An award winning RC vehicle, The Traxxas Slash is a 1/10 scale model Off-road, Short-Course Racing Truck. What’s that mean? Lots of hilarious, dirt churning donuts and high flying jumps, in my personal experience. Seriously though, inspired by the Torc (that’d be ‘The Off-Road Championship) PRO Off-Road Short-Course trucks, beastly powerhouse machines (over 900 horse power) that people drive around turns and over jumps at seriously ill advised rates of speed. It’s the same idea, just a tenth of the size. Though I got to sample a 2WD version, the Slash is also available in 4×4 models. With its watertight sealed electronics, Titan 12T 550 motor, and 4 wheel independent suspension the Slash has everything you need to get fast and dirty. With its power, the way it handles, where it can go, and the beating it can take on the way there, it’s everything I’ve come to expect from a Traxxas product.
It feels like I’ve been talking about Traxxas a lot lately, but I think it’s worth going over again. As a company, they are all about the Radio Controlled Vehicle experience, and they build vehicles that navigate all three major food groups, land, air and sea (well, water… probably more ponds and pools than anything, you get the idea). They boast themselves as ‘The fastest name in Radio Control’ and they build their products with high quality component parts, designed to be tough, replaceable, and with a level of engineering that makes sure the vehicle in question will take to its intended element ‘vigorously’. Backed by forums full of helpful threads, enthusiasts and moderators, as well as a website with all of its support documentation (manuals, guides) and experts available by phone and email. If the idea that a hobby company (or any company) would go so far out of its way to be accessible gives you a warm, happy feeling inside that feels almost… surprising, you aren’t alone. In the course of my recent experiences with their brand of RC fun I’ve been all over the Traxxas site, they get top marks for enabling a complete newcomer to immerse himself in this world.
As for the Slash, out of the box ‘ready to race’, once the batteries were charged and without much work on my part, I had this Short-Course truck up and running in no time. Even for new comers, the included Quick Start Guide (available online at traxxas.com/manuals) takes you through the steps with simple to follow instructions. Mostly, this involves getting batteries in the right place, and having the vehicle communicating with the Transmitter, a two button process which is about as easy as you can hope for.
The Slash isn’t quite the powerhouse that units like E-Maxx or E-revo are, but boasting top speeds of up to 50 kms/hr, believe me, that’s just fine. Much like a monster of a muscle car, the more powerful these things get, the more skill they require to control, and honestly, it can be a little intimidating. Besides which, there’s still plenty here to work with. The Slash has a ton of ‘go-power’ and it took at least a play session for me to feel comfortably in control. As well as taking to the air with the greatest of ease (it jumps off of everything) with all its power coming from the rear end, drifting is a natural by-product of this Short-Course truck doing it’s thing. Figure eights, donuts, the Slash likes to pivot, and it will do so on a dime. It’s actually so good at laying rubber that harnessing the back end swivel can take a minute. Once you get that down however, you’ll be sending it flying over terrain in such a way that I guarantee you’ll be giggling. Another big thumbs up was the duration of a play session. Much like the brilliant little SST, I got about a half hour out of a charge. Given my experiences to date, this is pretty reasonable, giving me enough time to settle in and warm up, and still have plenty of time to put it through its paces. For a consumer, I would improve this further by doubling up and purchasing a second power source, or upgrading to a series 4 or series 5 Nimh battery pack. Either of both of these extending session duration significantly, and at a relatively small investment. I can’t overestimate the difference this makes.
I was also really impressed by the range of the Transmitter. My favorite test location is a gravelly access lane that goes to an open space filled with natural bowls, and quite a bit of challenging terrain, ample ramps included. I haven’t measured it, but from the entrance at one end to the bush line at the other is easily a hundred meters, and I ran that thing from one end to the other. I will say it lost some of its control, floating a bit towards the end, but at no time did it cut out, or did I receive any loss of power. At the other end, did a fancy donut and hit a jump on the way back. It was awesome.
Not that the sound of a Traxxas unit tearing asphalt, or ripping through some gravel is not impressive on its own, it’s a powerful machine, and it sounds like it. But personally, while I’m operating one of these monsters, I’m providing the soundtrack of an engine inside my head. It’s all ‘VROOM brubba brubba brubba VROOM’. Obviously I’m not the only one, as one of the novel new features of the Slash I recieved is the ‘on-board audio’ feature that, while superficial to be certain (and probably responsible for some loss of battery time) adds some of that ‘vroom vroom’ to the experience. Under the hood is the on-board audio control, with speakers attached to the body itself. When powered and connected, the Slash provides realistic throttle and idle sounds while you drive. Once the Slash is fired up, simply push the on-board audio power button (there’s volume up and down buttons as well), then connect the speakers to the power supply (via blue ended connector, very easy to identify and connect) slap the lid on and you’re good to go. Rev the engine with a couple quick pulls of the throttle, and…. sorry, but, ‘VROOM VROOM’ you’re good to go.
I think I can comfortably say that the Slash has been my favorite RC experience to date. Touted as “ready to race”, much like the Latrax SST I reviewed recently, there was very little time in between laying hands on the box and having the vehicle out and racing. This was certainly aided by the new Traxxas iD battery packs and connectors, which I have reviewed here, but it’s clear the Slash was designed to be a solid intermediate step for the RC fan. With the size and power of a 1/10th model, it’s certainly a more serious vehicle than the 1/18th units, but more approachable, less intimidating and more power friendly than some of the beefier (and power guzzling) varieties such as the E-Maxx and E-revo. With the On-board audio providing that special big engine sound (which made more of a difference than it probably should have) this was a solid ‘grin from ear to ear’ from the moment I found it on my doorstep, to the moment I walked it back in the door, battery depleted. Available in a variety of configurations, including 2 Wheel and 4 Wheel drive, If you’re ready to step into a 1/10th scale unit I can’t recommend the Traxxas Slash enough.
Overall Rating 5/5