Caster Fusion F-18 - anglicky

Caster Racing Fusion F-18

Greg | October 2, 2009

Small-scale radio-control is becoming very popular, and for a very good reason - these small cars are tons of fun and offer performance very similar to their larger (and more expensive) counterparts

Cars such as the 1/16 Traxxas E-Revo and Slash have really re-focused the RC spotlight lately since these things can be run literally anywhere - even inside the house.  But, there’s a problem with these cars - even though they’re small, it will still cost you over $300 to get into one.  In the realm of professional RC equipment, that’s not a bad price, but not everyone wants to spend the high-end price to enjoy RC.  Caster Racing might have the answer with their new Fusion F-18 complete kit and that even includes the 7.2V battery pack and charger.  But how good can it be at this price?

The Caster Racing Fusion F-18 is a 1/18-scale offroad 4WD ready-to-run car that’s available in buggy or truggy form.  It appears closely related to the Team Associated RC-18T - and that’s a good thing.  The full-ball bearing equipped F-18 features brusheless power right out of the box, using Hobbywingś eZRun-25-L 25-amp programmable ESC  with a 2030-sized 5000kv motor and an AM-band receiver. The driveline utilizes a shaft-driven 4WD system with steel dogbones and receivers turning factory-glued pin-style tires.  The oil-filled shocks offer just the right amount of dampening, and adjustments are quick and easy.  The stout control arms on the F-18 offer multiple shock ball mounts for fine tuning, though the stock location works great on the street and hard surfaces.

The included radio is pretty good, though I think the ‘brake caliper’ design on the steerer is a bit dorky.  It is however, damped nicely and the rubber foam wheel is very comfortable.  The transmitter offers all the adjustments you would need, and its range is excellent.  With batteries installed, it feels very comfortable and well balanced.  Overall, it’s a higher quality radio than the Traxxas Top Qualifier radio that’s included in their RTR kits, and it offers more fine tuning options.

Performance of the F-18 is excellent.  No, it will not match the top speed of the 1/16 E-Revo, but the Caster kit is one-third the price.  The stock brushless system is good for a top speed of over 20 mph, with very strong acceleration.  Motor temperatures never became a concern as I ran the car full throttle for most of its charge.   On the street, the F-18 is a blast.  It offers very sharp steering and it’s light enough to induce just the right amount of understeer to keep it under control during high-speed turns.  A quick brake on deceleration will give nice drifting turns to power out of, even on tarmac.  The steering servo is very fast, though it’s small and although it’s equipped with an adequate servo-saver, you might want to watch for low curbs.

Caster offers a PRO version of the F-18, which features many aluminum parts upgrades.  Additionally, all replacement parts for the F-18 are easy to order right through Caster Racing dealers.  The Fusion Pro, as it’s called, is offered as a kit, without servos and electronics.  Speaking of kits, the RTR F-18 includes a manual that includes full build instructions, exploded views, and the part numbers of every single component in the car.  That’s great, though the manual itself is atrocious.  The grammar and sentence structure is so bad that instructions are difficult to understand.   This small aspect of the model package really needs to be corrected, as it represents the company very poorly on an otherwise fantastic product.

I’ve been having so much fun with this little car and I’ve had no issues whatsoever.  Right now, I see no need to even upgrade it since its factory stock performance is fantastic.  The F-18 is just as much fun on the street as it is in the dirt, and I’m betting it would give some small-scale dedicated road kits a run for their money.  I’m a very casual RC hobbyist, so the low price of the F-18 really made sense to me, and believe me this model looks and performs like a car that would easily cost twice as much.

Update: After two constant weeks of hard abuse, I’m pleased to report that the F-18 has held up without any issues.  The little car is more fun to use than my Traxxas Rustler VXL, primarily due to its ultra-precise handling. This car is a blast to run, and with my tires completely bald now it’s even better on the road.  The gearboxes continue to operate smootly, despite constant full-throttle starts and stops, and shock action remains perfectly damped.  Can you tell I  like the Fusion F-18?  Yeah, I really do.  When a little 1:18 car can dethrone the fun-factor of much larger and faster cars, that alone tells quite a story.  You need to get one of these!

What I Liked:

  • Excellent brushless performance for the motor size
  • Fantastic on-road handling
  • Very good quality
  • Steel dogbones and receivers
  • Incredible price

What I Did Not Like:

  • Poorly written manual
  • FM radio would be better (though included AM system performs well)