This article was originally published in RC Driver’s January 2016 issue.
Words: Steve Trebing
Photos: Edwin Rodriguez
Your Local Hobby Store is a great place to check out what’s new in the RC hobby, meet likeminded people, see some great racing (if they have a track) and pick up an inexpensive new basher to tear around the yard and rip up the streets. Most LHS’s have all the new, small-scale bashers right up front for everyone to check out as you walk in. If you are lucky enough to have a Hobbytown near you, you’ll find some exciting releases from Helion. Helion has made a name for itself in the 1/18-scale truck segment and most shops have the full selection of their Animus trucks in stock. The new Contakt 12TR is configured as a 1/12-scale 2WD truck and provides a step up from the smaller 1/18-scale line. It’s a little bigger and a little faster, let’s see if the Contakt 12TR has what it takes to make it on your most wanted list!
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Helion
WHO IT’S FOR: Beginners
PART NUMBER: HLNA0545
HOW MUCH: $154.99
BUILD TYPE: RTR
• Very complete RTR truck
• Small scale makes it portable!
• Very low CG Good quality electronics
• LiPo battery and charger
• Affordable and Fun
• Included charging bag, A MUST!
• No bearings included
• Needs oil filled shocks
The Contakt is what I would consider “Zero Effort RC”. You see it in a Hobbytown, you fork over the small amount of cash and you take it home. The truck comes completely assembled and ready to run. Install batteries and you are outside having fun. It really doesn’t get much easier than that. Overall, for the money, the Contakt isn’t a bad vehicle. The version we tested did have an issue with chew- ing through dog-bones but Helion quickly made it right and fixed the breakage issue. Drivability of the Contakt is good and it is a fun little truck for the money. A few critical areas would make it handle better and I would like to see more upgrades listed on the manufacturer’s website. All in all, the Contakt is affordable, easy to drive and fairly durable, outside of the areas listed above. It would be a perfect first RTR for any- one who is looking to jump into RC without spending a bunch of money.
TOOLS AND ACCESSORIES INCLUDED
• 4-way wrench
• LiPo Charging Bag
• 4 “AA” Batteries
• Everything you need is in the box. Truck, Radio, Battery, Charger and even a few tools to keep the truck running smoothly.
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• Bearing Set – HLNA0515 (Differential Bearing Set), HLNA0516 (Wheel Bearings)
• If not shipping with these, this is a must! HLNA0687 (Heavy Duty Molded Dogbones)
The chassis on the Contakt 12TR is a simple and very low CG, solid tub style. The sides are molded to look like ladder style rails, which add a nice appearance. All of the electronics are compact and sit very low in the chassis, helping with that low center of gravity. A plastic tube style roll cage sits up top and includes a driver figure, which is a nice touch. The battery compartment is on the bottom of the truck and uses a captured pin release to keep the door closed. This is great for getting access to the battery without having to take the body off the truck.
Simple suspension sits on all four corners. Basic plastic Aarms, solid, non adjustable tie rods and friction shocks make up all the components. This is one area that I feel needs a little attention to really make the truck handle. Throwing on some oil filled shocks and adjustable tie rods would make the Contakt 12TR much more responsive.
Steering is tight and the included servo provides plenty of torque to turn those big tires. Low speed handling is solid and crisp while high speed handling is a little loose due to lack of front wheel traction and tire grip. A cam-style servo saver is used to keep the integrated servo safe.
All of the drivetrain components are solid on the Contakt 12TR. The 390-size motor is more than enough for this light little truck.
The gearbox and geared differential do a good job of keeping the power to the rear tires. Repairs are easy as the gearbox is accessible by removing only a few screws.
The RTR package that comes with the Contakt 12TR is very, very complete. The truck is completely ready to go, the radio has just enough adjustment to keep the truck true and the LiPo battery and included charger round out the package very well. It’s nice to see a company providing absolutely everything you need to have fun, and more importantly, keep having fun with your new purchase.
ON THE TRACK
Anyone who buys the Contakt 12TR is doing it for one reason, to have some fun. The 1/12- scale size is a little big to run indoors so most people will unleash the beast to rip around the street and through the yard. The overall driving characteristics are what you would expect for a 2WD truck. Plenty of power for getting the rear tires loose and drifting around. The back end will snap around on you very fast if you are pushing it a little too hard, so be careful and try to control the slide. The reward is worth it!
In the dirt, the Contakt 12TR is a beast! Baseball diamonds are a great location to kick up some dust and let the 390 motor scream. The tires on the truck are plenty for the street or the dirt. I personally liked driving it in the dirt the best.
Steering at low speeds is smooth and respon- sive. The faster you push the truck the less grip you get. At full throttle, the front wheels have such low grip that the front end will push like nothing else I have ever seen. The combination of a very light front end, RWD, friction shocks and a powerful motor make the perfect recipe for no front end grip. Just learn to manage the throttle coming up to a corner and allow some of the weight to transfer to the front and it will turn in a little better. Better yet, tap the breaks, get a drift going and slide through the corner!
The ECS/Motor combination for the 12TR is just about right. With enough traction the truck will easily pull the front wheels off the ground. Normal launches are crisp and fast, accelerating the Contakt to full speed instantly. The electronic braking in the ECS felt a little like an on/off switch to me. I found myself looping the rear end around instantly every time I hit the brakes. It took a little getting used to before I was able to brake smoothly.
The term bouncy comes to mind when thinking about the handling and jumping characteristics of the Contakt 12TR. Not including even basic oil filled shocks is a miss in my opinion. The truck jumps fine, but ends in a resounding belly slap every time. For the everyday basher this may not be a big deal but I feel like it will speed up the breakage process given the amount of chassis to ground Contakt (see what I did there!) it is producing.
Initially I had a major issue with the included dogbones that Helion shipped with the truck. I broke several of them before finally raising the issue with our Editor in Chief, Greg. Helion acknowledged this and sent us some heavy-duty units.
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SPECS AND TUNING OPTIONS
Length: 16.53 in. (420mm)
Width: 8.07 in. (205mm)
Height: 5.62 in. (143mm)
Weight: 2lb (907g)
BODY, WHEELS AND TIRES
Body: PrePainted Lexan
Wheels: Black Plastic Wheel adapter type: Plastic Hex
Tires: Front and Rear: All Terrain
Type: 4-wheel Independent
Shock positions: Standard, Non-Adjustable
Camber: Fixed Position
Roll: Fixed Position
Wheelbase: Fixed Position
Ride height: Fixed Position
Type: Dual Bellcrank w/ Servo Saver
Toe: Fixed Position
Type: One Piece Tub Chassis
Differential: Bevel Gear
Clutch Type: Non Adjustable
Gear ratio: 10T Pinion/47T Spur
Feature Breakdown: 6
Overall Value: 7
For the money, the Contakt 12TR looks very cool and does all the things you will want it to do. It’s peppy, easy to set up, fairly durable and replacement parts are stocked in Hobbytowns. It’s small enough to take with you anywhere and capable of ripping around on most surfaces. I think this is a perfect start- er RC vehicle for anyone, especially younger kids who need something smaller in scale but not too small. I really like the design of the chassis, gearbox and battery placement. I have a strong feeling there will be many kids seeing a Contakt 12TR under their tree this holiday season!
Helion, helionrc.com, (800) 205-6773