Interview with the Venture FJ Designer!

Wed, 11th October 2017

Today we sat down with Thad Garner, designer of the Venture FJ for HPI Racing, to learn a bit more about him and the Venture!

Hi Thad, thanks for your time! Let's have a little introduction first - when did you start with HPI and how did you become an HPI designer? 

Thad: I’ve been with HPI since 1998. Early on, I was involved with product testing and development. After learning CAD I transitioned to a design position in 2012. I continued to work closely with other R&D designers learning valuable skills and techniques.

And what HPI parts and kits have you designed or worked on?

TG: I helped develop and finalize the Jumpshot and WR8 Platforms, then I designed the RS4 Sport 3 touring chassis from the ground up, as well as the soon to be released Venture scale crawling platform.

The Venture! Now we’re talking. Of course, like many RC fans around the world we can't wait to get the Venture FJ in our hands, so let's talk about that. First of all, how long did it take to design the truck overall, and what went into the design?

TG: The complete design was finished in about 8 months. I start with conceptualizing and research first, and then I narrowed down what I was going to do so I could start laying out the standard RC components in CAD. This let me get an idea how the design had to take shape. After that I put in the differentials and drivetrain, and then the rest of the components, and design all the parts from there.

So when designing the Venture FJ, what were your influences from real off-road trucks? 

TG: I always liked the idea of having a similar motor drivetrain layout with a 1:1 crawler. Motor under the hood with a transfer case. It’s the most realistic layout, and for RC purposes it’s the most efficient and climbing-friendly way to do the drivetrain.

We think that really helps with the scale aspect, too. So, what about testing the Venture after it was designed? How much were you able to do, and were there any changes you had to make after you drove the Venture for the first time? 

TG: Testing is really important for us, because we want the kit to be great when it gets in the hands of customers. So we do a lot of testing. Our standard procedure is during and after the design phase I will test prototypes which are mostly 3D printed components. I’ll also hand build many of the parts. This is the time for us to find potential problems and finalize the overall design before going to production. As each part is manufactured, a sample will be compared with the original design data and eventually tested as an entire assembly or by itself. After pre-production testing is completed and all the components have been approved, I test the complete and final assembled off-the-line samples again before final the assembly production and packaging. With the schedule I was working under, I allowed myself one month of testing for the Venture. I made several durability improvements as well as suspension setting changes.

The Venture FJ debuted over a year ago, and with HPI going through an ownership change there were many projects that were forced to be delayed. Have you been able to use the extra time to design some new parts or cool options for the Venture? 

TG: Yes, I’ve been able to expand on what I originally had lined up in the way of options. 

Can you talk about any of the new stuff we haven't seen yet? We'd love to know what's in store for scale crawling fans! 

TG: I’d love to, but I can’t reveal anything yet - however, I will say the FJ is only the beginning for the Venture line.

Alright, we understand! So what do you look forward to seeing people do with the Venture FJ?

TG: Just getting out and just having fun.That’s what it’s all about.

Fantastic! Thanks very much again for your time, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Venture!

TG: You’re welcome, I hope this has been enlightening.


Remember this video? Thad was the driver of the Gymkhana Micro RS4 with all the skillz!


Check out the Venture action from the UK edition of the 2017 G6 series! 





  • Factory-assembled & pre-painted electric-powered full-time 4WD 1/10 scale off-road truck
  • Officially licensed replica Toyota FJ Cruiser body
  • Functional roof rack plus side mirrors
  • Front bumper features brush guard, light mounts and D-ring shackles
  • Rear bumper features swing-away spare tire mount and D-ring shackles
  • Adjustable rock rail side sliders help the truck get over tough obstacles
  • Formed steel C-channel chassis rails 
  • Front-mount motor and transmission position for ultimate scale realism
  • Front weight bias improves climbing traction and provides more realistic driving
  • All-metal gear drivetrain for extreme durability
  • Central transfer case with slider driveshafts to front and rear differentials
  • Transfer case prevents motor stall for the best climbing action
  • Transfer case also straightens & lowers center driveshafts for more efficient power transfer
  • Axles feature small diff case or "pumpkin" size for best possible ground clearance
  • Aluminum differential pumpkin cover
  • Locked differentials for superb off-road climbing traction
  • 12mm aluminum hex hubs to fit any available crawler wheels
  • Shock towers have multiple shock mounting positions to allow for wheelbase options
  • BTA (Behind The Axle) steering linkage for improved approach and departure angles
  • Panhard bar for scale looks and optimized geometry with zero bump steer
  • Zero Ackermann high steer knuckle design for improved obstacle clearance and tighter turning radius
  • 3-link front and triangulated 3-link rear suspension
  • Oil-filled aluminum coilover shock absorbers (63-90mm stroke)
  • Adjustable threaded shock bodies for quick ride height changes
  • Dual-stage shock springs
  • Aluminum lower link/shock mounts
  • Aluminum panhard mounts
  • CMS (Chassis Mounted Servo) realistic steering setup
  • Adjustable body mounting to fit any style of off-road body
  • Fully braced rear body mounts
  • All-terrain Rockthorn 109mm x 38mm soft S-Compound tires with chunky tread blocks
  • Beadlock style CR-10 ten-spoke 1.9” wheels
  • HPI 35-turn crawler spec motor provides speed as well as crawling torque 
  • HPI waterproof SC-3SWP3 Crawler Edition adjustable electronic speed control 
  • HPI water-resistant SS-20WR steering servo
  • HPI TF-40 2.4GHz radio system with carry handle
  • HPI waterproof 2.4GHz receiver in protective case
  • Full set of ball bearings
  • Includes NiMH battery and charger and 4 AA batteries for radio transmitter



  • Length: 527mm (20.7")
  • Width: 227mm (9")
  • Height: 238mm (9.4") with roof rack, 217mm (8.5") without (will vary depending on tire choice and suspension settings)
  • Wheelbase: 311mm (12.3")
  • Front overhang: 101mm (3.9")
  • Rear overhang: 135mm (5.3")


  • Running weight: 2.4kg (5.3lbs)
  • Weight without battery: 2.1kg (4.7lbs)


  • Break-over angle: 44.5 degrees
  • Approach angle: 55 deg
  • Departure angle: 45.5 deg
  • Max climb angle: 49 deg
  • Max tilt angle: 28 deg
  • Axle articulation: 30 deg
  • Ground clearance 68mm capable: (2.7")
  • Ground clearance at standard ride height 60mm: (2.4")
  • Axle ground clearance 32mm: (1.3") 


  • Drivetrain ratio: 7.6:1
  • Transmission gearing: 1.53:1
  • Axle gearing: 3.31:1
  • Transfer case gearing: 1.5:1

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