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Review: Haiboxing Hailstorm 18858/18859E, 1/18 scale 4WD

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Review: Haiboxing Hailstorm 18858/18859E, 1/18 scale 4WD

Old 05-02-2020, 07:41 PM
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Default Review: Haiboxing Hailstorm 18858/18859E, 1/18 scale 4WD

With so many RC's out there, it's tough to compare between all of them to make a decision on what to get and whether it's a good match for you. Overwhelmed by Amazon and Aliexpress's choices, I turned to YouTube and was entertained but still a bit overwhelmed on what to get. After hours of research, I chose the Haiboxing Hailstorm and during this Covid-19 shelter in place, I've run a couple dozen batteries through it. Hope the following helps you determine whether the Haiboxing Hailstorm is for you (and/or your kid).

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After a 20+ year break and now wife + kids, I wanted to to introduce the young ones to the hobby. It was more of an excuse to get myself a little toy. So I had two choices.

A. Get them their own RC and get myself a different one.
B. Get one that we can share.

I wasn't sure how interested the kids would be and whether this would be a one-and-done sorta thing or if I'd hang onto the hobby for a bit. I opted to get one to share.

C. Durable.
If it's for kids, it's gotta be durable. Especially if it's their first time. They've played with 1/43 scale toy grade ones without proportional steering nor throttle but this would be their first real outdoor offroad RC. I wanted it durable enough to last long enough to enjoy over and over.

D. A small RC.
Aside from who I am personally, a small sized RC generally has lower priced replacements parts and tends to break less easily b/c there's just not a whole lot of weight. I generally like small stuff. Small car, small diaper bag, small work bag, small everything. It's just my thing, so I went with a 1/18 scale. Large enough to be fun and small enough to throw in a big and more importantly, to be able to be picked up in one hand by a 3-year old (or posing with two hands for this picture):

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It's actually smaller in person than you'd think from looking at photos and videos.
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Sitting on top of a modified Zombie Nerf blaster, for scale.
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The event that started all this RC stuff was a trip to Monster Jam. 1/24 scale Monster Truck and 1/60 scale Hotwheels.
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E. Good runtime.
Generally, runtime for RC's is typically about 10-12 minutes I'd say. That's a big generality covering all sorts of scales with different electronics going over various types of terrain. 7 minutes would be considered fairly short play time. With kids in the picture, I wanted a fairly long run time and with the benefit of a small 1/18 scale RC, that could easily be achievable. It generally gets shipped with a 650mah battery but if you're lucky, you'll get a 700mah one thrown in.

To keep the battery healthy, I haven't run this down to empty but I'm guessing I can get at least 20 minutes. With taking photos, snacking with the kids, goofing around, and therefore not on the throttle the whole time, entertainment on one battery lasted me up to 45 minutes and even then, I still had battery left. It was just time to go, getting dark, cold and mom was waiting for us to get back.

F. Price.
Price relates to size, so with the size being small, I expect to pay no more than $100, preferably under $80. This one is priced anywhere from $55-75 depending on where you get it and when. It fit the bill.

With all that in mind,


1. The slow mode.
It's got a slow mode feature on the transmitter. This is a rare feature not generally available on budget RC's. It basically replaces throttle trim to two preset speeds. A flip of a switch and it can run at starter mode which I clocked in at 12mph. Switch it to Normal mode and it goes to 18mph, both on LiPo's. With the included Li-Ion it'll be a tad bit slower but comparable.

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2. Upgradable.
Knowing I'm the type to tinker and modify as I do with Nerf blasters, Cruzin Coolers, and real life cars, I figured I should expect to do the same with the RC. The Haiboxing Hailstorm has a couple suspension settings and you can even swap them out for tension adjustable oil filled shocks.

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Headlights are already included which is a nice touch as it's not available with most RC cars at this price point. Lights are brighter than you'd think for two tiny LED's.

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3. Hobby grade.
To me, what makes an RC hobby grade is the availability of parts of course but also access to swap them out. Once the canopy is pulled off by removing the smaller sized body clips, you have full access to all the electronic components. Note that the ESC and Receiver is a 2-in-1 unit so if you have in mind to install your own receiver, you'll need to replace the ESC as well and most likely the servo as well if you aren't able to find a 5-wire one. If you're not so handy with soldering, you may have a tough time connecting it to either the stock motor or a replacement one.

For me, I just wanted access to this stuff to replace one-for-one. I don't play to spend any money replacing any of the electronics. The budget level of this RC typically isn't modded with upgraded electronics.

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You can spin this thing doing donuts quite easily if you wanted to. Various suspension setups will enable this more or less depending on how you lay it out.

Jumps! You want an offroad RC so you can do jumps of course! Pull out that Amazon cardboard box, some packaging tape, a knife and get to work! Yes, this thing will fly through the air, land on it's back, front, tail and do just fine. I've lost count how many times I've flipped this thing and landed on concrete. I did end up breaking one of the LED headlights but doesn't hurt the performance.

In normal use, I'd expect this rig to do just fine. It's probably b/c I was running those speed tests for you guys that I snapped the left rear driveshaft after hitting a curb and rolling into a bush. $10 fix. The set of 4 replacement pieces are coming from Amazon in a few days. Easy fix even for a newb.

Due mostly to the ground clearance inherent to a truggy style RC at this 1/18 scale, it's not going to go through grass. Short grass maybe, but I wouldn't count on it. It can however go throw gravel and dirt easily. It's actually loads of fun going through rough terrain.

I haven't taken it through snow and hail, but it'll do just fine going through puddles after a rainy day. I wouldn't recommend it, but there's a video of a guy dumping mud all over this thing and practically submerging it under water. I don't have any experience with that and don't intend to give it a try since this is my personal RC and not given to me for review for any sort of sponsorship.

I did pay more by getting it through Amazon rather than Aliexpress. I chose Amazon b/c I wanted it quicker and I was pretty partial about getting this Truggy version which wasn't available anywhere else. The truggy comes in other colors, base color as black or army green. Aliexpress does have the monster truck version for $55 or so last time I checked. You have the choice of green, red or more rare is the blue body. The same chassis as the truggy except the suspension posts are a bit taller to provide taller shocks offering a higher ground clearance. No promises, but I'm guessing the monster truck version called the Rampage, part #18859E may perform a bit better over grass. Regardless, I'd still recommend avoiding grass with any 1/18 scale as it will wear out the batteries fairly quickly.

I've seen non standard colors like red and blue for the Hailstorm, except the shell says "Hailstrom". Immediately, I thought those were generics and replica versions. But I'm starting to think these were the earlier first runs of the product and they just spelled it wrong. I really don't know, but I went with the orange one where the side speels Hailstorm correctly.

In fact, I was tempted to get the monster truck version too! Amazon had a sale for $55 the other day and I told all my friends about it. One of them did end up getting it for his kids too! I'm practically collecting RC's. The kids haven't been fighting over playing with them at the same time, so one is good for now. We've since gotten another RC which will be up for the next review and then a comparison.

Who is Haiboxing (HBX)? If you're new to the Hobby, you've never heard of them, but they are fairly well known, post regularly on Instagram, are active on F@ceb00k. Haiboxing and I even message on another on Instagram so they're no stranger and are definitely accessible even in China. Just pay attention to your time zones. I would be wary of buying from an unknown brand as many of these RC cars look similar and sometimes go by different names. That's not the case with Haiboxing. I actually bought another Haiboxing product, the 16889. I'll review that shortly. It's brushless, noticeably faster but also pricier.

Some things that avid RC'ers notice is that some of these smaller scale RC's use philips head screws to secure the wheels rather than the standard hex. It's not a big deal for me, but something to be aware of in case you care about that type of thing.

Getting this to run straight as an arrow will take some adjustment, namely with sold separately upgraded parts. One part to be exact. $7 for a servo turnbuckle which you can double as an adjustable turnbuckle for the wheels. This allows you to turn the toe in and will improve the predicability when you're hitting ramps. Fairly big difference. I recommend this mod over the oil filled shocks if you're going to pick one or the other. We both know you're going to do both.

I suspect most of these budget RC's under $75 won't have the best range. This isn't an exception. The range isn't great with the stock transmitter, but it's not horrible either. As you know, this isn't a competition racer. You'll do fine with the range you're most likely going to use this. But if for some reason you're expecting to use this further than you can see or with the RC as a tiny spec in the distance or for FPV, this isn't going to work for you. For those uses, I'd recommend a higher priced segment that has a separate receiver that you can just swap out and replace with something like the DUMBO transmitter.

Although it hasn't been a problem, I wish the capacitor was a bit more protected. It's just hanging out there under the body and looks like it could break. I've abused the car and so far so good. I also wish Haiboxing figured out a different way to secure the battery in the tray. After removing 4 body clips, do we really want to pull out yet another to access the battery? I do like that the battery tray is adjustable for height. There's two adjustable height settings so Haiboxing does expect you to upgrade to a LiPo from the Li-Ion.

Having fallen in love with the orange truggy body, I'm sad to say that if I ever break it, getting a new one might be tough or impossible. Haiboxing sells other parts, but not the body. Good news is that they do sell the monster truck body separately as a replacement part, so I'll need to turn to that if my beloved body ever breaks.

As long as you read this review, you should know what to expect and there shouldn't be any surprises. I've been very happy with mine and can't wait to get it up and running again after repairing the dogbone connecting the rear left wheel to the drive train. At budget level prices, the market gets quite competitive. There are various levels of RC car grades within just $15 of each other so it's important to be picky about what it is exactly that you're looking for to make sure your expectations are met.

The only thing I was surprised about with the Haiboxing Hailstorm is again, the size.

Next to a standard Nerf Elite dart.
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Fits on top of a 13" Macbook.
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I knew it was going to be smaller, but it was a bit smaller than I was expecting. At first, I was disappointed, but after seeing the performance vs those $25 toy grade RC's, my excitement made me forget all about the size. I got used to it and like I mentioned earlier, I like small stuff. I can totally see kids stuffing it into their backpack to go out on vacation or to play at a friend's house. Any larger and you may start to fumble with it as a child.

I have videos on my Instagram @ Funcentric and will have a full review on my YouTube channel but here's one for y'all just drooling for one now.

Montage video.

Haiboxing also has another 1/18 scale called the Ratchet 18856. You may have come across this. I don't have it but I would expect it to drive very differently as the overall frame is smaller down to the tires. I can't speak to it as I haven't driven it, but something tells me the truggy and monster truck are more fun.

For the budget buyer who does not need the slow mode and cares nothing for modifications or being able to repair the RC, consider the HS 18301 or 18302. It's priced extremely well which makes it a great basher and has a larger battery but lacks a bit in quality and doesn't turn as well. I'll do a full comparison on another thread on my YouTube channel and through Instagram, but I can say that the Haiboxing product does have superior plastics vs the HS (HoSpeed) product.

The WL Toys A212 is only comparable by price. It's mostly designed for indoors but people do use it outdoors. 1/24 scale. I don't own one but do have my eye on the A202 which is the buggy version. It's priced around $50-60. Much smaller and not really comparable by performance to the Haiboxing 18858 at all, but maybe something to consider, particularly if indoor use is your preference as a new buyer of a budget RC car.

Whatever you pick, hope you have fun. Comment if you have the Hailstorm or Rampage. Would love to hear from other enthusiasts.

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