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*** IMPORTANT UPDATE *******
I have been too nice with my initial review and I feel bad for many folks who have read this thread first thinking that the car is better than it actually is. I sold my Animus long ago after MANY repeated driveline failures occured, it was far too expensive for me to maintain
I purchased a new Helion Animus 18SC(HA-18SC) on 6-Jun-2011 from my local HobbyTownUSA for only $99!
SOLD it around DEC-2011 after sinking an additional $200+ into it
The stock tires are a firm compound making it excellent for an all-terrain tire, though it may not be the best tire for on-road only applications or the best tire for off-road only applications. The wheels are proprietary and they have introduced a mini-hex (7mm) which makes it difficult to fit AE style wheels, in fact my AE-SC18 wheels were binding on the front hub carriers (after removing the hex) for the HA-18SC and simply are not compatible. The HA-18SC does provide about 3/4" ground clearance allowing it to easily navigate over grass and loose dirt.
I was not impressed with the front/rear bumpers as they had no reinforcement in their cheap design and gave A LOT of flex. This could be a good thing as it might be better to have flex than to break I suppose.
The suspension rivals that of most 1/10 scale cars. It definitely "feels" more like driving a 1/10 scale car where the AE-SC18 feels very stiff and tends to spin out of control more easily, however that is more than likely due to the HA-18SC having slightly less turn radius than the AE-SC18.
The top speed is somewhere between 20-25mph with a brushed motor and wheels on bushings! That's right, if you want ball bearings, there is an upgrade kit for $17 which I will install soon and compare speed runs to see if this is really even necessary.
My stock AE-SC18 (with full bearings) was closer to 15mph out of the box, and it now goes about 25mph after upgrading it with a 4300KV Toro BL System.
After my first 5 min of run time, all my temps were well within normal range with the HA-18SC making it the perfect entry level basher for kids of all ages...myself included, ha!
100% RTR (Car + Radio + Battery + Charger) for only $99
2.4 Ghz FlySky compatible - easily binds with the FS-GT3B
One of the fastest brushed 1/18's on the market out of the box
Excellent suspension/handling with no traction rolls on neither pavement nor loose dirt
Great All-Terrain basher friendly tires
Very Light/Nimble design
Sexy curves on the SC body, by far the best looking shell on the 1/18 market
This is no longer true, you can purchase the Traxxas mini 12mm hex adapter and use any on-road rally style wheels/tires you wish to run on the Animus, however I found that just about any tire I tested would significantly increase the chances of traction roll with the exception of drift tires, this car was fun to drift as seen in a later video clip
Servo + ESC + Receiver are integrated into a single unit which can be problematic if any one of those parts fail, then you may need to replace the entire unit for $40. If any of these components do fail, I would just spend $48 to buy the following parts separately:
Should just the servo fail, you can replace it with a micro servo, but it will require some mods to the new servo, this is explained later in this thread
No servo ports to easily power a transponder for club racing
I was able to overcome this by using the balance port on my LiPo to power my transponder by making my own JST-XH to Servo connector.
No LVC - however if you do upgrade to brushless, most BL-ESC's include an LVC automatically
There are no decals on the body shell, the entire lid is screen printed so you are stuck with the provided design and lettering unless you make your own cutom decals to cover it up. There is no clear body available either as of yet
Although spare parts are available, they are bundled together in too large of groups such that you must spend between $8 - $40 to get a package of parts where you may only need 1 part in that group. After 3 months of testing, I have spent about $60 in spare parts so far, and have a box full of spares that I may never use where I might've spent maybe $10-$15 in actual broken parts if they were sold independently.
The drive train is very weak and made out of very cheap plastic. Although the drive train is strong enough to support the stock brushed motor, plan to replace a lot of dog bones, center drive shaft and diff gears if you install a high powered brushless system. Until the aluminum upgrades come out, I recommend installing the lowest powered brushless combo you can find with nothing higher than 4300KV in order to protect your toy.
Here are some pics comparing the 18SC along side with the SC18.
Notice how the 18SC is one full tire width wider than the SC18 here:
Although they have the same wheel base, the bumpers on the 18SC extend just a little farther:
Same angle but with the body shells on:
Here you can see the difference in ground clearance:
Here you can see that the 18SC tire is 60mm in diameter where the stock SC18 tire is only 50mm which likely contributes to the higher stock speeds of the 18SC:
Here is a video clip of the stock brushed Animus 18SC vs a 4300KV modified Associated SC18 in a drag race:
I was able to fit the 7mm hexes easily on the Associated SC18, however the Animus tire rubs on the chassis and motor making them incompatible:
I just learned that there are 9mm hexes that ship with the 1/18 Duratrax Vendetta SC which suggest the possibility of parts compatibility with the wheels/tires offered by Duratrax, the only question is if the Duratrax wheels will clear the Animus hub carriers, but I suspect they may work:
My steering servo failed after over tightening a GPS to the car and accidentally buckling it down onto the servo. I removed the all-in-one unit and discovered that there is a 5 wire servo inside, which CAN be replaced with most metal gear micro servos, however you will need to modify the standard 3 wire servo to accept the 5 wire pattern for the Animus as explained here: How to convert 3 wire servo to a 5 wire servo
Here is a picture of the 5 wire servo inside the opened all-in-one case:
I feel that the EXI D213 Metal Gear servo is the perfect fit:
The question came up with how to get metal dogbones and I have a tentative solution. There are 45mm dog bones available from Exceed that "might" work. Here is a comparison of the plastic dogbone from the Associated SC18 on the left, the plastic stock dog bone from the Animus 18SC in the middle and the Exceed DriftKing on the right:
The only problem is that the balls on the metal dogbones are slightly larger which may require some aditional modifications. I am working on a solution to see what additional parts are needed (if any) to get these metal dog bones to work.
I just broke my first dogbone today where it lost one of its pins from within the plastic ball end. I suspect that too much heat was generated after about 10 min of bashing at my local off-road track and caused the plastic to lose its bond with the pin.
I also broke a front hub carrier today while trying to clear a quad jump. It actually made a triple out of it, and the brushless system is clearly too much power for extreme jumps like that, I think it's best left for the doubles, ha!
After a while, I have been getting difficulty getting the Animus to track straight. It seems that gap between the teeth on my servo horn are too far between the possible steering trim settings so I decided to buy Team Associated ball cups/studs for the SC18 and used a spare 1mm screw to thread between the cups after cutting off the head of the screw with a dremel to get this adjustable steering linkage:
You may have noticed that I installed a brushless system in my Animus on some of the pics earlier of this post. I found that the Toro 25A ESC + Toro 4300KV motor combo has worked very well for me with the stock 11T pinion. I tried experimenting with larger pinions all the way up to 18T and they all prooved to be too much for the Animus to handle, in fact you may want to lower the dual rate on your controls to 90% (or less) so that the plastic dog bones can handle the extra stress placed from the brushless system. Here is my full review of the Toro system: http://www.ultimaterc.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=126369
According to Helion RC, they are getting ready to release aluminum upgrades soon, and this will hopefully resolve most (maybe all) of the weak points that have been addressed with the first release of the Animus
Until Helion comes out with their Aluminum dogbones, I have come up with an interim solution. I bought the Team Associated aluminum dogbones intended for the 18T FT Part #21031. Take special note that they are only 43mm long, but you can easily compensate for the 2mm shortage by simply sliding a 2mm thick spacer or cut fuel tubing into the inner drive drive cup.
*** DO NOT USE the included springs that come with the Associated Dog Bones, they will cause excessive binding and cause the diff to prematurely fail ***
Here is what it looks like in the final assembly:
Here is the demo of the aluminum dog bones in action:
I can't locate any metal dogbones or metal gears yet, but this is a huge find which is making me lean towards the other direction in actually recommending the Animus now
I have discovered what was thought to be a worn diff was actually a problem with the stock diff fluid gumming up and causing the spider gears inside the diff to slip. I simply rebuilt the diff using Associated Diff Lube, repacked the assembly and all was fine.
I also discovered that it was a bad idea to use the springs with the aluminum dog bones, I found that the nylon washers I added were binding with the gear box and started to show premature signs of wear. I simply replaced the washers and springs with small 3mm cut piece of fuel tubing and shoved it into the inner drive cup which allows the perfect range of motion and no more binding in the assembly yielding optimal performance:
Spare parts arrived from HeliPal (HSP) in 10 days from Hong Kong to Austin,TX:
post 1213 on page 122:
I have confirmed that the ball diff kit from the Duratrax Mini Quake does fit the Animus. The gear-diff kit also fits, but since the Animus comes with gear diffs already, it's more economical to just rebuild the gear diffs you already have with replacement diff gears from the Mini Quake (also used on the Vendetta).
This ball diff should make a good upgrade for anyone wanting stronger diffs for their Animus, or the generic HSP version of the same vehicle.
I will race my brushless SC18 against the fully stock brushed 18SC this weekend and tell you which one I like better.
I am on the fence with the higher COG for the 18SC, that's what will be the potential deal killer for me on the track.
BTW, I did some reading on the Pro-Pulse, first thing I noticed is that the car is discontinued so parts support is going to be a challenge, however most folks are replacing all the mechanicals with RC18 parts anyway because they are failing on them which in the end is driving the cost in some cases to be more than buying a RC18 to begin with, doh!
Time will tell if the Animus holds up to the rigors of racing at my local club, and so far it seems like a great deal to me
@HW, good point, the shocks do seem to be a tad larger, I just might install them on the SC18 to see if that improves the handling of it any better. I'm really starting to like the Animus more now that I've had another day to play with it.
Here is a video clip of the stock brushed Animus 18SC vs a 4300KV modified Associated SC18 in a drag race: