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Maverick Atom XB 1/18 HPI Review

19/04/2010 Specialist Radio Controlled Gamer Review
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Maverick Atom XB 1/18 HPI

Maverick Atom XB 1/18

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HPI

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Maverick Atom 1/18 buggies bridge the gap between toy and hobby R/C racing.

Never before has a high performance 4WD electric Radio Controlled car offered so much fun for such a great price. The Maverick Atom is a perfect car for clubs, beginners and young families.

What type of R/C car is this?

This mini off-road 1/18th Maverick Atom XB is both ready to run with no building and supported by a full set of spares. It combines the rugged speed of more common 1/10th off road buggies in a compact package.

Options and expansion

You get everything you need to run in the box, except the 8 AA batteries for the transmitter. But don't be fooled from the diminutive size, the 1/18 Maverick Atom maybe small but it offers features that are associated with larger hobby Remote Controlled cars.

Molded tub chassis, twin point steering accommodate the micro servos well. The four shocks are oil filled and adjustable as is the ride height via the upper and lower shock mounting positions.

Independent double wishbones, tough 4WD drive train and aluminium centre shaft get the power down where it is needed - on the track. The fully ball raced drive train and double ball differentials make sure the drive is as smooth as it is powerful.

The 1/18 Maverick Atom comes ready setup for most environments. As you get to understand how it handles you can customise the ride with a variety of hop up and spares that come packed in. If you have a few of these racing together, it's surprising how much difference the smallest adjustment can make.

As well as the parts in the box, HPI offer a full spares service should you break any part of the diminutive R/C car.

Time and difficulty to build

These 1/18 Maverick Atoms come fully built. You can apply additional trim, tweak suspension settings and ride height - but there is very little to do before you can hit the track.

Build Quality

The 1/18 Atoms are well build and feel very much like the 1/10 counterparts. The ground clearance and solid suspension means that even large drops are unlikely to bottom out the car.

Driving Experience

The Maverick Atom is very impressive to drive. By no means limited by its small size - if anything the lightweight construction seems to result in more acceleration and higher top speed - this is a solid speedy and smile enducing experience.

Cornering is positive both on and off road. There is very little body roll and more than enough power - in will even pop a wheelie when full throttled.

The overall feeling here though is one of great fun. Get four of five of these together and you have the making of a great afternoon's entertainment.

Maintenance

Maintenance is pretty low on these buggies. If driven in the dust or wet you are going to want to clean them up post-race. Otherwise though a quick wipe down and charge is enough to set you up for the next race.

My five year old had a great time driving the car, but his slightly rougher treatment did mean we had more work to do keeping the car going. The front shock popped off on impact a couple of times. Otherwise though it stood up well to his (miss)treatment.

Conclusion

The Maverick Atom punches well above its weight, and price tag (around GBP65). As well as being a lot of fun for hobbyists, they are a great way in dip your toe in the world of proper R/C racing. As a bridge between the toy and hobby markets they are perfectly poised to popularise Radio Controlled pursuits with a much wider audience. Expect to see these on the BBC's One Show before very long.

Written by Rupert Stelling

You can support Rupert by buying Maverick Atom XB 1/18



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Rupert Stelling writes the Radio Controlled Gamer column.

"Having grown up racing Tamiya radio and remote controlled cars and trucks I was keen to get my kids started on the same hobby. Here, I share my R/C reviews and guides to getting started in this electric and petrol powered world."


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