Jump to content
Hibernaculum

Drivers/Interiors - in decline for years

Recommended Posts

General comment... (I do not pay close attention to new Tamiya releases, so some of the below may be inaccurate)...

Who here would like to see more of Tamiya's releases include the driver/drivers figure + sometimes an interior? What if they all included this, would that be a good step in your book?

In the early days, virtually every Tamiya R/C car kit had a driver. These days, they release some stuff like rally Volkswagens, 2CVs and an Audi Quattro without any interior detail, when such nostalgic car models are not really for bashing/racing - and could benefit from a better modeling experience + display factor.

I was flipping through the Tamiya Perfect Guide recently, and it's easy to chart the decline of the interior/driver figure, over time.

One online store I looked at, actually shows a pic of the new Audi kit with full interior https://www.nbhc.com.au/tamiya-audi-quattro-rally-a2-1-10th-scale-shaft-dr   Looks great, but unless I am mistaken, that's all a totally custom job and the kit doesn't come with that.

These days it's mostly just the remake kits that have drivers (I guess because it would change their look too much if they didn't).

Tamiya still has more detail in most cases, than most other brands, but...

Jeez, detail and "modeling" are supposed to be a cornerstone selling point of their brand. Would it really blow the cost out to include it? Or are they not bothering because most buyers can't be bothered with kit details, and are too busy fondling their smartphones?

Maybe I will just buy the Tamiya Comical releases as a way to help support Tamiya a bit more this year, in the face of nearly every other brand on the market being made by a communist regime. <_<

But I would also pull the trigger on a few of their other "retro" (not remake) cars if they didn't continually fall a bit short in the detail and decal areas. :mellow:  At least the Audi has great decals. But the Volkswagen and 2CV are let down in that department, with a bunch of made-up logos.

Really the best post-1980s R/C car releases for me, in a detail sense, are things like the Lancia 037 kit. Who would like to see Tamiya do more releases like that? And would it make you buy more of their kits? It seems a very long time since Tamiya released polycarbonate rally racers like the Porsche 959 - and really trumpeted their realism alongside all the other factors of the kit.

 

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Who here would like to see more of Tamiya's releases include the driver/drivers figure + sometimes an interior? What if they all included this, would that be a good step in your book?

 

I’ve never cared much for interiors in RC-cars, excepted for in convertibles, open buggies and single seaters and semi-open models (like the XR311 and Cheetah). I have certain “rules” for all models I build for myself, regardless of having intentions to run them or not. One “rule” is full ball bearings, another is to build the model in such a way that it would be possible to run it at least lightly without necessarily causing damage to it. This means that I practically never add extremely fragile details that aren’t included with the kit/body, especially not ones that wouldn’t even be visible when running. As a builder and collector of static models too, I appreciate tiny and authentic details, but distinguish very sharply between static models and RC-models. And as interiors generally are very prone to get contaminated and especially the vacformed ones are pretty fragile, I’m generally not very fond of them in RC-models. It’s a case by case decision though.

4 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

In the early days, virtually every Tamiya R/C car kit had a driver. These days, they release some stuff like rally Volkswagens, 2CVs and an Audi Quattro without any interior detail, when such nostalgic car models are not really for bashing/racing - and could benefit from a better modeling experience + display factor.

 

A full interior and a driver figure are totally different for me, and I fully agree that many newer Tamiya models would benefit greatly from including a driver figure. And as you mention the rally Bug and 2CV; I’ve always been crazy about lights in models, and I wish Tamiya would have included at least clear lenses for the Bug, 2CV and many others.

4 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

One online store I looked at, actually shows a pic of the new Audi kit with full interior https://www.nbhc.com.au/tamiya-audi-quattro-rally-a2-1-10th-scale-shaft-dr   Looks great, but unless I am mistaken, that's all a totally custom job and the kit doesn't come with that.

 

Not only a custom job, it's the Carson quattro body!  (the Tamiya body in the second photo though)

 

4 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Tamiya still has more detail in most cases, than most other brands, but...

 

Sure, and Tamiya still makes the bodies with the best proportions by far, but the competition has been catching up a lot with regard to details. I think the scale crawler craze has created a demand for better detailed bodies, and many companies have started to cater for that. As an example, I have bought detail parts intended for the Traxxas Land Rover and will add them to my Tamiya Land Rover body, like headlight and taillight grilles, working license plate light, recessed fuel cap, 3D “Land Rover” logos, door handles and more. If Tamiya had made the Land Rover body back in the “good old days”, these additional details would at least partially have been included.

 

4 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Jeez, detail and "modeling" are supposed to be a cornerstone selling point of their brand. Would it really blow the cost out to include it? Or are they not bothering because most buyers can't be bothered with kit details, and are too busy fondling their smartphones?

 

I think you’re right. We are a weird little community of RC/Tamiya fans, and of course there exist other forums and clubs where people are similarly dedicated to details and authenticity. However, from my experience with “normal” RC-customers for almost two decades, they don’t care (and can’t distinguish) whether the chassis is topped with a Tupperware box “dip-painted” in vomit or a Tamiya body painted by a true expert. Almost all they care about is how fast and expensive a model is. Literally.

 

4 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Really the best post-1980s R/C car releases for me, in a detail sense, are things like the Lancia 037 kit. Who would like to see Tamiya do more releases like that? And would it make you buy more of their kits? It seems a very long time since Tamiya released polycarbonate rally racers like the Porsche 959 - and really trumpeted their realism alongside all the other factors of the kit.

 

A friend and I discussed the Lancia 037 body just a few days ago and agreed that we’d wish Tamiya would make more bodies with a similar level of details and possibilities to add lights. It’s in my humble opinion one of Tamiya’s very best, especially after it was modified to fit touring chassises. And with the Ford F350 and Hilift Hilux, where Tamiya improved already very good bodies, they obviously appreciate that there is a niche of customers that really want very detailed bodies.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember what was amazing about the Grasshopper was the driver. 

Even though he had no hands, he gave the sense of scale.  Without the driver, it's a toy.  With the driver, it felt like a race buggy that was magically shrunken.  The driver was what made it "real" in my teenage mind.  1/8th, 1/10th are all just numbers, until you see the driver.  

Unimog is a good example of false sense of scale.  

TBbRDKR.jpg

Unimog looks like a regular truck.  Like this Japanese one.  

J5WorAp.jpg

But these Japanese "K" trucks are tiny. 

WIWMekz.jpg

 

But you pile on people--quite literally-- on Unimig, you see how big it is.  

kRY7s5y.jpg 

y7GMYZ1.jpg

Driver figures allow one to gauge its size.  

Aside from knowing the size, a driver is an avatar. 

Without it, it's a nameless drone.  Well, it is a drone.  And it is a toy.  So far, no car drives on its own (yet).  So no driver screams "TOY!!"  That's why I want drivers.  

Tamiya is even molding hatches shut on scale tanks in recent years.  No possibility of putting soldiers in.  That's a big turn off for me.  It's a vehicle; something that carries people.  When you remove even the possibility of installing drivers, it really becomes toys. 

There was a time Tamiya used to say, "Toys They are Not!"  Back then, they cared about scale realism, and every vehicle had a driver.  No drivers?  Yeah, they are toys...  

Come to think of it, this must be why I put effort into painting each driver.  (yes, I know these are not real. But I love these little vehicles enough to want some more realism... at least give us drivers like before)  

l8B2M3r.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the idea of scale realism and detail in bodies and that's why I love Tamiya so much.  I don't actually think it would be cost-effective for Tamiya to include an interior in every kit - they already seem to be struggling - but I've love an option of an interior.  But a lot of Tamiya touring cars are based on race cars and so would have a race style interior - and I tend to build my touring cars street-style, so I'd want a more street interior.  That said it's not beyond many of us to scratch-build a basic interior.  I've had that job on my to-do list for an age and still not done it, just as I've had a couple of Tamiya rally interiors lying around that I still haven't cut and painted.

That's my problem - much as I've love all my cars to have full interiors, I'll never get around to painting and fitting them all.

The one that I did fit was the one in the Buggy Champ.  I sprayed the driver in generic matt grey primer, then added the skin and other details by brush.  I couldn't figure out what colour to do his race suit, but a friend gave me some translucent orange to try.  It came out awesome.  It looks like he's wearing an old brown leather jacket.  There's a tiny little dasboard, too.  I painted it matt black and picked out the details on the clocks with white and red.  It wasn't perfect but from outside it looked just right.  I was so pleased with it.

IIRC the dash is just glued in place.  A few weeks after I'd built it I was driving it along the beach - I think the only time I ever drove an SRB on sand - when I got back after my gentle beach run the dash wasn't in there.  It's probably buried under a dune somewhere near Weston-Super-Mare now.

Right now I'm loving the drift scene.  To be honest, it's really showing Tamiya up.  Tamiya don't make a good drift car, although their chassis were good donors in the early days.  And Tamiya don't make a good drift body, either.  I recently built an MST RMX 2.0S, and I decided to rob one of my Tamiya shelf queens.  I tried a BMW E30 M3, but the arches weren't wide enough to cover even a narrow set of wheels on the MST chassis.  I tried an S15 Sylvia, my would-be favourite Tamiya body, but that was too narrow.  I'll be buying a Pandora body soon.  Pandora and Killer Bodies have moved the game right on in terms of scale detail touring bodies.  And they don't end at the bodies - there are detailed interiors, extra body parts, aero kits.  Many Pandora bodies are made with the ugly metal bodywork moulded into the lexan with the bumpers added as extra parts later.  So you can run your drifter like an old rat, if you want.  You can even put your bumper on with old tape and let it fall off half-way around your show lap.  A decade ago we had to make our own scale underbodies.  Drifting is a scene where people spend as much time and money making their cars look real as they do making them drive.

I'd love to set up a clubman race series with scale-realistic touring bodies (we've talked about this at the local club) but if we insisted on having interiors and drivers we'd never get enough cars to run a heat.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I still remember the times when almost every kit contained a driver figure. Funnily enough, even in competition- oriented kits there was often a driver figure. However, I also remember that it was considered frowned upon on the race track at that time to use it - therefore the driver was simply omitted (officially to save a few grams, in fact not to embarrass himself).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, scoobybooster said:

I still remember the times when almost every kit contained a driver figure. Funnily enough, even in competition- oriented kits there was often a driver figure. However, I also remember that it was considered frowned upon on the race track at that time to use it - therefore the driver was simply omitted (officially to save a few grams, in fact not to embarrass himself).

I don't know about the EFRA/ROAR/IFMAR rules now, but back in the 70s and 80s, a driver figure was actually required for open cockpit bodies. Probably well into the 90s too, but by then, virtually all used closed cockpit bodies like the P 962, Pug 905, Nissan 91CP and similar. Popular bodies in the 80s were the Kroll, Osella, Toj and Schkee. The Schkee was an open cockpit car in reality, but the lexan body could be cut to make it look like a closed coupe and then it was mostly tolerated that no figure was fitted. One of the Toj bodies came without a sculpted driver figure in the (open) cockpit (don't remember which manufacturer. Probably Parma or Associated), so a figure had to be fitted to be race legal. Most drivers then just cut the driver from whatever worn-out body they had, cut it as small as possible, drilled a hole in the middle and pushed it all the way down on the fibreglass rollover antenna with an O-ring to fix it. The rollover antenna was of course mounted dead centre in the cockpit, whereas the driver was seated offset in the real car. Didn't make the car look more realistic, but at least it was race legal!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mokei Kagaku said:

I don't know about the EFRA/ROAR/IFMAR rules now, but back in the 70s and 80s, a driver figure was actually required for open cockpit bodies. Probably well into the 90s too, but by then, virtually all used closed cockpit bodies like the P 962, Pug 905, Nissan 91CP and similar. Popular bodies in the 80s were the Kroll, Osella, Toj and Schkee. The Schkee was an open cockpit car in reality, but the lexan body could be cut to make it look like a closed coupe and then it was mostly tolerated that no figure was fitted. One of the Toj bodies came without a sculpted driver figure in the (open) cockpit (don't remember which manufacturer. Probably Parma or Associated), so a figure had to be fitted to be race legal. Most drivers then just cut the driver from whatever worn-out body they had, cut it as small as possible, drilled a hole in the middle and pushed it all the way down on the fibreglass rollover antenna with an O-ring to fix it. The rollover antenna was of course mounted dead centre in the cockpit, whereas the driver was seated offset in the real car. Didn't make the car look more realistic, but at least it was race legal!

Thanks for the info, Mokei.
I should have mentioned that I only know (and meant) the offroad (electric) scene of that time.
Obviously the handling was different in the on-road races.
 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, scoobybooster said:

Thanks for the info, Mokei.
I should have mentioned that I only know (and meant) the offroad (electric) scene of that time.
Obviously the handling was different in the on-road races.
 

And I should have mentioned that I meant 1/12 EP. :P Thought of it while I wrote, but forgot to type it. Sorry! Getting old!

And I agree with you. As far as I know, a driver figure was never required to be EFRA/ROAR/IFMAR race-legal in buggy racing. And as you indicate, racers who turned up at races with driver figure fitted in buggies, were laughed at, unless the driver figure doubled as a dust cover (e.g. Optima and Thunder Shot). And if the combined driver figure/dust cover had a separate head, fitting it was a  major no-no! :D

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm perhaps the biggest fan of interiors ever, but it doesn't bother me they're not included - it's inexpensive to add and keeps the kit cost down. Since the re-re of the three cockpit sets back in 2009-2013 they've become easily available, unlike prior to then.

I wrote a load of info about them here: 

 

 

Most will know my "thing" is to add detail, so an interior with clear windows is a noticeable improvement over the kit's standard tints. I kinda like how they don't have them, as it's a big differentiator for me:

b_58426.jpg.27408a9ec9f28682da6d67ed7fb843ed.jpg

impreza-wrc-2008-frontside.jpg

I can see why people don't bother though as to do a decent job they take forever!

I would like to see some more modern options for the accessory sets though, these would be amazing if produced:

- A more modern rally interior with "winged" seats, sequential shifter and helmets with the peak and intercom/microphone boom. The standard helmets in the rally set are fine for the cars that existed back in the early 90s when it was released, but they are anachronistic for anything modern and given Tamiya are producing bang-up-to date rally cars (Yaris, Hyundai i20) it's a shame there's no matching interior.
- A street car interior with two seats and just one driver, as Mad Ax says you have to use a racer interior and find a suitable head (Bruiser driver etc)

 

5 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

One online store I looked at, actually shows a pic of the new Audi kit with full interior https://www.nbhc.com.au/tamiya-audi-quattro-rally-a2-1-10th-scale-shaft-dr   Looks great, but unless I am mistaken, that's all a totally custom job and the kit doesn't come with that.

Yes, they've stolen the pic from here, and as mentioned it's not even a Tamiya body:

https://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=88901&amp;id=22525

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I knew you'd reply Truck Norris. :P

I've been a huge fan of driver figures and I spent an incredible amount of time getting my Wild One's Ray painted correctly and looking good in April 1986. As a modeler, I take a lot of time to make sure that the driver is painted well as it really does set off the body. Today's offerings are weak and look like blobs of polycarbonate at best, if they're included at all. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Truck Norris said:

I can see why people don't bother though as to do a decent job they take forever!

That is true.   

If Tamiya wants to make it simple, they can.  Most 1/10 drivers are a tad smaller than (below) Dancing Rider driver.  But why not offer something like this?  Obviously, this is a bit too comical for realism, but I see some possibilities here.  

M1ZajyE.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many great replies, thanks everyone.

16 hours ago, Mokei Kagaku said:

I think you’re right. We are a weird little community of RC/Tamiya fans, and of course there exist other forums and clubs where people are similarly dedicated to details and authenticity. However, from my experience with “normal” RC-customers for almost two decades, they don’t care (and can’t distinguish) whether the chassis is topped with a Tupperware box “dip-painted” in vomit or a Tamiya body painted by a true expert. Almost all they care about is how fast and expensive a model is. Literally.

Yeah it's a shame isn't it. I also completely agree with you about lights, clear lenses, etc. Decals instead of proper lenses has always smacked of cheap corner-cutting to me, even on Tamiyas.

16 hours ago, Mokei Kagaku said:

Tamiya still makes the bodies with the best proportions by far, but the competition has been catching up a lot with regard to details

This is true.

My feeling is Tamiya would be more than capable of taking R/C model detail to a new level - as a niche product, for those modelers who want it. And it's actually pretty strange now to see Tamiya "first in quality around the world" and the masters of modeling.... falling back amongst the pack, as far as R/C models go.

Of course, many R/C enthusiasts don't care about details as we have said. But there has always been a corner of the R/C market that does care about modeling and detail. I just can't understand why Tamiya doesn't produce a handful of R/C kits (we're talking 1 new release per year) with some sort of extra special level of detail - a sort of boutique line for those who really want to go to town, creating a working R/C vehicle which also has significant scale detail.

Doesn't need to be plastic model kit detail level with etched parts and all that... but at the very least, Lancia 037 level - with hard styrol resin body shell. Lights. Light kit. Authentic logos. Interior. And few other little goodies and bits and pieces. Rally cars in particular, have the necessary variety, colour, nostalgia and enthusiastic fanbase for this kind of thing. Paris-Dakar vehicles also.

@Juggular - 100% agree with your comments around scale, and the "drone" vs "avatar" aspect.

12 hours ago, Juggular said:

 

l8B2M3r.jpg

 

Random question - what's the best way to do a simple "wash" (to darken creases/crevasses) over the basic Tamiya flat flesh? Do you guys mix one up, or is there an off-the-shelf Tamiya product I can use? :) I've always had trouble when messing about with that, and usually try to mix something.

4 hours ago, Truck Norris said:

Yes, they've stolen the pic from here, and as mentioned it's not even a Tamiya body:

https://www.tamiyaclub.com/showroom_model.asp?cid=88901&amp;id=22525

Whoever built that, did a fantastic job - and does the Carson body come with the drivers/interior?

4 hours ago, Truck Norris said:

Most will know my "thing" is to add detail, so an interior with clear windows is a noticeable improvement over the kit's standard tints. I kinda like how they don't have them, as it's a big differentiator for me:

Isn't that funny - my "thing" is that I like every kit built to be original to the point of mania... so if the kit doesn't contain the drivers, I simply won't buy it as I'm averse to customization :D  Complete opposite. Love your work though, and the more I look at it, the more it threatens the foundations of my kit-specific-original world :P 

11 hours ago, Mokei Kagaku said:

I don't know about the EFRA/ROAR/IFMAR rules now, but back in the 70s and 80s, a driver figure was actually required for open cockpit bodies.

This is true. The early 80s R/C magazines, e.g. from the UK, often mentioned how a driver was required for entry into races, e.g. during the SRB racing era.

The whole thing back then was often referred to (in England) as "Model car racing" - the idea being that "model cars" were models of real cars and needed to look realistic....they were not merely the poor cousins of model cars (as is often the case in racing today) where realism has been completely sacrificed for bash-ability and speed.

Of course, the "feature-lite lexan blob" culture that took over permeated through the 1990s/2000s, started to reverse a little bit with the advent of scale realism is some sectors of R/C - such as crawling.

Today, I actually wonder if that reversal can't continue. We now have endless video resources on Youtube, and many scale modeling "how to" videos have tens or hundreds of thousands of views. It scale modeling still a dying art, or can the ability of fans to coalesce around each other online, learn, and share tips and post their working slowly turning the tide?

And is there a real argument here, for Tamiya to harness some of that renewed enthusiasm for modeling and detail, and make that more prominent in their R/C offerings?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, Hibernaculum said:

Random question - what's the best way to do a simple "wash" (to darken creases/crevasses) over the basic Tamiya flat flesh? Do you guys mix one up, or is there an off-the-shelf Tamiya product I can use? :) I've always had trouble when messing about with that, and usually try to mix something.

I just dilute brown (XF64 is better than XF10 in my opinion).  While there are 2 brown panel liners (brown & dark brown), I'm not using them because there is only one level of dilution. (this is enamel, so it won't interfere much with acrylic, which could be a good thing, but it smells strong with high VOC content)  

KUW1OZC.jpg

I prefer acrylic. 

I'm nervous about mixing colors (I'm a chicken that way).  So I just dip my number "0" brush into the brown acrylic paint.  Dab that on my cutting board (which is glass, so it's easier to clean).  Dilute it with a drop of rubbing alcohol (or water).  I just pick the dilution I want from the edges of the puddle.  Here is a picture of the 'palette.'    

For this guy, too dark!  I guess I picked the less diluted part from the palette.  So I ended up diluting it from his face with a clean brush with alcohol (or water).  Sometimes that washes away the flesh color, so I paint flesh again. 

No matter how often I do it, it's always a trial-and-error process.  

pZ6tz5s.jpg

But if you pick the right level of dilution, the result is pretty realistic (aside from having no eyes like some horror movie character).  

YAJd0tm.jpg

I guess diluting process is like the throttle control.  When I had my first RC car, I just gunned it --all or nothing.  But soon, I learned the "middle" part of the throttle.  I'm learning that one color has a lot of middle ground too.   

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Doesn't need to be plastic model kit detail level with etched parts and all that... but at the very least, Lancia 037 level - with hard styrol resin body shell. Lights. Light kit. Authentic logos. Interior. And few other little goodies and bits and pieces. Rally cars in particular, have the necessary variety, colour, nostalgia and enthusiastic fanbase for this kind of thing. Paris-Dakar vehicles also.

You mentioning the 037 in your first post, made me think of something that for some peculiar reason hasn't struck me even once during the 36 years since the release of the 037 and the Brat on the ORV-chassis;

They had virtually identical specs chassiswise, were released almost simultaneously and were similarly priced. So why on earth was the 037 body so detailed, with clear lenses, reflectors, whereas the Brat was so simple? The Brat body would have benefitted a lot from clear lenses and chromed bumpers, and I would have loved it to have the bed mounted jump seats, which (for the real thing) was a standard feature on the US market. (It didn't have the jump seats on the European market and the Brat wasn't offered at all on the domestic market).

7 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Whoever built that, did a fantastic job - and does the Carson body come with the drivers/interior?

No.

7 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

Random question - what's the best way to do a simple "wash" (to darken creases/crevasses) over the basic Tamiya flat flesh? Do you guys mix one up, or is there an off-the-shelf Tamiya product I can use? :) I've always had trouble when messing about with that, and usually try to mix something.

Maybe not exactly what you're asking for, but Tamiya has just released this:

 

b_87201.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:
7 hours ago, Hibernaculum said:

The whole thing back then was often referred to (in England) as "Model car racing" - the idea being that "model cars" were models of real cars and needed to look realistic....they were not merely the poor cousins of model cars (as is often the case in racing today) where realism has been completely sacrificed for bash-ability and speed.

Of course, the "feature-lite lexan blob" culture that took over permeated through the 1990s/2000s, started to reverse a little bit with the advent of scale realism is some sectors of R/C - such as crawling.

It may sound non-credible and even pretentious of me, but I'm not the kind of person to say "Well, didn't I tell you?" to indicate that I could anticipate in advance that something would happen, but in this case it's true and actually a no-brainer, so nothing to be proud of anyway:

Back in the early eighties, when most RC-car bodies were pretty realistic,  a friend showed me and my colleagues some of his slotcars. He had been into serious slotracing for years, and we’re talking wingcars for Blue King type tracks, not Scalextric/Carrera “toys”.  Already then, the bodies were virtually only a wedge of lexan and though the different bodies may have had an impact on performance, the only way to distinguish between the different bodies were the engraved lines (in the mold) for the window. The cockpit themselves were completely flat or maybe in some cases a slight bulb. For racing, vertical lexan plates were added along the sides of the bodies and the wing was extended with a long lexan plate bent to a steep angle. The vertical plates were folded down by the air pressure when running, creating an ever large wedge than the body itself. All to create more downforce. As it wasn’t a requirement that the front wheels should be functional or touching the track, they were just skinny disks mounted almost horizontally and couldn’t turn. Highly sophisticated and fascinating and insanely fast, but anything but realistic. These slotcars could even hardly be called cars.

 

During the friendly discussion that followed, I stated that unless EFRA/ROAR/IFMAR would deliberately establish rules to ensure that RC-cars stay realistic looking, we would sooner or later see competition RC-models looking more or less like these slotcars. Unfortunately, I was right. OK, so RC-cars aren’t “2-wheeled wedges” (yet), but in my humble opinion, it has become pretty bad. The major argument for banning orange and tricolor (red/white/blue) sponge tires in 1/12 EP carpet racing, was that the cars should look realistic, not the least to attract spectators to start racing. Well, similar rules to ensure that bodies stay realistic have hardly ever been enforced and now we see the “punishment” for ignoring this.

 

1/12 and 1/8 track bodies have virtually become just wedges with underscale cockpits. Buggies and truggies can hardly be considered looking realistic anymore either. Touring bodies are also totally “form follows function” and though I can appreciate what they do for handling and even like the esthetical traits of some of them, I think it’s a real pity that touring car bodies have moved so totally away from realism. Maybe even worse; M-chassis competition bodies are nothing else than 1/11 or 1/12 scale touring bodies and with 4WD at least partially allowed, M-class racing has in partially become nothing but 1/11-12 scale touring racing. Do we really need both 1/10 and 1/11-12 touring classes???? Or wouldn’t it have been a good idea to limit M-class to just 2WD with tight rules about body realism and maybe even a rule about being classic bodies?

 

I think the race sanctioning bodies have done a really poor job of keeping RC-racing a minimum of realistic, and that might even have contributed significantly to the general decline in popularity.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Mokei Kagaku  @Juggular - going to look into both suggestions for the wash colours! Thanks so much for those.

Plus  - Everything MK just said about slot cars. ^_^ Agreed.

Sports and hobbies that involve technology, all go through a golden era. But eventually, they are exceeded by their own technology. That's my theory anything.

Consider Formula One, which had a golden era of gladiators and machines spanning several decades. Today, human drivers count for less of a team's success than at any other point in the sport's history - and there are now scientific studies to back this up. One study suggested driver talent counts for a mere 15% of a team's success. You can bet that percentage was far, far higher in Fangio's day. And even higher before that. And this means technology is effectively undermining the entire point of watching the sport. Which is - to watch drivers (humans) master machines, and wrestle them to victory.

If the sport's destiny is always more technology - what's the end point? Electric, driverless cars controlled by scientists? There'll be nothing left to cheer for. (And yes, I watched Max Verstappen's excellent drive last weekend - it was incredible, but it was the first good race in the whole 2019 season so far, and it was nearly ruined by yet more idiotic over-regulation.)

In the 1/10 or slot car world, this trend of technology overwhelming the original activity happens even faster. Not sure how long it took slot cars to descend into a blur of wedges, but instead of decades - it took just 15 years for off-road R/C to go from fully detailed SRB racing with aluminium scale Volkswagen suspension....  to "spaceship on wheels" and other low-slung objects that offered no scale relationship to the real car world.

To emphasize MK's point, this is where Slot cars ended up. I am sure you've seen this before. And this was 10 years ago... enjoy! ;)

Similarly - Tether cars. Remember those? Precursors to R/C.  I'm sure even they began as a way of running cars that looked like cars, around a pole in the absence of any alternative. But soon, they became a contest to see which featureless wedge on wheels, could top 300km/h.

With the advent of faster motors and batteries in the past 10-15 years, R/C has joined them. As we all know. There are many equally ridiculous videos on Youtube of brushless speed record attempts - cars you can barely see as they fly past. A mate of mine at work sent me one the other day, and with it he merely wrote "Amazing. But what's the point?"

On the more optimistic side... I see no shortage of realistic Scalextric and similar brand slot cars in hobby stores. The slot car "craze" was 20 years ahead of R/C (1960s vs 1980s). Did the slot car hobby reach its limits in crazy speed and zero realism, then bounce back and somewhat revive and nurture a market for realistic models, via Scalextric and similar brands?

As mentioned, I think the R/C hobby has bounced back a little too - to some degree. Look at R/C magazines from the mid-1990s to 2000s, and there was barely a single realistic looking R/C model to be found. Today, there are quite a few, and even truggy brands have gone back to adding a bit of realistic detail here and there. Let's face it, the market had nowhere to go. In a race to the bottom to produce the craziest and ugliest looking spew on wheels, even the least realistic brands probably found they no longer had a way of actually distinguishing themselves from competitors. So then came a bit of a "realism revival" 10 or so years ago. This was probably also influenced by the nostalgia market and the advent of all the remakes from Tamiya (and other brands later).

It's just that Tamiya needs to take this further again. :)

Forget performance. Release a proper boutique "scale realism" line of R/C kits with exceptional hard-bodies - ala the best examples from their back catalogue. If they're going to do a rally Audi Quattro and trumpet how it looks nice... don't patronize us. Make it look really good. Then do a rally Lancia Stratos too. :P Keep some R/C practicality about them. But give us the option of going full tilt on the detail if we want.

And as another reminder of how Tamiya used to really emphasize and advertise the detail alongside the engineering, just listen carefully once more to the narration of the Porsche 959. It's one of Tamiya's longest promos, and the very first words out of his mouth are...

"Super detail..."


 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sidenote - has anyone noticed forum posts cannot be edited, even 10 seconds after posted? Third sentence above should end with "anyway", not "anything", lol. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, Hibernaculum said:

Sidenote - has anyone noticed forum posts cannot be edited, even 10 seconds after posted? Third sentence above should end with "anyway", not "anything", lol. :rolleyes:

Yes, having the same problem and a few others too. I wanted to correct a few typos, but can't.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Hibernaculum

I've watched that same youtube slot car video and was left with a very confused feeling akin to "how the heck is that even fun?" 

I still love that shot of the 959, lord what a beautiful car. And that was the draw back then, R/C's looked like miniature dune buggies. If you wanted an aftermarket body, you had Parma and Bolink giving folks semi-scale representation of full-size cars. Heck the first time I raced competitively was with a Kyosho Optima running a Bolink 63 split-window Corvette body. You also had the unobtainable Robbe stuff that was gorgeous, but out of the reach of most 12-year old kids at the time.

Modern-day R/C's don't excite me whatsoever, which is why I've gravitated back to the vintage stuff. I've even gotten into the more modern Tam's, such as the F103, M01 Mini and Ferraris because of their scale-like appearance. I'd would LOVE to do Rally Cars like Truck Norris's commissions.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm an ancient relic. I want cars to look like cars. I want races to be seen by 30 frame-per-second analog eyeballs. Slot cars of the future would be just blades whipping by.  

"Grandpa, why are those fins called slot cars?"  

"Well, kiddo, they used to have wheels."  

"But grandpa, wheels are not aerodynamic."  

"Yes, but they rolled."  

"How do fins roll?"  

"Fins don't roll, but wheels did.  At least, when they represented cars people rode in."  

"Oh..."  

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, NWarty said:

I've watched that same youtube slot car video and was left with a very confused feeling akin to "how the heck is that even fun?" 

I can understand it to some degree. The cars are highly sophisticated and adjustable and the building, set-up and the running itself require immense skills. Another friend of mine who used to be among the very best RC-drivers and -technicians in the country, was into this type of slotracing in the sixties and seventies. So when yet another friend opened a slotracing centre with several permanent tracks in the late nineties, he joined again. They used Ninco tracks and mostly Fly cars as Carrera, Scalextric and most other brands weren't yet by far as good as they are today. And even in this simple and crude "toyish" type of slotcar racing (compared to wing cars and Blue King tracks), the degree of sophistication and complexity that he added was incredible. To him, even the superior Fly cars were completely inadequate, so he rebuilt and modified them to be much faster, adjustable and handle much better even though the bodies and motors stayed original (a requirement). His experience and knowledge turned the "toy" Ninco tracks and Fly cars into high tech and he contributed a lot to the fun of racing for everybody, but of course at the same time made it more difficult and time consuming, putting some off.

So, if we think of the "professional" slotracing as seen in the video as a "game" and not model racing, it's a challenge and fun of its own. Similarly, I can appreciate that high level RC-racing as it has become, with unrealistic bodies, high speed and requiring a lot of skill, experience and knowledge, is great fun to many racers. However, in the true sense, they aren't really cars anymore and definitely not "scale" and a completely different hobby than realistic looking "scale" RC-cars.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Mokei Kagaku said:

I can understand it to some degree. The cars are highly sophisticated and adjustable and the building, set-up and the running itself require immense skills.

Stranger at professional slotcar race: "Hey, Who's winning?"

Me: 

tenor.gif?itemid=4668781

 

 

Anywho, not my cup of tea, but I can appreciate the technical aspects of the hobby. Kind of like my grandfather, who built engines for control line speed racing. He didn't fly the planes, his expertise was in the mechanical details in getting raw speed out of the engine.  

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another question related to everything we’ve talked about here, is this:

How many of us have ever bought an RC car purely to build from a kit, or restore, and keep as a shelf queen? ie. Do enough people do this, for shelf-queen behaviour to be considered its own mini-market segment? Has any RC manufacturer ever really thought about that?

In other types of collecting, sometimes products are produced and collected for reasons that branch out from their original, intended purpose.

In DVD/Blu-ray collecting, “steelbooks” have become a huge thing over the years. It’s the same content on the disc as all other releases, but the discs come in an aluminium clamshell case and sell for 2-4 times the price at retail, as the standard release. When DVDs first began, nobody would have believed that “displaying them” would become a thing. Yet the display and collecting aspect of these items is now a pull factor for many buyers, while having nothing to do with the original point of a DVD (which is to watch content). 

https://www.zavvi.com.au/offers/steelbooks.list

https://www.hidefninja.com/category/blu-ray-steelbook/

etc

In RC, the “display” aspect has at least a little to do with the point of an RC car (it’s primary reason for existence is to be driven, but displaying has always been a secondary factor). But a significant number of enthusiasts and collectors actually focus on making shelf queens, more than they do driving. 

It just feels to me that RC manufacturers have never really exploited the market for display-able RC models, in the way they should or could have. And driverless lexan Tamiyas appear particularly tone-deaf toward that potential market. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...