For those of you who don't know me, I'm Geoff Barber. I have run RC cars and trucks for a few years now, but have reviewed mostly airplanes and helicopters for RCUniverse.com. I'm primarily a basher, and enjoy driving around in the local church parking lot, my back yard, and my gravel driveway. I had been running an inexpensive 2WD monster truck (my 11 year old son and I both had one), but then my daughter told me she wanted to join in on the fun! I was very excited that I was able to find a hobby that both of my kids would enjoy (besides the Xbox in our living room). So, as any good dad would do, I gave her my truck. She has really taken to driving the truck, which left me with nothing to drive.
One day, I received an email from RCU saying there was a 1/10 scale buggy up for review that would be just right for a guy with my experience level. I said I'd love to review the buggy, and a few days later, the DHK Wolf BL was sitting on my door step. I was quite surprised to see such an awesome buggy sitting in front of me! It's 4WD and comes out of the box nearly ready to run with a pre-installed brushless inrunner motor, ESC, receiver, and steering servo!
There is even more features than what I've already stated, but I'll get to those in just a minute!
Almost Ready to Run Out of the Box
Brushless Inrunner Motor, ESC, Receiver, and Steering Servo Pre-installed
Oversized Adjustable Suspension
LiPo Battery and Charger Included
4WD for Great Off-Road Action!
Great Color Scheme for Easy Visibilty in All Conditions
Length: 17.91" (455 mm) Width: 10.24" (260 mm) Height: 6.89" (175 mm) Wheelbase: 11.5" (292 mm) Weight: 4.30 lbs (1.95 kg) Radio Used: DHK 2.4 gHz Pistol Grip (Included) Receiver Used: DHK 4-Channel 2.4 gHz Receiver (Included) Battery Used: DHK 7.4 Volt 2300 mAh 20C LiPo (Included) Additional Battery Used: 3S 3200mAH 25C LiPo for 2nd Part of Video (NOT Included)
Channels Used: 2 - Throttle/Brake and Steering
Items Needed To Complete:
Four AA Batteries for Transmitter
The Wolf BL arrived in a compact but nicely adorned box. Inside, I found a mostly complete buggy, needing only the wheels, antenna tube and rear wing installed to get it ready for action! Since the Chassis is complete, it shouldn't take more than a few minutes to get the Wolf on the ground.
I pulled the body off and the first item that caught my eye was the large orange brushless inrunner 3970 kv motor! I liked the cooling fan sitting on top of the anodized orange heatsink covered 36 Amp ESC - There's way more flash under the body than I ever expected to see! The 3-channel receiver rests comfortably in a plastic box - careful though, this buggy is not water proof.
I also really liked the 3 kg steering servo and servo saver - even the ball links and rods are oversized! The tires are already glued to the wheels, and that saves a ton of time! The included 2.4 GHz pistol-grip transmitter is very cool - it has a lot of features! There are three LED indicators to show battery level, throttle and steering reverse switches, and FOUR rotary knobs for adjusting throttle and steering trim AND setting travel rates!
I thought it was pretty cool that DHK not only threw in a hard cased LiPo battery, but a LiPo battery charger as well! The only other small loose items in the box were the antenna tube and the axle nut wrench which was another really cool addition to this package!
The manual goes through a lot of information, and even includes exploded views of the Wolf BL and part-by-part images and part numbers! A very cool thing if you have a crash and need to get a few things to race again. I did like the in-depth radio coverage and they even explain what servos are and how they operate. What I did not find in the manual were any instructions on installing the wheels or antenna tube - I guess DHK assumes that whoever buys the Wolf BL will know how to do these steps.
Assembly started with a little disassembly - using a 12mm wrench and the included axle nut wrench, I removed all four locking nuts and pulled the little disposable spacer off the axle. With all four axles exposed, I installed the four wheel assemblies and secured them with the locking nuts.
The antenna tube was installed next, and took just a few seconds! I then installed the transmitter batteries and turned it on. I really liked the three LED lights that show the transmitter's battery condition - it takes the guess work out of knowing if your radio is going to work!
The hard-cased LiPo was slid into its box and secured with the two hook-n-loop straps. All that remained was connecting the battery, switching on the Wolf BL, and installing the body and wing with the included body clips. Once the wing was in place, it did not have to come off for removing the body.
That's it! All-in-all, I think assembly took 15 minutes - and I had to stop and take pictures along the way! Let's go find some place to run this buggy!
As luck would have it, I found out that one of the nearer hobby shops had an indoor track. So, at my first free chance, I loaded up the new Wolf buggy and headed down to give the track a try. Upon our arrival at Control Freaks RC in Long, Lake, MN, we were greeted with a built-up wooden track, covered with carpet. Track layout was straight forward, but it was decided that it was just a little on the smallish side for 1/10 scale cars and trucks. BUT, that didn't keep me from giving the Wolf a few laps anyway.
The Wolf came out of the box with a 2S 2300 mAh Lipo battery. Even this proved to be too much power for the track, as the turns were over-shot on more than one attempt. The more I drove the buggy, the better I felt with it, and launching over the jumps in the track became a lot of fun! Unfortunately, about the 5th time I jumped, I landed on the right front wheel. The stress of landing on the wheel alone, with power from the large motor at full bore was more than the axle could take. The right front axle snapped, and fell out. I was pretty bummed!
That night, I went to the Hobby People website to find parts - while I was looking, I came across a comment on the Wolf's web page, and another customer had a similar experience with a broken axle. Right under that comment, one of the customer service representatives from Hobby People had commented that there had been some issues with the front axles and incorrect tempering of the steel. This incorrect tempering was causing the steel axles to break under stress. I, too, contacted Hobby People's customer service. They were very quick to respond to my request, and I had new parts within a few days! The customer service representative I spoke with explained that the new parts I received were tempered correctly and the actual metal used has been changed. In addition, all the new parts (and buggies) coming from the factory will be updated! Thank you, Hobby People, for caring about your customers!
So with the new parts installed it was time to find a larger track. With such a track found, I was in my car and headed there ASAP. What I found when I got there was pretty amazing - not only did I find a really nice indoor track, but an indoor CLAY track none-the-less! With an unexpectedly long Minnesota winter this year, it has been hard to get any ground-time outside.
Sean VanDalen, owner and proprietor of Full Throttle RC Raceway in Foley, MN, was kind enough to lend his track to me for testing purposes. For that, I say thanks Sean! With the Wolf sitting in the dirt, it was ready to go - Seth (Sean's son and sponsored driver) pulled the trigger on the transmitter, and I was reminded of just how fast this buggy was! I was also thankful that it had 4 wheel-drive, because I don't think it could have gotten all the power to the ground otherwise! As the buggy headed into the first corner, the Wolf looked completely different than it did on the carpet - it was MADE for the dirt. The studded tires dug into the dirt and this buggy really held in the corners! After a couple of laps, Sean and Seth looked over the car and were quite surprised by how well the Wolf did right out of the box.
At this point, they tweaked the suspension a little bit - the steering came with a bit of toe-in from the factory (in the 2-3 degree range). An adjustment to the front end led to just a little of toe-out (again, approximately 2-3 degrees). That was the only change they made, but it sure had a great effect to the tracking and cornering ability of the buggy.
With a stock, 2S test run done, we dropped a 3S battery into this chassis to see what it would do. Holy crap - This thing is a monster! I could not believe how fast the Wolf could go with no other upgrades than going from a 2S to a 3S battery pack!
(At one point during the 3S run, I heard Sean grunting like Tim Allen from Tool Time. . . I'm pretty sure that that was a good thing!) One minor note on the 3S pack - after running the Wolf VERY HARD for about 7 minutes, the motor quit and the red light on the ESC was flashing, indicating the thermal overload protection had activated. A quick check with a temperature gun showed the motor to be at 150 degrees, and the ESC to be at 140 degrees. Once they had cooled down, everything worked normally agian.
All-in-all, I'd say that both Sean and Seth were pretty impressed by the performance of this Ready-to-Run Buggy.
Check out the video to see
the DHK Wolf BL in action!
Thanks again to Sean and Seth VanDalen for letting me run the Wolf BL on their amazing indoor dirt (clay) track. At 40' x 90' it's much larger than other indoor tracks I've seen in Minnesota, and it's elevated approximately two feet off the ground! Sean has really set up this track well - from the large pit area to the elevated driver's platform, this is one top notch facility! Called the 510 Raceway (and part of Sean's 3-track Full Throttle RC Raceway) I could not have been happier to find a great place to drive - and only an hour and a half drive from home puts it almost in my back yard! Sean and his family, along with the tracks are in Foley, Mn, which is approximately 20 minutes Northeast of St. Cloud. If you're looking for a great place to run your off-road cars and trucks year-round, go visit Sean and the Full Throttle RC Raceway! Sean also has parts on hand for some of the more popular RC cars and trucks, so if you break something while racing, he's got replacement parts right there at track-side!
Now, how to wrap this all up? Simple - DHK has a great brushless RTR buggy in their lineup. It went together easy, it's a really fast (beginner's) car right out of the box on 2S and 3S batteries, the transmitter has features not found on other entry level vehicles, AND Hobby People's customer service is second to none!
No matter if you're getting your feet wet in RC racing, or wanting a buggy for bashing, the Wolf brushless 4WD buggy from DHK and Hobby People cannot be beat!
Thanks again to both Control Freaks RC and Full Throttle RC Raceway for granting access to their tracks! If you're looking for a place to run your RC car/truc/buggy etc. indoor when it's cold, give these guys a call or check out their websites!
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.