Kiran Parmar is our scale model expert and takes the off road ready FTX Outlaw for a test drive. He also took the great pictures and film you can see right here
Winter has been dragging on for a bit, but the good news is that spring is just around the corner. What a great time to purchase a radio control car and head for the great outdoors and do some serious 1:10 scale off-roading.
We were delighted to receive a four wheel drive desert rock racer buggy called the ‘Outlaw’ made by FTX. The ‘Outlaw’ is available in two forms; a ‘brushed’ and a more powerful ‘brushless’ version. Our test model was the brushed version, aimed at the beginner in the world of radio controlled off-road vehicles.
The ‘Outlaw is based on the powerful ‘Ultra 4’ buggies that race the US West Coast deserts and also looks very similar to the Dakar rally pickup trucks such as the Toyota GR Hilux.
On first glance we were immediately impressed by the striking red and black body shell with the full size usable spare wheel hanging at the back of the tailgate. The 135mm diameter chunky tyres with realistic tread patterns really look like they mean business and offer plenty of grip. Look closer and there are model figures of a driver and co-driver strapped inside the cockpit wearing helmets, seatbelts and racing overalls. The attention to detail by FTX is certaining winning many points. Push down gently on the bodyshell and the car gives in and bounces back rapidly upon release thanks to the fully adjustable aluminium oil filled shock absorbers.
Take the body shell off and things look even more impressive; the Voltz 1800mAh battery is securely strapped in with velcro, the centrally positioned 550 brushed motor has its own heatsink, the speed controller is waterproof, the driveshaft that sends power to the rear wheels is telescopic, and you can even change the position of the shocks thanks to multiple mounting points making the suspension fully adjustable with droop, camber and toe-in customisation. The gearbox has metal crown and pinion gears. At the rear you will find a fixed axle with trailing arm link suspension, meanwhile the front axle gets fully adjustable independent suspension with turnbuckles and universal driveshafts and control arms to make things rather interesting and modern.
The kit comes 99% ready to run with just the need of eight AA batteries for the hand controller. With the battery fully charged you are ready to run. We really enjoyed driving the Outlaw. It is easy to control, handles really well and not crazily fast. We drove the car on grassland with various hills and bumps and it is a joy to watch the suspension move up and down and adjust to each level of varying terrain. Thanks to clever gearing, there is lots of variation in how the power can be delivered to the wheels; you can do low speed rock crawling on very uneven surfaces or high speed Dakar style rally driving on grass in your own backyard. Go full throttle for a bit, and turn sharply into a corner releasing the throttle and you get a nice touch of ‘lift-off oversteer’ and one of the rear wheels comes up in the air which is hugely entertaining and reminds me of the characteristics of the Mk 2 Volkswagen Golf GTi!
We really like the feel of the ‘Etronix’ hand controller; the steering wheel has a nice rubber grip and positive spring back action. You can also adjust the front wheel alignment, steering lock rate, and throttle speed (positive forward, negative reverse or neutral) on the fly via the various dials under the black cap.
We recommend buying some extra 1800mAH battery packs as the battery does get depleted fairly quickly under normal to enthusiastic driving.
Come for a spin around my Garden!
To keep the car clean after each drive we found that a powered air duster works well to blow grass, mud and debris out of the intricate areas on the chassis and electronics. When the tyres get very muddy you can simply remove the wheels with a 7mm socket and give them a scrub in the sink with a soft brush and washing up liquid. The bodyshell can be wiped down gently with a soft microfiber cloth.
If you want more power, we recommend going for the ‘brushless’ version which can comfortably take a ‘Li-Po’ battery for much longer run times. The ‘brushed’ version is perfectly suited to the beginner or a young child who is new to the RC hobby.
We found the ‘brushed’ version for sale online at around the £120 mark which makes it excellent value for money, and the ‘brushless’ version at around the £215 mark.
Take a look at my complete photoshoot of the FTX Outlaw here: https://500px.com/kirankparmar/galleries/ftx-outlaw-radio-control-car
Watch my photo reel on the video above: