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This is the second edition of 1/14th radio controlled Carisma GT14 cars. Although on first inspection it looks similar to the original, it offers a number of improvements to enhance driving and adjusting the R/C car.
Since we reviewed the Carisma GT14 Mk1 a year ago, the diminutive 1/14th car has won quite a following at R/C clubs up and down the country. Such was the response to our review that we started our own local Carisma GT14 Club that has gone from strength to strength.
The GT14 Carisma road cars are smaller than the more common 1/10th radio controlled models. Their 1/14th size makes them more compact and lighter - offering more speed for the same power. Although they are 4WD the driving experience is more of a 2WD drift car - they still under-steer and drift at high speed.
As you may have read in out GT14 Mk2 Mk1 Comparison blog, the first noticeable change on the new version is a new Mk2 Steering System that has been completely redesigned - both the pinion and the steering arm. This promises to eliminate some of the issues with servo clipping that led to burning out the steering motor. This also looks to offer greater movement for a tighter turning arc.
The carbon fibre Chassis and Top Deck have both been remoulded on the Mk2 and eliminate the need for a motor vent hole. This should not only avoid burnt fingers that stray onto the hot metal, but also reduce ware and tear on pro motors. With these changes the chassis adopts a squarer shape, that produces a stiffer more positive driving experience.
More subtle changes to the chassis include the front and back digits that flank the wishbones and enable you to define the ride height and suspension movement with greater accuracy. Underneath a combination of alum key bolts and screws are used and look to offer more secure and flush fixing of the standard parts - such as the front and rear differential.
There are a range of other adjustments to tighten up the design all round. The battery housing for instance now only has the (universally preferred) rear placement - rather than the forward or back options of the MK1. The top chassis deck is also now in one piece to provide greater stability.
Other specifications remain the same:
The GT14 Mark 2 models can take advantage of the majority of spares provided for the original car. As before the car features high spec ball-raced shaft drive, threaded shocks, slipper, diffs and twin deck chassis. Although this is already pre-built and the smaller scale means only bespoke parts can be used, you can adjust shocks, slipper and general trim of each car.
Currently the GT14 Mk 2 can only be purchased as a bare bones kit. This means you need to add electrics, body and motor to get it running. We anticipate that these will start to replace the original chassis in the pre-built kits once stock of the original model have depleted.
Once you have the parts you need it is simply a matter of fixing the motor in place, installing the radio gear and battery and fixing the body shell. There is about three or four hours work here if you are looking to perfect the setup.
The build of these Carisma GT14 Mk2 cars is improved over the original. The redesigned chassis decks give the car a stiffer construction which results in a more positive driving experience. As before, although there is a large foam bumper at the front, the smaller scale and greater speed does make them feel a little more vulnerable to mistreatment.
The driving experience is where these Carisma GT14 Mk2 Electric R/C cars come up trumps. They are just so fast in a straight line. This in turn introduces all sorts of fun in persuading them round a track. As you turn into a corner you are hit by a dramatic under-steer as all four wheels struggle to apply the required direction. Then, as you power off a little you swing into over-steer as the 4WD finds its voice again.
This results in some wonderfully balletic moments haring around a circuit. It also makes for some real touring car action. A gentle nudge to the back of an opponent's car is enough to destabilise and send them spinning. A handful of these in enough flat space and a clearly marked course produces some of the best R/C fun you will find.
The Carisma GT14 Mk2's smaller scale and open under carriage makes them a little more likely to pick up muck. Run them on an outside, wet, or muddy surface and you will need to attend to some careful and drying cleaning afterwards.
While the body shell will simply wipe down, the internals really need a brush and cloth to clean them up.
The GT14 Mk2 is not a revolutionary update, but this is largely because the original design is so strong. That said, a number of sensible improvements improve how the car feels to drive and opens new ways of adjusting the ride. Additionally, there have been some under the hood changes that although less obvious should avoid some of the GT14 Breakages and GT14 Electrical issues.
The GT14 Mk2 is packed with fun for both the casual and hobbyist radio controlled racer. Their smaller scale, mismatched with ridiculous power makes them more than a handful for even experienced drivers. Although we originally talked about them as a stepping stone to more serious self-build kits they have since proved themselves a compelling enough racing class in their own right.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: