Let’s face it, our beloved hobby can be tough to crack into, especially with the costs of some of our rigs, and generally in our hobby you get what you pay for. Thankfully with the advances in high quality electronics, RC is becoming more affordable than ever, so it is only natural that the savings be filtered down to the beginner. While Revell may not be a name you have heard of in the RC world, it has its ties with Hobbico and has broken into the realm of RC with the Dromida line of entry-level 1/18-scale off-road vehicles. The selling factor in these minis is the attractive $99 price tag, all while still offering the fully hobby-grade experience. Full 2.4GHz electronics, waterproof gear, and a great 4WD chassis are just a few of the features the Dromida 4.18 has to offer. Check out this full review and see if the MT4.18 is right for you.
AT A GLANCE
WHO MAKES IT: Revell
PART NUMBER: DIDC0042
HOW MUCH: $99.98
BUILD TYPE: RTR
PROS & CONS
+ This mini monster goes places most 1/18’s can’t
+ Completely RTR package, even the “AA” transmitter batteries are included
+ The MT4.18 offers a generous amount of adjustability for an entry-level RC
+ 2.4GHz radio system and waterproof electronics fill the package out nicely
+ Durable design suits itself to newbie drivers
+ Monster truck looks pretty menacing for a mini scale RC truck
– Stock NiMH battery’s runtime may not satisfy everyone
Authors Opinion: The Dromida MT4.18 can quite possibly be one of the best equipped entry-level RC cars on the market today. This is quite a feat seeing as the price tag is under 100 bucks, making entry into this hobby all the more accessible. Countless times I have seen people shy away from the hobby due to cost alone, and I feel better equipped to answer the question of what a good starting RC is now that I have reviewed the MT4.18. Once the user is comfortable with the handling of the truck, various hopups from Revell are available to take the truck to an all-out beast that even advanced drivers would love to bash around with.
Star rating (1-5) = 4.5
-The chassis is a very strong, plastic semi-tub design. An upper plastic brace helps protect the drivetrain and adds support all throughout the chassis. I could not flex the chassis at all, and with a mini bashing-type vehicle this aids in my confidence that I will never be replacing this part anytime soon. The quality of the plastic appears to be very excellent as well. Sometimes minis can be a pain to work on but thankfully the MT4.18’s tidy layout “makes sense” and access to most components are usually just a few screws away. Large bumpers offer more than adequate protection to the trucks body and internals.
-The Dromida MT4.18 boasts impressive tuning options for an entry level RC. Oil-filled shocks are standard on the truck, and various pre-load clips are included to fine-tune the ride height. Usually RC vehicles in this price range only offer friction shocks, so the oil shocks are a welcome sight. Camber angles can be adjusted all around with the metal turnbuckles. I found the stock setup to be right on the spot for a monster truck and even though I had all of this adjustability, I did not need to make tweaks to have fun.
There are plenty of hopup parts to add further tuning options, such as shock springs, so that the MT4.18 suspension setup can be customized to suit the user’s needs.
– A waterproof steering servo turns the front wheels and the Dromida features a typical dual bellcrank steering setup. A spring-driven steering servo helps take the stress off the servo, and the spring is on the lighter side, ensuring the maximum longevity of the servo (plus the wheels and tires being so light do not require a heavy servo saver). Plastic, fixed steering links connect the steering components to the steering knuckles via ball cups with a slight toe-in applied (easier to drive for beginners).
– The MT4.18 offers a full shaft-driven 4WD setup, very impressive for a truck of this price range. Almost all of the drivetrain components are enclosed within the upper chassis plate, keeping dirt and rocks out. Plastic dogbones power all four wheels and can handle the power of the included brushed motor with ease. Gear differentials transfer the power from the plastic driveshaft in the front and rear, and do not need much maintenance, if any at all. The motor pinion and spur gears are also covered and protected, making the Dromida MT4.18 ideal for any condition.
-Dromida did an excellent job of outfitting the MT4.18 with high-quality hobby-grade gear all while keeping the price under 100 bones. You get a full 2.GHhz radio system keeping the trucks conflict-free if you decide to go in on a few with your buddies. The radio has plenty of adjustments; the steering rate can be adjusted on the fly if it is too twitchy for a beginner, along with all of the trims having their own knob to change. The ESC and receiver are integrated into one waterproof unit which cuts down on components, freeing up valuable chassis space. The only downside is when upgrading to a faster power setup the receiver must be changed, but Dromida has plug and play kits for various power setups that will remedy this. A 370 brushed motor powers the wheels and offers the perfect balance of torque and speed for a beginner. The kit also contains a 7.2V 1300mAh NiMH battery and wall charger combo. The wall charger has a handy attachment with LED indicators depicting the charging state of the battery. It will take under four hours to fully charge a dead pack.
– The monster truck body on the Dromida looks amazing and makes the truck look super aggressive for a mini. The printed graphics really complement the looks of the body. The wheel and tire combo further rounds out the looks department with a monster truck-like tread pattern that does wonders on loose dirt surfaces.
HOP-UPS WE RECOMMEND
• Brushless speed kit, DIDC1150, $99.99. While the upgrade is a little pricey, the increased torque and top speed that a brushless setup offers more than warrants the cost. This system includes all the parts necessary to do the conversion and will be a great project for anyone looking to extract a more power out of their MT4.18.
• 2S 7.4V 1600mAh 20C LiPo, DIDC1134, $21.99. I found the stock battery to be adequate, but was wishing for slightly longer runtime with less drop off in power over time. This LiPo upgrade offers just that, provided you have an adequate LiPo charger.
• Aluminum Shock/Shock Tower Upgrade Kit, DIDC1171, $54.99. This kit outfits the Dromida with slick, aluminum threaded shocks that allow for unlimited adjustment and look great. While we didn’t have any problems with the stock shock towers on the test vehicle, if you plan on adding more power to the MT4.18, the included aluminum shock towers will add that extra layer of protection (all while looking killer at the same time).
TOOLS & ACCESSORIES INCLUDED + NiMH battery charge indicator + Pre-load clips for shocks
ON THE TRACK
STEERING The Domida has a tendency to understeer under most conditions I tested the truck in. This is partly due to the milder suspension and steering setup that the MT4.18 comes with straight out of the box. The slight toe in on the front wheels allow for a more stable ride, at the expense of an aggressive turn in. All in all I am happy that Dromida went this route with the tuning, as monster trucks are always a handful to drive, and I quickly forgot that this was even a truck at all after a few minutes of bashing on pavement and loose dirt.
ACCELERATION The included 370 brushed motor does a surprisingly good job of propelling the MT4.18 and felt quite torquey as well. On a full charge I was happy with the speed, even though I am used to faster trucks, this speed seemed just right. A beginner will have no difficulty in controlling the speed of this truck, and if the user does want to dial back the speed a bit, there is a control on the transmitter to do so. After about five minutes I did notice a slight drop off in power, but it still took another 5 minutes or so to deplete the battery fully. I think in the future as the user becomes more comfortable with the speed, the LiPo upgrade sold by Dromida would be the best bang for your buck upgrade as the power will remain constant throughout the full battery charge (and will last longer as well).
BRAKING On all surfaces, I had no issue in bringing the truck’s speed down to zero. Since all four wheels share in the braking, no matter what surface I was on the truck was able to stop. A lot of minis are only 2WD and suffer from spinouts, so being in control while slowing down was greatly appreciated and important for a new driver.
SUSPENSION I found the stock suspension setup to be absolutely perfect for this little monster truck. The suspension did an excellent job of soaking up imperfections in my bashing spot, all while maintaining optimum traction in the 4WD system. If you are mainly running the MT4.18 on smooth surfaces I would say to remove all of the pre-load clips on the shocks and possibly add thicker weight oil. Since I am used to driving larger scale monster trucks more often that flip over just by looking at them funny, this little guy feels like a small racing buggy able to carve corners with ease.
JUMPING Jumping for 1/18-scale vehicles is an almost close-your-eyes-and-see-what-happens deal, but The MT4.18 excelled slightly over other minis I have driven. I attribute this mostly to the softer suspension set up, which was able to soak up the larger jumps and settle the car down quickly. The larger monster truck tires also aid the Dromidus by giving the truck a slight advantage in ground clearance versus other forms of mini-scale vehicles. Although I did not take the truck out to an official race track, I would be confident that the MT4.18 could make its way around a well groomed 1/10-scale course with no problems.
DURABILITY Durability was perfect, not a single part was broken. After I got home from my testing session I inspected the car and the only fault I could find was one of the shock spring retainers was half on and about to fall off. I can’t even honestly say this was from running the car either, it could have happened in transport. With the stock power set up, the user would be hard pressed to break a part due to the extremely rigid and beefy plastic components. Durability may be the single most important factor in these entry-level vehicles and I am happy to give the MT4.18 two thumbs up.
SPECS & TUNING OPTIONS
Length: 10.6 in. (290mm)
Width: 7.4 in. (190mm)
Height: 4.3 in. (110mm)
Weight: 1.4 lbs. (639g)
Body, wheels and tires
Body: Pre-painted and cut monster truck
Wheels: Gray plastic 6-spoke design
Wheel adapter type: Listed as 8mm (I measured 7mm)
Tires: Monster truck tread with foam inserts
Type: 4-wheel independent
Shock positions: (F) 2-tower, 2-arm, (R) 2-tower, 2-arm
Camber: Adjustable turnbuckles
Ride height: Pre-load clips on the shocks
Type: Dual bellcrank
Transmission: 2-gear rear-mounted
Clutch Type: NA
Gear ratio: 11T pinion 45T spur, optional pinion gears
Bearings: Full set of shielded
THE LAST WORD
The Dromida MT4.18 really impressed me with its capabilities on and off-road. The chassis was super durable and I found this truck to be unbreakable with the stock power setup. Full speed crashes into immovable objects were no problem, the truck kept begging for more. I feel the stock NiMH pack left a little to be desired, but this could be because I am used to LiPo packs (not to mention the runtimes and power get better as the pack breaks in after more cycles). And the truck was just so darn easy to drive, I have no qualms about handing over the transmitter to anyone that asks. Since the price is so attractive I wouldn’t be surprised if most people head right to the hobby shop to pick one up, and is top on my list of RC vehicles to recommend to newbies.
ARTICLE AND PHOTOS BY: Mark Ronge
LINKS Dromida, dromida.com, (217) 398-0007