Rock Racer Gone Desert Racer
When Axial’s Yeti hit the market, the rock racing scene exploded as everyone rushed out to get this awesome rig. It showed that there is a gap in our industry that people wanted filled; a realistic, 1:1-replicated offroad truck that can do serious work over rough terrain. Then step 2 of Axial’s grand plan was unleashed – adding some new tires, wheels, licensed parts and a killer trophy truck body. Axial made this truck look just like something straight out of the SCORE International Series, something that would run the Baja 1000 in record time. It’s got a full caged bed, spare tire, and molded parts galore. The best part – it’s attached to an already proven rugged-country chassis. The looks are there. The excitement is there, now let’s see if this truck has what it takes to complete the total-package tri-fecta.
Product: Axial Yeti SCORE Trophy Truck
Part #: AX90050
Recommended For: Everyone, and anyone who loves Trophy Trucks
Those not familiar with the original Yeti will be extremely surprised by the look of this chassis. It’s certainly unconventional to today’s typical, offroad racing setups, but instead designed to take advantage of what the guys in the real world have learned. The chassis is a molded tub, reaching from just under the front gearbox to just behind the transmission. Everything sits in there nice and tight; the dual-bellcrank steering is followed by a Tactic TSX45, metal-geared steering servo on the right and the transmission on the left. A water-resistant receiver box is molded behind the servo with the Vanguard ESC mounted on top. That’s just about where the chassis abruptly ends. We’ll touch on that in a bit.
Now, you may be thinking two things; how the heck am I to get to the receiver and where does the battery fit in. Well, as I mentioned, the receiver is in a water-resistant molded pocket under the ESC, but to make it as easy as possible to access, they’ve installed a door on the bottom of the chassis. Simply remove the 4 screws and the door pops off – it even included a water-resistant rubber grommet to help keep things dry. As far as the battery, a slightly elevated tray mounts right behind the transmission (above the drop-off point on the chassis). Access is granted by a door on the side that is kept closed by a body clip and a unique, adjustable battery ‘top-deck’ can be raised or lowered to keep 2S (or taller 3S packs) firmly in place.
The suspension is a bit of an odd-duck too, well, as far as most RC owners are concerned. Up front, we have the standard independent suspension with Axial molding the arms as long as possible for maximum travel. A set of licensed, King shocks are included to help soak up the rough terrain this truck will undoubtedly see. Thick, plastic steering parts are used out near the wheels and fixed-length, molded links keep toe and camber set to the perfect angle.
The rear suspension revolves around the 4-link, AR60 OCP rear axle. A long, molded rear axle housing uses a boxed-in truss to virtually eliminate flex and add mounting locations for the upper links. Lower link mounts are attached at each end of the axle and connect to 4-link chassis mounts that can be swapped to change suspension geometry. An anti-roll bar is included and looks like someone’s double-jointed arm, but it’s actually quite effective in keeping this STT’s rear suspension check. Long-throw rear King shocks are used and do a fantastic job of persuading the rear tires to keep in constant contact with the ground.
The STT uses the original Yeti’s drivetrain, so there should be zero worries of failure unless you’re really doing something wrong. Both front and rear gearboxes are loaded with metal gears, both on the diff itself and the smaller sun gear. The transmission is also fully metalized, using ball-bearings to keep everything rolling nice and smooth. A metal, WB8 HD Wildboard CVD joint transfers power to the front end while a WB8 HD Wildboar, 3-piece splined slider pushes power to the rear. In addition, the Yeti STT utilizes dogbones up front and a 104/160 split rear set of axles in the rear.
Powering this truck is Axial’s Vanguard ESC, a waterproof brushless unit that is capable of launching the STT to the tune of a 3S LiPo. It comes equipped with a actual Deans Ultra Plug (no fascimiles here) and can be tuned using Castle Creation’s Field Programming Card or Castle Link software. As the juice passes through, it sends it to the Vanguard 3150kV brushless motor. It uses a 4-pole design, so there should be no lack of torque anywhere at any time.
Out on all 4 corners, Axial has included a set of replica 2.2 Method 105 wheels wrapped in BFG Baja T/A KR2 tires. This setup looks awesome and works pretty good, but is not a beadlock system like we’d like to see. That’s not to say that you can’t use a beadlock setup – Axial does give you a 12mm hex so the wheel/tire combo’s are pretty extensive.
The SCORE Trophy Truck body does mimic a Short Course body in style, but let me assure you that it’s no copycat design. The one-piece Lexan cover comes minus the entire bed area, only to be bolted to a rigid tube-frame cage. Nestled under a swing-open restraint is a full size, fully operational spare tire. This tire will work on the front or the rear of the STT depending on which hex adapter you attach to it. In addition, there are quite a few other molded bolt-ons attached to the body including the front grill, louvers in the front fenders, a roof-top spoiler, and dualexhaust ports on each rear fender. While it doesn’t come with lights, the body does have both front and rear light buckets already installed.
Molded Fuel Cell
One other feature to note is the molded fuel cell just behind the battery. This cell is empty but can be used to house items like a light controller or perhaps a separate RX battery pack. However you use it, I love the scale idea.
Speed and Braking
Before I took the SCORE Trophy Truck out in the dirt, I gave it a quick test up and down my street. On a 2S LiPo, acceleration is snappy, however I felt like this truck got up to speed quickly and then just flatlined. Unfortunately I wasn’t very impressed; in fact I brought the truck back in and looked around for something broken or slipping. Nope, everything looks great, it just seems to be undergeared. Before I took off to my test area, I brought along a few extra pinions and a 3S pack JUUUUUUST in case we needed a bit more oomph.
Up in the hills, the STT did feel a little better as it clawed around, ripping over rocks, bumps, hills and weeds, but I still felt like it needed more. Way more. After about 10 minutes, I brought it back in and started my tear down – time for more gear and more battery. After installing a 20T pinion and a 3S LiPo, my suspicions were confirmed; the SCORE Trophy Truck wants to be fed a 3S right out of the box! This thing went from a Sunday driver to an all out maniacal monster! Massive roosts of dirt were as common as polluted California air and it became quite the chore to keep the STT in a straight line. After a good 15 minutes of run time, I brought the STT back in and gave it one more test – I wanted to see how this truck felt with the upgraded gearing but backed down to a 2S LiPo. This is where the fun is at; controllable speed, great runtime and still enough torque to light up the tires at any given moment.
On the braking side of things … oh, who am I kidding? Who uses brakes? For the sake of this article, I did crush the brakes a few times and was greeted with some pretty cool looking 4-wheel skids. To be honest, it’s a 4WD truck with large-lug tires and a very torquey brushless system – that equals great brakes. Use them if you want or just pitch the truck sideways to slow down. I prefer the latter.
Steering and Handling
To help keep this truck pointed straight, Axial has included a Tactic TSX45, metal-geared servo. You may think that Axial went with a standard servo, however this little guy pumps out a healthy 151 oz-in of torque! Yes, you read that right, this RTR Trophy Truck has a servo in it that rivals some high-end models! It certainly plays the part, too, keeping the front tires pointed in the right direction when you’re hopping through the whoops-section, lumbering down a rock-infested hill or counter-steering through a large, dusty turn.
Handling is also pretty amazing – however I need to clarify a few things. I’ve heard some flack that this truck is ‘garbage’ on a track compared to your typical Short Course truck. Possibly, but let’s take a look at this comparison. First, you’re comparing apples to oranges here. The SC trucks that the STT is being compared to have 4-wheel independent suspension, race-prepped tuning and super sticky, track-only tires. Of course the STT isn’t going to keep up with any of those trucks – it’s not designed to! Now, that’s not to say it can’t be tuned to perform well on an actual track, it’s just not ever going to work like the 4-wheel independent design. The STT suspension welcomes an ungroomed, uneven surface and the tires are made to shove loose dirt and small rocks out of the way. Pull these two same trucks out into the wild and let’s see what’s up! The STT hits full-on beast-mode in irregular terrain and it’s incredible to watch the suspension bounce around while the chassis stays completely flat. We had to play back our test-day video 3 or 4 times just to watch it in slow-mo! Awesome!
Jumping was another offroad function we got to do a lot of. Some hills were flat, some rocky and some where actual drop-offs. It didn’t seem to matter as everytime the STT left the ground, it landed on all four wheels. The attitude in the air was predictable; the only time it became sketchy is on larger jumps where the added weight of the rear suspension and body caging made the truck fly a little nose-up. That didn’t matter though, as the rear axle would drop down and always make first contact with the ground, soaking up the landing with ease.
Durability and Maintenance
The downside of this truck is that it makes you WANT to find as much uneven-ness as possible so you can test out the suspension. Thankfully, the upside to this is that even though I beat this truck up, it survived without whining one bit. I do have a severely knicked front skid plate, big cuts in the front arms and some pretty large scrapes and scratches on the chassis and rear pumpkin, but overall this truck took the pounding like a champ.
Maintenance-wise, every thing is pretty accessible should you need to make repairs. Some things might be a little time-consuming, such as replacing/rebuilding the front diff – that actually requires you to remove then entire front clip. Gear changes can be done by simply removing the gear cover. Rear diff changes only require you to remove the diff cover (and diff ‘retainers’) – 8 screws in all. Shock changes are easy to get to as are front suspension parts. All in all, general maintenance stuff is a pretty simple task.
In RTR form, the SCORE Trophy Truck does have limited tuning. Front shock positions can be adjusted as well as ride height, rear anti-squat and rear roll center. Add a few aftermarket parts and you open up the door to further adjust front toe, front camber, front roll center and wheelbase.
• 2S or 3S LiPo battery
• LiPo battery charger
• AA’s for transmitter
• TrakPower 5600mAh 7.4V 2S LiPo
• Hitec X2 AC Pro Charger
Power Source: Electric
Length: 23″ (583mm)
Width: 12″ (305mm)
Wheelbase: 14.2″ (360mm)
Weight: 6.65lbs (3kg)
Type: (F) Independent (R) 4-link solid axle
Camber: (F) Fixed (R) Fixed
Roll: (F) Adjustable tower locations (R) Adjustable lower link mounts
Shocks: Threaded Aluminum
Steering: Dual-shear, dual bellcrank
Turnbuckles: Fixed length
Transmission: Single speed
Clutch: Dual slipper
Differentials: (F) Gear (R) Solid
Bearings: Full shielded
Gearing: 32P, optional pinion gears
Body: Pre-painted, pre-mounted Trophy Truck
Wheels: 2.2 Method 105 replica
Wheel hex: 12mm hex
Tires: 2.2 BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR2, SB40 compound
• Awesome looks
• Awesome handling on extreme terrain
• Shares over 90% of the same parts as the Yeti Rock Racer
• Water-resistant electronics mean play time is not stifled by moisture
• Aluminum King shocks are silky smooth
• Spare tire is actually functional
• Easy access battery mount accepts 2S or 3S LiPo packs
• Tons of hop ups already available
• Gearing needs a few extra teeth on the pinion
• Soft suspension is great for offroad, too much roll for onroad
Axial’s SCORE Trophy Truck has alot going for it; style, durability and a definite cool-factor. Take it to the park, the desert, the mountains – anywhere there’s some offroad action and it will be the life of the party. The only thing keeping me from giving it two thumbs up AND a snap is the fact that it’s way under-geared for my taste. Pick up a different pinion (I would suggest a 21T or 22T gear) and you’ll be creating an impressive dust trail. Great job Axial!