Axial Wraith Spawn – Packed With Performance



I’ve watched and helped as friends built full-scale jeeps and trucks to handle local attractions.  I’ve driven and been a passenger of many off-road adventures.  I’ve also watched off-road adventure shows and rock crawling competitions on tv.
1:1 off-roading is a world I know a little about, but not one I dove into head first.  It’s something I’ve enjoyed because of friends, not because I was putting my own money into it.  So while it’s interesting to me, it’s not something I’ve invested my time or money into in any meaningful way; it is a world I enjoy, however.
I first met the Axial Racing group at iHobby expo in Chicago several years ago, and have been following them ever since.  The company had everything that appealed to me as an off-road fan and r/c enthusiast– the product looked fantastic and it was obvious they knew what they were doing.  I had never seen anything like it.
As Axial Racing expanded their product line, the crawling community started to grow.  The next step for Axial Racing was to create Axialfest, a rock crawlers paradise event.  It seems the r/c crawler world has mimicked the full-scale world and the r/c enthusiasts are every bit as passionate; quite frankly, this looks like a lot of fun to me.  As quoted from their website:
As R/C offroad race tracks have become sugar coated and manicured into brown tarmac, We are put the rocks and ruff back into offroad racing! You do NOT stand on a driver stand! You are your own “helicopter-spotter” thus you are physically moving around a designated course while driving your rock racer!
Rock Racing is fast and ferocious and we test the limits of the machine as well as the man manning the machine! No computer timing systems; just line ‘em up and let ’em rip! 3-Lap qualifiers. Next group on deck!
Just like in real life however, I continue to live through the experiences of others and watched on the sidelines as the crawler niche exploded… largely at the hands of Axial Racing.  As the industry evolves so too does my interest in r/c– from flying airplanes, to helicopters, to racing buggies to flying drones.  It seems I always have something in front of me that keeps me from crawling
Introducing the Axial Wraith Spawn.  Yes, I’m aware it’s been around for a couple years, but it’s new to me, so it feels like I should introduce it.  Since my first real hobby-grade r/c in 1986, I’ve been involved in nearly all aspects of this hobby– the one area I haven’t been involved is crawling… despite my obvious interest.  Enough is enough, it’s time to see why the crawler community has exploded, and the Axial Wraith Spawn is my entry ticket.



Starting with the full tube frame and composite chassis, the Wraith Spawn is built with full-scale construction in mind.  This means whether crawling or going full throttle, the Wraith Spawn should be able handle what you dish out.

One of the most important parts of the crawler, next to the frame, is the suspension.  If you don’t have a suspension designed to take the articulation of crawling, you don’t have a very good crawler.

The Wraith Spawn utilizes as 4-link suspension design to reduce axle steer, while giving it the right amount of anti-squat and roll characteristics.   It also comes with oil filled shocks tuned with a softer spring rate which allows the Wraith Spawn to soak in the terrain.

Mounted to the frame is the body, which kind of reminds me of a 1980’s Jeep Wagoneer.  Axial Racing has kept the body simple, with only a few ‘sponsor’ graphics pre-applied.  You’ll note I added the AMAIN Performance Hobbies graphics.  The body is everything I would expect, and believe it will hold up to wheel rubs, scrapes and scratches.

A rock crawler without the a good set of wheels and tires doesn’t make much sense.  Axial Racing ensures this isn’t a problem with the Wraith Spawn.  Included in the RTR package is a set of officially licensed METHOD IFD 12 spoke beadlock wheels with 2.2 RIPSAW TIRES.  It doesn’t get much more serious.

• Three piece beadlock design
• Utilizes new 2x11mm pins for added strength
• Updated plastic hub adapter to eliminate slop and capture the new 2x11mm pin
• Adjustable breather holes for fine tuning tire performance
• Compatible with most 2.2 tires
• Easy six screw disassembly

Turning those massive wheels and tires is a Tactic TSX45 metal gear servo.  Rated at 151 oz-in torque and with dual ball bearings, the servo provides strong holding and smooth movement.


The Wraith Spawn does its job using a 20T brushed motor, controlled by the 3S capable AE-5 ESC.  The AE-5 keeps things simple with jumpers to easily switch between LiPo and NiMh batteries, leaving out the programming complications of many entry-level transmitters.  You can also set brake drag to 50 or 100 using a jumper.

The ESC states that it’s waterproof, however Axial still suggests caution on the website: “Do not run your product in water or snow or submerge it in water without fully waterproof gear.”  Axial Racing also links to a blog post on their site, but the recommendations are for the AR-2 rx and AE-2 ESC.  Perhaps it’s time for Axial Racing to update their website?

The axels Axial Racing uses are labeled AR60-Axle™ OCP (Off-Center Pumpkin).  Creating a true 4wd locked differential improves traction, and moving the housing (pumpkin) off-center means better clearance and driveshaft angles.  A locked differential provides the most positive wheel traction and requires less maintenance. They are also easily serviced by removing four screws to gain access for rebuilding and performance tuning as well.  Does it get any more like full-scale driving?

Connecting the transmission to the differentials are the  WB8 HD Wildboar Driveshaft’s, which are large in diameter and have an M4 Screw Shaft (2mm hex drive) for added strength. A center splined slider floats between each end and features added material which reduces flex and fatigue.

The Wraith Spawn takes advantage of a dual slipper design which uses a pad on each side of the spur gear.  Increasing the surface area allows for more precise tuning and holding power. The spur gear features strong, 32 pitch gearing for high torque applications.

 Keeping the AR-3 2.4 GHz rx safe is a waterproof receiver box with three different silicone seals: one for the antenna, one for the servo wires, and one acts as a gasket for the receiver box cover.  It’s a well protected system, contrary to the information on the website.


The manual includes instructions for an AX-3 transmitter however, my Wraith Spawn came with a Tactic TTX300 transmitter.
 This was a pleasant surprise as I’ve had one in my r/c garage for a few years and use it with my Dromida BX4.18.  It’s an extremely comfortable and well-balanced transmitter.



Years of development along with trial and error all come down to this moment.  It’s time to plug in the Wraith Spawn, turn it on and crawl.  The location of the RX is fine, but it’s not always so easy to get to the on/off switch; I would like to see it located with more convenience in mind.

I also thought I would be able to change the battery without removing the body, and while it’s probably possible, it was just easier for me to take off the body.

Keeping up with scale appearance and design, the body doesn’t have traditional mounts and clips.  Instead, it’s held on with 4 very small allen screws.  I appreciate not having body mounts, but there must be a better way to secure the body than this.  It’s no problem on the workbench, but it’s not always easy to deal with in the wild when the truck is covered in dirt, sand, mud or snow.

Leave the street to the other cars and trucks– the Wraith Spawn is built for off-road and crawling.  Naturally, the backyard is the first point of interest with plenty of obstacles to learn about the Wraith Spawn.  Grass and leaves are normally a battery draining, heat inducing problem for many 1/10 rc vehicles, but the Wraith Spawn was built for bigger and tougher.  Even longer field grasses don’t really concern the Wraith Spawn, apart from occasionally getting tangled up.

There is definitely an art to off-road driving and even more so when crawling.  How you approach an obstacle and find a way over or around it is quite life-like, and the mental challenge of defeating whatever is in front of you is appealing.  Leaving the brake drag at 100% provides what you need to navigate difficult terrain, and I haven’t found a need to change it.

My limited experience in the crawling world has me wondering about other treads, but the included wheels and 2.2 Ripsaw tires are terrific at gripping all different material whether wet or dry.  And then of course the Method beadlock wheels also look incredible!

Cornering isn’t exactly the Wraith Spawn’s favorite thing to do, so those grippy Ripsaw tires will send your truck wheel-side up more often than not if you go all out.  I also wouldn’t consider this a vehicle that likes to jump, but the oil-filled suspension does it’s job pretty well.

I’ve learned  the Wraith Spawn can take quite a beating.  I’ve sent it head on into logs, creeks and other obstacles at speed without fail.  I’m sure it’s possible to break the Wraith Spawn, but it hasn’t happened yet and I don’t see where anything is ever going to break under normal crawling conditions.



I’m glad to have gotten into the crawling world.  I like the mental challenge of navigating and ultimately overcoming an obstacle or trail.  I also like knowing I can drive the Wraith Spawn in places I cannot drive my other r/c vehicles.  So far, crawling is everything I thought it would be and I’m glad to have the Wraith Spawn in my r/c garage.


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“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss

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