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AFTER PUTTING TOGETHER THE TAMIYA BEETLE RALLY CAR
and working on the fix-your-suspension article with Kev for this issue, I couldn’t help but think about how many hours I’ve happily spent at my hobby bench working on RC cars (not to mention static models, rockets, and electronics, plus many more hours in the garage working on bicycles, but I digress). I love working on stuff, but I do get the appeal of ready-to-run models, and I frequently appreciate the chance to jump right into action with no assembly or painting required. RTRS have been great for the RC biz because they’re what most people want. Open box, install batteries (and add fuel, perhaps), go have fun. I’d say you don’t know what you’re missing by not building a kit, but maybe you do know—or at least think you do. If you think going DIY with RC sounds like a drag, I bet it’s because some past disassembly disaster convinced you that you weren’t “mechanically inclined.” Something, somewhere, sometime made you think putting stuff together just wasn’t your thing, and if you take apart your car or try to build one yourself, you might disturb the mechanical magic that allows it to work at all. If that sounds like you and you’re wary of working on your cars yourself, don’t be. It’s not hard, and there’s more to be gained by doing it yourself than just saving a trip to the hobby store. Anytime I roll my chair up to the workbench to decompress with an RC project, I can’t help but think how much of the hobby, for me, is working on cars as opposed to driving them. Mind you, RC cars don’t need to be worked on that much. It’s not like they’re mopeds or Fiats. I just enjoy working on my RC cars, so I do it a lot. I like tearing them down and rebuilding them, I like tricking them out with aftermarket gear, and I like creating my own custom machines. While I don’t root for parts to break or wear out, I do enjoy fixing whatever needs to be fixed. And so, it’s a bummer when I see RC drivers (sometimes young, often not) limiting themselves to only half of the hobby—the half where you’re holding the transmitter. The other half, where you’re holding a screwdriver, hex wrench, or soldering iron, can be just as much fun, if not more, and very rewarding too. The next time you’re ready to turn your car over to the techs, give yourself a turn at making the fix. You just might surprise yourself with how well you do and how much fun you have doing it.