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AquaCraft Motley Crew Brushless Catamaran 2.4GHz RTR

What do you get when you cross a 1980's big hair rock band with an offshore racing boat? An exciting, brightly colored, electric composite construction catamaran model called the Aquacraft Motley Crew!

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Hull Length: 29.75 in
Beam: 10.5 in
Radio: Tactic™ TTX240 2.4GHz
Batteries: 7.4v 5000mAh (2)
Motor: 6-pole 1800kV
ESC: 60A
Distributed by: Tower Hobbies
MSRP: $349.98

I am not a "boat guy". There ... I just had to get that off my chest and out in the open right at the very first in this review. Radio controlled cars ... CHECK! Radio controlled airplanes and gliders ... CHECK! Radio controlled helicopters ... check (lower case because I have only dabbled a bit)! Radio controlled boats?! Negative. Nada, I got nothing! I think in AquaCraft marketing parlance, I am thus defined as a "sport modeler". I have oft snuck a sideways glance at the boating section when in my local hobby shops but I have never really found myself that interested in pursuing that segment of the radio control juggernaut. Since my perception over the years was that the most exciting radio controlled boats were nitro powered and my interests were mainly confined to electric powered RC vehicles, I did not think it worth venturing into the world of boats. With the extensive developments in brushless motor and lipoly battery technology over the last few years however, the performance of electric boats has improved in leaps and bounds. The AquaCraft Motley Crew Catamaran is a good example of what is currently on the market and takes advantage of some of the latest in water cooled brushless motor and speed controller technology. It even includes a Tactic 2.4GHz spread spectrum radio system to help insure interruption free radio communications. AquaCraft says that this Motley Crew boat is for folks like me AND for those who like to compete with their boats. Before we hoist the lid off of the brightly colored AquaCraft Motley Crew box, lets set the stage for the review by taking a brief look at the REAL boat that the model is based on.

The REAL Motley Crew Offshore Racing Boat!

Brothers Ron and Scott Roman burst onto the power boat racing scene in 2005 in a very large way, pushing their 36 foot catamaran hard and catching the competition completely off guard! Powered by twin in-board 560 HP Mercury engines, their Skater 368 catamaran is capable of speeds in excess of 140 MPH on the open ocean. The name Motley Crew came about when the brothers went to pick up the boat and heard the band Motley Crue (note different spelling) playing on the boat yard's stereo. These New Jersey boys have a real appetite for winning and win they have, claiming both the national and world championships in the 2005 Offshore Super Series Powerboat Racing Association (OSS) season. The excitement and attitude that this racing team brings every time they show up to race is now available in a much smaller package, thanks to AquaCraft The model of the real boat is authentic, right down to the snappy, licensed color scheme.

In the Box




Full Specifications:

Hull Length: 29.75 in (756 mm) Overall Length: 33 in (813 mm) Beam: 10.5 in (242 mm) Height: 6 in (153 mm) Empty Weight: 4.18 lb (1.89 kg) RTR Weight : 5.53 lb (2.5 kg)

When one lifts the lid on the AquaCraft Motley Crew catamaran box, what one will find inside is a fully assembled, ready-to-run electric race boat. The brushless power system and radio system, including rudder servo, are pre-installed at the factory. The hull and hatch are of fiberglass construction, with a striking Motley Crew decal set already applied. The colors really pop! As I handled the boat and examined it from all angles, I did notice several very minor blemishes in the fiberglass layup. I would describe the blemishes as small "waves" of a sort. From a distance of 6 feet or greater, they are indiscernible however. The running hardware that exists at the stern of the Crew is already assembled and attached. It is beefy and composed of black anodized aluminum. Stashed in a separate white box in the corner of the main box is the Tactic TTX240 2.4GHz pistol grip radio transmitter. The mating Tactic TR324 three channel receiver is already installed in the hull, with the Tactic rudder servo and 60 amp ESC already plugged into their respective channels. AquaCraft also includes a fully assembled light ply display stand that is sure to do double duty as a field support cradle. The entire brushless power system is already installed and ready to run.

In The Box:

  • Motley Crew Catamaran, featuring fiberglass hull and canopy
  • Tactic™ 2.4GHz radio system, featuring Secure Link Technology™
  • Water-cooled 6-pole 1800kV brushless motor
  • 60A ESC w/4 mm bullet connectors and Deans® Ultra Plugs®
  • 42mm fiber reinforced plastic propeller
  • Unfinished, pre-assembled plywood stand
  • 8 page black and white, photo-illustrated assembly manual






Required for Completion:

  • (4) "AA" batteries
  • (2) 7.4V LiPo batteries of 4200mAh/20C or higher
  • Lipoly battery charger
  • Hatch sealing tape

Included for Review:

  • AquaCraft GrimRacer 2S 7.4V 4200mAh 30C LiPo Battery (2)
  • ElectriFly AC/DC TritonEQ Charger, Discharger and Cycler with Built-In Equalizer



A Closer Look at the Power System

The centerpiece of the Motley Crew's power system is the gold colored, AquaCraft 1800Kv 6 pole brushless motor. It has quite an impressive heft to it when held in one's hand. It is water cooled, with the inlet and outlet water connections being in series with the water cooling jacket on the AquaCraft 60 amp electronic speed controller. The motor has a maximum power rating of 925 watts. It can handle continuous current of 50 amps and a surge current of 80 amps for five seconds. The motor is mounted to a metal hull cross brace by means of a pair of metric 2.5mm hex head cap screws.

Motor Specifications:

Diameter: 36mm Length: 56mm Shaft Length: 15mm Overall Length: 71mm Shaft Size: 5mm Connectors: 4mm bullet Weight: 212g Input Voltage: 7-18.5V Max. Constant Current: 50 amps Max. Surge Current: 80 amps/5 seconds No Load Current: 5.0 amps kV Rating: 1800 rpm/V Watts 925 watts max



Speed Controller Specifications:

Width: 38mm Length: 100mm Height: 17mm Wire Gauge: 14ga Battery Connectors: Deans Ultra (2) Motor Connectors: 4mm bullet Weight: 109g Input Voltage: 12-14 NiMH, 4S lipo, 8-20V input without BEC Continuous Current: 60 amps Maximum Surge Current: 72 amps On-Resistance: 0.003 ohms Maximum Output Power 720 watts Operating Frequency: 8kHz BEC: 5.2V/2.0A Stutter Bump Voltage: 12V Low Voltage Cutoff: 11.6V Thermal Cutoff: 110C Timing Angle: 10 degrees

The AquaCraft speed controller is rated at a maximum continuous current of 60 amps and can handle a maximum surge of 72 amps. It comes pre-configured with a pair of Deans Ultra connectors on the battery side and 4mm gold plated bullet connectors on the motor side. The wire used is 14 gauge stranded. The specified maximum power rating for this ESC is 720 watts. It is mounted on an elevated platform that is molded into the hull, located between the GrimRacer lipoly batteries and near the center of the boat.




The power from the big AquaCraft outrunner is transferred to the water by means of a flexible drive shaft. According to the assembly manual, this flexible drive shaft is a 0.150" flex drive cable, which mates up to an industry standard 3/16" (0.187") prop shaft. The cable is soldered to the prop shaft at the factory. The included prop is spec'd at 42mm and is made of FRP (fiber reinforced plastic). A listing of optional parts in the assembly manual shows another prop, metal in composition, as a recommended hop up part. It is a GrimRacer 42x55 prop, and it is marketed as being a good mix between acceleration and speed. One worthwhile caution that I gleaned from the assembly manual is in connection with the speed controller Running the Motley Crew throttle at less than full throttle for extended periods of time can actually overwork and overheat the ESC. The speed controller is most efficient when it is fully off (obviously) or when fully open, AKA at wide-open-throttle. I have found the same to be true when it comes the power systems in my electric aircraft.

When preparing to run the boat, it is best to first power up the transmitter. The twin GrimRacer batteries can next be installed and connected to the speed controller. It is important to keep ones hands and all parts of the body well clear of the prop when doing this. The power system does not arm as soon as the batteries are connected. Rather, in the interest of safety, the power system must be armed by following a specific sequence of throttle trigger movements. It is best to wait until after the Crew has been placed in the water before one arms the power system. This is another way to prevent injuries from a prop strike to the hands or other parts of the body. After each run, the motor components will be hot to the touch. Caution is again in order. And the instructions suggest allowing a little time for the power system components to cool in between runs.



Tactic™ 2.4GHz radio system, featuring Secure Link Technology™

The Tactic TTX240 is a two channel 2.4GHz surface radio system. It features Tactic's Secure Link Technology (SLT) and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technologies. I for one am glad to see 2.4GHz technology make it's way into the radio systems that come with RTR (ready-to-run) models. Though its controls and switches are on the basic side, it is a perfect and dependable entry level radio system that comes with reversing switches and trims for both channels (throttle and steering), a rotary dial for adjusting the steering rate, a folding 2.4GHZ stubby antenna, a power LED that flashes when the 4 AA batteries that power the TTX240 transmitter drop below a safe level and a built-in carrying handle. It broadcasts between 2.403GHz and 2.480GHz, with output power of around 100mw. The FHSS technology is advertised as being capable of changing the broadcast frequency hundreds of times each second, which minimizes if not eliminates any possibility of outside interference. The three channel TR324 receiver has a very compact footprint and weighs in at a scant quarter ounce (7g).

Online Tactic TTX240 2.4GHZ Radio System Manual [Click HERE]




There is conspicuously no external antenna on the receiver, with an internal antenna negating the need for any trailing external antenna wires. It accepts input power of between 5.0 and 6.0 volts DC, the Motley Crew speed controller providing the necessary voltage in this instance. The instruction manual advises that the folding antenna should always be locked into the full upright and vertical position when using the transmitter. Another suggestion offered up in the radio manual, one that is "highly recommended", is to put the receiver into a plastic protective bag or balloon when using it in a boating application. The receiver does not, however, come in any such protective overwrap as installed in the Motley Crew. There does not appear to be any mode that permits range checking at reduced power output, as is normally the case in more expensive radio sets. The range is specified in the manual as being "as far as you can clearly see the model". Should the model somehow travel beyond the range of the transmitter, a fail safe function will automatically center, or send to the neutral position, all servos. The Tactic radio system comes with a one year limited warranty.


Assembly

Assembly? That word is hardly applicable to this model. Though the manual is short and sweet at 8 pages, it is definitely worth a quick once over. It includes information on the AquaCraft warranty (90 days worth of coverage against any defects in materials or workmanship), notable safety precautions, suggested lipos based on whether dollars or performance are most important to you, start-up instructions, a troubleshooting guide, necessary and mandatory maintenance, tuning suggestions and lists of both replacement and optional parts. If you are relatively new to boats, the time spent reading the manual is well spent. It includes good reminders such as not running the boat in bodies of water with free flowing currents (any problems with the motor stalling could result in the boat being swept away) and the danger of running it when swimmers are present. As with RC airplanes, a pre-launch radio range check is always a great idea.

Online AquaCraft Motley Crew Assembly Manual [Click HERE]

There are but a few minor tasks to be completed before the Motley Crew is ready for launch. So easy is the assembly that the hardest task to be encountered involves getting the four AA dry cells properly inserted polarity-wise into the base of the Tactic pistol grip transmitter! The only real step involved in readying the boat for the maiden float is attaching the loop material to the pair of GrimRacer 7.4V 5000mAH lipos. It comes attached to the mating hook material, which is already positioned in the hull of the boat. Run the twin lipos across the Triton charger and it is time to head for the water!

But whoaaa, wait one second ... one imperative and important task that must be performed in order for the water cooling to function properly is to remove the small piece of blue silicone tubing from the metal water inlet tube. It is installed at the factory in order to protect the metal water inlet tubing.

On the Water!

I have watched my fair share of RC boat videos in the last few years and I had noticed that many of the higher performance boats were launched by tossing them onto the waters surface and punching the throttle just as it hits the water, as compared to just calmly setting them in the water and then goosing the gas. As a boat newbie, I was not really sure of the "why" behind that launch method but figured that it must be the preferred way to start out a boating session. So, with the twin GrimRacer lipo packs freshly charged and installed, I headed out to the ponds, precariously positioned myself on the very edge of the rip rap shore and gave the Motley Crew my best toss onto the waters surface, boosting the throttle as it left my hand. I am embarrassed to report that thanks to a rather stiff wind (and no doubt a throw that was way south of even mediocre), the Motley Crew landed in the water upside down. Nice job Bajora! I was grateful to see that the boat was perfectly happy in this position, although the prop was rendered absolutely useless due to it's orientation high and dry above the water. The prevailing wind pushed the upset boat back to shore in mere seconds and I retrieved it and regrouped. My next launch involved setting the boat carefully into the water and then modulating the throttle a little until the composite construction catamaran was on step and accelerating. Subsequent launches were of the latter style and I was surprised to find that the Motley Crew will get on step just fine, with no real need to be frisbeed out onto the water. I theorize that the former style of launch is used in competition, when a split second faster transition into the boat running on step can make a huge difference in a race.



My first couple of runs were in light chop, with a wind in the range 10-15 MPH agitating the aqua into a series of small waves and occasional white caps. I had envisioned the smartly colored Crew running across the surface of a mirror smooth body of water but my excitement to get the Motley Crew wet convinced me that it would probably be OK, even though my heart warned me otherwise. I set my countdown timer at what I though to be a conservative 5 minutes. The chop encouraged me to keep my throttle and rudder inputs to a minimum and I tentatively cruised the catamaran around the pond, acclimating to it's handling. In just a few minutes, I was increasingly comfortable pushing it harder and faster into the corners. The Motley Crew was getting some significant air as it pushed through the waves and just about the time I was starting to think I should head for the dock, the throttle suddenly stopped responding to my inputs. I remembered reading in the assembly and instruction guide that the ESC would modulate, or pulse, as a warning signal that the lipo voltages were sagging (12.0 volts). This feature is programmed into the speed controller as an early warning of sorts. It is followed by another feature programmed into the speed controller, a shut down that occurs at 10.8 volts. The purpose of this hard-coded shut down is to protect the lipoly batteries from being excessively discharged, which can ultimately shorten their life span. I am accustomed to my aircraft ESC's doing the same soft low voltage cutoff and I expected that I would easily detect this pulsation. But I had apparently missed it. Fortunately, I had brought my own version of a boat retrieval mechanism ... a high wing RC float plane!

Subsequent runs were made at various times of the day, in water ranging from a early morning glassy calm to later day water with wind induced baby whitecaps. And I am amazed at how stable the AquaCraft Motley Crew boat is! As my confidence and experience grew a little with each run and outing, I became more adept at staying on the throttle in the turns. It is downright incredible how well this boat "sticks" to the water. The acceleration from a dead standstill is surprisingly quick, the top speed satisfyingly exhilarating. I recall that many years ago, when me and my buddies were into electric RC cars, we would indulge in sessions filled with nothing more than good old fashioned, All- American burnouts from a standstill and rubber laying, tight circled donuts. I find myself enjoying doing something very similar with the Motley Crew, cranking the rudder hard and stomping the gas while the boat pivots about its center axis in tight circles. Another enjoyable indulgence for me is to work the Crew in repetitive figure eights. After several circuits in the same general path, the water is churned up enough that you now have wakes over which the boat can get some air! All things considered though, I think my favorite way to run my Crew is to push the throttle to the stop and try to hold it there as I cut a large rectangular circuit around the pond. It is not difficult at all for me to imagine how fun and challenging it would be to have bona fide races between similarly sized and equipped boats like this.

Eagle Tree eLogger Data

I normally like to include in-flight data on any product review that utilizes an electric power system. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to quantify the performance of the components. Gathering data while running the system on the bench does not take all of the necessary factors into consideration. I am not quite sure what to call the data that is collected while a radio control boat is out running on the water ... in-float data perhaps?! In any event, I did insert my Eagle Tree eLogger in-line between the GrimRacer lipos and AquaCraft ESC and sent the Motley Crew out for the purpose of gaging the performance of the power system components. The attached Eagle Tree graph shows the power system making 550-600 watts. The data also shows how many mAh of energy are removed from the batteries during this run. This data serves as a very good baseline performance-wise, since my Crew is currently set up using all of the stock components. I intend to upgrade soon and get the higher performance GrimRacer 42x55 metal prop. The eLogger should be a good tool to help ascertain what any actual increases in performance are. Another tool that I had hoped to use is a Bushnell Radar Gun. It is a "consumer grade" unit, available for a very modest price. We did try to use it to get some speed readings of the Motley Crew but were unable to get believable and consistent readings. I have used this unit in the past to collect speed readings of some of my RC aircraft but it apparently does not do very well at reading the speed of water based vehicles.

Refueling the Crew

Online ElectriFly AC/DC TritonEQ Charger Manual [Click HERE]

One absolutely essential item that is not included in the Motley Crew box and that must be purchased is a LiPO compatible charger. AquaCraft included an ElectriFly AC/DC TritonEQ Charger, Discharger and Cycler for me to use as I reviewed this product. I was quite interested in getting a closer look at this battery charger, as one of the very first chargers that I had purchased for my electric vehicle battery recharging needs was the original ElectriFly Triton charger. The battery configuration of the Motley Crew is a pair of 2S 5000mAh GrimRacer packs in series. Running the packs in this configuration allows the weight of the batteries to be split and balanced by mounting a pack on each side of the interior of the hull.




The Triton EQ charger is a spiritual successor to the original Triton charger that I used several years ago as I segued back into the radio control hobby. This newer model has several features that are immediately apparent and notable. One valuable and beneficial feature is the capability to power it either from a 12VDC source or a 120VAC source. The charger comes with a set of alligator clip equipped leads attached to accomplish the former, while the latter is done by plugging in the included 110VAC line cord set into the side of the charger. The built-in AC power supply is amazingly small and lightweight. My original Triton was NOT a balancing charger. The Triton EQ is, and can accommodate 1S-6S LiPO batteries, as well as NiCd, NiMH, LiFe, Li-Ion and lead acid batteries. In the earlier days of lipoly technology, the benefits of keeping each cell in multi-cell packs in a state of equilibrium voltage-wise was not as recognized. The Triton EQ is a balancing charger and comes with the necessary adapter board to connect the GrimRacer 7.4V packs to it (ElectriFly and FlightPower adapters included in the box).



Another notably nice feature of this Triton EQ charger is that it can charge at a rate of up to 5.0 amps (63 watts maximum on DC power source, 50 watts on AC power source). It is not just a charger however, as it can be used to discharge and cycle batteries too. I monitored several charge cycles of the Motley Crew's twin GrimRacer lipo batteries and, on the average, the Triton would pump around 2,000mAh worth of charge back into the lipos in roughly 25 minutes. The unfortunate part of that data is that the battery configuration of the Motley Crew is such that each 2S battery must be individually charged. So, replenishing both batteries after a modest 3-4 minutes worth of jetting around on the water can take upwards of one hour. There are several obvious solutions to minimize the time spent at the dock waiting for the batteries to recharge so that you can hit the open sea with the Crew again as soon as possible. One solution involves using a dual output charger, I.E. a charger capable of recharging two batteries at once. While completing this review, I received an email from Tower Hobbies announcing a new dual output charger that would fit the bill perfectly. The Onyx 245 AC/DC Dual Charger with Balancing is a charger with a features set and price that is very similar to the Triton EQ unit. One advantage of using it would be that you could recharge both GrimRacer 2S packs simultaneously, potentially cutting your overall time to the next run in half. One trade-off that I note though is that the Onyx 245 will only handle 2S or 3S lithium batteries, while the Triton EQ is good for up to 6S packs. Another solution though, one which comes with the added benefit of more time on the water, is to pick up additional sets of batteries.



The Triton EQ instruction manual is segregated into several main sections, according to the battery type(s) being connected to it. The first section covers NiCD and NiMH batteries, the second LiPo, Li-Ion and LiFe batteries and the third Lead Acid (Pb) batteries. As an aid to helping the user wrap themselves around the setup and programming of each type of battery, ElectriFly includes programming flow charts in the box for each battery chemistry. The Triton EQ has a safety timer that will arbitrarily stop charging activity after a designated time interval. Although this feature can be turned off, doing so when charging Lithium chemistry batteries is discouraged. Charging NiCD or NiMH batteries at very low current levels may necessitate disabling the safety timer. The Triton EQ charger maintains data on the battery currently connected, whether it is being charged, discharged or cycled. This data includes input/output voltages, individual cell voltages when balancing lithium packs, highest and lowest voltage of individual cells, real time and average individual cell voltages, safety timer status, the amount of energy in mAh sent (charged) or removed (discharged) from the battery, and the peak battery voltage measured during the charge cycle. The data can be viewed while the cycle is under way, or when the cycle is completed. The Triton EQ maintains this data set until power is removed.


Post Run Maintenance

One of the really nice features of the modern electric power systems used in radio control aircraft is that there is practically zero maintenance required. I normally complete my flying sessions and then just retire the aircraft to my hangar until the next outing. Other than a periodic once over to make sure that nothing obvious is wrong, there is really no routine maintenance required. The Motley Crew catamaran, being the water based craft that it is, is a little different in that there is a small amount of normal and routine maintenance that needs to be performed to keep it in tiptop shape. The assembly manual recommends that the motor be pulled and flushed with a moisture displacer (WD40; according to the WD40 website, WD40 stands for Water Displacer/Recipe #40!) at the end of each day of operation. Removing the motor is quite easily accomplished and takes but a few minutes. A pair of open end metric wrenches (10 and 12mm) are used to loosen the flexible drive shaft coupler. Once loose, it can be pulled away from the motor shaft. The two water cooling lines and three motor connection leads are next removed. A 2.5mm hex wrench is used to loosen the two motor mounting screws, at which point the motor can be removed from the hull. The manual suggests that you spray the moisture displacer into not only the pair of water cooling jacket barb fittings but into the motor itself too. A drop or two of oil should be applied to the motor bearings.



Another recommended maintenance procedure is to re-lube the flexible drive shaft. The maintenance interval for relubricating the shaft is after every day of running or every 5-6 runs. According to the assembly manual, this shaft is a 0.150" flex drive cable, which mates up to an industry standard 3/16" (0.187") prop shaft. GrimRacer manufactures a recommended lubricant for the flex shaft called GrimRacer Speed Grease (part # AQUB9500). I picked up a tub to ensure that I used the correct lubricant. A little schmear of the blue lube here and there on the flexi-shaft and the entire process can be reversed and the motor and shaft reinstalled. The hull does come equipped with a rubber drain plug, located in the bottom rear corner on the back of the boat. Leaving it out at the end of the day will permit any moisture that has accumulated to evaporate. One another maintenance type task to perform after each day of running, although not absolutely imperative, is to wipe the fiberglass hull and hatch down. I use window cleaner and a soft rag to keep the Crew looking shiny and new.

Review Media











Conclusion

As a sport modeler just getting his feet wet in radio control boating, I think the Motley Crew boat absolutely ROCKS (dual cheesy puns intended)!! The speed right out of the box is impressive and exciting. The amount of water displaced by the brushless power system is crazy! Looking over many of the photos we shot of the Motley Crew, the water behind it exploding up into the air, the word "savage" comes to mind. This powerful electric boat creates absolute havoc in the water when running at wide open throttle. Yet I am amazed at how stable it is on the water. I only flipped it over one time and that was when running it on a day windy enough to generate small whitecaps on the waters surface. Had I been a little more precise on the tiller that day, I do not think the boat would have ended up on its back. The resemblance to the full size Motley Crew catamaran is striking, thanks to the coloful and authentic pre-applied decal set. The GrimRacer 7.4V 5000mAh lipo batteries provide safe run times of around 4-6 minutes, depending on throttle usage.

There is literally no time at all required to get this boat ready to run. The Tactic 2.4 GHz radio system is included in the box and pre-installed in the boat. Though positioned as an economical and affordable radio solution, I found it to be of good quality and experienced zero problems with an any radio interference or loss of communications. Of course, the age old saying "batteries not included" applies to the Crew. The user will need to obtain a set of 2S packs to power the Motley Crew, as well as four AA dry cells for the Tactic transmitter. The Triton EQ charger included for this review is a well featured unit that serves as an excellent all around charger for an individual just entering the hobby. Its ability to handle multiple battery chemistries, notably lithium packs up to a cell count of six, means it will probably cover the needs of the average modeler as he experiments with the many different genres of electric powered RC craft available. However, the dual battery configuration of the Motley Crew would be a little better served by a dual output charger like the Onyx 245.

Likes:

  • Ready-to-Run boat, with almost everything needed in the box
  • Model captures the brightly colored scheme of the full size Motley Crew racer
  • Tactic 2.4GHz radio system included and pre-installed
  • "Beefy" black anodized aluminum construction running gear components
  • Includes pre-assembled wooden display stand

Dislikes:

  • Fiberglass layup has a few small "waves"
  • Recharging the twin GrimRacer lipolys takes twice as long as it could

I know that many of you who may be reading this review have already graduated beyond being a mere sport modeler such as I am and are undeniably hard core, "into" and smitten with this part of electric powered RC craft. As such, I invite all of you to post up your comments below. I still have a lot to learn about radio control boating. The last page of the Motley Crew manual provides a section on "Tuning Tips" and I have a feeling that many of you can offer up even more tips. This boat is satisfyingly fast out of the box. However, like any red blooded male, I am already interested in a little more speed and better performance. I have a new GrimRacer metal prop on order and will be experimenting with it and the other performance tips in the manual and offered up by the "experts".

Last edited by Angela H; Sep 07, 2011 at 04:36 PM..

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Old Sep 07, 2011, 01:04 PM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
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Old Sep 07, 2011, 08:18 PM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar
Bradenton, FL
Joined Nov 2004
601 Posts
Great review Jon
This boat looks like a lot of fun. It looks great on the water and has great speed.

Jay
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Old Sep 07, 2011, 10:07 PM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
United States, TX, Kingsland
Joined Sep 2005
5,151 Posts
I really enjoyed your review Jon. It's been a lot of years since I first chunked a glow powered hydro into a lake. As I recall, the reason for the running start was that the "speed" surface props I was using had too much pitch to do anything but churn up the water unless you gave them a running start. I gave up on glow powered riggers because they were too finicky, the speed parts were too expensive for my teenage finances, and I found out that I could fly planes better than I could drive boats.

Now that I have a more "mature" perspective, it appears that the electric boating industry has caught up with my ineptitude and made a boat that even I may be able to drive and operate successfully. I like the Motley Crew!

McD
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Old Sep 07, 2011, 10:30 PM
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siberianhusky's Avatar
Canada, ON, Peterborough
Joined Nov 2009
543 Posts
Goes fast handles great, don't expect it to last very long, the hull could really use another layer of glass in a few areas, most people who have handled mine think it's made of abs not fiberglass. The motor mount flexes up and down under the weight of the motor alone, try wiggling your motor wires with the flex shaft out of the boat sometime and see what it does! It uses the stuffing tube to stiffen up the motor mount!.
You have to be very careful doing strut adjustments, the stuffing tube will flex the inner and outer layers of the hull so much it causes alignment problems with the motor.
The flexibility caused my stuffing tube to come loose from the hump in the tub. I also have stress cracks developing around the stuffing tube exit in the bottom of the boat.
The first time it blew over backwards both flimsy plastic braces popped off the bottom of the hatch, was actually the first run I had with the boat!
The hardware is pretty much all UL-1 with the exception of a rudder with no water pick up. This isn't bad, it's well tested and does the job just fine. I did swap in a SV rudder and run a dual water cooling system with exits in the side of the hull so I can see the water coming out when running. Just used the original outlet for an inlet.
To be honest a chimp on crack could have done a better job sanding this boat there are massive scratches under the clear coat. There are also blobs of filler that were not sanded at all on the inside tips of the sponsons, it was applied by finger, you can actually see the fingerprint through the paint and clear coat!
Flex shafts have been breaking but Aquacraft is taking care of this with the next batch of boats.
It's a very fun boat, faster and better handling out of the box than the Geico but the Gieco is a much higher quality boat.
I have compared the two side by side and the difference in finish alone is night and day!
Thats a nice press release but this boat is not the greatest thing on the water by a long shot. I like mine and intend to keep it but don't believe the hype their are issues with this boat just like most of the others out there.
They are a 350$ high end toy basically, a real P race boat has that much into the motor and esc!
I've been testing all different spec power setups in mine, it's been used pretty hard and is really showing the wear. I run 2 or 3 times a week weather permitting.
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