There are many choices out there these days if you want to get in Radio Control Modelling. The Biggest part of the hobby is R/C cars. There are 2 main types. Electric Powered, and Nitro Powered. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Electric cars are quiet, (so the neighbors won't complain), are clean, (no fuels to mess with), and in general are cheaper to buy and run. All R/C cars require at least the car, a radio system, batteries, and paint and glue. There are RTR (READY TO RUN) cars out there...these are gettting more popular....they come fully assembled and ready to drive..but a lot of people prefer to build the car so you know how to fix it when it breaks.
If you buy an electric kit..here are some basic supplies you need to have.
2 Channel Radio system.
An Electronic Speed Control (ESC) is recommended
Basic Hand tools - needle nose pliers, small philips and flat head screwdrivers
Paint for Body (Lexan Scissors recommended)
A beginner electric car and all the accesories you need can be had for under $300.....there are also several different classes of cars...On road cars...touring cars...off road buggies....trucks...and many others. You have to decide what you want. The downsides? Electric cars are in general slower than Nitro cars....and the faster you make them by replacing the electric motors with faster ones..you decrease the time the car runs. You can make them run longer by buying a battery pack that has more storage capacity..but they of course, cost more..and take longer to charge. The old addage....How fast do you want to go? How much $$ to you have to spend? works here.....it is generally better to have several battery packs so you can charge a few and have them to run.....Electric cars can be a ton of fun and a good way to learn how to handle an R/C car.
And then there are Nitro Cars. These are the hottest car segment out there. Why? They are damm cool! Plus in most cases they are very fast..and your run time is only limited by a fuel fill up. But Nitro cars require more support equiptment, and a certain level of skill to run and maintain. Here are some basic supplies you will need for a Nitro car:
2-3 channel radio depending on kit. (maybe heavy duty servo for steering)
Nitro Fuel (depends on the requirements of the engine what % Nitro content)
Glow Plug ignitor
Starter (some cars are pull start - others require a "Bump Box" or a hand starter)
Tools for glow plug and hand tools for assembly
After Run oil
Glue for Tires
Paint for Body (Lexan Scissors recommended)
Advantages? Nitro cars are a lot faster...can be upgraded like a real car with exhaust....carberators......intakes.....hotter fuel...gearing.....etc....and of course you run longer on tanks of fuel...
Disadvantages? Nitro engines are very tempermental..they take specific break in procedures.....need to be broken in slowly.....the fuel is messy and corrosive....is expensive......the cars get infinitely more dirty (the nitro fuel gets all over the car and dirt sticks to it) and these engines require some maintaince to keep them running well....suggestions to help keep them alive include after-run oil in the engine after every time you use it..and a rebuild at some point down the road. These cars/truck are also not quiet....so if you live in a heavily populated area you could get people calling the cops on you . In addition...becasue these cars are generally faster...it takes a certain degree of skill to drive them well.....a 8lb 40mph missle hitting you or a friend in the leg can casue serious injury....so these vehicles deserve respect. The cost of replacement parts is also more than electric cars in general....
Building and running R/C cars/trucks is all about fun. Once you get one you will see your friends all getting one Most kits have a clear plastic body that allows you to paint them to your own design. These bodies are made from Lexan....and you paint them on the Inside..and once you are done most have a very thin film that covers the outside of the body...you peel this away to reveal your nice paint job and then you use the stickers that are usually included with the body and stick those on the outside. You can make the car pretty realistic with most of the sticker sets that are included. These bodies also need to be trimmed...you need to cut out the wheel wells and other trim parts..a curved set of "Lexan Scissors" you can buy at most hobby shops will make this step a LOT easier..regular scissors and exact-o knifes are hard to use on these flexible bodies.
The best thing about R/C cars for us Vortexers? There are several compaines that make kits and bodies of German cars....some VW here and there...Audi....Porsche....BMW.....etc.....you can posibly find a body of the car you love most and make a car look just like it.
Hopefully this thread wil lanswer some qustions...below is a list of some online resources to find more info and kits to be bought. If you have a hobby shop local it's worth going down there to check out what they got....but do some comparison shopping 1st before you buy anything!
Online R/C Car Shops and Resources
Submissions for this thread are desired..if you have another online resource to add or a very good tip to submit..please do so....it will be included!