Review - Axial SCX10 III Trail Truck RTR

The SCX10 III RTR is finally here and available, with a fantastic out-of-the-box scale experience, while including some really cool features to maximize crawling, trail performance and realism. Today, we’re checking out and driving, the SCX10 III RTR.



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The SCX10 III has been years in the making and this ready to run (RTR) version has a lot to offer, it is one of the best RTR trail trucks available. In this third version, there are two Axial SCX10 bodies, orange and grey. Both trucks come assembled out of the box with electronics and include a unique DX3 3-channel transmitter, with AA batteries for the transmitter, but the crawler does require a NiMh or LiPo battery pack.

How much does the Axial SCX10 III Jeep JLU Wrangler CRC cost?

Right off the bat, let’s address the elephant in the room and that’s the price, at $499.99.* Making the SCX10 III the most expensive RTR trail truck Axial has ever released and one of the most costly RTR vehicles in the entire RTR trail truck category. BUT, despite that, it’s worth every penny, and I’m going to tell you why.

*Price at the time of this article.  Subject to change without notice, last updated July 14, 2021.

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How does the RTR version compare to the Kit?

First off, remember the SCX10 III Kit? We made a video about it a few months back, going through the chassis, the transmission, the scale SCX10 III body pieces—everything.


Well, everything included in the kit version is on the RTR; the trucks are no different. We compared manual for manual, looking for part differences, and we couldn’t find any. It’s rare for the Kit and RTR versions of a vehicle to be exactly the same.

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Usually, R/C companies reserve the kit version to have all the best components and materials, where the RTR version is a lower end, downgraded version. But not with this truck!



Axial SCX10 III RTR Parts

On this RTR, you’ll find the same aluminum shocks underneath those sealed wheel wells, you’ll find the same universal driveshafts in the front axle, not dogbones. You’ll find the exact same AR45 portal axles, with the same machined steel ring, pinion gears, and locker.

Aluminum Shocks

Aluminum Shocks

Universal Driveshafts

Universal Driveshafts

AR45 Port Axles

AR45 Port Axles

Steel Ring/Pinion Gears/Locker

Steel Ring/Pinion Gears/Locker

The RTR version has the same metal motor mount, transfer case, and transmission, capable of a 2-speed functionality and the DIG unit. 

The wheels are the same 3-piece beadlocks, not glued wheels, with the same Nitto Trail Grappler rubber tires. All the links are the same; the pillow balls, the HD Wild Boar driveshafts, the adjustable chassis, the scale engine bay, and the scale body with no exposed body clips are all the same as the kit truck.

Motor Mount/Transfer Case/Transmission

Motor Mount/Transfer Case/Transmission

3-Piece Beadlock Wheels & Grappler Tires

3-Piece Beadlock Wheels & Grappler Tires

Links & Chassis

Links & Chassis

Scale Engine Bay

Scale Engine Bay

Do you save money buying the SCX10 III RTR instead of the kit?

Yes, it’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider the kit truck costs $369.99, and the RTR costs $499.99; that’s a difference of $130. So, what do you get for that extra $130? This version comes with all of the electronics—and they’re excellent.

(Prices subject to change without notice, last updated July 14, 2021.)

SCX10 III Steering Servo

Inside the truck is a Spektrum S614 metal gear steering servo ($22.99), it’s waterproof with 200 oz/in of torque. People ask, “How fast is the SCX10 III?” It’s surprisingly fast and had enough torque for 99% of the crawling we did with the truck, only showing signs of weakness in tight wedges between rocks or when descending and all the truck weight was on the front end.

Spektrum RC S614 Waterproof Metal Gear Servo 23T SPMS614

SCX10 III DIG Servo

There is also a second mini servo included that controls the DIG function of the truck. This DIG allows you to lock the rear axle with a press of a button, providing tight turning or extra stability in certain situations. This servo is the Spektrum SX107 ($14.99), it is installed, set up, and works right out of the box. Most of these items are water-resistant electronics. However, Spektrum does not mention if it’s waterproof—so don’t get it wet.

Spektrum RC SX107 Micro Metal Gear Servo SPMSSX107

SCX10 III Electronic Speed Control

The ESC included is a new Spektrum 2-in-1 ESC and receiver combo ($56.99), and they call it the Firma 40A Smart ESC, and it is waterproof. The ESC is a simple, no-frills, brushed ESC, which does have programming capabilities if you use the Dynamite program card (sold separately).

One cool thing about the ESC is that if you plug in a Spektrum Smart battery to the ESC, the transmitter will display the battery power level, so you know how much power remains. I’m not sure why you need this, but it’s there if you use a Spektrum Smart battery with the truck.

The only downside to this 2-in-1 unit is if you want to use a different brand of transmitter and receiver down the road, you won’t be able to use the ESC with your other brand receiver.

Spektrum RC Firma 40 Amp Brushed Smart 2-in-1 ESC & Receiver SPMXSE1040RX

SCX10 III Transmitter

Speaking of the transmitter, included with the SCX10 III RTR is the Spektrum DX3 ($89.99), and this one is unique to the DX3 you can go out and buy from a hobby shop because it has this plastic nub so you can steer with your thumb, for one-handed driving.

The transmitter then has all the standard trims, but most importantly, you can attach a lanyard at the bottom, great for being out on the trail. However, you need to hold down a button while using the DIG function, which means you need to use two hands because you can’t hold down the DIG button with your thumb and steer with your thumb simultaneously.

Spektrum RC DX3 Smart 3-Channel DSMR Transmitter with SR315 Receiver SPM2340

SCX10 III Motor

For throttle control and smoothness, the truck comes with a 35T 4WD rock crawler brushed motor ($18.99), and the bottom end throttle response is impressively smooth with the Firma 40A ESC. For top speed, it’s about a jogging pace.

If you wanted more top speed, you could utilize the 2-speed transmission that we mentioned earlier for high and low gearing, but it’s going to require some wrenching at the workbench, and you may need to sacrifice the DIG functionality. Most crawler guys are primarily interested in DIG over 2-speed, so that’s why Axial configures the Jeep that way out of the box, but the 2-speed is still there as an option.

Axial 35T Brushed Electric Motor AXI31312

SCX10 III RTR - Savings

So, if you add up all the included items, they equal well over $130 difference between the Kit and the RTR. But wait, there’s more!  This ready-to-run trail truck comes pre-assembled with the tires installed, a painted body with decals applied. Plus, LED headlights and taillights included and installed.

SCX10 RTR vs. Kit Savings

Setting the Correct Balance

You can take this truck out of the box and drive some challenging terrain once you charge your battery. Now when it comes time to choose a battery, the ESC is 2-3S LiPo compatible, and the size of the battery will make a big difference in performance.

Balancing Battery Weight for Performance

We put the truck on a balancing scale, and in its stock form, it’s heavier on the right side. It makes sense; the motor sets off slightly to the right, and the ESC and DIG servo are also on the right. But this truck has two different battery mount locations. If you utilize the left side mount with a mini crawler battery like this ProTek 3S 1800mah pack, the crawler achieves nearly perfect left and right-side balance while maintaining a 58% forward weight bias.

Setting the Proper Balance

As soon as you move the battery to the rear battery mount, the left & right-side balance is off, and you lose slight forward weight bias. Adding a full-size battery like a 2S 5000mAh Smart battery, we lose even more front bias; our left side is still heavier.

This mini 3S 1800mah pack was made for this truck, not really, but it works so well, except for the connector. The crawler has an IC3 which is compatible with EC3, but this battery comes with an XT60, so you need to change the battery connector or use an adapter—as we did.

Improve Performance with Proper Balance

We tested the SCX10 III Jeep JLU on the trails.

After striking the right balance with our ProTek battery, we took our Axial SCX10 III to our favorite crawling trails. The tires have good traction, but they rub on the fenders under extreme flexing because they’re pretty tall.

But the suspension is smooth, the throttle control is smooth, the portal axles provide extra clearance, and that DIG function is great to use when descending, so you can drag your rear tires for more stability, or if you need to make a tight turn, the DIG is excellent for that. We didn’t add any extra brass weights or wheel weights, but chassis performance would be even better if you did.

SCX10 III Hitting the Trail

The SCX10 III runs smooth and in control.

With the body, it’s chunky and boxy, but that extra weight didn’t cause us to roll over excessively. It only happened a few times. Having perfect left and right-side balance from that mini ProTek battery dramatically aids in the stability when getting sideways. But also makes climbing and descending stable and in control.

SCX10 RTR Trail Truck Hits the Pipes

Summary

The body looks so cool, and I’m not even a jeep guy. With all the plastic molded scale pieces attached, no exposed body clips, a driver figure inside with an interior roll cage, the SCX10 III trail truck is not only a great crawler, it also looks amazing.

Most trail trucks will look great but lack in performance, or on the other end, they perform well but lack in looks. The SCX10 III from Axial Racing is one of the few that excels at both, and that is why it is one of the best RTR trail trucks available and worth every penny.

Reviewing the SCX10 III RTR RC Trail Truck from Axial

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