The RC Monster Truck Showdown

Grave Digger

Ever since July 21st , 2016, the RC world will not be the same. Axial Racing released the debut video showcasing the newly licensed MonsterJam Grave Digger SMT10 4wd Solid Axle Monster Truck. It was a mere seven days later that sitting on the doorstep of The RCNetwork Studios was the truck in the video ready for review. Waiting for the “December Issue” has never been an option here at The RCNetwork so I got to filming immediately. Little did I know that the new ground up designed SMT10 platform would trigger the RC market to start producing realistic monster trucks and parts!


Big Foot

Traxxas, the fastest name in Radio Control answered on September 16th, 2016 releasing two “brand new” monster trucks from the Monster Truck Destruction Tour with Big Foot licensed bodies. Quickly, RC enthusiasts picked out that laying under the shiny new silver and blue bodies were nothing but 2wd Stampede Brushed edition trucks. The comments went on for days on Traxxas’ YouTube video and all over Social Media. So what’s wrong with that? Traxxas debuted the Stampede 2wd monster truck in 1994, and even though it went through a growing-up phase and got new electronics in 2009, it’s an old design.


SMT10 vs. Big Foot Stampede

So what’s so different between the SMT10 and the Big Foot Stampede? It goes much deeper than a Lexan shell.   The SMT10 is a 4wd chassis attached to solid axles, just like true monster trucks. The Stampede is a 2wd chassis with front and rear independent suspension, much like your mom’s mini van and station wagon. Power systems are similar with brushed electrics and 2.4ghz radio systems. Axial takes it a notch higher and adds every bonus point with scale realism including a realistic tube chassis, chrome headers, simulated hydraulic Ram style steering links, BKT licensed tires and a glow in the dark driver figure to name a few.


Monster Upgrades

You say you need upgrades or parts? Well, Traxxas has had its hand in one of the best distributing schemes of all time and that’s good! You can find Traxxas parts and upgrades in almost every hobby shop world wide, let alone finding parts in some Best Buys and certain auto parts shops. Axial Racing is no schmuck when it comes to having parts/upgrades available out there…they have one of the largest networks of upgrade vendors in the Radio Control world. Everyone makes upgrade parts for the Wraith/SCX10/Yeti platforms.

Want to change up the look of your Stampede or SMT10? JConcepts are freaks about Monster Trucks! Jason Ruona, (owner of JConcepts) frequents Monster Truck events (1:1) and has done his homework when it comes to bodies, wheels and tires for your 1/10th scale MT to add even more scale-ness, and of course traction!



With the release of the Axial Max-D version of the SMT10 on September 22nd, 2016 The Monster Truck fever has now hit The RCNetwork. I’m changing up my Grave Digger SMT10 to something even cooler, more powerful (of course) and more durable. My RTR Grave Digger has been dismantled down to the chassis and is awaiting several shipments of parts, accessories and a new power plant.


Whether it’s Axial or Traxxas, what our RC community needs are more people in the community. The new surge of monster trucks will do exactly that – getting more people into the hobby!

So, have you got Monster Truck fever? Will you be choosing Axial or Traxxas? How do you think I will be changing up my SMT10? Comment down below!


  1. Any word when those Jconcepts monster truck tires will be available? I’ve been checking there every other day and there is no mention of them.

  2. Matthew Jorgensen

    I chose the SMT10 because of past experience with Axial products. The scale realism of the SMT10 beats out the Stampede based truck from Traxxas, BUT, the stampede base truck is faster and can do almost all the same stuff the SMT10 can do…
    Still, Axial has a winner on their hands with the SMT10 and a solid background for the parts they use to make up the driveline. All tranny and axles are from Wraith (RR10 Bomber)and AX10 (SCX10) with some of the axle parts beefed up for the abuse from turning the larger tires…
    SMT10 all the way…
    By the way, I own stampedes in 4wd and 2wd as well as the Slash, Summit, Rustler and Slash 4×4. Axial products are the AX10 Ridgecrest, SCX10, Bomber and AX10 Scorpion….

  3. both Grave Digger and D-max are same in the specification but only the body are different can I buy one and buy the other body and change it or not ??

    • lulu, Yes the bodies are interchangeable. However, Axial doesn’t sell pre-finished bodies, but you might be able to find them on ebay. Also, you may have to check your body mount height.

  4. This truck is awesome!! much fun even for an adult.

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