Uncovering the Grave Digger’s Popularity

It was just last Friday that Axial Racing sent over the brand new SMT10 1/10th scale 4wd Solid Axle Grave Digger Monster Truck for review. Eager to get the unboxing video out, I rushed through the contents of the box while on film and got to editing. The upload was out of norm for The RCNetwork, with a 7:15PM upload on a Friday. Saturday, I left for Denver and wasn’t able to watch the views, but on Monday, I was shocked at the popularity of this very unusual release from the scale giants.  Read my first look at the Grave Digger here:  It’s Here! – SMT10 Grave Digger Monster Jam Truck

In just a couple of days, the SMT10 unboxing video gathered about 12,000 views and it was gaining momentum. Now, after one week since release, over 17,000 people have viewed me unboxing the Monster Jam star. Why is this vehicle so popular? Why does this platform intrigue so many people?

Running “The Digger”

I got a chance to spend some time with “The Digger” today and ran it for the first time in an abandoned parking lot. With cameras ready to roll, I loaded in a MaxAmps 5450mah 3s lipo battery and fired up the truck. Knowing that the 27t brushed motor needed all the voltage humanly possible, I was cautious at first, but at full throttle, the truck topped out at a conservative 15mph. This wasn’t a bad thing; after all, we are talking scale, right? 15mph multiplied by 10 equals 150mph…Cameras are now rolling.


I got a feel for the way it drove, cornered and if you let off the throttle, how fast the drag brake kicked in. Next were the jumps – remember scale. Taking it off curbs was easy, as the 5” shocks soaked up everything I could throw at it. The tires had plenty of grip on the asphalt, dried out SoCal grass and hard-packed dirt. The Grave Digger was quite surprising, as it bobbled around on the grass and took corners like a champ.


I thought for sure that the top heaviness would lead to many roll overs in corners, but not so with the included rear (anti) sway bar from the Axial Yeti. The solid axle AR60’s did well, but felt odd being an open diff design – After inspection, it looks to be only a light coating of grease keeping these diffs oiled.

What You Want to Know

After 17,000 views so far, what have been the most asked questions?

  1. Is the SMT10 worth $399? Yes – You are paying for how “scale” the truck looks including tons of licensing. Yes, the Grave Digger, Monster Jam and BKT logos come with a premium and it looks better than anyone else’s attempt at a “Monster Truck.” The chassis is tried and proven (AR60 axles, transmission, WB8 driveshafts, etc) and the aftermarket is screaming with parts galore!
  2. Why are the wheels/tires so small on the SMT10? No, they’re perfect “to scale” tires for the 1/10th scale platform. They look good and perform well. Many people are comparing it to the 2.6” wheels from previous MT’s on the market
  3. Why is there only a 27t brushed motor in the SMT10? First off, I’m sure Axial’s goal was to hit a certain pricepoint. After all the R/D and licensing, we are left with a certain budget for the electronics. Without making this Monster Truck hit the $500 mark, and keeping everyone’s interest in having a “waterproof” rig, the 27t brushed system is a good combo to start. Plus, this truck is the perfect rig to hand the remote over to your 6-year-old kid or Aunt Edna with out the worry of them running it into a curb.
  4. Can you put a brushless system into the SMT10? Sure, but be prepared to start replacing a few durability items especially in the drivetrain and steering. With speed and torque come curbs at high speed!


What’s the biggest bonus of the SMT10 Grave Digger? It just looks damn cool trotting around and acting like a mini Monster Jam star! What are your impressions of the Axial SMT10 Grave Digger? Will you be picking one up soon?

Check out the running video here:


  1. I think the drag brake should be set at 50% straight from the factory. Definitely a more scale driving experience!

  2. I really love the looks of it, I agree with you, best looking Grave Digger out there. I’m eager to get my hands on one, lol!

  3. I’ll get one, in the future. I see this partnership between Axial & Monster Jam growing down the road, and so while I want the Grave Digger, I’ll wait for future products and improved scale monster trucks from Axial. This is a fantastic start and it’s a really good RC truck, but I’m gonna hold my money and save it for future things to come because I imagine this won’t be the only monster truck they will make. That’s my opinion, anyway. But, it sure looks fun to have.

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