Two wheel drive stadium trucks have been incredibly popular with bashers since Traxxas reinvented the genre with the Rustler, ever since they’ve been a fav with bashers who enjoy the quick steering and light weight agility they provide, the main question is, has Ansmann hit the spot with their budget rival; the Macnum.
Macnum to the max
We thought we had wrecked the Macnum before we had even finished the filming our first light bashing video, it took a hell of a tumble from the top of a half-pipe while we were attempting a few gnarly take-offs, it landed with a real thud. Surprisingly nothing broke, no rod ends were yanked out and the Macnum drove off as if it hand’t fallen 8ft vertically. This doesn’t mean you won’t bust the Macnum, because we managed to later on , but it can definitely take a hit or two.
The Build and Spec
Building RC kits is top fun, we prefer kits to RTR’s as they involve you far more with the inner workings of your model. The Macnum went together smoothly, the instructions easy to follow with each step illustrated in detail. The only minor issues during the build were the ball differential and a few chassis parts did bind when installed, these required a bit of fettling with a hobby knife, other than that the process was smooth and beginner friendly.
We specced up our Macnum with a Modelsport Sniper RV-20 Esc, a Savox SC0252-MG Servo and the standard 21t 540 motor, and took it straight to our local bashing spot to see how it handled a good old fashioned bashing session.
We’ve been jumping the Ansmann off a skate park spine to test it’s durability, you can view some of the abuse in our HD bashing vid. As you can see the Macnum’s plastic shocks do a good enough job of soaking up the landings, before it bottoms out on the deck, although no shock caps tried to escape on those slams.
If you’re wanting maximum air time, you probably won’t find the stock 540 21t motor hot enough, if you’re a speed freak like us, you should check out our brushless upgrade.
The Macnum handles well, it’s suspension setup and design is good, with adjustable camber links front and rear and adjustable tow at the front, the handling is spritely and predictable, with any oversteer being controllable.
The chassis features slightly angled up sides to aid ground clearance when carving corners and overall feels lighter than it’s rivals, this is in part due to the Ansmann plastic, which isn’t has tough or heavy duty as those same more expensive rivals.
The chassis can accept up to a 7 cell stick pack inside it’s body clip and strap retained battery recess. Hardware wise, all the screws are hex head, so invest in a decent set of hex drivers if you decide to become a new owner, as allen keys will drive you nuts, geddit?
At the back of the truck you’ll find a sealed 2wd gearbox and motor mount. The transmission features a aluminium motor mount, a steel pinion, a dual pad slipper clutch and the ultimate 90′s comeback; a ball differential. Ball differentials are, erm , bad.
The kit is aimed at beginners / bashers and a ball diff is the worse possible choice, for two reasons, first they are a total pain to assemble, and second if you’re shy of maintenance the ball diff with instantly die inside your gearbox and you’ll be faced with some spannering time. This is one feature we would change, if we could. (Ansmann are you listening?!)
Away from the ball diff, the slipper clutch is old style, using 2 metal plates, with 2 rings inside, that interlock onto the spur gear, another fiddly assembly.
The aluminium motor mount we previously mentioned is fully adjustable, with parallel adjustment, allowing a vast array of positions and gearing options, this we like.
Powering out from the gearbox are steel CVDs, which are usually a hop up option, so a really nice touch. On the ends of the CVDs are plastic hexes with their enemy the steel pin (why else do they always escape?!), which slot into 2.2 white wheels. Tyres come are not pre glued in the kit and if you look carefully aren’t 100% round, the rubber isn’t exactly pro-line quality either, but they do latch on quite nicely with their grass pin style tread.
We managed to break the Macnum twice, once due to careless driving and the second due to a pebble implosion in the stock motor. The first was a head on smack straight into an immovable object and we snapped the rear t-plate which holds the rear assembly to the chassis. The pebble incident is pure bad luck as the cooling holes in the stock motor aren’t oversized, just a freak accident.
That Ball Diff : Even we managed to mis a step during assembly, make sure you read the manual carefully and watch our vid to guide you through this.
Shock tune up. We recommend filling the shocks with 45wt oil, and add some preload to improve the absorbing capabilities over the stock setup. Though replacing the shocks altogether with aluminium shocks would be a money well spent upgrade. Watch how we set up the suspension.
Chassis parts : Some needed trimming with a hobby knife to fit precisely, take it steady and remove a slither at a time, you want a tight fit with no binding.
It’s tricky to come to a complete conclusive rating of the Ansmann Macnum as it has to be judged against it’s big name rivals but at the same time in isolation you would never feel the need for anything more.
On it’s own the Macnum is top notch, it’s a great entry RC kit, and would make a good introduction into the world of proper RC. Even if you’re a experienced, the fun of constructing a kit is always enjoyable and we wish the popularity of RTR’s would drop away, as we here at RC MOJO miss the kit experience greatly.
When compared to it’s rivals, sure the plastic isn’t as good, the transmission could be better, but you have to remember that this kit is only around the £50 mark, so compared to it’s rivals it’s better, and when you’re bashing with it, it feels every bit as good. You could break each individual part 3 times and still have spent less than other kits would set you back.