One of the coolest hobbies I've gotten into is racing Remote Control Cars. I started when I was in high school with an old Kyosho Pegasus Electric Off-Road Buggy. It was pretty cool and fun to drive around the front yard. I mostly had fun jumping the curbs, doing donuts, and basically just wearing down the pins on the off road tires. This whole time that I had the car, I had not put anything into it in the way of hop-ups or any real maintenance. But who cares? My buggy rocked! This was no little Radio Shack special after all.
I thought I was pretty cool until my friend Lewis came over one night about 4 years ago and showed me all about R/C Cars and what buying hop-up parts, learning how to drive, and actually taking care of your car can do for you. His little Tamiya Blackfoot had just about all the cool aftermarket goodies you could buy for it and it was like a rocket compared to my Pegasus. We goofed off a little bit driving around my driveway and front yard, and then we agreed to set up a track area and turn some laps. Well, that's where I learned a couple of new lessons - the big one being that I and my buggy weren't all that...not even.
A few months later, Lewis got a Yokomo YR-4 4WD Sedan racer. It was pretty cool and once he got it tweaked where he liked it, it was awesome. Not being one to even try to work the whole Pegasus thing out, I decided it was time to get a "real" car.
This is when I bought my Kyosho SuperTen GP. It's a 4WD street car that's just a little bit bigger than the normal 1/10th scale cars. More like a 1/9th scale. Oh, and it's Gas Powered. By Gas, I really mean Nitro Methanol.
This shot shows the stock chassis with a tuned pipe for better exhaust flow. The weenie little stock cooling head on the engine is crap, and I've since changed mine out for a Tamiya TGX .15 head, which I somehow made work on my engine. It's doing much better now.
I also learned a couple of tricks reading Remote Control Car Action magazine. One of which involves using a strip from a plastic Pepsi bottle and weaving the antennae through, so it doesn't poke through the roof and look like a little car. This also helps the car continue through it's rollover and land back on its wheels (been there, done that too many times).
The car is awesome. The sounds of the engine and smell of the Nitro Methanol make the experience just that much more fun. It's actually a miniature race car with the latest suspension and chassis technology used on some of the full-size racers. This car, equipped with the optional 2-speed transmission (which I have) is capable of speeds over 45 mph. That may not seem like much, but consider that these cars are only 1/10th of the actual size of their full size cousins. The guys and I figured that the 45 actual mph is a scale 300+ mph for these cars, if you were able to sit in the 'Driver's Seat' and experience it for yourself.
We tried to get a feel for it by strapping a camcorder onto my chassis one time, which was pretty tough to keep it nailed down. But a couple of laps around our track at less than 5 actual mph gave us the impression that we were doing something like 60-70 mph when we played the tape back later. It was pretty cool seeing it from that perspective.
When I got my SuperTen, I started with a McLaren F-1 GTR body which I painted with a spray can, but got some decent results. Unfortunately, my body got pretty beat up while I was learning how to drive the sucker, as you can see in this picture by the duct tape holding the nose together. I got smart after awhile and switched to black duct tape and covered the whole nose, which then looked like it had a bra instead of damage. Hey, image is everything, right?
That picture also shows my pal Johnny Servin's HPI Nitro RS4 and we're both hung up on a garden hose track boundary. Although they look almost the same in size, my SuperTen is slightly bigger, and until he got his Nitro Star SS-15, slightly faster. After that, hoo-booy - that car was a rocket! He's left San Angelo and since regressed into the use of electric cars and actually got rid of his NRS4. Despite his efforts to make sure I didn't find this out, which I did anyway. Oh well, he had some troubles making friends with gas power, so I guess I can't blame him...yeah, right - Traitor.
Here's a shot of my buddy Jeff Pitman's Traxxas 4-TEC. The body is freshly painted and looks awesome. He painted it with some cool purple metallic and black paint that's absolutely the coolest...I also like the simplicity of the stripe job compared to some of the rude looking paintjobs you'll see around some of the 'pro' races. He's also got some Yokomo YR-4 wheels that he borrowed from Lewis since the wheels that come with the car are, how would Jeff put it - Crap!
Anyway, the Yok's wheels seemed to hook up pretty well and he didn't have too many problems that day. He's still working on finding the right wheel/tire combination to get the 4-TEC to quit swappin' ends when it feels like it. Once he gets it right - look out. This is a hot ride, and for the money - highly recommended. You'll need to do some minor tweaks to get it competitive, though.
The below shots are my SuperTen's latest incarnation with the Dodge Viper body. The body is actually an HPI Super Nitro RS4 body...I choose that one because the Kyosho bodies are too damn expensive. I would love to throw a Kyosho Porsche GT-2 body on there, but $50 versus $24 was a no-brainer. I painted it with some Metallic Silver and Sprint White lexan paint specifically for RC Cars and it came out OK. Make sure you use better masking tape than I did, though, since the silver ran under it slightly - it was a pain to clean up the edges of the stripes.
I recently picked up a Traxxas Nitro Hawk from friend who got tired of it taking up some space in his garage. It's an Off-Road Stadium truck, so it should be a lot of fun to get off the asphalt now and then. I'll get some pictures of it once I get a new body for it and put them up soon.
Check back now and then since I've got a bunch more in the way of pictures and stuff to pass on that I've learned about the hobby. A good source for sharing RC Car hobby info is on the UseNet newsgroup "rec.models.rc.land" I get on there now and then to check for more tips, tricks, and mods...and sometimes wind up helping some folks out as well. I go by Mister4x4.
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