RC Car Action - - PERFORMANCE TEST - SOURCES Tamiya tamiyausa.com Futaba futabarc.com Max­amps max­amps.com


Al­though the MF-01X’S ro­bust driv­e­train can han­dle much more mo­tor, I found the sup­plied Mabuchi stocker to be just fine for the Beetle. The car zips along to its 18mph top speed quickly, which is plenty for a car with a nar­row track and un­damped sus­pen­sion, and the speed is scale­like when you con­sider that full-size Bee­tles of the era were mak­ing less than 60hp.


On hard, smooth dirt (like a full-size rally course), the Beetle is a su­per-re­al­is­tic blast. The rear-mo­tor lay­out lets you re­ally hang it out in the turns, and 4WD makes it easy to main­tain drift an­gle. The chas­sis pitches and rolls more than it would on oil shocks, but the ex­tra an­i­ma­tion just adds to the ex­cite­ment. It’s a fun car to watch. There’s more grip on pave­ment, of course, and the Beetle darts into turns like a go-kart for a dif­fer­ent kind of fun. A whole class of these things would be a blast.


Al­though tech­ni­cally an off-road ve­hi­cle, the Beetle does not do well on less than smooth ter­rain, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons—just look at its small M-size wheels, low-slung chas­sis, short arms, and low body over­hangs. The chas­sis is plenty tough, but the de­tail parts aren’t de­signed for abuse and you won’t have much fun bang­ing into things if you try to drive it through rough stuff or soft sand. Hard and smooth is where the Beetle lives.


The Beetle doesn’t weigh much and is equipped with a low-power mo­tor, so it re­ally makes the most of a bat­tery pack. If you strap in a 5000mah Lipo, you’ll get three or four good, long runs in be­fore you need to recharge. Got a cheap NIMH pack? Even a 2000mah bat­tery will give you plenty of wheel time.


No­body does kits as well as Tamiya, and the Rally Beetle is an­other fun-to-build model from the Big T. The MF-01X chas­sis is un­like 4WD mod­els from other brands, and is a pleas­ant “some­thing dif­fer­ent” di­ver­sion if you’ve built a bunch of kits be­fore and they’re start­ing to feel sim­i­lar. If you take your time paint­ing and de­cal­ing the body, you’ll be re­warded with a fine-look­ing model that ri­val’s Tamiya static kits—ex­cept you can drive this one. And it’s a lot of fun—in ap­pro­pri­ate ter­rain. For jump­ing skate­board ramps and gnarly off-road­ing, look at Tamiya’s trucks and bug­gies. For au­then­tic smooth-sur­face rally ac­tion with the best-look­ing Beetle body in RC, this is your car.

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