RCU Review: Venom Creeper


More On This Product

  • Discussions on this Product
  • Show user ratings
  • Check for Retailers
  •  
     
    Contributed by: Matt Gunn | Published: May 2009 | Views: 73978 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Venom Creeper

    Review and Photos by: Matt Gunn (webdr)
    Photos and Video by: Jessica Halsak

    Venom Creeper

    Distributed exclusively by:
    Venom Group International

    1-800-705-0620

    Website




    See the Venom in action!!

    Dialup 15mb

    Broadband 26mb



    Easy building kit

    Optional wheel weights mount inside tires

    Great articulation

    Tough rock-buggy looks

    True beadlocks w/ memory foam inserts

    Available with red or green anodized parts


    Adding wheel weight increases traction but can lead to broken axle shafts.

    The 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.

    In 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


    • 6 cell NiMh battery pack
    • 540 sized motor
    • Electric speed control with drag brake/hill hold
    • High torque steering servo
    • NiMh battery charger

    Other Helpful Items

    • Lead wheel weights LINK

    Left
    Right
    Bottom
    Front
    2.2 bead lock wheels
    Battery tray and esc

    The 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.

    With 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 way.

    The 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.

    The 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.

    Rear end
    55 turn Fireball motor
    Front hub

    The 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.

    The 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.

    The 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).

    The 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
    Rear
    Front
    Top

    The 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.

    Overall, 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.

    Front end
    Venom 3000mAh 6-cell NiMh
    The 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.
    The box
    Packaged
    Ready to build
    After 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.
    Tranny gears
    Assembled transmission
    Lower links

    Your 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.

    Next, 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
    After 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.
    Lower links
    Telescopic drive shafts
    Diff spider gears
    Now 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 differential
    Finished front axle
    Both axles ready for service
    Once 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
    Next, 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 with oil.
    Shocks
    Fireball 55t motor
    Installing 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.

    After 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.

    The 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.

    Flexing 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.

    Usually, 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.

    At 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.


    See the Venom in action!!

    Dialup 15mb

    Broadband 26mb


    Overall 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.

    I'll 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 experience.

    If 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!


    Venom Creeper

    Distributed exclusively by:
    Venom Group International

    1-800-705-0620

    Website

    Thanks to Jessica Halsak for helping me test the Creeper

    Comments on RCU Review: Venom Creeper

    Posted by: warheadforever on 05/03/2009
    Great review Matt! One quick thing, under the "Lower links, Telescopic drive shafts, Diff spider gears" pictures, in that first sentence, you have "Now its time to build the front and read axles." and well, I just though I would let you know. Thanks Warheadforever
    Posted by: webdr on 05/03/2009
    ugh! Im the typo king :) Thanks bud...
    Posted by: ehroof on 05/04/2009
    was that video with or without weights in the wheels?**edit sorry, just read, a pound lol**
    Posted by: webdr on 05/04/2009
    The video was with the full weight in the wheels. Thanks Matt
    Posted by: guero the pero on 08/17/2009

    Posted by: guero the pero on 08/17/2009
    Gretings as this was my first build in ten yrs stuff has changed.i am retierd.I was a millwright machinist what i did was to move my shockes down to the battery tray if you look at the ninth picture you see the screw that hold the tray to the body you have to use a dremel to cut the plastic dowel like plastic that seperates the body from the fram but the sacer used to attatch the shock works great to mount shock worked great but i only have half lb.on all tire works great i am going to move the to the original location be back with notes later neebie guero the pero
    Page: 1
    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.

    EMAIL THIS ARTICLE OR CHECK OUT THESE OTHER GREAT REVIEWS!
     
    PhotoManufacturerProductSummaryReviewed
    RCGF60cc Twin Cylinder Gasoline EngineWhile RC gas engines have been around for quite a while, the demand for high quality twin cylinder variants is fairly recent....11/15/2014
    The World ModelsUltimate Biplane 27% (50cc) ARFA little extra power never hurt anything, so I figured the plane and engine would go well together. The 27% Ultimate has been...10/25/2014
    RCGF30cc Twin Cylinder Gasoline EngineRCGF, a Chinese manufacturer of gasoline engines, designs and manufactures engines specifically for the RC aircraft market. T...08/26/2014
    LHS ElectronicsLektron Compact ChargerThe Lektron 35 Watt charger, made by LHS Electronics and distributed by Hobby People, claims to do just that! Simply plug in ...08/24/2014
    The World ModelsP-47D ThunderboltWhile not a new release from the World Models, I felt that their 1/7th scale P-47 deserved a proper product review. It's been...08/11/2014
    HelionDominus 10SCv2The Helion Dominus SCv2 is a short course 4x4 truck, and it's a crowded space filled with many choices and price ranges. This...06/08/2014
    Great PlanesU-Can-Do SF 3D GP/EPThis plane appears to be the latest in a line of ARF’s that can be assembled with either a nitro-powered engine or an electri...05/26/2014
    Weak Signals60th Annual RC Expo - Toledo 2014The 60th Annual Weak Signals RC Expo was held on April 4-6 2014 at the Seagate Convention Center in the lovely city of Toledo...04/28/2014
    Dave's R/C Electronics SafeStartSafeStart is an electronic safe guard that lets the modeler plug in his or her battery and have full control of the model, wi...04/27/2014
    Aeroworks20cc-30cc Trainer GT ARF-QBEvery year I attend the Weak Signals RC Show held in Toledo, Ohio, more commonly called "The Toledo Show". One booth I always...03/23/2014
    RedwingRCSBACH RedwingRC delivers their Sbach 342 in a 30cc size, developed specifically for 30cc power plants. The plane is available in 3 ...02/17/2014
    Du-Bro’sHeavy Duty Pull-Pull System & Full Du-Bro has introduced a line of accessories for Giant Scale planes including a complete pull-pull package. The only item miss...01/18/2014
    HPIBlitz RTRHPI Racing delivers another robust race ready Short Course Truck, the Blitz RTR. Out of the box, this truck is ready to lead ...11/02/2013
    The Wingsmaker 50cc PaulistinhaThree years ago, I reviewed The World Models P-56 Paulistinha. The P-56 is a Brazilian version of the Piper Cub with a few mo...09/08/2013
    SIG MFG 4-Star 54 ARFNow, if you're more than an absolute beginner to RC, you've heard of the famous 4-Stars. They've been around forever, and it ...09/08/2013
     

      Return to Magazine Homepage






     
    RCUniverse is a service of Internet Brands, Inc. Copyright © 2001-2014.  Privacy Policy
     
    GET FREE RC CONTENT FOR YOUR WEBSITE

    Search | Marketplace | Event Central | Local Clubs | Magazine | Product Ratings | New Products | Discussion Forums

    Photo Gallery | Instructor Search | Field|Track|Marina Search | RCU Youtube Channel | | RCU Twitter!

    Member Locator | Advertisers | Hobby Vendor Resources | Rate Manufacturers | Sign In/Sign Up

    Products Videos WattFlyer.com RC Classifieds

    RCU4 | 54.205.207.53 | 0 | 1 | 09:09:59 AM EST | NC