I've Turned To The Dark Side And Gone All Off-Road.....
Hurray! The day finally arrived when I could pick up my HPI MT2 Nitro 4WD Stadium truck - and it has been worth the wait. Bought as a late birthday present (I didn't buy it because of giving up smoking, as I was going to in an earlier article) I had to wait a week before firing it up and running it in.
Having had my HPI Touring Cars, the Viper and the BMW, for about 6 months, I was a little apprehensive about the change in speed - although they all use the same T15 engine, the Touring Cars have a 2 speed box, so I was worried that the MT2 would be a little slow. How wrong I was.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here - first I had to run the MT2 in. Always read the supplied instructions at least twice before starting - the engine run-in process is critical to prolonging the life of the engine, so don't rush. After setting up the brakes and throttle, I loaded the Nitro Radio Controlled car with 16% Model Technics fuel, and it was time for a few tanks at idle, with the wheels off the ground, allowing plenty of time between sessions for the engine to cool down.
Let's now talk about rotostart. It is brilliant. Being used to tugging away on a pull-start and getting sore fingers in the process, using the rotostart was a breeze. Prime the fuel, stick the glow starter on, stick the rotostart into the hole at the aback of the car, push the button and after a couple of seconds the little nitro engine buzzed into life.
It was a couple of days before I could attempt the next stage - low RPM runs, slowing blipping the throttle until I could risk the first high speed passes and tuning, but everything went smoothly, in my opinion mainly because I have switched from using Byron Race Fuel (which is cheap) to Model Technics QwikFire 16 (which isn't). Using the Qwik Fire fuel in my Nitro Touring cars I've found that I get a much longer run time, don't have to run the engines too lean, and they start much quicker. I guess you get what you pay for when it comes to Nitro fuels.
At last the MT2 was ready for initial tuning. I didn't turn the mixture screw much, in my experience it takes a good ten to fifteen tanks for the T15 engine to start to loosen up and fly, and then it can really be tuned for performance.
Speed runs up and down the deserted roads of my local trading estate were smooth but uneventful until I tried a rally style Scandinavian Flick, which flipped the car on its roof. I guess soft suspension and grippy tarmac have to be respected.... I had a little fun jumping off curbs, but I still had too much off a "touring car" mentality, where high speed turns and drifting are the order of the day, so I crossed the road and headed to "the pit".
Ok, maybe that name is a little dramatic (I just made it up), it's basically a drainage hole that has a sandy, stony bottom. This was a totally alien environment (R/C wise) for me, I hadn't driven off road since my Frog was still running, and that was about twenty years ago!
Going very, very slowly at first I tip-towed around the rough bits and stones, slowly building up speed. After a few minutes I was getting used to the car being deflected all the time, and started to notch up the speed. What's weird when you change from on road to off road driving is the level of concentration required. When I'm driving my touring cars around I know that the road is smooth and the car will go where I point it, whereas as soon as the MT2 starts to pick up speed it can be spun off course by rubble, stones, the things you can't see from fifty feet away, but it makes everything very exciting.
How was the HPI MT2 to drive when I got more used to it? Fantastic. I didn't need to worry about speed, the acceleration was savage, and believe me, when it starts to reach full throttle, all your focus is on driving, and its flying along. The four wheel drive meant the steering was sharp, and it never got bogged down.
After about a half an hour I stopped. Not because I wasn't enjoying it, rather I was starting too get too confident, and going too fast for the terrain, and I didn't want to break anything. A smoother surface would allow me to get used to the handling without the risk of damaging my new toy.
As an aside I have to say that although the Rotostart is great easy way to start a Nitro Engine, it is quite a heavy bit of kit to carry around. Ask me in a couple of weeks if I still think it's better than pull-start.
In summary I'd say I'm delighted with the performance of my new MT2, and can't wait to give it another outing and take some video footage too. Watch out for a further review soon. Update: I've done a quick video of my MT2's First Off-Road Run.
Some Pics of My MT-2 After Today's Run...