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State of electric RC car brands

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Old 02-12-2018, 07:28 AM
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cwb124
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Hey folks,

New to the forum but like many of you, I was huge into RC cars back in the late 80s during the heyday of Tamiya. I started out with a Blackfoot, then over the next 8 years or so owned the Fire Dragon, Monster Beetle, Astute, Fox, Hotshot, and inherited my brother's Hornet and Kyosho Turbo Optima Mid. Sold everything I had back around 1996 to my dismay. Now that my son is 9 he has an interest in the RC cars he sees in the toy aisle at wal-mart/target. So I bought him a Tamiya Racing Fighter for his birthday. We just finished building it. I built most of it but he helped where he could. Now I'm itching to get back into things. Just wondering what the "state of the union" looks like out there. From a purely experience/nostalgic aspect I lean heavily toward Tamiya. I have been in two hobby shops that say they don't stock Tamiya because there just isn't much demand. So where does Tamiya sit in the pecking order of off-road RC car/truck kits? Have they fallen from the top of the mountain? Who's the big dog out there? Looking at other brands, they are really damn expensive ($350 plus for any Kyosho kit) while most of the Tamiya kits I see are priced exactly the same as they were back when I was into the hobby, low to mid $100s. Very affordable. But is Tamiya on the way down or are they still a solid operation for a pure hobbyist/basher who has no interest in competitive racing? Thanks folks, looking forward to contributing here. -CB
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Old 02-12-2018, 07:52 AM
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Well first off, welcome to the forum, my first hobby grade rc was the Hornet as well. Still have the box, but the car has long since been broken down into parts. I too recently got back into rc after quite a few years break, and I noticed this too.

I recently got back into the hobby and to my dismay there have been quite a few drops in big name products, from my understanding there was a bit of an r/c recession that took place a few years past, which may or may not had to do with a part shortage as well. Now I wasn't in the hobby at this time, so maybe a more routined member might be able to provide more insight, but Hobbico for example is no longer with us, they have gone out of business.

As for big names, HPI, Traxxas, Losi, Axial all seem to still be putting out products (more-so Traxxas) but they are catering to 1/8th and larger scales, so as for budgets thats nearing the 1000$ mark.

Tamiya is still chugging along, they have the modelling scene to keep them going (paints, kits etc). They never really got into the 1/10, 1/8th scale MT scene however. They do offer quite a number of 1/10th onroad cars, and the TRF packages are quite nice, but pricey.

As for retro kits, tamiya has re-releases as does associated, but it depends what you're in the market for.
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:36 AM
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I was looking at the RC10 and even that is rather pricey. Seems like for what I want to do with my son, Tamiya is still the way to go. 75% of the fun is building the kits, and the rest is driving/fixing/upgrading the car. When I can get kits for under $130 that are fun to build and bash around, Tamiya has won my business yet again. Might take a look at Traxxas, a lot of their stuff seems to be RTR though. I will probably get a Tamiya Brat and maybe another DT-03 based kit to bash with my son.

Sad to hear about Hobbico, and I've read that Tower is having issues. Hobby shops are pretty rare these days, and one I went into a few months ago just went out of business. Too bad really, kids are more interested in playing video games that building or driving RC cars. Never see kids outside anymore, but not my son. Basketball hoop and RC cars will keep him outside.
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Old 02-12-2018, 09:01 AM
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Tamiya has done a good job at producing a large selection of kits to fit the budget of almost everyone within the hobby. Yea brick and mortar stores have been struggling for quite a few years really, one by my place closed up without notice, Chinese distribution and over seas shipping really slowed business down and caused them to close. Now getting and keeping people within the hobby is difficult, and 1000$ kits are a giant entry barrier to get into the hobby.
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:06 AM
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About the only lower priced kits you'll find, and not of racing "breeds", are the Tamiya line of RCs. Sad isn't it?

The one kit-like RC that I see get recommended all the time... 1/10 AMP MT 2WD Monster Truck Brushed BTD Kit with Unpainted Body. It's what ECX calls Build-To-Drive kit. They call it a monster truck. I would classify it closer to a stadium truck, but what do I know. IMO, I think the Amp MT is way better suited to handle all kinds of terrain than any comparable Tamiya. The ECX Amp has all kinds of hop ups waiting for it when the time comes.

I really wish other big names in the RC business would go back to the grass roots of RC, where everything was pretty much a kit.

What will toy companies come up with next? Lego RTRs? That's no fun!
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Old 02-12-2018, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cwb124 View Post
I was looking at the RC10 and even that is rather pricey. Seems like for what I want to do with my son, Tamiya is still the way to go. 75% of the fun is building the kits, and the rest is driving/fixing/upgrading the car. When I can get kits for under $130 that are fun to build and bash around, Tamiya has won my business yet again. Might take a look at Traxxas, a lot of their stuff seems to be RTR though. I will probably get a Tamiya Brat and maybe another DT-03 based kit to bash with my son.

Sad to hear about Hobbico, and I've read that Tower is having issues. Hobby shops are pretty rare these days, and one I went into a few months ago just went out of business. Too bad really, kids are more interested in playing video games that building or driving RC cars. Never see kids outside anymore, but not my son. Basketball hoop and RC cars will keep him outside.
What RC10 are you talking about?

Team Associated has let off the gas with their kit offerings as well. No more having a choice of a basic kit or a Factory Team edition kit. To me, that's a big kick to the kahonas. I always thought it was great to be able to choose the starting point of a platform...basic/entry level kit, or all the "bells and whistles"model kit. The last two great 1/10th scale "back in the day" platforms that AE still puts out ...the SC10 and the RC10T4. They are on their ".3" make-over editions (SC10.3/RC10T4.3), and are only offered as RTRs. I think those two platforms would still sell great if were offered as kits.

Is it laziness and/or instant gratification that people want from the hobby?

I'm hungry. Gonna go throw a vegetable steamer bag, Hot Pocket, Velveeta cup in microwave so I will have time to plan my RTR purchase (sarcasm) .
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Old 02-25-2018, 02:59 PM
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Well, when I got into the hobby, I did just want an RTR. Something simple to learn with and not too much money. So I guess I'd have to come down on the side of "instant gratification". Would I have gotten a kit if I'd had the option? Possibly. But I doubt it. I learned the ins and outs of the car as stuff broke and I replaced and upgraded them. Which is better: building first, driving later; or, driving now, learning as you go? Who's to say? Individual's choice. What's your motivation?

But yeah, it's sad we're having this contraction in the RC industry lately. Can't say that I helped any. After the Evader got discontinued after a very long run, I moved on to 4wd platforms, and bought a HoBao (Ofna at the time) Hyper TT truggy. Liked it so much, I bought a couple of Hyper SCT trucks, used, from another forum member. The TT and the SCT share a majority of their parts, so easy to maintain. I haven't really bought anything new since.

Well, that's not true. I did buy a Traxxas Ford GT when it first came out. Just cuz I love the GT and a running model of one.... I just had to have. I don't really run it much, it's a shelf queen.

Traxxas is the 300lb gorilla of RC. They have managed to adapt with the market, plus, produce a wide variety of RC products from street cars to off road bashers, funny cars to boats, and even drones. So I think their position in RC is secure. They're their own entity, not owned by another outfit like Horizon or Great Planes. Afaik. Tamiya will always be around too, I think. They are still popular in Japan, but I think they are the only folks racing them anymore. And some of those are just novelty races, like racing a bunch of Wild Willies that almost exclusively drive in wheelie mode. Where Tamiya succeeds is in "rolling models". They make really detailed bodies for their RC cars and trucks.

Serious racers go for the 8th scale buggies, 2-and 4-wheel drive. And those are almost always kits. But those platforms go for $500 or more, and don't even include wheels or motor systems and servos.

If you're interested in where the RC industry is nowadays, pick up a copy of RC Car Action.

Scale and Trail is where the hobby seems to be going, or at least it's a segment still growing. These are rock crawlers, and a lot of the fun is making them look true to life, with scale accessories like interiors, driver figures, jacks and functional winches.

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Old 02-26-2018, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cwb124 View Post
Hey folks,

New to the forum but like many of you, I was huge into RC cars back in the late 80s during the heyday of Tamiya. I started out with a Blackfoot, then over the next 8 years or so owned the Fire Dragon, Monster Beetle, Astute, Fox, Hotshot, and inherited my brother's Hornet and Kyosho Turbo Optima Mid. Sold everything I had back around 1996 to my dismay. Now that my son is 9 he has an interest in the RC cars he sees in the toy aisle at wal-mart/target. So I bought him a Tamiya Racing Fighter for his birthday. We just finished building it. I built most of it but he helped where he could. Now I'm itching to get back into things. Just wondering what the "state of the union" looks like out there. From a purely experience/nostalgic aspect I lean heavily toward Tamiya. I have been in two hobby shops that say they don't stock Tamiya because there just isn't much demand. So where does Tamiya sit in the pecking order of off-road RC car/truck kits? Have they fallen from the top of the mountain? Who's the big dog out there? Looking at other brands, they are really damn expensive ($350 plus for any Kyosho kit) while most of the Tamiya kits I see are priced exactly the same as they were back when I was into the hobby, low to mid $100s. Very affordable. But is Tamiya on the way down or are they still a solid operation for a pure hobbyist/basher who has no interest in competitive racing? Thanks folks, looking forward to contributing here. -CB
Hi cwb,



I myself am getting back into the hobby basically because of my son who is 6 Im staring him young before he gets sucked into the video game world. I was big into RC in the 80s as well and my first car was a Grasshopper. What type of RC are you interested in on-road or off-road? I built a few kits not hitting the bank to hard for parking lot bashing!-Alex
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Old 02-26-2018, 06:22 PM
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I think rc changed with the number of bashers out there. Used to be a fair mix, but now there is a flood of cheap chinese cars out there that you just run till they break. This, I think, has both helped and hurt. When they came along, all the good stuff either closed up shop, or had to get cheap, as well. Now, it is mainly cheap stuff, unless you want to spend a lot. I don't think rtr, itself, had anything to do with it. People are completely capable of totally screwing up kit builds. The better way to go, instead of telling people to get a kit, is to give them a list of things they should check and tricks they can perform to make their car better, even if it is rtr.
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Old 08-28-2018, 05:59 AM
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Great thread. Just got back into the hobby myself, and it's like I'm on a strange planet. The entire landscape is alien... o.O There are still a few B&M stores in my area, but there's no point in going to them when I've got access literally 100 times their inventories in my pocket. And I can have a good portion of this plethora of parts at my door with a few keystrokes. The brands that ran the scene 10+ years ago are no longer around, or are shells of their former selves. I was/am a HUGE HPI fan, and they've split into two companies, changed ownership, and completely changed their focus.

Still, the proliferation of the Drift scene is appealing. I don't really recognize any of the brands, but the cars are gorgeous (albeit pricey), and the bodies are wicked...
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:24 AM
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I too have recently returned to the hobby after a long break, and was a little surprised to see that damn near everything outside of 8th scale race oriented stuff, and Tamiya seems to be RTR. The big draw to "hobby grade" rc for me back in the 80s was that everything was a kit. Building it is half the fun. Maybe 3/4 of the fun lol. Glad to see Tamiya is still Tamiya, they will certainly see some of my money, I think a Blackfoot kit and a tt02 are in my near future, and I still own my original Falcon and Madcap, they both need new parts. Also even with all the rtr stuff, the aftermarket seems to be thriving, upgrade parts galore for everything. Bought a cheap used traxxas slash a while back and have basically replaced every single part on it. Might as well have been a kit Haha. I see traxxas has finally released a real kit, too bad it's a crawler ( understandable since it's all the rage right now it seems ) hopefully they sell a lot of them and realize that there is still a market for kits and release a few other models in kit form.
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Old 09-06-2018, 08:44 AM
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I think one of the best things a person can do is to let companies know you want a kit to build. I have thrown out my "pitch" many times ,on the need for kits, to all the heavy hitters in the RTR business. Email, get on facebook, etc. do whatever it takes to get the point across. I see it time, and time again in the forums..."I want to build a kit." Then the sticker shock of a 1/10, or 1/8 scale racing kit is just too far outta reach for folks. Kits are indeed wanted in the hobby. Let 'em know it!
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Old 09-10-2018, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cwb124 View Post
Hey folks,

New to the forum but like many of you, I was huge into RC cars back in the late 80s during the heyday of Tamiya. I started out with a Blackfoot, then over the next 8 years or so owned the Fire Dragon, Monster Beetle, Astute, Fox, Hotshot, and inherited my brother's Hornet and Kyosho Turbo Optima Mid. Sold everything I had back around 1996 to my dismay. Now that my son is 9 he has an interest in the RC cars he sees in the toy aisle at wal-mart/target. So I bought him a Tamiya Racing Fighter for his birthday. We just finished building it. I built most of it but he helped where he could. Now I'm itching to get back into things. Just wondering what the "state of the union" looks like out there. From a purely experience/nostalgic aspect I lean heavily toward Tamiya. I have been in two hobby shops that say they don't stock Tamiya because there just isn't much demand. So where does Tamiya sit in the pecking order of off-road RC car/truck kits? Have they fallen from the top of the mountain? Who's the big dog out there? Looking at other brands, they are really damn expensive ($350 plus for any Kyosho kit) while most of the Tamiya kits I see are priced exactly the same as they were back when I was into the hobby, low to mid $100s. Very affordable. But is Tamiya on the way down or are they still a solid operation for a pure hobbyist/basher who has no interest in competitive racing? Thanks folks, looking forward to contributing here. -CB
Unfortunately no.....While some of there designs were top notch mack in the 90's Now days they are way off the benchmark in terms of lipo compatibility, quality of electronics, performance and more importantly Durability. but..... they are cheap

I love Tamiya but i have to be realistic, they only seem to sell toys, re releases its like there RC department gave up.

Im going to get alot of hate on this forum for saying this..... But. the new Tamiya is Traxxas....
They are filling the void Tamiya left behind with there totally unique designs and specialty vehicles. It seems they are using a similar business model where they use chassis that share *some parts but completely different styles. as well as massive advertising, sponsors ,excellent manuals and customer support.

Like em or hate em, Traxxas has done so much to promote this hobby and there sales are through the roof.... the Traxxas TORC Series is one fair effort for a RC car manufacturer...

I also think there is just too many manufacturers nowadays that offer decent entry level rc cars, that we will never see a true market leader like Tamiya was.... people complain about the cheap brands but compared to cars of 20 years ago. they are worlds better.... hehe no kidding who here has fried a few of those mechanical speed controllers lol

If you are interested in the old tamiya style RWD buggies, Id recommend checking out a Losi 22 kit. from memory they are not too expensive and offer considerably more durability and tuning options and the quality is impressive
oh and there is a truggy version that just screams 90's but has a modern chassis

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Old 09-12-2018, 08:46 AM
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Theres much better brands than tamiya. Tamiya couldnt care less about rc now it seems. They have the whole hobby locked down for accessories and are only innovative with some kind of slot car rc loop to loop racing thing. ???IDK???

Just about anything at hobbyking with good parts supply will be better than a tamiya. Some hobbyking rcs are rated well for the money too.

The brand called BASHER at hobbyking has released some well received kits.

Arrma sell a 1/10 monster truck similar to a traxxas stampede. The arrma granite brushed 4x4 i think it is.

ECX arent bad but they arent that much better than tamiya either.

tamiya is still selling 30 year old designs at full retail lol. Online stores discount tamiya heavily to sell them. But tamiya has apparantly put a stop to that.

Tamiya supposedly emailed their distributers telling them to stop offering tamiya products at discount since it "diminishes the brand".

Not selling 30yr old rcs against toy grades with better specs lol.

I think they've killed tamiya they should focus on TRF as new tamiya 2018+ tamiya and rollimg out TRFtamiya out with new models in every platform. We know tamiya can afford to be industry leaders. Choose not to.

buying up full size rare race cars with the profits rather than R&D. Well its my generations turn for nostalgia next and we remember traxxas, losi or team associated.

tamiya slept too long and is now lying in.


Hopfully soon we will see DIY designed kits for sale but the buyer has to 3D print the parts needed to build the kit.

A kit that uses cross brand parts for the best frankenstine rcs known. But using the 3d printer to print parts to link up traxxss to losi parts ect. In the oldest days of rc guys purchased build manuals with afew special parts. Then they had to fabricate the rest themselves in the shed.

The 3d printer could take us back to that but amazing and anyone can upload designs.

i think theres already afew models drsigned from existing parts from lots of models.

Tamiya traxxas and others need to get away from plastic. The 3d printer materials are getting better and better. The printers faster and faster.

whats new tamiya?

A new 2018 tamiya frog cross wild willy. ITS FUN FUN FUN..... Ohh.
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:21 PM
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I've noticed that about Tamiya too, and wondered, what are they doing?! A Frog/Wild-Willy? Really? I don't know, maybe the Japanese market is fine with kitsch. How ' bout that three wheeled tippy trike thing? Most of their designs still seem to be built around a six cell NiMh...mounted across the middle of the chassis. No LiPo need apply. Good thing, since Tamiya still uses those bloody Molex connectors that can't handle LiPo power anyway. If all you want to do is build a car kit that moves, but mostly a shelf queen, Tamiya has some cool looking bodies that are highly detailed. But tech wise and durability wise, I view them as toys. Toys from the 80s.
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