Adding wheel weight increases traction but can lead to broken axle shafts.
Venom Creeper is one of only a handful of comp ready 1/10th scale
crawlers currently on the market. This kit appeals to beginners
and experts with easy to follow instructions, scale looks, and
great crawling prowess. True bead lock wheels, memory foam inserts,
high clearance links, and a realistic polycarbonate body are just
a few reasons why the Creeper can easily stand up against any
other production kit in the 2.2 class.
this review I will highlight the main steps of the build as well
as it's crawling performance and my choice of electronics. The
Venom Creeper review was shot on the granite rocks of Stone Mountain,
GA. Now, lets take a closer look at the Venom Creeper 1/10th Scale
2.2 Class Rock Crawler.
Name: Venom Creeper unassembled kit Price: $229.99 Length: 17.5" (445mm) Height: 8.25" (210mm) Width: 10.75" (267mm) Wheelbase: 12.5" (317.5mm) Tire Dims: 127 x 55 R2.2 Weight: 5 lb (2.27 kg) Chassis: Aluminum Plates Drive Train: Shaft Drive Motor or Engine:Venom Fireball 55t LINK Speed Control: Novak Rooster Radio: Futaba 4PK Servos: Venom High Torque Metal Gear LINK Batteries:Venom 7.2v 3000mAh NiMh LINK Shock Type: Oil Filled Threaded Body Body: Clear Poly-Carbonate Body Ball Bearings: 30 Ball Bearings
Venom Creeper looks like a full scale crawler due in part to it's
rock-buggy styled polycarbonate body. It comes clear ready for
paint with window masks. The included decal sheet comes with some
pretty interesting metal flake stickers. There are a few fictitious
sponsors as well as Venom logos, some black spiders, and a front
grille sticker. I chose a minimalist approach with an all black
body and a few strategically placed decals. The body needs finishing
before it can be mounted, and a nice pair of body scissors really
makes the finishing process that much easier. Apply your window
masks, spray the body, cut off the extra polycarbonate from around
the wheel wells and lower body, drill the body mounting holes
with the supplied template, and remove the plastic film from the
outside. Stand back and admire your body work now, cause once
you hit the rocks it will begin to look like a real crawler's
body with scratches and nicks from sliding your way around sharp
obstacles. The Creeper comes in two available colors; with red
anodized parts or green anodized parts.
the body off, we see that the Creeper's nylon gear transmission
ties everything together. Two aluminum plates bolt to the transmission
case and from these plates, the links, battery tray, and electronics
are attached. The design is very stout and I cant see this chassis
suffering any real damage when out in the field. The links that
connect the axles to the chassis are made of aluminum and are
just as beefy as any I've seen. The bottom links allow higher obstacle clearance and less chance of getting
hung up on the rocks. Above the chassis sits a nylon battery tray
that is trussed on the sides for weight reduction and added support.
The tray fits any 6-7 cell NiMh pack or 2-cell lipo and an included
piece of stick-on foam keeps the battery from moving around. The
nylon strap that holds the battery securely in place turned out
to be a great place to mount my receiver, up and out of harms
shocks included feature external coil springs as well as internal
anti-roll springs. The idea behind these internal springs is to
reduce the amount of body roll while maintaining maximum ride
height. I really didn't notice a vast improvement in body roll
when compared to my Axial crawler, but they seem to work fine
and didn't reduce articulation at all. Some people have stated
that they removed the internal springs but I feel running them
is the best way to maximize your performance with the Creeper.
The shock bodies feature knurled aluminum ride-height adjusters
for fine tuning your ride. Overall, I wouldn't change a thing
about these shocks for everyday crawling fun. The included shock
oil and the rates of both internal and external springs are perfect
in stock form.
Creeper's transmission is composed of 5 glass-filled nylon gears
and 10 ball bearings. From the factory, the FDR (final drive ratio)
is 3/49.84. This is accomplished with a 15 tooth pinion and a
45 tooth spur gear. Both are 48 pitch gears. Optional gearing
between 25.78 and 66.46 is attainable. The transmission has a
removable rubber window that allows access to the motor screws.
With the rubber cover in place, the transmission is sealed up
tight. I experienced no problems with the transmission during
the build or during operation.
55 turn Fireball motor
axles are what take the majority of abuse on a crawler. They are
constantly being pushed to the limits by high torque lathe motors,
low gears, and heavy wheels. With that said, the Venom Creeper's
axles are up there with the best of them, but I did suffer one
axle shaft break after tumbling off of a large rock. With the
amount of weight I had in the wheels and the distance of the fall
right onto the edge of the wheel, I think any crawler would have
snapped a shaft in that situation. Carry a spare set of built
cv shafts with you. Incase one does break, it take a matter of
minutes to replace one.
axles construction is a mix of steel, aluminum, and glass filled
nylon. The come with the option to add a remote differential locking
mechanism for locking and unlocking the differential. This option
could come in handy when turning around tight obstacles, but I
chose to run the axles fully locked all the time as I do my other
crawlers ...I just like the idea of having both axles locked all
of the time. Both axles feature skid plates to help slide over
the rocks with less effort, a feature that some other manufacturers
lack. The drive shafts are telescopic and are made of the same
glass filled nylon as the axles for added durability. Both shafts
functioned as expected during the review.
wheels and tires are a great fit for the creeper. The tread pattern
reminds me of a real set of Mickey Thompson Baja Claws and they
have plenty of side wall lugs for added traction when rubbing
up against the rocks. Dubbed the Ridgeline 2.2 inch comp crawler
tires, they have ample bite in the dirt or on clean rock. The
tires meet comp specifications (170mm x 55mm R2.2).
wheel and tire combo is called the Beadlox system and is modeled
after full scale bead lock setups. Instead of just sandwiching
the tire to the rim like in some other crawlers, the Beadlox wheel
has an elliptical grove that holds the tire and prevents it from
popping off the bead. The creeper is also the first crawler to
offer real memory foam stock from the factory. The memory foam
does a better job at deforming to the rocks unlike stiff foam
inserts found in some other kits. That means there is one less
thing to buy before you enter into competition.
Rear axle w/ skid plate and high clearance links
The finished Creeper
Realistic tires and wheels
electronics package I chose to run was a direct pull from my Axial
Scorpion. I love the Novak Rooster crawler ESC due to its adjustability.
An esc w/ a drag brake, also known as hill hold, is a necessity
on a crawler and I suggest you use a true crawler esc on the Creeper.
The Steering servo used was the Venom High Torque Metal Gear.
It's a standard sized servo with enough torque to turn the tires
at a standstill, even if they were wedged between the rocks. The
battery pack used was the Venom 3000mah 7.2v pack. It provided
decent run times and an overall good value for a starter pack.
The motor used was the 5- turn Fireball by Venom. This motor has
good torque but I did have a few times that the motor couldn't
turn the wheels when they were wedged in the rocks. If you are
going to run a lot of wheel weight, you might consider the Venom
brushless motor/esc combo for even more torque. For day-to-day
driving and lite competition, the Fireball 55 works fine. The
transmitter/receiver used was the Futaba 4pk.
I think the venom Creeper is a great looking vehicle. The parts
are strong and fit together well. I didn't come across any quality
control issues or missing parts during the build. Now, lets take
a look at the build and I will detail some of the major steps
needed to assemble the Creeper.
Venom 3000mAh 6-cell NiMh
Creeper comes boxed well and every part bag is labeled so there
is no confusion. The only bags that were not labeled were the hardware
bags. I brought this to Venom's attention and was informed that
all kits are now being shipped with labeled hardware bags. This
will greatly simplify the build because a lot of screws are similar
in size and I needed to use the micrometer to measure them when
I was in doubt.
Ready to build
you unpack everything, set the unopened bags aside and don't open
them until it says so in the manual. This will keep everything together
so there's no confusion. The first part of the build is the transmission.
This involves pressing the bearings into the nylon gears, installing
them on the shafts, and applying a lite coating of anti-wear grease.
There are steps throughout the build that show you where to use
grease, oil, and thread locking compound. After your gears are in,
screw down the cover and install the motor plate.
next step is to build the lower links. This is an easy but monotonous
step requiring you to thread the link ends onto the aluminum links.
Once done, move on to the next phase which is attaching the links
to the transmission and then the chassis plates to the transmission.
You will also be attaching the body posts at this time.
bolt the battery tray to the top of the chassis. At each end of
the tray is the upper shock mounts that must also be attached
to the tray. The tray is an integral part of the chassis and is
held on with 10 screws. After its attached, you'll see the chassis
beginning to take shape.
Links attached to the trans
Chassis plates attached
Battery tray in place
you have admired your handy work, you get to build some more links.
This time, the uppers get assembled and attached to the chassis.
Right after that, assemble the drive shafts. This can be tough if
you have never done cv joints before, so just take your time and
use grease to keep the cross pins in place during assembly.
Telescopic drive shafts
Diff spider gears
its time to build the front and read axles. Assemble the pinion
and bearings into the housing, install the locking/unlocking mechanism
(even if you aren't going to use the 3rd channel locker) and assemble
the differentials. Putting the spider gears in the diff and screwing everything
down. This takes a little time but its worth it when you get to
admire the finished differentials. Next, build the axle shafts like
the drive shafts except you get to do it 4 times. Install the diff
in one side of the housing, bolt the halves together, and slide
the shafts through each end. Last, install the knuckles and the
skid plates. For the rear axle you get to build some more links
which are used to keep the rear wheels centered.
Finished front axle
Both axles ready for service
the axles are complete, attach them to the chassis and slide the
drive shafts together. The next step involves the optional wheel
weights. If you bought them, attach them to the wheels with the
supplied screws at this time. You can put as many or few as you
want depending on how you want the Creeper to handle the rocks.
I added all the weight to have a very heavy truck that wouldn't
flip backwards easily on steep hills and have better droop and more
tire in contact w/ the rock.
Finished chassis minus shocks
Wheel weights attach to the inside of the rim
Finished wheel w/ weights
the shocks get built and installed. This isn't anything out of the
ordinary, but if you've ever built shocks, you know it takes a little
time to get the c-clips on the shock shaft and to fill the shocks
Fireball 55t motor
the motor was easy with the rubber transmission window removed.
I used a dab of grease on the end of my hex driver to keep the screw
in place and inserted it though the window to the motor. Once the
motor is installed, attach your servo, esc, and receiver and your
ready to hit the rocks.
I charged a few packs, I took the Creeper to Stone Mountain Park
for a test run. Right off the bat, I knew I had a contender. The
Venom Creeper navigated the rock garden as well as my Axial Scorpion
and didn't seem to have any issues negotiating the tight spots.
55-turn lathe motor supplied ample power to get the Creeper up
and over the ledges but seemed to strain a little when I got it
wedged tight in between the rocks. This is due to the extreme
weight I had at each wheel; a full pound. If your going to run
big weight at each corner, I would suggest running a brushless
motor. You could gear down the existing motor but I feel any more
loss in wheel speed would hinder you for those times you need
that extra bit of power.
and conforming to the rocks was never an issue with the Venom
Creeper. It could articulate into some extreme positions; I never
had an instance where I thought I needed more flex. The added
weight kept the tires on the high side planted firmly on all but
the steepest ascents and there were only a few instances where
a wheel didn't drop down to meet the rock.
I could slowly crawl my way up a hill but sometimes the hill had
loose dirt or pine straw scattered about. The stock gearing provided
the Creeper with enough wheel speed to grab some throttle and
power up the hill. In the few instances that the Creeper just
couldn't make it any further, it would usually throttle bounce
on the face of the rock. I could rock the steering back and forth
in an effort to find a little more traction and sometimes that
was all it took to get up and over, but for the most part, you
learn quickly what the limits of a 2.2 crawler are.
one point, I rolled the Creeper off a 4 foot rock and it fell
right on the sidewall of the rear tire. The extreme lateral force
snapped the axle shaft, thus ending my day. I have a feeling that
if I wasn't running so much wheel weight, the Creeper would have
shrugged it off and kept going. My suggestion is if your running
alot of weight, invest in a spare set of shafts for just this
occasion. It wont happen often, but if you do break one, a change
is only a few minutes time and your back on the trail.
I'm very pleased with the Venom Creeper. It has realistic looks,
good performance, and good durability. The snapped axle shaft
really isn't that big of a deal. Every vehicle on the market has
some weakness in one area or another. After a few weeks of crawling
and only one broken shaft, I think that's worth noting in my book.
admit I was a bit weary of internal springs on the shocks when
I first read about them, but I have come to find that the springs
push the wheels down to meet the rock and help to level the body,
which gets affected by torque roll when you grab the throttle.
They don't reduce articulation at all and make for a more enjoyable
your in the market for a 2.2 scale crawler, take a look at the
Venom Creeper kit. Its long list of features and customizability
make it the perfect choice for an intro into competition crawling
or a rock garden weekend warrior. Thanks for reading my review
and have fun with it!
Distributed exclusively by: Venom Group International
Thanks to Jessica Halsak for helping me test the Creeper
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.