Not all that long ago there was a time when there weren’t any rock crawling kits or RTRs (ready-to-runs) available to purchase. Hobbyist would take an RC vehicle, highly modify it by trying different parts and setups so that it could conquer seemingly impossible obstacles. The same can be said for full size rock crawlers where people would take their stock 4×4 trucks and customize them for crawling and/or trail running. Part of the fun was the trial an error process that came with building these one-off specialized trucks. The challenge made it interesting and worth the time and effort. Modifying, testing, failing and then trying something else was how people would figure out how to make their truck able to conqueror the terrain they run on. The very same concept transfers to the RC world. A big part of the fun is figuring out how to make your own truck tackle the obstacles that you typically face. An added benefit in RC is we are able to make changes to the appearance of our rigs to cause it look more the part where the change is just about looks and not for a performance improvement. As many people do, I like to not only have my truck perform well, but also look the part. Today we are very fortunate that we have so many rock crawlers available to us in kit and RTR form. This means the hard work is done for us and we are left with customizing our rigs to personalize them to our tastes. A go-to location for quality aftermarket parts and accessories is Pro-Line. Pro-Line has loads of products available for the rock crawling segment that can make your stock truck look and even perform better.
When you are customizing your rock crawler, be sure that the parts you are getting will work with your specific crawler. Here we are selecting items to outfit one of our stock Axial SCX10 crawlers and you can use this as a guide for your truck if you don’t own a SCX10.
First off, we are changing out the stock Axial body in favor of Pro-Line’s hot retro 1985 Toyota HiLux SR5 body (#3466-00). Now you don’t have to do a body swap to customize your crawler because there are plenty of accessories offered by Pro-Line and other aftermarket manufacturers that will allow you to personalize your truck and make it your own. The main reason why we selected the Toyota HiLux SR5 is that it comes in two separate pieces…the cab and the bed. Our plan is to use just the cab of the HiLux and mate it to the Pro-Line Back-Half Cage (#6322-00). Pro-Line did an awesome job in capturing the fine scale details of the full-size 1985 Toyota HiLux which is officially licensed by Toyota. It is constructed of crystal clear genuine GE Lexan, has paint-then-peel overspray film on the outside of the body, includes a detailed decal sheet which will all help ensure your truck looks incredible once you lay down your very own paint scheme. Although our plan is to install the Pro-Line Back-Half Cage, hold onto the bed that comes with the HiLux so that you can later install it in place of the cage when you want a different look.
The Pro-Line Back-Half Cage (#6322-00) is one of the new additions to Pro-Line’s accessory line-up and will definitely make a crawler stand out from others. It is made of extremely durable Black Nylon and is designed to resemble a custom welded cage. The Back-Half Cage comes as a kit where you assemble it using the included metric hardware. You then install it to the cab of the body, which in this case is the Toyota Hilux. The molded in gas tank detail also acts as the spot for the rear body post holes. A couple very cool features of the Back-Half Cage is the spot designated for mounting a spare tire and wheel and a rack for attaching scale accessories.
To further make a personalized crawler more realistic, a Pro-Line PL-T Interior (#3497-00) can be installed into the cab of the Toyota HiLux body. It comes molded in clear Lexan and is meant as a direct fit to the Pro-Line 1991 Toyota 4Runner Body (#3481-00). In order to make it fit in the Toyota HiLux body, you would just have to trim behind the front seats and it will slide right into place. The interior includes many carefully sculpted details common to trucks from the 80’s. Scale dash, shifter console and door handles decals come with the interior and all that is left for you to add is a steering wheel of your choosing.
So far the aforementioned mods will make a truck look much different, but if you want to go a bit crazy and outfit the truck to look like it is headed for a serous crawling expedition…check out these other crawler option parts from Pro-Line. The roof of the Toyo is a bit bare and can be decked out with a Pro-Line Overland Scale Roof Rack (#6278-00). It perfectly integrates with the Pro-line 4” Super-Bright LED Light Bar Kit (#6276-01) as well as the Pro Line 2” Super-Bright LED Light Bar Kit (#6276-00) in which they not only look realistic, but they also offer plenty of lighting for those dusk trail runs. The 4” Light Bar fits nicely in the front opening of the Roof Rack and an included mount for the 2” Light Bar allows you to attach it to the rear of the rack. Like the Back-Half Cage, the Overland Scale Roof Rack is constructed of durable Black Nylon and comes with the necessary plastic mounts and hardware. The mounts have a hemispherical shape that will allow the Overland Roof Rack to be mount on body and cage surfaces that are not completely flat. You will notice that Pro-Line designed the Overland with many cutouts covering the bottom for scale straps and ties to attach to. This allows you to add various other scale accessories to the rack and have a way to keep them held in place.
Pro-Line Overland Scale Roof Rack (#6278-00).
Turning our attention to the chassis of our Axial SCX10, the look of the front end can be altered with the Pro-Line Ridge-Line High-Clearance Crawler Front Bumper (#6341-00). Pro-Line designed this bumper to not only work with the SCX10/II but also the Traxxas TRX-4 and Vaterra Ascender. The goal of this bumper was to offer remarkable scale appearance while also giving the highest front bumper clearance. Pro-Line made this bumper to be very versatile where you can either run with the molded winch fairlead or swap it out and install the Pro Line 2” Super-Bright LED Light Bar Kit (#6276-00) for an integrated bumper light. Furthermore, the bumper comes with a push bar that can be installed as well as D-Ring shackles that nicely finish off the scale look of this bumper. Mounting hardware is included with the bumper.
Next are two option parts that will aid in the rock crawling performance of a truck and its overall appearance…wheels and tires. For this build we chose the Pro-Line FaultLine 1.9” Bead-Loc 10 Spoke Wheels (#2748-15) wrapped with a full set of Pro-Line Class 1 Hyrax 1.9” Predator Rock Terrain Truck Tires (#10142-03). The design FaultLine Bead-Locs exude scale realism with its alternating star pattern and molded lug nuts. Each wheel comes with two metal rings to hold the tire securely to the wheel. The outside ring has a decorative scallop design while the inside ring is smooth to give maximum clearance. The main part of the Bead-Loc is constructed of durable Nylon and has a satin black finish. As for the tires we selected, the Class 1 Hyrax rock crawling tire is purpose built for maximum grip on the toughest off-road terrain. Pro-Line molded the Class 1 Hyrax in what can be said to be the softest rock crawling rubber ever made…the all new Predator Compound. It excels on wet or ultra-low traction surfaces so that grip won’t be an issue on your crawler. With close inspection of the Class 1 Hyrax, you will see that it has an aggressive and open tread pattern with each tread block containing multiple sipes for impressive tread flex. On the sidewall is a highly detailed connected tread that is ideal for side-hilling performance and has more forward gripping edges.
The last item we are suggesting for this build has a dual purpose. The Pro-Line Scale Recovery Tow Strap (#6314-00) is for the rock crawling enthusiast which is perfect for getting your scale rig out of tough spots. Whether it be a rollover or if your truck is stuck. The Tow Strap is made of a Kinetic strap material that is fitted with a metal D-Ring for quick attachments to larger tie-off points. On either end are metal hooks and abrasion wraps that have been sewn around the hooks and D-Ring for scale appearance and improved durability. The Pro-Line logo is imprinted onto the strap as well as the scale duffel bag that comes with the Tow Strap. It not only functions as a real tow strap but can also add to the look of your scale crawler by mounting it onto your rig. Then it is ready if the need arises.