RCU Review: Venom Racing Gambler RTR Short Course Truck

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    Contributed by: Matthew LeMay | Published: June 2012 | Views: 31686 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Gambler Brushless RTR


    Top photo
    Review by: Matt LeMay

    Matthew LeMay




    Venom Racing
    Phone: 1-800-705-0620
    Fax: 208-712-3053



    Name: Gambler RTR Short Course Truck
    Scale: 1/10
    Drive Train: 2-wheel drive with MOR drive system (Mid Or Rear motor)
    Price: $242.99 varies with dealer
    Length: 21.73" (552mm)
    Width: 11.65" (296mm)
    Roof Height: 7.89" (200.5mm) -out of box
    Wheelbase: 13.01" (330.5mm)
    Motor: 550 12T Brushed Motor
    ESC: 240A 1/10th Scale Brushed ESC
    Radio equipment: VR3S 2.4Ghz 3-Channel Radio
    Batteries (included): 7-cell 3000 mAh NiMH pack and 8 AAs
    Charger: 7-cell NiMH wall charger


    • Nothing


    • M.O.R. drive system
    • water proof electronics
    • 2.4GHz radio system
    • Looks great
    • COMPLETELY Ready-to-run!
    • Can hold 6, 7, or 8 cell NiMH or 2S, 3S LiPo with optional battery lid.
    • Rear axles could be stronger
    • Front bumper angles down
    • Excess body noise

    closer look

    Venom Gambler 2wd Short Course Truck

    The introduction of a brushed and brushless SC trucks is Venom's way of jumping into the short course scene. Venom completely designed this truck from the ground up and they've incorporated some great features. The Gambler's light weight body is full of incredible graphics and the clear windows allow you to easily keep tabs on the chassis.

    The Gambler is completely ready to run and even includes AA batteries for the transmitter.

    Additional included accessories:
    Three needed hex wrenches
    Two way socket wrench
    7-cell NiMH battery pack
    Wall charger for the NiMH battery
    Eight AA batteries for the transmitter
    Spare mud flaps with different designs
    Rear-motor chassis conversion kit

    Wheels, tires, and drive train

    The Pro Comp all-terrain tires are a combination of block tread and realistic treads with functional bead lock rims securing the tire and yellow sealed cell foam Griplox inserts. All four corners of the Gambler use standard hex rear rims. This is possible by the rotating front axle which is suspended by ball bearings. That coupled with the bead lock rims make it easy to switch up tires for a winning combination.

    The rear of the Gambler uses attractive anodized retainer rings to capture the CVD joint pins together.

    The rear differential uses four planetary gears and different oils can be used for tuning. The diff assembly meshes with two other gears in the transmission, both of which are metal. Yes, that's right, Venom is now shipping all brushed and brushless Gamblers with metal idler gears for added durability.

    Venom has really incorporated a lot of great looking aluminum parts to this truck. The plastic slipper spur gear rides on a ball bearing and has a great looking red anodized slipper plate.

    Bearings are used throughout the entire truck from drive train to steering components.


    The suspension design of the Gambler is right inline with serious race trucks. Skinny front H-arms with adjustable upper links are light and easy to tune. Venom's new plastics are much firmer and more durable than the earlier releases. Moving the hub carrier spacers front or back helps to adjust the truck's overall wheel base.

    Steal pins are used to hold the suspension components together and are themselves secured with cap head allen screws.

    The upper camber links have two inner positions as well as two outer positions to change suspension geometry. A small hole in the ball cups allow you to reposition these links with out having to pop them off every time you want to make an adjustment. This style ball cup is used throughout the Gambler.

    Composite threaded bodied oil filled shocks supply dampening on all four corners of the Gambler. Red anodized aluminum upper and lower caps not only ensure the oil will be sealed tight inside the shock, but they look great. The threaded collar is fitted with an inner O ring to help keep it where you set it. There are four upper shock positions and two lower shock positions both front and rear of the truck. The factory shock setup is under dampened, so I used thicker oil front and rear.


    The Gambler's steering assembly is supported with ball bearings and uses an inline adjustable servo saver which utilizes both plastic and metal parts. The Venom standard size steering servo provides plenty of torque to turn the front wheels.


    The Gambler is equipped with a Venom VR3S 3 channel 2.4Ghz radio system with FHSS technology and includes the following features:

    • Channel reversing
    • Third channel on/off switch
    • RF test button
    • Built in fail safe
    • Steering and throttle trims
    • Steering dual rates
    • Steering left and right end point adjustments
    • Throttle brake and full throttle end point adjustments


    The Venom 2.4GHz 3 channel PCM receiver is housed in a water tight receiver box. An inset rubber perimeter band is used to keep water out and foam is used to soften the receiver's ride.


    Motor & ESC:

    The Gambler's motor is a standard metal can 550 12T Brushed Motor with internal cooling fan. Venom dressed up the motor by adding an external metal sleeve with their logo and motor graphics.

    ESC Specifications:
    Continuous Current: 240amps forward, 160amps reverse
    BEC: 5V/ 1A
    Dimensions: 32 x 32 x 22 mm
    Weight: 1.6 oz (45.35 g)
    Waterproof: Yes
    Over Voltage Protection: Yes
    Connector: EC3
    Low Voltage Cutoff: 5V, non-adjustable

    The ESC fits nicely inside the chassis side pan with room to spare. Double sided tape holds the ESC in place. An on/off switch is conveniently located on the side of the ESC.

    The wires in the Gambler are neatly tucked out of sight. The plastic chassis has hidden channels to run the wires through for an ultra clean look. This not only looks good, but it also prevents wires from being snagged.

    Tune the Gambler for your driving style:

    The Gambler can be run using the "mid-motor" setup or the optional "rear-motor" configuration. Venom has included everything you need to convert this short course truck to a rear motor setup. Complete step by step instructions are included in the manual for this conversion and takes about forty minutes to complete. This is a great feature allowing the Gambler to perform well on all types of tracks.


          • Using the mid motor configuration offers more steering and less rear traction.
          • The rear motor setup offers more rear traction but less on power steering.




    Performance & Handling

    I ran the brushed Gambler bone stock with the stock 7-cell NiMh battery for testing. If you would like to see how the Gambler performs with a LiPo, stiffer shocks, and racing knobbies check out the Gambler brushless review.

    The brushed motor provided ample power for any kind of bashing but would like a bit more power on the race track. The stock 7-cell battery performed well but Venom’s 2s LiPo packs will offer a bit more punch. Power was smooth and the motor stayed cool, of course it was 30 degrees out. It's a good idea to let the electronics cool between battery changes in hotter weather.

    The tires had difficulty grabbing the frozen track which made the Gambler difficult to control. Other surfaces such as grass and gravel offered a bit more bite for the realistic looking tires. The beadlock rims will make swapping tires a breeze.

    The shocks are a bit on the soft side but did work well over small continuos bumps. It looks cool watching the suspension work while driving by. The soft suspension and lack of sufficient dampening made the truck darty. It was difficult to keep it in a straight line and the lack of grip allowed the rear to come around often.

    The body is quite noisy and can be quieted down with the application of some duct tape to the underside. This will help keep paint on the wheel wells as well. Cutting out the wheel wells a bit will also keep the tires from rubbing while cornering.

    The slipper clutch worked great and did exactly what it was supposed to do.

    The steering servo has plenty of turning power but the steering linkage is a tad sloppy. Tightening the servo saver helps.

    Jumping with the Gambler is average for a short course truck. There were no unwanted surprises during takeoff or mid air flight. On occasion, the front bumper would dig in upon landing causing the truck to tumble. This is where a LiPo makes a difference. That little extra power can be the difference between slamming or clearing the double.

    I had to end my day a little early from a broken axle. Though I slammed the double several times, I was still disappointed to see the tire lying on the ground behind the truck. I’ve noticed after submitting the Brushless edition review, the rear axles started to bend also.

    The stock Gambler is definitely setup for bashing, and a fun basher it is! The Gambler can make it over many obstacles including grass, rocks, dirt, and curbs.

    The Gambler has tons of potential and with the right adjustments and Venom hop-ups could be a serious racer, but for now its still a great basher!



    See the Gambler (brushed) in action!


    Venom didn't just offer a new short course truck, the built it from the ground up! Not only did they create a great looking truck, they created a truck unlike any other with a long list of impressing design integrations.

    I would have to say that while designing a chassis that completely hides what normally becomes a birds nest of wires is deffinitely awesome and deserves recognition, but I think my favorite design integration is the M.O.R. drive system. Being able to change motor position is priceless. Not only does it completely change the feel of the truck, it allows a completely different driving style almost as if it were a completely different truck altogether.

    The Gambler is a great basher out of the box and has a great looking body. I would actually go as far to say the black body scheme is the sharpest looking body I have ever seen on a short course truck. Every one who sees it immediately falls in love with its use of black, gold, and red.

    Venom packed a lot of goodies inside of the Gambler package. There are bags of parts that come with the truck including M.O.R. drive components, many spare mud flaps with designs from logos to girls, and the accessories listed in the specs section. The many Red anodized aluminum parts really set this truck apart as far as bling goes.

    The Gambler has its issues, but I think with the right tuning and hop-up parts, Venom has a potential 2wd class winner with the Gambler.

    If you're not into racing and are looking for a truck to drive around the yard, the Gambler would be great for that. It's able to run on a variety of surfaces and the electronics are waterproof. The Gambler also comes with everything you will need to get running.

    manu and credits


    Venom Group International
    United States of America
    14028 N. Ohio Street
    Rathdrum, Idaho 83858

    Email: customerservice@venom-group.com

    Phone: 1-800-705-0620
    Fax: 208-712-3053

    Comments on RCU Review: Venom Racing Gambler RTR Short Course Truck

    There are no comments

    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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