Traxxas Slashes are great, cheap, tough as nails and huge community and part support.
I my self love HPI and Team Associated. My first RC is my B4 RS. Just about the best RTR Ive driven to date, and Im not just saying that because I own one. I don't have any HPI but the E-firestorm RTR I drove was great and of course the Savage is legendary for toughness
If you're looking for a "sort of" Shortcourse, You should look into Stadium trucks. Most SC trucks are just the Stadium Truck brother with a few mods and a new body. Slash is to Rustler, as SC10 is to T4.