RCU Review: DuraTrax Vendetta Mini ST

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    Contributed by: Brian O'Bannon | Published: September 2007 | Views: 68309 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Vendetta ST MINI


    Under the Hood

    Field Testing

    Manufacturer/Distributor Info


    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL
    61826-9021 USA
    Phone: (800) 637-7660
    Website: www.duratrax.com


    Click Here to Watch (6.1 MB)

    My Opinions


    • Comprehensive package for the price

    • Stable and Race Capable!

    • Standard-sized steering servo is strong and responsive

    • Fool-proof pinion/spur gear mesh adjustment

    • Aluminum parts

    - MISSES

    • Steering servo is held down with double-sided tape

    • on/off switch is difficult to access with the body attached

    • Calibrate ESC every time it's turned it on


    The "mini-market"?

    The "Mini" market has been a part of this hobby for some time now and there are many different makes and models to choose. Team Losi that has done extremely well with their Mini T. Team Associated has everything from on-road to off-road buggy and/or truck's. And that only scratches the surface of all the mini's available.

    This month I came across the Vendetta ST, Duratrax's newest mini. A 4wd platform that is ready-to-run and race ready according to the promotional material. Let's put the Vendetta ST in the spotlight on stage and see if it steals the show or breaks a leg.


    Product Name:

    Duratrax Vendetta ST


    $175 retail price approx.

    Part #



    1/18th Electric 4wd Mini Truck


    Plastic universal shafts


    Oil Filled Plastic


    One Piece Plastic


    Brushed VR-3 High RPM


    Duratrax by Futaba 2ch AM








    22 oz.


    None! Everything thing you need to run is in the box.



    I was a little concerned about the size of the box when it arrived via the UPS man. I was so used to 1/8th and 1/10th scale that it made me wonder what I had gotten into. Once it was out of the shipping box, I was able to see the smaller (gasp!) Vendetta ST packaging. I liked the box art and how they really displayed pictures of the different body colors available, product features and all of the marketing information. For the purpose of a store display the box allows you to peel away a cover which will display the truck through a transparent window for the purpose of a store display (or shelf queen).

    The smell of new rubber and plastic filled the air immediately upon opening the box (don't breathe this!). I removed the truck which was stay-tied to an attractive cardboard insert. Underneath was another box that contained the radio, 8 AA batteries, the 2/3 6 cell, shotgun battery pack, slow charger, instructions, basic setup tools and accessories, stickers and a full-scale exploded-view poster of the Vendetta ST.

    The first thing I did was snip off the battery pack connector and make an adapter for quick charging. After that was done, the battery was charged with an MRC 977 charger at 1 amp. During the charging period, I was able to read the entire instruction manual. Yes, I actually read it! The instruction manual is nice, with big pictures and details shots of how to assemble, disassemble and maintain the Vendetta ST. Allowing the battery to cool after charging permitted me to install the pre-cut stickers to the body and wing. They also include stickers designed to cover the entire wheel, but I opted not to use them.

    I had the AA batteries in the Transmitter and fired it up on the bench within about an hour and a half. The instruction manual stated that each time you turn on the vehicle you must "calibrate" the ESC. This is the first RTR vehicle I've had to do this and I found it annoying. To calibrate the ESC, turn on the transmitter then the receiver. Pull the trigger all the way back, center it, then push the trigger all the way forward and let it go back to center. The ESC is now properly calibrated.

    When that was done I looked outside and realized time had slipped away (I hate it when it does that!) and I would have to wait to drive it until the next day. So, I grabbed a bite to eat and returned to the work bench to disassemble it for an in-depth review.

    Under the Hood

    Disassembly proved to be easy and painless. This truck is very easy to maintain and repair, other than the fact the screws are really small. Everything was "smartly" located with no need to take one thing off to get to something else.

    I really like the pinion and spur cover. This just makes sense and I don't know how many times I've seen vehicles without covers exposing the gears to the elements. One well placed grain of sand or a rock and your play time is over. The pinion and spur gear mesh is set "automatically" by the correct adaptor placed with the proper pinion/spur combination. This must be done this way because there really is no way to tighten the motor to the mount while installed in the truck. I like this because even newbies (like my boys) can do this without knowing exactly what to do.

    The shocks are oil filled plastic and a few spring tensioners are provided. The driveshaft, front and rear shock towers, front brace and steering drag link are all aluminum parts. This is very nice.

    The drive shaft to the wheel is a plastic universal joint with a "dogbone" style end. It uses a metal pin that mates into the differential cup. 12mm hexes are used for the wheels and I've seen some people using on-road 1/10th scale wheels. It makes them look like low-pros! The stock wheels are a solid-dish design with block-type knob tires and foam inserts pre-glued to the rims.

    Both front and back suspension uses short and long geometry. The front however, is a pillow-ball type setup out by the wheels. This makes for a very adjustable, smooth and durable setup. Good job Duratrax! An aluminum driveshaft spins the front and rear 4-gear differentials that are factory packed with grease. Everything but the motor armature spins on metal-shielded ball bearings.

    Electronic duties are handled by Futaba radio gear. The transmitter is a 2ch AM pistol grip-style controller with servo reversing, trim and steering sensitivity. There is nothing special about the stock receiver however, the steering servo is also stock, but in this baby it's a MONSTER! It still has a factory servo saver, but I am not sure if it needs it. I suppose with a fast brushless setup or maybe a heavy bashing it might strip the plastic gears, but there were no problems while I had it.

    Duratrax developed their own ESC7500 75amp speed control with brake and reverse functions. I tried to find if there was a reverse lockout in the manual, but found nothing. That was weird since this is marketed as a racer. The rig is powered by the colorful green VR3 High RPM, brushed motor. A 650MaH NimH 2/3, 6 cell battery pack is included to motivate the truck to the finish line.

    Other special notes include an adjustable and removable wing that is built strong; no more wimpy wires holding the wing in place! Also, the front and back have provisions for the optional sway bars available separately.

    Field Testing

    I now had the battery charged, stickers applied and the truck in pieces! However, I had the truck reassembled to box-factory condition within 20 minutes. I called it a night and had dreams of what it would be like to drive!

    The next day, I double checked everything, calibrated the ESC, pinned on the body and went for a cruise. I have a backyard track and it worked perfectly for the 1/18th scale size of the Vendetta ST. I did not do any adjustments to anything on the vehicle and was somewhat impressed with it's out-of-the-box performance. The most noticeable thing I found was it's stability, it is as solid as a rock! It flew nicely through the air and was always spitting rooster tails of dirt. The speed was surprisingly fast. I'm not talking "brushless" fast, but it was keeping me busy looking ahead on the track. Considering I was using it straight from the box, I was impressed.

    Turning was not a problem with the standard-sized steering servo although, I will need the optional servo mount. I've had it for a week now and the double sided tape is starting to peel away. I found the range to be acceptable considering it was an AM radio system. The battery pack didn't last as long as I wanted, yet things would have been much hotter after a run if I had something with more capacity. I noticed that the chassis can be hot in the vicinity of the motor and battery locations after a depleted pack, so be careful when handling it.

    I let my two sons (6 and 7) take turns driving, When I took pictures and video. I found out that the Vendetta ST is capable of some abuse; slamming into trees, fences and guardrails. It was a little fast for these newbies, but after their second battery pack they were starting to get the feel for the controls.

    Although I am really pleased with it thus far, but I admit I do not like the location of the on/off switch. You have to remove the body to access the switch. I am also not fond of calibrating the ESC each time I turn it on. One other note about calibrating the ESC. I noticed that reverse always seemed faster than forward. When holding the car off the ground and operating the throttle, I could distinctively hear that reverse was faster than forward. I spent an entire battery pack just calibrating the ESC and trying to get forward to go faster than reverse. It never happened. This was disappointing to say the least. It wasn't a huge difference, but I even drove the truck in reverse and yeah, it was faster.


    I really like the truck. It looks sleek, sporty and has features that are very "race" oriented. I think it's a perfect beginning for my boys who's hands are small enough to work on it easily. I can see we will need to buy some optional parts to make it more durable (steering servo mount), but I can live with that. In fact, many of the parts, factory and optional, are very affordable with most items under $10-$15.

    Without a doubt, this is my favorite Duratrax vehicle due to it's performance and durability. I wouldn't recommend this for a backyard basher unless you keep your lawn mowed really, really short. This baby is clearly low to the ground and ready for a dirt lot or maybe even a track situation. My boys are already asking when we are getting another one. It sounds like they have racing on their mind.

    Manufacturer Information


    Division Of Hobbico, Inc.
    PO Box 9078
    Champaign, IL. 61822

    Distributed Exclusively By:
    Great Planes Model Distributors

    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021 USA
    Phone: (800) 637-7660
    Website: www.duratrax.com

    Comments on RCU Review: DuraTrax Vendetta Mini ST

    Posted by: WARHEADFAN101 on 06/27/2008
    i wanted to buy this but i bought a warhead evo it was a good choise but this looks like good fun THANX
    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.

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