Another hobby of mine is RC. I picked this up before airsoft. I started by buying a cheaper RC-car to (partially) see how my nephew would react to it, and also if I liked and wanted to invest in RC. He was six months old then and he didn’t care much about the car. But he loved the remote. Seemingly for both its appearance – and taste. He actually slept with the controller in his hand like a security blanket. And, later on with the car as well.

RC is one of those hobbies that people generally don’t understand; dismissing it as childish. Many people I’ve suggested should join and drive some RC are very unenthusiastic, thinking it’s just RC, it’s toys, it’s childish or whatever. However, everyone I’ve met who actually tried it have said they loved it. Most of them didn’t believe it’d be as much fun as it was. For those interested I’m explaining a few things about RC. Below is in what way RC has been a good hobby for me.

So, why RC? Again, I needed a reason to go outside. For that purpose, this hobby was ideal. I do also have an interest in cars, although to me it’s more the technology and engineering that fascinates me. The second reason for picking RC up as a hobby was that that I wanted to improve my mechanical skills, of which I had none. It also challenges you. Learning how to manoeuvre an RC-car isn’t easy, especially when you’re driving towards yourself. When you do this, turning left on the controller means you’ll turn right. This forces you to think and react in a way you generally don’t otherwise, which is stimulating.

To note; I mainly use radio-controlled cars, but I do have several tiny drones, SpeedDevil X-Blade (SWE), a couple of another brand I don’t like, and then a larger one, a Traxxas Aton.

Toy grade vs. Hobby grade RCs

WARNING: Should you ever run in to an RC-enthusiast, never call their RC-vehicles toys. Just don’t, for your own protection.

But anyway, are the RC-cars toys? I’d say yes in one sense, but no in another. I’ll explain my reasoning below but if you get bored, just skip a few paragraphs. Or check this video.

In general, a hobby grade RC should mean that every part of the model is replaceable, down to the last rubber seal, the smallest screw or piston inside the shocks. Not just the entire shock tower, but its individual parts as well. Some also say that toy grade cars will just break after a few weeks. This is not the case with my nephew. I got a hobby grade RC, a Carisma 1/24th scale monster truck. It’s tiny,

The hobby-grade RC-cars does 70 km/h (43 mph) out of the box easy. Although real, standard cars can achieve this speed, they generally can’t beat the acceleration, which I feel is more important. In addition, pretty much every decent-sized open area is a potential race track.

Still, for those not satisfied with 70, you can make minor tweaks, which means changing a pinion gear, which is very easy even for a beginner, and costs less than 10€. Some of my own RCs would go up to 90-100 km/h (56-68 mph). I haven’t tried it though; 70 km/h is too fast to be practical. The fastest, out of the box RC goes from zero to 100 mph (160 km/h) in five seconds. They beat actual hyper cars. They’re seriously fast and going racing or drifting is a very satisfying experience. In my opinion, it’s better than video games.

However; the speed of the RCs also makes it dangerous. It’s hard to explain this to people as RCs are considered toys, which I submit is true in many ways. However, an object that weighs between 2-8 kg, will have enough kinetic energy to crack bones going full speed. It’s hard to explain to children especially how they can’t play with the radio-controlled car. I usually don’t let strangers drive them in general as the speed of most of the RC’s I have surprise people.

I always get the same reaction when I ask people if they want to try it though. It’s childish and probably boring. I’ve let people ranging from 20-year old girls to a 50-year old woman. And a drift-loving guy in his late 20’s I met at a park where his friends were about to have a BBQ. (I let him try driving the car but then I moved on as it started to rain.)

Anyway, the second reason I went with is was that I wanted to learn more about how cars work, and more importantly, improve my practical technology and mechanical skills. I’ve never been much of a tinkerer, but I felt I was a bit too bad screwing things in and repairing stuff. Sadly, the ambition to learn this doesn’t mean you’ll learn them immediately. So, the cars broke at a faster rate than I was able to fix them. I’ll fix them soon though.