XRC Brawler is designed to go where other RC models fear to tread
Just like their full-size counterparts, radio-controlled tracked model vehicles are capable of traversing terrain that would stop wheeled models in their ... well, in their tracks. One of the latest, the XRC Brawler, is claimed to be "the highest performing one-fifth scale RC tank on the market."
Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, the Brawler was designed by British startup Xtreme RC.
It features a full 7075-T6 aluminum alloy chassis, and two Hobbywing motors (one per gearbox) which take the 20-kg (44-lb) vehicle up to 40 mph (64 km/h) "in a matter of seconds." Power is provided by a bank of 12 rechargeable lithium-polymer cells. These, along with the motors and other electronics, are cooled by two 40-mm fans which draw air in through vents in the front and out through exhaust ports in the rear. There's currently no word on battery life.
The rest of the chassis is sealed via custom gaskets, making the Brawler waterproof and thus amphibious. In fact, because it's buoyant, it actually floats on the surface of the water. By spinning its treads kind of like a paddle wheeler, it can make its way across bodies of water.
Seventy millimeters of suspension travel are provided by six springs and six dampers (three per side). A metal bumper and aluminum bash plates help the vehicle's nose cone shrug off front impacts – in the event of a particularly hard impact, that replaceable nose cone serves as a crumple zone, protecting the main chassis from damage.
According to Xtreme RC, one of the big problems with existing RC tanks is the fact that the treads will often come off under hard acceleration or when taking sharp corners. This reportedly doesn't happen on the Brawler, thanks to a custom-designed track system along with tensioners which keep the tracks taut even when the suspension is compressed.
Perhaps a bit surprisingly, the vehicle doesn't come standard with a built-in camera, although it does have a compartment and a lens hole to accommodate one that will be available as an optional extra. It additionally has two LED light bars, to help that camera image its surroundings in the dark.
Assuming the XRC Brawler reaches production, a pledge of £373 (about US$503) will get you one of your own – that's approximately 25 percent off the estimated retail price. You can see the vehicle in action, in the video below.