Funtek Raid Adventure : A low-cost, Land Rover style RC car
Now reading: Carisma SCA-1E Range Rover Classic Crawler Hands-On Review
The latest arrival in our RC expansion is this Carisma SCA-1E ready-to-run RC crawler. This 1/10th 4WD model features powerful brushed electronics and a proven chassis capable of some real off-roading.
Its fully licensed, 1970's Classic Range Rover body reminds us of a time before 'Rovers were just trinkets in rap videos. Whilst the Defender takes the crown, the utilitarian off roading silhouette is iconic in its own right and will doubtless be popular with you all. Aesthetics aside, lets take a closer look at this model!
Included in the box is everything you need to get running, including:
The body comes 95% complete. You can punch through the window stickers to reveal mounting points for the wing-mirrors. They are secured with a plate on the inside but we added a bit of hot glue to secure ours. The rear view mirror is stuck to the inside of the roof with supplied double-sided tape.
Lastly, Carisma include some big bumpers with step down brackets and screws to secure them. They have mounts for a winch and a tow ball, sadly they will foul the Range Rover body so we left ours off.
Whilst its not on the level of the TRX-4 Defender, this fully-licensed body does the Classic Range Rover justice. Pre-painted and stickered up, it features light pods for the rear and mounts set for the headlights. The rock-sliders in the chassis also have cup mounts presumably for rock-lights.
We like that Carisma left the windows clear and provided tinted stickers for a more 'scale realism' appearance.
The ARC-1 electronic speed controller is 2-cell LiPo compatible out of the box. This means with the relevant adapter you can use a 7.4v LiPo battery for a little more punch and in our testing, a top speed increase of around 10%, thats on the standard gearing/35-Turn motor. We like!
Note that whilst the electrics are water resistant, they aren't waterproof. Don't go swimming with this model!
The supplied CTX800 isn't the most ergonomic of designs, but it does the job. The carry handle on the top is something all transmitters should have. Hopping around the 2.4Ghz spectrum, the transmitter/receiver combo signal strength was solid for the distances we drive at. Beyond the standard trim adjustment it also features an ATV steering dual-rate adjustment dial on the pistol grip.
Control-wise the throttle is a little on the jerky side for finely crawling up rough surfaces. Thankfully the ESC is setup with a drag brake to save you when you come off of the throttle.
It's not unusual for manufactures to include trickle chargers with models. They are cheap to produce, largely foolproof to operate and thus relatively safe for customers. However this means they take an aeon to charge even the small capacity batteries bundled.
Carisma have gone down this route, including a 100mA USB charger which will take 14 hours (!) to charge the standard 1400mAh NiMH. Whilst this offers the flexibility of charging from a USB powerpack (As pictured) or any usb port in your car/house/computer, we would take a fast wall-charger over it any-day! This is by far the weakest point of the package and we advise anyone thinking of buying this to also factor in a fast yet inexpensive NiMH charger when buying!
As stock the truck is impressively efficient. We got over half an hour of run-time on the standard basic battery!
Carisma have placed the battery tray rear and low over the back axle. This gives the model great weight balance the actual full size truck had.
The only quirk of this is when switching into reverse (Whilst still travelling forward) the light rear end will 'flip up' and the truck will do an amusing nosewheel. With some practice you can even get it to park up like this!
The truck will ride over most things, bravely climbing up onto bricks rocks and grassy banks. The four-link suspension (front and rear), short overhangs and high ground clearance allow for some serious approach and departure angles which are key in just how successful a crawler can be.
All metal telescoping driveshafts ensure the model can keep trucking along even at extreme angles. Large-bore all-metal Oil Filled Coil-Over Shocks are a little slow to rebound, perhaps a little under-damped or sticky.
The beadlock wheels are fitted with grippy rockripper tyres. This is the first time we've driven with them and we were pleasantly surprised. The sidewalls are stiff enough and the compound soft enough to grip onto the terrain.
These mixed with the low centre of gravity enable the truck to 'hold on' far longer than you'd expect it to, the 'tip' angle is higher than even the TRX-4!
A 'High-Torque' metal geared steering servo with a plastic servo saver and adjustable short link are fitted. Away from the model you can adjust the maximum steering 'lock' by turning the ATV dial on the side of the transmitter.
Carisma have used tried and tested parts in a traditional chassis design to produce an entry level crawler that performs admirably. For a ready-to-run truck it offers fantastic value with forward compatibility should you wish to upgrade it. In a word, yes!
You can buy the Carisma SCA-1E Range Rover RTR Crawler on our webstore here. We strongly advise buying a fast battery charger at the same time, such as this inexpensive Overlander NiMH unit. Whilst the stock battery held on like a champ, this excellent value Overlander 4400 mAh battery holds nearly 2.5x the energy and will really extend your playtime!
If you don't like the Range Rover styling, the chassis is also available with a 1976 Ford F150 body or a Coyote pickup. That last set is even available as a kit with clear body if you wanted to build it up yourself.
With a heap of crawlers available in the store, there is something for every budget. If the classic range rover isn't your thing, consider FTX's Outback 2 Ranger, HPI Racing's Toyota FJ Venture or the alternative big budget badboy Traxxas' TRX-4 Land Rover Defender. If none of these 'do it' for you, keep your eyes on this blog as we have plenty more models due in stock in the coming months.
If you'd like to see us do more with this model (*cough* brushless conversion, led lights, upgraded servo) please leave a comment below so that we can convince our boss!