Somewhere in the depths of our lizard brains lies a fascination with remote-controlled vehicles. Lately, it’s been all about drones. But given the popularity of the flying machines, it’s easy to overlook where the RC craze originally started: cars.
The RC cars of yesteryear worked fine on flat surfaces like your driveway or cul-de-sac. There were also models of the 4×4 variety that were meant to tackle the tougher terrain, but most were disappointing—often just a standard road chassis with some sort of off-road shell wrapped around it.
Axial’s RR10 Bomber, however, is the real deal. It isn’t just a street car gussied up to look mean. It’s a rugged off-roader built for crawling over rocks and for zipping across the gnarliest trails.
The $400 car is a 1/10th-scale recreation of a 4×4 from Bomber Fabrications, the shop run by off-road master Randy Slawson—hence the “Bomber” in the car’s name. Slawson designs and builds full chassis for off-road racing vehicles that are able to crawl over massive boulders at record speed. His work has twice earned him the title “King of the Hammers” for being the fastest across the rock-strewn Hammer trails of California’s Johnson Valley.
Now that design has been baked into a masterfully crafted scale model that can rip over and through a variety of tough terrain, from steep and loose sand to rocks and boulders as big as the car itself. You can tune the full shock suspension to your liking, and there’s even a mounting bracket for an optional sway bar. The wheels are from Walker Evans Racing, and they’re slung with a set of BF Goodrich Baja tires (there’s a spare on the back too). The battery packs are swappable, so you can always have a backup charging while you drive.
While most rookie RC drivers will be able to start chewing up smaller rocks right out of the box, it takes some practice to be able to tackle more challenging terrain. It’s made for the rocks and the hills, but the flats have their own challenges. The Bomber’s center of gravity is low, but not so low that it is impossible to send the car into a roll. Taking sharp corners at the max speed on flat ground will easily pull the inside tires into the air—if you’re lucky, the Bomber will come to a stop with the tires on the ground. Beginners may also be tricked into thinking their skill and finesse of the controls has improved after 30 or 40 minutes of driving. But by then, the battery will have started to deplete and the car won’t have as much power to throw itself over as often.
The controller—a simple, gun-style design with the trigger-throttle just below a steering wheel—is intuitive and easy to use. If for some reason the controls feel backwards, there are switches to reverse the actions. There are also some calibration options to help mitigate steering drift or sensitivity, as well as the ability to limit the throttle.
It may seem pricey at $400, but the RR10 Bomber is an advanced machine and a whole lot of fun. Also, you won’t relive the childhood disappointment you felt the last time you took your “fake” off-roader for a spin in the dirt.