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speedy_w_beans

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About speedy_w_beans

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  1. It's no longer a question of filling collection holes or getting priced out of the hobby anymore; for me it's a question of time, mortality, and opportunity cost. How much more time will I play with toy cars before I leave this planet? What should I be doing with the rest of my life that I haven't done already? Sorry to sound morbid; my outlook in my 50s is way different than my outlook in my 20s. What sort of legacy will I leave behind?
  2. Too many to list, so categorically: 1. All the RM / F1 / Group C / F103GT cars 2. All the TA02T stadium trucks (Toyota Prerunner, Chevy S10, Ford F150) I was going to ask for all the American road cars as well, but Tamiya has only released two over its history -- the Mustang Cobra R and the SVT F150 Lightning. There are no Chevy or Chrysler releases, and just those two Ford releases. As I look at my stash of AMT and Revell static model kits, I wish Tamiya would release some American hot rods, pickup trucks, muscle cars, and sports cars as new releases! I'm looking for third and fourth-gen Camaros, C4 Corvette, Dodge Viper, Ford 'New Edge" SVT Mustangs, Pontiac Fiero GT, Buick Grand National GNX, etc. in addition to the classics from the 50s/60s/70s.
  3. You may perfect your cookie-baking abilities if you make enough batches, but you might go insane from a lack of alternatives and the obsession over perfection. That, or you might suffer diabetes from eating all those cookies. So, maybe a balanced approach doesn't hurt? Bake a little, buy a little, go out to eat a little... Variety is the spice of life, they say. And watch your consumption! Exercise some and lose the fat...
  4. I can't really judge Traxxas as 'good' or 'bad,' but it seems like they've done a lot of things right to make money in the RC business. North America is a large market, and the vehicles they release resonate with the casual hobbyist in this region. Monster trucks, short course trucks, trail rigs, dragsters, and speed boats all have 1:1 counterparts. They tend to show up as race events and demonstrate their products on the spot, tying into the event directly. The kids, both young and old, are energized by this juxtaposition of loud 1:1 vehicles and 1/10 models near each other. The quality of the vehicles is reasonable even in box stock form. The plastics are resilient, the gearboxes are durable, there's not too much to go wrong in general. Parts are readily available to repair damage or upgrade performance. I've never really seen parts out of stock at the hobby shop or online. Is the business practice issue purely their patent situation? Do we know if they were defending utility patents or design patents? If they were defending utility patents then it's doubtful they would have won as there would have been prior art such as the Tenth Technology Predator. If Hobbico's lawyers didn't bring this up then too bad on their part. If they were defending a design patent, something more ornamental than utilitarian, then it's quite possible they could defend their design against a copycat design like ARRMA was pushing briefly. I guess I'm not aware of anti-trust issues such as being a monopoly, or collusion, or price-fixing, or buying competitors to shut them down. It's not clear they harmed the competitive process and therefore caused harm to the end consumer. Now let's talk about Tamiya as a business: It's been said many times here that Tamiya services its home market more than any other market, and that seems to be true. They produce an awful lot of Japanese-marque touring cars, produce some strange-looking buggies like the Thundershot, Big Wig, Saint Dragon or others, and make these Comical buggies that can pull wheelies and that's about it. Their marketing approach is to hook kids early with educational kits, mini-4WD, scale plastic models, and then RCs. They do not show up at 1:1 race events and tie into anything. They seem to appeal to youthful, introverted, tinkerer, engineer, or artistic types moreso than the extroverted motorsports personality. The quality of the vehicles is debatable, at least when it comes to running them. No one disputes they can make accurate bodies, and know how to make injection-molded plastic parts, but it seems like every model has at least one flaw in it. Is that charming? For the tinkerer, maybe. For the extroverted motorsports person, basher, or the track racer, not at all. In North America the lack of readily-available parts is frustrating. Most of the online retailers as well as the brick and mortar stores don't carry the right parts trees or hardware. If you go to Stargek in Singapore or RC Mart in Hong Kong, the situation is completely different (I've seen it firsthand while on business trips). I'm not aware of any patent prosecution on the part of Tamiya, but the MAP situation in North America felt alienating. Instead of developing alternate marketing, distribution, and sales models to reflect the reality of their position in the market, they just decided to raise prices to the end consumer so their existing channels could make more profit. Did that result in more Tamiyas being sold in brick and mortar stores? I doubt it. Could they honestly say the new pricing reflected the premium nature of their brand? Not at all! They continued to ship the same polycarbonate and ABS sprues, plastic bushings, friction shocks, aluminum pinions, and plastic drivetrain parts even after the price hike. Part of me thinks this thread really ought to be titled, "What are your RC biases/preferences?" Each of these businesses, whether it's Associated, Losi, XRay, ARRMA, Traxxas, Tamiya, Kyosho, Schumacher, Awesomatix, RJ Speed, Redcat, RC4WD, CRC, etc. all have access to the same market here in North America. They all have the same levers available to tweak their business models. They all have access to the same legal system, and have the same corporate tax rules applied to them. There's nothing stopping them from accessing the same foreign countries and labor pools for mass production. It's a question of investment and potential profitability for them. Several of these brands have clustered around a handful of niches and are directly or indirectly competing with each other. It's really down to each hobbyist to decide which brand(s) he likes, whether he wants a RTR or kit, and how much local parts support is necessary. Therefore, I don't see it as marking any of these businesses as "good" or "bad," rather, I see it as a question of biases and preferences on the part of hobbyists.
  5. Just watched this on Netflix. It's an interesting tale of two men who grew up poor, filled their lives with work stress and buying stuff, and then downsized their possessions to focus on what's really important to them in life. Earlier I said it would take some sort of "forcing function" to let things go... In this case it seems their growing dissatisfaction and search for meaning is what pushed them to adopt minimalism:
  6. Least-effort projects see attention sooner than the longer, more drawn-out projects. Seeing results makes me feel like I'm getting more done.
  7. I don't think that should surprise anyone. The same phenomenon exists for Lego kits as well. I was reading a thread recently on another forum, and a couple guys there were talking about how they make better returns buying Lego kits, saving them for a few years, and flipping them for multiples of the original price than pure financial investments in the markets. The one guy had been doing this for years; he was purchasing as many as he could of final production runs, holding them, and flipping them for profit. Then he'd reinvest in new final production runs, hold them, and flip. It got to the point where his initial few thousand dollar investment mushroomed into hundreds of thousands of dollars of returns. The main limitation/issue he had was the required storage space for holding inventory over a period of time. It's now a full-time job for him. We already know there are people in the hobby who are buying multiples of kits and breaking them to make a profit. I know from rebuilding cars completely from parts that it costs about 2x to 3x normal kit pricing if you hunt down all the fasteners and custom hardware one at a time. So, the financial incentive is there to buy kits, break them apart for parts, and make 100-200% on the initial investment depending how much of the original material is resold. I guess some people view their hobbies as businesses, like the guys who stand in line at Academy Sports at 7 AM to buy ammunition and flip it during a shortage, or women who sell time on their long arm quilting machines to other women, or guys who flip Lego kits, or others who break or flip RC kits, or people who run pawn shops. Somebody is always looking for a way to profit.
  8. Just finished this project for my Mazda today; it's a wireless charging cradle for my phone so I can run extra gauges, navigation, and/or music for long periods without killing the phone's battery. Main features: Adjustable spring-loaded rubber roller fingers make it easy to accommodate different phone sizes and easy to insert/remove the phone with a single finger and thumb (one-handed attachment). Charging pad is Qi-compatible and can charge many phones with either 5W or 10W of power; starting/stopping charging is automatic with the insertion/removal of the phone. Pivot ball attachment means the charging pad can rotate 90 degrees so the phone can be held in either landscape or portrait mode; angle can be adjusted for best viewing. General appearance is coordinated with OEM interior trim. Here's how the dash looked before modification. The only modifications at this point included the Sony head unit and the inverted color (red on black) HVAC display above the radio. Here's the project results without a phone installed. I bought a triple gauge pod center trim panel from cp-e, bought a wireless charging pad, and then 3D printed the black plugs and silver rings to fill the gauge pod. For the plug and ring parts I printed them first, applied a layer of contour putty, sanded everything smooth, used some filler primer to hide minor imperfections, and then shot different colors. The plugs are shot with a dark matte charcoal/black fabric/vinyl paint; the gauge rings are shot in Duplicolor "Precision Metallic Gray," supposedly a Nissan color but it matches HVAC vents, cluster gauge rings, HVAC controls, and steering wheel trim pieces perfectly. One of the things I wanted to do was make it easier to run/use Torque on my Android phone. Torque is a cool application which will show real-time gauges, log data, and show diagnostic codes, among other things. Since the continuous display uses battery at a steady rate, having the charging pad means the phone isn't depleted by the time I arrive somewhere. It's also nice to have music or navigation at a more convenient location instead of the center console storage bin or cup holder. The Sony head unit has Bluetooth music streaming and hands-free calling; the mic is at the left side of the storage bin. I'm pretty happy with the outcome of the project; it adds some modern technology to an older car, makes the feature convenient to use, saves the phone's battery, keeps the phone at instrument-level, and doesn't clash with the OEM interior scheme.
  9. I'd let it all go if there was one or more "forcing functions" in my life: If my back was against the wall financially and I needed cash, then I'd start selling anything I didn't truly need. Even if it meant suffering some losses, some incoming cash would buy me time to regroup and launch in another direction. If my health was affected and I couldn't mentally or physically do my hobbies anymore, then I'd have to accept reality and start letting things go. In that case I would consider bundling things together, like a vehicle and full set of saved parts, so the next person could continue the relationship with the object. If my wife died, I'd probably be distraught for awhile, but eventually I'd reinvent my life. Part of that reinvention would included liquidating a lot of things I have now and finding new passion/purpose. If I suddenly needed to free up space in my house, like to accommodate a grown adult child again, I'd consider letting some things go just to create the needed space. If I was moving for a new job in another city and needed to sell the house, I'd probably review everything really carefully and sell some things. I moved quite a bit for the first 10 years of my career, and my wife and I were living a lean existence because we never had time in one location to accumulate things. A lot of that sounds negative, almost like being a victim of circumstance. Maybe there are some more positive "forcing functions" instead: I might find a new passion in life, and after some time in it, I might conclude that my old passion will never come back. I need space for the new passion, so something has to go. I might run into someone who develops a passion for something I used to do, and I'll be happy to give away or sell my stuff cheap to support his newly-found passion (but only after I know he'll stick with it and not just flip my stuff for profit). I'd get some satisfaction helping someone else. Maybe there will come a point where my desire for order and structure in the house becomes more important than conveniently scattering projects all around it. If I'm lucky, I'll grow old, and I'll gracefully acknowledge I just don't have the energy for any of this nonsense anymore. To anyone who has need, he can have my stuff. I guess if there's nothing forcing you to take action, then there's probably no need to make a decision now. If you can foresee circumstances changing, or if something happens to you, then that seems like the time to let things go.
  10. A few 630s are good to have too, although they are used infrequently. The steering rack uses 630s in the TB04 and TA06, and I think the portal axles in the G6-01 use them too.
  11. I'm sure everyone is dying to know who advocated for plastic bushings...
  12. A little bit of advertising from back in the day... It still makes me smile!
  13. Another vote for the Super Hornet!
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