As a new driver, there is nothing more frustrating than continually
having to flip your truck back over because it can’t corner without
turtling or having it spin out with every application of the throttle.
If I were looking to give an RC as a gift I would look for a vehicle
that is easy to drive, easy to work on and doesn’t break the bank. Enter
the Arrma Senton 4×4 MEGA.
When Arrma released the new MEGA 4×4’s it was easy to see which market they were going after. The brushed waterproof electronics promised to keep the price low while still providing enough oomph to get the truck moving. The chassis’ simple design is not only robust but also keeps the end user from need a mechanical engineering degree to work on it. If something breaks it is easy to access every part of the truck to make any repairs needed. The truck includes everything needed to run straight out of the box except for the AA cells for the transmitter. After charging the 7cell NiMH battery with the included wall charger the truck was up and running.
A list of the trucks features can be found in the new product release here: New Product Release: Arrma Senton 4×4 MEGA RTR
I started testing the truck where most of these will spend their lives: in the street in front of my house and through the side yard. On pavement, the truck handles well, it doesn’t traction roll and will drift on command. Transitioning from pavement to grass or dirt is exciting. Often times if the truck is sliding when it hits the grass it will immediately find traction. This can cause bicycling and a roll if I can’t catch it in time. The tires have more grip than any other RTR tire that I have every used. The large lugs on the shoulders create a lot of side bite and this contributes to the over-abundance of lateral grip. The trucks low center of gravity makes for a great driving experience; reducing roll-overs when traction is up. I say “reduces” and not “eliminates” as the tires play a huge role in causing the rollovers that I experienced but I feel that truck with a higher center of gravity would not have fared as well. As the lugs wear-in the “grabby-ness” should diminish and the truck should handle better in grass or areas with inconsistent traction. As for dirt, the truck handles like it is on rails. It has a slight push on power which can be dialed back with a slight jab of the brakes. The truck doesn’t really like to oversteer unless pushed well beyond its limits. You have to use a fair amount of brake to put weight on the front tires and then stab the throttle to break the rear loose.
The Senton 4×4 MEGA is surprisingly quick for a brushed 4×4, even when running on NiMH power, but once running on 2s LiPO it really wakes up. The truck is geared well and temps stay well within a safe range on nickel power but the motor heats up after a long pack of lithium go-go juice. Keep an eye on the temps and let the motor cool between packs, your electronics will thank you. I handed the transmitter over to a few kids in my neighborhood that took interest in what I was doing and they all took to the controls fairly quickly. No one complained about having trouble controlling the truck or having to flip it back over and there were zero complaints about it being slow. The truck held up to their ham-fisted, grin-inducing, point-and-shoot driving style without a single hicup and came back for more time and time again.
When the terrain gets rougher and the surface is less predictable the Senton keeps its composure and doesn’t deviate from its line at random moments. The shocks soak up big hits as well as small bumps alike. The only thing that the truck doesn’t like is large square edge objects. My driveway has a two inch tall section that transitions from the street to the parking area and this caused the truck to pop up in the air with a loud “thud” when I hit it straight on. This is caused by a combination of the trucks low ride height and lack of caster in the front end and really isn’t a problem but more of an observation. Hitting objects like this at an angle is key and seeing the truck catch air one tire at a time is an interesting sight.
The truck likes to jump and is very calm in the air. The nose drops slightly after take-off but keeping on the throttle a little solves that. The truck is very responsive to throttle and brake inputs in the air. Off of a large kicker at the skate park I was able to do a front flip with a healthy dose of brake and land it fairly consistently. Speaking of that skate park session, the truck survived with only a few scratches to show for its efforts. My favorite spot at the skate park is a large in ground bowl that is roughly 20 feet across and about six feet deep. I start on the far side (away from the park) and drive down into the bowl to pick up speed and then launch out into the park. I can usually get enough air to jump over my head with plenty of room to spare and the truck will land around 15 feet from the bowl. I spent an entire LiPO pack just beating on the truck like this over and over and the truck handled it like a champ. The landings were smooth and the chassis didn’t slap as badly as I expected.
ON TRACK HANDLING:
On track the Senton 4×4 could benefit from a less aggressive tire so that one can drive it harder without it trying to roll. I was able to lay down consistent laps without much effort and the neutral handling made track
driving a joy. The truck corners flat and doesn’t tend to do anything goofy when you throw it into the twisties. My test track has a section that has a tabletop that immediately goes into a 270 degree left. As soon as the truck lands on the downslope you need to be on the brakes to set up for the hard left. Lap after lap I was able to hit my marks with no issue. The front end would bite into the corner and in an instant the rear was lined up with the exit. I was able to apply the throttle a few feet shorter than the other trucks that I have driven on this same layout. The rear end doesn’t want to swap ends abruptly and you can really start feeding the power in early without worrying about oversteer. I know that most Senton 4×4 MEGA’s will never see a track but the truck does hold its own.
I found the large chassis guards keep most debris out of the chassis tub and this made after run clean-up a breeze. I did have an issue with the steering servo but one call to Hobbico’s customer service line and the problem was identified and solved. The servo had stopped responding to inputs from the transmitter and decided that it only wanted to steer around 10 degrees from full left and that was it. After swapping servos I haven’t had any further issues. I chalk this up to a fluke as I have ran more than 30 packs through the truck since the servo change and have had zero problems. The selectable options on the ESC are a handy feature as they allowed me to switch back and forth between NiMH and LiPO modes without having to use a programmer or any separate equipment. This proved useful when swapping packs for the kids to run. After strapping the pack in it is a simple matter of moving the jumper one set of pins to the left or right and you’re set. Battery box fits batteries with center battery terminals better than ones with side terminals. I used a pack that has the main terminals on one side and the balance plug on the other and it doesn’t sit flat in the chassis without a little persuasion.I really appreciate the extra steps that Arrma took to protect the body on the inside. There is extra decal material anywhere that the tires or chassis could touch the body and cause damage. This will help keep the screen printing intact and help the body look nicer longer. It’s small details like this that separate the Senton from its competition. The body clip holders are a huge help as well. I could probably build an entire SUV with the metal from the body clips that I have lost over the last 25 years. Those days are behind us now; no more worrying about losing a body clip and finding it with the tire of your 1:1 or you bare foot.
The Arrma Senton 4×4 MEGA is a really good truck. It does nearly every thing well. It has the best stock tires that I have ever used. It isn’t perfect, obviously, but its flaws are easily solved. The truck makes a great first truck for kids and adults alike and it can keep experienced hobbysts entertained as well. I have more plans for this truck in the future but for now I am going to continue to enjoy it in stock form.
-Simple to work on
-Handles well on a multitude of surfaces
-Easy to drive
-6mm. axles and 14mm. hexes for added strength and durability
-Great price point
-Fast enough to keep experienced drivers entertained without overwhelming those who are still honing their skills
-Shocks are smooth and set up well
-Transmitter has good range and feels comfortable in the hand
-Body clip holders are a great touch
-Body protection has proven useful in protecting the finish from the inside
-Neutral point on throttle channel can wander, causing reverse to not work intermittently
-6mm. axles and 14mm hexes make wheel selection slim
-Tool that is used for the wheel nuts can slip before wheels are completely tight, would like to see this tool made from steel instead of plastic
-Manual is great for getting started but I wish it came with assembly instructions or exploded views of the chassis
Here’s a shot of the unique two piece driveshaft:
Here’s a shot of the battery box with the LiPO that I used for testing
The body protection decals: