It’s Wednesday evening and I just got back from Las Vegas. No, it wasn’t to gamble, see shows or cruise the strip, but instead to attend one of the only hobby conventions left in the US, the NRHSA.
The NRHSA, or National Retail Hobby Stores Association, was held once again at The Orleans hotel. It occupies several different banquet rooms; one for the actual show, one for demos and one for the appreciation dinner. This show, however, is not open to the public; it’s designed for retailers to come and get a close one-on-one with the manufacturers so they can get a better understanding of the product.
So, I’m sure you’re wondering how I got in since I’m not a retailer. Well, I do have an in – it’s called a media pass – and it allowed me entrance to the show to grab the scoop on any new products that might be in the works.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what’s in the pipeline for the RC community!
Axial had a few of their trucks on display; the RR10 Bomber, SCX10 II and the SMT10 with Grave Digger livery. I’m sure everyone’s heard about the snafu with the production of Axial’s vehicles, but I was reassured by Dealer Representative, Scott Kerkes, that it’s all figured out and production was in high swing again!
I also got the scoop on a few new exciting products in the works – boy oh boy I can’t wait! All of this is great news with AXIALFEST2017 right around the corner – got to make sure I have my rigs all ready for that event!
Dromida had a table with a pair of minis – the Monster Truck and Rally car – both outfitted with the Tactic FPV race pack from the House Racer Drone. These packs included the car (with FPV camera installed), goggles and monitor. Super excited to see how these little guys pan out – might be the start of a whole new segment!
Fast Eddy Bearings
Fast Eddy has been one of my good friends for a long time, way back when I started wheeling the HPI 5B to a National Championship in 2008. During that event I needed a few bearings and met up with him – he gladly hooked me up with what I needed and to this day I feel those bearings helped my truck withstand that brutal track and score a win. Don’t be fooled by that crazy pic of him – he’s one of the nicest guys in the industry! He has bearings for almost every application, so if you’re in need for a rebuild, check his stuff out!
I’ll have to be honest here; I’ve heard of Firebrand but never really took a good look at what they had. I can see now that this has been a pretty big mistake – their product line is crazy, featuring everything from detailed sticker sheets, all kinds of scale parts and accessories, a massive line of wheels and tires and some seriously cool bodies! I could go all in about their stuff, but it’s best you click the link and check it out yourself.
I do have to call attention to this new drifter, though – the D9 Bulldog. It’s a next level drifter, looking like a real car without the body. It’s 4WD and has a frame similar to a real car. But the most bad ass part is the motor area that uses a belt system up front that spins off a pulley connected to the pinion.
Hobbywing has been making a name for themselves, recently taking home first place at the Stock Nationals held at OCRC Raceway. They’ve got a wide range of ESCs and motors, including a huge ESC for 1:5 scale all the way down to the teeny tiny XeRun XR10. Not only do they work good, they look beautiful. I suggest giving these a look if you want a high-end ESC that won’t break the bank.
I’d like to point out that they also have a cool programming card – it’s actually a small WiFi module that allows easy ESC changes right from an app on your iPhone or Android device. It’s really cool and I’m trying to get one for review to show you how it works. Keep an eye out for that.
There’s always something fun to see in the Horizon booth, including the new Losi 1:5 scale Desert Buggy XL-E and 1:10 scale Rock Rey.
Another interesting item on the Horizon table was their Spektrum DX2E 2-channel DSMR transmitter with an attachment on top. This attachment had a LCD readout and, when connected to a module in your vehicle, would receive telemetry from your car telling you how fast you are going. Very cool – I can’t wait to see it in action!
For you flyers, Horizon had three new drones on the table; the Torrent 110 FPV, a mini quad that features 3S capability, 2mm carbon frame and a 600TVL, 120° camera that sends video via a 150mW transmitter. The second drone is an Inductrix FPV Pro that sports a new, stronger frame design, Betaflight F3 Flight Controller and 17,000kV motors. The final quad is the Theory XL FPV drone, a 5″ racing quad that has been stretched (over the standard Theory drone) and includes a 4mm carbon frame, F3 flight controller and frame ‘bumpers’ near the motors for better protection. I’ll take one of each, thank you!
It was good to see HPI back; they’re under new ownership and, after talking with them, the crew is super excited to be bringing us some great new products. Ya, well, so are we! We had a chance to do some hands on with the Venture and it’s beautiful FJ body. We also got a close look at the Hoonicorn Mustang. This is definitely going to be a success when it hits the store shelves! Vaughn Gittin’s Mustang is also looking stellar as are both the Bajas outfitted with Kraken RC cages. We also got the scoop on a few new products that we can’t chat about … more on that in the near future.
HRP Distributing was on hand to show off a few of their products – the GMade Komodo RTR being one of them. They also had a display with a new line of Savox servos from Ryan Cavalieri. These servos ranged from 1:10 scale shorties to powerful 1:8 scale steering servos, all in black with the World Champs signature in red. I’m a big fan of Savox servos so I can about imagine how fantastic these are.
A new line of chargers was also set up – the Ultra Power Series. There were a total of 5, all AC/DC and ranging from small, 1-6S LiPo units all the way up to the big boy – the Ultra 120 Touch. These look to be a great line of chargers for every budget level; we’ll let you know on these as well!
Kimbrough Racing Products
Kimbrough Racing Products was at the show this year with a table full of his world famous gears, servo savers and servo horns. On top of having every gear tooth known to man, he was also showing off his new line – Pro Thins. These gears are about half the width of the normal gears and just as strong, making them a great option for on road guys, especially 1:12 and 1:10 pan cars. He had one loaded up on the Team Associated F6 sitting on the table – it actually looks quite racey. I was lucky enough to get a handful of these so I’ll be installing them on my F6 in the near future.
Team KNK Hardware
Black steel screws work great, but if you want to add some bling to your ride and still retain screw strength, you’ll want a stainless steel screw set. If you’re a mud bogger or one that likes to drive in the rain, stainless screws are great because they resist rust and corrosion. Mike over at Team KNK Hardware was on hand with quite a few pre-packaged bags of hardware on the table for almost every vehicle on the market. All you have to do is order up the screws and a hefty bag of stainless is on it’s way! They had a trick-looking RC4WD TF2 on the table with a full set of screws in it – I think the end result looks fantastic.
After a round of running through the hall, I was pretty sure I saw about all the cool-ness I could see – until I stopped by the Kyosho table. This is when the drool formed and my jaw dropped! First off, there were three incredibly detailed muscle cars; two 1970 Chevelle SS 454 LS6s (one in red, one in blue) and a 1970 Dodge Charger! Not only are the bodies on these three stellar, but the wheels looked fantastic and were wrapped with a vintage treaded tire. Lights could be installed as well and looked stunning.
Then there were the pair of Scorpions – a standard and a turbo – all decked out with vintage wheels, tires and aluminum chassis bits.
But, that wasn’t the end of the cool – Kyosho also had their G-Zero RS and Zephyr RS racing drones. These things looked like F1 cars with blades instead of wheels, even having an elevated rear wing. Unlike typical drones, these work off of a pistol grip radio; the throttle is controlled with the trigger, the movement with the steering wheel. A two-position switch is used to set the height with a pair of sensors on the bottom of the drones to control it. It’s actually quite clever, allowing those familiar to pistol-style radios to jump right into the drone arena. I didn’t get to see it fly (or have a chance to try it), but I’m already on the prowl to get one to try.
Maclan Racing had their new line of MMax ESCs and MRR motors at the show as well as a working model of their ProLink app. This app allows you to check the data logging on the ESC or make changes to the settings – right from you mobile device. Very next-level stuff.
They also had some MRR Team Edition motors complete with hand-written fact sheets. These sheets specified the stator IR and kV as well as a signature from the certified tech who inspected the motor. Ya, no generic motors here – team edition bad boys! Very nice touch.
When you think paint, you probably think Parma Faskolor! Well, Parma did have a whole table full of all their colors as well as liquid mask and paint masks. They also had a new body for 1:10 scale Short Course trucks – a 1969 R/T Muscle Baja SC Body. This body will convert your SC truck into a cool-looking muscle car! It comes with window masks, decals and an EASY-PEEL outer coating – just paint it (with Parma paint of course) and sticker it up, giving your SC a whole new look.
Another company that had some new items poised in the booth was none other than Pro-Line Racing. They had their new Utility Bed all done up on an Axial rig, a set of their new forged wheels and a 1:8 scale short-wheelbase C7.R Corvette body designed for the GT Racing class.
But that’s not all – also on display was a set of their new Interco Bogger G8 Rock tires (which look amazing) as well as two new Jeep bodies; one for 1:10 scale trail trucks and one for the Ambush 4×4. The body for the Ambush is the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and is available in clear. The body for the 1:10 scale trail trucks is also a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, but the Unlimited edition – also available in clear. While they both look great, you just gotta love the look of an itty bitty Jeep on the Ambush. Good stuff.
Pro Marine RC
Pro Marine RC had their collection of brutally fast boats on hand as well as the one of my favorite guys, Bill Oxidean. Bill was in the booth doing what he does best (PR), but also could be found at the boat pond ripping it up with some of the latest PMRC boats. The details on the inside AND outside of the hulls really sets these boats apart, and the speed – man, seeing these boats on the water with 6S power – pretty incredible. Makes me want to get one – in a really bad way. Gonna have to see how much of a friend Bill actually is 🙂
The great guys over at RC4WD were in attendance, showing off a couple of their rigs including the new Trail Finder 2 LWB edition. I just wrapped up the review and action video of this truck (see it here: Review: RC4WD Trail Finder 2 LWB Trail Truck) and have to say it’s a very capable rig in stock form. I absolutely LOVE the hard body and am excited to get some aftermarket goodies bolted on.
Also in the booth was a glass case full of RC4WD jewelry, otherwise known as custom option parts. There were all different kinds of complete axles, lights, shocks and wheels, so many different options to outfit your rig be it a RC4WD, Axial, Vaterra or custom built project. Definitely worth a look if you’re a custom builder that wants some high quality parts to work with.
These cars may look familiar to you – I once knew them as Bolink. The company changed hands a few years ago and is now under the direction of RJ Speed, a good thing since I really enjoyed building, driving and tuning these little cars. Besides the normal lineup of rides on display – Legends, Sprinter and a Spec Modified Oval car – they also had two new bodies to show; the Kremer Sports GT 1:10 scale body and the Dirt Late Model 1:10 scale body. Both fit 200mm vehicles and look great. I’m going to get one of the Kremer Sports GTs – I see a cool project in store for this body!
Tamiya had a large selection of their products on display, including the new TT02 Ferrari F12 TDF and Subaru WRX Sti 24h Nurburgring edition. They also had a pair of the new TT01 MAN TGS racing big rigs, a class that seems to be growing quite rapidly here in SoCal. Another eye catcher was the GF01 Metal Dump Truck. While it is actually molded in plastic, it features an all-black color with a few select chassis parts being metal-plated. It also has a sticker sheet that ‘toughens’ up the truck, giving it a hard-rock type of feel. I’ll have to say that Tamiya has always been a company to supply the right kind of RC vehicle for just about anybody!
The A-Team was on hand with some of their latest products, including the cool little SC28 and the current rock star, the F6 Formula 1 car. Both of these seemed to be a big draw to the booth which also had a nice selection of Reedy scattered about. In addition to the fantastic Sonic motor line and Blackbox ESCs, Reedy was also showing off their new RS0806 and RT1408 shorty servos. These high-end servos are great for space-limited installs and feature aluminum cases, metal gears and are high-voltage compatible.
The other rad setup in their booth was the oil tower, a giant stand that held numerous bottles of shock oils and diff fluids. Now, I’m sure this was meant specifically for dealers, but how cool would it be to have this in your garage or workshop?? Might have to inquire about one of these!
There were quite a few drones at the show, one in particular being Thrust UAV’s Riot 250R Pro. This drone uses a double decker carbon fiber chassis that has clear panels surrounding it to help protect the internals. Installed around the drone are 52 RGB LEDs that can be individually colored via software. 5″ props, an F4 processor and a reinforced protective under carriage all ensure speedy flights and extra protection in the event of a crash. It comes assembled with a white overlay on the chassis, but optional overlays can be purchased to further customize your drone. All the wiring is run through a built-in distribution, giving the Riot 250R a very clean look. Yes, this too is on my list!
The Traxxas booth had quite a bit of buzz going on, mainly because of the pair of highly anticipated TRX4s they had on hand. One rig was their production test mule; it was all dirty and scarred up from, I’m sure, HOURS of testing. The other was a complete freshy, pulled right out of the box at the event. The TRX4 is, as you’d expect, loaded with all kinds of features; locking front and rear diffs, portal axles, a 2-speed transmission and even a cruise control feature. The new XL5 3S-capable ESC has 5 driving presets including Crawl and Trail settings, both designed to change the characteristics of the TRX4 for crawling and, well, trailing. I could go on and on about the features on this truck, but I’ll save all of that for an upcoming review.
Also on the table was the new 4Tec 2.0 chassis donned with not just the Ford GT, but also a new Mustang body. No news was available about the Mustang body but I have a feeling we’ll be hearing something about it here in the near future. The Ford GT had a pair of taillights installed for the show – man they looked good and were super bright. The GT we saw didn’t have an option for headlights but, after all the buzz about the rear ones, I think Traxxas may be looking into a possible light set for the front as well.
Let me just start off by saying that if you haven’t seen Vanquish parts in person, you really don’t know what you’re missing. These are some of the most beautiful aftermarket parts out there for crawlers, and Steve didn’t just have them out to see, he had them installed on rigs so you could get the full feel. He had quite a few Currie axles on display as well as his bent links and gorgeous wheels. I also got a sneak peek at a new rear axle for the Losi Rock Rey – of course it was as elegant as any other axle on display!
A couple demo trucks were positioned around the table as well, one being a highly-weathered Toyota, the other a trick-looking Unimog. There was some great detail in both … makes me want to get back out to my garage and continue customizing my rigs!
While not necessarily RC related, I did want to touch on the cool Velleman Vertex Nano, a tiny 3D printer with an 80x80mm footprint. It connects to your PC like any other 3D printer and could be used to print small items like rotopax, fire bottles or other small parts. I found it quite fascinating, especially the resolution at which the parts printed. Looks like I might be making my own parts here in the near future!
The show as a whole was exciting, not just for the new products but also to see a large number of new hobby shops in attendance. That’s a good sign for the entire industry – growth. It’s also fun to watch the progression of bodies, tires, wheels and other parts as technology expands.
I’d also like to thank everyone at the show that welcomed us, as media, to come in, take pictures, touch things and ask questions, especially the National Retail Hobby Stores Association. It was an extremely positive experience and for sure we’ll be back next year!