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I got the call yesterday from Eric at Hobbytown here in Kansas City, my Vaterra Twin Hammers arrived! I tore into the box and started examining the fit and finish of the rig. The plastic has solid feel and there is very little slop in anything. I planned to strip out all of the stock electronics right away, so I took the opportunity to tear down the truck and inspect the details of the build. This is not a review of the stock performance. You can look at countless other reviews of how the stock truck will work. I will be throwing in some big brushless power and trying to find any weak points.

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I made some simple notes as I tore the truck down. Before I started disassembling the truck I took note of the front A-arms. They have a nice high clearance design where the bottom of the A-arm is almost at the center of the knuckle. This will be a nice perk since this is a smaller truck running 4.5” tires. The extra clearance will be an advantage over the traditional solid axle rigs like my SCX10 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. All of the rod ends in the front end look nice and beefy as well, I would wager to say these will be able to handle a beating! The inboard mounted shocks look fantastic and I am anxious to start tuning it to see how it will perform in both the rocks and dirt.


When I pulled the stock battery out of the box I was shocked at how small it was. I didn’t plan on running this pack because I run 3 cell packs in all my rigs. I typically run Turnigy 2200mah 3s 40-50c packs in my rigs. That pack is just barely able to be wedged into the stock tray in the stock configuration. I don’t have a solid feel on how stout the transmission is, but if it isn’t bulletproof the Tekin ROC 412 I’m throwing in will highlight the weak link.


Getting to the rear of the truck, I pulled off a rear tire and found what I would call my first disappointment. Plastic hexes don’t belong anywhere near a rig that is made to ever see rocks in my opinion. However that is a minor issue at most. The next thing I noted on the rear of the truck was the trailing arms. The look of these is very cool, and offer a massive amount of rear suspension travel. The one thing that bugs me is that they should have lowered the shock mounting location on them to hold the arm steady. They instead mounted the shock along the centerline of the rod ends which allows the arms to rock back and forth. A little more research into the real world Ultra 4 and desert trucks may have helped out there. This shouldn’t cause any performance issues at all but is just an annoying design trait. I see some opportunity for Vanquish to improve on their design here!


Removing the cage on this beast is kind of a pain but might just be due to my unfamiliarity with it. The cage uses fairly thin “tubes” which add to the scale of the rig. As a single unit it feels like it will be a durable piece. After I got the cage removed I started taking out all the stock electronics. The steering servo was replaced with a Futaba BLS152 Brushless servo. I also wanted to replace the stock shift servo right away. These mini servos have been constant problems in crawlers before, and this issue seems to be popping up in this rig with new owners already. All I had around was super high torque servos so instead of putting in a Futaba 9157 servo for shifting, I simply relocated the stock steering servo. Relocating the steering servo did require me to fabricate simple adapter plate. This was fairly easy, only requiring one extra hole in Axial servo plate from an AX/SCX. Removing the motor requires some work. The transmission is tied into the front suspension so you really end up stripping the truck down to remove it. The motor mount feels a little over complicated and bulky, we will see if that is an area where we see issues or not as time progresses. I will be installing a Castle Mamba Max Pro ESC, Tekin ROC 412 motor, Futaba 614 receiver, and finally a Castle BEC. I’ll have a later post on installing the remainder of the electronics.


Lastly, while having the transmission out I was able to get a closer look at the steering rack. I had noticed that it felt a little sloppy before I was able to get in and look at it. I think that we may see some failures in this area when we start pushing these trucks harder and harder. I don’t think it will be the first failure but the tie rod attachments put a lot of leverage on this and I can see where there may be some areas for the aftermarket to come in and be innovative with a better design.

 

After all of that I shot a video, which I meant to keep short but it ended up being over 10 minutes. So if you want to hear me babble on and on, have a watch.