Stock propeller cavitates excessively at slow speeds
On the heels of the most popular nitro ready-to-run hydroplane of all time, the Miss Vegas, comes a new and improved version dubbed the Miss Vegas Deuce. The Deuce features a number of upgrades to trump its predecessor such as new sponson design, a quite tuned pipe for neighborhood pond running, a hand held starter and a new Tactic 2.4 GHz transmitter. There's also new rubber iso mounts for the all new SuperTigre .18 nitro engine to keep vibrations to a minimum.
The Miss Vegas Deuce is the perfect platform for a successful entrance into nitro boating and with a few performance modifications can be a winner in the hands of a more experienced boater.
The Deuce was tested at the Atlanta Model Boaters pond in a stock configuration with exception of the sponson bottoms being lightly sanded, which we will cover later in the review. So grab your pit boxes and lets take the Miss Vegas Deuce for some hot laps around the oval.
Miss Vegas Deuce Price: $329.99 retail price Length: 32.25" Beam: 13.75" Motor: SuperTigre .18 marine Weight: 4.56 lb Receiver batteries used: 4 AA (not included) Transmitter batteries used: 4 AA batteries (not included) Radio equipment: (Included) Tactic 2-channel 2.4GHz transmitter,
2.4GHz receiver, standard throttle and steering servos.
head and small Philips head screwdrivers
O'Donnels boat nitro 30%-50%
AA batteries for receiver
AA batteries for transmitter
7.2v stick pack or 12v dry cell for handheld starter
Hot Shot glow starter
Helpful Items/Performance Items
Aquacraft 36x55 metal prop
Aquacraft Grimracer 15/18 polished turn fin
Aquacraft Grimracer Speed Grease
After run engine oil
600 grit wet sand paper
Corrosion X anti-corrosion spray
The Miss Vegas comes packaged safely in its shipping box with foam used to keep it from sliding around or suffering any damage while en route to it's new home. There is a decal sheet included, ready for application to the bare hull which comes in either red, white, yellow, or orange. On initial inspection I was pleased to see a clean hull with a black windshield already painted on. I did notice a rough spot on the cowl. Seen here, it seems to have been hastily cut in this area which created a gap between the hull and the cowl. Right in front of this blemish was a small crack in the fiberglass. A small dab of CA closed the crack, but the rough spot remained. It posed no running issues so I left it as is.
The Miss Vegas Deuce features an adjustable wing to direct the airflow across its surface either up or down. This can help bring the stern of the boat up and out of the water, effectively reducing the drag and decreasing the angle of attack of the sponsons. Doing so will free the boat up and allow if to run a little faster. On top of the cowl sits an intake scoop designed to ram cold air into the hull and cool the engine. Just as important as getting cool air in, expelling hot air can mean the difference between a decent running engine and a great running engine. Aquacraft has solved this problem by adding a hot air exhaust vent at the rear of the cowl. The cowl is secured to the boat up front with a lip that tucks under the hull and plastic cowl locks in the rear. These locks use friction to open and close and are not spring loaded. Make sure you slide them aft when you close the hull or they will not lock. Just incase your cowl decides to separate from the rest of the boat in an accident, which can happen, it will float thanks to a few pieces of foam secured to the inside. The sponson design on the Deuce has different angles when compared to the origional. The new design gets the aft end out of the water and helps cornering.
Starting at the rear of the Vegas, we see aluminum GrimRacer hardware. The rudder has a single water pickup that draws water in as the boat moves forward and cools the engine and header, then expels it out the side of the hull. The strut is sharpened for reduced drag and is adjustable to allow you to tune the boat's running attitude. Pull the strut up to raise the nose and drop the rear end, or drop the strut to raise the rear and decrease the angle of attack. The strut features a bushing just like more expensive gas and nitro boats that keeps the flexshaft secured where it exits the back of the strut. On the right side of the transom is a rubber drain plug for emptying out any water that might accumulate while running. The turn fin is also aluminum and is used to keep the Vegas planted in the turns. Without it, the boat would just slide out. It has an adjustable angle and should be run so the bottom is parallel with the bottom of the boat. There is an upgraded polished aluminum turn fin that will free up a few mph and make turning more precise, and is available through Aquacraft.
Inside the cowl
Rough cut and a little damage
Rudder w/ single pickup
Strut and composite prop
Rubber drain plug
angle of attack
Remove the cowl and you'll see an all new SuperTigre .18 marine small block that replaced the Aquacraft .18 in the previous Miss Vegas. Also new to the Deuce are rubber isolated engine mounts that allow the engine to flex slightly, reducing the strain on the glassed-in wooden blocks that it rests on. The iso pads also cut back on damaging vibrations that are transferred.
The SuperTigre .18 comes with an Aquacraft Super Start and handheld unit to quickly and effortlessly bring the motor to life. No more broken pull cords and blistered fingers. You'll need a charged 6-cell battery pack that installs in the starter, or a 12 volt car battery that attaches with included leads. And just in case you were looking for another method of starting the Miss Vegas, the .18 is equipped with a starter pulley for belt starting. The 17" belt is not included but is available through Aquacraft. There are two head shims on the SuperTigre engine. I removed one and noticed no gains in performance versus using both. I suggest you use both because removing them might void the engine warranty. If you do decide to remove one or both, do so at your own risk. The water cooled head is sealed against the case with a wax-coated paper gasket. I've removed the head a few times and the gasket still seals well, no leaks at all.
The exhaust system on the Miss Vegas Deuce is an all new design. The tuned pipe does a much better job of muffling the exhaust note while still providing great back pressure and overall performance. I think the boat is quiet enough to run in any local pond that will allow you to run them. Keep in mind that the more nitro you run, the louder the exhaust note will get. There is a noticeable difference in performance running 50% nitro versus 30% and with it comes a higher revving, louder engine. Since the end of the pipe doesn't meet with the transom, a piece of silicone tubing is used to get the exhaust out the back. It sticks out about 1/2" out the transom through a hole roughly the same diameter as the tube. The header bolts to the engine's exhaust window and has a coiled aluminum tube wrapped around it for additional cooling. The water cooling lines and pipe back-pressure line run across the header near the exhaust window. This is a notoriously hot spot that has been known to melt fuel lines on buggys but so far I haven't had any issues. You can try tying the lines up with a zip tie to keep them away from the header if you are so inclined.
The fuel tank is a 180cc with a hinged lid. It's held down by two small wood screws attached to wood blocks. Keep an eye on these screws as they like to loosen up from the vibrations and constant pounding from the water. So far, the tank has performed without any issues; it's easy to fill and holds enough fuel for a decent run, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Cooling water outlet
180cc Fuel tank
SuperTigre .18 Marine
Super Start engine starter
Tuned pipe w/ header cooler
Water tight radio box w/ standard servos
Wood stand with carry handles
Super Start electric starter
Tactic 2.4GHz 2-channel transmitter
The electronics included with the Miss Vegas Deuce are step in the right direction. While other ready-to-run manufacturers are including am and fm transmitters, Aquacraft has begun to update their fleet with the new Tactic 2.4GHz transmitter and receiver. It's a no-frills transmitter with servo reversing, trims, and a steering rate adjustment knob just like it's am cousins. Still, the fact that you no longer have to worry about signal conflicts is enough for me. Plus, you now have a stronger bind between the boat and transmitter which equals a more responsive feel, greater distance, and virtually no glitching. I'm also a fan of the antenna-less boat that looks much more realistic on the water without a big honkin' tube sticking out the top.
The servos included are standard size and work as expected. The steering servo had no problems turning the rudder under power and was very responsive. The throttle servo connects to the carb with a z-bend in the pushrod. This is because the servo is too close to the radio box wall to fit a clevis. The steering servo uses an EZ link that snaps in place. The radio box is plastic and has a rubber seal in the lid to keep water out. It closes using two screws at either end. The receiver is enclosed in a balloon for added water protection.
Hot-Shot glow starter
O'Donnell 30% boat
First, remove the flexshaft by loosening the collet with the included wrenches and grease the shaft. Get in a habit of greasing it after every 2nd run because the cable is small and can shed grease relatively quickly. Charge your 7.2v 6-cell NiMh pack for the starter, add batteries to the transmitter and receiver pack in the boat and apply the decals to your liking. You'lll also need to adjust the strut height and angle. This is clearly explained in the manual but I'll go ahead and tell youthat it needs to be 27mm (1 1/16") from the bottom of the transom to the prop center shaft. Negative 1-2 degrees of prop thrust is also required.
The Miss Vegas Deuce needs a proper break-in before you can start turning some hot laps. From the factory, the engine is set very rich and is a good starting point for break-in. You may need to lean it out a little on the high side so it will run. Once you have her running, keep your trigger finger moving the throttle and start making laps at an easy pace. You will need to put about two tanks of fuel through the .18 at the richest engine setting possible. Begin leaning the engine 1.8th of a turn each run until you notice the engine begin to sag from lack of fuel. You are now running in a lean condition. Richen the engine 1/8th of a turn and run another tank through it. Avoid wide open runs until 6 tanks have been put through. Now your ready to open her up.
Take the time to read the manual. Its loaded with setup advice and performance tips to get your Vegas performing like you never imagined. There's also some information on engine care and hull maintenance.
As I said before, the Miss Vegas Deuce can be a somewhat forgiving beginner boat, or a competitive production-class racer depending on what nitro content you run and performance hardware you bolt on. All of the video and pics were shot with 30% nitro, stock prop, and stock turn fin. The only thing I did was sand the sponson bottoms (ride pads) with 600 grit wet sandpaper. Doing this reduces the friction between the water and the glossy clear coat. Your goal is to sand the clear coat down a little and remove any imperfections such as high and low spots in the fiberglass.
After firing up the .18 on the bench, I walked it over the the edge of the lake and threw it in with enough forward motion to plane out almost instantly. The rudder required a little bit of right trim correction and she was running straight without any steering input. As I passed the 1st buoy, I turned the wheel hard and the boat instantly changed course to track around all three buoys easily. It shed off very little speed in the turns and took off down the back straight, kicking up a one to two foot rooster tail behind it. On 30% nitro, the motor doesn't have enough power to get the rear end up and out of the water. I tried to tune it out with some negative in the strut but that just introduced unwanted hopping. Now, this isn't really a problem that it sits with the tail low if your just learning the ropes of nitro boating or looking for a good time on the water. But a simple switch over to 50% nitro will make the issue disappear as the increased power will pull the rear up effortlessly.
With the stock propeller, I noticed cavitation if the boat slowed down excessively or if I made an extremely sharp turn. It takes a bit of creative throttle work to get it back on plane if it falls off. Don't just hold the throttle wide open if it's cavitating. The lack of forward speed coupled with high engine rpm's can overheat the engine. Instead, drop down to 1/4 throttle and gently increase until it catches and gets back up to speed. The answer to the cavitation issue is the Aquacraft 36x55mm metal prop. Not only will you eliminate the problem, but you will gain some speed and control with it as well. If your familiar with other props, it's equivalent is the Octura Y535.
The Miss Vegas has great handling characteristics and can hold it's own in moderate chop. I was impressed how it handles in some windy conditions. Only once did it trip in the turn because of some rollers created by a stiff wind. The steering is very responsive and as long as your turning right, the Miss Vegas Deuce goes where you point it. The Tactic 2.4GHz transmitter makes life so much easier. No longer did I have to find a frequency clip and return it to the board when I was done running at the club pond. I had no glitches or range issues at all. I'm glad Aquacraft included it because the technology has been around for years but only a few manufacturers are jumping onboard with 2.4GHz simplicity.
If you know anything about the original Miss Vegas, you'd know that people love to make them faster. There's a few things I did to increase the speed and performance of the Deuce. The first thing I did was up the nitro to O'Donnel 50% boat. Right there you have a night and day difference in speed. Next, I sanded the bottom of the pads to cut back on drag. Your propeller should be next and I opted for the Aquacraft 36x55mm. You'll need to sharpen and balance it because it comes raw. Don't run it unless you balance it! Doing so could cause extreme vibrations and broken parts. Next, purchase the Grimracer turn fin to help the Miss Vegas turn faster with more stability. All of these performance mods together will really wake up your Miss Vegas Deuce and push it up to the 40mph mark which is plenty fast for a small hydroplane. My advice if your new to nitro boating is to start off in stock form, then upgrade as you get more confident.
The Miss Vegas Deuce is a great starter boat in stock form and a real missile when a few performance mods are purchased. I especially like the Tactic 2.4GHz transmitter included for its simplicity and worry-free operation. The Deuce comes with quality components that have proven worthy of the application. I suffered no broken parts or anything that required a phone call to the warranty department. I do wish that Aquacraft would include a metal propeller with the Vegas because the cavitation issues with the stock prop can be a real pain if you slow down often. The Miss Vegas Deuce is the perfect predecessor to the original Vegas and I see it being the dominate boat in the rtr racing classes.
Models/ Great Planes Model Distributors P.O.
Champaign, IL 61826-9021
Web Site: www.aquacraftmodels.com
to Brendt for helping me test the Miss Vegas Deuce.
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.