The HPI Venture Toyota FJ Cruiser Scale Crawler combines a forward mounted motor, metal chassis rails and transfer case equipped drivetrain with a licensed replica Toyota FJ40 body that includes front and rear bumpers, mirrors, roof rack and rear tire mount. This gives the Venture a level of scale realism that is rare in an RTR.
Underneath the body, metal C-channel chassis rails support an all metal gear drivetrain, central transfer case and chassis mounted servo with behind the axle steering linkage to provide great scale looks, zero bump steer and incredible approach/departure angles. The axle housings feature a small diff case for clearance with an aluminum pumpkin cover, while a Zero Ackermann high steer knuckle design improves clearance and delivers a tighter turning radius. Plus, scale size threaded aluminum oil-filled shocks and full-time locked differentials with HPI Rockthorn 109mm x 38mm soft S-Compound tires to give the rig a sure footed hold in any condition. Combine this with an HPI TF-40 2.4GHz transmitter, waterproof receiver, NiMH battery/charger set and AA batteries for the transmitter and you have a fully RTR scaler that is ready to tackle anything on the trail.
Officially licensed replica Toyota FJ Cruiser body with functional roof rack plus side mirrors
Front bumper features brush guard, light mounts, D-ring shackles and swing-away rear spare tire mount
Adjustable rock rail side sliders help the truck get over tough obstacles
Steel C-channel chassis rails
Front-mount motor and transmission position for ultimate scale realism and front weight bias to improve climbing traction and provides more realistic driving
All-metal gear drivetrain for extreme durability
Central transfer case with slider driveshafts to front and rear differentials prevents motor stall for the best climbing action and also straightens & lowers center driveshafts for more efficient power transfer
Axles feature locked differentials with small diff case and aluminum differential pumpkin cover
HPI water-resistant SS-20WR high torque steering servo with CMS (Chassis Mounted Servo) realistic steering setup
HPI waterproof SC-3sWP2 Crawler Edition adjustable electronic speed control
HPI 35-turn crawler spec motor provides speed as well as crawling torque
12mm hex hubs to fit any available crawler wheels
Shock towers have multiple shock mounting positions to allow for wheelbase options
BTA (Behind The Axle) steering linkage for improved approach and departure angles
Panhard bar with aluminum panhard mount for scale looks and optimized geometry with zero bump steer
Zero Ackermann high steer knuckle design for improved obstacle clearance and tighter turning radius
3-link front and triangulated 3-link rear suspension
Oil-filled aluminum coilover shock absorbers (63-90mm stroke) with adjustable threaded shock bodies for quick ride height changes and dual-stage shock springs
Aluminum lower link/shock mounts
Adjustable fully braced body mounting to fit any style of off-road body
All-terrain Rockthorn 109mm x 38mm soft S-Compound tires with chunky tread blocks
Beadlock style CR-10 ten-spoke 1.9” wheels
HPI TF-40 2.4GHz radio system with carry handle
HPI waterproof 2.4GHz receiver in protective case
Full set of ball bearings
Includes NiMH battery and charger and 4 AA batteries for radio transmitter
Length: 527mm (20.7")
Width: 227mm (9")
Height: 238mm (9.4") with roof rack, 217mm (8.5") without (will vary depending on tire choice and suspension settings)
Wheelbase: 313mm (12.3")
Front overhang: 101mm (3.9")
Rear overhang: 135mm (5.3")
Running weight: 2.4kg (5.3lbs)
Weight without battery: 2.1kg (4.7lbs)
Break-over angle: 44.5 degrees
Approach angle: 55 deg
Departure angle: 45.5 deg
Max climb angle: 49 deg
Max tilt angle: 28 deg
Axle articulation: 30 deg
Ground clearance: 68mm capable (2.7")
Ground clearance at standard ride height: 60mm (2.4")
Axle ground clearance: 32mm (1.3")
Drivetrain ratio: 7.6:1
Transmission gearing: 1.53:1
Axle gearing: 3.31:1
Transfer case gearing: 1.5:1
Needed to Complete:
Nothing! Everything you need is included in the box.
This product was added to our catalog on December 13, 2017
On a bit of a whim I decided to pick up HPI’s Venture crawler from Amain Hobbies when it recently went on sale for $279.99, the price seemed too good to pass up even though HPI has apparently had some issues recently as a company although I don’t know the exact details… for the price I didn’t really care.
I also own an Axial SCX10II and an RC4WD Trail Finder 2 and I used to own a Traxxas TRX4 for comparison. Out of the box right away you’ll notice the Venture has smaller tires than many crawlers you see today. They are similar in size to the ones found on the TF2. On the subject of the tires, they are decidedly very toy looking and also quite firm, overall they don’t perform that great but they are of typical performance of a stock RTR kit tire. (Let me be clear that I am actually a fan of smaller more scale looking tire sizes, I think they can be more fun to use by providing more of a challenge... I just wanted to point out the flaws with these)
The small tire height can also create ground clearance problems, the skid plate in the center with the hump for the low hanging transfer case also doesn’t help. The diff pumpkins are also slightly larger than that of the TF2 and SCX10II. But even with these shortcomings, it's really not that huge of an issue, but it is more noticeable especially if you aren’t accustomed to crawlers with smaller tires.
Continuing with some of the negatives… the servo. The included servo in any RTR kit I’ve ever owned has been basically shit (Although the TF2 servo wasn’t that bad... I wouldn’t call it shit, just subpar). It basically requires that you replace the stock servo if you desire any wheel turning power when your tires are up against rocks and other obstacles out on the trail. I can’t attest for the long time durability of this thing because I replaced it after the first drive. (more on the replacement later) The servo itself actually has a servo saver which is the first I’ve seen on a crawler, this is made of plastic but it is quite beefy when compared to a typical stock servo arm.
Next con I should mention is the battery tray. The battery tray is positioned in the rear of the chassis in between the rear body posts. It is of decent size but stock it comes with curved arms that can’t accommodate typical square shaped lipos. This is an easy fix by removing these curved arms as they are held on to the battery straps by screws. The 2nd thing with the battery positioning is that it seems a poor choice for crawler weight balance. HPI could’ve mounted it further up front but it's in the back… I read somewhere that HPI wanted 50/50 balance on this truck and since all the other electronics are up front they decided to put the battery in the rear. In my testing the trucks feels very planted especially at side crawling and did not want to roll until it was practically on its side so I don’t feel like the center of gravity is an issue. At any rate, there are numerous aftermarket options for battery reposition kits and if you are crafty yourself you could easily fab on up out of lexan, aluminum or even 3d print one.
Probably the biggest negative to this truck IMO are the plastic suspension links. It has plastic links for the 4 lowers, one metal link for the upper in the front and the rear upper is also plastic but a slightly unique Y-shaped design. The venture is a 3 link in the front and a sort of 4 link in the rear. Now the suspension design is great and the steering geometry was well thought out and there is basically no interference when turning left to right even when the tires are fully stuffed. The steering link is also behind the axle and is kept very much out of the way of front obstacles. However the plastic material they chose for the lower links are incredibly flimsy and soft. This makes the truck as a whole very flexible and twisty. I don’t know how this would affect performance but I personally like a really solid truck and don’t like a ton of overall chassis flex (for me its: suspension flex good, chassis flex bad). There are a few aftermarket options for metal link kits (again, more on that later)
The shocks themselves are superb, having two different springs on each shock, allows for soft and hard impacts to be absorbed equally as well. Right out of the box the Venture has the best performing shocks of any crawler I’ve got my hands on. It's great in the slow stuff and for those who like to go faster with their crawlers it soaks up bumps incredibly well thanks to its dual spring rates. IMO, it makes the stock suspension on the TRX4 and Axial look almost poor.
One last thing I should mention in the negatives category is that the axles are dogbones, I haven’t had this truck long enough to have any issues with them though but I know a lot of people would upgrade to the CVD’s.
The ESC, motor and receiver/ radio are all pretty good. Especially when you pair it with some lipo 3s. Its decently fast and provides plenty of wheel speed when you need it and good low speed throttle control. The only negative is that the drag brake is pretty weak even at 100%, I do prefer a lot of drag brake though so some people might not take issue with that. It's really not that bad when you get used to it. But it is weaker than any of the other kits even when at 100%. The esc has a jumper that can adjust it from 0%, 80% and 100%. It has another jumper to switch between NIMH and LIPO. The stock battery is ok, and I ran it once just to see what it can do, its a basic NIMH with minimal capacity so there is nothing special here.
The radio itself feels pretty good, comparable to any of the stock radios out there. Has end point adjustment and you can reverse steering and throttle directions and of course it has trim adjustment. The receiver is stored in a box that HPI claims is weatherproof, It doesn’t have a rubber gasket like the TF2 and has a fairly large cut out on the side for the wiring, overall I would definitely not call the receiver box waterproof.
The body and bumpers on the Venture look great. It's not the most detailed body but it still looks quite good. It is also very light weight which helps with the CG. The bumpers front and rear make for great approach and departure angles. The spare tire holder is pretty neat, I’ve kept mine on but many will probably remove it. It also adds an extra step when removing and installing the body. Overall I can’t complain too much about the aesthetics of the truck but I do wish they would’ve included light buckets front and rear instead of stickers, this can be solved by the aftermarket but I would’ve paid the extra 10 bucks or whatever just to have them included.
I’ll now go over a list of modifications I’ve already done to the truck and tell you what I think. First is the servo, I replaced it with a Savox 1230SG. This thing is quite noisy but for the price to power ratio it's hard to beat. With the stock radio you will need to reverse the steering channel switch or the steering will be backwards. I also changed out the stock servo saver/ servo arm and replaced it with an aluminum piece. This was probably unnecessary for this particular kit since the stock arm is so beefy, but I go aluminum servo arms with all my rigs. I also loosened the steering rod link 3 turns on each side to correct the factory toe which was set very much toe out and made the truck tend to wander from left to right when trying to drive straight. The servo upgrade is probably the best mod you could do for the truck.
Secondly, I replaced the factory Tamiya style battery connector with an XT60 unit and hooked up a 3s lipo to it (after moving the jumper on the ESC). The power and wheel speed increase is immense and really IMO, there is no reason you shouldn’t run lipo these days. The run time also skyrocketed.
Next thing I did was to replace the stock wheels and tires. I’m a bit of a wheel and tire hoarder and I had a fresh set of Vanquish beadlocks with proline BFG mud terrains in the super soft material that I ended up throwing on there. They are definitely a little big for the truck but the performance gains are huge. It eliminates the ground clearance issues and makes this thing stick. I had to trim and cut the body, bumpers and rock sliders to get the setup to clear well but I think it's totally worth it.
I then replaced the factory suspension links with an aluminum setup from Hot Racing. This converts the rear to a traditional 4 link while the front end retains 3 links but they are all metal this time. This stiffened up the whole chassis and now the truck feels incredibly sold and quality when held in your hands. The suspension flex is still great.
I also have on order a battery relocation kit but it hasn’t arrived yet, in the meantime I removed the battery strap and use velcro to hold the lipo in place.
Overall this truck when properly setup can perform with the best of them, I particularly love my Axial but the Venture can do anything it can do or better. Same could be said for the TRX4. My TF2 has leaf packs so it’s not really a fair comparison there.
I love this truck!! It works great out of the box. There is nothing you need to make it better. Maybe just cosmetic things. Maybe some scale accessories and new bead locks wheels and new tires. Also i love AMAIN HOBBIES!! They have so many products it's hard to decide. They really take care of their customers. You don't need to shop anywhere else because they have everything.