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Old 2017.06.20, 06:30 PM   #1
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Several questions to get me started

Hello! My cousin and I raced Xmods when we were young around 11 years ago. We thought they were the coolest thing. I unboxed my Xmods a few days ago and re-ignited my passion for how cool 1/27 RC cars are. After some research, and the fact that Xmods have fallen into the past, I've decided I really want to get into Mini-Zs.

I have so many questions about Mini-Zs, and most of the questions are because there are so many different relevant chassis. I didn't really want to come bug you guys with endless questions, but it has been hard to find a good repository of knowledge for all the different things with these Mini-Zs.

So first question: Which chassis do I buy? I'm interested in more "current" generations. The MR-03s, right? So I have to pick between MR-03, MR-03VE, MR-03 Sports, MR-03 Sports 2. But that's not all because of question 2.
2.) With Xmods you could buy an AWD kit which you would install into the car to make it AWD. Is this not the case with Mini-Z? Can you switch your Mini-Z between rear wheel and all wheel?
3.) If AWD is only a pre-purchase choice, then I'll also have to add the AWD models to my decision. I see 4 AWD models, MA-101, MA-015, MA-020, MA-020 Sports. Which one is current, or the best choice?
4.) Do I want AWD or RWD? I understand that racing these cars is all in the cornering, not the speed. Therefore, wouldn't AWD be best? However, I'd also really like to be able to upgrade my car to go extremely fast, like around 50km/h. If I wanted AWD, are there good options for upgrading an AWD for great speeds?
5.) I understand the term "brushless" to be associated with high speeds. But what is it, exactly?
6.) Wikipedia claims these cars can get up to 61mph. Is this true? And how is that possible?
7.) Here is a few acronyms I've come across while reading info on Mini-Zs which I don't know what they stand for: DWS, ICS, ESC, also "fet" what is or are "fets"?

Thanks for taking the time to read my post. I appreciate the effort anyone who replies puts forth to better my knowledge. I'll take answers for any question, your post obviously doesn't have to answer everything.
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Old 2017.06.20, 06:58 PM   #2
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Where are you located, geographically? I ask because it may be possible to steer you in the direction of an existing group that can take you in hand and guide your progress.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 2017.06.20, 08:07 PM   #3
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1) If you're new to Mini-Z, definitely get an MR-03. The sports chassis are okay but the electronics are not great. The sport 2 might be better.
2) You cannot convert from 2WD to AWD. You could convert AWD into either FWD or RWD, but why bother?
3) Get an MA-020 if you must have AWD. The 010 and 015 are good too, but the 020 is much more competitive on the track
4) You want 2WD to start because they are easier to set up. AWD cars are awesome but you will want some general Mini-Z experience before you take one on. They are trickier to get handling properly. Not hard, just tricky. They tend to be very binary - either they handle awesome or they suck. If you're green to the hobby you will probably just find it frustrating.
5) Brushless motors are, in a nutshell, more powerful and more efficient. In Mini-Zs however, the power delivery is not as linear as the brushed cars so I personally find them slightly less pleasant to drive, but the competitive advantage is obvious on the track. They run faster for longer.
6) Maybe? You will spend some serious $$$$ trying to make a million-mile-an-hour Mini-Z so just ask yourself what your end goal is before you start spending crazy money. Forget about doing speed runs on the road. You will need either a massive carpet or RCP track to get up to those speeds, and the car will most likely be almost impossible to drive.

I don't mean to be a buzz-kill, but save your money or build a 10th scale speed demon. It will be much cheaper, much more practical, and much easier to drive.

7) DWS = Dual Wishbone suspension - upgrade rear end for any of the AWD Mini-Zs. Only the sport chassis don't come with it. All other iterations of the AWD currently on the market come with it by default.
ICS = Programmer dongle for Mini-Zs
ESC = Electronic Speed Control
FET = Field Effect Transistor. On the old brushed cars, they would frequently blow up when using fast motors. This is because the "FETs" that you hear Mini-Z people refer to are the electronic valve between the motor and the batteries that give you throttle control, and they can only pass so much current before they melt. Newer Mini-Zs (Pretty much any with 2.4GHz control) seem to not need this mod as much as the stock FETs can handle almost any motor. The exception is the AWD chassis because it has many more rotating parts. AWD Brushed chassis benefit from a FET upgrade with hotter motors.

Edit: and indeed, welcome!!

Last edited by TeeSquared; 2017.06.20 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 2017.06.20, 08:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mleemor60 View Post
Where are you located, geographically?
Ohio, United States. The northeast section of the state, particularly the Cleveland area. It would be amazing to find a group of racers nearby. I've actually been doing a lot of Google maps searching for the closest hobby shops and rc tracks. I havnt had much luck. The closest thing I've found is called "Austintown Hobby and Raceway", however they seem mostly focused on 1/10 racing. Another nearby one is called The Gate (located in Brunswick) but again seem focused on 1/10.
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Old 2017.06.21, 12:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TeeSquared View Post
I don't mean to be a buzz-kill, but save your money or build a 10th scale speed demon. It will be much cheaper, much more practical, and much easier to drive.
Your overall reply was the most helpful thing I've ever read. Thanks for proving so much information. Actually, I've come to realize that my post made it seem like I was more interested in the speed of my Mini-Z rather than its quality and maneuverability. Truthfully, my interest is more in actually have a car that is fun to drive, and even more fun to tune and "hop-up" to make it drive/race even better. Not just about speed.

Anyways, I'm now much closer to buying my car. I'm leaning towards the MR-03VE Pro. Is it a good choice? Did Kyosho put new things on the VE Pro that I couldn't otherwise just buy and install onto a basic MR-03 or MR-03VE? And same question for the 03 to the 03VE. Also, I'm curious if there's anything I need to watch out for when buying a car. For example, making sure it has the most recent radio version? Cuz I notice some MR-03s have AFS, HFS, and MHS. And lastly, any recommendations on where to buy from?

Last edited by Inferius77; 2017.06.21 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 2017.06.21, 04:52 PM   #6
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As someone suggested already, you should first locate a club near you.
If you do become part of a club, then it makes a lot of sense to get into mini-z racing and people in the club will tell you what is the fastest chassis that rules allow on their track, likely to be the mr03 set at 98mm, VE or not, many people are faster with a brushed motor which is easier to drive.
Some clubs (in asia mostly from what I can see online) drive Atomic BZ cars, which are 4wd running lipo batteries.
If you are not going to drive on RCP or carpet track then a mini-z, in my opinion, will quickly become an expensive little toy and you'll get bored of it.
No point to drive in the house. For some fun at home on your own carpet or hard floor, a 4WD is your best choice, so you can at least drift, but again that has a very limited scope. The MA010 or 020 are good for some fun at home if that's your thing.
From your mail sounds like you have a lot of passion and interest, so I would go back to my 1st point and recommend you focus on finding a club to join, then what car to buy will not be the issue. I started with a MA020, joined a club and quickly moved to MR030 VE. Good luck!
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Old 2017.06.22, 06:14 AM   #7
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As you will find, it will be difficult to buy a brushed ASF MR-03 leaving the VE or VE Pro as options. I would avoid the Sports series unless your looking to get in at cheapest possible cost but it comes with some stumbling blocks like FHS radio and board which would only add to the eventual upgrade cost to ASF/MHS. The transmitter section of the forum contains most of the radio's in use with description on which works with what (Sports = FHS, normal = ASF, Pro = MHS and to make it really tricky, Pro cars work with ASF radio's in ASF mode).

the VE and VE Pro are good choices however if your really into 4wd (xmods were all 4wd), look for the MA-020 VE. your not going to find brushed cars for the most part outside the Sports series anymore so best to move forward with brushless.

If building and tinkering is your thing, you can also look into scratch building either from a kit (lots to choose from these days) or buy the board, radio and few key parts and PN2.5 chassis as the 2wd platform to build on. Depending on what you buy and for how much, it could be cheaper in the long run. just depends on how you want to get started, open a box and go or spread it out and build it up. scratch kit builds have their own mountain of choices to make in doing so can can be overwhelming for those new to the hobby.

domestically, you have the shop here naturally. there aren't that many domestic retailers online such as the shop here and PN (RCKenon). places like Maj you have to contact via email or social media i believe.

Last edited by arch2b; 2017.06.22 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 2017.06.22, 05:03 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies. Everyone was very helpful. My only confusion left is about buying a mini-z. I'm going to create a new thread for this specific question, so there is a more defined thread purpose. It helps future people when they are googling stuff.
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Old 2017.06.23, 09:50 AM   #9
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Lots of good points being laid out.

Basically it all depends on what you want.

If it's just bashing around, cheapest buy in would be the mr03 sport or mr03 sport2.

If there's a track around and you intend to race a bit, mr03 would be a good option. However, and as mentioned, the mr03 is getting harder to find as I believe kyosho is pushing the mr03 sport and sport 2 versions as entry point cars. I was in Japan a couple of weeks back and was fortunate enough to drop by a hobby shop. I didn't seem to notice them selling a mr03. They did have the sport 2 and ve versions though. Just been to one shop, so can't really say for certain.

The mr03 ve and mr03 ve pro versions feature a brushless motor that is basically faster. Also costs more than the mr03 sport, sport 2 and regular mr03.

So going back, it all depends on what you want. If you can, I would suggest to try each one out and see which one you like.

Hope this helps.
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Old 2017.06.23, 11:03 AM   #10
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Very helpful, thank you. I've finally made a purchase. a VE pro, a KT-18, and a LaFerrari bodykit
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