Building the WPL B24 GAZ 66 RC Truck Kit

WPL B24 GAZ 66 RC Truck Kit
What is it like to build one of the world's cheapest RC truck kits? Let's find out together! It's been quite some time since I've posted any new content to this site but recently an extremely cheap RC truck caught my eye on Amazon. That is the WPL B24. Designed to closely resemble the Russian made GAZ 66 military truck, the 1/16 scale B24 features full time 4wd, front and rear solid axles with locked diffs, a steel c-channel chassis, a leaf spring suspension system, a cool looking interior and tons of scale details. At around $50 for the kit (less radio), the B24 sure does seem too go to be true. Whether that is the case, only time will tell. For now, let the build begin!
WPL B24 Kit
With such a low price point, I definitely expected the B24 to take the long trip from China in a plain cardboard box but it was nice to see that it actually came packed in a black box adorned with WPL's dragon logo. With that said, the side of this RC rock crawler's box oddly reads "Off Road Racing Series". I guess WPL doesn't know the difference between racing and rock crawling? 
WPL B24 Kit Instructions Owners Manual
As for the contents, most of the B24's parts come packed in large plastic bags. If you're expecting tons of nicely labeled bags like those in a Tamiya kit, you're barking up the wrong tree. The same goes for the B24's owners manual. Technically, there isn't one. Instead, WPL includes a folded up piece of paper with nearly microscopic assembly instructions. The first thing I did after opening the box was to pop this sheet in my printer and blow up the diagrams to make them a little easier to read. Well, easier to see anyway. Much of the wording on the diagrams is so small and blurry that it's damn near impossible to make out. 
WPL B24 GAZ 66 Cab

WPL B24 GAZ 66 Body

WPL B24 GAZ 66 Paint
As mentioned earlier, the WPL B24 was designed to mimic the GAZ 66 military truck. The Soviets and Russians are believed to have built nearly a million of these highly capable trucks for 35 years, from 1964 to 1999. It was available in 4x4 and 6x6 variants with many different bed and box configurations. One such configuration, known as a platform truck, featured a steel and wooden bed that could be used to carry troops or supplies. The version of the WPL B24 we're building has the very same bed, albeit in plastic form. The body comes molded in a green plastic with the lights pre-painted orange. As you can see from the photos, the quality of that paint leaves much to be desired. For this build that isn't too big of a deal because I'll be painting everything anyway.
WPL B-24 Interior

WPL B-24 Interior Details
Inside the cab of the WPL 24 is a nicely detailed scale interior. Considering that many RC trucks costing ten times as much don't include any interior at all, it's pretty cool to see such additions in the B24. The interior features two textured seats, a driver's steering wheel and center console. The great thing about this interior that it is a solid base for those wanting to add even more scale realism. I left my interior in stock form but it wouldn't take much to add a shifter, gauges, a couple of seat belts, etc. 
WPL B24 Axle Housing

WPL B24 Axle Ring and Pinion Gears

WPL B24 Ring and Pinion Gears
The WPL B24 comes equipped with solid front and rear axles. The older version of this kit included plastic ring and pinion gears but WPL has since upgraded those to what appears to be a sintered metal. The gears and axle shafts are supported by small plastic bushings. While everything seemed to be of the low quality I expected from such a low priced kit, the looseness of the bushings does leave room for concern. Afterall, if the bushings are so loose that the gears don't remain in proper mesh, they probably won't last very long no matter what material they're made of. 
WPL B24 Solid Axle

WPL B24 Solid Axles
With their simple design, the axles go together fairly quickly even without a detailed instruction manual. The biggest problem I ran into while trying to assemble them was that the screws included in the kit seemed to be a hair too long with threads that are too short. They appear to hold everything together well enough but longer threads would have made for a better fit overall. Again, this is another part of the kit that leaves me a bit concerned about long term durability.
WPL B24 Chassis

WPL B24 Chassis Assembly
Once the axles are together, the leaf springs easily screw in place and then it's time to assembly the chassis. The WPL B24 includes two steel chassis rails that are supported by a couple of plastic crossmembers, a front bumper, a transmission tray and a servo tray. It is all held together with small screws that also hold eight simple plastic leaf spring mounts in place. After the servo is placed in its tray, a separate radio tray mounts over it. 
WPL B-24 RC Truck Body

WPL B-24 Painted Body

WPL B-24 Painted Interior

WPL B-24 RC Truck Interior Paint

WPL B-24 Axles painted

WPL B-24 Painted Wheels

WPL B-24 Painted Chassis
After getting most of the main components it was time to prep everything for paint. For this, I simply sanded everything with 400 grit sandpaper and wiped it down with some isopropyl alcohol on a lint free cloth. I then covered everything in two coats of Rustoleum Army Green camouflage paint. Since Rustoleum claims that this paint is made to stick directly to plastic, I didn't use any primer. So far it has held up just fine. After the truck was completely assembled, I gave the exterior some light dry brushing with Tamiya NATO Black (TAM81369) and NATO Brown (TAM81368). While this step doesn't show up too well in the photos, it looks great in person, giving the truck a more realistic, dirty feel. You may remember these exact same paints from my RC4WD Beast 2 build.
WPL B-24 Malformed RC Truck Tire

WPL B-24 Wheels and Tires

WPL B-24 Spare Tire
With everything painted, it was now time to bolt it all together. Sadly, I found another problem with WPL's quality control, this one totally unforgivable. Two of the B24's tires were malformed. One of them wasn't too bad but the other was basically unusable. Luckily, I was able to trim the badly malformed tire and use it for the truck's spare. The lesser malformed tire was also trimmed and carefully glued to one of the truck's driving wheels. So far it seems like this as worked out just fine but quality control issues like this should never happen to begin with. 
WPL B-24 ESC Receiver Wiring Diagram How To

WPL B-24 ESC Receiver Wiring

WPL B-24 ESC Receiver
Once the main chassis components are assembled you need to mount the motor/transmission and wire up the electronics. The motor comes from the WPL factory without the wiring attached so you'll need to solder two tiny leads to its terminals. It's par for the course when building kits like this but if this is your first RC truck build then you'll want to pick up a soldering iron and some solder. Then next hurdle was trying to figure out how everything else gets wired up. The WPL B24 utilizes a combination ESC/receiver (not included in the kit) with a separate standard micro steering servo. However, WPL doesn't include any diagrams or instructions to help you with the wiring and the labels on the ESC are in Chinese. Luckily, I was able to find some info online as to how it's all wired and added that info to the photo above. Hopefully it'll help out the next guy trying to get their WPL up and running. 
WPL B-24 Bed Mounting
Most of the truck went together fairly quickly but yet another odd problem popped up when it came time to mount the bed to the chassis. On the underside of the bed there are three mounting posts. However, when trying to mount it to the chassis, the transmission interferes with one of the posts. Maybe I missed something but I couldn't see how to get everything to fit with that post in place so I chopped it off with a dremel tool. Also, the tiny screws supplied with the kit were much too short to properly hold the bed in place so I had to dig through my spare screws to find a couple that would be suitable.  None of this was that big of a deal but it definitely speaks to the quality control problems with this truck. I can't say I expected much better from a $50 Chinese truck. 
WPL B-24 RC Truck Kit

WPL B-24 RC Truck Kit Build Instructions
With everything all buttoned up, it was time to see what this little truck would do on the trail. Sadly, not thirty seconds into my first run, the front driveshaft popped off. That seemed like no biggie. I just grabbed a screwdriver, placed the driveshaft back in place and gently tightened the screw. Ready to go....right? Not quite. Just as I tried to hit another hill the driveshaft popped off again. This time it was done for. The small plastic yoke on the transmission side of the shaft split right down the middle. That's pretty pathetic considering how little time the truck had on it. Luckily, their are manufacturers that make metal replacement driveshafts, so I may try those at some point. But, for now, we're done.  
WPL B24 Broken Driveshaft
In the end, it's hard to give a proper opinion on the truck. In the thirty seconds that I got to drive the WPL B24, I did enjoy it. The truck's design has many weak points. The motor is weak and the gearing is all wrong so you've got to give it quite a bit of throttle to get her going up any remotely steep incline. The leaf spring suspension prevents the axles from twisting enough to climb anything too radical and its lack of damping gives you a pretty bouncy ride. And the driveshafts are a huge weak point. With all of that said, I still enjoyed trying to get this little truck to traverse the hills and rocks in my back yard. If I had to choose one part of this truck that I truly loved, it would be the body. While many of the B24's components are a bit cheap and flimsy, that GAZ66 body is gorgeous. Heck, that alone might be worth the price of admission. So the question is, after hearing all of this, would you buy one? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for following along!
WPL B-24 RC rock crawling

WPL B-24 RC mini rock crawler

WPL B-24 RC crawler interior

WPL B-24

WPL B-24 Underside

WPL B-24 Flip Up Body Cab

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