View Full Version : Newbie Questions from Overseas

Trojan Sailor
11-17-2003, 11:11 AM

I am stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, and I am planning to get my son started in RC. I am planning to get him a kit that we can build together, but I have a few questions since today is the first day I've started reading about it on the internet.

1) He will be eight in February. Is that too young?

2) Our hobby shop does not have any cars, but it has an extensive line of Tamiya parts. From what I've read so far, it seems parts are interchangeable between brands, but what brand should I stick with?

Eventually I will transfer, and the next base might have a different setup, so I need a pretty universal brand.

3) I plan on starting him off with an off road model, but just out of curiosity is converting it to an on-road model a matter of changing tires, suspension and body? In other words, is the chassis, engine, etc. compatible between on and off road cars?

Thanks for your help.

11-17-2003, 12:37 PM
1) 8 is plenty old. I wouldn't get anything too fast, powerful, or expensive, but I've seen kids younger than that learn to drive with no problems. Probably a good idea to not let him drive alone, at least for a while.

2) Some parts can be used between cars, like the radio gear, motors, and batteries. Some smaller parts can fit other cars and trucks, like tie-rod ends and shocks and springs, but for the most part they aren't direct bolt-ons for other vehicles.

Tamiya is a good brand, and I imagine you can get their stuff almost anywhere. American companies Associated, Losi, Traxxas, and HPI make excellent cars and trucks as well, but overseas they can be expensive because of shipping and handling and import taxes. If there aren't shops that carry parts there is always mail-order.

3) A good first-time car would be a truck: They are wider and more stable than buggies, and have more ground clearance. The Tamiya Blackfoot Xtreme looks good, and the truck is available in 4WD format in the Wild Dagger and Twin Detonator (A second motor and gearbox is mounted up front). A few hop-ups (Ball bearings, oil shocks, and an electronic speed control (ESC)) and you'll have a fine truck.

Most cars and trucks can't really be converted, and those that can it isn't really worth it. For example, the Tamiya Baja King shares the same chassis with their TL01 on-road cars, and it costs as much to buy the whole kit rather than convert either car to the other type.

Kenny T
11-18-2003, 02:22 AM
HPI is pretty cheap in Japan even though it is an American company. I think HPI has a factory in Japan.

11-18-2003, 02:49 PM
True, but the main beef on the old HPI boards from Europeans was that HPI parts were VERY expensive there. Plus HPI doesn't make anything nearly as beginner-friendly as the Blackfoot Xtreme or Wild Dagger/Twin Detonator.

11-18-2003, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by SteveK
True, but the main beef on the old HPI boards from Europeans was that HPI parts were VERY expensive there. Plus HPI doesn't make anything nearly as beginner-friendly as the Blackfoot Xtreme or Wild Dagger/Twin Detonator.
HPI makes the sprint and the dash which are rtr cars geared to nebiews just starting out in the hobby and include pretty much everything is included, a basic charger, battery ect... They'd be pretty good for starting out in the hobby and are very basic. But he's looking for off road and HPI dosnt really make anything like he's looking for.

11-19-2003, 01:49 PM
First off let me ask have you made your way to Mt Fuji yet? Its a must do while in Japan. Not sure were Yokosaka is but I was stationed at Iwakuni. Anyway I assume you hava a APO/FPO mailing address right? If so and i see little reason you wouldnt then go to www.towerhobbies.com best place to buy RC stuff online. Make sure you check out the first page and look for tha add codes. Normly something free or money off. Shipping will only be $7.99 for everything you buy. It does not say on the web site about about APO/FPO boxes but i called them and they do ship to them. For my first project I sugest a Associated T4 Its new and if a few years it will still be up to date. Putting it together is gonna be more less up to you with a little help from the young one. Let me say now I sugest Losi XXXT to but towerhobbies does not carry them. The T4 is an offroad Stadium Truck. Make sure not to get a T3 I belive they still sell them and the price is prety much the same. Also get the Team or Factory Team kits.
From there Radio/Motor/ESC all depend on budget. Futaba cheap radio's are great and alot of cheaper motors are good to when your just learing. Really look into what ESC you want and how fast you really need to go. I stongly sugest the T4(havent owned one have a t3) Oh well if you have an questions email me at JMBunster@aol.com

11-19-2003, 02:28 PM
thats great..its always good for your family involved in your hobby no matter what it is. You will definetly want to see what you are nearest to. If you are near an off-road area then i would say go off-road..but if you are near on-road running areas then i would go with the on-road vehicle and put a restrictor on it (after break-in) (you could always just adjust the brakes). Then as he becomes a better driver you could take teh restictor off

11-19-2003, 02:45 PM
Oh yeah when shopping for radios not sure what its called but some are adjustable. You can adjust the top speed and such of the car from the radio. Easy adjustments for letting your kid play with the car. The Futaba Mag Junior has it but the bottom of the line sport dont. Not my older one anyway.

Trojan Sailor
11-20-2003, 11:16 PM
Thanks for all your feedback. It has been a tremendous help and I think I've narrowed it down as to what to get.

I will be getting my son a monster truck, but I am heavily leaning towards a nitro version. I figure I could put the speed restrictors if need be. Otherwise, the Wild Dagger and Twin Detonator that SteveK brought up would have been perfect.

I also want a kit version because I want to build it with my son and explain to him what each part's function is. I'm a do-it-yourselfer and worked on cars since I was a kid, and that is also why I prefer the gas version. It'll also be something he will play with while I'm around. Just last week my wife heard something making loud noises in the neighborhood, and asked what it was. I thought it was an RC, but other than that, there was not much activity in base housing.

For shipping and handling, as JonBoy mentioned, I have an FPO address which costs the same as sending something anywhere in the states. Basically Fleet Post Office goes through San Francisco. Only problem is I have to find someone who will ship via US Postal Service because UPS, Fedex, etc. can not ship to P.O. Boxes. Its great that Tower Hobbies will.

Unfortunately, I haven't made it up Mt. Fuji. The weekend I was supposed to go with my wife and some friends, I had to go to sea for an unscheduled underway, but my wife still went, and she has the walking stick and bruised toe to prove it. Now the season is over and I'm transferring before the start of the next season. Iwakuni is on the same island of Honshu, but Yokosuka is on the east side about an hour south of Tokyo.

So, I'm looking at getting the HPI Savage SS. I know its a lot of money to drop for a beginner, but I figure if he doesn't latch on to the hobby as I think he would, I could keep it for myself. If he does like it, I'll have to buy another one so I can race the kid. :)

Anybody know of any other nitro monster truck kits? Thanks again for all your help.

11-21-2003, 01:14 AM
Yeah, that is a lot of money and a lot of truck for a beginner. For the same price, you could get TWO Tamiya electric trucks with some good electrics and hop-ups. I think two pretty good trucks would get you more fun that one really good one: You two can race, he and his friends can race, you and your friends can race, etc.

The Savage SS seems like a good truck, but it does have it's shortcomings for a young child: Gas trucks have a LOT of power and speed, and the engines and pipes get very hot. I wouldn't recommend letting him run it unsupervised.

Pretty much all R/C cars and trucks are good nowadays: With some common sense and attention, pretty much anybody can use and enjoy any of them.

Trojan Sailor
11-21-2003, 09:28 AM
That would be the sensible thing to do, and if each of the cars were the same price, I would be getting the Savage. The only hesitation and uneasiness I had with getting the Savage is the price, so I will be getting him the Wild Dagger.

Okay, so I let my wife weigh in, but she's doing a good job at being my conscience and keeping me sensible.

11-21-2003, 11:37 AM
Also consider a Traxxas Stampede, Not sure if you can find a kit now or not they stopped making them.(BAD TRAXXAS) its only 2wd but a good truck and alot more aftermarket parts than you will find for a wild dagger.

11-21-2003, 08:46 PM
The Stampede would also be a good choice, the only caveat being the potential lack of parts support overseas.

Trojan Sailor
11-26-2003, 09:10 AM
Does it make sense to get these items?

Tamiya Twin Detonator
Futaba 2PH 2-Channel AM/2 S3003 Servos 67
Peak Performance Power Plant Pro 3000mAh (2)
DuraTrax Piranha AC/DC Digital Peak Charger NiCd/NiMH
Tower Hobbies Medium CA Glue 2.5 Grams
Great Planes Pro Threadlocker

Do I need anything else besides paint?

Thanks again for all your help

Trojan Sailor
11-26-2003, 09:13 AM
Also, am I correct in assuming the Wild Dagger parts are interchangeable with Twin Detonator?

11-26-2003, 03:15 PM
If the $ isnt to much of an issue I would try to get the 2phka and should only be like $10 more. May have some more features.

The charger is one of the best chargers you can get for under $50

I realy cant say anythig about the hest of the stuff.