In general the days of hobbyist who build things seems to be coming to an end. Mom and Dad are too busy to help the kids with a model, and prefer to buy RTR stuff that has the children playing with something 5 minute after the box is open. The little gaffers have no-one mentering them in building anything. So guess what. THey grow up with no modeling skills, and are uncomfortable with anything that you need to put together. Something is broke as soon as it quits working, and is a peice of garbage, so it better be cheap.
It is too bad, as I believe there is something that is fundamentally important in understanding how something works. My years as a kid, building models, and putting things together have served me well. There is nothing that comes through the door of my house that I am afraid to take apart and have a look at. It is amazing how many broken "Pieces of Junk" that have come across my workbench that were fixed as good as new in 15 minutes. A lot of people just throw stuff away the minute it quits working. I think this is because they just have not developed any kind of understanding about what goes on under the plastic, and are intimidated by having to put something back together.
That fact alone can set a Tamiya tank above the other RTR stuff. Yes they are expensive, but they come with good instruction to mentor a young mind into understanding some basic skills about mechanical movement. You guys know I have been a huge fan of Heng long, and I have spouted off about the expense of Tamiya stuff. However, if you were to ask me what is the best thing to buy a 10 year old boy/girl. I would tell you a Tamiya kit for the simple reason, it is not just about a model tank at that age, it is about learning and developing some fundemental skills about how things work. The kid that puts together a Tamiya kit, will not be afraid to take apart that electric can opener that just quit working, or having a look at why the ice cube dispensor isn't making ice any more. For me I have been through that, and ripping a cheap heng long apart to make it better is fun hence it has a lot of value to me, and the value the Tamiya has for me is not there. It is not going to teach me anything I don't already know. However for the novice( and that might mean anyone between the ages of 10-60) that expensive Tamiya tank can teach you a lot of things you will need to understand to make your Heng Long purchases that much more enjoyable
Kind of got sidetracked here, but the talk of what is being sold in hobbyshops now, got me thinking.