RC Snowmobiles


A Short History Of An RCS Adventure
(Radio Controlled Snowmobile)

by Jordan Krupp

Jordan in his younger days

The radio controlled snowmobile is a model that has a very limited number of manufacturers, only one that I know of, Nitro Elements and their Artattack. There was also one from Sweden called "Atomic" from 1980, of which I have one of these all plastic models. In the mid 70's, COX made a "free flight" .049 powered Ski-Doo, TNT Siver Bullet, I also had one of these, it was best Christmas present I ever had and it even had a tiny "pull-start". I am sure there has been many "one-off" hand made R/C snowmobiles made by people that were determined to have this type of model, some which I have met.

This is how I got my start in the great hobby of R/C. In 1980 when I was eighteen years old, I made my first R/C snowmobile with an all aluminum chassis. I used a .40 sized airplane engine for power. It took a couple more years before I had a proper snowmobile engine, an O.S..21SE and a Kraft 3PKW wheel radio.

Many years of trial and error before I made a "true" 1/3rd scale Racing Ski-Doo Twin Track Oval Racer in 1988. This was my pride and joy. My dream came true and then some, having a model in the Ski-Doo museum and meeting all the best racers and many "World Champions".

I had the thrill of doing R/C snowmobile demonstrations at some of these series races in the 1990`s for the racers and the fans, Even Jacques Villeneuve Sr, [A Three Time World Snowmobile Champion] helped start one and also drove a couple of my creations. He was "My Hero" and a hell of a nice guy! In the early 1990's, myself and a couple other people hand-made over 120- 1/3rd scale Ski-doo snowmobiles, 34 Twin Track Racers and 100 single track MXZ's. This collaboration eventually dissolved.

The potential of such a new and truly exciting R/C concept would greatly contribute to the overall exposure of R/C and give this new element some of the limelight. The 1/4 scale size enhances the realism of components such as, chassis, front and rear suspensions, ski designs and steering systems. Also the overall appearance and style from the body designs and the scale rider, screams, " Realistic"!!! The proper and "True" scale RCS model, easily has the potential of capturing the thrill of the full size racing in a small package. The scale design has an inherent simplicity, with careful thought of component placement. This direction and design objective closely replicates the current #1 Racing Sno-Cross Snowmobile, The Ski-Doo MXZx 440 Rev. It would also be nice to see an Arctic Cat and Polaris, for they also have very cool new race sleds for the 04-05 race season. This brings me to the subject of the actual full size market, a billion dollar industry. Brand loyalty is very strong here and many snowmobilers want a high performance R/C model they can call their own. They may only run it a few times a season but just owning such a model would stoke their ego, brand loyalty is dear to a snowmobilers heart, the money is not an issue.

Even though the R/C snowmobile concept is seasonal and requires snow, I feel building a high quality scale version of of a current design is needed. Many people like myself race R/C cars in the summer and then have a slow winter, the perfect time to make some tracks in the snow. The snowmobile has the ability to run anywhere and will easily out-perform an R/C truck or buggy when the surface is blanketed with snow. The thrill of running an RCS at the perfect location is very pleasing, seeing the tracks they make and the hills and jumps they can handle. The snow conditions, from fresh & soft, to hard-packed and icy give the RCS model a variety of different and challenging types of terrain to run on, I have even water skipped a 1/3rd scale .21 powered MXZ and also ran them on grass. Making a scale sno-cross track would be very easy using natural terrain. My friend and I have also done many demo runs with the1/3rd scale Ice Racers in between periods at hockey games, the sound of a screaming .21 in an arena is music to my ears !

"Jordan’s” 1/4 Scale Ski-Doo MXZx 440 Rev.

In the late 70`s I was inspired to build my own R/C snowmobile and decided to do drawings in a 1/4 scale size. After doing this I changed the scale to 1/3 because this would give more room for radio components and other necessary items and also offer more stability in the rough world of snow. To date, mostly all my sleds have been 1/3rd scale.

In the year 2001, I was inspired by the introduction of the Nitro Elements Artattack,[close to 1/4 scale] Only the second nitro R/C snowmobile I have seen on the market. The other was made in Sweden in 1980, called "ATOMIC". I was now very fired up to make my version of a 1/4 scale snowmobile! Nearing completion of my latest model, Ski-Doo Racing, rocked the racing world with the "All Conquering" MXZ Rev. As soon as I was able to find one of these amazing new sleds I measured every part I could in order to scale it down to 1/4 the size. After I had my simple drawings complete, I could see how Ski-Doo arranged the layout and pick-up points for this new "A" arm equipped, long-travel race sled that has won 75% of all races last season including the winter X Games.

The chassis for my 1/4scale Rev is formed from sheet aluminum pieces riveted together, with the scale "pyramidal" upper structure distributing shock loads throughout the chassis. This triangulated design greatly strengthens torsional rigidity while keeping weight very low. The engine bay is only big enough for a .21 but hope to test a "Big" .28 pull-start next year. POINT> Only full-size snowmobiles use a "pull-start". Hmmm? What car does?

The front suspension uses TTR rear 1/8 buggy shocks, with scale unequal length brazed "A" arms attached to exact scale aluminum spindles. Skis have an aluminum bridge, thin UHMW base and a runner with a "V" for cornering performance on hard packed and ice.

The rear "skid-frame" [track suspension] is 1/8" aluminum plates with a coil-over shock on the front arm and two torsional springs on the rear arm along with a shock. The track is special belting I have made to the length I need, it has three belts joined with a UHMW "cross-bar" with sheet metal screws for awesome traction. The complete drive has only six [6] bearings and two for the clutch. The clutch is a Thorpe Variable Belt, the famous 1/8th on-road cars from the seventies.

I hand carved all the plugs for the body parts from pine and the riders helmet, ABS was used for these parts which are vacuum formed by a local plastic supplier.

The rider is sponge foam with a wire armature for strength and shape; I sew all the suites myself. The rider gives great crash protection for inverted landings!

I use a Hitec HS645 metal gear servo for the steering and cheaper 322 for the throttle and brakes which is a single floating, fiberglass "wave" rotor and block caliper from the Go-n-Play, Lil Zipper 1/3rd scale go-kart I helped design in 1992. My prototype R/C Rev's are 29" long and weigh 7lbs ready to run with a full 125cc fuel tank from our beloved 1/8 buggies!

I had the pleasure of meeting Brian Baskin from Nitro Elements, the creator of the Artattack, he was very gracious informing me that my 1/3 scale MXZ from 1993 had inspired him to build an RCS of his own! I sure love this great hobby!

Jordan’s other models

I have also designed a 1/3 scale Go Kart called the Lil Zipper of which about 1000 of these were produced. I also made a 1/6th scale Sky-Jack scissor lift that would go 6 feet in the air and had all the features of the full size lift. Made a 1/6th scale vintage modified hobby car for a friend that was all welded and was exact scale of his son’s race car, this had an RG.21 with a Paris AL650 pipe, all the rest was hand made from scratch, I even sewed a window net for this car. Scratch built a 1/3rd scale Honda GP road race bike, made all the parts for this including the rims and tires, over ten wood plugs had to be made in order to make molds for all the fairing, fenders, Rims, seat and helmet for the scale Freddie Spencer scale rider.

I built a one off Yamaha V Max 1/3rd scale 1993 snowmobile for Yamaha Canada.

Many R/C snowmobiles for different people including the Andrettis and world snowmobile Champion Dale Loritz.

I also race 1/8th off-road using a Kani 1 and a very modified 7.5 with my own "in-board" rocker arm shock set-up like the Revo, this I built two years ago, before the Revo. I finished second this past summer in points at our local 1/8th on-road track with my RB powered Serpent 950 and an HPI Proceed as a back-up car, I won the points in the 1/10 open class with a Serpent impact. Two classes in one day is too much!!