Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Schumacher Cougar KF - Electrics Install & Paint

 So time to get some electrics in the KF.
I splashed out on a new motor for this one, a Speed Passion V3 6.5t.
The plug in connectors of these motors lead one to believe they will be an easy install but this is not really the case. Due to the way the wires enter the back of the can it's actually fairly tricky to keep the motor wires as neat as one would like.
The upside is that once installed they can be easily changed out for another SP motor, handy if conditions change or you run at tracks where a different wind would be a better choice.

(Click on pic for gallery)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

What the 'F'? Schumacher Cougar KF build (Part 2)

I'm back in the shed.
I'm enjoying this build so much I couldn't stay away for very long.

Starting at the rear end the time has come to start making this thing look like a car.
Having assembled the shock tower and wing mounts bolt them to the transmission housings.
These housings are the same as the K1 and although the kit items are plastic some tasty alloy option parts can be had, maybe Santa will bring me some? 

Monday, 18 November 2013

What the 'F'? Schumacher Cougar KF build (Part 1)

It's been an exciting week in the Pipski man cave.
I have got my grubby mitts on the latest release from the lads in Northants, the forward motor Cougar KF.
The rise of the forward motor car is not without controversy but that's a debate for another day, its a phenomenon that looks like it's here to stay so, I'm in!  

(click on any pic for gallery)

To anyone who has built a Schumacher before, that's probably most of you, the box contents will be a familiar sight.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

CE1 ... The XB2 that the XB4 could have been!

Now that Xray are about to release their 2wd drive version of the XB4 I thought I would show you a project that a friend of mine, Chris Ellis, has been working on.

After having a successful season campaigning his XB4 as a 2wd he has utilised this experience to make some alterations to the car that he feels will improve it's performance even further.

 After a few long evenings beavering away in the workshop he has produced a car that many people think the the Xray XB4-2 should be.

It is certainly interesting and worth a closer look.

As can be seen from the picture the changes are quite substantial.
The saddle cells are gone and the motor mount is rotated 180 degrees thus enabling the motor to be relocated at the rear of the chassis together with the esc and a shorty battery .
To contribute further towards the perfect weight distribution the servo has been centred under the front top deck.

What you see here is a prototype. Chris tells me the car drives as he hoped it would and initial tests have been impressive.
  Some top drivers have been enlisted to help him develop this car in to a winner, they are currently testing it in varying conditions to ensure it works well whatever the surface/conditions come race day. 

It seems to be a well executed conversion.
I don't know if Chris plans to bring this to market at some point but if he does I'm certain there will be no shortage of potential buyers.
Good luck with it bud.

The layout seems to make a lot of sense and is a good way to utilise the shorty pack that is becoming ever more popular. 
Team C clearly feel the concept has a future as can be seen below with the TM2.

It is quite exciting times for 2wd drive buggies with the bigger manufacturers picking up on the design solutions that talented home designers have come up with.

Watch out for new releases soon from Schumacher and, for the well heeled, Team Xtreme and the RudeBits DB2. 
Indeed is Dave DB1 Burton the man responsible for the rise of the forward/mid motor 2wd?

A note of caution however.
The rise in popularity of 2wd off road in recent times has been, in some part, due to the increased costs involved in running touring cars.
These new 2wd cars are flippin', and in my opinion unjustifiably, expensive and rip through tyres at an alarming rate, it's not unusual to see racers using a fresh set for every round at bigger race meetings.
I'm not sure this is the way forward.

What do you think?

Friday, 20 September 2013

When is a 4wd not a 4wd? . . . When it's a 2wd!

The hot topic trackside and the subject of much controversy just now is the conversion of 4wd drive cars into 2wd.
Indeed just such a car won the mid-south regional series in the very capable hands of Glen Westwood. Further examples could be found in at least one National 'A' final.

This is being done in several different ways depending on the car and/or driver.
Some are removing all front wheel drive parts including diff and forward drive shaft, others are merely removing the front drive shafts and leaving the front diff, and all drive thereto, in place.

Opinions vary as to whether there is an advantage to be had one way or the other and if so on what types of track.

The big question is however how would this work in the hands of the average racer.

(Click any image for gallery view)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Xray XB808 to 808E brushless conversion.

Over the last couple of seasons it has slowly dawned on me that I am not likely to become a 1/10 off road world champion any time soon.
Whilst I fully intend to pursue this thus far unattainable ambition I have decided to see if my talents might be suited to another class.

Regular readers will know that I am the proud owner of an immaculate Xray 808 nitro buggy which has been gathering dust in the man cave. 
I love this car but the need for a pit man means any form of gas racing really is a two man class. Being a bit of a grumpy old bugger I don't really like to trawl around the pits begging favours from fellow racers so the only solution if I want to go 1/8 racing is electric power.
Turn it on, put it down and race!

So dear readers I am off 1/8 electric buggy racing.

First job, strip down the old girl and decide on the way forward.
Out with the (just run in) motor, fuel tank, electrics and throttle/brake assembly.
I will wrap these up and store them carefully, I refuse to butcher any of them as I may well convert back at some point.

(Click on any image for gallery)

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

EOS Finals F2/Vets/Juniors at TORCH

I travelled the well worn path to TORCH again at the weekend, but this time for one of the more important meetings of the year, the BRCA End Of Season Finals for F2s Juniors and the old boys, the Vets, amongst whom I reluctantly count myself.

This was an important meeting for the TORCH boys as it was a chance to prove they are capable of hosting a National level meeting, with all that this entails.

(Click on any pic for photo gallery.)

Despite the online whinging from some of the more northern drivers the turnout was excellent with what appeared to be a full entry, so full that I didn't make it in to the 2wd race on the Saturday and had to settle for a place in one of the ten 4wd heats on Sunday.  
It makes a nice change for one of these big events to be held 'darn sarf'.

I arrived early Sunday morning to a campsite full of bleary eyed Saturday racers emerging from their tents recovering from the previous evenings shenanigans, looks like I missed out on a goodun!  

Friday, 30 August 2013

Surrey & Hants . . . The Revamp.

The Farnborough based club run by the inimitable Neil 'Dudders' Dudman has undergone something of a transformation.

I had heard about all this hard work and, being a nosey so and so, decided to pack up the hauler and pop along to take a gander.   

Turns out the hype was all true.
Dudders has put to work his band of merry men in the creation of new features and the laying of new astro and collectively they've made massive strides forward with their venue.

It took just a handful of laps to realise that all the hard work was well worthwhile.
Gone is the patchy astro full of pinion killing sand, Frankenstein joins and unpredictable grip levels.
Replaced by a clean, predictable and grippy surface that is a pleasure to drive on.
The track has a nice flow to it and the fact that one isn't likely to get caught out by a dodgy track join or have a chassis like a beach at the end of a heat is a joy.

Clearly I am not the only one to have heard the good news as nearly 40 people turned out to give it a try.

In preparation for the upcoming Apex GP Dudders decided to run a Reedy race style event whereby every round was a race in which racers accrued points that counted towards their overall result.

This was a fun format and bodes well for the main event next month.

It's a 50 mile drive to SHRCCC but I'm glad I made the trip, as I think anyone would be.

If you've never visited SHRCCC, or if you have and thought it wasn't for you, then now is the time to give it another go.
It's moved up a notch, I think you'll enjoy it.

And if that recommendation isn't worth a free race entry I don't know what is!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

TORCH 2wd Regional Rnd5 . . . The decider!

Last weekend I made the familiar trip to TORCH for the final round of the BRCA Mid South Regional Series.

(Click on any image for gallery view)

As we have come to expect from TORCH the track was in great order.
Dan and the lads had come up with yet another layout, more technical than the one it replaces and sure to be a test for even the best drivers. 
I have to admit I didn't take to it, I found the jump difficult and  had to be careful not to get caught out by a couple of track joints. 
As they say though, it was the same for everybody.

Monday, 29 July 2013

SHRCCC . . . The Thursday gang!

I haven't raced at SHRCCC for a while so as I was in the area Thursday evening I decided drop by and take a look.
I had my camera with me so took a few pics.
(Click on any image for gallery view)

I am pleased to report that the club appears to be in rude health and is attracting 20 plus drivers for their regular Thursday evening sessions.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Vega Gen3 Shell

The Vega has always had quite a reputation for sporting a somewhat eccentric shell design.
From the interesting fluted 'rocket launcher' 1st Gen to the 'ugly bug' 2nd Gen, which I like but many don't, they have always been a bit like Marmite.

Love 'em or hate 'em though they always turn heads, and the latest 3rd Gen incarnation is no different.
This time however Team Xtreme have come up with something a little more conventional.
I say Team Xtreme but the new design appears to be a very close cousin of the 'Finnisher' shell for which JConcepts are well known.

Actually 'slightly deformed twin' would be more accurate as this shell is pretty much identical apart from the bulge covering the spur gear.
This made it an essential purchase for me as I love the Finnisher shell.

This is how it looks 'finnished' (get it?) in PipskiRacing colours, I think it looks kinda smart.
It's still my RB5 Gen2 lurking underneath,

I am told by better drivers than myself that this cab forward design is likely to be a better performer on track as well.
Let's hope so, I need all the help I can get!

Looking forward to the weekend so I can find out.  

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Durango DEX410V3 . . . A new car in my garage.

I loosened the strings on the Pipski purse this week.

Durango have reduced the price of the DEX410V3, probably because a new car is imminent.
Of course that doesn't make the current model a bad one, so I treated myself.

The V3 is a bargain at its current price and comes loaded with a raft of desirable features that can usually only be dreamed of at this price point.

I published a full build report on the DEX410R a while back, which can be found HERE, so I won't be doing another for this model as the build is essentially identical bar a few notable improvements.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

TORCH Summer Series Round 3

All roads led to TORCH last weekend for Round 3 of their great summer series.
The weatherman said it was going to be a scorcher so t-shirts and high factor sun cream were essential to ensure a full days fun without lobster tinged regret on Monday morning.

It must be have been warm as sandal wearing Clarkie had even removed his socks.

(Click on any pic for gallery view)

The good weather ensured a decent turnout with most of the usual suspects in attendance as well as a few faces that hadn't been seen in a while blowing away the RC cobwebs,.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Stotfold 2wd Mid South Regional . . . Round 4

When the alarm sounded at stupid-o-clock on Sunday morning my woe was tempered by the fact that my destination for the day was to be Stotfold for the latest round of the BRCA Mid South Regional series.

I have read a lot recently about the improvements the club have made to the venue so was excited to visit and see for myself.
On arrival it was clear that all the hard work had been worthwhile as the track looked great.
The layout had been tweaked since my previous visit and much of the astro has been replaced with some nice new bright green stuff giving the whole place a fresh new feel.

(Click on any pic for gallery view) 

It might look nice but don't be fooled into thinking this is an easy track, it's very '3D' and tricky to learn, it took me both of the practice heats just to remember where to turn left and right let alone where the bumps were! I knew it would be a tough day for me.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Schumacher Cougar SV2 . . . Which shocks?

Over the last few weeks I have been testing the various different shock options available for the SV2.
I am an average driver but have noticed some differences . . .

I have tried std big bores, bleeder cap big bores (with and without bladders) and bleeder cap small bores with big bore springs (with and without bladders).
My unscientific testing has taken place at TORCH which is a reasonably smooth, high traction, astro track with a few smaller jumps but no big silly stuff. 

This is what I think:
Standard big bores: Reliable and predictable, reasonably easy to build but sometimes tricky to achieve even rebound across a set.

Bleeder cap big bores (emulsion): Plush feeling shocks that work well. Easy to build but need regular rebuilds to maintain consistency.

Bleeder cap big bores (bladder): I prefer these without the bleed screws fitted. They are a piece of cake to build with repeatable results every time. The result is a very consistent predictable shock that feels nice to drive.

Bleeder cap small bores (emulsion): Same maintenance issues as big bore emulsion shocks. They felt a bit too feisty for me but would probably work well on tight smooth tracks, indoor carpet perhaps? The good guys could probably get the best out of them.

Bleeder cap small bores (bladder): Again I preferred these without the bleed screw which makes them a little calmer and easy to maintain.

If you look at the last couple of pics you will see which are my favourites.
For the remainder of the outdoor season I will be bouncing along on the big bore shocks fitted with bleeder caps and bladders but no bleed screws, on Core RC springs. 
These seem to suit my (dubious!) driving style and allow me to drive relatively error free runs at a reasonable pace.

I can see why the better drivers use the small bores as they do appear to make the buggy more nimble but  feel a little edgy for me. I will probably give them another go when we go indoors for the winter.

So there you go, I can conclude that . . . I'm not so much better with any of them, what a surprise!

Friday, 14 June 2013

TORCH Summer Series Round 2

The guys at TORCH know how to put on a great meeting so I knew I was in for a fun day when I made the, now familiar, trip to Titchfield at the weekend for Rnd 2 of the Summer series.
Plenty of track time was guaranteed as the Summer Series meetings usually comprise 4 rounds of qualifying followed by 3 finals for all, not to mention the hour or so of pre-race open practice.

Al was trying to nobble Dan before the day had even started.

Over the last few weeks the venue has been treated to a couple of work parties and the hard graft of Dan and his merry band certainly shows. 
The track has been tweaked slightly and is better than ever, I just wish I could get round it a little quicker. The surrounding fence is creeping around and is getting ever closer to enclosing the entire track.
TORCH is already hosting some big events and must now be very close to being a national standard venue.

Say cheese!

Only around 40 drivers turned out for the event which was disappointing as the venue and organisation deserve much more. Nevertheless the atmosphere was made great by the lads, and the odd lady supporter, that did turn up.

I was swapping between the SVR and the SV2 (Don't ask me why) and thought I was doing ok until I looked at the final qualifying standings and found I had only managed to achieve B4. 
Either the standard is getting higher or I'm getting worse, I'd like to think it's the former but fear it's the latter.

This is the timing sheet from my last, and fastest, qualifier with the SV2. (He says with a sigh!)

I managed to put that crushing disappointment behind me and had a couple of fun races in the finals, ending up where I started, just off the box in P4.

Another day of ups and downs really.
When it's good it's great but . . . . . . . . 

When it's bad it's terrible!

I still went home with a smile on my face, albeit a slightly frustrated one, and am already looking forward to the next round, where I am determined to do better. 
Maybe if I just do the usual and just throw some more money at it?

The usual suspects where found ripping round at the front joined by a couple of worthy visitors in the shape of  Matt Owen from the Silverstone club and James White, perhaps getting in some sneaky practice for the 2wd regional.

For those to whom these things matter the full results from the day can be found HERE.

If you haven't made it along to a TORCH event yet you are certainly missing out.
Get along to Rnd 3 on July 7th, put it in your diary now.
Oh, and bring some Yellow Minispikes.

A big thanks to Lionel Croucher who was wielding his new Nikon D90 for this article, click on any pic for the full size version.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

TORCH Mid South 4wd Regional

If you thought TORCH was already a good place to go 1/10 buggy racing then you would be correct. Not a club to rest on its laurels however the Hampshire massive have been busy over the last few weeks moving things on to another level.

Plenty of good work has gone into improving the parking and pitting areas and money has been spent upgrading the timing system. This all adds to the professional feeling of the venue but, not to do things by halves, there has also been a complete revamp of the track.

(Click on any pic for gallery view) 

Friday, 26 April 2013

Schumacher Big Bore Vented Shock Caps.

Ok, so in my ongoing, and thus far fruitless, quest to be a  little less rubbish I've thrown yet more money at my Cougar SV2.

This time my hard earned cash has been wasted invested in the latest hop up from the Northampton massive, a set of vented bleeder shock caps for my big bore shocks.

Here they are.
Nicely machined little beauties aren't they.

These shock caps come with a set of bladders and a set of o-rings, thus enabling the user to build the shocks bladder free.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Team Xtreme Vega RB5 . . . Don't mind if I do.

Well I couldn't resit it.
It's a Team Xtreme Kyosho RB5 based Vega.

I have lusted after one of these for some time and when this little beauty cropped up for sale recently my heart got the better of my head, not to mention my wallet.

For those that don't know, the Vega is a  kit, comprising a number of tasty carbon and machined alloy parts to convert the rear motored Kyosho RB5 into a mid motored weapon capable, in the right hands, of running right at the sharp end.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Hobao Hyper H2 . . A morning at TORCH

Upon awakening I was initially frightened by the huge fireball in the sky, I quickly realised however that it was my long lost friend the sun.

Without further ado I packed up the Hobao along with the rest of my kit and set off for TORCH.

It was a low key morning club meeting so not likely to be overly busy, the perfect opportunity to give the H2 a shakedown.
 The upside of these meetings is that there is plenty of track time, usually 5 heats and a final, the downside is that there is very little time to make changes to the car, in fact there is barely time to charge cells.

I was going to enjoy myself nevertheless.

I had kind of guessed at a set up and knew I would have no opportunity to make drastic changes.
It turned out I wasn't a million miles away as the car felt pretty good from the off.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Hobao Hyper H2 . . Electrics Install

For the electrics in the H2 I resorted to some familiar components.

The Hobbywing V2 speedo is a great favourite of mine, HW have been really good at updating the software for this unit so it remains competitive and is easy peasy to programme track-side via the digital program box.

I am using a full size 2s pack in the H2 so there is no choice in mounting location, it goes on the hinged battery plate. I was a little worried that with the fan fitted it might foul the body shell. I needn't have as there is plenty of room.

Depending on the brand stubby users may be able to squeeze in the esc on the chassis behind the servo. 

I used some snazzy blue wire to hook this up to an LRP X12 8.5t motor which, with modern software, should suffice for most tracks. It's a clear run so was quite straightforward.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Hobao Hyper H2 Build . . Part 2

So I am back in the shed to complete the build. it's bloomin' freezing so my little fan heater is working overtime!

The H2 comes with all the parts to build the car in mid or rear motor formats, I have chosen to build my car as mid motor as I will be racing primarily on astro. 
(If you decide on the rear motor configuration some of the following will still apply but keep an eye on the manual.)

At this point the H2 offers something a little different from the norm in the shape of a hinged battery retaining system. 
Tip: It is possible to use either full size or stubby type cells in the car, the small L shaped retaining piece can be fitted to the forward or rearward pair of holes in the top plate depending on your choice.

The hinged top plate also acts as the mounting plate for the electrics, this can be seen in the electrics install blog post.

I assembled mine to accept a full size 2s pack.

From this point onwards a little 'interpretation' of the manual is required, hopefully the following will help with  your build decisions.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Hobao Hyper H2 Build . . Part 1

I am often heard to exclaim "How (expletive deleted) much?" when being shown or told about the latest hot new kit on the market, and this time was no exception.
However, the reason for my surprise at the new Hobao Hyper H2 Pro was not how high the price is but how low.
This kit, with a little shopping around, can be delivered to your door for just 135 English pounds!

So it's off to the man cave for a bit of wrench time to establish if this kit is the bargain it appears to be.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Hobao Hyper H2 Pro . . Thanks postie!

Whilst most of us lust after a DB1, a Vega, or even an RB6,  many of us have to be more modest in our aspirations.

With this in mind the postie paid me a visit this week.
Under his arm he was carrying a Hyper H2 Pro, the latest offering from the Taiwanese 1/8 rally cross experts Hobao.

This kit, distributed in the UK by CML, has an RRP a sniff below £150 but a little scout around the net can see it winging it's way to you for only £135.

My initial un-boxing suggests my money has been well spent. There are lots of sturdy looking parts and a beautifully machined and engraved alloy chassis, reminiscent of a Losi 22 and not massively dissimilar to an RB6.
There is even a full set of wheels/tyres and inserts.

Over the next few days I shall be retiring to the man cave to wield the wrenches in the direction of this box of goodies.
 I plan to find out if  it's the bargain it appears to be.

I'll take some pics and make a few notes so I can write up a build report so be sure to check back.