Helion Dominus SCv2
The first thing I considered with this review was the company behind the product. I want a good deal like the next guy, but if the product is going to break (they all do) and I can’t get parts or support, my money is wasted. The Firelands Group CEO, Mike Gillete saw an opportunity in the market using his experience as CEO of Horizon Hobby. Out of that came the Helion brand (among others) and ultimately this Dominus SCv2 review. They are also out of Illinois, along with the other major r/c companies so I feel we are buying from a company on solid ground, and being in the USA one I could visit if I really felt the need. That means something to me.
What about support after the purchase? Given there are only two ways (Hobby Town or direct) to buy a Helion product, this is a legitimate consideration. Going down to the local hobby shop isn’t an option if you don’t have a local Hobby Town near by, so you will be down for a few days when repairs are required. This leaves you with online and phone support as the only option, which can be fine in most cases; This is especially true since I found their website very easy to use for ordering new parts.
The instructions are simple and complete, helping with several troubleshooting tips for the new driver. It also has exactly what you need to understand the transmitter, ESC, calibration and binding; they even include video’s to make it even easier.
The Helion Dominus SCv2 is a short course 4×4 truck, and it’s a crowded space filled with many choices and price ranges. This vehicle package finds itself right in the middle to low end of the market in terms of price at $289.99. If there is value in the package is what we need to determine, and to date I’ve run more than 30 battery charges on the truck and have let a handful of people drive it, including an enthusiastic 7 year old. It is holding up almost perfectly.
There is notable improvements to boost performance with the equipped Radient Reaktor series brushless system in the SCv2, while maintaining entry-level affordability.
The stock configuration provides solid top speed performance when the 8.4v 3500mAh NIMH battery is fully charged. It’s not uncommon to experience run times around 15-20 mins with mixed driving. As with anything electric powered, the more aggresively you use it the shorter the run times.
Helion also made upgrading simple should you decide to go LiPo.
Protecting the motor gear and slipper clutch is a clear plastic cover. This does help prevent dirt and debris from getting in, but the more I drove through leaves, sticks and dirt, the more it filled.
For everyday driving around the yard, or even at the track, it will do it’s job nicely. It’s also easily removed with a couple of pins, making cleaning a snap.
The ESC is set from the factory to work with the included transmitter, and no adjustment was necessary to get started. Included is also 3 built in protection modes: LVC to protect LiPo’s from over-discharge, Thermal Overload to protect against temperature, and Current Overload which monitors the components against spikes in Amps.
I mentioned above the vehicle was holding up almost perfectly. The ESC is secured with double sided tape, which does fair well with extended all-terrain driving. The ESC was quickly flopping around under the body and needed a better solution to secure it, which came in the form of 3M. No harm done. So far, this is the only maintenance item I’ve had to do other than cleaning the truck.
Protecting the receiver is a water resistent box. Secured with two pins and protected with foam where the wires exit, the box is durable and resists dirt, debris and water very well.
I have no concerns about the receiver’s safety considering the flips, tumbles, rolls, jumps, water, dirt, dust, sticks and leaves this truck as thus far encountered.
The adjustable, oil filled coil-over suspension is easily adjustable depending on what you’re trying to achieve. The stock configuration is fine for every day, backyard bashing.
I found the travel to be adequate for everything but the big jumps. The suspension’s durability is right on par. As evidenced in the video, I’ve not been all too kind to the truck and it’s held up flawlessly.
When you start exercising the suspensions travel, the bottom of the truck doesn’t stand much of a chance, but I never felt like control was an issue resulting from suspension. Being independent, it transitions terrain well and gives the driver respectible confidence.
The wheel’s are connected by a dual, pillow ball solution and typcial dog-bone set. These have yet to pop out or break. Again, they’ve performed flawlessly.
The wheel’s are standard gear, and ripe for an upgrade. Through a mixture of terrain, including pavement, they’ve held up well. That said, the truck has to be driven much differently now than when it was new.
In the dirt, driving has changed from controlled entry and aggressive exit through turns. It’s now trying to manage a controlled drift or slowing so significantly any advantage is lost. It makes driving fun for bashing, but not practical if you’re racing. Get new tires if you’re going to a track.
Taking the power from the motor and applying it to the wheel’s are all-metal main gears and planetary differentials.
Greased from the factory, these should be the least of your concerns over the life of the truck. It’s a proven, durable setup that leaves little for you to do with regards to maintenance.
The harder you drive, the more you go in water and mud, the more you’ll want to pull off the case and lubricate them. Simple, strong, effective.
LONG TERM TESTING
Going the Distance
I was immediately impressed with the speed on a fully charged NiMh battery. I can see where 30mph may be attainable with a LiPo battery. I began with a few straight pavement runs to dial in the steering trim and get a feel for the throttle. The Reaktor motor is responsive and the ESC is precise and the transmitter is comfortable while fitting in large or small hands. The Dominus SCv2 is smooth.
The suspension does a nice job soaking up the bumps on uneven pavement and transitions well to other terrain. I was initially concerned it wouldn’t hold up, but it did. It’s one thing to put the truck in the hands of an experienced driver, on a groomed track surface, but the true test comes with inexperienced driver’s in the back yard and beyond.
Regarding the back yard and beyond, the Dominus is not going everywhere you point it. It’s a short course truck. However, it handles just about everything I put it through quite well and the ground clearance is pretty good, making it a solid basher. Given the multi-terrain driving it is subjected to, cleaning can be a pain. The simplest way I found to keep the truck tidy is to hook up a blow gun to my air compressor and carefully blow away the debris. Flip the truck upside down, tap, blow compressed air and it stays relatively clean. For a thourough detail, there really isn’t much keeping this from being an easy 30-45 minute disassembly.
In the hands of my 7 year old (among other novice drivers), the truck not only survived, it thrived. I should have kept count because there were several times I thought I was in for repairs only to inspect the results of a crash and find the truck was no worse for the wear. There was one particular occasion I remember when the Dominus tumbled end over end at full trottle several times after a jump. I could not believe the only damage was a slight crack (see pics below) in the body on one side and a bit crumbled on the other side. Amazing.
The pictures here are the most recent pictures, after a couple months and more than a couple dozen fully charged batteries. The video is reminiscent of the every day driving this truck experiences. The Helion Dominus SCv2 continues to impress and is becoming the goto truck for some quick fun.
Firelands Group, LLC
2919 Crossing Court, Suite 2
Champaign, IL 61822
Available at participating
Customer Service/Product Support Location:
Attn: Firelands Customer Service/Product Support
1233 Libra Drive
Lincoln, NE 68512