Reliving the excitement of your first RC.
Can you remember the moment you got your first RC
car? I can remember, as a ten year old boy, walking
into my first real hobby store. The first room my
Mom and I entered was packed full of plastic models.
Every bit of wall and shelf space was occupied by
a unique model ranging from sports cars to fighter
jets. I stood in amazement, taking in the entire scene.
I was mesmerized.
eyes paused on a large box above the doorway. This
box was different from the others and was home to
a realistic blue and white truck. It was the Tamiya
Bruiser, an RC truck. As the excitement grew within
me, I spotted a large metal RC buggy on display in
the next room. I couldn't contain myself. While running
to the display case, the excitement bubbled out of
me. Smiling ear to ear, I begged my mom to buy me
one of those awesome RC masterpieces. Even though
I expected to get the all too familiar "no,"
I asked anyway. To my surprise, she just looked around
the room, as if she didn't notice the gibberish pouring
out of my blabbering mouth. Asking multiple times,
I made every possible promise known to a ten year
mid sentence, I saw it, a brand new model. The beautiful
red, yellow, and black color scheme of this pickup
truck sucked me into a trance. It was as if everything
in the store suddenly went dark, with a single spot
light shining on that one vehicle. Tunnel vision had
set in and I was hooked. Written across the box was
its name, Blackfoot. The Ford F150 Ranger 1/10th scale
RC off road pickup truck by Tamiya.
had to have this truck! Encouraged by my Mom's
reluctance to say no, I upped my game to the
highest possible level and flat out begged.
As she began asking the clerk questions, my
hopes grew, and finally she said those words
I thought I'd never hear, "We'll take it!"
Yes, it?s really happening! I'll never
misbehave again! I'm the happiest kid on the
night, and following day, were spent in my basement
carefully reading the assembly instructions. I performed
each step exactly as stated, one step at a time. I
don't remember if I stopped to eat, I just know I
was content building my new truck. I remember those
hours of assembly as one of the, if not THE, happiest
moment of my childhood. Not only did I have an amazing
truck, I was assembling it all by myself. No one to
tell me I was doing it wrong, and no one to take over.
It was my project and I enjoyed every moment of it.
summer the Tamiya Blackfoot was all I could think
about. I thought I was so cool while running circles
around my friend?s Tyco buggy. No one in the
neighborhood had ever seen an RC truck as big as my
Blackfoot, nor had they seen one that fast. It was
great! Many evenings were spent in my basement lining
up toy cars and other obstacles like fire wood. While
laying on my stomach, I'd drive over the obstacles.
I imagined it was a real monster truck, and being
on the same level as the truck gave me the perfect
perspective needed for added realism.
years that followed offered much bonding time for
my Dad and me. He and I spent many evenings at the
local RC track racing my hopped up Blackfoot. I can
remember after the first few races deciding we needed
to make some upgrades. The dual-stick controller and
6-cell NiCD battery were the first things that needed
to be upgraded. We bought a Futaba pistol grip AM
transmitter and a seven cell NiCD racing pack. Right
about now, the younger readers are probably laughing.
"AM radio?" "NiCD racing pack?"
That's right. That was the cool stuff back then. That's
also about the time electronic speed controllers became
popular. I remember the first time I saw a Novak ESC.
That orange plastic box mesmerized me. Running an
ESC meant I would no longer have to replace those
broken resisters that plagued mechanical speed controllers
alike. Maybe if I could just win some more races,
I'd have enough money to buy one. Those were the days,
pure excitement and healthy competition.
recent years I'd wished I could have that childlike
excitement for RCs back again. They've gotten pretty
boring as I deal with them every day for work nowadays
and I had probably owned 100+ RCs over the years between
RCUniverse reviews, work, and my "addiction".
So like any good Dad, I tried reliving my childhood
dreams through my boys. This, not so thought out decision,
resulted in me buying them each a Tamiya vehicle.
I figured I could watch them assemble it, being ready
to help if needed. They both enjoyed it, for the most
part, but it wasn't quite the amazing experience I'd
hoped we?d all have. For them, RC vehicles are
common place since they?d each already owned
several at that time.
guess the only thing for me left to do was to buy
an original Tamiya Blackfoot of my own, although I
knew finding one in decent shape would be difficult.
To my surprise, there were a few "new in the
box" vintage blackfoot trucks. I thought how
great it would be to assemble my own Blackfoot, just
like when I was a kid. Unfortunately, I couldn't justify
paying several hundred dollars just to relive a childhood
memory. After a couple weeks of searching, I saw it.
A vintage Blackfoot, with controller and NiCD battery
pack. The pictures and description left a little to
be desired, but I had a good feeling about this truck
and made sure I was the high bidder.
arrival, I carefully inspected the truck. Though the
truck was dirty, I was extremely pleased with its
condition. It looked as though a kid got it many years
ago, played with it a bit, and stuck it in his closet.
This truck looks to be 100% original. According to
my research, it looks like it even has the original
decals on it. They're a bit scratched, but they're
original. I?m sure you've guessed by now, I had
to pull the entire truck apart. While doing a complete
inspection, I noticed the gears were pristine and
everything else looked to be in place. Although I
wasn't as excited as when I was ten years old, it
was still an enjoyable time.
drove my vintage blackfoot around the house a bit,
only to find I quickly got bored. It wasn't quite
the excitement I had remembered, so on the shelf it
went. I figured it could brighten my day each time
I walked by, but it still couldn't live up to my expectations.
Every once in a while I'd walk by the truck and think,
"Hmm, pretty cool". However, after a week
or so, it was just another RC on the shelf.
can sit back now and chuckle as I think about all
the time and energy I spent trying to relive a childhood
memory, only to find I am much happier today with
my wife and two boys. Although the accomplishment
of building my very first RC truck was rewarding back
then, the satisfaction of having a wife that loves
me and two outstanding young men is much more rewarding
than any RC can possibly be. I guess instead of trying
to relive my childhood memories, I'll enjoy watching
my boys make some of their own. Whether they involve
RC, airsoft, football, or just helping others, those
stories will be there for them to tell their children
I'm curious, do any of you have a favorite childhood
memory? Does it involve RC vehicles? Have you also
incorporated RC into your mid life crisis? Do you
still have, or searched for, your very first RC vehicle?
If so, How do you feel when you drive it? While the
outcome of this journey wasn?t as I expected,
at least my mid life crisis didn't involve a corvette.