CAPRA BUILD FADV or CHUPACAPRA?
So, this is the story of the Capra build… Have we mentioned that we love kits? Always have and always will. Having said that, we do actually enjoy opening a box and dropping an RTR on the ground and off you go. Before we start any build, we do some research, check the trends, and try to make something that’s not just really cool but it has to have that RC HUB style! The build itself was very straightforward we appreciate the effort axial put in with clear instructions and good labeling. They keep getting better and better at separating parts into specific groups. Step 1 to Bag A … Step 2 Bag B keeps things easy to follow and helps you progress at a good pace. We want to remind the veteran RC peeps out there to make sure and read and follow the instructions, you never know when there might be an update or tweak you haven’t learned yet.
SPONSORS – Just for clarity we want to make sure everyone knows that this is a sponsored build by Axial and their parent company Horizon Hobby. So, all of the parts that you see here from the Spectrum servos, receiver, Dynamite battery, Axial ESC, and the LED KIT. Also, the tires and paint on this build were provided by Pro-Line. So, a big THANK YOU to the sponsors for supporting us and feeding our obsession of this amazing hobby!
BUILD/NAME – The build itself is super straightforward, we have no problem recommending this to even newbie builders. Now they probably won’t finish it in one day as a newb but with patience and a couple YouTube videos, we are confident that you will have it done in no time. Once we were done with all the basic building it was decision time! The decision was made early on to make this a desert military themed vehicle. A classis we love is the Tamiya FAST ATTACK vehicle. So internally we started calling this the FAST ATTACK DESERT VEHICLE – CAPRA. Some people on the Internet have already dubbed it the “Chupacabra” which is hilarious.
Interior – We opted to keep the stock Lexan interior piece… Not only does it fit the theme perfectly, but we think that Axial went above and beyond on the details! But just because you stick to the stock piece doesn’t mean that you can’t make it fit your specific build. As far as our drivers go, we opted to use some figures we found at our local GameStop. They actually have a ton of action figures, we settled on a couple from Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series. All we needed was the heads so we carefully decapitated them (bet you never thought you would read that on an RC website!). The plastic used for the heads is much softer than the average RC Plastic so using standard fine thread screws was not an option. We actually ended up using gutter screws found at any local hardware store. These are perfect since they are only a ¼” deep, very course thread and are stainless. Once we were happy with the fit, we drilled an undersized pilot hole and then just screwed them in place.
CUSTOM – Custom step number one was to ditch all the factory Lexan panels. We were looking for an excuse to use some of the Scale Diamond plate we had left over from our UMG10 build. The stock panels were still an important part of the build, giving us a great starting point. Being a Military vehicle, the panels had to cover much more of the occupants. The new side panels went from half doors to full doors with scale metal window guard/mesh. The hood was made in DP sans any scoops or extra details… again Military style. The roof panel was another story altogether. Changing it up again and thinking about our occupants the panel was extended a tiny bit in the front to the Light bar, then went all the way back following the cage angle and wrapping around the rear most chassis tubing.
PAINT – Let’s talk about some colors, shall we? So, desert Military theme was the name of the game so after a few cursory searches we knew that a tan color had to go on this build. With no Lexan outer panels, we had to go back to normal painting techniques. Nearly every RC we build we take hours and hours of taping/masking to cover specific parts not to get any overspray in the wrong area. Not so with this one, to be brutally honest we were only slightly concerned with the shock shafts and any lights. We know what you are thinking …. The Paint will never stick to all the plastics! Guess what you are correct…. Without spending many many many hours on plastic prep and primers and special paints we actually WANTED IT TO COME OFF! Pretty much everything else was fair game for paint or overspray. Starting with Mojave Sand as the base color that opened up a clean slate for all the weathering, we could throw at it! We used Dark Earth, Primer Gray and even a little Green and Red all included in the Pro-Line Military Color Set! Don’t forget that this paint is meant to be applies with an Airbrush! But there is one paint tool we can almost bet you already own! For all the fine details, accents, and shadows we go to our trusty SHARPIE! That is one tool that we use not for just paint work but for helping us hide things as well. This build in particular we used a black sharpie to help cover up all the non-Desert colored items that kept popping up here and there. Think power wires, LED wires, connectors, motor wires…. Anything that needs a quick color change, we keep Sharpies of all sizes and colors on hand in bulk!
ELECTRONICS – With this being a military themed build it had to be tough. ESC and motor combo are pretty much what you would get with the RTR version. This was done not to Overpower the rig and honest they just work and are exceptionally reliable. One thing we always try to shift some extra cheddar to is the Steering Servo. Spectrum S6250 is waterproof, has a replaceable wiring harness is in a metal case with metal gears and cranks out up a minimum of over 270oz-in of torque. Receiver was the 515 and technically the specs don’t say “Waterproof” so we went ahead and hit it with some Conformal Coating! Tiny little Spectrum servo went in with no issues to control that that fancy DIG function! 7.2 Dynamite is good enough on power and will run this rig for over 30mins with no issues. When adding LEDS like we did to illuminate a panel that has no actual light pod, we love using a small piece of aluminum foil and a some duct tape. To make it look even more authentic try using a very dark paint to help block and light from showing up in area there should be NO LIGHT. One more trick we always have at the ready is a GLUE GUN. It really helps hold things in place especially wiring. Technically if you happened to forget some heat shrink for you bare wires connection you can use the HOT GLUE not only to hold the wires in place but the Glue itself is a perfect insulator!
SCALE – What the SCALE……Yep you caught us! We are totally guilty of going the extra mile to turn our builds into rolling miniature creations of their 1:1 counterpart. To do that properly you have to go that extra mile in the detail department. One company that has been making it easy to live in the scale world for many years now is RC4WD. To be clear we have no official ties to them other than we love their products and can’t remember a build in recent years that that didn’t include some of their products! Extra touches of scale to fit this build were the Heads (that still sounds weird), Window Guards, Diamond Plate, Hi-Lift Extreme Jack, Scale Chain, Ammo Cans, Waffle Boards, Scale Antennas, Scale Driveshafts and additional Off Road Lights with brush guards. Did we mention everything? Honestly probably not but that’s what makes this hobby so amazing! The choices and options are all up to you… Make it your own by adding more stuff, change a color with mild paint, change nothing or everything it’s up to you.
WHEELS – Can we talk about that rolling stock? Our goal is to show you tips and tricks that are VERY affordable, that anyone can duplicate without breaking the bank. Now that we have said all that let’s throw caution to the wind and blow the entire budget on wheels, tires, beadlock rings and scale hardware. First the hunks of aluminum gorgeousness are custom made wheel by CNC Customs. We were extremely fortunate to be able to have these wheels tweaked to our exact specifications. The wheel itself is less than 1 inch in width, that really nailed the wheel/tire combo look we were hoping for. Moving outwards from the wheel we have to talk about hardware. The big name in the game is Locked Up RC and man are they knocking it out of the park! Tons of styles with multiple color and finish options! Beadlocks are a staple of the scale world however so is getting hand cramps when having to install 24 1mm hex scale bolts per side of each wheel. Some quick math… (need more fingers and toes) 48×4=192+(6×4=)24+4 = 220 Tiny bolts just to get the wheel on… Uhm no thanks…. There has to be a better way, right? Hello EASY MOUNT! Now to be fair you still have to screw all 24 bolts in… but 18 per bead lock ring are for cosmetic purposes only! So, no more ultra-jedi mind tricks to get all 24 bolts through the ring and into the wheel while holding the tire… RC Jenga anyone? THANK YOU LURC!
Tires – The best aftermarket tire that had the off-road military style tread we were looking for was the Pro-Line Grunt! The tread pattern is 3 blocks alternating that perform really well out on the rocks. Not necessary the greatest tire for really fine stuff like sand… But if that’s your running local of choice you may need some sand paddles! The weight of this rig despite all of the metal panels and extra scale bits was not bad at all so we kept the factory foams. The foams really do a great job of helping hold steady when putting extra pressure on the sidewalls, yet still give just enough to offer up a bit more traction when needed.
ON THE TRAIL – So after more time making this beast than most people spend on their favorite book we have to say this was well worth it! Standing on its own 4 wheels and in basic RTR form the Capra is an outstanding rig. To be honest we are not entire sold on Portals Yet… Do you get a lot more ground clearance… ABSOLUTELY! Does that clearance also raise your Center of Gravity…? ABSOLUTELY! The suspension out of the box is well balanced and will make a newcomer happy and also afford enough tweak ability to make the nit-picky crawler crews happy enough to invest in this platform. Our vote leans towards the Kit. You just get the flexibility to spend your money where you want. Better Servo, one of them new fangled OUT RUNNER motors… Upgraded tires? You get it, what we are saying honestly is the CAPRA is a WIN WIN. It is the Evolution of what you have been asking for without a bunch of overcomplicated wiring and servos that will only add to your worries on the trail long term. Portal Curries are lovely… The in-box 3-piece plastic Beadlocks are of Licensed Raceline flavor. That brings us to our favorite part of this whole build. Taking off every bit of RC HUB Wizardry we slapped on this bad boy it is still a very SCALE build right out of the box.
*** Cover for the pinion and spur gear. There is one screw in the bottom left corner that literally sits behind the Front Pass Side Link Mount. When it’s all assembled it is literally impossible to get that screw in and out, so we took the low road and left it out! ***