Put A Lid On It

Picking the right Lexan Body for your Crawler

Aug. 01, 2006 By Pete Bach

One of the biggest decisions to make, after finishing your rc crawler build project, is choosing the right body for it. Sure, the body you run won’t affect performance that much, however, it is still important that your rig looks its best, while running through the boulders. There are many Lexan shells that you can pick from…..but what makes some decisions better than others? Check out some of the research that was done and proven, with past experience.

First, size matters! There are several sizes that must be considered to get the right looks and fitment. Depending on what you want to accomplish, an 1/8 th scale body might work best. HPI makes a great assortment of the bigger bodies that are intended for their Savage Monster truck. They are large enough to fit on a Super Crawler and make them look nice, even with an 18 inch wheels base. Perhaps the best part about HPI’s selection of bodies is just that: its selection. Several years ago, they shocked everyone in RC with the ultra cool, retro 1973 Ford Bronco.

Every crawler has owned or still owns a Bronco body, as the old iron is synonymous with trail riding and rock crawling. It’s detail is excellent and the size allows fitment onto the bigger rigs and has more recently found its way onto 2.2 scale projects, making the smaller trucks look as realistic as they come. Another crawler favorite from HPI is the Jeep Rubicon Wrangler.

The only current manufacturer of a Jeep brand body has done a great job capturing the realism from the legendary and original rock crawler. The Jeep Wrangler TJ body has been incorporated with a very real looking Warn winch, molded right in front of the seven slotted grill. These bodies have taken huge chunks of the market share because of their innovation, toughness and good looks. HPI also has many other bodies to choose from. Want a muscle car crawler? Grab one of their Charger

bodies and crawl like Bo and Luke Duke! Need something smaller? They also produce several 1/10 th scale bodies if you’re into more of a stadium truck look.

When you think of Lexan bodies for RC Cars and trucks, you immediately think Pro-Line Racing. Pro-Line Racing has been the leader in rc bodies and accessories for years. They have proven to be the toughest made for rock crawling with super thick Lexan and attention to detail in the crumple zones. Each body will last for years, under extreme abuse. Like the other body companies, Proline also uses the Paint and Peel, external plastic wrap that eliminates problems with overspray. Also included with each body is a complete set of realistic stickers and window masks. Proline bodies range from the original Hummer and the Hummer 2

(in 10 th scale and 8 th scale), to retro Ford and Checy pick ups.

Of course, Proline also offers a huge selection of their very own design; the Pleaser line up. Stadium trucks, panel wagons and even a rock crawler body is offered with their exclusive Pleaser look.

Parma has been making Lexan bodies for longer than anyone! For the Monster Truck lover, there is no other company that caters to those needs like Parma does. Exact replicas of the very first Big Foot Monster truck, the current Big Foot, Grave Digger

and just about any other famed car crusher exists in the Parma garage. Parma also offers a huge selection of Lexan paints and sticker sheets, among other RC accessories and you can even get a pre-painted shell if you’re just not up to painting a complete body yet.

Each of these companies offers a nice array of bodies that will satisfy any of our needs and each will work well and look good in the rocks. However, there still lies the desire of the “discontinued” Lexan bodies. Several were made, few exist. Among the most desirable is the Toyota Land Cruise FJ-40.

( picture 8). A true rock crawler body to say the least and was only produced by Proline Racing for a very short time! It is highly sought after and is now fetching well over $100 for an unpackaged one. Second on the list of desirability and scarcity is also a discontinued body from Proline.

The Jeep CJ-8 body was sold for about two years and there are still many out there but to find one still in the package, crystal clear and unpainted, has been the quest for many. Last on this short list but certainly not least, has got to be the Parma Jeep Honcho body.

Probably the rarest of all crawler type bodies and one of the best looking, this body can easily sell for over $200 on the net, seeing as how it was being sold by Parma in the late 1970’s and was discontinued in the 1980’s. This body is a true oldie but a goodie! Keep your eyes open and you too, could find one of these hot and rare shells for your crawler.

Lastly, once you have your new body, you have to consider how to make the proper fitment for your crawler. It is a bit unnerving after taking your body from its package and cutting much of the Lexan from its original design.

Crawlers need more freedom for suspension travel, larger tires, four wheel steering and hang up points so it is necessary to cut larger wheel openings and to remove front cowls and rear tail gates. This may not apply for a scale project, however, most competition crawlers will have much Lexan removed before painting. Keep in mind that most competitions do limit how much Lexan can be removed so check with www.rccrawler.com to view the rules and regulations on body percentages.

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