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HPI Baja 5B Monster RC Car

Ever seen a monster RC Car called the HPI Baja 5B? If you're like me, more than likely you've never heard of HPI or their amazing Baja 5B Remote Controlled racing buggy. For those of us who think of R/C cars as being little foot-long jobbers that you get at Toys-R-Us , that is about as close to what this is as a house cat is to a Siberian Lion. Check out this video of the HPI to see it in action--keep in mind this is only the fourth time we've driven it around. I'm sure we'll increase the intensity as we get familiar with the controls!

The HPI Baja 5B dune buggy is the mama bear of racing cars. It's called a 1/5 Scale car which means it's a gigantic beast! It's about three feet long and about a foot and a half wide. We haven't weighed it yet, but I'd say it's about 30 pounds. It runs on regular gas, has a clutch, differential, brake, oil-filled shockes, and even posi-traction! You can see from the video, it sounds like a chain saw and it's top speed is way too fast for me to handle, let alone my nine year old son!

This incredible machine was given to my son in kit form this past 2010 Christmas. When I first spread out the parts, the job looked pretty daunting. There were several hundred extremely intricate parts. The manual was twice as thick as a typical Sports Illustrated magazine, had very few words and was packed with myriads of CAD diagrams that screamed "brain-breaking tough!"

My son and I took my time looking over the parts and familiarizing myself with the steps and procedures. About a month ago, the friend who gave us the car came over for dinner. He showed us his techniques for assembling the car, explained some of the processes and gave us hope that we could manage. The next day we began working on it.

All in all, it wasn't really that hard afterall--in fact, it was a lot of fun! There was definitly a learning curve--some steps even took hours to complete, but once we learned how everything assembled, similar/duplicate steps later on took only a short while. 

The assembly took all levels of skill--from very easy (our six year old was working on parts) to very complex (where even I was stumped). But at the end of the day, the parts came together and the car began to take shape. The whole project took just over a week to assemble--and that's with no marathon days. I called HPI once with a couple of questions, among which I asked about how much time it should take to assemble. They said 10-15 hours. While that's very funny, I'd say we were still just in the 25 hour range. And now that it's running, it's really awesome to see all that work blasting through an open field at 30 miles per hour. Plus, as we are getting it full of mud and needing to keep it up, my son knows how to take it apart and clean it up.
There is one problem point to mention that might be helpful to others. Once the car was all assembled, the brake wouldn't work. I could apply it, but it had no stopping power. Like a real car, not having a brake totally limited it's functionality and safety. Made for a pretty tame ride. So we worked on it for a while and I eventually called HPI. They didn't have a silver bullet solution but mentioned that everything should twist and turn freely--which mine didn't. I decided to tear apart the whole brake component to examine the build. It turns out that the key metal rod that twists via the servo and activates the brake assembly went into a copper bushing that had gotten slightly damaged during the installation phase. Seeing that it didn't twist freely, I bored it out with a file until the steel rod swiveled easily. Then, after I reassembled everything, I recalibrated the radio to the brake, so that more pressure was applied. In the end, the brake worked beautifully.  

So, if you crave a super fast, super noisy, super fun toy--take a look into the HPI Baja 5B. I've got to say, this thing is really cool--genuinely lots of exciting thrills. We are so grateful for this totally unexpected uber-blessing.

Enjoy the videos!

Here's one that shows the power and speed of the HPI Baja 5B, you can hear the crowd of kids who began to amass while we were taking the car through it's paces:

Here's another video that has a pretty fun crash. Unfortunately, soon after this another crash sent us home with a broken shock tower, keep in mind though, that crash was about 20 times worse than this one in the video. We were able to repair the car with $25 in new parts (the $25 was for two sets) and about an hour of father/son work.

Last modified on Saturday, 09 April 2011 19:28
Russ Brewer

Russ Brewer

Rescued from the domain of darkness, transferred to the kingdom of the Son. Undershepherd of Grace. Husband of Corinne. Father of three. Chew-toy to Zeke...