Traxxas Skully & Craniac Review – Great Beginner RC Truck

Traxxas RC Monster Truck Skully vs. Craniac Review

What makes a great RC truck? The answer is different for every person.  Some people want something with speed and the ability to do some crazy sick jumps, while others what torque and the ability to climb over absolutely everything.  But, some people want something that’s durable, fun, and simple to work on and drive – which is what the Traxxas Skully (or Craniac) is.  Especially, if you’re new to the RC hobby, and you’re looking for a truck that you can take out on almost any terrain and have some fun with – this is a truck you should give some serious consideration to.

We put together this video review so you could see it up close an in action.  Eric goes through some close ups of the motor, ESC (Electronic Speed Control), shocks, and more – and then the fun begins.  We take it out and do some jumps with it in the dirt, get some shots of it running through the grass with our DJI Phantom 3, and then take on some pavement jumps.  If you stick around towards the end of the video, you’ll see if the Skully can outrun me pushing a lawnmower at lightning speed (ok, maybe I’m no Usain Bolt – but I was hustling pretty hard in this video).

Tech Specs

Motor: Titan Brushed 12 Turn

ESC: Waterproof XL5 ESC

Battery: 7 cell 8.4V NiMH – it also comes with a car charger – which is a bit inconvenient, but it charges about 8x faster (from 8 hours to just under 1 hour – so hopefully that makes up for it).

Top Speed (claimed by Traxxas): 30+ mph / 50+ kph


The Traxxas Skully is essentially the replacement to the Traxxas Monster Jam series, like the Grave Digger.  It’s a 2WD truck with a lot of pep for beginners.  If you’re on your fifth truck – this is the truck you buy for your kids to start on, but if you’ve only ever had cheap RCs before – this is a great place to start on something that doesn’t suck.  It also comes at a great price sitting at about $200 new.  It even has a “training mode” that you can enable if you feel like you need less power until you figure out how to control this beast.

Video Transcript

Transcript for this video provided by Mark at UpWork.

Hi guys I’m Eric with Dollar Hobbyz, here today to talk a little bit about the new monster trucks from traxxas, the skully and the craniac, these are ten scale monster trucks, they have electric motors in them, 2-wheel drive, and they are kind of an introductory model as RC trucks go. However, compared to one from a big box store, it’s a better upgrade compared to one that you can just go and buy off the shelf. Let us go over a few things today and give you a better idea for what the truck is all about.

This is the green version of the Skully, it comes in green and bright blue, there are also red and brown versions of the craniac. All of them are same trucks but with different cosmetics. Underneath the body, this particular one has green bumpers, the blue one comes with blue bumpers, and the craniac has black. Essentially, they have all the same parts, but it allows you if you get tired of one color to swap them out whenever you feel like it. It comes with a Titan brushed 12 turn motor, a water proof ESC and receiver box so that when you run into a puddle or some snow you shouldn’t have any problems with that.

This one uses the NiMH battery that happens to come with a car charger, which is a new development in the last few months or the last year from Traxxas. They used to come up with wall chargers, which were convenient, but they took about 8 hours to charge a battery and this one should charge in about 45 minutes, which is a big advantage. Otherwise, they have flat tires; they do not have any foam inside of them. However, with the weight of the truck, that does not seem to be much of an issue. They hold up really well and hold their shape too.

Overall, it is a nice truck to get going with. If you have the hobby or have any kids that want to try it, it’s a good truck to get going with. Its tops up to about 30 miles an hour, and the ESC can be tuned with training mode to go about half power. So if you are starting out and you are not yet confident in your skills, or you have a kid that you don’t want to run into stuff at full speed, you can tame it down in that way. That covers much of it. Let’s take it out, try it in few different environments, and see how it works.

Testing it out on dirt, pavement and grass and it works perfectly. It’s a fun truck compared to other 4-wheel trucks, which are brushless, weigh a lot less, and go a lot faster. The great thing with the Skully is that you can drive it at full speed and do stunts with it and it will still land on its feet and keeps going. It will not break very easily, and is quite lightweight. The tires not having foam and the body being plastic all over is not a problem. It handles everything super well.

It is an excellent truck for kids or anybody starting should try it out. It is tame but fast enough to be fun and the training mode is nice. If you have kids or someone trying to learn without causing any damage to anything, this is a great truck for that. Just for fun you can have skully outrun a person with a lawn mower.