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RC car kits are the perfect hobby for anyone who enjoys tinkering with mechanical devices and learning how they work. In fact, much of the engineering inside a radio control car or truck kit closely follows that of full-size automobiles, reproduced in a smaller scale.
In the early days of the radio control hobby, most of the models available were RC kits. Factory-assembled, ready-to-run (RTR) cars began gaining popularity in the late 1980s and have now become more common than remote control car kits. However, you might still occasionally hear some RTR models praised for having “kit quality.” That’s because today’s RC car and truck kits are usually intended for experienced hobbyists and represent the hobby’s highest standards of design and construction excellence.
Choosing an RC car kit from Tower Hobbies® gives you the opportunity to enjoy two model hobby activities with one purchase. First, you assemble your own working RC vehicle from supplied parts and instructions. It’s challenging, rewarding, and educational. Once you’ve completed assembly, you can look forward to years of driving your new RC car, competing with other racers, and learning how to upgrade your assembled RC vehicle kit with optional parts for custom looks and performance.
RC kit describes any radio control car that will need at least some assembly and additional equipment before it can be operated. Kit manufacturers leave certain choices up to the driver.
You decide what power system to install. You select the radio equipment. These decisions have a major influence on the car or truck’s performance and experienced RC hobbyists often like to make them for themselves. Other components that may or may not come with a kit include a finished body, wheels, and tires.
For this reason, two models that are both called kits can have very different levels of completion.
Although the 1/10 scale TLR® (Team Losi Racing®) 22X-4 Elite high-end racing buggy kit includes a body, it’s left unpainted for the driver to customize. Wheels and tires are also not included. The 1/10 scale Axial® SMT10 Monster Truck Raw Builders Kit does not include a body at all.
Then there are the radio control roller kits. These are essentially a prebuilt chassis that usually includes wheels and tires but lacks a motor or engine and all of the on-board electronics. Roller kits offer some of the time-saving benefits of factory assembly while still allowing for a high degree of driver customizing. And again, not all RC roller kits are equally equipped. The 1/8 scale ARRMA® TLR® Tuned TYPHON® Roller Buggy includes a factory-finished body. The 1/10 scale Losi® 22S No Prep Drag Car Roller does not.
The additional components required and amount of assembly to expect are explained on every RC car kit’s Tower Hobbies product page. All kits include thoroughly illustrated instruction manuals that guide you step-by-step through the building process.
RC kit building has advantages that may or may not outweigh the convenience of buying a ready-to-run (RTR) RC car, depending on the skills you want to learn. Kit assembly gives you a thorough builder’s understanding of how your radio control car works. That knowledge prepares you well to troubleshoot any problems, and if anything breaks, you’ll know how to fix it.
Experienced RC car hobbyists also often have strong preferences for which motors, ESCs, receivers, servos, and other equipment to use in their vehicles. Rather than buy an RTR car and pay for the manufacturer’s choice of components — some of which they may not even use — those drivers can select a kit and equip it however they like.
Since many radio control car kits don’t come with a painted body, they also give drivers the freedom to choose their own body style, colors, and trim schemes. The finished vehicle will look like nothing else on the track!
At first glance, another advantage to choosing an RC car kit might appear to be the price. You’ll usually spend less money on your initial kit purchase compared to buying a fully equipped RTR vehicle. But remember that you won’t be able to run the RC car kit without additional purchases, nor will you be able to start driving it right away.
If you’re a new RC car hobbyist, you’ll want to have experienced help available when building your first kit. You’ll also need the appropriate tools, which are identified in the kit instruction manuals, and enough workshop space to spread out parts and tools without having to pick everything back up until you’re finished. Of course, you’ll also need the free time to build, and enough interest and mechanical aptitude to keep you motivated if you run into a snag or two.
Although RC car and truck kits don’t provide instant gratification, they do give you valuable experience that you’ll use with every other RC model in your future. Tower Hobbies has a variety of RC car and truck kits for almost every interest and skill level. Check them out today!
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