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Unbelievable RC

Traxxas took the RC world by storm (again) in early Summer 2008 with the release of the Slash, the first affordable, readily-available, truly scale electric stadium truck. There was only one shortcoming: It was 2WD. Well, not long later they unveiled the 4WD Slayer, but based on an expensive Revo platform and coming only in nitro form, the Slayer didn't please everyone either. Someone needed to make a 4WD electric Slash, quickly, and that's when inspiration struck. Two completely separate, half-done projects would be merged seamlessly into one to complete my quickest build to date.

The Build

I'll cut straight to the chase. Project 21 started life as an OFNA Ravager 1/8th scale buggy (a Hyper 9.5 derivative) I bought in '06 as a basher but hardly ever used. Out came all of the nitro-related parts and in went a Novak electric conversion with a HV-Maxx 6.5 brushless motor system powered by two 6-cell NiMHs or 2C LiPos in series. It's fast. It's electric. It's off to a good start.

The real fun started when I realized that the couple weeks of research I had done to find a body for a Slash-based project could be reversed. Car bodies made for 1/8th scale "Rally Game" racing could fit decently on a Slash, and that meant a Slash body could fit decently on an 1/8th scale! A quick test-fit confirmed this and it was time to work out a sturdy body mount setup.

At the front, took out the two rear screws from the upper deck and threaded in 4x20mm set screws halfway. I then cut lengths of Delrin rod, drilled & tapped one end of each, and milled typical body post stub shapes at the other end. These would tighten down very firmly, holding the chassis deck down while providing wide-spaced and sturdy mounts for the big body. Delrin is dense enough to keep the body from moving around from g-forces and air pressure, while maintaining enough flexibility to absorb much of the shock of rollovers and avoid over-straining the threaded bits holding them down.

At the rear, I removed the wing and horizontal but left the sturdy longitudinal struts which also help tie the rear chassis brace to the rear diff case and shock tower. Into these I directly screwed RPM RC10GT rear body mount bases to create a new, lower horizontal mounting surface, with low-profile front body post stubs attached on top from the same RPM set.

With the clear Traxxas Slash body trimmed & drilled to fit just right, I went ahead and painted it up & added decals. The end result was nice & all, but not good enough to complete the look. I cut, bent, drilled and mounted a faux skid plate to the front mostly to have something other than an empty void beneath the front overhang of the body. I would have preferred to let the front of the body extend down further, but alas, it came pre-trimmed from the factory. I also wanted to have some form of front bumper (again just for looks) but didn't want to bother with the complexities of custom-mounting the assembly from the Slash. Looking at photos of real CORR and SCORE trucks, I saw that many actually have very little in the way of visible crash protection at the front, with a narrow bent horizontal bar with two small vertical supports being a common sight. For a little of this flavor, I cut, bent, drilled, and painted a length of nylon clothes hangar, finishing it with a textured matte black and mounting it directly to the body with 3mm screws. For the vertical portion I just used striping tape folded under the edge (which unfortunately folded back out, visible in the photos -- oops).

I wanted to finish strong with a good-looking set of wheels, and this is where I again got a payoff from my longstanding habit of collecting odd wheels and tires (not to mention bodies) with the hope of one day making a project to use them. Way back in Spring of 2004, I took this photo of the wheel & tire of OFNA's then-upcoming Blazer SST. It's slightly wider and a fair amount larger in diameter than a standard 1/8th scale buggy shoe, but fits a standard 17mm hex hub. The truck ended up not selling well, but I picked up a set of those cool wheels & tires to feed my fetish. Four years later, the wheels would finally find a use on Project 21. Unfortunately the tires proved a bit too large, but not to worry, I had a set of lightly used Pro-Line Knuckles on dish wheels. Though the SST wheels are specifically made to fit the SST tires, standard buggy tires do fit with just a slightly wider carcass shape. A few days of acetone work left me with good-as-new Knuckles, ready to mount, and a full set of de-chromed SST wheels waiting to be painted. I used adhesion promoter (clear primer) on the wheels, followed by a few coats of satin black enamel. Then came detail work with a silver paint pen to highlight each molded faux "nut." Finally, speaking of nuts, instead of using the stock ones to hold the wheels on, I raided my little box of parts I had found in my days of building & maintaining the local offroad track. I came up with three natural aluminum nuts and one faded purple-anodized one, the latter of which miraculously turned silver like the rest a few minutes later.


Photo gallery samples

See all of the photos of this truck in the full Project 21 Photo Gallery.

Project complete...

From first disassembly to finishing touches in 28 days, Project 21 just beat out the classic Ultimate Bandit to be the most quickly-completed build I've done to date, in spite of all those pesky little interferences like work and errands and social life. Is it an "Ultimate" project? Not in the least! It's just a unique combination of a bunch of different ideas and components all brought together to form a vehicle that looks & drives nothing like what it was based on, but almost seems like it was planned this way from the start.

Project 21.5!

So, one day I decided to try something different with this conversion. Again. I ordered up a 1/8th scale Peugeot 206 body from Thunder Tiger and lo & behold, it fit perfectly! I didn't leave it in this form for long, but I did get a little video footage of it!