s Class 3, which allows for just about anything you can’t get from a dealership. And using SORRCA rules and points, each rig gets rewarded for it’s position in the capability and detail realm with a heavy emphasis on getting us all to the finish line in one piece and ready for more.

As you can see, from a competition standpoint, this makes so much sense! I’d very much love to get into a friendly points-oriented trail grind with my like minded buddies in Class 1 and know we are all at the same disadvantage due to our front and rear bumpers and small tires and fenders, but I’m sure glad there is Class 2 for me to run my more capable rigs with the fellas that always out-scale and trail me in the R/C Offroading world. Don’t forget, we all love to Wraith-around together, and Class 3 makes this a fun competition of the large and capable. Want it fast and racey? Then Ultra-4 is for you, while still being a scale R/C Class.

Growing in R/C scale goodness has brought me to this point, where I really appreciate the hard work done behind the scenes of people who organize and facilitate these sorts of competitions, because for me, it’s extended my ‘I win’ desire a place to hang it’s hat. I also have a handshake waiting for people at RC4WD, ProLine, Dinky R/C, Axial, and so many others for producing so many great scale truck products and letting my build imagination soar.  And in these 3 SORRCA classes, I simply can’t find my end of R/C growth. There’s always a class of rig I can build up to scale, and get into another whole world of skills, both building and driving.  And I’m sure you can too.


  1. Vince
    Vince January 28, 2014 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Chris, thanks so much for sharing your story, man. It’s amazing how far we can come from that first rig to what we have today.

    Looking forward to reading more from you!

  2. Steven Taylor January 29, 2014 at 8:39 am - Reply

    Thanks Chris for the great article. I am glad you also gave a brief description of what ‘class 1’, ‘class 2’, ‘class 3’ vehicles are and where those rules come from. I look forward to meeting you on you visit to Joe’s and the ‘Scale Freak’ garage.

  3. Dana Clarke January 29, 2014 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Nice work Chris! Great blog! Keep it up! Bring on the spring and summer months of rc scale truck awesomeness!

  4. brett Parker January 29, 2014 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    good read thanks

  5. Jack February 2, 2014 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Awsome! I wanted to know, if you know about class 2 rigs. Are veterra hammers and axe wraiths class 2? Thanks.

    • Rich Oney February 2, 2014 at 11:30 pm - Reply

      The way he described it I believe a Wraith is Class 3. I would assume the TH’s is too but on 1.9’s it seems it would be at a disadvantage.

  6. Vince
    Vince February 2, 2014 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    Sad to say I’ll be missing you at Joe’s tomorrow, but I hope it will be well documented.

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