We have always said that we will cover all things 4 wheels and a motor. With that mantra in mind we are going to do some RC reviews. There are a ton of people that have RC crawlers, buggies, trucks, drift cars, and more. We thought that would be a fun way to expand our content and since we are also just big kids play with some more stuff.

For those that don’t know me personally I prefer things in life that are off beat, not popular, and definitely march to my own decision making process. The one area that isn’t 100% true is owning a Jeep.

While we didn’t go totally obscure with our RC crawler choice, we definitely didn’t go with the accepted standard. Axial is by far the most recognized name in this market and since they are the top dog we didn’t want to compete with all the reviews and builds already out there. That’s not to say we never will, but it is best to start off in the shallow end of the review pool.

Vaterra Ascender

We chose the Vaterra Ascender RTR Bronco for our RC rig. We did a ton of research and really liked the newness of the platform and the design tweaks that Vaterra put into their chassis that was released in 2014. They spent a ton of time giving the chassis a weight forward bias and keeping that weight low in the chassis.

The battery fits under the Vaterra strap. Just over the front wheels and low in the chassis.

Suspension is a rear triangulated 4 link, front 3 link, and pan hard steering with a track bar. If you want a scale version of a 1:1 off road vehicle suspension this is a perfect setup to see how changes affect your vehicle and how those parts move.


Shocks are a coil over design that are oil filled and adjustable. To be honest out of the box they are passable, but most people will upgrade the entire shock or components pretty quickly. They have a lot of stiction and aren’t as smooth as you really want. On the plus side they don’t unload rapidly which does add to the overall stability of the rig.

Wheels and tires are 1.9 replica Interco Super Swamper tires on chrome wheels. Sticky rubber on good sized wheels right out of the box is a big plus, and who doesn’t love the Super Swamper style?


One of the really unique features of the Ascender chassis is the adjustable wheelbase. If you buy the kit version you get the parts for all the wheel base options, with the RTR you get the wheelbase setup that matches your body style. In the case of the Bronco that would be the shortest wheelbase. Wheelbase lengths are 278 mm, 290 mm, 302 mm, and 314 mm. That gives tons of custom options, body styles, and tweaks to personalize your rig. The chassis is screwed together and can slid to the 4 different settings. Using spacers you change the length of the control arms to match.

In future articles we will break down the axles, electronics, and other running gear. We just wanted to introduce the new truck and get the ball rolling.

There are two minor quibbles in our first week of running the truck. Number one is torque twist. There is quite a lot of chassis movement when stopping. Hopefully we can tune that out over time. Second there is a lack of aftermarket parts for the Ascender. RC4WD and GCM Racing both offer accessories and we will hopefully testing some of those in the coming months.

Show us your rig in the comments below! We have plans for a scale track in the yard soon for testing as well.

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William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role. He also wields a freely shared...

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