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SWORKz S12-1M Early Build Blog

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We were lucky enough to manage to get a couple of the highly anticipated SWORKz S12-1M 2wd buggies flown over prior to the official UK Launch on the 15th December 2015. This was to be the car that Kevin Brunsden was to run at Maritime Raceway Sunday 13th December so we needed to crack on with the build somewhat. We had Karl on the tools, Pete on the camera and generally interfering with Karls build.

For those who don’t know this is one of the first production 3 gear laydown 10th buggies around. This layout is very well suited to high grip surfaces such as carpet and astro and by moving the weight of the motor forwards gives a better balanced car that is easier and most importantly faster round the track.

Box Contents

First up we have our box contents, there isn’t a lot to see as usual with a box of bits but what we see is all nicely packaged and it gives us a chance to notice that the car comes with two of the Sonic wings included on the same moulding which is nice as it gives you a chance to cut them out differently for high and low down force use, they are also well priced at just £6.49 so should be popular with racers of other buggies.

SWORKz S12-1M Box contents


First up we start with the chassis and build up from there which is a nice departure as normally with a SWORKz kit the front and rear are built and then attached to the chassis, though it makes no difference technically it’s nice to feel as if you have a car from the early stage of the build. The first stage is to attach the side guards which its worth noting sit on a up kicked edge of the chassis so remember to put the screws in at the same angle as the chassis, it’s easy enough, just don’t try and put them in straight.

The chassis used is the same for both the S12-1M Mid forward 3 gear layout motor and the coming soon S12-1R (Rear and Mid motor 4 gear) version which is nice to see and saves racers money on multiple cars needed for different surfaces.

The chassis is very nicely made, all countersunk, hard coated and machined to introduce flex where needed. It also has a very nicely machined taper towards the rear of the chassis as can be seen in the images.

SWORKz S12-1M Box contents

SWORKz S12-1M Box contents

SWORKz S12-1M Box contents

Steering Assembly

The next stage is to source and assemble all the steering components. This proves to be a very straightforward process with all parts fitting well, nice fluid smooth steering and a chance to see the front kick up adjustment. The front hingepin holder has two settings depending which way it is mounted allowing for 25degree and 30degree kick up out of the box, also included are two shims of 0.5mm and 1.0mm which allow the height of the plate to be adjusted. We built using 25degree and 0.5mm shim as per the set up used by Scott Yang at the recent 1/10th worlds out at the Yatabe arena Japan.

SWORKz S12-1M Steering parts

SWORKz S12-1M Steering parts

SWORKz S12-1M Steering parts

Next up is servo installation, we went with the Xpert SI-4431 full size servo rather than a low profile as it seems speaking to others running 2wd though the theory is nice that a lighter low profile servo allows you to add weight as you wish it ends up being the case that the weight is always fitted so there is no benefit to low profile for this installation. The Xpert SI-4431 is pretty much ideal for 10th buggyists out there with 17.5kg of torque and a transit time of just 0.08 seconds for 60degree movement. They centre well, are brushless and pretty much bullet proof in 1/10th.

We thought we knew better than the manual at this point (wrong!) and initially fitted the servos with the rubber grommets we always use in 1/8th (not needed in 10th but we like to be cautious) only to find that it caused fitment issues with the front brace / upper deck so back to the manual we went used the included fitting parts which were perfect. We opted to use the larger of the two servo shims behind the servo but this will depend on your servo of choice and allows you to get the link as inline as possible with the steering bell crank.

Build tip. One point of note is regarding the steering drag link (between the servo saver and ball crank) In the manual it makes no mention of the length needed for this assembly but does show a small gap between the rod ends. We suggest a 2mm gap between rod ends, to make it too small will reduce total mechanical steering. We initially tightened it fully as per the image which meant a return to it later to correct the fitment.

Xpert Si-4431 Sowrfkz s12-1M

Front suspension assembly and shock tower

Next up we have front suspension build up starting with the rather lovely machined alloy shock tower, this sure looks sturdy and should prove solid enough for even the toughest of drivers. This attaches to the front upper deck firstly. This is CNC machined from 7075 aluminium and anodised black unlike the early images that were released showing a silver tower. We like the black and as is the way in 10th these days it will match your black servo horn, black wires, black heat shrink and black everything else. For those of my generation I still like the fluorescent early 90’s look but hey, I’m told black wiring is worth a second a lap so who am I to argue?!


SWorkz S12-1 Front alloy shock tower

Build tip. The manual then moves onto attaching the front upper deck assembly and ball studs, we did it this way first but later found that the insertion of the grub screws that secure to a flat spot on the hinge pin through the front arm holder to be tricky, not impossible just a little tricky. We preferred to fit the front lower arms, bumper and brace firstly then the top deck to allow us to get the grub screw in square. Also worth noting is the positioning of the flat spot on the hinge pin as it is not in the centre of the pin but offset slightly. The manual does point this out so you should have no issue.

Sworkz s12-1m front end

Front and rear hubs

We now move onto the extremities of the car working firstly on the front hubs which are pretty conventional and feature a 12mm hex with a 4mm threaded shaft for the wheel to locate on so use of any 1/10th front wheels does not cause problem. These build up simply and easily, feature vertical ball studs for height adjustment and adjustable inserts. What is noticeable here is just how well the parts are all moulded and fit together. One other point of note is that the hinge pin used in both the steering pivot and the connection to the lower are the same pins which make keeping spares easy for those deciding which bits they may need in their spares box (SW-330536)

Onto the rear hubs and a lot of people have been asking of the car comes with 12mm or 14mm wheel hexes. Well, the answer is both! The S12-1 (M and R) come with CVD axles and also the hexes, pins and nuts to run the car in either configuration making it EOS legal and also poses no problems for those with a stock of wheels and tyres that they want to use up. We built with the 14mm set up as we always liked it on the S104 and S104 EVO but the option is there to so as you please on it.

The CVD’s all build up nicely and once fitted into the hubs these attach to the solid rear arms which allow for 3mm of wheelbase adjustment to tune for different tracks and feel.

Sworkz S12-1 rear 12mm 14mm hubs included

Rear shock tower and hingepin hangers.

Next up is the rear upper arm holder, shock towers and wing mount.

As is the norm these days the inboard rear upper arm holders are horizontal allowing for shims / washers to be used to allow for adjusting the roll centre. The Shock towers is SWORKz’s latest carbon which is pretty strong stuff. Ideally you would always seal the edges of any carbon based material to prevent delaminating but we were up against it in this build but given opportunity again we would of course do so. Here's probably the best "How to" guide on the subject from RC Driver - Prepping Carbon Fiber

Build Tip. The rear tower assembly goes together easily enough but you must note that there are three different screw length used in this area, all 3mm Button heads but some are 10mm, others 12mm and the last two which are used to go through the shock tower, mount and wing mount 15mm. We found it easiest to colour code the guide lines in the manual to make it more straightforward. To use the wrong screws here will result in a weakness in the area so pay close attention.

Both of the hinge pin holders at the back end of the car are CNC machined from 7075 aluminium as per the shock tower and look super sturdy, I can't ever imagine these needing replacement. The hinge pins hangers all feature adjustable inserts to fine tune the back end of the car. The hinge pins feature moulded plastic balls that attach to the end of them to allow for free and easy movement when making adjustments to tow angle or kick up meaning that you never end up with extremes of set up where the hinge pins feel like the are sitting at extreme angles and putting load on the blocks.


SWORKz s12-1M back end

3 gear low rider gearbox

One of the most eagerly awaited parts of the SWORKz S12-1M is the 3 gear low rider gearbox. This has now proven faster and easier to driver than other 2wd layouts in most high grip scenarios such as carpet and astro turf which we predominantly race on in the UK. It features a sealed gear diff using the same already solid internal components from the 4WD S104 and S104 EVO in a new case so no fears here. Gear diffs are so much easier to set up than a ball diff and on most surfaces will always be the diff of choice.

A nice touch is the grooves used in the outdrives to make the installation of the pins easier, this is the same as the S104 and a feature I’ve always liked after years of messing around with long nose pliers trying to get the pin located in other brands.

Sworkz gear diff

The rest of the box builds up very nicely and freely, we did add some grease to the idler gear which is not mentioned in the manual though we felt it worth doing. There is a very nice CNC motor plate which is in keeping with the hinge pin hangers and shock tower to finish the gearbox assembly off.

After you fit the motor you get to assemble the very nice 3 pad slipper assembly which most manufacturers leave to aftermarket companies to provide. The great thing with a there pad slipper is that it will dissipate heat much more efficiently giving a longer life and allowing for more slip without fear of damaging it during a run. This all builds simply enough and the suggested kit setting seems perfect by hand testing though its easily enough adjusted trackside with a 7mm wrench.  All in all a very nice assembly so far of the box and all feels as if it should be solid enough to cope with lots of power through it at even the highest of traction venues.

Sworkz 3 pad slipper

Sworkz s12-1m 3 gear laydown

Rod ends / turnbuckles and shocks.

Stage 24 and 25 bring the assembly of the steering rod ends and upper arms. The rod ends are moulded from a different plastic to the rest of the kit with a harder feel to them they feel as if they will hold on very well to the machined balls and secure with a good “snap” home. The length in the manual are pretty much spot on for a base set up as well which is a nice touch.

Sworkz rod ends

its now staring to seem very complete..

After the rod ends we get to the point of building the shocks up, these are very nice units featuring TiNi coated shock shafts, emulsion bleed screws and shaft protectors. These build up well, bleed well as you would expect and seem very smooth in operation, We build with the kit suggested oils but later on its debut changed to a lighter set up with the stock 1.5mm x 2 hole pistons all round but 450cps / cst oil all round rather than the Yatabe set up 650 front and 550 rear. Do pay attention to which way you have the shock covers facing.

Once the shocks are fitted all that is left is the fitment of the radio equipment, painting of the shell, one can special to make it out for the weekend or a full airbrushed painter special if you can wait! We went two colours including just to get the car done and on track.

Kevin Brunsden your car is ready!

Final thoughts.

On its debut weekend we had two cars running, one at Maritime with long term “SWORKz until I die” man Kevin Brunsden and one at Southport with newcomer Andy Woods. Both were bang on it for the first time out lapping as fast if not faster than two pretty competitive fields and commenting how well the car jumped and let you put the power on quickly after a jump. We loved the build and hopefully the racers will love driving it. We have a active community on Facebook with the SWorkz Racers forum and team drivers can always be found to get some help from.

The SWORKz S12-1M is pretty much everything we hoped for in the SWORKz 2wd will surely find fans out there in a competitive area. Avaialble NOW from your local dealer or prefered on line dealer, check our stockists page for more info or have your seller contact us for an account.

SWORKZ S12-1M Kevin brunsden set up sheet Maritime raceway


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