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Review: Wraith Spawn Rock Racer Kit

Strength beyond strength!
Photos By Walter Sidas

This article was originally published in RC Driver’s October 2015 issue.

Since I got my first SCX10 a while back, I’ve been waiting for the next version of the Wraith to come out before pulling the trigger on one. The new Wraith Spawn is now available and let’s just say the wait was well worth it. It features all the same great things about the original vehicle, but with a few key improvements and a killer new body. While there is an RTR version also served up by Axial, we were provided with a kit for our review purposes. The build is fairly straightforward and nothing within the assembly process should prove to stump the builder, even for those new to kits. The performance of the Spawn is amazing and though we didn’t opt for the “Scale” speeds suited for climbing duties, our build project turned out far better than we ever anticipated.

AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Axial
WHO IT’S FOR: Anyone
PART NUMBER: AX90056
HOW MUCH: $299.97
BUILD TYPE: Kit

PROS
• Sweet looking Spawn body
• Updated Wildboar drive shafts
• Tons of factory and aftermarket upgrades available
• Full steel differentials take loads of abuse

CONS
• Complicated to wrench on given the scale roll cage

REVIEWER’S OPINION
Axial has been at the forefront of the scaler and crawler world since the release of the original Wraith years ago and they’re back with a new, improved platform for their flagship machine. The Wraith Spawn is the perfect vehicle for rock racing, backyard crawling and even competition rock racing. The 4-link suspension allows for an almost limitless number of mods and upgrades and also offers up nimble performance while traversing the rough stuff. Rather than set our machine up for competition or crawling, we felt a moral obligation for copious amounts of power to make our Spawn the ultimate scale bash machine. What do you get when you cross a Castle Creations Sidewinder SCT system with the new Wraith Spawn? Hours of fun out in the yard or on the trail; that’s what you get.

TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• Four-way wrench and a host of spare plastic parts as there are multiple parts on each tree as supplied from the factory.

ITEMS NEEDED
• Motor and ESC
• Steering Servo
• Radio system
• Building tools
• 7.2v NiMH stick pack or LiPo
• Compatible charger

ITEMS USED

Castle Creations 1/10 SV3 Sidewinder SCT System (010-0123-00) $99.99 Yes, 3800Kv is on the high end of the spectrum for motor choices when building a Wraith. However, the steel diffs and slipper clutch should be more than able to stand up to the grunt of the four-pole motor. Of course the sensorless design will pretty much rule out crawling, but this Spawn has got other intentions than conquering rock piles. Using the Castle Link, we can also fine tune the power delivery and other specs on the system.

Futaba 4PX 4-Channel T-FHSS Transmitter (FUTK4905) $549.99 The flagship surface transmitter for Futaba might be a little overkill for our Spawn basher build, but it’s our “go-to” radio for most projects. Plus, it has loads of crawler features like four-wheel steering mix; just in case we end up modifying our Spawn. The telemetry system is also nice to have to keep a close eye on the temps of our electronics.

Futaba R304SB S.Bus2 Receiver (FUTL7680) $59.99 The tiny R304SB will be safely stowed in the waterproof receiver box under the hood of our Spawn. Sure, it’s only a four-channel system so we can’t go crazy with the peripherals and such, but this rig isn’t about winches and remote switches. It’s about blasting over bumps and jumps of all sizes and shapes.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED
TrakPower LiPo 2S 7.4V 5600mAh 90C Hard Case (TKPC0615) $99.99 With a robust output of 90C and 5600mAh of run time, our Spawn is sure to get great power and longevity from this pack. With the full roll cage on the Wraith models, battery swaps are a bit more tedious than on a standard RC car or truck, you can fit some mighty large packs in the tray. We found it easiest to slide the pack in through the windshield area because of how the wires exit the pack on top rather than the end.
Futaba S9353HV HV High Torque/Speed Servo (S9353HV) $229.99 Keeping with the Futaba theme, we chose the 9353HV for steering responsibilities in our Spawn. The astounding specs on this servo will provide us with all the steering authority we will ever need. The high power draw did, however, require us to use a capacitor on the receiver to keep this monstrous servo from robbing too much power from the radio system.
Futaba Receiver Capacitor (FUTL6500) $7.49 To keep our radio system from browning out, we installed this capacitor in our receiver. We could have also run a Castle BEC to keep the 9353HV servo happily fed with current, but this little unit does the job and tucks right into the receiver box.

HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• Axial Aluminum Servo Horn 25T (AX30836) $15.39 To keep up with the abuse we’re going to subject our Spawn to and the huge torque and speed numbers of the servo, it’ll be a good idea to replace the stock plastic servo horn with this alloy unit.

• Robinson Racing Idler Gear Hardened Steel Wraith (1551) $14.39 The only plastic gears in the entire drivetrain on the Spawn are the main gear and the idler gear. Using this hardened steel unit from RRP will keep you on the throttle and not broken down due to a stripped gear.

• Robinson Racing Diff Gear Hardened Steel Bottom Wraith (1552) $19.19 To finish off the all metal conversion of the gears in the Spawn, this steel main gear will stand up to tons of torque from our Castle system.

Review Wraith Spawn Rock Racer Kit-23FEATURE BREAKDOWN

The fully licensed Method Racing wheels and Maxxis Trepador tires not only look awesome, but they perform just as well as their full scale counterparts. The three-piece beadlock wheels do add a bit of time to the build but they negate the need for any glue. I’d rather tighten a bunch of screws than have to glue tires any day. The foam inserts are a perfect match for an all-purpose vehicle that will be run on a variety of surfaces.

‹The WB8 Wildboar Driveshafts have been updated to accommodate the massive amounts of power that folks (like us) are going to be putting into their Spawns. These new units have a larger diameter set screw to keep you on the trail and not on the workbench. Speaking of maintenance, the new shafts also feature a clever little sleeve that slides over each end to retain the cross-pin. This is guaranteed to expedite any repairs or tuning you might need to do on your rig.

‹Axial’s AR60 OCP-Axles (Off Center Pumpkin) are a welcome sight on this new rock racer as well. The rear tube has been beefed up to distribute stress while driving over a wider area, while also trimming it down a bit for better performance. All the steering linkages and mounts (think 4-wheel steering mods) have been removed to cut weight while also streamlining the bottom for better ground clearance. The ring gears, which house the diff lockers, are easily accessed by removing only four screws. This makes repairs or tuning your Spawn easier than ever.

‹Though the roll cage on the Spawn makes battery swaps and maintenance take a bit longer, it also provides more than ample room for the electronics of your choice. You’re pretty much limited to standard 540 size motors, but the rest of the gear can be tucked wherever it’s convenient for you. We had to relocate our ESC to place it over the transmission because the fan on it was obstructing one of the front cross members.

Review Wraith Spawn Rock Racer Kit-15

 

ON THE TRACK

STEERING: Between the tall and sticky sidewall of the tires and the ridiculous specs of the Futaba servo, this Spawn almost has too much steering. We did dial in a great deal of expo on the steering channel to keep us from rolling the truck given the .07 second transit time of the 9353HV servo. Another great thing about the 4PX radio is that we can slow down the speed via the transmitter’s programming. On asphalt, care had to be taken to not send the Spawn into a barrel roll, but that’s what dual rates are for, right? Right! On the trickier, more crawler-like turf, the Futaba servo performed flawlessly. The almost 300 ounces of torque can almost lift the entire truck when pivoting off a rock or log. The universal joints also help out a lot with the steering as they allow for 10 degrees more travel than the dogbone/drive cup setup offers.

ACCELERATION/BRAKING: If there’s one thing all the Axial vehicles excel at, it’s jumping off the starting line. The short gearing and locked axles all but ensure a hard launch if the throttle is buried. Our Spawn was no different as the Castle motor provides ample amounts of torque. The awesome traction from the Maxxis tires doesn’t hurt in the acceleration department either. The top end is somewhat limited, but we can always gear up a tooth or two. Braking is excellent with all the Wraith vehicles and though the Sidewinder ESC doesn’t have a hill brake, we can fine tune the drag brake to the point where our Spawn will be doing front rolls … if we so choose anyway.

HANDLING/JUMPING: The beautiful part about the four-link suspension is that the handling is fantastic. By tweaking the shock oils and spring rates, you can get the Wraith as plush or as stiff as you like. We went somewhere in the middle with our shocks and it worked great for us. Using the stock 30wt oil, our Spawn was able to scramble over ruts and small bumps and very rarely get unstable, while still being able to absorb landings from big air adventures. The great part about the large, 5.5-inch tires is that they have a lot of gyroscopic force, so mid-air attitude adjustments are a breeze. No matter how we hit a jump, the Spawn always squared up for us and settled on all four tires with input on the throttle or brakes. We did manage to try out the low speed capabilities on a few rock piles and the Castle system performed better than we expected. Dialing the start-up power and punch on the Sidewinder had the system feeling pretty smooth on the slow, technical stuff.

DURABILITY: I do have to say that I am blown away at the durability of the Wraith Spawn. We always knew that Axial vehicles are tough as nails, but we fully expected some sort of breakage on our rig with the high power motor and ESC. The body did take quite a beating and we had to pop a wheel off twice to separate the rim as we threw a bead.

 

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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS

DIMENSIONS
LENGTH: 19.25 in. (490mm)
WIDTH: 11.02 in. (280mm)
WHEELBASE: 13.9 in. (353mm)
WEIGHT: 5.45 lbs. (2.47kg) with electronics and body

BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
BODY: Clear Spawn body
WHEELS: 3-piece Method IFD beadlocks
WHEEL ADAPTER TYPE: 12mm front and rear
TIRES: 2.2” Maxxis Trepador S30 compound

SUSPENSION
TYPE: 4-link solid axle
SHOCK POSITIONS: (F) 3-cage, 1-axle, (R) 3-cage, 1-axle
CAMBER: Fixed ROLL: Fixed
WHEELBASE: Fixed
RIDE HEIGHT: Threaded preload spacers on shocks

STEERING
TYPE: Dual drag link
TOE: Fixed
CHASSIS

TYPE: 4-link with external cage MATERIAL: Composite plastic THICKNESS: NA

DRIVETRAIN
TYPE: 4WD
TRANSMISSION: 3-gear locked
DIFFERENTIAL: Scale locked diffs
GEAR RATIO: N/A
BEARINGS: Full set of shielded
CLUTCH TYPE: Slipper

RATING TALLY
Opinion: 9
Performance – Acceleration: 9
Performance – Steering: 8
Performance – Handling: 8
Performance – Durability: 9
Feature Breakdown: 8
Overall Value: 8

WRAP UP
It’s a busy, busy world these days and while I’d love to make it to the track every weekend for club races, it’s just not going to happen. With the new Wraith Spawn all built-up as the ultimate bash machine, the backyard is all the track I need. Whether it’s a pile of logs, a few dirt jumps, the wife’s veggie garden or any other obstacle on my property, the Spawn just laughs and dominates it. The Castle Sidewinder system provides amazing power and once a few choice hop-ups are added, this rig will be bullet proof. The wide range of duties the Wraith platform can fulfill is incredible, especially given the simplicity of the design. That’s what makes it so great though. It’s easy to build, relatively easy to maintain and is just a blast to drive. If you’re thinking about building up your own ultimate bash vehicle, give the Wraith Spawn Kit a good hard look.

LINKS
Axial,axialracing.com, (217) 398-8970
Creations Castle,castlecreations.com , (913) 390-6939
Futaba,futaba-rc.com , (217) 398-8970
Robinson Racing, robinsonracing.com  , (559) 692-2465
Trakpower,  trakpowerusa.com  , (217) 398-8970

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