R/C Hobbyist Spotlight: Chris Rappel

By: Tim Gluth

We’ve all gotten into the R/C hobby for a variety of reasons. Some of us want to relive our childhood and get away from the stresses of everyday life, if only for a few fleeting minutes a day. Others want to forge deeper bonds with our children and start a hobby that is filled with creativity, skill and above-all, fun. My own personal reasons for picking up a radio-controlled car started were a combination of the above, with the resulting path looking nothing like I’d ever imagine.

In this installment of our R/C Hobbyist Spotlight, I’m highlighting a hobbyist that started his R/C journey In a similar fashion, but the paths that he’s taken since starting out six years ago have been nothing short of amazing.

What better way to introduce Chris and his involvement with radio-controlled rigs than to let him share his story in his own words...

My name is Chris Rappel, I always had RCs as a young boy. But I really didn’t start getting into the hobby grade RC until 2011 when I bought my son Will his first RC. We started watching a bunch of YouTube videos to see what was out there and what we would like, my first hobby grade RC was a Axial Wraith and Will’s was an SCX-10 Honcho. While watching all those videos, we came across RC Sparks' channel, so we started our own channel to join the fun. RC CWR was born, which stands for Remote Control Chris & Will Rappel, a father and son RC team. I started filming with my iPhone and edited the videos on the Splice App. After a year or so, we had a GoPro and a laptop and few more RCs.

The hobby of filming and editing to make the videos started to become more of a passion in itself. As we got more into the hobby, I started to do my own RC builds and that became an obsession too. So now I have 3 hobbies in one, the builds, the driving and the videos. Now we are up to 40+ RCs and 4 cameras and one addiction that keeps growing. When Google joined forces with YouTube, they wanted us to change our channel names to our actual names so that it was easier for people to find our channels and follow us, so it was renamed to Chris Rappel.

Will and I started trailing with more of the locals and met more and more RC addicts along the way; Crawler Ted, RC Athletes, RC Trailblazer, Rookie10, and Rudeboyz to name a few.

After a few years of RCing and talking with all the local RC crew, I ended up meeting up with Aaron from RC Sparks and another RC friendship grew.  The scale scene started to grow, with more guys getting into scale trucks. Our local RC track BFRC (Blackfoot RC) had 3 race tracks and an area that was designated for a scale park. Terry McGee decided to take on the build of the scale park and I jumped in there to help out. Being as I am a finishing carpenter and they wanted a tree course built, I decided to take it on. I bought a bunch of material and a bunch of materials were donated, I started the build.

Over several weekends and many hours, I built an awesome tree course. In the middle of the tree course there was a fairly big area that would be perfect for a “tree house” cabin. That was the first building that I built and that was the start of the scale buildings for me. I went home and I built my first scale cabin for my YT channel, with furniture and an Outhouse, I even have a self carved Buffalo head mounted on the wall. After we had the BFRC scale park built, there was a few comps that were held at the scale park. That is where I met Todd Kendall for the first time and we started to trail more and more, now he’s my RCBFF. We started to get even more into the scale RCs, with custom built trailers, campers and scale truck builds. As we hit the trails with our scale trucks we started to talk about holding and having a scale comp. I have always been a huge fan of camouflage and love the Camel Trophy expeditions, so that started the RC Camo Trophy Expeditions.

I held the first scale comp/expedition in Calgary at the end of January 2016 with 15 trucks competing on the winter trails and it just started growing. The next comp we had in May 2016 (there were 25 trucks)  and it was a badlands expedition with an RC plane crash rescue. Then I met Jim Rowe on Facebook and we started discussing having a Camo Trophy in Las Vegas, so in November 2016, we had 40+ trucks crawling the red rocks of Logandale, a true RC haven. The first ever Las Vegas "Desert Camo Trophy”  - and the next Desert Camo Trophy is in the works. The Camo Trophy rules are very easy and very simple:

  1. Hardbody trucks / no truggys
  2. 1.9 tires or smaller

That’s it. It’s that simple. Being as it is an Expedition not a rally or race, there is no single winner. There are  no gates to hit and no time to beat, it’s a team type event with everyone helping each other. I wanted to create an event that was very minimal on rules, no entry fee (yes that’s right “free") and I wanted everyone that came to walk away with something from the event. There are always scale items that we have to pick up and take on the expedition and there are bigger prizes at the end that are handed out. All the prizes are 100% donated from some amazing RC companies. Bigger prizes like - rims, tool sets, tires, pull pals, scale accessories, etc. are handed out at the end, which is all random draw type format (I write numbers on the bottom of the scale accessories and the numbers are drawn at random or tickets are given out).

There is always some money out of pocket for decals/stickers and of course a lot of time to setup. At the end it, it’s all worth it and very rewarding to see all the RCers having a great time. There has been talk of having the Camo event in other places as it grows too, who knows where the expedition will take us. Anyways back to Vegas.

There were 6 of us that made the drive down to Las Vegas from Calgary to join the expedition. We had 3 guys in our truck for the 16+ hour non-stop drive down and we had lots of time to talk RC. As we talked and talked, the idea of Scale Town came up more and more. The beginning of Scale Town was born, I changed the name of my channel from Chris Rappel to Scale Town, as my channel was getting to be more and more scale trucks and it was a perfect fit. I have had many bashers along the way and still have some but scaling is what I love the most. I go to different events throughout the year, just to meet up and talk RC shop with different guys and help support the local RC community like, Crawler Ted’s Urban Assault, Rudeboyz TTC, GCM Racing Call to Crawl, and RECON G6.

I’ve also spent some time at RC Sparks Big Dirty, Little Dirty and TTCs, competing or helping film (if I don’t have a remote in my hands I want a camera in my hands LOL). Calgary has a big RC community and it’s awesome to be a part of it, so many cool guys out there and a lot of super talented builders.

Learn more about Chris Rappel & Scale Town

Image credit: Chris Rappel

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