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Review: Axial Wraith Spawn

Off-road Inspiration!

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Photos: Walter Sidas
From RC Driver Issue: 135

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The off-road scenario: there are challenging piles of rock, loose dirt that can pose a challenge for many vehicles. Why should it? Many bashers want a machine that will just pulverize anything in its path and that’s why Axial’s Wraith has become a popular choice for off-roaders who want to just flat out get aggressive with the throttle. It’s amazing what the Wraith can do and what enthusiasts have done to it to customize the rig. So its no surprise with the popularity of the Wraith that Axial added another version of the platform to their stable, this time with a more custom look, but with the same off-road ability. The Wraith Spawn is built off of inspiration from off-road’s past with today’s RC technology that delivers on reliable action. Should you add the Spawn to your RC fleet?

AT A GLANCE

WHO MAKES IT: Axial
WHO IT’S FOR: Terrain thrashers that want a go anywhere beast
PART NUMBER: AX90045
HOW MUCH: $369.99
BUILD TYPE: RTR

PROS
• Cool primer color one piece body
• Ripsaw tires are just awesome on many surfaces
• Excellent electronics package
• Lots of hop-up options available
• Great all terrain truck for bashing

CONS
• Great electronics, but no high power battery T-connector


REVIEWER’S OPINION

The Spawn Wraith is, well, it’s a Wraith, but there’s something about this one that made me want it more than the previous versions. Perhaps it’s the one-piece body, maybe the gnarly tires or the fact that it’s a go anywhere Axial machine. Give in to the Wraith Spawn, don’t be afraid, it won’t let you down.

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TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• 4-way wrench
• Extra Parts, such as endlinks, driveshafts and mounts

ITEMS NEEDED
• Charger, 7.2V Battery with Tamiya connector and 4 “AA” batteries

ITEMS USED
Duratrax Onyx 3000mAh NiMh Battery, DTXC2055, For twenty bucks, this pack with the standard plug worked great for getting the rig going, in fact I picked up two for extended play.
Duratrax 110 Onyx Charger, DTXP4191, To keep costs down, the 110 is a good option for NiMh packs, it will charge them at 4-Amps.
Duratrax “AA” Batteries, DTXP4704, Have you noticed a Duratrax theme here? Thought so. Finishing out the needed items is “AA” batteries from the DTX line. The 4-pack is all you need.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED
• None

HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
Aluminum Servo Horn, AX30836 The servo horn is a stressed part when driving on the rocks, the stock horn may flex or strip, so eliminate that chance with a amping aluminum arm from the Axial option list.
Aluminum Steering Knuckle, AX30760 I’m all for beefing up the steering components on any machine and I always look for a knuckle upgrade. Axial offers aluminum knuckles, which will have stronger steering support.
Heavy Duty Aluminum Straight Link, AX30790, After sliding over a lot of rocks during testing, the lower links looked pretty beat up. The aluminum lower link options should hold up longer than the plastic units and look great too.

FEATURE BREAKDOWN
The composite plastic tube frame style chassis gives this rig its killer all-business, rock racer look. The front and rear sections of the frame have mounting locations built in to support the upper shock mount. The cross braced frame keeps everything solid including the rear battery tray. The lower center skid is a solid slab of composite plastic that supports the center transmission and serves as the suspension link pivot mounts. In the front, a receiver box with three seals to keep out the baddies sits right behind the servo. Then to finish off the look of the chassis, Axial has inserted a Lexan cockpit complete with driver figure that is safety concerned with his motocross helmet and licensed Sparco seat-belt decals.

The 4-link suspension setup consists of thick composite links with cross-drilled holes to give them a rugged beam-like look. The shocks are high end for composite plastic socks, they have threaded bodies that allow you to adjust the spring preload. The suspension has excellent articulation and will keep the truck stable when navigating rocky surfaces.

The steering on the Wraith is simple, a fixed rod off the servo arm mates up with the drag link that connects the two steering knuckles. The links are plastic and the drag link bumps out to clear the axle pumpkin.AXIAL-wraith-spawn-01w

The driveline starts at the centrally mounted gearbox. The motor and pinion mate up with a dual pad slipper clutch and 32-pitch spur under the gear cover. Inside, three gears send power to the outdrives where the WB8 HD splined slider style driveshafts send power to the famous Wraith AR60 axles. These strong axles with offset pumpkin allow for excellent clearance over rocky roads. The differential is locked and power is pushed to the wheels via steel driveshafts. Everything rides on bearings and the gears are steel for maximum durability.

For electronics, an Axial AE-5 speed control sits on a plate mount attached to the frame. The ESC is LiPo compatible and will handle 3S. It’s also waterproof and has simple plugs that allow you to switch between LiPo and NiMh or to change drag brake. The ESC sends power to a 20T brushed can motor, just fine for those who are going to drive in the nasty elements. Then we get to the steering servo, a Tactic TSX45. It’s great to see such a good servo with metal gears and 151in.-oz. of torque stuffed in the front of this rig, no need for an immediate upgrade here. An AX-3 2.4GHz radio comes bound to the Spawn and has all the basic features necessary to tweak, like steering, throttle and dual rate trims. This radio works great and we doubt we’ll ever swap it for anything else.

Axial’s Spawn SUV body was developed by the Axial crew that sat down and thought of their favorite old school off-roaders and then combined all the cool cues and came up with a wild full body to fit over the Wraith frame. The Lexan was hit with a can of gray primer color and some finishing touch decals added. The real cool part is that axial cut out all of the windows except for the windshield. Axia’s 2.2-inch Ripsaw tires are a perfect collection of properly spaced lugs molded in a soft compound rubber mated with Method beadlock wheels in order to grab terrain and get the Spawn where you intend to drive it.

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THE DRIVE
The Wraith Spawn is really a go-anywhere machine so my anywhere was the local BMX track with park-like surroundings with rocks, roots, dirt and fun off-road terrain to bash on. First up was to rip on the throttle and check the top speed on a long dirt road. The speed was good, right on par with what I was expecting from a rig that is deemed a rock racer. I motored back and forth on the dirt and every time I let off, the drag brake in the ESC locked up the wheels and the Spawn would come to a grinding halt, almost lifting the rear wheels off the ground. For fun driving, I adjusted the brake plug so the brake would give 50% braking power.

With plenty of full speed fun, sand spins and stoppies under my belt, I had the urge to run on some of the fallen rock walls around the track’s outer perimeter. I adjusted the drag brake plug back to the factory setting for more drag brake and started running up and over the rocks. The Ripsaw tires have excellent grip on the textured rocks and pulled the Spawn up some challenging locked up the wheels and the Spawn would come to a grinding halt, almost lifting the rear wheels off the ground. For fun driving, I adjusted the brake plug so the brake would give 50% braking power.

With plenty of full speed fun, sand spins and stoppies under my belt, I had the urge to run on some of the fallen rock walls around the track’s outer perimeter. I adjusted the drag brake plug back to the factory setting for more drag brake and started running up and over the rocks. The Ripsaw tires have excellent grip on the textured rocks and pulled the Spawn up some challengingAXIAL-wraith-spawn-02wAXIAL-wraith-spawn-03w

SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS

DIMENSIONS
LENGTH: 19.25 in. (490mm)
WIDTH: 11.2 in. (285mm)
WEIGHT: 5.45 lbs. (2.47kg)
WHEELBASE: 14 in. (355mm)

BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Pre-painted Spawn SUV
WHEELS: Method IFD beadlock wheels
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 12mm hex
TIRES: Ripsaw 2.2 all-terrain lug

SUSPENSION
TYPE: 4-Link
SHOCK POSITIONS: 3-upper positions
CAMBER: Fixed
ROLL: Front- Fixed
WHEELBASE: Fixed
RIDE HEIGHT: Adjustable collars on the shocks

STEERING
TYPE: Direct Link
TOE: Fixed

CHASSIS
TYPE: Tube frame style
MATERIAL: Composite plastic
THICKNESS: N/A

DRIVETRAIN
TYPE: 4WD
TRANSMISSION: 3-gear center
DIFFERENTIAL: Locked
GEAR RATIO: Optional pinion gears
BEARINGS: Full set/ shielded
CLUTCH TYPE: Adjustable dual pad slipper

WRAP UP
So the Axial Wraith Spawn is just another Wraith to many, but I for one think Axial is on the right track offering variety off each of their popular platforms. The Spawn sports a cool custom full body look, comes with a killer wheel and tire combo, water resistant electronics and a go-anywhere off-road design. If you’ve been thinking about getting a Wraith for some awesome adventures, the Spawn has the looks and ability that will deliver big time in action department.

LINKS
Axial Racing axialracing.com, 949-600-8642
Duratrax distributed exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors, duratrax.com, 800-682-8948

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