Name a more iconic duo than Christmas and RC cars, we’ll wait. Terrible memes aside the holiday season is by far the most popular time for RC cars with off-road buggies challenging monster trucks for the title of most-popular remote control toy. In 2018 the FTX Colt took the crown in terms of outright sales, so with Christmas around the corner, we take a look at why this was the case.
So why is it so popular?
In a word, value. Whilst many customers will buy on price alone, those in the know who looked a little deeper will be pleasantly surprised by the spec offered:
- Small ready-to-run RC buggy
- 4WD shaft driven with a ball raced, largely metal transmission
- Includes transmitter, charger and 1100mAh car battery
- Adjustable shocks, double bellcrank steering,
- Brushed motor with a tidy all-in-one ESC/RX
- Compact 1/18th scale, 250mm long, 190mm wide and 96mm tall
Unboxing, assembly and charging
Included with the model is the transmitter, 1100mAh car battery, main wall charger for said battery, binding plug and instruction manual. The car ships already constructed in the box, only requiring the user to fit the optional plastic antenna tube to the upper chassis plate and run the antenna up through it.
The body is pre-fitted to the chassis and held on by a body clip and the front and another at the rear; Two additional body clips hold the large rear wing to the posts. As with other models the body stickers can be removed, should you dislike the FTX and Colt badging. Indeed the spare bodies we sell arrive pre-painted, uncut and sticker free.
With the included charger it will take around 2 hours to charge a depleted battery. If you are gifting the car it is always a good idea to charge it up before wrapping (the batteries commonly ship only partially charged) it so that it can be used right away. Faster, intelligent chargers are available, but remember you will need a Tamiya to mini-Tamiya adapter to suit.
We always recommend removing the battery for charging, this can be done without tools. After removing the body, release the two clips that secure the plastic battery holder on-top of the cell and take the whole lot out.
Small scale, sizeable resilience
Built on a shallow but tough plastic chassis plate, the model is balanced with the electronics on the left and the battery on the right, the prop-shaft running between them.
That tiny 370-sized brushed motor can get quite hot during use, so its nice to see a heatsink attached. Uncovering the gearbox reveals the metal pinion and spur gear. This material choice should avoid the most common drive failure of cars at this price point, the stripping of the cheap plastic cogs typically fitted here.
The classic dot-tread tyres ship pre-glued to the (8mm hex) plastic wheels and are affixed to the hubs with M3 nyloc nuts. Should you wear these out we do sell spares.
Shock positioning can be altered to (mildly) change the way the model handles. The front bumper is a minimal curved chunk of plastic, but devoid at the rear, so avoid ramming this little buggy into any walls.
Small buggy, big controller
Compared to the small car, the included FS-GT2 Fly Sky transmitter feels positively huge. A tried-and-tested controller, it has been bundled with many cars over the years. It features a pistol grip layout with a trigger for the throttle and rubber covered wheel for steering. The large antenna can be folded down for ease of transportation.
Sadly its age shows in its 12v power-hungry electronics, requiring a staggering 8x AA batteries to get running, make sure you pick up a couple of packs at purchase if this is a gift! Under the flip lid ontop of the transmitter are the adjustments including channel reverse switches, steering/throttle trim and steering rate dials plus the power switch. If your green power light starts flashing the transmitter is trying to tell you the batteries are dying and range will be impaired. Should the batteries die, the buggy features a fail safe that will ensure it coasts to a stop once the connection is broken.
A digital 2.4Ghz system, it will be robust against interference, allowing you to run two or more of these cars at the same time without issue. It arrives connected to the car which is great news as access to the binding button is limited. If all of this sounds like jargon to you, check our our RC transmitters explained article.
Driving the Colt
The FTX Colt is very much a cruiser than an extreme ‘blitzing’ buggy. Its low ground clearance means it is more at home indoors on carpet or hard flooring, however stick to smooth tarmac parking lots or the smooth concrete of a skatepark and it can hold its own outdoors. Just be sure to avoid those puddles as this model is not waterproof.
The proportional steering system is accurate and even features an (admittedly tiny) servo saver. That wide track means there is little danger of flipping it, even in tight turns. With very little weight, the soft springs and ‘big bore’ shocks feel a little stiff and over-dampened as on rocky surfaces it will skip.
At the speeds the buggy can hit, the rear wing feels more like a stylistic choice than a true aero aide. It removes in a matter of seconds but leaves behind the plastic posts which will need to be unscrewed from the suspension uprights. The speeds are suitable for older children or younger teens, likely why this has proved such a top seller with that particular age-range spanning the core audience for RC models. Whilst the tight ground clearance would beach it on unkempt lawns, the little buggy will bravely take on small stones, launching over them as seen below.
As mentioned the mid-mounted motor and battery gift it excellent weight distribution, however on power it feels like it has a slight rear bias. Whilst you won’t overcome the tyres on tarmac, on a polished wooden floor or a loose dusty car park (as pictured) you can have great fun power-sliding around as seen below!
If you are specifically looking for a small (1/18th) scale buggy on a budget then the Colt is well worth looking at. We like the metal drivetrain components, metal CV’s on the metal driveshafts, metal pinion gear and ballracing that aren’t usually found at this price point.
We aren’t so fond of the short runtime from that small battery, its lack of outright pace or the limited upgrade options the all-in-one electronics offer (although FTX do state a brushless motor is available in the hop-up parts list!). As a first step into the world of RC or a gift for a friend/family the FTX Colt makes a solid purchase.
If you are looking to buy an RC Car this Christmas we strongly advise you to read our Christmas buying guide before pulling the trigger on a shopping cart with us or anyone else.
Where can I buy one?
The FTX Colt is available to buy on our webstore. Available with either the blue/black or the orange/black bodies shown in this article, we also recommend picking up a spare battery at the same time to maximise your run-time.
Interested in a buggy but would prefer a larger one? Check out our recent reviews of the Kyosho Axxe as well as the BSD Racing models such as the Prime Assault, Desert Assault and the incredible brushless Flux Storm!
Do you have any questions about the FTX Colt or buggies in general? Leave us a message in the comments section below.