Review- Axial SCX24 Deadbolt

What’s up folks. Evol here with my “semi-annual” scale RC blog. I know I only show up to blog once in a blue moon, but hey I’m a busy guy. Rest assured my passion for all things RC and particularly scale RC is still alive and well, even if my whereabouts have been in question. Enough with all that boring blah blah, let us get to the point of why you clicked on this link. To get my thoughts on what I am calling:

The Biggest Little Thing in Crawling in a Long Time

Now we are used to seeing different smaller variations of models from Axial like the Yeti Jr/ and later the CanAm UTV thing, but those are more inconsequential to me because they aren’t crawlers. Axials core competency has always been in the crawler and later scaler segment of the hobby. They came in and defined it, and have owned it ever since. Even with other key players making legitimate products (some arguably better) that threatened Axials position, I don’t think Axial ever left the public mind’s eye as the owner of the scale arena; even when they were in dire financial trouble due to a failing parent company.

The SCX24 comes a critical time when new owner Horizon Hobby is still making its first impression of what they are going to do with this hugely popular brand.  I think the SCX24 is a great early move for them for several reasons. It avoids costly licensing deals, improves on some weak points in their RTR offerings and comes in at a price point that fills a huge hole in Axials crawler lineup. Have I mentioned the 109 dollar price tag? You get a huge amount of bang for your buck with this truck. Just how good is it? Read on and find out why.

 

First some critical details:


What do you need to get this rolling?: It is a Ready to Run (RTR) so not much. Everything is in the box to get you rolling except your sense of adventure.

Scale: 1/24th

Is it waterproof? : The manual mentions wet weather conditions so I would recommend splash only, do not submerge.

Ball Bearings? : Full ball bearings throughout, however, the brushed motor appears to ride on bushings.

Hardware: Metric Hex

Price: $109

Where to buy: Any local hobby shop. I picked mine up at HobbyTown USA in Kansas City Missouri, who helped support this review so if you are a KC local please support them by picking yours up there. You can find them at 6265 N Oak Trfy Kansas City, MO 64118 – (816) 459-9590


 

First impressions: First impressions of this model are really good. With the body off of this thing, it really resembles its big brother the SCX10. From its C-channel frame and solid axles design to the “dead ringer” for the 1/10th scale Deadbolt body. Even the shocks look like the 1/10 scale versions with the now almost trademark remote reservoir.  Round that out with some KMC scale wheels and super detailed Nitto tires and this thing looks the part for sure. The best part? A super low barrier to entry. 109 dollars gets you a lipo powered RTR scale crawler that anyone can go out and have some fun with. If you are on the fence about dropping 400 dollars on an entry level scaler because you aren’t sure if you are going to like it, this will definitely scratch the itch. The only problem is the itch is likely to spread into owning a whole shelf full of these like I do. This truck fills a perfect niche for the young aspiring scale enthusiast or any curious RC modeler on a budget.

Quality: I’m impressed with this little truck. The build quality seems quite good for an entry-level model. It features hex hardware throughout. and even includes hex wrenches to work on it in case you do not have the proper tools. Though its intricate suspension seems super small it seems to be pretty robust. I turned this loose with my 4yr old and he rough and tumbled it around with no ill effects. The suspension links have a lot of give and bounce right back from an impact. The servo has plenty of heft to turn the front wheels when in a bind which is impressive because whimpy servos are the norm in this price arena. In the power department the 88 turn brushed motor has tons of torque for low speed crawling, but decent wheel speed when needed. Gearing appears to be spot on because even on extended runs I didn’t notice any excessive heat from the motor. This truck should give you plenty of quality hours of operation and long run times.

 

Handling: Handling is not the SCX24s strong point out of the box. It does feature a rear 4 link setup which is great, but the boingy friction shocks really negate any favorable suspension qualities. Even at low speeds it lumbers along like a wagon with enough violence to shake up your scale soft drinks. So does this make the SCX24 any less fun to drive? No it’s still fun, it just looks a little comical. The tiny friction shocks are removable/repairable which is good, but the real find here upon disassembly is to find that there is a channel inside the shock body big enough to stuff some grease into. Now I don’t usually include modifications in a kit review, but as this can be done by doing nothing except adding your choice of grease to an otherwise completely stock truck, I’m going to make an exception. I did a short video here on how to do this. The e-clip on the shock shaft acts as a piston and the grease adds some much-needed dampening. This mod alone transformed the SCX24. It went from looking like a toy when running on the rocks to a serious scale machine. I can’t recommend doing this enough to yours should you decide to pick one up.

 

Chassis: Not much to say here. The scx24 features a scaled-down version of the scx10s twin c-channel chassis. Centrally mounted motor and transmission mated to 2 telescoping driveshafts that transfer power to the axles. The battery is located low in the rear two-thirds of the truck with the lighter ESC mounted high above the steering servo. Weight bias is low and forward which is great because of the limited options with the electronics layout. Finishing out the chassis is a nice hinge at the rear to allow for easy under body access. Just pull the 2 front body clips and the whole thing flips up and out of the way. Very handy. It also includes some optional links to change the wheelbase if you choose. This gives me some hope that some other body options might be in the pipeline.

Axles: The SCX24 features worm drive axles. While in past models like the Losi Comp Crawler used a similar design and these were not my favorite thing, but they do make a lot of sense in this mini. You see when power is not applied through the driveshaft on a worm drive axle it will not spin. This equates to instant drag brake when off throttle…..Instant 100% fully locked brakes……instant endo-inducing, end-over-end flipping, cartwheeling down a hill, brakes. Not the greatest when it comes to finessing your way down a tricky incline, but I get the tradeoff here. Space is at a premium inside the chassis and the natural physical characteristic of a worm drive axle helps keep the footprint of the electronics small. The axle housings are a one-piece molded plastic unit with ball bearings throughout. They even use a tiny cross pin and hex hub to drive the wheels. Telescoping driveshafts to allow bind-free suspension flex just like its big brother. If you have wrenched on a 1/10th scale Axial model, this is going to be very familiar to you under the hood.

Electronics: Electronics is an area I am happy to report that have made major strides over the last few generations of Axial kits. With Horizon now at the controls at Axial the radio equipment is much improved. The radio and ESC/receiver combo are 2.4 ghz and if the gray transparent case is any indicator, appear to be Spektrum based. The 3 channel radio is much more comfortable and much more attractive than in past generations. I’m also happy to see many more options for control appear in the transmitter as well. Things like dual rate, analog trim knobs, servo reversing, a 3rd channel and even a throttle trim switch that acts as a speed selector to slow things down for beginning drivers. No fiddly ESC options to turn on, just flip a switch on the radio and dad can have fun with this too.

The speed control and receiver are housed in the same case. So if something goes wrong you are replacing the entire unit. The good part of this is if something goes wrong there isn’t much guesswork in what needs to be replaced. The ESC also has a mystery brake jumper on it. The manual says this allows you to choose between instant reverse and braking, but as this is a worm drive rig there is absolutely no need for braking since the axles do all the braking for you. I suspect this just selects between instant reverse and reverse delay mode. And finally, the electronics appear to be at least splash-proof when the going gets wet, so the PCB probably has a coating of water repellent on it, but I would not go full submarine unless you have done the prep work to make this thing fully submersible.

When the batteries go flat you simply plug the included 2 cell lipo into the also included USB powered balance charger and it will do the rest. When the light turns green re-install into the truck and you are ready to go again. As an enthusiast, I love that this thing comes lipo equipped. The balance charger should keep things on an even keel for many troublefree cycles, but as a parent, this still concerns me a bit. I love lipo batteries but mishandled they can cause some serious safety issues. Parents, please supervise the charging of this vehicle if buying this for a child.

Looks: The looks of the SCX24 are amazing. While I haven’t been a huge fan of the 1/10th scale Deadbolt body over the years the 24 pulls off the look well. The molded roll cage and scale driver look great in this small scale. The Licensed KMC XD229 Machete wheels and Nitto Trail Grappler MT tires really help sell the realism, and the included lighting finishes up the look. The body comes pre-painted in sort of an OD green or a bright red. (Anyone who knows me knows I had to go for the red!) to give you some options if you are driving with a friend.

 

Performance: The SCX24 has some hangups, but there is a lot to like here. While the worm drive axles don’t take the place of an ESC with adjustable drag brake, they do offer excellent clearance at the center pumpkin. (one advantage of a worm drive setup). This allows the mini Deadbolt to slither over some pretty challenging terrain with ease. The skid plate of the chassis also has great clearance to keep “belly flopping” to a minimum. Side hilling is also drama free. The low chassis CG really aids performance here and the tires are stiff enough that they do not roll under when in extreme off camber situations.

The included electronics perform admirably as well. The 88 turn brushed motor and speed control offer great throttle resolution and control. I had no issues related to power delivery. Smooth and no surprises, exactly what you want on a crawler.  The AS-1 Servo is another highpoint. It performed flawlessly with plenty of power and has a servo saver to keep the gears safe in the event of a fall or bind. My only nag as mentioned above is the abysmal shocks. They really make a pretty well-designed chassis and suspension layout look terrible if driving at any speed. Add a little dampening with my trick from above and that concern is moot. Axial could have done this from the factory with minimal impact to the price if any, but it’s a minor gripe and easy to address.

 

Final Thoughts: There are a lot of things done right here. This isn’t some rebranded el-cheapo no-name model with a sticker on it. This is a well thought out and designed truck for the beginning RC enthusiast. It has enough features to interest the experienced hobbyist and the price point that makes this a great entry level scaler. Use of durable materials in high-stress areas of the model such as axle shafts, stubs and motor plate means that this truck should have great longevity. On the subject of parts that is another point I should make. Horizon Hobby is a powerhouse in the industry. You can pick up this model and expect to have great parts support for years to come thanks to a well-placed distribution network. When this thing breaks you won’t be tossing it in the bin, you will actually be able to fix it which in this hobby is half the fun.

 

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I would really appreciate it

 

Keep the shiny side up!

-Evol


The TLDR:

Likes: Great price point, lots of run time, looks great.

Dislikes: friction shocks, no drag brake.

Buy or not? Definite buy, esp if you are new to scaling. Great way to get your feet wet.


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About Evol 42 Articles
I entered the hobby in the golden age of RC when race cars and bashers were the same thing. I have over 29 years of experience and have participated in almost every segment of RC there is. For the last 6 years I have immersed myself in the media side of RC in the efforts of converting my passion for RC into my job. From video editing and photography to writing about drift cars and scalers, RC continues to be my passion and probably will be for the foreseeable future.