Thunder Tiger Tiger Crawler 1/18 scale RC rock crawler mini-review
Thunder Tiger's Tiger Crawler is a small, inexpensive entry-level rock crawler. It comes as ready-to-run kit, all you need are 8 AA batteries for the transmitter to get going.
The car is 290mm long and 190mm wide. Its electronics are waterproofed with silicone housings and gaskets -- though we haven't run ours yet in wet conditions to check how well this holds up.
[Update: in the mean time we have! Check out our YouTube video]
The supplied 500mAh 7.2V NiMH rechargeable battery lasts easily an hour of driving and crawling. By rearranging the included 3 channel micro receiver a 2S 800mAh LiPo fits inside the electronics box, providing even greater run-time.
The motor is brushed and of 280 size. It is driven by a tiny 20A ESC that does provides smooth motor control and does not get warm at all. The drive system uses ball bearings, the tires are nicely glued.
The included 2.4 GHz 3-channel transmitter and receiver are basic but work well and do provide all necessary adjustments such as trims, dual-rate for the steering and endpoint adjustments for the throttle.
The Tiger Crawler is fun both indoors and outdoors. Don't expect it to perform like an Axial XR 10 though: the underside of the Tiger Crawler has a lot of edges where it can get stuck and seesaw on objects. Despite weights in the rims, it has a rather high center-of-gravity and therefore rolls over backwards if you go up too steep. On slippery surfaces like stone floors indoors it under-steers a lot due to the locked axles.
Nevertheless, it is a lot of fun crawling over roots of trees and rocks in the local park. Make up a course and see who can finish it with the least number of times of getting stuck. During rainy days it doesn't stay unused either: just build your own obstacles at home out of furniture, pillows, towels and blankets! The Tiger Crawler is an excellent beginners vehicle as its top speed is just a fast walking pace. Crawling teaches you gentle throttle control.
The Tiger Crawler is relatively sturdy for its size. We haven't broken anything yet, though one of the axle ends came off after a 50cm fall when it landed on a rear wheel. It took just a minute to click it back on. In case anything should go wrong there are spare parts for sale. [Update: as Murphy would have it, things started to go wrong soon after this review: read about our rear axle repair]
All in all: an unusual, fun and inexpensive beginners vehicle.