Saturday, April 13, 2024

Budget Drifting – HobbyKing Mission-D GTR

I’ve been in the hobby for three decades and have witnessed the introduction of the many different ways we now enjoy radio control vehicles. From Nitro to electric, from monster trucks to short course racers, there always seems to be something for everyone. I am always willing to try any RC I can get a hold of. One type that I have all but avoided was the RC drift car. I have always seen drift cars as a specialized niche that was fun to watch others participate in but not one I thought I could do well. For that reason I didn’t think I would really enjoy it. When the Mission-D kit showed up for me to review I thought I would take a look at drifting with fresh eyes. The kit was mostly complete and would require little to get it on the pavement. After spending a couple of hours one evening, I had a complete ready-to-run drift car that also looks pretty cool sitting on my desk. All I needed was for the winter to go away and the pavement to dry out.


WHO MAKES IT: HobbyKing/Snow Panther
WHO IT’S FOR: Beginners to intermediate
PART NUMBER: 432000001
HOW MUCH: $79.99


+ 4WD belt-driven system
+ Locked rear differential and adjustable front ball differential
+ Oil-filled aluminum shocks.
+ Pre-painted body with additional scale details
– Excessive play in the steering bellcrank
– Battery tray has limited adjustability and may not accept all packs


For under $100 you get a drift car that will provide the performance you’ll need to see what the excitement is all about. The stock motor was a little show for me, but only because I am spoiled by brushless systems. The stock set-up is great for the novice drifter. Once I replaced the motor it really came alive for me and I was able to get the hang of drifting within the first battery pack. The Mission-D has the scale appearance that you’ll want. The little details, such as the faux brake discs, really add to its overall value.

STAR RATING (1-5) = 4


The Mission-D ARR (almost ready to run) Kit is near complete when it is pulled from the box. Motor, speed control and a high torque steering servo are included but need to be installed. An instruction manual is provided to guide you through the simple steps. A radio system is not included and is left up to you.




The drive system is comprised of two belts. The shorter front belt (above) is directly driving the front ball differential. The longer rear belt is routed over three pullies before reaching the rear locked differential (below). These are exposed so it is critical to make sure wires are placed and secured away from the belts.



Chrome plastic wheels are decked out with plenty of detail to give the Mission a more true to scale appearance. There is a green accent color used to trim the rim. If you look beyond the rim you will see a non-functioning brake disc that just looks cool.


Aluminum bodied, oil-filled shocks  are threaded to aid in preload adjustments. The blue annodizing of the upper and lower caps and adjustment ring add to the bling factor.


The battery is loaded through the side and is secured with the cross member and two small body clips. The 2S Turnigy pack I used fits very snug. It appears to me that some packs may not fit as well.


When learning to drift it is a given that the car will come into contact with stationary objects. A firm foam front bumper is used to protect the chassis from collision damage.



I opted for a brushless system in place of the stock 22t brushed motor setup. The Turnigy TrackStar system is waterproof and includes a 3520Kv motor and and 80Amp ESC that will handle 3S, although a 3S pack will not fit in the chassis.


A 5000mAh Turnigy 2S LiPo pack provides the power for me. It fits perfectly in the chassis and gave me about 25 minutes of runtime. I switched out the connectors for a set of Deans.


I opted for a little help with stability by adding a telebee Drift Gyro. This helps to keep you from under-steering or over-steering to the point of losing control.


Above, you see the body as it comes from the box. It looks complete as is yet below, you will see the additional accessories that will bring the scale appearance up to another level. There are two rear wing options, side mirrors and windshield wipers. Other items shown below are the servo mounts, steering linkage, servo horn with servo saver and pinion gear.



As you can see above, the chassis is stuffed full once everything is installed. Wiring can be tricky as you need to make sure it stays away from the drive belt down the center of the chassis.


The HobbyKing HK-GT2 is a 2.4GHz system that is extremely affordable. No bells and whistles, and minimal features, but it is a perfect companion for the Mission-D.

Having limited experience with RC drift cars I wasn’t sure what to expect when I pulled the trigger. I got what I assume most new drifters will get…a lot of spinning  of tires and very little forward progress. The hard plastic tires are very slick, especially when brand new and of course, that is what makes drifting possible. I played with throttle application until I was able to get the car moving without spinning out. It only took a couple of tries before I was able to get the Mission to successfully change direction without sending it into a tailspin. It was right about this time that I had a new respect for the drivers I had seen countless times drifting their RC cars in YouTube videos. I wasn’t doing anything like what I remembered from the videos but I was having fun. The Turnigy motor system was giving me the smooth application necessary and its top end was more than a drifting novice like me needs the first time out. After about 10 minutes, I was getting into a groove just as the tires were just starting to break in. Before my first pack was showing signs of dumping, I was putting the Mission-D into a drift and keeping it sideways as I circled the car around me. This was a small victory for me and proved to me that with practice, I just might get the hang of this drifting thing after all. My friend, Rob Bratcher, was with me to drive so I could take photos. He had never attempted to drive a drifter prior to that day and by the time we were done shooting photos, he had managed to get a grip on driving without traction. As I was building the kit I noticed a bit of play in the steering bellcrank, but I don’t feel it had any adverse affects on performance.


Okay, so I am glad I had the chance to spend some time with a drift car. The Mission-D was a good one to start with. If the cool scale appearance is not enough to pique your interest, then the affordable price tag will. When you want to try your hand at RC drifting you may want to consider the HobbyKing Mission-D. It’s easy to complete and the intimidation factor is low. It’s a completely different RC driving experience than what you may be used to. It is certainly a far cry from the monster trucks and backyard bashers that I am used to.


Length: 390mm
Width: 195mm
Wheelbase: 255mm
Height: 123mm

Body: Pre-painted coupe (similar to Nissan Skyline)
Wheels: Chrome plastic spoked
Wheel adapter type: 12mm hex
Tires: Hard plastic drift

Type: 4-wheel independent
Shock positions:  (F) 5-tower, 1-arm, (R) 6-tower, 1-arm
Camber:  Adjustable turnbuckles
Ride height: Threaded shocks

Type: Dual bellcrank
Toe: Adjustable turnbuckles

Type: tub
Material: Plastic composite

Type: 4WD
Transmission: Direct drive dual belt
Differential: Front ball differential, rear locked differential
Gear ratio: Optional pinion gears
Bearings: Full set of shielded

HobbyKing http://hobbyking.com
Turnigy http://www.turnigy.com/



  1. Very disappointing. More Hobbyking junk being put in front of the unknowing masses. Shame on you RCD.

    • Hi Lou. I’m not sure I agree with your assumption that this is junk. First off, not everyone can afford a $500 Tamiya VDF or even a $250 HPI Drifter. What Hobbyking is doing is introducing an entry level car to the masses so they can actually get into it for under $100. Once hooked (and you know most people will be), they can then do a little research (hopefully) and work their way up to a better vehicle.

      The future of this industry is the new people and getting them into it.

      • I’m not assuming anything. And your argument of “initial cost is king” is flawed.

        1. I have had my own dealings with HK and “junk” is a suitable description of the products they sell. A google search will support that as well. They have 1 goal – and that is to fleece hobbyists of their cash and make their “customer support” so awful that people just take the loss rather than deal with the pain of getting their money back.

        2. While I completely agree that new people into the hobby are a good, nay – ESSENTIAL – thing, Hobbyking isn’t doing anyone favors with their poor product quality and non-existent customer service. They’re harming the hobby.

        3. HK has become notorious for ripping off “known” RC OEM designs. Case in point: take a look at their Turnigy 2WD SCT. Looks suspiciously similar to Kyosho’s SCT doesn’t it?

        Putting any spotlight on HK detracts from other legitimate RC companies. Companies that provide comprehensive warranties and stand behind their products. Companies that support LOCAL hobby shops. Companies that support local and national races.

        As an organization with such a large audience I’d think RCD would use their voice more responsibly – but it seems their core values are the same as Hobbykings.

        • Nevermind the fact that the pictures clearly show “Nissan / Nismo / Skyline” are intentionally misspelled on the car’s body to get around licensing fees!!!

          How can you defend a company that’s clearly so crooked. Geeze…

        • Hey Lou. While you are correct that HK probably misspelled the words on the car to avoid licensing fees, I don’t know of ANY RC body company that hasn’t done that at one time or another. All the big names have created bodies and, in fact, been involved in huge lawsuits regarding this very subject.

          You’ve made some good cases in your bulleted list, so let me do my best to address each one.

          1. Yes, you are correct and a Google search will definitely show the same findings, however we’ve recently been to their new US office located in New York for a little chat with them. They are fully aware of their customer support issues and whole-heartedly admitted that to us. One of the things they are focusing on is this now is this support and have stocked it full of American RC hobbyists to answer the calls. Sure, things may not be all unicorns and rainbows right away, the fact that they are aware and trying is a step in the right direction.

          2. I’m not sure what you mean by poor quality. If you’re talking about the quality of the parts or perhaps the build, I would agree they’re not on the same level as a Losi, Team Associated or Traxxas, but you have to remember most of the cars are under $100 and they ARE hobby-grade cars. You can buy and replace parts, upgrade, etc, just like any other manufacturer’s car in the industry. These are designed as entry level cars and that’s exactly what they are.

          3. Actually, I think it looks a little more like the Ultima SC. But it’s been said that everyone in the industry has ripped off something from some other manufacturer so unfortunately I’m not going to totally agree with you on this. Yes, it may look similar but to who? Most people that are looking at this car are not looking at a Kyosho. Does that make it ok or fair to Kyosho? Of course not, but again, everyone has ripped something off from somebody else and the industry has survived.

          In the grand scheme of things, we’ve given almost EVERY manufacturer we deal with much more play on the both the internet and in the pages of RCD. Putting a ‘spotlight’ on them is merely introducing them as another alternative, not telling people it’s a must-have over any other vehicle. Does it take away from LHS sales? I’m sure it does. But many companies are looking or moving towards direct sales which also cuts out the shops. Does it take away from local or national races? Probably not since HK isn’t touting themselves as a racing company.

          I think, as an organization with such a large audience, we SHOULD use our voice more responsibly and report on ALL companies that are trying to grow the industry. Not including them and just sticking to the core US manufacturers would make our opinions a bit biased, don’t you think?

          Check out the interview with Hobby King on our MultiRotor site. It’s a good read and, while it might not change your mind, it will hopefully show that HK is trying to make a change. Hobbyking Uncovered

          I do, however, want to thank you Lou for having this conversation with me. First off, it’s a good conversation…no foul language or belittling us for having an opinion. We encourage this kind of interaction and appreciate that you took the time to express your thoughts with us.

          • Tony –

            I’m impressed by your response and appreciation of my stand, despite being in contrast to yours. I sincerely hope that HK is going to work on improving their reputation – that would be a win for everyone.

            In the meantime, I’ll be a flag-waving LHS supporter. But if I see someone with a HK product I certainly wouldn’t hold back from helping them.


  2. It’s a cheap clone of the yokomo DRB.

  3. I just picked one of these up and I gotta say – for the price? I love it. Sorry if that bothers Lou, but it’s a fun car, drifts great right out of the box, and all told with a battery cost me 100 bucks. I can’t complain.

    Other cars I have include WLToys all the way to an Arrma Senton BLX 6s v2 and Traxxas Bandit VXL.

  1. Pingback: RC Drifting on a Budget | RC Fun Stuff – Cars Planes Helis

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