How to Build a Remote Control Monster Truck Course
A remote control monster truck in any size is massive fun. Just check out all of the options in RC monster trucks that are available at Horizon Hobby. Choices range from low-cost, go-anywhere 1/28 scale mini RC truck models that measure less than six inches long, to huge, tough 1/5 scale brushless radio controlled monster trucks that are capable of astonishing speeds.
Whatever its size, one of the most thrilling things you can do with your remote control monster truck is send it through Monster Jam style challenges in a smaller scale. To some degree, most hobby-quality RC monster trucks can perform the same stunts as their full-size counterparts — backflips, donuts, cyclones, pogos, wheelies, endos, and more. Depending on the size of your model, you can create a miniature version of a monster truck course for it to run on indoors or outside that brings home the Monster Jam experience, complete with ramps, platforms, and even mud pits.
Building a course specifically to drive your remote control monster truck on is almost as much fun as running the model itself. With a little creativity and the right materials, your RC monster truck course can bring the excitement of stadium action right into your garage, basement, or backyard. Here are a few ideas to help get your project going.
How to build a basic indoor remote control monster truck course.
The size of the course you build for your remote control monster truck should, naturally, be comparable in scale to the size of your model. For a mini RC monster truck, it’s fairly easy to put together a nice layout without needing a lot of space or money.
Start by collecting scrap pieces of wood and cutting them into blocks that are roughly the size you need for your ramps and jumps. Then cover the wood blocks with a generous layer of Plaster of Paris or air-dry modeling clay. Either material works, but plaster tends to be messier and leaves a fine powder residue to clean up. The clay is cleaner and easier to paint.
You’ll probably need at least two containers of the plaster or clay — one canister usually provides only enough material to make two nicely sized mini monster truck ramps. Using a putty knife or similar tool, mold the uncured clay or plaster into the shape you want for your remote control monster truck ramps and jumps. A ramp with less height and a low angle will make the model leap farther. A tall, steep angle sends it higher into the air. Vary the angles of your ramps and use curved surfaces to induce backflips.
Add realistic texture to your RC monster truck ramps by rolling tires over the clay or plaster before it hardens. This leaves tread marks that, when painted over, make the surface look like it’s received heavy traffic. Take some old die cast or plastic model cars that you no longer want, roughen them up a bit with a hammer, and press them into the clay at the exit side of a ramp. Now you have a row of junk cars for your remote control monster truck to jump across! While the clay or plaster dries, go online and look at some pictures of Monster Jam events. See what colors are used on the ramps in full-size Monster Jam stadiums, and paint yours in your favorite schemes with acrylic paint.
Use large plywood or foam boards to make the base of your course. To give it a realistic appearance, put some cheap tires on your remote control monster truck, pour mud-colored acrylic paint onto a paper plate, and roll the tires through it. Run the tires over the surface multiple times, until it looks like mud-covered ground that’s been pummeled by a stampede of vehicles. When finished, simply wash the acrylic paint off of your RC monster truck and tires.
Place your completed ramps around your finished surface. Now you’re ready to bring out your mini remote control monster trucks to play.
Want a remote control monster truck course with more flair?
If you’re feeling ambitious and would like to build a more realistic and permanent course for your mini remote control monster truck, here are some tips from none other than Adam and Ryan Anderson — two members of the “first family” of Monster Jam!
In this video the Andersons show how to build a Monster Jam table for 1/64 scale models. You can use the same techniques to build one for your somewhat larger mini remote control monster trucks. Not surprisingly, the Andersons’ track is a stunner. They include all the bells and whistles — even working lights and an audio system for “announcing” events!
For sure, carpentry skills and tools will come in handy here. The Andersons start by building a table-like structure with two-by-fours for the frame and legs and a sheet of plywood on top for the surface. Wood edging and molding pieces, cut to the appropriate lengths, are added to the edges of the table top to form a short wall around the course.
Foam blocks, readily available at any general hobby store, are used for ramps and jumps. The foam comes in a huge variety of shapes and sizes that provide a good starting point to let your imagination go wild. Again, you can refer to photos of actual Monster Jam tracks for inspiration on the shapes and sizes of jumps you want. Trim the foam blocks to your desired shape with a saw or an electric knife. Make sure the driving surfaces will be wide enough for your remote control monster truck. The trimming doesn’t have to be perfect. Some roughness will add to the realism and driving challenge. It will all be covered with Bondo automotive resin before painting.
The Andersons purchased some inexpensive plastic cars at a dollar store to create a row of junk cars to jump. They can be hammered, smashed, and melted however you like for that “demolition derby” look.
When you have all of your jumps and ramps placed where you want them, cover everything with Bondo body filler using a putty knife or homemade scraper. Two thin layers are recommended to hold up to remote control monster truck action. Then sand it semi-smooth.
If you want, you can form mud pits using the Bondo as well. And some ramps and features can be left repositionable. Seal them individually with Bondo but don’t seal them down to the track. Finally, use acrylic paint to paint the course and ramps in whatever Monster Jam inspired colors you prefer.
That’s the basics. Now watch the video to see how the Andersons accessorize their mini monster truck stadium for jaw-dropping authenticity! It’s the perfect course for Losi Mini LMT RC monster trucks, which bring the same detail to scale remote control monster trucks that the Andersons bring to their track.
For larger remote control monster trucks, build a course in your backyard.
There’s plenty of fun to be had ripping your 1/10 scale or larger remote control monster truck over and through the natural features and obstacles in your backyard. And it’s very easy to turn some boards, planks, bricks, and concrete blocks into an exciting variety of temporary ramps.
But as this video demonstrates, it’s also okay to think BIG when it comes to RC monster trucks and where to run them. So if you’re especially ambitious, own a large remote control monster truck, and have plenty of outdoor space plus an understanding spouse or family, watch and witness one way to turn your yard into a semi-permanent Monster Jam style RC playground.
We won’t go into a lot of detail here, because despite appearances, the instructions are pretty simple. Get some extra dirt. Pile it into mounds. Pack the dirt into ramps shaped like those at Monster Jam events. You’ll want some mounds topped with flat platforms, others configured into a series of close jumps, perhaps a few tight curves for backflips, and of course ramps that will launch your big truck into big air.
Maybe you won’t be able to truck in 20 yards of dirt or rent a skid steer, but with some elbow grease and imagination, we bet that you, too, can be sending your remote control monster truck through your own Monster Jam backyard course in no time!