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Exclusive First Look: WL-Model 16800 1/14 Excavator RTR

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  • Exclusive First Look: WL-Model 16800 1/14 Excavator RTR

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    WL-Model 16800 1/14 Excavator RTR

    XK Innovations has been strong partners with Motion RC for a few years now, and we're especially proud to announce their first entry into the hobby-grade Construction Category with their very own 1/14 scale Excavator! In this review I'll cover all you need to know when considering whether or not this is the right machine for you. We've been part of this development for nearly two years, so I'm excited to dig into what makes this worth buying for someone looking to get into hobby grade RC Construction without breaking the bank.

    Let's start with a few basic specs:

    Model: "*SKU#" Excavator
    Scale: 1/14
    Weight: 10.5 lbs / 4.7kg
    Primary Materials: ABS Plastic and Metal
    Power system: Electric, single 2s 1800mAh battery with T-connector
    Assembly Required: None
    Delivered As: RTR - - Everything in the box except four AA batteries for the 2.4Ghz radio transmitter

    Fully independent drive system on metal caterpillar tracks
    360 degree upper hull rotation
    Steel gear driven boom
    Electric linear actuator driven stick and bucket
    Fully proportional precise control inputs for all movements
    Trip switches for over limit protection
    Sound system
    Innovative "Exhaust effect" water vaporizer system (no oil required!)
    LED lighting
    Detailed cockpit with clear window panels
    Metal bucket included; future accessories planned

    Initial impressions so far : Solid value for the price point!

    Unboxing: Packaging

    The Excavator arrived an outer shipping carton and a custom cut EPP foam enclosure that fully encased the Excavator and its accessories with a very tight fit. The factory decided to ditch the art box packaging and I'm glad they did, choosing instead to focus on maximum protection against drops during transportation. It's a utilitarian approach that I think makes sense. After my initial unboxing and testing, I repackaged the Excavator and conducted drop tests against flat faces, edges, and corners, from one foot to three feet. In all instances, the Excavator emerged unscathed, which is a testament to the effectiveness of this packaging method.

    Unboxing: Contents

    The Excavator is delivered as an RTR, meaning everything is included in the box except for the four AA batteries required for the radio controller.

    The Excavator itself is fully assembled and painted. I was pleased to see that the paint on the metal and plastic parts match each other well, to the point that it's almost impossible to tell them apart.

    The radio is a typical gamer style controller with four trigger finger buttons for driving the tracks, a D pad for toggling sound, and a number pad for toggling the smoke effect and other features. The left control stick induces cabin traverse and stick extension/retraction, while the right stick induces boom elevation/depression and bucket scoop/dump. At 50 feet, the radio's range test shows operation far beyond what I'd consider typical for an earth mover, where usually I want to be right in front of it to watch all the action up close.

    The radio requires you to provide four AA batteries. One nice touch is that the battery hatch cover is attached with a latch but also fastened by a screw. I'd guess that the screw is used for additional protection against young ones opening the battery hatch, but for us adults, I ditched the screw and just rely on the latch to keep the cover attached. This makes swapping batteries quicker because I don't need to look for a screwdriver anymore.

    A simple "WL Construction" logo is branded on the boom and the cab. I was very happy to see that these are silkscreen printed, not decaled, which means that one could theoretically add a decal over these areas without the WL branding hampering the decal's surface. In other words, they're easy to cover over, for those inclined to do so.
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    Unboxing: Accessories

    One 2s 7.4V 1800mAh Li-ion battery is included, which can be charged using the included USB charger or most common RC Hobby chargers. I've had good experiences with this battery over the years; it's the same battery WLToys uses in several of its larger RC trucks, buggies, and crawlers. A T-Connector is used, and I noted that there is precious tight space in the battery bay for an adapter, if you choose to use a different battery with, say, an XT60 connector.

    Out of the box, a full metal bucket is pre-equipped on the Excavator's stick. Interestingly, other accessories were not included in the box, but there are two cutouts in the EPP foam cradle for what appear to be other earth moving accessories. Additionally, the stick has a low profile hole in it which contains a hidden 1.3mm powered input, which strongly suggests that WLToys is planning to produce powered accessories to replace the standard metal bucket. I'm interested to see what they provide in the future! Excavators are very versatile and there is a wide range of potential accessories I can imagine would be fun to use on this machine.


    Zero control setup is required for the model out of the box. The radio arrives already bound. Charge the main battery, turn on the radio, slide the switch under the house, and the excavator will come to life with its onboard sound system. An empty flexible plastic bottle is provided to inject tap water into the reservoir, which then produces a mist "exhaust effect" when pressing Button 4 on the radio transmitter's number pad.
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  • #2
    Operating the Excavator

    An excavator requires unique inputs that are different from an airplane, tank, or conventional truck or car. It is challenging at first, but very rewarding to learn and master. I find it easiest to break up the movement of the excavator between two sections: The Undercarriage, and the House/Boom.

    The Undercarriage comprises the tracks and motors (all the black parts) that control the vehicle's movement forward, reverse, pivot right, pivot left, spin right, spin left. Being a tracked vehicle with independent drive motors, you have the option of moving the right track forward or aft or not move it at all. The same goes with the left track. Forward and Reverse are toggled by pressing either of two trigger buttons on the left and right side of the controller. For example, to move forward, press both the left forward button and the right forward button at the same time. To pivot to the left, release the left forward button while continuing to press the right forward button. The left track will stop moving at all, the right track will continue moving forward, resulting in a pivot to the left. After a few minutes of practice, it becomes easy, and after an hour, it becomes second nature. There is a built-in delay that ramps down inputs in the track/motor system, which reduces driving precision slightly but is intended to reduce wobbles and shakes.
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    The House/Boom is the upper section (all the yellow parts). 360 degree spin is easy enough to do, by holding the left stick either all the way left or all the way right. The Boom, Stick, and Bucket all articulate like a real excavator, although WL's dogbones and H link limit the amount of inward curl the bucket can achieve.
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    One of the elements that differentiates a Hobby Grade excavator and a Toy Grade is that a Hobby Grade should have proportional control that allows for precise movements, and I am very happy to see this excavator has powerful, precise, proportional control. I was able to balance on a ledge by positioning the bucket's teeth on the 6mm thick tile that made up the ledge's corner! Movements can be made slowly or quickly depending on your inputs.
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    • #3
      Here in China, there are excavators everywhere. It seems there's construction on at least one corner of my block every day! I took the excavator out and handed it to some of the construction workers and real excavator operators, and they all loved it! We have a bit of fun digging in tandem. I wouldn't recommend operating your excavator this close to a real excavator, but it did make for nice video and pictures! For the record, I was safely behind a concrete bollard that was beyond the maximum reach of the excavator. Only my model and my camera (controlled on a wifi slider) were within its arm's reach. The driver had a bit of fun and at one point tried to pick up the model with the teeth of his real excavator.
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      • #4
        Conclusion of My Review:

        After hours of use, my 16800 excavator is still going strong. It can climb onto a stack of bricks, which is a feat I never thought I'd be able to do with an excavator at this price point! Here is how I rate this excavator:

        Initial Quality: 83/100
        High marks on all aspects. Everything worked, nothing was missing or broken. Good quality paint application, even on the glossy surfaces. Consistent color matching between painted plastic parts and painted metal parts. Simple but secure packaging. This model doesn't include any fancy retail packaging, but the laser cut EVA or EPP foam cradle is more than durable enough to ensure everything arrives safely without a scratch.

        Ease of Transport: 85/100
        The lighter 10.5lbs is a good balance between transportability and stability. For younger users, I can see the appeal of a lighter machine. For me, I may end up adding some adhesive lead weights to the underside of the undercarriage, to further lower the center of gravity. Huina's mostly die-cast excavator is about 20% heavier out of the box.

        Ease of Use: 80/100
        For some first time users, mastering the coordinated movements of an excavator may be tricky. But I would encourage everyone to practice and within an hour you should be confident enough to do most operations such as digging, scooping, dumping, smoothing, and driving. Save advanced maneuvers such as climbing stairs for subsequent practice sessions. It's very rewarding, I assure you!

        The battery bay is adequately sized for the included battery. It is not too tight of a fit, which cannot be said for some other RC vehicles I've come across. The common T-connector is pre-installed, and luckily there's enough space for my T-connector-to-XT60 adapter, as that is what most of my 2s batteries use.

        The battery itself has held up well. This is the same battery used in many of their other RC vehicles often under much more strenuous, higher amp conditions, so I'm not worried about its lifespan. Recharging it is easy to do with the included charger. The LEDs indicating charge status are clear.

        Ease of Maintenance: 90/100
        Many of the connections are made with connectors instead of direct soldered pads. Most importantly, the boom and stick's linear actuators, which are the most likely item to break if over-stressed, are very easy to replace. We'll produce a video in the future showing how to do this in under ten minutes. It's simply a matter of unscrewing the boom halves, unplugging the old actuator, plugging in the new actuator, then screwing the two halves back together. Soldering is NOT required!

        General unkeep should match your use case. If you're out in wet sand and mud all day, then be sure to clean the tracks from time to time. I do not recommend pouring water over the machine directly --this will void the warranty. There isn't any weatherproofing along the house or undercarriage. Wet sand and mud are fine in my experience, but avoid pools of water.

        Spare Parts: 100/100
        Perhaps the most important element when I consider an RC product is its availability of spare parts. On this front, the WL-Model 16800 Excavator really shines. All of the major spare parts, and many other spare parts that I can't imagine ever "breaking" or needing replacement" are offered by the manufacturer. We really emphasized having a wider catalog of spare parts to support a hobby-grade RC vehicle, and WL-Model delivered.

        Durability: 86/100
        I haven't put this model past ten hours of personal use yet, but I'm close. I expect normal things to fail, such as linear actuators, or perhaps the odd speaker here or there. The plastic areas so far haven't scratched much or chipped. By contrast, the gloss black paint on the tracks have begun to chip off, which actually looks better to me and more realistic.

        Value for its Price: 90/100
        In the context of its price point, this excavator is a great value. It is an ideal bridge between the less expensive models and the most expensive models in this category. In the same way a 64mm F-16 and 70mm F-16 and 90mm F-16 occupy different price points and feature levels, but can still co-exist and make their respective owners happy, I think this excavator can coexist in a category that has other similar excavators. None of their price points and feature levels are identical, so in that sense I think we as customers are spoiled for choice.

        My personal overall averaged rating:



        • #5
          It's finally public! Below is the main product information for this exciting model that's part of our expansion into RC Construction, led by Huina's wider range of products. WL-Model's excavator is worth considering as well.
          1/14 Scale 16800 Excavator from WL-Model - RTR - WLM16800-001

          Product Availability: The estimated time of arrival (ETA) for this product is mid-February, 2020. Please click the "Notify Me When Back In Stock" button above to receive an email notification when the product is available for purchase.

          As a strong partner with XK Innovations, Motion RC is proud to announce WL-Model, a new brand that provides a cost-effective entry into the world of Hobby-Grade RC Construction. WL-Model's first vehicle is their very own l 1/14 scale Excavator! Precise and powerful, this excavator is ideal for new enthusiasts eager to experience the creative fun of earth moving and perfectly suited to both indoor and outdoor use alongside popular RC vehicles such as the dependable Huina 1/14 scale V3 Dump Truck.

          10.5 pounds of die-cast and molded plastic parts provide the perfect balance between stability, safety, and cost. With realistic articulation, high quality steel actuators, and reliable 2.4Ghz proportional controls, the WLToys 16800 Excavator is a truly hobby-grade machine suitable for all ages 14 and up. This easy to use excavator requires zero assembly out of the box and features lights, sound, and a realistic water-based "exhaust effect" that is non-toxic and child safe! Backed my Motion RC's excellent technical support and a wide range of spare parts, we have what it takes to keep you on the job site. Can you dig it?
          Ready to Run (RTR) Convenience

          Zero assembly is required, simply add 4 AA batteries to the radio and charge the included main battery to begin digging!
          Balanced and Stable

          Hefty 10.5lbs total weight combining die-cast metal and molded plastic parts provides a stable base for both indoor and outdoor digging.
          Powerful and Precise

          Master the coordinated movements of a real excavator, powered by direct drive motors. Experience the precision of proportional control as you drive, dig, and even climb obstacles taller than the track height!
          Metal Track and Suspension

          Twin 380 Motors power the Independent Direct Drive system, riding on full-metal tracks that power through outdoor terrain on your RC work site.
          Detailed and Fully Featured

          Sharply molded details, functioning LED lights and realistic sounds deliver a satisfying realistic experience as a desktop display and a functioning 1/14 scale RC vehicle.
          Realistic Movements

          Infinite rotation of the main “house” gives you the flexibility of a life-size excavator, able to retrieve and deposit material in 360 degrees around itself.

          The “exhaust effect” uses a non-toxic vaporizer that requires only tap water. Safe around children and hassle-free!
          Reliable Control

          Control all functions from the included 2.4ghz radio from up to 100 feet away. All functions are pre-programmed and ready to use. Just add four AA batteries.
          Easy to Service

          Screw-Together construction simplifies disassembly for custom painting, modifications, or upgrading.

          Backed by XK Innovation’s decade-long reputation for Hobby-Grade RC vehicles, and Motion RC’s proven service and spare parts support, keep your excavator running with confidence!
          • Fully independent drive system on metal caterpillar tracks
          • 360 degree upper hull rotation
          • Steel gear driven boom
          • Electric linear actuator driven stick and bucket
          • Fully proportional precise control inputs for all movements
          • Trip switches for over limit protection
          • Sound system
          • Innovative "Exhaust effect" water vaporizer system (no oil required!)
          • LED lighting
          • Detailed cockpit with clear window panels
          • Digging force:
          • Metal bucket included; future accessories planned
          • WL-Model 16800 1/14 Scale Excavator - RTR
          • 2.4GHz radio transmitter
          • 2S 7.4V 1500mAh Li-ion battery with T-connector
          • USB charger
          • Complete instruction manual
          • 4x AA batteries for 2.4GHz radio transmitter


          • #6
            Post any questions, photos, or comparisons you'd like us to address!


            • #7
              Originally posted by Alpha View Post
              Post any questions, photos, or comparisons you'd like us to address!
              I am definitely going to have to add this one to the list. Looks to me like it is about 80 pct as beefy and capable as the huina for about 55 pct of the price which should represent an awesome value! It would be really cool to see a photo of this and The Huina side by side with the booms fully extended to get a sense of how it compares size wise to a more familiar model. This could become the best way to get a hobby grade version of an excavator while avoiding the all plastic toy grade versions that are not really usable at all. The Huina has occupied that space for a few months now and this looks like an exciting alternative!! Considering that the least expensive hydraulic excavator out there starts at about 1900USD delivered and is frankly kinda ugly looking this is a really good way to dip your toe in the hobby without breaking the bank. It will be interesting to see how it holds up as you use it some more. my Huina has done everything I have asked of it including letting my 50 pound child ride on it! It will be neat to see a real world torture test of this one to see how it fares.


              • #8
                I'm a bit surprised this XK version is so close performance-wise to the much more expensive Huina.

                I guess my question ends up being...if it's agreed the Huina is better, is it $200 better than the XK?

                I was all set to buy the Huina, but this great review of the XK has me second guessing...


                • #9
                  It sure does look good for the price. I hope to buy one as soon as they are in stock and offer stickers for them as well. Should be great for the kids to play with as well.


                  • #10
                    If Alpha can confirm, I'd like to see if the track width of the Huina excavator is any more narrow than the WL.

                    The Bruder trailer is about 8" wide and (in theory) fits the wheeled loader perfectly...and the excavator Click image for larger version  Name:	B619AADC-5033-4DA0-9796-0B6A15C63E6A.png Views:	0 Size:	1.93 MB ID:	226479 confirmed by the youtube video. The WL excavator says the width is 9"...just a hair too wide....yet the Huina excavator seems to fit on the trailer nicely.


                    • #11
                      Look at the bright side excavators usually hang over trailers in the real world anyhow so it will just look real if so. I will plan to order one next month and see how it works out.


                      • #12
                        ​ I found the Bruder trailer with dolly. I thought it was in stock from the place I ordered from, but they said they are waiting for it to be shipped from their vendor...maybe 1-2 weeks...ugh.

                        When I get confirmation that they got it and shipped to me, I will be happy to share my I have been boned before sharing a hard to find item find before getting it. I spent hours scouring the internet trying to find this item.....
                        But it does exist as one unit not needing any modifications except mounting a hitch to the dump truck.
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Too Many Hobbies Since you asked, I can confirm that the two excavator's width at the tracks is nearly identical. The WLM is slightly longer.

                          As for overall value, we think that both of these excavators have different markets. The WLM is better suited for a new, budget-conscious construction modeler or a casual digger who still wants reasonable metal content and digging power. The Huina, on the other hand, is best suited for someone who wants the best electric excavator on the market in this scale that is also mostly die-cast (heavy), features metal gearsets (durable), and like Trevor wants to have his kid stand on it for a ride from time to time. I'd never even think about trying that with the WLM.

                          If we thought one of these excavators didn't provide a high value for a given target audience, we wouldn't have brought it into our product family. I will elaborate in more detail of their differences and similarities as these products near our shelves. In the meantime, suffice to say that having owned both of them and after running them side by side numerous times, I can honestly say that, external looks aside, they're quite different in several important ways. One aspect they share in common is that both excavators deliver high value in context of their relative price points, without being overpriced or undervalued.

                          "Something for everyone"!


                          • #14
                            Thanks Alpha! Nice summary of both units. I'd like to get an excavator with the most digging power, so I'm going for the Huina! I can't wait for these units to come in!


                            • #15
                              The trailer has shipped! It's $69 and can be found here. The only place I could find it. They have red too but it's $10 more for some reason.



                              • #16
                                My trailer arrived yesterday....It looks nice! It is all ABS plastic but very sturdy. Hopefully it can support a 12 lb excavator. It does in the youtube videos, so I am hopeful.


                                • #17
                                  Alpha, any updates on the new excavator. It is almost mid Feb so I am hoping these are in a shipping container somewhere close? Also hoping you and all the crew are doing well over there!


                                  • #18
                                    Still have 10 more days until we are in mid

                                    But I am anxious as well! Hope they come in soon!

                                    I didn't know people here are based in China? If so, hope all is well! Scary times...


                                    • #19
                                      I want this is product


                                      • #20
                                        I've been getting ads for other scale products announcing shipping delays due to that awful Coronavirus.

                                        I am wondering if the virus will affect shipping of these new Huina products?