Axial Wraith Kit Review
Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
Savox 1210SG Servo
Axial weight rings (front only)
RC4WD Steering Links
ST Racing Knuckles
Level 3 RC Droop kit
MIP Drive Shafts
Traxxas Big Bore Emaxx shocks
Sidewinder 3 SCT 3800kv combo
Spektrum 301 Receiver / DX4S Tx.
Spektrum glitch buster
- Fun as heck
- Scale looks
- Durable parts (for stock set up)
- TONS of aftermarket parts
- Almost infinite set up options
- A few upgrades over the RTR
- Reasonably easy to build
- Easy to paint
- No beadlocks included
- Body panels not predrilled
- A few weak points
- Leaky shocks
- Once built, hard to work on chassis
I'm going to start this review similar to my SCX10 and Yeti Kit reviews. On the surface side of RC, I am generally a basher, however, I don't like to box myself into categories. Aside from my basher trucks, I do have a buggy (don't race it), I do have a touring car (don't race it), and I have a few crawlers, but I do not compete, nor do I do trail runs in the traditional sense. If you are like me, just a guy/gal who likes variety in their RC collection, and you've taken interest in the Axial Wraith, keep reading. FYI, this review, like most of my reviews, will be light on technical info and jargon, and concentrate on my straight experience and impressions.
As I mentioned above, I have quite a few different style RC cars and trucks. I got to a point where I wanted to explore the slower side of RC trucks so I started looking at crawlers. I got the SCX10s that I reviewed, and was then inspired to grab another Axial vehicle. The Wraith caught my eye because it was larger, had bigger tires, and had a more beefy look to it. Once again I took to the forums and was floored by the amount of options and setups folks were doing to the Wraith. In my confusion, I went to my trusted advisors at the local hobby shop. Several of the car guys owned Wraiths, and they all told me how they had set them up. I went with a mix of what they had told me and decided on the equipment I listed. Although I usually like to keep to a tighter budget, I spent a little more on my Wraith because I wanted it bullet proof for my son. He loves driving our cars insanely and also always wants to get them wet. I don't trust myself to do waterproofing so all of the electronics I purchases are all waterproof.
As a note, much of the higher end equipment I purchased was MOSTLY based on the motor setup I decided on. I am not much of a serious crawler, and though I wanted the option of crawling, I wanted this Wraith to be on the faster side of the Wraith world. The RTR has a much more basic setup, but it since it is not as powerful and fast as my setup, it doesn't need the heavy duty stuff.
So as far as the build goes, it was pretty straight forward and really gratifying. It was my first build and I completed it without any hiccups. It would have taken me much less time to build had I used power tools, but since I do my RC building late at night, I didn't want to wake anyone. If you do use power tools on building one of these, I suggest you use a slow setting and do not screw all the way in with the electric screw driver. There is a decent amount of plastic you have to screw into, and if you go too far too firmly, you'll strip the threads. Because you also build the tube frame, be prepared for a lot of screwing hehe. I hadn't planned on upgrading the shocks even though I had read that they sucked. I like to give manufacturers the benefit of the doubt. Well, these do kinda suck. I guess they are okay if you don't mind them leaking (and no, it's not just me, these shocks are notorious leakers). The Traxxas Big Bore Emaxx shocks are awesome, the are strong, durable, pretty cheap, and they actually lower the truck a little.
So now onto my setup and my experiences. When we talk Wraiths, and we say FAST, we really mean, "Fast for a Wraith" or "Way faster than an SCX10". If you are coming from the world of faster RC cars and trucks, and expect that here, this is not the truck for you. Even if you geared it and installed an ultra fast brushless system, the handling would disappoint you. So, on my first day out (with stock shocks and knuckles, Hitec waterproof metal gear servo and no droop kit) I was having a decent time with the truck. It had the speed that I had expected going in. I hadn't counted on the amount of rolling it did. I am posting Jang's video from UltimateRC below for some reference (and that is on the slow RTR setup). It was still a fun truck to drive, but I now understood why so many people had advised me to just run it, and figure out my likes and dislikes, and then start modifying or changing the setup.
I knew I wanted less rolling over, so I got the droop kit from Level 3 RC. There are others on the market, but I think this is the only one that does not require you to slice up your hood. What a difference this inexpensive upgrade made. When I tired of the leaky shocks, I decided on the Emaxx shocks. That lowered the ride a tiny bit more and gave it a more plush feel also. I entered a friendly competition at the hobby shop and made a fool of myself. I expected that as I am a total newb in the crawling world, and the guys there had fine tuned crawlers. I fell off of an obstacle (just a few feet up) and the knuckle broke on one side... so I upgraded that too. When a few of the guys saw my truck struggling to get up a few obstacles, they recommended I either mod the setup to have my battery up front or add some weight to the front wheels. I decided to use Axial's wheel weights as I did not trust myself to be precise enough with the do it yourself approach. WOW, what a difference that made too! The last thing that I upgraded was the original servo I had bought. It was good, and with the way I drive, I probably wouldn't have stripped it, but my ultimate durability tester (my 8 year old son) was driving it full speed, bouncing off of the terrain and turning the steering at the same time. Wraiths are already hard on their servos, so add it maniacal driving with a mid-grade servo, and it's going to strip. Almost half the teeth were stripped off. Since upgrading to the Savox servo, it has been unstoppable.
In the end, much of what I had been told about the Wraith was true. It is a TOTALLY AWESOME truck, once you get it the way you like it. So much of what you put on it, will be based on your power setup. If you are going with more mild power, you certainly won't need as many upgrades. I LOVE my Wraith and it is one of those vehicles that I will never part with. It is a specialty truck though, and it is one I feel is more suited to guys that already have at least a small collection of RC vehicles and they want to diversify a little. If you want real speed, but love Axial, then get a Yeti or Yeti XL (I love them both). Like the other Axial vehicles, there are so many after market parts out there, you can easily drop way over $1,000 on your build or as low as a few hundred... the choice is totally up to you. I referenced Jang's review of the Wraith before, but I really urge you to watch it. My review is more of an addition to his. Man I really miss that guy, he guided me into some great vehicles and of course saved me some $$$ by warning me of some of the lemons out there. I think what Jang says about the RTR is valid for the kit also.
I will strongly recommend this truck to anyone looking for a unique, fun to drive and tinker with rock racer.