Time For Some Teeny Tiny Short Course Fun
While we see alot of larger rides coming from their camp, Team Associated is certainly no stranger to small scale vehicles; they set the bar pretty high awhile back with the 4WD RC18 series of hot rods. Even today, those mighty minis can be found in the hands of everyone from first-timers to seasoned vets just looking to get a little wheel time in. But AE has a little something new on the market and when I say little, I mean LITTLE! Meet the SC28, a 1:28 scale Short Course truck that comes as an RTR and rings in at just under $50. You read that right, UNDER $50! That’s a killer price and, for what you get, it’s well worth the investment. I had one tucked away under my Christmas tree but, as with all kids big and small, the waiting game got to me. Out it came, unboxed it was (in my best Yoda voice) and off I went for some fun in the California sun.
Product: Team Associated SC18 1:18 Scale Short Course Truck
Part #: 20150
Recommended For: Mostly beginners, but really anyone that wants a fun little Short Course truck
The chassis on the SC28 revolves around a two-piece, molded upper and lower deck that forms a cocoon around the electronics. It has molded grooves in the top to add a bit of flare and a total of nine screws to keep the two halves together. Adjustable body mounts are at both ends of the truck and a pair of integrated shocks mounts are molded into the rear. The bottom of the chassis is flat with raised sides to aid in ground clearance with two distinct ‘tabs’ near the back that act as downstops for the rear suspension.
I can honestly say that this truck has the most basic suspension system in any car I’ve had … ever. The front sports a thin, plastic lower suspension arm that pulls double-duty on the SC28; it’s not only a suspension arm, it acts like a flex-type damper. While driving, any imperfections in the road cause the arm to flex to absorb it. Since the weight of the truck is next to nothing, this set up seems to work just fine. There is a ton of camber gain the more the suspension is compressed, but I really don’t think it matters all that much.
The rear suspension is a little more conventional, sort of. The SC28 uses a dual-trailing arm set up connected to a solid axle. The links pivot at connection points part-way down the chassis with coil-over shocks to absorb any impacts. The solid rear axle has a central pivot that allows it to move freely up and down at almost any angle. It’s a cool design that loosely resembles Renezeder’s real LOORRS truck.
Like the suspension, the drivetrain is about as basic as it gets. The SC28 is a 2WD SCT and has an enclosed gearbox suspended in the solid rear axle. Inside the gearbox, a micro brushed motor complete with 10T pinion rotates a second gear that, in turn, spools up the drive gear pressed onto the rear axle. The axle spins in a pair of plastic bushings with the rear wheel/tire combo also pressed onto the axle. As rudimentary as it is, it seems to work great with this lightweight SC truck, providing good acceleration and a surprising amount of speed.
The front tires are free-rolling with no bushings or bearings used. They are simply pressed onto the steel front axles … simple and effective.
Handling the steering of this lightweight SCT is a teeny tiny servo captured between the chassis halves. It has a working, spring-loaded servo saver attached to the servo’s output shaft and a single-point tab that keys into the sliding steering rack. Molded, non-adjustable links stretch out to the steering knuckles that are supported by a top-down kingpin. There’s a good amount of throw, however to keep the steering from over-extending, molded stops have been incorporated into the suspension arms.
I already mentioned the use of a micro servo in the SC18, but to make everything else fit (including a battery), AE uses an ESC/receiver combo board. This board is tiny and mounts just above the 150mAh LiPo battery that sits low in the chassis. The 5-wire servo and motor leads all mount to the ESC from below as does the on/off switch; it eventually peeks out from under the chassis when everything is put together.
One might expect the 2.4GHz radio to be minuscule in size as well, but in actuality it’s not a bad fit. There’s not much adjustment included – only steering trim – but really that’s all that’s needed. An on/off button, power LED and charge LED finish off the face. The cool feature is the integrated charging system; install your AA batteries into the transmitter and extend the charging wire from the bottom of the unit. Plug the charge cable into the charging jack on the SC28 (located on the right side of the chassis), sit back and wait the few minutes it takes to bump the pack.
Body and Bumpers
You may notice that the SC28 resembles one of AE’s 1:10 scale Short Course Trucks. Instead of releasing some generic-bodied SCT, they teamed up once again with Carl Renezeder, a multi-time Champion in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, giving the SC28 some serious street-cred. The body looks great, mimicking Carl’s 850HP Pro2 truck right down to the RC10 headlights. A strong, plastic tube bumper sits up front and should really help protect the front of the truck during any unexpected crashes. The wheel/tire combo look great as well and, since they’re press on, there’s no big ol’ wheel nuts to take away from the appearance.
Because of its size, you can take the SC28 anywhere you want; simply throw it in your backpack, fanny-pack, man-bag or purse, if you’re a cool chick that has one! Taking it anywhere means it will see a wide range of driving surfaces; so far mine has traversed asphalt, concrete, carpet and semi-packed dirt. Even though each surface provides a different experience, the fun factor remains the same.
Speed and Braking
This speed of the SC28 was actually quite surprising. It does take a second to get going but once it does, it gets along at a pretty rapid pace (for it’s size). I’m not sure what turn the motor is, but I can say that the magnets are pretty weak, aiding in the SCT’s top speed. I ran my SC28 for close to 20 minutes with the pace being about the same, however you’ll definitely see it start to drop off when you get close to that mark.
The brakes are pretty strong as well. On surfaces like asphalt and carpet, the truck is controllable under braking, but on slicker surfaces like tile or smooth concrete the rear does move around a bit. It’s all good, though; like the throttle, the brakes are proportional so you can slow the application of the brakes which will help keep the truck under control.
Steering and Handling
The micro servo does a good job of whipping the front wheels back and forth, so making quick corrections or weaving through a chicane to keep the truck in line is somewhat effortless. The grippy tires seem to work best on asphalt, having plenty of both steering and rear grip as I blasted around in the middle of the street.
On the smooth concrete sidewalk, things got a little more ‘slippery’, especially when it was wet. This allowed me to whip out a few donuts when I started feeling crazy!
The SC28 seems at home on the carpet as well; a makeshift autocross track had me zooming around dog toys, shoes and an occasional table leg. The steering wanders a little and it has a tendency to roll over if you crank the wheel at high speeds; just slow down a bit before you turn and you’ll be golden.
Moving to the dirt area, I immediately noticed a shift in performance; higher speeds and the lack of proper front damping had the SC28 skipping forward more than carving a corner. Once the tires did grab, I had to be prepared for the rear to lose grip. The good news is that it’s never really completely out of control, but I would suggest keeping it to a somewhat smooth area if you’re planning any offroad dirt use.
Durability and Maintenance
Under normal use, this truck should score high marks in the durability department. I’ve jumped mine off the curb, steps and out the front door with nothing more than a slight scratch on the underbelly of this beast. I’d be a little careful in the dirt as the gearbox isn’t completely sealed, meaning fine dust might find its way in and cause some issues with the gears. Also, the SC28 is not waterproof, so do your best to keep it away from moisture. I would also keep an eye on the steering; any small pebbles could find their way in there and bind things up.
There’s really nothing that needs maintenance on this truck other than maybe occasionally opening up the gearbox and keeping it clean.
The SC28 is not really a racing machine (yet); because of it’s basic design, it’s more a get it, throw it down and have-some-fun type of vehicle. However, I did come up with a few things that will actually improve the performance of it. The first thing you want to do is make sure the wheels spin freely. Because they’re pressed on, there is a chance that they have been pushed on to hard, causing them to bind. If this is the case, pull them off slightly until they spin freely. You can also apply a very small amount of dry lubricant (like graphite) to the axles. Want a stiffer front end? Cut a piece of Lexan to shape and tape (or glue it) to the underside of the suspension arm. This will modify it’s flex ability. You can try adding some grease to the rear shocks as well to help with the damping. Those are just some of the tips I came up with – I’m sure there will be a few more creative tips in the near future!
• Nothing – everything is included in the box
Power Source: Electric
Length: 6.89″ (175mm)
Width: 3.8″ (96.5mm)
Wheelbase: 3.9″ (99.1mm)
Weight: .22lbs (100.6g)
Type: Enclosed tub
Material: Molded plastic
Type: (F) Independent, (R) Solid rear axle
Shocks: (F) Flexible suspension arms (R) Coil-over shocks
Steering: Sliding rack
Turnbuckles: Fixed links
Transmission: Gear-reduced direct drive
Bearings: Plastic bushings
Gearing: Plastic, fixed
Body: Pre-painted, pre-stickered Short Course body
Wheels: Single piece multi-spoke plastic
Wheel hex: None, press-fit
Tires: Rubber all-terrain
• Teeny tiny design, great for small spaces or indoor areas
• Proportional steering and throttle
• Includes everything to pull from the box and go, even AAs
• Actually quite fast for how small it is
• Attractive offroad styling; body wheels and tires
• Charges directly from the transmitter
• Almost-full size, 2.4GHz transmitter with steering trim
• Run time right around 20 minutes
• No tuning options or Factory Team upgrades
Team Associated, www.TeamAssociated.com