I have had a lot of PM’s and emails asking me to cover the following topics;
• Packaging, Instructions and Misc. Parts
• Drive Train
• Body / Cage / Interior
• Tires and Wheels
Let’s get started!
Packaging, Instructions and Misc. Parts
Packaging / Box Art
I haven’t done a ton of reviews, but the ones that I’ve done, I typically don’t cover packaging, but I have received so many PM’s and emails asking about it, that I thought it warranted a quick note. It’s Awesome! I’m the type of guy that mounts the box art from all my Tamiya kits on the wall, because there so well done, and Axial’s box art is no different (That’s why I had Bender sign the box)
The instruction manual that Axial has put together is incredible. First and foremost they where written in English, not foreign language translated to English. Secondly there clear and straight to the point. The parts reference sheet is great as it gives you a full image and part number to work with. It’s what I have been using as a quick reference for answering questions about the rig. Keep in mind that I have yet to build a Wraith from scratch, so the instruction manual accuracy is something that I cannot comment on, however I can say that I’ve used the manual a lot over the past several days and it’s as spot on.
The miscellaneous parts bag that you get includes extra drive shafts, the spare interior parts such as the 2 rifles and several steering wheels as well as other various plastics. I was a little bummed out that it did not come with 2 Axial gate markers, but I’ll live
The electronics package that comes with the new kits is really quite good. In the past, the radios/ESC kits that came with the Axial Ready-to-Runs where for the most part disposable. They got the job done, but they quickly wore out with any heavy use. The new radio/ESC systems are very good and will allow a builder to grow with the system.
AX-3 / AR-3 Radio System
My Wraith kit came with the new AX-3 2.4 GHz radio system. It’s small enough that my 5 year old son can work the radio, but large enough that my gorilla hands could work it without feeling like I was going to crush it. What I like about the system (other than its 2.4 GHz) is that it has a charging jack on it. My kids are always leaving the radio on, so this makes it nice and easy for me to keep the radio up and working. Another feature that just floored me when I saw it was how small the receiver was. HOLY CRAP this thing is tiny!!!! And it’s 3 Channel!!!!! Now I have yet to try and bind it with my DX-3R Spektrum system, but I’ll be sure to post my findings on this. It clearly states in the instruction manual that “The AX-3 transmitter will only bind with the AR-3 receiver”, so let’s keep our fingers crossed. One last note about the radio system that is a nice touch and that is the Fail Safe feature. In the event that your transmitter runs low enough on battery power that it looses signal with the receiver, the receiver will automatically return the ESC to a neutral position preventing the rig from running away. This feature must be turned on manually (instructions can be found in the manual).
AE-2 Electronic Speed Control (ESC)
The new AE-2 ESC from Axial is a great little ESC and is a tremendous improvement from their previous ready-to-run ESC. What makes it so great is that it has DRAG BRAKE!!!! Oh and it’s fully programmable with the Castle Link (sold separately). I’ve included 3 screen shots of the Castle Link setup for this ESC and as you can see it’s a pretty amazing little ESC for a ready-to-run. I still can’t believe that this is included in a ready-to-run kit.
In the Axial instruction manual it states that “LiPo Cut-Off set to “ON” from the factory”. What it’s actually set too is “Cutoff Voltage – Auto-Lipo (*)”. Now if you’re going to use a NiMH battery, be sure to turn this to “Off” as the ESC will reduce your runtime by detecting a false low battery charge. For the first several battery packs, I noticed that my 5000 NiMH where dumping rather quickly. After changing the Lipo cutoff setting, the runtimes increased because the ESC was no longer detecting a low charge. This is something to remember when you get your kit. Other settings that can be changed with the Castle Link are Brake/Reverse Type, Reverse Throttle, Brake Amount, Drag Brake (which is set at 50% from the factory) and Motor Type.
Now onto the technical specifications (taken from the Axial Instruction Manual);
Input Voltage – 6 Cell NiMH/2S LiPo
Size – 1.7” x 1.24”
Weight – 45 Grams
Motor Limit – 19T
On-Resistance FET – .0018
Rated/Peak Current – 106A Peak
Braking Current – 106A Peak
BEC Voltage / A – 5.0V 2.0A Peak
PWM Frequency – 6 KHZ
The motor that comes with the Wraith is fast enough, while still having enough low end grunt to do a bit of crawling. The motor is a typical closed end bell so it has less torque than a traditional EPIC or Yokomo end bell, but it does a nice job and it’s another motor option for us scale junkies.
The AS-2 servo is pretty simple by design with a 120oz at 6 volts it gets the job done for a short time. The bad thing about this servo is that it does not come with a ball bearing support for the servo output gear. My Wraith with a week of hard runtime has worn out the servo’s bushing. The servo itself is still more than functional; it just has a lot of lateral slop. I will have to take the servo apart and see if I can locate a replacement bearing for it.
A night touch to this kit is the included AX24257 light kit, which includes 4 – white and 2 – red LED lights and the controller board. All the light buckets mount to the cage work with the wires tucked up and out of the way for a nice clean look.
The electronics box is one of my favorite parts to this kit. Its’ small, water resistant and best of all it looks very close to a fuel cell. The electronics box houses the receiver and LED controller board and sits up underneath the hood. It’s a very simple and elegant design.
For me the first thing that I noticed on the Wraith was the new off-set axles, however there is more to these axles than just functional good looks.
Removable Diff Covers
Having a removable diff cover allows a builder to service and replace spools so much easier. I typically have two spools made for my scale rigs. An over drive spool, for rock type courses and a standard spool for courses containing more dirt. This easily accessible diff cover really makes it nice and easy to swap out or service them.
Pinned Bevel Gear Shafts
NO MORE SET SCREWS!!!! Did you get that? The new bevel gear shaft is now drilled through to allow a set screw pin to be used, reducing the chances of you loosing a drive shaft. Now I know they where released a bit ago, but I have yet to see one in the wild and I’m sick of taking mine to a machinist to have them drilled. Now there factory made and I couldn’t be happier.
XR-10 Aluminum Knuckles and C Hubs
Standard aluminum XR-10 knuckles and C hubs fit like a charm on this rig so there is no waiting for after market parts (AX30760 and AX30762).
Something that I really appreciate on an axle like this is its modular design. For example the shock mounts and 4-link mount are all separate pieces. This allows a builder the luxury of making/designing his/her own parts. For example leaf mounts? How about a 3-Link kit? The potential for modifications is endless.
WOW!!!! I noticed a lot more steering with these new XR-10 style steering knuckles and C hubs and with Axials new aftermarket universals (AX30780) the rig will get an additional 10 degrees more steering than the OEM setup.
The Wraith tranny is very similar to the traditional SCX-10 tranny, with the exception of a few tweaks.
The Wraith tranny comes ready to install Axials dig unit (AX30793) and as such has a slightly different outdrive shaft, called a Dig Lockout shaft. This longer outdrive shaft allows the tranny to mate perfectly with the Axial dig unit.
Axials new dust cover comes installed from the factory and is a nice welcome to the traditional open spur/pinion setup. I will be buying the dust cover assembly for all my Axial based rigs (AX8007.
The Wraith drive lines are really cool, and there design makes them 100% rebuild able. The joint is all metal and mounts to the drive shaft via a keyed insert. The drive shafts themselves have changed in that they are now a multi splined design, making them more friction free. Only time will tell, but this design looks much stronger than the traditional universals and much easier to build. Long gone are the days of trying to snap a universal into the drive shaft, stabbing yourself in the hand while parts fly every which way.
The Wraith shocks are your standard AX-10 shocks and work great. One thing that I thought was cool was the variable rate pistons that come with the kit. I have never used a variable rate piston on a crawler, but it will be interesting to see how the different rates work with this beast.
Body / Cage / Interior
The lexan panels that are included have a wicked cool paint job and really set off the Wraith with a fast and rugged look. I measured the thickness of the lexan and its .040” thick, so strength shouldn’t be an issue. All the lexan panels are fairly simple shapes so for those vendors that specialize in vinyl wraps, this is going to be a haven for custom work.
The cage work is incredibly intricate. The entire foundation and structure from the shocks to the tranny are all built around the cage work. I have never noticed any undo flex, or quirky behavior due to it all being made from plastic. In fact it’s this plastic design that gives it the resilience that it has. I have jumped, dropped, slammed, flipped, rolled and bashed the crap out of this rig and it’s still holding up perfectly.
Something that I can really appreciate is the finished look even underneath the body panels. Taking off the roof panel for example gives the rig a whole new look and really shows off the finished product. It’s simply incredible!!!!
I have taken a few shots of the interior, but until you see it up close, you can’t really appreciate how much work is put into its design, fit and finish. The bends and angles that the interior has to work around is incredible and it really makes the rig look amazing. One thing with a rig like this is that there is nowhere to hide unsightly parts. It’s all out in the open and the interior of the Wraith could have been a huge mistake, but Axial nailed it.
The seats are two piece, they weigh 54 grams each and recline. I hope Axial stocks a ton of these because I can see them in a lot of scale builds in the future.
The dash is a separate piece measuring 6” x .75”. I predict that it will be used in a lot of scale builds in the future as well.
The Wraith comes with (AX80037) interior kit (guns and all, however there not installed LOL). This really finishes the interior off with a set of shifters, steering wheel and oh **** handle.
Tires and Wheels
If the Wraith had and Achilles heel it would be the wheel set. There not terrible, but there not the G35 sticky compound and there not weighted. What can you expect though? I predict that this will be the first upgrade guys make to the Wraith. The wheel set in stock form weigh 5.7 oz. That’s light!!!! For my personal rig, I plan on having two wheel sets. The stock set for rock racing and the R35/Weighted set for crawling. As a test I tried to break the glue bead on the stock wheel set…Not happening LOL!!! These are glued well and very clean.
I will say this about the stock tire. After a day of crawling with this rig on the rocks, the tires actually scrubbed in and began working much better. They also turn blue over time LOL!!!!
The only thing that I wanted to mention here was that it’s all hex head hardware and that gets two thumbs up from me.
Axial has once again hit a major home run with the Wraith. It’s fun at high speeds, its fun to jump, its fun to race and its fun to crawl. There is a huge potential for creative modifications with this rig. In the world of RC, it’s nearly impossible to design a unique rig these days, and Axial has done the impossible.