The WL Toys 124019 is a 1/12 scale Ready To Run (RTR) radio controlled 4wd off road buggy which I will be reviewing in-depth for this article. It is an evolution of the hugely popular WL Toys 144001 1/14 scale which it shares over 95% of it's part with. It's also the same under the hood as the 124018 sand buggy. I have a lot of experience with these series of cars having written over a dozen guides which can be seen here so apologies in advance if I get a little technical (skip to the conclusions if needed!).
WL Toys scored massive success with the 1/14th scale 144001 which based heavily on the LC racing EMB-1 and released in early 2019 - it was well made with good components as well as being fast and durable. Perhaps more importantly it hit a great price point of $80-100 USD. With popularity came a large amount of upgrade parts and people like me have taken this further to adapt brushless systems to suit this car for off-road fun and even for speed run build capable of 80-100mph. The 124019 is the subject of this review though and in essence this is just the same as the 144001 except for a wheelbase that has been stretched by 45mm. This is at least how it looks on the surface but there are a number of key improvements that many have missed and these have addressed: motor overheating, differential durability, chassis stiffness and wheel security. I'll cover these all in detail here plus feedback on the cars performance, handling and durability as per a typical review.
Right folks, I've gotten back into RC cars in a big way this year (over 20 articles on RC cars!) and after all I've reviewed and modified I thought I'd list my favourite value for money RC cars for 2020. As a scientist in real life I can say this list is thoroughly unscientific and if you got me on a different day the order may be different but I'll at least share with you why I just what I did and in which order so you can see what things are important to your decision. Roughly speaking I'll cover off the key areas that make budget RC cars so much fun - speed, battery life, handling, durability and ability to customise/mod.
The XLF F16 is a Ready To Run (RTR) 1:14 scale 4WD off road Radio-controlled racing buggy. It notably includes a very large 550 sized brushless motor and a number of 'upgrade' metal components including suspension arms and knuckles. The brushed version as reviewed here retails for around $100 and has options with one or 2 batteries.
The F16 is the second RC car platform that XLF have released in recent times with the first being the 1/10 scale X03, X04, X05 which share the same underpinnings. The F16 as reviewed here is my first XLF product and I must admit it has more than a passing resemblance to the WL Toys 144001 both in scale, function and design.
In this article I'll look at the XLF F16 as a standalone review and then the inevitable comparison to the WL Toys 144001.
I love the WL Toys 144001 1/14 scale RC Buggy and have written a lot of articles on tuning and upgrading it here. It is inexpensive and runs well stock or is easily upgraded to brushless power which offers better speed and acceleration as well as battery life. But how does it compare against the car on which is was based, the LC racing EMB series on which the 144001 was (let's face it) copied from?
So surely you know by now that the 144001 is a budget copy of the LC racing EMB-1 but with a bigger brushless 550 motor and integrated ESC/receiver and no slipper clutch. This means that WL Toys have been able to grab a big slice of the popular RC car market at a price point of $70-80 for the 144001 vs $200ish for the LC racing equivalent. But this is clearly not a fair comparison so what if you take the brushless upgraded 144001 with a raft of replacement parts, tally up the cost and then compare? Would you still buy the 144001 to upgrade or would you just got straight for the LC racing? I'll break this down by price and performance in order to give you the clearest information to make this decision for yourself and my opinion I what I would (and did) do.
Please note this article is a preview with my thoughts on the newly announced WL Toys 124019 and WLTOYS 124018. I do not yet have one in my hands (one is ordered for delivery November 2020) so my thoughts are based on the specs and images online plus my in-depth knowledge of the WLTOYS 144001.
Update! Link to my full in depth review with some unexpected improvements to the 144001 is now live: WL TOYS 124019 REVIEW - ALL OF 144001 IMPROVEMENTS THAT NO ONE HAS MENTIONED
The 1/14 scale 144001 has been a hugely successful model for WL Toys and has taken very strong "inspiration" from the excellent LC Racing EMB-1. Off the back of this success WL Toys have announced the release of the 124019 and 124018 which is an extended wheelbase version of the 144001 and claiming it as a 1/12 scale. Again strong "inspiration" from LC racing who released the LC12B1 which is an extended wheelbase version of the 1/14 scale EMB-1. In this article I will cover off the obvious differences, the less obvious differences and the benefits and disadvantages over the 144001. I'll then finish off by talking about suitability for upgrades and a little more specifically about the 124019 desert buggy
The WL Toys 144001 is a small 1/14 scale 4wd buggy with a massively oversized brushed motor that can reach well over 30mph. When this massive brushed motor is replaced with a massive brushless motor the top speed can become over triple that with the right setup. The below guide goes into detail the build components I used for such a build, the build process and setup to optimise handling.
By now you've probably seen some wild speed run builds based on the WL toys 144001 of up to and over 100mph. At the top end of the scale these are highly customised with expensive race-oriented gear and outboard twin-battery power supply. The objective of my build was stealth: to retain the stock look, making everything fit (somewhat tightly) under the stock bodyshell and be bolt-on without the need for machining or fabrication i.e. as simple to replicate as possible. For this reason I have specifically chosen to run my car with stock gearing on 2-3s only. To that end here are the parts I chose and why,
Parts used for build:
I've separated this into power system for the key components...
For those that upgrade to a much larger ESC in the WL Toys 144001 these is often an issue where the fan and or heatsink of a larger ESC fouls against the shell in the stock position. If you don't want to change the shell and don't want to jack it up I have a solution for you.
Although I recommend the 2838 brushless motor/30a ESC upgrade in this article for the 144001 for general bashing, speed runs require much larger ESC that typically have fans installed. In this particular build I used an 80A Flycolour lightning ESC that, although compact, fouls against the ceiling of the 144001 shell. Because this build is for road only I didn't mind a cutout in the shell but wanted it to be tidy and discreet. The easiest way I found to do this is as follows. Remember, click on an image below to embiggen and see all of the pixels
The Flysky FS-GT5 is a surface transmitter (and receiver) from Flysky suited for use in RC car and boats. It uses 2.4gHz digital transmission on the very reliable AFDHS2a protocol. What sets this aparts is the premium features for the price - 20 model memory, full gyro control via remote and a very easy to navigate GUI.
The development of digital signal over 2.4gHz has been a massive improvement for RC cars, especially for those of us old enough to remember that bad old days of frequency crystals and constant glitches. Unfortunately going to digital has mean the proliferation of protocols meaning that certain receivers only work with certain transmitters meaning you can often end up with a transmitter for each different car. One way around this is to buy on GOOD transmitter and a number of compatible receivers whether you are bashing around or racing. Obviously racers will be able to justify the more expensive equipment like that made by Futaba and Sanwa but it is hard to justify when you are a basher. Luckily the FS-GT5 offers us the key features from the more expensive radios at a better price point and receivers that are as little as $5 each to kit out your fleet.
I've now built up quite a library of articles for the WL Toys 144001 (and 124019 / 124018) and thought I would use this page to share them. As of 25 May 2021 I've finally done a bit of an overhaul to make sure all articles are included and have added some new categories plus reviews. Enjoy!
Extending the wheelbase on RC cars is nothing new but I've yet to see anyone document this for the WL Toys 144001 Thus, I've written this article to show you how to do it step by step. There are a number of benefits, not least of which is straight line stability. The good news is that this requires no extra parts and it only takes about 10 minutes
Basic theory for extending wheelbase
Changing wheelbases has long been something you could do with race-spec RC cars in order to adjust for track conditions. Generally speaking short wheelbases allow for faster turning (sharp corners in particular) and longer wheel bases allow for better straight line stability. The 144001 is overpowered for such a small car (especially if you upgrade to brushless) that any increase in wheelbase is welcomed ESPECIALLY if you are looking at speed runs where straight line stability is crucial.
Extending the wheelbase on a WL Toys 144001
The good news is this is very simple on the 144001 and it's free - no new parts are needed and so far as I can tell there are no compromises to the car. In fact there are slightly more benefits than I first thought: