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Dec 11, 2018, 03:02 AM
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jameschen072's Avatar
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Mini-Review

MN90 1/12 Defender D90 Crawler review (WPL-clone chassis)


MN90 1/12 Defender Review

Videos pending

Introduction

Hi everyone!
Ever since the WPL B and C series came along, I’ve been hooked on these cheap trucks with fantastic looking bodies (Looks like it’s become somewhat of a trend in the industry!). As frustrating as they are to build sometimes, once the transmission is upgraded, these trucks run great and it’s really not too difficult to find realistic scenery to roam through.
So, a buddy of mine was nice enough to get me this to play with- the MN90, which looks to be a hybrid WPL chassis with a Land Rover 90 body. As there doesn’t seem to be a thread on this truck, I thought it might be worthwhile to do a short writeup so as to help those still on the fence about the MN90 make an informed decision. Please note that this review is mostly discussing the kit form of the truck, as the RTR uses non-standard radio gear and has non-proportional steering.

Specs
Dimensions: 35*16.5*20.5cm
Motor: 180 brushed
Servo: 17g Three-wire


The WPL C14 and the MN90 share very similar wheelbases (MN90 being slightly longer),though the MN90 is a noticably larger truck

The build
I didn’t document the build unfortunately, there was a storm out a few days ago and I spent the afternoon building the truck while the Mrs. watched Survivor on T.V.
What I could say is that the MN90 is much, much more precisely manufactured than the WPLs (though I do like the WPL bodies a little bit better). No missing screws, no stripped screws, no badly injected plastic. Everything fit very easily and I did not find myself frustrated or short tempered by the end of the build (as I’ve been with every WPL kit so far).
Little touches such as the textured chassis and the better plastics made the MN90 feel like a more expensive product, although in reality the chassis is very similar to that of WPL- even the axles are interchangeable. The tires, like those that come with the WPL kits, are soft and great for handling all kinds of terrain.
My setup is as follows:
Upgraded 180 motor
10A ESC with brake set to OFF
3 Channel Flysky RX
Stock 3 wire servo
7.4V 1300 mAh Lipo
Aftermarket LED headlights
Upgraded drivetrain

Decal sheet with spelling that's all over the place... Can't afford a Defender? Get a Defenerd instead!

The drivetrain
This has always been an annoyance with the WPLs- as the MN90 shares pretty much the same chassis, unfortunately some of those quirks carried over. The bevel gear that sits between the main drive shaft and the wheel axles slipped (all plastic), then stripped. I had to buy a full drivetrain upgrade for about 30-35 dollars, which didn’t break the bank but did mean that I had to take most of the chassis apart again. I strongly suggest getting an upgrade kit together with your truck and just chuck the stock drivetrain. Interestingly enough, the axles and gearbox are identical to that of WPL's, so you could buy the WPL axle/metal gear upgrades for the MN90, if you can't find MN90-specific upgrades.

Lots of bump steer due to the geometry of the steering setup.


The chassis, as viewed from below. The stock motor and gearbox were curiously robust, though the gearbox does interfere with ground clearance.



The body
There are two body styles to choose from, one with a hard top and one with an open bed. I got the open bed one (will try to get the hard top as a spare part though, I like the look of that a bit better). Overall, the body looks great but the plastics used seem to give it a slightly more toy-like feel than that of its WPL competitors- the WPL bodies are textured so the plastic isn’t reflective. Other than that, the body is very nicely detailed- with features such as a snorkel, grab handles, grille and hinges.

Hard top option

The Defender 90 body looks great!

The interior is also faithfully replicated, which still amazes me given the price point.

Driving characteristics
As the MN90 uses spring shocks, the truck is quite bouncy over uneven terrain. I do feel that it manages rough terrain a bit better than the WPLs do as the shocks are softer; the body is heavier and due to the wheel compound. As there is not a whole lot of shock travel, expect the MN90 to lift a wheel quite often over non-scale terrain.


Comfortable on any terrain, as long as it's scale!

Problems
Like trucks of a similar price range, the makers of the MN90 seem to have spent most of their engineering and production costs on the body. The drivetrain is ok for level ground but definitely won’t stand up to any typical crawling, at least that’s the case for my unit.
The bevel gear that sits between the main drive shaft and the axle cannot withstand the torque of the motor, the gear slipped when I tried to crawl over my foot and that was that. Off to Chinese ebay to pick up a new upgraded driveline (metal gears, metal driveshafts etc).

The gear on the output shaft on the gearbox (that connects the gearbox with the driveshafts) also slips, a dab of superglue seems to solve the problem so far.
I also had to hot glue the steering servo onto the chassis as the kit did not come with a part that could secure said servo. My friends’ MN90 did not have said part either, so I’m guessing all the kits are like that.

Conclusion
For the price, I can’t complain- the MN90 is easy to put together and has a nice-looking scale body. If you plan to do some crawling with this truck then I strongly suggest upgrading the drive-shaft, which does take a bit of tinkering to get right (that’s part of the fun!)
The MN90 is capable of crawling over scale terrain and making it across a bit of water (the stock servo doesn’t seem to mind water all that much).
I think the larger size of the MN90 does give it a special spot in the market that’s a little different to WPL’s. I expect to see the same incredible modifications we’ve seen on WPL trucks- some of you guys are true artists!




Purchase links
Kit form from Banggood
Upgrades used
Last edited by jameschen072; Dec 11, 2018 at 07:14 AM.
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Dec 11, 2018, 03:02 AM
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Last edited by jameschen072; Dec 11, 2018 at 03:40 AM.
Dec 11, 2018, 04:29 AM
Sit
Sit
Registered User
Thanks for the link following my recent post, thatís really useful to read pre-build. It looks like I need to get some metal drivetrain items then before I start my build.

Will have to have a look on eBay or similar to see if I can find any MN stuff.

Si
Dec 12, 2018, 01:47 AM
kiwi power!
jameschen072's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sit
Thanks for the link following my recent post, thatís really useful to read pre-build. It looks like I need to get some metal drivetrain items then before I start my build.

Will have to have a look on eBay or similar to see if I can find any MN stuff.

Si
Thanks for the kind words Si, yeah it really needs upgrades to the drivetrain if you plan to have some fun with it! I've found it to be now pretty reliable with my current setup.
Dec 16, 2018, 10:36 PM
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jameschen072's Avatar
Thread OP
I think it's good that people haven't received their MN90's yet... upon running these more, it seems like the output shaft from the gearbox really is the weak point in this truck. As soon as more torque is applied, the gear slips.. I've been having no luck trying to fix this issue... replacing the entire gearbox resulted in just a half hour more of driving time before the same thing happened again! Problem is that the gear and shaft are not keyed (no idea why they wouldn't design it that way given the torque put through this assembly)... so the plastic gives in.
Same thing happened to my buddy's truck...

We are now trying out a 370 motor/gearbox setup, mostly because it has metal gears.. but this lowers the center clearance a lot and really isn't ideal for crawling.

Perhaps the N30 mod would work too, but I've read that the rate of failure is quite high with those too... (feel free to chime in if you've experience with this mod, or if you've any ideas about how to solve this issue)

update:looks like using the 370 mod does the trick, for now. Did some mild crawling and the drivetrain survived.
Last edited by jameschen072; Dec 19, 2018 at 10:03 AM.
Jan 09, 2019, 12:55 PM
Registered User
Strange question but how do you using 7.4v batery with 6v motor?
Jan 15, 2019, 08:46 PM
kiwi power!
jameschen072's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KlaXon
Strange question but how do you using 7.4v batery with 6v motor?
So I was running a standard ESC and the motor seems to handle it just fine... it's the gears that are really having a tough time with the torque. I've recently installed a dual N30 motor system, hopefully that'll give me decent torque in addition to the increased ground-clearance.
Jan 29, 2019, 08:33 PM
Registered User
Hi everyone, Noob here!
Just received my MN90 & did an unboxing & shocks mod youtube on it. Now I plan to upgrade the motor. Which is best suited for the MN90? Do I need to change the gearbox together as I see the space is rather tight for a bigger motor? I plan to review 2 types of motor - high torque vs a high speed motor. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
Feb 04, 2019, 11:30 AM
Suspended Account
my MN D90

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/newr...eply&t=3190941
Feb 08, 2019, 06:32 PM
Quad Erat Demonstrandum
scousethief's Avatar
My MN D90
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...t-2-Body-Shell
Feb 13, 2019, 03:59 AM
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from indonesia


My MN D90

RC MN D90 Adventure scale 1/12 aceh - Indonesia part#1 (5 min 46 sec)
Feb 13, 2019, 04:00 AM
Suspended Account

from indonesia


My MN D90


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdc..._as=subscriber
Feb 25, 2019, 05:13 AM
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from indonesia in kota banda aceh


from banda aceh - indonesia the city that was hit by the tsunami of December 26, 2004


MN D90 & WPL C24 Adventure Banda Aceh - Indonesia (6 min 33 sec)
Feb 26, 2019, 02:41 PM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Mine burnt the ESC's forward stage on scaling a small obstacle.
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Mar 12, 2019, 05:45 AM
Registered User
So ... the WPL metal upgrade is confirmed as direct fit.
What about 2 speed gearbox? I like it on my WPL trucks ...
ty


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