What is in a ‘scale’? To most people a classic RC car is around 44cm long, 1/10th of the scale of its full-size real-life counterpart. In recent years, Losi, Traxxas and HPI Racing have shown us that there is more to the hobby, stating that bigger is better. Recently Arrma have joined the fold with a refreshed range of ‘ Typhon’ buggies. At over half a meter long these monster sized remote control cars are marketted as 1/8th scale, but only cost a touch over £200! We had to unbox one and see what all the fuss was about.
The buggy at a glance
- Big 1/8th scale 4WD ready-to-run remote control buggy
- MEGA brushed motor with LiPo compatible ESC
- Spektrum STX2 transmitter system
- Includes NiMH battery and charger
- 511mm long, 306mm wide and 195mm tall, weighing 2.73kg with battery
Unboxing the ready-to-run buggy
This is an inclusive ready to run model, shipped with a battery and charger for the model itself, manuals, additional stickers, spares, tools and the transmitter. All you need to supply are four AA batteries for the transmitter.
As mentioned Arrma include a basic trickle charger for the supplied battery. The light on the back is red when charging, switching to green when complete. Its limited 0.5 Amp output means it will take nearly 5 hours to fully charge a depleted battery.
Some spares are included, two ESC jumpers, a spare (red) nut for the clutch and three sets of 4x spring spacers (two not shown) for adjusting the ride height. Also included are a few basic tools for working on the buggy, ideal for those new to RC who are unlikely to have them to hand. These consist of three allen keys, a metal rod slips through the metal wheel to create a brace (for tightening and releasing the wheel nuts) and a red multi tool for slipper clutch adjustment and turnbuckle adjustment, or working on 7mm/8mm hex bolts.
Considering the retail price, this is a HUGE toy, over half a meter in length. Shipped in a large 67 x 33 x 23cm box, it certainly has ‘big’ present appeal.
When compared to one of our best selling buggies, the 1/18th scale FTX Colt, you begin to get an idea of the size of the model. Its certainly not designed for indoor use!
Arrma have aggressively styled the Typhon with a raked body design and finned wing. The body is moulded with faux vents across its ‘spine’ and features some contemporary graphics over a bright lime-green paintjob. Arrma have also fitted contrasting red anodised wheel nuts, shock caps and stickers to the wing tips.
As you can see from the photos, the body pins are retained with rubber tethers. Whilst a touch ugly, they are welcome in use, preventing you from misplacing the body pins when the shell is removed. Underneath the body features tough reinforced tape to strengthen it.
A stubby skid plate sits ahead of the front differential to offer the chassis some forward protection. At the rear the manufacturer has gone all out with a larger plate that wraps upwards under the rear wing and protects the rear dampers.
The side profile shows of that styling, the Typhon looks like its flying along even when parked up. Riding at 42mm from the ground, the buggy has a decent amount of clearance under the chassis, certainly enough to be used on a lawn.
Mounted high above the rear shock tower is a large plastic wing. Considering the speeds the buggy is rated for, we expect this was more a stylistic choice rather than for aerodynamic benefit. The wing and mounts are easily removable should you not appreciate the aesthetic.
Arrma have fitted the Typhon with some decent quality electronics, the motor sat ahead of the rear wheels on the right of the chassis, behind the electronic speed controller (ESC) and the steering servo. Mounted the other side of the prop-shaft, the battery balances out the weight.
The waterproof MEGA ESC is bolted on-top of the receiver box and is easily identifiable by its bright-red anodised heatsink. It is terminated with an IC3 plug and is compatible with 2S LiPo batteries alongside the included 7-cell NiMH one included. Batteries with IC3 connectors are quite difficult to come across, thankfully the system is compatible with more readily available EC3 batteries.
With the power button mounted to the outer edge, it is possible to reach up under the shell and turn the car on/off without removing the body. From the factory the ESC is configured for the supplied NiMH battery, ensure you swap it into LiPo mode by moving the outer jumper across before plugging in the differing battery chemistry. If you find the car will power up but not move, definitely check the position of this jumper.
Arrma’s MEGA 550 is a brushed 12T motor. Its a simple, reliable unit with bullet connectors on the wires making it easy to swap out for another 550 sized motor, should you wish to upgrade.
Up front is Arrma’s bright red ADS-5 ‘high torque’ steering servo. With just 5kg/cm of force we wouldn’t consider the plastic-geared servo it a powerful unit but with its dual bell-crank steering design and direct mount servo horn/saver, it should be able to handle some abuse. Like the motor, the standard sizing means there are plenty of upgrade options available.
The included NiMh is an 8.4v stick pack with a ‘hump’ for the additional cell. It’s 2400mAh capacity is on the small side and we’d recommend picking up an additional battery if you hope to ‘run it hard’ for any length of time.
The tray design of the chassis allows for plenty of battery mounting space. With the two end blocks in place Arrma leave you with a void measuring 165 x 51 x 48mm which is large enough to get a big 5000+ mAh hard-case battery from Overlander or Absima in with space to spare. If you really wanted to travel some distance you could potentially unscrew these end-plates and get a particularly long cell in there.
We like that Arrma have opted for a foam grip pad and velcro tie-downs to secure the battery in place, making it easy to adjust for a ‘fatter’ pack. Below you can see how the stock pack fits and how easily we slipped a 4200mAh 2S hardcase LiPo in the same space with a deans adapter. Just remember to switch that jumper over on the ESC before you do the same!
Arrma’s Typhon buggies all feature full-time four-wheel drive. A telescopic propshaft connects large 42T, 51mm diameter, metal gear (open) differentials front and back.
These sit in yoke-designed differential modules with sliding telescopic ‘composite’ (plastic) driveshafts feeding the hubs. When even Traxxas is moving to designs like this, its hard to knock the implementation, especially considering the price. The drive train is ball-raced with metal ball bearings.
The clutch and motor are fitted to something Arrma call the ‘power module‘ which (following the removal of the prop shaft) can be released from the chassis with minimal unscrewing for maintenance or repair. That integral motor plate comes pre-drilled for differing pinon sizes taking some of the guesswork out of achieving a good mesh.
As you’d expect there are plastic suspension arms and oil-filled dampers at every corner. Arrma states these are a simple-to-maintain self bleeding design. We like the addition of spring guards on the perches and the big composite shock cap The honeycomb reinforced chassis, easy to work on thanks to its bathtub design. guards over the caps front and rear.
Overall the honeycomb reinforced chassis feels robust and is easy to work on thanks to its bathtub design, note that it features Arrma embossing on the bottom.
Lastly we have those big 1/8th scale multispoke wheels. They are 42m wide, come fitted with dBoots 2HO tyres (with foam inserts) and are mostly unheard of at this budget. The 17mm hex size and great clearance means you could fit some the absolutely huge wheel/tyre combos available on the market with little issue.
Spektrum STX2 Radio System
Included with the car is a Spektrum STX2 radio system that comes pre-bound and ready to race. Its a plastic pistol-grip-style transmitter, the trigger operating the throttle and the wheel mounted on the side, the steering. If you are new to RC car controllers, have a read of our introductory guide.
You will need to supply the 4x AA batteries needed to get it running, these are mounted in the base of the controller under a sliding cover, no tools are needed to remove it.
The switch panel atop of the handset offers plenty of refinement control. Adjustments include both throttle and steering dual rate, trims and channel reverse switches. Spektrum usefully include a throttle limiter switch (at the bottom between the LED status lights) that can cut the throttle from 100% down to 75% and 50% respectively, perfect for introducing children who are new to driving the buggy!
Its nice to see a ‘proper’ branded remote on a relatively cheap buggy, but it most certainly a budget unit in its own right. The material choices are particularly cheap, we weren’t fond of the hard plastic finish of the steering wheel.
Driving the Typhon MEGA
We took the Typhon to our local pump track, an ideal proving ground for RC cars with its mix of steep tarmac banked berms, big kicking dirt jumps and smooth tarmac straights.
Out in daylight, that bright green shell really pops, the lines drawing your eyes back and up at that massive spoiler. We’d actually be tempted to swap out the red accents for some anodised green stuff just to tie it all together.
Here you can see just how much clearance the buggy has, ideal for driving on rutted dirt or through the long grass between the track, impressively we didn’t get stuck once.
In some ways we feel it looks even better when you start getting it dirty, which considering its winter, happened in a matter of minutes.
We tested the Typhon using both the stock NiMH and a 2S LiPo. Whilst the top speed remained the same, the buggy felt like it had a touch more punch on the LiPo battery.
Speaking of top speeds, we aren’t sure where Arrma are getting their 30mph target from (potentially a theroetical limit based on the gearing and the motor specs?) as with the GoPro attached we logged a peak of just 17mph via GPS! It is worth noting that this is fairly standard for a brushed car of this size. That isn’t to say that the buggy wasn’t fun to drive. Steering this big model around the tight track was still an entertaining challenge, especially at full throttle.
The power reduction switch on the transmitter arguably makes it the ideal setup for younger drivers just starting out in RC, ensuring the vehicle is manageable for someone new to the controls. We logged the top speeds at 17mph@ 100%, 16mph @75% and 13mph @50% respectively, although this doesn’t show the full picture, with the cars acceleration also being affected at each step.
Those DBoots tyres are a great match for the buggy. They offer enough traction for powering up even muddy banks but will offer enough breakaway on harder surfaces for some nice power slides.
Note that the 4×4 chassis will under steer, but pushing the nose wide is often easier to to correct for beginners than spinning out in something with rear bias. The diffs are open so it is possible to beach the buggy on a loose surface, or if you completely bottom it out as shown below.
With our mixed driving (not just full-throttle the whole time) we got little under 18 minutes runtime with the included NiMH. Fitting the 4200mAh 2S LiPo battery extended this to 26 minutes with the LiPo cutoff on the ESC kicking in with 22% charge remaining. Picking up an extra battery or two is definitely a must with this model.
The Typhon felt at home on the track, hopping its way over the jumps. Whilst it lacked the power to double up some of the larger table-tops, it could happily clear some of the tighter pairings.
Here you can see it airing jumps no problem. The drive train layout gives it a nice neutral composure in the air. We were jumping with the nose slightly up without having to lift to rotate.
When it came to landings the dampers performed well and that composite floor plan escaped with only a few scuffs, no cracks.
We had a few tumbles that the buggy shrugged off, the spoiler remaining firmly attached and the body crack-free. Considering the amount of cars we have killed here, we were pleasantly surprised that the Typhon escaped injury free, even the servo still works fine!
Arguably the weakest link in the experience was the Spektrum transmitter. Uncomfortable in extended use, it also felt quite ‘laggy‘ to use, especially to brake to a stop and then kick into reverse.
Who is this buggy for?
This buggy is the ideal first step for older children looking to try out a proper RC car. It isn’t about going the fastest, instead about having fun with a buggy that won’t snap apart the first time you roll it over. It is the ideal starter car to gift and that big box will certainly have a huge impact come Christmas or Birthday.
It is well equipped for the price, standard size components for the motor/servo making repairs straightforward in the future. However if you are established in RC (or are looking for a chassis that you intend to upgrade) you might find the Brushed Typhon unsuitable. It is certainly more cost-effective in the long run to purchase the 3S BLX brushless model outright if you love the aesthetic but are a speed freak.
What are the alternatives?
If you have been frequenting our review site you will know that there are a multitude of buggy options on the market for similar money. If you were willing to downgrade to 2WD, BSD Racing’s Flux Storm offers incredible value and pace. Alternatively FTX’s Carnage and Vantage chassis bring the extra punch that so many desire for a touch more up front. Its worth noting that none of the competitors mentioned are as big!
As mentioned, if you are looking for a faster buggy, Arrma offer a 3S BLX Brushless edition and even a ‘full-fat’ 6S monster edition albeit for twice the price.
Where can I buy an Arrma Typhon?
This 1/8th scale beast of buggy is currently available over on our webstore where it qualifies for free next-working-day delivery. Remember to pick up a pack of 4xAA batteries for the transmitter whilst you are at it.
If you want to use your current selection of Tamiya or Deans terminated batteries we do sell short adaptors that allow for it. That will also enable you to select from a whole host of NiMh and LiPo batteries and faster chargers that we have available, suitable for all budgets.
Brace yourself for the buggies
RC buggys are crazy popular around christmas time so we spent the closing months of last year trying out as many of them as we could. Check our reviews of the FTX Colt, BSD Prime Baja, BSD Flux Storm, FTX Carnage and the fantastic FTX Outlaw Ultra-4 here. TLDR? Instead check out our easy-to-digest ‘top 10 buggies’ in this article.
Do you have any questions about the Typhon MEGA? Leave them in the comments section below!