RCU Review: DuraTrax Vendetta™ SC

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    Contributed by: Matthew LeMay | Published: March 2010 | Views: 53623 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Vendetta SC
    Summit top
    Review by: Matt LeMay
    Action photos by: Matt & Starla LeMay

    Phone: 1-217-398-8970
    Fax: 1-217-398-7721
    Email: carsupport@duratrax.com
    Website: www.duratrax.com

    Distributed exclusively by:
    Great Planes Model Distributers®
    PO BOX 9021;
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.gpmd.com


    See the Vendetta SC in action!



    Ready to run
    2.4GHz radio system
    Many hop up parts available
    Chassis very tunable
    Exceptional handling
    Great looks
    Stress-Tech parts gaurantee


    There is only one thing I am concerned about. While the plastic gears are light, they may not hold up with an after market brushless motor.


    Duratrax has designed an 1/18 scale short course truck that is as much at home on the race track as it is in your drive way.

    The Vendetta SC is great for racing. The thing that makes this truck special is the ability to fine tune the chassis to any race surface.

    We will discuss what's hidden beneath the hood of the Vendetta SC as well as the many tuning options.


    Name: Vendetta SC
    Price: $219.99 (price may vary)
    Length: 12.75"
    Width: 6.6"
    Wheelbase: Adjustable 7.25" - 7.5"
    Motor: 380 VR3 brushed
    Drive Train: Front and rear differentials
    Batteries Used: 6 cell NiMH (sold seperately)
    Radio equipment: Included two channel 2.4GHz Tactic radio, 2.4GHz Tactic TR-324 3-ch receiver, and standard size Tactic TSX200 steering servo.


    • Four AA batteries for transmitter
    • 6 cell 2/3A NiMH battery pack
    • Charger
    • Charge adapter plug

    Left side
    Front view
    Right side

    First glance

    As I removed the Vendetta SC from its box, I noticed a few minor things. The body wasn't very interesting and the front fenders rubbed on the front tires. Both of these problems needed to be addressed.

    After taking the photos I applied the extra decals that were included with the Vendetta SC. They were simple to apply. The sponsor groups were connected so you don't have to struggle to align them. After the decals were applied the body was literally transformed. It went from plain to "dang." It looks great! It's amazing what some stickers can do.

    Now I need to address the body rubbing the front tires. The adjustable body posts are secured with clips. I raised the body posts by one hole and trimmed the front wheel wells. A little of the headlights had to be trimmed as well but it's not noticeable and still looks great. The two minor issues are solved.

    The Vendetta SC has durable front and rear tube style bumpers. Attached to the rear bumper are two rubber mud flaps. The mud flaps don't increase performance but they sure do look cool.

    The plastic frame was well thought out. The plastic used in the bumpers is flexible and the plastic used in the chassis and suspension is sturdy. Aluminum is used in some key areas that we will discuss later.

    Duratrax offers the stress-tech guarantee on many of the plastic parts. They will send you a free replacement for any Stress-Tech part that breaks during the first year you own the vehicle. You will need proof of purchase and there are some limitations. Check out their web site for more details.

    Weight distribution is great. After installing a six cell battery pack, I tried to balance the truck. The balance point from left to right was dead center. The balance point from front to rear was 1/16" behind center and can be adjusted by battery placement. That's great!

    Dropping the Vendetta SC from 12" reminds me of a dead blow hammer. There is no recoil, the suspension soaks up all the impact.

    I can tell the Duratrax Vendetta SC will be a decent track performer. Let's take a closer look inside the truck.


    Left top angle
    Front top
    Right top angle
    Left angle
    Right angle
    Left rear angle
    Rear view
    Right rear angle
    Left rear top angle
    Top rear
    Right rear top angle
    Body with extra decals
    Body with extra decals
    Body with extra decals
    Topless front angle
    Topless rear angle
    Extra decals
    Rear bumper w/ mud flaps

    Wheels, tires and drive train

    The wheels are plastic five spoke and have the appearance of beadlocks. Scale off road tires with directional tread patterns are glued to the rims.

    Most vehicles being produced these days have loads of power and require metal drive trains. As you can imagine, I was a little disappointed to find plastic gears throughout the vehicle. The majority of the drive shafts are plastic as well. Although the center drive shaft is aluminum, the other four drive shafts are plastic with steel reinforced pins.

    The longer I thought about this, the more I realized that in this application, weight was more important than brute strength. Testing the vehicle is the only way to know for sure, but I'm going to guess these plastic gears will be plenty strong for this motor/esc setup. Going brushless however is an entirely different story.

    As we've already discussed, the spur gear is plastic and uses an aluminum center drive shaft to transfer the power to the front and rear differentials. The differentials consist of plastic bevelled pinion and drive gears. Beveling a gear's teeth creates a larger contact surface and a more solid mesh. This in turn makes a stronger gear unit.

    Inside the differentials are four plastic bevelled spider gears and plastic left and right drive gears. The differentials are filled with grease. All drive components are supported with ball bearings.


    Drive shaft w/ U-joint
    Wheels / tires
    Aluminum center drive shaft
    Disassembled differential
    Bevelled gears


    I am delighted to see Duratrax using a 2.4GHz radio system with their Vendetta SC truck. 2.4GHz offers a clearer and more secure operating frequency. The 2.4GHz radio also means no more messing with matching crystals. Interfering with other racers vehicles by crossing frequencies is not something you will need to worry about. That means no more frequency clips stuck to your antenna. Yeehaa!

    The Pistol grip Tactic 2-channel transmitter offers dual rate steering, steering and throttle trims, and servo reversing.

    The Tactic 2.4GHz 3-channel receiver is mounted to the plastic battery hold down with double sided servo tape. The receiver does not have an exterior antenna, so threading antenna tubes is not necessary. The receiver comes bound to the transmitter and only requires the push of a button if rebinding is necessary.

    The steering servo is a Tactic TSX200 standard sized servo and is held to the chassis with double sided servo tape. Although there is not a whole lot of strain on this servo, Duratrax still protects it with a horn style servo saver. The servo saver mounts directly to the servo's out drive gear just as a servo horn would. The servo saver uses a plastic c-shaped spring to protect the servo gears from any unwanted jarring.


    2.4GHz 3-channel receiver

    2.4GHz Transmitter

    Steering servo

    Motor, ESC, and Batteries

    The motor is mounted on the right side of the chassis just behind the chassis center line and the battery is centered from front to back on the chassis' right side. All electronics are spaced well which results in a well balanced vehicle.

    The "get up and go" of the Vendetta SC comes from a Duratrax 380 sized VR3 brushed motor. An aluminum motor mount holds the VR3 in place and a metal pinion gear delivers power to the spur gear. The motor is fitted with a plug that makes it easy to disconnect it from the ESC. A plastic cover protects the pinion and spur gears from debris.

    The DTX ESC7550 electronic speed controller is mounted to the plastic battery fastener with double sided servo tape. The DTX ESC controls forward, reverse, and braking power. The on/off switch is clipped to the rear of the ESC and can easily be moved to the side if you choose. There are seven cooling fins on the top of the ESC for efficient heat transfer.

    The battery tray is on the left side of the chassis and is basically centered front to back. A plastic fastener slides into the front bracket and is secured to the rear with one clip. The truck comes with two different sized foam blocks. These are used to position the battery securely. The battery can be placed toward the front or rear of the battery tray. This will help tune the handling of the short course racing truck.


    VR3 brushed Motor
    Motor mount
    Motor rear
    Electronic speed controller
    Battery tray


    The suspension is similar to many 1/8 scale buggies and truggies. It is highly tunable and consists of upper and lower A-arms in the front and lower H-arm with threaded upper links in the rear.

    The front A-arm suspension uses adjustable ball links to secure the left and right steering blocks. The balls can be adjusted in and out (look in the tuning section below) and are held in place with metal threaded ball retainers. The benefit of threaded ball retainers is that you can tighten them as the steering blocks wear. This ensures the suspension remains tight.

    The rear suspension contains traditional hub carriers. Both front and rear suspension contain trapped metal pins at the suspension inner pivot points. Check out the tuning section below for several suspension handling options.

    The front and rear blue anodized aluminum shock towers support the plastic bodied oil filled shocks. The shock caps are aluminum and the ride height can be set using the plastic spacer clips. Check the tuning section below to see how the different mounting positions will effect the truck's handling.

    The steering linkage had a little too much play so I tightened up the screws and removed the excess wobble.


    Oil filled shock
    Rear Aluminum shock tower
    Shocks and shock tower
    Steering linkage
    Front Pillow balls & U-joint
    Rubber mud flap
    Front A-arms
    Rear suspension
    Rear H-arms

    The Manual offers many tips for tuning your Vendetta SC for the race track. The section below will highlight some of those tips however, the Vendetta SC is not limited to these few adjustments. Many others can be made and the manual covers them.

    The wheel base can be adjusted by inserting the clip in front or behind the rear hub carrier. A shorter wheel base provides more steering and a longer wheelbase offers more stability.
    Wheel base
    Adjusting camber
    Camber can be set by adjusting the top pivot ball in front and the threaded link in the rear. 2 deg negative camber is a great place to start. A little bit of negative camber will increase traction in the turns. Positive camber is usually a bad idea. The idea is to keep as much tread on the ground as possible.
    Caster can be set by inserting the clip spacer in front of or behind the upper front A-arm. Placing the clip behind the A-arm decreases caster angle and gives more turn in but will decrease on-power steering and stability. Increasing caster will increase on-power steering and straight line stability, but decrease initial turn in.
    Adjusting caster
    Front shock position
    Mounting the front shocks in different positions changes the handling. The top outer hole gives more steering and faster suspension reaction. Top inner hole offers slower steering but smoother bump handling. The lower outer hole gives more high speed steering and the lower inner hole gives more slow speed steering.
    Mounting the rear shocks in different positions changes the handling. The top outer hole gives more steering, less rear traction. The top inner hole gives more rear grip, more rear traction. The lower outer hole gives more steering, less control over bumps. The lower inner hole gives less steering, smoother over bumps.
    Rear shock position
    Check out the manual for more tuning tips like toe in and out, shock oil, springs, ride height, pinion gears, and front track width. With all these tuning options the Duratrax Vendetta SC will feel at home on all types of race tracks.
    Action shots

    Performance & Handling

    The Vendetta SC looks as if Duratrtax designed it with racing in mind, but to be honest, I wasn't expecting a whole lot in the speed department. After all, how fast can this little VR3 brushed motor be? Well, I was surprised to see how quickly the Vendetta SC scoots along. On the dirt track the tires lit up and propelled the 1/18 scale truck over jumps and around corners with authority.

    The Vendetta turned very quickly. The supplied steering servo has plenty of torque for this little racer. As I was getting used to the truck it got a little squirrelly in some areas of the track, I could tell already I was going to have to make some adjustments to the tunable suspension.

    I've already trimmed the body's front fenders and it still rubbed the tires occasionally but nothing to get worried about. The scale tires hooked up great and supplied plenty of traction.

    The mud flaps looked cool but I think dirt was bouncing off them and getting in the chassis. It's not that big a deal but I was concerned about dirt getting in the empty receiver ports. I think I'll put some tape over them just in case.

    The track at Chickasaw Trace was very loose, especially the jumps. The truck had some difficulty keeping momentum on the loose slopes, but it was still able to get some air.

    Jumps were level over the packed slopes and nose heavy on the loose ones. I was able to keep the nose up by applying full throttle. This worked well for an hour or so and every jump was predictable. After an hour and a half of landing jumps with the throttle wide open, I finally broke the end of a rear diff cup. While packing up my stuff for the day, I was thinking of how well the truck handled on the rough track and I was satisfied with the video footage I was able to get.

    While waiting for the parts to arrive, I made some necessary adjustments.

    I knew the first thing I needed to do was lengthen the wheel base. That was accomplished by simply removing two clips and reinserting them in front of the lower rear H-arms. The next thing I did was move the rear shocks inward on the bottom mounts.

    When the new parts arrived I rebuilt the rear diff and filled it with silicone grease. I put enough in there to stiffen the diffs movement. This will also help with straight line performance.

    The last thing needed was to insert the battery pack in the rearward position. I am now ready to try the changes made and get some action shots. Oh, man! It's been raining for days and the track is still wet!

    My only option was to find an indoor dirt track. Thankfully Thunder RC Raceway, an indoor dirt track in Nashville, allowed me to use their facility to get the needed shots and continue track testing the Vendetta SC.

    The indoor track is a seasoned track with tight jumps and hard packed straights. The Vendetta SC was right at home on this track. The changes I made were great for this location. The jumps were smooth and the truck followed a perfect arc making the landings soft and predictable.

    The tighter rear diff offered more straight line control and allowed the rear to slightly brake loose during on throttle cornering. The truck was handling like a dream! The guys at the track were getting ready for an oval race so I needed to eventually get out of the way but, I sure would have liked to have been able to stay and drive the truck for a few more hours. It was a pleasure to drive.


    See the Vendetta SC in action!

    Download and Watch in Windows Media Player here!


    The Vendetta SC surprised me. I did not expect the speed and handling this short course truck is capable of. Driving the truck was easy and enjoyable, especially if you have a nice track to drive on. It was difficult prying my hands from the controller. I was like a little kid in the toy store with his mother in the background telling him to put down the toys so they can leave. That little kid is me, I can drive the Vendetta SC all day long and enjoy every minute of it.

    Duratrax already offers several hop up parts for the Vendetta SC. If the diff cup gives me any more trouble I will replace it with their optional metal parts. Leaving the plastic parts in the truck as long as possible will save on weight and probably give me faster lap times, so I will leave the plastic parts alone as long as they hold up.

    With that being said, I give the Duratrax Vendetta SC two thumbs up.

    manu and credits

    Phone: 1-217-398-8970
    Fax: 1-217-398-7721
    Email: carsupport@duratrax.com
    Website: www.duratrax.com

    Distributed exclusively by:
    Great Planes Model Distributers®
    PO BOX 9021;
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.gpmd.com

    A special thanks to;
    Robert Dirla
    Thunder RC Raceway
    810 Cherokee Ave
    Nashville, TN 37207
    Website: www.thunderrcraceway.com

    Comments on RCU Review: DuraTrax Vendetta™ SC

    Posted by: Redvanmafia on 04/09/2010
    Why do you even rate duratrax products?, why do you sugarcoat the fact that its transmission gears are useless, and it just going to be a big headache for buyers?, You guys are so bias, im not the only one here he laughs at your reviews, good video though
    Posted by: mc4798 on 04/13/2010
    Just got mine and I love it. Also ordered a 4900kv motor. Should be fun :)
    Posted by: burnineyes on 04/20/2010
    Reviews that trash talk companies and their products are sadly becoming the standard online. People like the drama, and this is why they are so popular. I say it is refreshing to see a decent review like this one. It addresses the problem areas of the truck clearly, without dragging the company through the mud, like some readers seem to want. Every Vendetta so far has come from the factory with the same plastic gears. With moderate power upgrades these gears are plenty strong to hold up to repeated use. With major power increases ball diffs should be used. This is to be expected of just about any RTR ride, and certainly any mini RC.
    Posted by: tymtofly2 on 04/21/2010
    Thanks for the encouragement burnineyes. Positive honest accounts of our experiences with the vehicles is exactly what we are trying to accomplish. While it is true that all RC vehicles have limits, they each contain positive elements as well. I hope you all continue to read our reviews.
    Posted by: slim_t on 05/03/2010
    Excellent review. Seriously, reviews this good are why I don't do reviews. I would never be that thorough. Great job. Thank you.
    Posted by: F-15 on 05/03/2010
    Great review! Would like to see info on how long the battery is lasting in the future. Thanks
    Posted by: dubluv on 05/15/2010
    Great review! I think that the entire Vendetta line is a good place for people to start. I have an ST and I'm still using the stock gears with a brushless setup! If you stick with stock motor+ESC, the gears will be just fine. More power however will break more parts...and that's true at any scale....
    Posted by: mo985 on 05/15/2010
    What type of battery did you use? Will this only hold a sub-c 6 cell stick, or will it hold the 4+2 packs as well. You mentioned two different foams, so I am assuming you could use either type. What size battery did you run with, and how long did you average with each charge? I definitely want one of these lil' guys!
    Posted by: tymtofly2 on 05/16/2010
    Hey guys, thanks for the positive comments. The Vendetta SC will only allow for sub-c stick packs. The manual says to use a 6 cell pack, but for those who like to bend the rules you can probably squeeze a 7 cell stick (NOT a hump pack) in there. The foam is used to position the pack forward or rearward for tuning the weight distribution. The battery compartment measures 11.4 cm (4.448 inches) x 3.8 cm (1.496 inches). I used a Traxxas (sub-c) series1 power cell. This is a 6 cell stick pack which I believe has a rating of 1200mah. It states on the pack to charge it at 1.2 amps (1200mah). I will post an exact run time shortly. Thanks for reading my reviews.....Matt
    Posted by: tymtofly2 on 05/16/2010
    The Traxxas series1 sub-c stick pack mentioned in my other post above lasted 12 minutes. The surface I was driving on created lots of wheel spin so depending on the surface and your driving style, this may vary a little......Matt
    Page: 1 2 >
    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.

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