..Well, besides bringing you coverage of the top RC championships in Europe…
We’ve also found some time to kill mucking about with some of the world’s top RC Fun models!
This is just the first in a series of articles that will bring you up close and personal with the huge range of RC car and truck kits that are available for you to play with!
For our inaugural article, we’re going to focus on what we think are the best choices available right now for having fun in the summertime – these are our Top Summer RC Cars!
Tamiya XB Wild Willy 2
Easy fun, easy go! First up, we’ll start with something that’s fun for all ages, that can be driven literally anywhere – the back garden, the dining room, or the driveway. If you weren’t aware, Tamiya is a company that’s been around for ages, and many of today’s serious RC fans got their start with Tamiya cars. These days, they’re just as well known for some of their top-level racing kits, some of them driven by World and National Champions, but they really got their start with innovative and fun designs in the late 1970’s and 80’s. The original Wild Willy kit was released in the early days of mainstream RC, in 1982, and quickly gained popularity because of its crazy cartoony look and instant wheely action.
The rail chassis holds the heavy 7.2 volt battery over the rear axle, making popping a wheely extra-easy, and the updated Wild Willy 2 includes an extra-wide front bumper to protect the front wheels and drivetrain. Over the top of the chassis sits an injection-moulded ABS plastic body in an army green colour, ready for detailing with the included decals. The crowning point of the Wild Willy 2 is Mr Willy himself, depicted as a big-headed, wild-eyed caricature of a driver, ready to take on the world!
Tamiya have wisely re-released the kit with a few modern updates to make it easier to drive, and they’ve re-released the Wild Willy in two versions: the first is the same build-it-yourself format as the original, which means you’ll have to spend a few hours assembling the car, but what we recommend is the ‘XB’ or Expert-Build ready to run version that requires just the AA batteries for the radio.
The XB version of the Wild Willy 2 can be found for well under £200 or 200 Euro in model shops and online stores.
Tamiya XB Wild Willy 2 :: Ready to Run (No Assembly Required) :: Required: AA batteries for radio
Get more info from Tamiya here!
Axial SCX10 Trail Honcho
The new truck in town… Axial is one of the newer RC car companies around, but by no means should you think that they make inferior products wanting for attention. They stormed the world with their totally original AX10 ‘crawler’ kit, which made it easy to build a specialised rock crawler from a kit – before this, the only way to make a good rock crawler kit was to assemble parts from a number of different companies and suppliers. Axial then turned their attention to the scale-look truck market, using the AX10 technology as the basis for their SCX10 line of trucks. These provided RC fans with a huge array of specialised ‘crawler’ trucks with a fantastic eye for scale detail, such as driver and passenger seats, steering wheels, shift knobs, lights, realistically sized shock absorbers and much more. Many SCX10 owners choose to put in toy action figures to complete the scale look – after all, what’s more unrealistic than a driverless truck?
The first thing to note about the crawler segment of the RC hobby is that these trucks aren’t made for speed – they are made to go slow over obstacles like rocks, tree roots and steep hills that would halt a racing buggy or even a monster truck! If you want speed from an Axial kit, they’ve got kits such as the Wraith which are more like a ‘rock racer’ – another popular off-road class amongst full-size off-roaders. Most of Axial’s kits go slow and look great while doing so. With a set of front and rear lights, solid truck axles that pivot up and down as they go over terrain on soft suspension, and all the scale details noted previously, you could be easily forgiven for thinking that a photo or even a video of one of these trucks is footage of the real thing.
Driving one of these trucks is very similar to taking a Land Rover on an off-road experience, and the SCX10 is just about as tough!
If you see a steep hill, most times you can go straight over it. If you can’t make it over a particularly tough rock, you try a different angle until you clamber over. The best part about RC rock crawling is that while out with friends, they’ll cheer you on, suggest a better line, and give you support and slaps on the back after you make it over a mean obstacle – quite a different atmosphere than at a typical race track with its extremely competitive nature.
This truck is available in ‘RTR’ (short for Ready to Run) or kit form (meaning you have to assemble it yourself), so you can pick it up pre-built and painted and just needing a battery, or you can get the self-assembly version that’s ready for customizing. For most people, the decision to pick the RTR version is easy, but for dedicated RC rock crawling fans it’s the kit version that’s the one to get.
The Axial SCX10 Trail Honcho RTR is available for about £350 or 350 Euro in model shops or online retailers.
Axial SCX10 Trail Honcho RTR :: Ready to Run (No Assembly Required) :: Required: AA batteries for radio, 7.2v battery, battery charger
More info from Axial here!
HPI Baja 5B 2.0
The BIG one!! This final choice is perfect for anyone with plenty of space to play in, and a bit of cash burning a hole in your pocket!
The HPI Baja 5B 2.0 is a large-scale two-wheel drive buggy, and when we say large, we mean LARGE! It’s over 800mm long and 9.5kg, so this is for someone with plenty of boot space! And just because it’s big doesn’t mean it’s slow, either: in stock form the Baja 5B 2.0 can do about 64 km/h or 40 mph, and with an option engine and other tuning upgrades you can easily reach 96 km/h or 60 mph!
If you can stop speeding around to admire the looks of the Baja 5B 2.0, you will be able to appreciate the desert buggy styling, from the moulded roll cage that makes the iconic shape of the classic dune buggy to the oil-filled shock absorbers that are absolutely huge when compared side-by-side with any 1/10th scale RC car kit.
This is not a car you’ll be able to ignore or leave alone to gather dust – its mere presence demands you run it, and run it hard! There are several clubs and online forums in most EU countries where you can meet up with other large scale or HPI Baja buggy owners to race, swap parts and have fun, and it’s a fun group to be a part of.
The Baja 5B 2.0 is fully assembled and painted, so all you have to do is charge the battery, add AA batteries to the transmitter, mix and add the fuel and away you go. The engine is similar to a petrol grass strimmer or ‘weedwhacker’ engine, so it takes normal pump petrol mixed with 2-stroke engine oil. HPI also offer an ‘SS’ self-assembly version with a few performance options and a faster engine, but building such a large RC kit will take several evenings of work, plus you’ll have to supply most of the electronics.
Check out our coverage of HPI’s Baja Endurance Challenge. Teams from across Europe actually race these things for 24 hours!
The Baja 5B 2.0 can be purchased for just over £700 or 700 Euro in RC model shops or online stores.
HPI RTR Baja 5B 2.0 :: Ready to Run (No Assembly Required) :: Required: AA batteries, pump petrol, 2-stroke engine oil, fuel can
Get more from HPI here!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this first look at our top RC car and truck kits for fun during the summer! Remember to come back soon for another round of our picks of the best of RC!