No matter how we choose to spend our free time, chances are we fill those minutes (or hours, if we’re lucky) with hobbies and pastimes that bring us joy, challenge us, and in some cases, make us strive to attain goals. For those of us that have chosen to plant our flag in the soils of radio-controlled cars, trucks, planes, helicopters, and other aircraft,we can confidently say that all three of those above-mentioned aspects are met.
While I’ve only been involved in the hobby for a short amount of time (four years this past January), I knew from the very first moment I plugged a fresh battery pack into my short course truck, that I was part of something special. Truth be told, I had no idea how large the RC community was at that moment, and my immediate reaction to this rush of newfound euphoria was to tell as many people about it as possible. I honestly can’t compare the level of awe and overall joy that I had felt about hobby during those first moments. At the time, I didn’t realize how many websites, magazines, YouTube channels, and other forms of media were available on the topic, not to mention being actively contributed to. Regardless of this knowledge, there has always been strength in numbers. I wanted to do what I could to give back to a community that I had just begun to admire, sharing my voice and perspective.
Through various forms of media, I began telling my story and sharing my experiences (at RCNewb.com, SmallScaleRC.com, YouTube, and various social networks), though limited as they were, in hopes that others would see how amazing and enjoyable this hobby could be. Looking back now, I realize that I had only scratched the surface of what made RC vehicles a great form of recreation. As those stories were shared, I quickly found others like me that had recently journeyed into the hobby, but weren’t sure which direction they wanted to go (or how to get there).
Along with these fellow “newbs”, I discovered an overwhelming number of individuals that had immersed themselves in all things radio-controlled for years (if not decades) and were not only willing to help lend knowledge and advice, they actively sought out opportunities to do so. It has been a personal goal of mine to learn as much as I can about this pastime and share that knowledge with whomever would ask of it. Getting to this point, however, has been a journey in-and-of itself.
Where Do I Begin?
To arrive where we currently are, sometimes it helps to look back on the path that we’ve traveled to get here. Speaking from experience, my first purchase of a radio-controlled vehicle was a bit of a jumbled mess. While I had a vehicle in mind, that didn’t stop me from spending more time than I should have in a local hobby shop (who am I kidding,you can’t spend “too much time” in a LHS), eyeing all of the vehicles and comparing their prices to my budget. On the surface, buying a RC vehicle should be a straightforward, simple process.
For those just getting into the hobby, or looking at it from a distance, it would seem that the process is simple; find a vehicle that appeals to you, make sure you have all of the parts and pieces that you need, pay for it, and you’re on the road to happiness. While that may be the truth in some cases, I’ve found that the road to hobby happiness sometimes takes some detours.
After a good round of indecision, coupled with a healthy dose of waffling, I walked out of the shop with the vehicle that I had intended to purchase from the start (a Traxxas Slash 4×4). Having dreamt of this day for many years, even as dormant dreams, I had finally joined the club hobby-grade RC owners. Again, looking from the outside in, this may seem like a slam-dunk situation. After all, the main item that you need to be a radio-controlled car hobbyist is a vehicle. Once you have that, it’s all smooth sailing. Right? As I soon noticed, this wasn’t entirely the whole story.