Funtek Raid Adventure : A low-cost, Land Rover style RC car
Now reading: Carisma MSA-1E Subaru Brat Micro Truck Hands-on Review
This Carisma Micro truck heads our new model range, aimed to cater for a wider audience. We understand that not everyone has £900+ to spend on an Xmaxx, nor do we all want a huge 1/8th scale truck. This quality model is keenly priced, making it an ideal first RC car, a gift for teenagers or just something too tool around with in the office.
The package includes the truck, a fully featured printed manual, the transmitter (and 4xAA batteries for it) the truck battery and a USB charger for it.
This is our favourite flavour of 'readiness', straight up all inclusive, no 'stripping-the-TV-remote-controls-for-transmitter-batteries' ready-to-run!
The model includes a 130mAh battery with a JST connector. It can be removed from the model by flipping releasing the catch on the battery tray and flipping it up and out of the way.
The included battery charger (MBC-24JST) takes two hours to charge the 7.2v NiMH battery from a standard USB port. Always fully charge the battery to ensure you get the most lifespan out of the cell. We admire the flexibility this offers (charge from a USB powerpack, your computer or even a TV) but we wish it was faster!
As with any model featuring a low capacity battery with a long recharge time, we'd recommend picking up extra batteries at the time or purchase. We will be looking at aftermarket options to extend the run-time in coming months.
Carisma include a CTX-2000 pistol-grip-style transmitter. It has a power switch and LED indicator, throttle and steering trims, plus reverse switches for these channels on the top. Up top there is also a three position throttle limit switch which will cap the top speed, useful should you wish to let a younger child operate the truck. Like other Carisma models the ATV dial adjusts the limit for maximum steering angle.
Producing models at this price point creates some real challenges to manufacturers. Whilst the transmitter material choice is limited, we feel the design itself if both ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing, with a size small enough for younger hands
It is powered by 4xAA batteries (included) which are inserted into the grip section of the transmitter, ensuring a comfortable weight balance.
The integrated receiver/speed controller has the power switch on it. To turn the model on we suggest sticking an index finger in behind the front shock absorber, on the left hand side of the chassis.
The ARC-2000 unit is fitted with a 5v output port designed for powering an integrated FPV camera/transmitter. Its the 2-pin connector under the servo pins on the right in the photo below. Naturally we did this before it was cool ;) Check out when we fitted Formula Q32 with an FPV camera a couple of years ago.
Beyond this Carisma also sell an LED light set for this truck. It adds little lights to the front bumper and roof spots. It hooks up to the port under the motor port above the bind key.
We like that Carisma include proper manuals with their cars, including full exploded diagrams listed with part numbers. Little touches like this show the model is designed to last.
Taking pointers from some of their bigger trucks, Carisma have made a great job of putting together a crawler chassis. Out of the box the motor is fitted with a 14T pinion ideal for crawling but an 18T can be purchased it you wish to up the top speed.
It features multi links, universal joints and rock sliders just like its big brother the Classic Range Rover. The only downside is the decision to go for oil-less shocks meaning the truck likes to bounce along instead of absorbing compression.
The micro steering servo is mounted ontop of the front diff with a linkage system to the front wheels.
The included Subaru Brat shell gets most of its detailing from the factory applied stickers. The body itself is velcro mounted front and rear for a clean, body-post-less look.
The few plastic parts (the bumper and the roll/light bar) are nicely designed and will take an optional LED kit as previously mentioned.
The brat is at home indoors, which considering the British weather, is a good thing! Its a crawler with locked difs so its not designed to tear around, rather controlled climbing.
We spent hours setting up micro-machines-esq challenge circuits around the kitchen, lounge and dinning room, using nearby items as obstacles and ramps.
It bravely takes on any challenge. The adjustments in steering limit (ATV dial) and throttle limit are actually really useful when trying to precisely navigate a course. The articulation of the suspension allows for some impressive crawling.
We aren't sure what Carisma is making their tyres of of late, but the truck can climb up a 45 degree mdf board with ease. The choice to go for locked diffs front and rear really make it 'the little truck that could' as it hops its way along.
The truck will cling on to most surfaces admirably. With some well placed ballast weights, we wonder if it would be capable of more!
The MSA-1E chassis isn't water resistant, let alone waterproof so use it outdoors with care.
That said videos like this show it is impressively capable for a truck with pretty much no weight!
The Subaru Brat sits in that sweet spot, providing a great truck at a 'present' price point where its ready to run credentials will shine.
Considering the scale, budget and performance the Subaru Brat is tough to beat. If you are looking for something with more outdoor capability for similar money , check out some of FTX's models. Following customer demand we will also be stocking more of these mini-rc cars so subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date!
You can pick up the Carisma Scale Adventure MSA-1E on our webstore today. We'd also suggest picking up a spare battery to extend the playtime. If you aren't a fan of the body we also stock the Coyote Pup variation with its classic American pickup styling.
You can learn more about Carisma RC on our website, whilst you are at it, consider reading our review of their excellent Sca-1e Classic Range Rover.