RADIO ACTIVE - THE ACTIVE A210SS MINI
Orange alloy and carbon-fibre, what's NOT to like?
Well not a lot we have to say and this offering from Active certainly looks the goods. At rc-mini we're sorta 50/50 about 4WD Minis. To us, a TRUE Mini is FWD only, simple as that. But these 4WD cars certainly have a following in Asia, and with Mini 50 coming up it was a fine excuse to buy another one. Sure, I already have a dozen various ones, but we always need one more, right?
One thing I can say with some certainty is that this is one kit that will never be damaged in transit. It's a box within a sleeve within a box, etc etc.. But it does look cool as, and you end up with a good carry box out of it as well. Open it up and the awesome Lotus Exige shell (in my case) greets you, as well as a heap of nicely packaged bags of parts. They're all well-labelled so finding your bits shouldn't be an issue.
The instructions are taken directly from the CAD design software and are clear and precise. They're not Tamiya quality (whose are?) but they're well thought out and easy to follow. I settled in for a leisurely build in front of the TV and 3 hours later I had the rolling chassis. OK, I didn't sand the chassis edges (that's a job for later) but everything else was ready to go.
It does help that several of the major components come pre-assembled. Diffs, shock and unis are ready to go so there's a HUGE time saver there. And the diffs are as smooth as anything, I doubt I could have done them as well.
Tony P also has one of these, and he had a couple of dodgy parts. To Actives credit, one email had new parts Air Mailed straight over. Now THAT is service. My car had no issues at all and the fit & finish of all the parts was excellent.
The A210 is no ground-breaking design. Basically it's the same as 90% of Touring Cars currently going around. But then again, why re-invent the wheel? So you cant blame them for making use of existing well-proven designs.
One little feature I really did love though, was the body mounts. Yep, they look weird, but they have multiple mounting positions. One of which matches EXACTLY the standard M03 ones. So, all your M03 drilled shells will go straight on. Now why hasn't anyone else done that?
For the track test I took the car to our home track at Keilor, Melb. The included wheels are black multi-spoke with some unknown tyres with no ID on them. So I opted for a known commodity of Spice rims and Ride tyres. Power was from our fave Hobbywing 3000kv geared as close as I could get to the M03.
A quick squirt to check trim and this thing was 'alive' Hmm, this suddenly was starting to look a lot more interesting! Mashing it down the front straight and it was flying, WAY quicker than any of my M03's, and also a lot quieter... Turning in where I normally would resulted in an apex a good foot too soon for the corner. My god, is this thing responsive! A few laps in and I was having to re-assess all my Mini markers as this car really was in another league. The turn-in and responsiveness of the steering was the main feature. I felt like I could literally put the thing anywhere and it would do it. Super-sharp and accurate all the way.
OK, you'd expect a 4WD Mini to be better, but this is another step-up again as far as I'm concerned. Yes, it's pricey, but you get a fair bit for your money, and a lot of alloy and carbon straight off too. I'm sold on it...