Having a short break from our mortgage committments has allowed myself and the family more time (and benjamins) to spend on idle hobbies. Long time readers will be aware of my other hobbtistic passion, but may not be aware that radio control aeromodelling was preceeded in my early days by a wee dabble in road-going RC cars. From basic electric models up to higher-spec two-speed nitro-methanol beasties.
So it was that a recent trip to the hobby shop had my eyes wandering to the racks full of gas-powered stadium trucks and buggies. You see my road-racing days were exciting, but forever haunted by the demons of less than perfectly smooth roads, and less than perfect weather. Driving to the hopefully-not-wet RC road track, I would often drive past the offroad guys, seeing them blasting around their track, leaping trucks into the air, and throwing up great plumes of dirt with gay abandon. Then we’d sit around waiting for the last puddles to dry off the road track before getting our runs in.
You can imagine it didn’t take much prodding for me to take the plunge and grab a 1/10 scale Tamiya Nitro Crusher NDF-01T. It just looked too damn fun. I was actually looking for a kitset that I could build up and install some spare radio gear from one of my planes, but that turned out to be almost impossible. I could rant on here about pre-built kits and unimaginative lego sets (two halves of a pirate ship and some figures?!) causing the downfall of society by spoonfeeding spoilt little brats and removing all knowledge of mechanical workings and any sense of ownership in terms of safety and reliability that one gets by assembling a high-speed, barely-controllable RC car where every last screw matters… but I won’t. It turns out these days 95% of RC cars come in a ‘ready to run’ format, where all that is required is to install batteries, add fuel, and go. The anal retentive in me required a thorough overview of the assembly manual (thankfully still provided in case of repairs), and a check of tightness in critical components. After that it really was batteries, fuel, and go. Tamiya has a sad promotional movie completely lacking in any jumping or decent off-roading, but it does come complete with Satriani-esque rock music if you feel so inclined (9.4MB Quicktime).
I can’t offer any qualification as to the performance of this car in relation to any other nitro-powered 1/10 offroaders, but I can say that it’s quick and very fun. Quick enough to easily clear the 2 metre-long tabletop jump at the local BMX track, and sturdy enough to survive a triple cartwheel when it lands badly. I only managed to slightly bend a steering tie-rod when testing top speed on the back straight at the RC offroad track, failing to take the subsequent corner, and flying sideways into a metal stake holding up the well-placed safety netting. For someone (like myself) not planning any racing, it’s perfect. For those wanting to go further, I understand there are some add-ons like metal doodads to replace plastic, and a two-speed gearbox to improve low and high speed performance.
[tags]RC, tamiya, radio control[/tags]