Elevating Action on the Water There are those products that come to market that get you all riled up as if you were a kid again and what you see on these pages is sure to get you going. As […]
Click to Open Overlay GalleryA staff member from DJI Technology demonstrates the DJI Phantom 2 VIsion+ drone. Kin Cheung/AP
IF YOU WANT to understand why the government freaked out when a $400 remote-controlled quadcopter landed on the White House grounds last week, you need to look four miles away, to a small briefing room in Arlington, Virginia. There, just 10 days earlier, officials from the US military, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FAA gathered for a DHS “summit” on a danger that had been consuming them privately for years: the potential use of hobbyist drones as weapons of terror or assassination.
The conference was open to civilians, but explicitly closed to the press. One attendee described it as an eye-opener. The officials played videos of low-cost drones firing semi-automatic weapons, revealed that Syrian rebels are importing consumer-grade drones to launch attacks, and flashed photos from an exercise that pitted $5,000 worth of drones against a convoy of armored vehicles. (The drones won.) But the most striking visual aid was on an exhibit table outside the auditorium, where a buffet of low-cost drones had been converted into simulated flying bombs. One quadcopter, strapped to 3 pounds of inert explosive, was a DJI Phantom 2, a newer version of the very drone that would land at the White House the next week.
Attendee Daniel Herbert snapped a photo and posted it to his website along with detailed notes from the conference. The day after the White House incident, he says, DHS phoned him and politely asked him to remove the entire post. He complied. “I’m not going to be the one to challenge Homeland Security and cause more contention,” says Herbert, who runs a small drone shop in Delaware called Skygear Solutions. Click to Open Overlay GalleryA DJI Phantom 2 drone is equipped with three pounds of mock explosive at a January 16 DHS conference. Daniel Herbert
The White House drone, of course, wasn’t packing an explosive and wasn’t piloted by a terrorist—just a Washingtonian who lost control of the device while playing around in the wee hours. But the gentle censorship directed at Herbert illustrates how serious the issue is to counterterrorism officials.
A Drone Maker Takes Decisive Action
The Phantom line of consumer drones made by China-based DJI figures prominently in the government’s attack scenarios. That’s not because there’s anything sinister about DJI or the Phantom—in fact, just the opposite. The Phantom is the iPod of drones, cheap, easy to use, and as popular with casual and first-time fliers as with experienced radio control enthusiasts.
With all the attention surrounding the White House landing, DJI felt it had to take action. So last Thursday it pushed a“mandatory firmware update” for its Phantom 2 that would prevent the drone from flying in a 15.5 mile radius of the White House. So far it’s the only drone-maker installing what’s known as GPS geofencing. http://
The technique is not new to DJI. The company first added no-fly zones to its firmware in April of last year to deter newbie pilots from zipping into the restricted airspace over airports, where they might interfere with departing and arriving aircraft. If a Phantom 2 pilot flies within five miles of a major airport’s no fly zone, the drone’s maximum altitude begins to taper. At 1.5 miles away, it lands and refuses to take off again. Municipal airports are protected by smaller zones, also programmed into the drones’ firmware.
For DJI, airport no-fly zones were a response to the growing popularity of the Phantom 2 and perhaps a hedge against the constant threat of increased regulation. “We started seeing the community of pilots grow,” says spokesman Michael Perry, and many users have no idea where they can and can’t legally fly the drone. “The guy in the White House incident, I’m pretty sure he didn’t know that flying in downtown DC is illegal.” Rather than put the onus on every user to learn local air traffic zoning rules, DJI translated them into code, and added a little buffer zone of its own for added safety.
The White House geofence is only the second one that isn’t centered on an airport, according to Perry—the first was Tiananmen Square. It won’t be the last. Now that the company has perfected the ability to erect geofences at will, the sky’s the limit—or, more accurately, the skies are limited. DJI is preparing an update that will increase the number of airport no fly zones from 710 to 10,000, and prevent users from flying across some national borders—a reaction to the recent discovery that drug smugglers are trying to use drones to fly small loads of meth from Mexico into the US.
‘I Want to Fly Wherever the Heck I Want’
This geofencing has critics, including hobbyists chagrined to find their favorite flying spot suddenly encompassed by a DJI no-fly zones. “I live just inside a red zone and find it quite offensive that a company would attempt to restrict any potential usage in/around my own house,” one user wrote in response to the first geofencing update last April.
“One could theorize that every zone anywhere could be a restricted zone,” wrote another. “Thank you but no thank you. If I spend thousands of dollars then I want to fly wherever the heck I want as long as it is under 400ft and 500ft away from airports.”
“This is NOT something users want,” another critic added. “I have a good relationship with my local airports and have worked with every local tower or control center. I get clearance to fly and they have been great, but this ‘update’ takes away my control.”
Ryan Calo, a University of Washingtonlaw professor who studies robots and the law, traces the resistance to two sources. “One is a complaint about restricting innovation. The second one says you should own your own stuff, and it’s a liberty issue: corporate verses individual control and autonomy,” Calo says. “When I purchase something I own it, and when someone else controls what I own, it will be serving someone else’s interest, not mine.”
DJI, in other words, has flown into one a core discontent of the Internet age. Technology’s no-fly zones already are everywhere. Lexmark printers and Keurig coffee makers have been programmed to reject third-party ink cartridges and coffee pods. Auto dealers are beginning to install remote-control immobilizers in cars sold to sub-prime borrowers, so they can shut down a driver who’s delinquent with an auto payment (the technology already has resulted in a 100-vehicle automotive hack attack.) In 2009, some Kindle owners discovered Amazon has the power to remotely delete the book they’re reading, after the company purged George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from e-book readers, an action Jeff Bezos later apologized for .
“The fate of small drone flights over DC may seem like a little thing—a spat worked out among private players,” wrote EFF’s Parker Higgins in a blog post Monday. “But these small battles shape the notion of what it means to own something and illustrate the growing control of manufacturers over user conduct.”
Geofencing Won’t Prevent Terrorism
While alarming to some, DJI’s paternal interference in its customers’ flight plans probably will reduce unintentional incidents like last week’s White House landing. But it certainly won’t prevent the scenario feared by official Washington: an attacker looking to weaponize a drone. For one thing, hardcore drone hobbyists tend to be tinkerers, and sooner or later their rumbling will translate into published firmware hacks and workarounds anyone can use.
“Right now there doesn’t exist any hacks to remove the geofencing or downgrade the firmware,” says Herbert. “I’m sure they’re coming. People will figure it out eventually.”
But, he notes, drone fliers who don’t want geofencing have many options. DJI’s mandatory update only affects the Phantom 2 line—ironically, the older Phantom 1 that landed at the White House isn’t included. And Phantom 2 owners will receive the mandatory update only when they link their drone to their Internet-connected PC or Mac. And if you really want to exercise your own judgment when flying, DJI says you can simply buy from a competitor.
“We do provide different layers of security to make it difficult to hack and get around,” says DJI’s Perry. But for those determined to avoid geofencing, “there’s an easy way to do that, which is to buy another quad-copter.”
That may be true for now, but it’s easy to see lawmakers and regulators jumping on DJI’s mandatory update as an easy cure, and mandating geofencing industrywide. When that happens, you can expect that circumventing drone firmware, for any reason, will become illegal, the same way hacking your car’s programming is illegal. One thing is for certain: Nobody willing to strap a bomb to a toy drone will be deterred. http://Remote Control Toys on Sale
Nine Easy Go-FastMods- It’s no question – the sensation of speed is one of the most popular aspects of radio control. Racers and bashers may differ in many ways when it comes to how they enjoy their favorite hobby, but they both share their desire for faster acceleration and higher velocity. From cleaning and oiling bearings to installing more horsepower, there are many ways to make your car faster – some without spending any money!
http:/ I dug deep into the RCCA archives for this gem – nine easy go fast mods. Enjoy the read, then start wrenching – after all, you’ve got races to win…even if they’re just down the street.
MAXIMUM VELOCITY MINIMUM EFFORT
Words: Kevin Hetmanski
Who doesn’t like to go fast? Nobody. Who wants to go faster? Everybody! Without spending a lot of time or dough, following these 8 tips will help you add a few more miles per hour and a little more distance between you and the second-fastest guy on the block. Think of them as “speed reading.”
POP THE CARB RESTRICTER
SPEED INCREASE ª 2MPH
Most nitro cars come with unrestricted carbs, but if your carb has a restricter (such as on this Associated GT2 RTR), you can gain a few mph by popping it out. When we tested the GT2 RTR, removing the restricter added 2.7mph and made the throttle punchier, which is great on pavement and other high-grip surfaces but can cause spin outs in low-grip dirt. So, if you pop the restricter, keep it in your toolbox; you may want to put it back in!
USE A 7-CELL OR LIPO PACK
Upgrading to LiPo power will save more than 3 ounces of weight and increase voltage for a significant speed boost.
SPEED INCREASE ª5 TO 10MPH
Boosting voltage is an easy, no-mod way to increase the speed of any electric car, provided your speed control can handle the extra juice. If you switch from a 6-cell pack to a 7-cell, you’ll increase voltage from 7.2 to 8.4 volts and have a significant increase in off-the-line punch and top speed. You can get a similar benefit (along with reduced weight and increased run time) by switching to LiPo power. A 2-cell LiPo pack delivers 7.4 volts; that doesn’t seem like a big voltage gain, but it does make a very noticeable difference in performance because the pack is also 3.5 ounces (give or take) lighter than a sub-C pack.
RUN FUEL WITH A HIGHER NITRO PERCENTAGE
SPEED INCREASE ª2 TO 5MPH
More nitro means a bigger boom with each combustion cycle, and that means more speed (or at least you’ll have the power you need to spin a taller gear ratio, and that will mean more speed). For maximum engine life, we suggest that you run 20-percent nitro for regular running, but when it’s time to crush the other guys in the neighborhood, reach for a jug of 30 percent. But be warned, the engine will run hotter.
INSTALL A HOTTER MOTOR
SPEED INCREASE ªUP TO 15MPH
Swapping a Neon’s 4-banger for a big-cube V-8 would be a herculean task in the full-size hot-rodding world, but similar performance gains are as simple as removing two screws on an electric RC car. Most RTRs include an anemic 540 motor that’s good for about 18mph; install a modified motor, and you can easily double that speed; the lower the number of winds, the faster the motor. One caveat: the faster the motor, the greater the strain it will put on your car’s speed control, hence the “motor limit” rating for most speed controls. Check your speed control’s manual, and stick with a motor that has the same number or more winds than the limit.
INSTALL BALL BEARINGS
SPEED INCREASE ªUP TO 2MPH
Fresh bushings can actually outperform grease-packed ball bearings, but bushings quickly degrade and that costs speed. For maximum velocity, metal-shielded (not rubber-sealed) bearings are best. Most cars already have ball-bearing transmissions, so all you have to do is pop bearings into the hubs. The speed increase won’t be dramatic and will depend on the state of your car’s drivetrain before the install, but you’ll get more than speed: bearings greatly outlast bushings and take the slop out of rotating parts.
SWAP MONSTER TREADS FOR STREET TIRES
SPEED INCREASE ª2 TO 5MPH
Gnarly monster treads are fine for the dirt and grass, but their excessive weight and rolling resistance robs you of speed on pavement. If you trade those treads in for street rubber, your truck will need less power to overcome that weight and rolling resistance, leaving more power for pure speed once you’re geared to take advantage of that power and to compensate for what will likely be smaller-diameter tires.
TUNE THE ENGINE
SPEED INCREASE ªUP TO 10MPH
The only thing more amazing than the amount of power a little nitro RC engine can make is how much less power it makes if the needle settings are just a little off. We’ve seen guys give up half their engine performance to bad tuning, typically by running the engine too rich. Lean the high end out by turning it clockwise 1/12 turn (think of it as 5 minutes on the face of a clock), and make a few passes to see if your engine reaches higher rpm (and thus, higher speed). When the engine stutters at full throttle or starts running closer to 300 degrees, it’s too lean; aback it off until the engine sings a clear high note at full throttle with a faint smoke trail from the pipe.
CUT THE FAT
SPEED INCREASE ª1 TO 3MPH
If you can trim weight from your ride, it won’t need as much power to get up to speed, and that means it can go even faster. Exactly how much weight you can lop off depends on the type of vehicle you have. A burly monster truck with 8 shocks, heavy tires, a reverse-gear servo and other not-essential-for-speed parts can be lightened significantly by removing the superfluous parts, but a racing-style buggy, stadium truck, or touring car might only have a few grams to offer (don’t bother).
When looking for weight savings, go to the wheels and tires first. The old racers’ adage “a pound of rotating weight is like 2 pounds of non-rotating weight” is very true, especially if you have a monster truck with heavy chevron tires!
GEARING THE REAL SECRET OF SPEED
All of the tips outlined in this article can increase speed, but to really take advantage of them, proper gearing is essential. Otherwise, you’ll probably see quicker acceleration but little or no increase in top speed, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as acceleration wins more races than sheer speed. But when absolute speed is the goal, it’s all about gearing. To understand why, think of your car as a bicycle, and its engine as your legs.
THINK PEDAL POWER
Put your bike in first (the easiest) gear, and you can easily pedal to your maximum rpm. You probably aren’t going very fast, but you can really spin the pedals. A lighter bike, more aerodynamic position, or reduced rolling resistance won’t help you go any faster, since your legs are already going as fast as they can. So you up shift the bike to a taller gear ratio, and you go faster, and you keep up shifting and going faster until the gear ratio is too tall for the strength of your legs to overcome. The same thing is going on in your RC car. Unless your modification increases the motor’s or engine’s rpm, your car won’t go faster. But if you make it more powerful (or free up more power by diverting less to fighting inertia and rolling resistance), your powerplant will be able to turn a taller gear ratio for more speed just like an Olympic cyclist is able to go faster because he has stronger legs to turn a bigger gear on his bicycle.
PUTTING IT TO WORK IN RC
There are two ways to gear up an RC car for more speed: install a pinion or clutch bell with more teeth or a spur gear with fewer teeth. This will make your car roll farther with each turn of the engine’s crank or the motor’s output shaft and thus increase speed. Try going up two teeth maximum on the clutch bell, or up to four teeth on the pinion gear. Don’t overdo it; if you gear the car too high, you’ll strain the powerplant, and you may actually go slower. Check your manual for suggested gear ratio ranges. Credits: Aaron Waldron http:// http:// Remote Control Toys on Sale
– Basic Suspension Tuning –
With Mark Pavidis http:// Mark Pavidis is old school. He’s been making A-mains at big races since some of today’s younger pro racers were in diapers. He has raced for some of the biggest companies in our industry, and has helped developed some of the most influential chassis, tire, and component designs in the RC world. Mark has been competitive at the top levels of RC racing longer than anyone from any part of the world, and many racers from any generation regard him as one of the toughest competitors they’ve ever faced.
He has won U.S. National championships in several classes, including 1/8-Scale Buggy. Along with Japanese legend Masami Hirosaka, Mark is the only other driver to win IFMAR World titles in both on-road and off-road competition. Unlike Masami, or any other driver, Mark is the only driver ever to win IFMAR World championships in both electric and nitro competitions. His 2006 IFMAR 1/8-Scale Off-Road title reaffirmed his place in RC history as one of the best racers of all time.
I sat down with Mark at AKA’s new offices in Murrieta, California, to discuss the most common adjustments available on today’s nitro buggies. When Mark Pavidis talks buggy setup, we listen. CAMBER
Camber is the relationship of the tire to the ground, such that a tire that is perpendicular to the racing surface has zero camber. If the top of the tire leans in toward the car, it has negative camber; likewise, a tire that leans outward at the top has positive camber.
Front Camber. Adding more negative camber to the front of your buggy will make your car less aggressive, especially when turning into the corner. More negative camber will also lessen the chances that the front tires will catch on ruts or bumps. Mark says, “On rough or high speed tracks, adding more negative camber is an important adjustment to make.” It’s usually best to start with a little bit of negative camber in the front.
Taking away negative camber (or even adding positive camber) to the front of your buggy takes away a little bit of overall steering, but will make your buggy steer into the corner more aggressively since the corner of the tire will dig into the track’s surface. This can help on slower tracks with plenty of high-speed corners.
Rear Camber. More negative camber in the rear tires will free up the rear of the car, making it whip around by taking away lateral traction. As with the front of the car, more negative camber will help your buggy navigate through rough sections of the track.
Running less negative camber in the rear will take away a little bit of overall steering, but your buggy will handle more responsively. If the track is not bumpy and has good traction, try running less negative camber to help carry more speed through corners. CAMBER LINK POSITIONS
The optional camber link mounting holes alter the rate at which the camber angle changes throughout the suspension’s movement. For the purposes of making only the following changes, you should reset your camber angles after moving the camber link locations.
Outside (on the front hub).
A longer link means the camber will change less as the suspension compresses, which will make the car turn in harder but push exiting the corner.
Moving to the inside hole will give more camber rise, which smooths out initial turn-in but adds steering through the middle and exit of the corner.
Inside (on the shock tower).
Raising the inner mount will keep the front end more flat. On high bite and smooth track, this will smooth out your car’s steering response and make it easier to drive.
Lowering the inner mount will add body roll and make the car more aggressive. Mark almost always runs the lowest hole available.
Outside (on the rear hub).
A longer link gives less camber rise, which means less traction. On a high speed track with high grip, this will add more support by eliminating body roll.
A shorter link equals more camber rise and more traction. Because a shorter link will make the rear of the car feel softer, it will better handle rough sections of the track.
Inside (on the shock tower).
Moving the inner camber link mount to the inside or outside hole will have the same effect as changing the length of the link on the hub.
Raising the link on the rear shock tower will keep the buggy flat through corners and have less camber rise; this is a good adjustment to make on a smooth track with high traction.
Lowering the link will add camber rise and make the car more forgiving when the track is rough.
Moving the link out on both the shock tower and the hub, which will keep the camber link the same length, will add support and make the rear of the car feel stiffer.
TOE-IN / TOE-OUT
This is the angle of the tires when compared to the centerline of the car. A tire that has zero toe is pointing straight ahead. Toe-in means that the tires point in toward each other, while toe-out is the opposite.
1/8-Scale Buggies almost always run toe-out in the front. Adding more toe-out will make the car smoother and easier to drive on big tracks, as well as increase low-speed steering by decreasing the car’s turning radius.
Likewise, decreasing toe-out (even to the point of running zero toe) will give the car more initial steering response. This is usually only done on tight, low-speed tracks.
Mark says, “If you run toe-in (at the front), your car won’t come out of the corner very well, and initial turn-in will be too darty. If you run toe-out, it will turn in and come out of the corner much smoother.”
The rear of the car is much different, as toe-out is never used. Adding more rear toe-in will add overall rear traction, both in a straight line and during cornering.
On the flip side, less toe-in will increase steering since the rear tires will have less traction. Also, the rear suspension and driveshafts will be at less of an angle, which will help on rough sections of the track.
Mark says, “Nine times out of ten, I run maximum rear toe-in (on the Kyosho MP9, this is three degrees of toe-in per side). The only time I run less is in truggy, because there’s already so much grip.” Also, he suggests only changing the inner pivot blocks to adjust toe-in rather than using rear hubs with different angles of toe-in. Changing the rear hubs will increase the angle of the driveshaft joint and change how the car works. KICK-UP
Kick-up is the angle between the ground and the lower inner hinge pins on which the suspension arms swing. Altering kick-up will affect the car much like caster does. In addition, adding kick-up will make your bump higher and further. You should only consider decreasing kick-up when the track has few or no jumps.
Tower. Moving the shock in on the tower will make the shock feel more progressive i.e.; initially it will feel softer, but increasing in stiffness as the shock compresses. If the track is slippery, move the shock in on the tower to add body roll and overall traction.
Moving the shock outward will make the shock feel more linear. This will free up the car and make it jump much better. On a track with lots of grip, move your shocks out on the tower to reduce body roll.
Arm. Moving to a more inward shock location on the arm will make the buggy feel softer and less stable. For blown out tracks, this adjustment will help navigate bumps and ruts without hurting the car’s jumping performance as much as moving the shock inward on the tower.
An outer shock position on the arm will make the car rotate more during cornering, and make the buggy feel more stable. This comes at the expense of rough track performance.
Shock Oil. Thicker shock oil will help the car to navigate larger jumps and bumps since the oil will slow the reaction of the shock. In hot weather, increase the weight of your shock oil to maintain the same damping characteristics.
Thinner shock oil will allow the shock to react more quickly, and help your buggy soak up smaller bumps and track imperfections. If your buggy works well in warm weather, switch to thinner shock oil in very cold conditions.
Mark explains, “Temperature is a huge part of choosing shock oil.”
Shock Pistons. Choosing the correct shock pistons is quite simple. On smooth tracks with big jumps, Mark suggests using smaller pistons to slow down the shock action. On rough tracks with fewer jumps, reach for pistons with larger holes to allow the shock to soak up the ruts.
Shock Springs. Mark doesn’t often change his shock springs to adjust his car. In fact, he suggests changing both the front and rear springs at the same time to maintain the same balance front to rear. If the track surface is slippery, go to lighter springs to create more body roll and slow the car’s reactions. On asphalt, grass or Astroturf tracks with tons of grip, use heavier springs at both ends of the car to resist traction rolling.
As you’ll notice, each adjustment sacrifices a particular handling trait to gain another. There’s no magic adjustment to make your car “super dialed”, so decide what your buggy needs to do differently, make changes to your car, and see if your lap times improve. This guide should serve as a perfect compliment to the most useful tool you’ll ever find in your RC career: practice.
I’m so glad I decided to go to the Hobby Garage in Kuki the other day. Had I not, I don’t think I would have ever understood what “custom” really means to RC car enthusiasts in Japan. If you thought what you saw in yesterday’s post was impressive, well all I can say is scroll down and be further surprised…I sure was once I had the chance to go through every car entered in the contest!
Check out this S13 body. So many cool details like the ground-scarping front lip spoiler, plenty of negative camber and the model-car equivalent of rolled fenders. It’s all about the tuck!
Next to it was this camo Onevia running even more camber, “bolted on” overfenders…
…and a pink engine. Despite only having 4-ignition leads and four intake runners on the plenum it did look more like an RB than an SR!
I guess if you want to place high at these sort of competitions, you really have to push your imagination and think outside the box. This beaten up S15 reminded me of what some of those crazy drifters end up doing to their cars at events like the Drift Matsuri in Ebisu Circuit.
Looks like it took some pretty big hits and a few excursions into the mud, but at least it’s still straight enough to drift!
We saw a little teaser image of this Toyota Estima minivan yesterday. Aside from the fact that it’s already quite cool that you can get these sort of bodies for 1/10th scale chassis…
…it obviously doesn’t stop owners taking them to the next level. This is probably inspired by those vans that show up at Daikoku PA on a Saturday night and blast out ridiculously loud music.
It even had a fully decked out trunk with big subwoofers and a functioning LCD screen. There were two smaller additional screens on either side of the van too. A constant power supply kept the mini-screens functioning and the music playing.
And if you think that’s wild take a look at this Subaru BRZ. This fully functional drift car was equipped with all sorts of cool touches…
…like the custom turbo boxer engine, angel eyes in the headlights….
…but most incredible of all was the custom drop top conversion. It took the owner eight months of hard work to design and build the mechanical servo-actuated roof and trunk! A second remote control is needed to actuate the opening and closing of the roof, trunk and hood.
But no matter how simple or complex the cars may be, each have their own appeal.
This “Arctic version” 180SX is one I really liked. The idea alone was so bizarre but so cool at the same time it was probably the one that made me smile the most.
And of course the details are painstakingly realistic!
Nomuken in the house! Well not really as he’s driving an 86 nowadays, but you know what I mean…
Not sure what the inspiration for this 86 was, it certainly does share some similarities with Orido’s D1 car but is seriously beefed up in the fender department.
Our very own Mad Mike should be very happy to see this particular FD!
Any DTM fans out there? Then this Alfa Romeo 155 V6 Ti inspired build…
…will be right down your street.
The Volklinger S14 we saw last year at Hellaflush Kansai and Slammed Society events had inspired lots of other military-themed cars, including scaled ones too of course.
There were a good couple of hours for us all to take closer look of the cars present and submit our votes.
Towards the end of the video presentation of the cars there was one last-minute addition…from me!
In the hope that I would get some time after the event to drift, I brought my brand new RTR-X Mustang from HPI that arrived the other day from the US. I thought it would be a great chance to break her in at a pro Japanese track and once the organizers heard I had a car of my own they let me add it to the line up.
So it got its own video presentation! Some of the guys there seemed to like the eight velocity stacks sticking out of the hood as well as the color matched wheels. It was a great moment; I almost felt accepted, like I was one of them. Unfortunately they all knew it was completely stock and I hadn’t even turned a screw on it so I dropped the act and continued taking pictures.
Not before I had time to waste one battery though…we all need breaks right!
The owner of this Countach probably thought it would be a sacrilege to have a Lambo and not have the scissor doors open. So he fixed that, and you can now open and close them at the flick of a switch. He was even drifting it with the doors up…letting all the haters hate. That’s right!
Here is another Drift Matsuri missile special. It takes some real skills to make this sort of carnage look realistic…
…all the way down to the rust sport and the shattered glass.
You kyusha fans out there will love this S30 Fairlady Z. As the owner showed me on his phone, Linhbergh’s feature on “that 240Z” was the inspiration.
Pretty damn cool right?
After having shot each entrant’s car in detail I took a wonder over to the track side of the Hobby Garage, where things were very busy with lots of drifting, charging, fine tuning.
It’s there that I spotted even more cool builds, and it seems that most of the guys that were part of the Custom Body Contest had also brought…
…one or is some cases two or more other chassis and bodies to play with.
It’s almost unheard of to see anyone use a stock controller to drift cars at the track. Everyone sports the latest and most expensive commanders, usually just as accessorized as the cars and chassis themselves with carbon-look wraps and replacement steering “wheels.”
Some other cool cars I spotted on track were this pair of Toyotas, this MotorFIX-inspired Corolla…
…and this widebody slammed KP61 Starlet.
Later on in the afternoon it was time for the prizes to be handed out. The organizers of the event at the Hobby Garage had come up with a novel way of eliminating the finalists that didn’t make it to the top spot in the three different categories. If not unanimously voted the best, it was simply flushed down and dropped through a remote-operated trap door! (don’t worry there were a couple of pillows to cushion the fall)
The camo Onevia took the win in the S-chassis group…
…while the shakotan Z grabbed the top spot in the miscellaneous category.
Long and hard work obviously paid off as the top prize in the custom category went to the drop-top BRZ.
After the award ceremony everyone was invited to the main track…
…to join in a few slow parade laps…which quickly turned into a bit of hard drift session!
What a great Sunday out this turned out to be. It was the perfect example of how many different ways enthusiasts, or otakus in this case (!), can enjoy their passion for cars. http://Remote Control Toys on Sale Credits: Dino Dalle Carbonare http://www.speedhunters.com/ http://
Model warship combat is an international club activity, in which participants construct radio-controlled scale models of actual warships, most commonly those built by various nations during the early portion of the 20th century prior to 1946 such as the USS Des Moines, HMS Dreadnought or German battleship Bismarck. These models are armed with pneumatic cannons, and fight against one another on ponds and lakes. Model warship combat is sometimes considered to be a form of Naval Wargaming, but can also be considered a water-based version of Robot Combat since much of the internal systems and concepts are the same with similar radio control electronics, and in some cases possess similar pneumatics systems.
The sport is predominately divided into ‘Big Gun’ and ‘Fast Gun’ (or ‘Small Gun’) clubs. Both ‘Big Gun’ and ‘Fast Gun’ formats host annual national/international inter-club events. There is one major ‘Fast Gun’ club, the International Radio Control Warship Combat Club (IRCWCC). As of January 2015, the other major club, Model Warship Combat, Incorporated (MWCI) has been dissolved, and its members are being incorporated into IRCWCC. IRCWCC hosts a yearly week-long national event, “Nats”, where the fleets, divided up by historical alliances, (Allied and Axis), wage war against each other. Which ever team has the most points at the end of the week, wins that year’s Nationals. ‘Big Gun’ battlers have the annual event known as the North American Big Gun Open (NABGO), and – since 2008 – the annual Big Gun Robotic Warship Combat open invitational at California Maker Faire.
The Australian Battle Group (AUSBG) has two annual National Battles, held in January and June. http://amzn.to/22rOrBO
Radio controlled combat of warships owes its popularity to a small group of men living in Texas (USA) in the late 1970s. The founding fathers of the hobby are Stan Watkins, D.W. Fluegel, and Jeff Poindexter. Back in the day, these men “toyed” with the idea of using radio controlled ships and equipping them with some kind of cannon so that they could then engage in combat.
After much efforts, Stan created the “Mark I” cannon using an odd variety of plumbing parts and pieces. In those days, freon was used as a propelling agent and often their engagements resulted in little if any damage. After some time, and more engineering, they were able to “sink” an opponent in combat by shooting steel balls through balsa hulls. Organized groups formed very quickly after this achievement, with the formation of the IRCWCC, and Big Gun groups starting up in 1982 with the formation of NASWCA.
Complete Mk I gun system 1977.
The iron pipe fittings formed the Freon 22 tank to power the gun operation. The small water valves were used to fill the tank and to supply pressure to the o ring “spool valve. When the gun was not in the fire position, the o ring separated the pressure source from the gun magazine hose. When the radio control unit was activated the servo moved the spool valve to the position that allowed the freon to flow from the tank to the gun magazine hose. As the magazine was pressurized, the BBs flowed into the restrictor tube until the pressure built high enough to force the BBs through the restrictor and out of the barrel. The exit velocity of the BBs was enough to enable the BBs to punch holes in the model ship’s 1/32 inch hull skin. This linear magazine and barrel assembly was not able to fit a small model ship’s gun turret. To improve scale appearance, a brass elbow fitting was added to reduce the above deck size of the gun. This enabled the magazine to exit the deck vertically into the base leg of the elbow. This was the reason for development of the new Mk II breach/barrel assembly. The first of these was installed on (Stan Watkins) earlier constructed model of the USS Arizona (l/144 scale). The BBs (about 100) were loaded into the clear hose. When the gun pressured the hose, BBs would feed into the smaller clear plastic tubing behind the barrel brass tubing. The pressure would build until the BBs could blast through the small (restrictor) tubing and out the barrel. At that point, they had adequate power to penetrate the 1/32 balsa hull skin. Numbers of BBs would “spurt” out. To get more than one spurt, the warship combatant had to rapidly close the spool valve after the start of the spurt. This was possible since the Freon feed hoses were small and had low flow.
From this inauspicious beginning and after years of technological advances, the hobby has improved dramatically in both reliability and playability. Many different groups having formed, fighting scale model warships ranging from the reasonably rare 1:48 scale to the most common 1:144 scale, with different and largely regional variations on the rules used. http://amzn.to/22rOrBO
Design conventions and model construction
Extensive design conventions exist to provide that the fighting effectiveness under various conditions remain proportional to the prototype vessels. These conventions also dictate safety features  as well as mandating design features to allow for recovery of defeated vessels.
The model warships are fully workable, with small electric motors or servo-operated sails for propulsion,working steering systems actuated typically using servos, and are generally armed with self-reloading pneumaticcannons.
The models cannot be purchased as many scale models can, from a company, with everything in one box. They always include a degree of scratch building. There are, however, several suppliers that sell many of the necessary parts for construction. For example, Strike Models, and Battlers Connection.
While many models use a combination of switches and/or relays physically actuated by servos to control the propulsion system, most newer models now use either Electronic Speed Control units or solid-state switching boards such as those found in Robot combat, greatly reducing the complexity of the wiring of the propulsion system as well as overall complexity of design. Propulsion is achieved through the use of electric motors coupled to shafts passing through stuffing tubes driving semi-scale propellers. All active mechanical systems are required to be operated via electrical or pneumatic means. Banned are any and all mechanisms relying upon chemical combustion which could contaminate the water with fuels, oils, and other biologically toxic chemicals.
Cannons use steel balls ranging from .177″ to .25″ in diameter as projectiles, and typically CO2 or compressed air is used as the working gas for propellant. As of 2009, a small handful of small Big Gun ships were equipped with cannons powered by compression springs. In Big Gun combat, club rules frequently include provisions for the arming of torpedoes, represented through the use of fixed cannon firing 0.25″ diameter projectiles.Although individuals have attempted to construct self-propelled 0.25″ diameter torpedoes, they have yet to be formally documented or demonstrated in use. Additionally, vendors have demonstrated working prototypes of weapons control systems suitable for Big Gun combat to enable multiple turrets on a single vessel to be coordinated as a single weapons battery to produce converging weapons fire at a given vector and range from the vessel so equipped. Pyrotechnics are specifically prohibited from use for weapons to protect the safety of people and animals in addition to preventing environmental contamination.
- Arizona Cannon/Single Barrel Gun System – easy to manufacture cannon named after one of the first model ships in which it was successfully implemented 
- Ball-bearing interrupter – one or two steel balls in-line with the gas supply line interrupts the feed of ammunition into the breech, ensuring that only one projectile is fired at a time
- JC White Rotating Cannon – first widely successful multi-barrel rotating turret 
- JC White Torpedo cannon – similar to the rotating cannon without the rotating magazine on top 
- Indiana Cannon – a refinement of the JC White Rotating Cannon  so named due to the US State in which it was first manufactured. Evolution of the JC White design into the Indiana Cannon marked the point at which the design encountered widespread adoption in the Big Gun format.
- Jam elbow – 
- Negative pressure/Quick Exhaust Valve – Typically uses a Clippard Exhaust Valve in its construction and relies upon a discharge of pressure from a pneumatic control circuit to actuate the cannon.
- O-ring breech –
- Piston interrupter – a “piston” in-line with the gas supply line interrupts the feed of ammunition into the breech, ensuring that only one projectile is fired at a time
- Sliding breech –
- Spring-loaded breech – 
- Spring-fired/Spring-powered cannon – instead of directly utilizing exclusively compressed gas to impart kinetic energy to the projectile, a spring affixed to a piston to compress gas in a chamber or a spring directly acting on the projectile is used.
- Spurt cannon – a spurt cannon is a type of fast gun cannon that lacks a mechanism to interrupt feeding of steel balls into the breech. Subsequently, it will continuously fire until either the supply of ammunition or compressed gas is depleted. http://amzn.to/22rOrBO
- Depressing – due to concerns for safety and the goal of inflicting damage to an opposing ship at or below the waterline, cannon can be configured to incorporate negative elevation with an adjustable mechanism
- Fixed – Fixed cannon cannot be trained, requiring the captain to maneuver the ship to bring them to bear on a target instead.
- Rotating – To enable a ship to bring the maximum possible firepower to bear on a given target, cannon can be equipped with a mechanism to facilitate rotation if the corresponding cannon on the real ship were so equipped. Additionally, cannon rotation permit a ship to continue to fire upon a target while maneuvering, potentially increasing the number of successful hits within a given period of time. While uncommon in Fast Gun due to a combination of complexity and limited tactical benefit, cannon rotation is common in the Big Gun format.
Ammunition magazine configuration
- Straight-magazine — Steel ball ammunition is housed in a relatively straight length of rigid or flexible tubing and can be gravity or force-fed into the cannon breech.
- Coil-magazine – Ammunition is housed in tubing as with the straight-magazine configuration; however, the magazine tubing is tightly coiled, sometimes around the cannon riser and/or valve so as to reduce the longitudinal volume required for the cannon. Ammunition can be gravity or force-fed into the cannon breech.
- Canister-magazine – In a canister-magazine configuration, ammunition is housed within a cylindrical chamber integrated into the cannon body. Ammunition is typically gravity-fed into the cannon breech.
While some early vessels were built in 1/150 scale, scales have become standardized with the most common construction scale of 1:144, although 1:96, 1:72 and 1:48 scale modeling groups also do exist. The majority of hulls are constructed from either fiberglass (with penetration windows cut into it), or scratch built with wood ribs. The exteriors of the ship’s hulls are sheeted with balsa wood, which allows the relatively low velocity cannon projectiles to penetrate them to let in some water, with the idea of sinking the model if the on board bilge pumps can’t compensate for the rate at which water enters the hull. Superstructures are often constructed with a combination of lightweight wood, plastic sheet, thermoset plastic resins, and corrosion-resistant metals. Smaller vessels such as light cruisers and destroyers often incorporate less-durable but lighter superstructure construction in order to maximize the displacement available for weapons systems. Other than the balsa skin, the models typically escape real damage, and can be patched and turned around in typically 15–30 minutes.
Instead of a single battle, multiple battles or sorties are combined to form a campaign of combat events, sometimes with a preceding battle dictating the available of rearming opportunities afforded to a team in the succeeding battle. A campaign can also consist of multiple objective-oriented battles or team free-for-all battles.
Typically held in sessions divided by vessel combat units or combat value, during a free-for-all, each captain operates his or her vessel to sink or damage as many of the other vessels on the water as possible while minimizing the damage incurred. It is often played in a “last-man-standing” format where the winning vessel is identified simply as the last to sink or be disabled.
Objective format combat is typically executed in the form of a scenario, requiring that each team accomplish specific objectives to earn points and/or win the scenario. Such combat may involve sides of asymmetrical strength, such as when attempting to simulate a recreation of a historic battle.
A common combat format across the different model warship combat formats, team free-for-all involves the division of players present into two teams that are equal based upon a combat strength rubric (i.e. units in Fast Gun or a combination of displacement tonnage and cannon count in Big Gun) which then sortie against each other in accordance with the club’s rules and scoring system.
Unlike Fast Gun clubs, Big Gun clubs operate based upon a loose confederation, with each club reserving the ability to establish and maintain its own rules, provided that they coincide with the spirit of Big Gun Model Warship Combat. With versions in 1/48, 1/72, 1/96, and 1/144 scale, Big Gun Model Warship combat clubs have rules that make provisions for cannon caliber and armor thickness to be scaled according to that which existed on the prototype vessel. Big Gun Model Warships allow weapons to be installed in rotating turrets as they were mounted as the prototype historically. Damage Control is accomplished via a centrifugal bilge pump capable pumping a regulated volume of water out of the hull. The volume allowed is based on the prototype ship’s displacement. Typically the flow rate varies from 30 gallons per hour (GPH) for the smallest ships to 90GPH for the largest ships.
Principally known as Fast Gun by its members due to few restrictions on rate of fire, this format is sometimes also identified as Small Gun because of its exclusive use of .177″ (BB) caliber guns. About 80% of active clubs are of the fast gun variety, in which all ships are built in 1/144 scale and use .177″ caliber guns, which in most cases are installed in fixed mounts but may rotate depending upon ship class. Additionally, all ships are fitted with a standardized 1/32″ thick balsa wood ‘Armor’ to yield an easily penetrable hull. Damage control is accomplished through the use of centrifugal bilge pumps fitted with either a 1/8″ or 1/16″ diameter flow restricter. The clubs that follow this format of combat include the International Radio-Controlled Warship Combat Club (IRCWCC) and Model Warship Combat, Incorporated (MWCI).
A subset or adaptation of small gun is known as Treaty Combat. Treaty Combat, also abbreviated simply as Treaty, incorporates uniform caliber weapons, armor, and combat units in a way similar to that defined in IRCWCC or MWCI rules; however, speeds and pump capacities are limited based upon the prototype vessel and displacement, respectively. Thus, Treaty Combat incorporates some of the reduced-cost aspects of the Fast Gun format with some of the scaled characteristics of Big Gun. Credits: http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Main_Page http:// http:// Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now
One of the best ways to personalize an RC kit is to give it a fresh coat of paint. This guide will focus on the basics of painting bodies for RC cars–a genuinely fun and rewarding art form.
We’ve run through the basics of several types of remote controlled vehicles, from cars to boats to planes–and some tweaks to modify them. But one of the best ways to personalize an RC kit is to give it a fresh coat of paint. This guide will focus on the basics of painting bodies for RC cars–a genuinely fun and rewarding art form.
Most RC car bodies are made from polycarbonate plastic (aka Lexan). It is incredibly tough stuff, which makes it ideal for absorbing the abuse that RC cars are routinely subjected to. The bodies are formed by vacuforming a sheet of clear Lexan over a mold. The body is then painted on the inside surface, which effectively makes the plastic a thick, shiny clear coat. If painted correctly, a body can last and look good for a long time. http://amzn.to/22rOrBO
If you are an accomplished airbrush or spray paint graffiti artist, you already possess many of the skills necessary to paint a RC car body. There are, however, a few elements that are specific to painting car bodies that you must consider. The number one thing to know is that most paints will not stick to Lexan. You must use specially formulated products that are typically sold in hobby shops as RC car body paint. This isn’t a marketing gimmick. These are truly the only paints I have seen that bond reliably to Lexan. If you use some random hardware store paint, it will only look good until that first crash. Then, the paint will begin to chip and flake off, randomly eroding your artistic efforts. Trust me; don’t get cheap with the paint. Buy the right stuff and have no regrets.
Since we will be painting the inside of the body, some things may be reversed from painting tasks you are used to. Obviously, any masking must be done as a mirror image. Less obvious is the need to apply the darkest colors first. Since it is difficult to achieve a fully opaque finish, having a dark color behind a light color may affect the tint of the light color. Applying the dark color first negates this effect. Keep this in mind as you plan out your paint scheme and order of operations.
You may need to do trimming or drilling of the car body. I highly recommend using tools designed for the job. The curved blades on Lexan scissors make it easy to trim wheel wells and other rounded areas without creating jagged edges on the body. A tapered reamer is the only sensible way to drill holes in Lexan. Regular drill bits will grab and tear as they go through, often leaving a mess. . If you are using a body that will require cutting and drilling, it is usually better to do this before painting. It helps to have the body clear when you are trying to get everything aligned and fitted.
There is a seemingly endless selection of Lexan bodies. Manufacturers will often offer replacement bodies for the vehicles in their lineup. Aftermarket companies also sell a range of bodies in many different styles. Some are designed for a specific vehicle, others are more generic and can be adapted to whatever RC car you please.
In addition to styles, RC car bodies also differ in their level of finish. Some are fully trimmed and have holes drilled for the body posts. Many others must be cut free from the vacuformed sheet and have holes drilled; hence the scissor and reamer suggestion above. The package may also include precut paint masks for the windows or perhaps decals to emulate headlights. Pay attention to these details as you search for a body, as they could have significant impact on the level of effort it takes to get the body painted and fitted to your car. http://amzn.to/22rOrBO
My brother-in-law recently gave me a Traxxas E-Maxx monster truck that he found at a garage sale for just $15. He’s always had a knack for finding super deals like that. Other than the missing transmitter, the E-Maxx appeared to be complete and in relatively good condition. Thanks Dan!
Since I planned to replace the haggard shell on the E-Maxx anyway, I thought that it presented a good opportunity to illustrate the basic techniques of painting a Lexan body. I actually bought two bodies. On one, I will show a very basic, single-color spray can paint job. With the other body, I will illustrate a more complex multi-color motif that necessitates an airbrush.
The bodies that I purchased are Traxxas’ replacement units for the E-Maxx. They are trimmed and drilled for the truck, so that was a big time saver. What I like most about these bodies is that they have a transparent mask on the outside. This prevents paint overspray from getting on the outer part of the body. It is easy enough to mask the outside yourself, but having a transparent mask means you don’t have to remove it every time you want to see how the body looks from the outer surface.
The Spray Can Approach
I did a quick fit check to make sure the body fit the truck as intended (it did) and then got down to business. As with any paint job, the key to a good finish is proper surface preparation. In this case, the body must be washed to remove any dirt, oil, fingerprints, etc. I use a tiny drop of dish soap and warm water to wash the inside surface by rubbing it with a clean wet cloth. After rinsing, I used lint-free paper towels to get everything completely dry.
Next I masked the windows. There are many ways to mask an area for painting. I typically prefer to use regular low-tack masking tape whenever I can. The blue household stuff is good for masking large areas and that’s what I used for the windows. Liquid mask is good for compound curves and complex designs. For stripes or small areas, thin vinyl masking tape works very well. You can also use frisket film, which is a little like adhesive shelf paper. I used a variety of these masks on the airbrushed body, which I will explain later on.
Allow me to digress a bit further on the tape topic. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people set tape rolls down on their side. When that occurs, whatever dirt, dust, hair or other schmutz happened to be on that surface is now stuck to the edge of the tape. When you apply the tape as a mask, the clingons come with it and compromise the edge seal. The result is often color bleeding on your painted edges. To mitigate this, I keep a few generic-use rolls of masking tape handy and visible to the rest of the household while keeping my private stash of clean tape squirreled away in a Ziploc bag. I had to use the community tape for the windows, but it worked out okay.
The windows are marked with small ridges in the plastic. I applied adequate tape to completely cover the area and then trimmed away the excess. I used an X-Acto knife with a new #11 blade for trimming. It takes a very light touch to cut through the tape and not dig into the plastic. The window ridge creates a natural guide for cutting. Once the cut was complete, I carefully peeled away the excess tape. I then used a fingernail to reseal the entire perimeter of the mask.
The paints I used are from the new Duratrax line of RC car paints. On this first body, I used the Metallic Red spray paint. I always start with a super-light mist coat of paint. This helps to seal the edges of the masks and prevent bleeding. Not all spray cans work the same. It helps to practice a little on a scrap piece of plastic or cardboard first, so you can get a feel for the spray characteristics of the nozzle.
The mist coat dried within a few minutes, so I began applying subsequent coats, each only a little heavier than the mist coat. There’s no point in getting in a hurry and glopping on a heavy coat. It is likely to run and will take longer to dry. After about half an hour and four coats of paint, the body had a nice, even, red tint to it, so I moved on to the next step.
Most metallic, pearl, and candy, and fluorescent colors are not intended to be used alone. They must be backed with a coat of silver or white to make them opaque. In this case, I applied two coats of white Base Cover Coat. This really made the color come alive. I then carefully peeled off the window and outer body masks. However I wasn’t quite done yet.
I like to trace the perimeter of the window using a black Sharpie marker on the outside of the body. This helps to cover any irregularities in the edge of your mask, of which I had plenty. You can remove any goof-ups with the Sharpie by using a rag and alcohol (denatured alcohol works best). It was at this point that I noticed the bodies did not include headlight decals–that’s a separate item. I guess I’ll have to add them later. The same decal sheet also includes black decals for the windows. If you decide to use something like that, you wouldn’t need to do any masking. Just paint the body and apply the decals to the outside. http://amzn.to/22rOrBO
After allowing the paint to dry overnight, I completed the final step of the paint job. I applied squares of masking tape on the underside of the body around the body post holes. This prevents the top of the body posts from scratching the paint each time you install the body. While it isn’t fancy, this red paint job is clean and should last for a long time.
The Airbrush Approach
The advantage of using an airbrush is that it allows much more precise control than a spray can over the amount of paint that comes out and the size of the spray pattern. This precision opens up many possibilities for custom designs and effects. My meager airbrushing abilities only scratch the surface of what is possible. With the second E-Maxx body, I created a paint scheme that is simple by airbrush standards. Yet, it displays some of the subtleties that are possible. My goal here is not to teach you how to use an airbrush, but rather to help you to see why you should learn.
I used frisket film to create the Tested “T” logo on the hood. I first cut out the entire logo design on my workbench (as a mirror image) and then applied the completed mask to the hood. To help me align the mask, I drew reference marks on the outside body mask with a Sharpie. Next I masked off the orange, black, and white stripes that dissect the body. These were created freehand using flexible masking tape, also from Duratrax. This stuff is really flexible (like electrical tape), but doesn’t leave adhesive residue. It takes a little practice, but you can get this tape to fit around compound curves and features in the body relatively easily.
Once the features were masked, I used newspaper to mask most of the body. I left only the soon-to-be black stripes and “T” open. Remember: darkest colors first. I used spray paint for that quick job. Next came Candy Blue for the front of the truck. First, I custom mixed a darker shade of blue by mixing in a little black paint. I then added thinner to get the paint to the right consistency for airbrushing. I applied this darker color to create a fade where the blue meets the forward orange stripe. I also added light touches of this color around the window frames and the T logo to give each a little depth.
Next, I thinned straight Candy Blue from the bottle and applied several coats. As with the red on the previous body, this color also needs an undercoat. This time, I used silver, which I think gives a more metallic finish. http://amzn.to/22rOrBO
I made a grey color by mixing white and black. This was applied behind the rear orange stripe. It transitions to a lighter grey, and then to white. Somewhere while doing this fade work, I added a shot of grey to the bottom panel of the T logo.
The Fluorescent Orange was airbrushed next. It required a white undercoat. I was able to kill two birds with one stone by painting the white areas and undercoating the orange in one shot. Once the white dried, I traced the window outlines with a Sharpie and called it done. Again, it isn’t a very complex paint job, but it should give you an idea of the effects that are possible with the control afforded by an airbrush.
I hope these tips will encourage you to try painting your next RC car body. I think it is a lot of fun to do and the creative possibilities are endless. Life is too short for production line paint jobs!
Let’s summarize the key points to remember:
- Paint goes on the inside surface
- Wash the body with dish soap
- Use the proper paint and tools
- Apply dark colors first
- Always start with a mist coat on every new color
- Never use a heavy coat of paint
- Some colors require a white or silver undercoat
- Be creative!
Credits: TERRY DUNN http://www.tested.com/tech/ http://
Things You Should Know Before You Head to the Starting Line
Stirring up the local pond with your favorite RC boat is a great way to spend the day. Doing it with a friend or two is even better when you can race for bragging rights. If you and your buddies are the competitive types then naturally you’ll eventually want to find organized boat races in your area. Something to keep in mind is that two or three guys on a pond is very different from up to ten boats competing for first place on a larger course. Elsewhere in this issue of RC BOAT you will find information on what to expect when you show up at a race event. Here we will focus on some of the rules you will need to be aware of before you take your place on the starting line for the first time.
There are two sanctioned organizations for boat racing and we have provided you with links and QR codes for these groups within the graphics on the next page. IMPBA is the International Model power Boat Association. NAMBA is the North American Model Boat Association. Organized events are likely to follow the rules for one of these two groups. Their courses are similar in size with the main difference being the number of buoys used to mark the turns.
GET FAMILIAR WITH THE COURSE
It’s likely that you didn’t have any buoys or other markers to navigate around on your local pond so it may take some getting used to the fact that you now have “lanes” to constrain your driving path. You’ll want to arrive at the event early enough to get some practice time in before the heats begin. The races are run clockwise on an oval course. The turns are marked with either three or five buoys, depending on which rules are followed, with an “invisible” arc connecting them. Drive at no more than half throttle as you learn to judge the distance between your boat and the turn buoys. Ultimately you want to be as close to this “line” as possible without crossing it to avoid any penalties. Your boat must maintain a straight line from one turn to the next. Swerving may add a level of fun on the local pond, but can result in a penalty on a race course. Coming out of the corners be careful not to oversteer into the center of the course. Drive this until you are comfortable with how you handle the entire course.
DRIVE WITH THE PACK
It’s one thing to master the course when you are the only one on it. It is another thing to master it with other boats around you. It is important to keep an eye on where they are and stay in control of your boat while navigating through the wake of others’ boats. It’s time to hone your peripheral vision and reactionary skills. Start with just one or two other boats if possible. Try to enlist the help of some of the experienced racers. Most are likely to be willing to help a newbie. Drive the course while in close proximity of the other boat(s). Begin by first following slightly to the rear and off to the right. Keep your focus on your boat while observing, anticipating and reacting to the movements of the others. If they sweep wide on the turn you need to sweep just a bit wider. As the distance between boats becomes greater you still need to remain conscious of their locations. This is where peripheral vision comes into play. Eventually you want to be able to shift your vision to the other boat briefly while keeping your boat in your peripheral view, but this will come with experience. It is critical to be aware of what is in front of you and to the sides at all times. Don’t worry about what’s behind you. It’s the responsibility of the drivers behind you to pay attention to what is in front of them.
INVISIBLE LANES AND LEGAL PASSING
There are indeed lanes, however the lines defining them are imaginary. They are basically as wide as the boats that occupy them. You are at the mercy of the race officials when it comes to lane infractions. At any given time the boat closest to the buoys has the inside lane. You are permitted to pass this boat and overtake the inside lane but always pass on the left (outside) and do not pull in front of the other boat until you are at least three boat lengths ahead. Four or five boat lengths will help avoid a penalty call if the officials don’t see the same three boat lengths that you did.
Changing lanes behind other boats require focus. You will have the boat’s wake to deal with so you should cross it at about a 45 degree angle to avoid upsetting your craft. Avoid the rooster tail of water being showered your way as well as this has the potential to make your boat unstable not to mention the possibility of water getting into the hull. If another boat has passed you and enters your lane as it approaches the turn, you may need to throttle back to let him in. You always want to play nice because the table could be turned on the next lap.
There are several ways to be penalized. Many are going to be based on the officials interpretation of what they saw. You may not always agree but you always need to smile and nod then move on. Some of the infractions are described with the graphics on these pages. You can have a penalty called for something as simple as cutting a buoy on the turn or something more serious like running into a dead boat. Sometimes you can get away with a warning for a lane infraction if no other boat was affected. Again, it is up to the individual race official. Each organization has its own set of rules and penalties so it’s best to download their rule books and familiarize yourself with them prior to entering a race. The more you know going in, the better off you will be once your names is on the roster.
The bottom line here is that racing can be a fun part of any aspect of the RC hobby. Just as with car and truck races there are rules you need to know, some official and some are just commons sense. Practice driving close with your buddies on the local pond because proper control is only learned through experience. Keep an open mind and remember this is all about having fun with a little competition. After all…these are basically toy boats. Keep the stress low and the fun high. Now go race something! Credits: Tony Phalen & rcboatmag.com http://Red Line Remote Control http://
Every quadcopter pilot needs high-tech equipment and the best quadcopter that works perfectly for their skill level. There are hundreds of different types of rc helicopters such as quad, hexa, tri and DIY quadcopters so there is bound to be one that fits your skills perfectly. I myself started at the bottom flying beginner level copters. Since then I have worked my way up to advanced level copters, giving myself knowledge of the features and skill level necessary to fly a variety of quadcopters and rc helicopters.
Over my years of flying I have flown some of the most simply built quads to the most intricately designed allowing me to put together an in-depth compilation of the best quads for novice, intermediate, and professional fliers. Every quadcopter has specific features that make it better suited for a beginner versus a professional or vice versa. After all the times I’ve crashed and burned, I can definitely put my two sense in on the quads that are more difficult to fly than others. Regardless of what skill level you’re shopping for you will have much more knowledge when it comes to finding the best drone for you by reading our quadcopter reviews. From mounts and gimbals, to DIY and RTF quadcopters, we have it all!
If you are just starting out, chances are you’re not going to be ready for an fpv quadcopter. You will just need a simple quadcopter without many special features; the best quadcopter for beginners is one that you will be able to part with when it’s crashed and won’t be too expensive to replace or fix. I wouldn’t want you to make the same mistake I did and buy a $1,000 dollar quad to practice on. No matter how big of a man you are, I guarantee you will shed a tear when your pride and joy torpedoes into a tree right before your eyes.
For more advanced fliers a quadcopter that is more heavy duty, can handle the weight of a gimbal, or is already fitted with a camera will be your best bet. By now you can control almost any quadcopter and are ready to start focusing more of your attention on your aerial photography and video skills. Now that the major learning curve is in the past it’s possible for you to turn this hobby into a profession! Who wouldn’t love to get professional aerial photography taken, or their taco delivered via drone?Below I have compiled a list of the best quadcopters based on their quadcopter reviews and my individual experience flying them to make your decision easier for you. http://amzn.to/1IpBPPE
When deciding on what is the best quadcopter to purchase you need to make sure you get one that is suitable for your skill level. There is no need to go out and buy the most expensive version you can find when you have absolutely no experience. Start off with something halfway cheap and get some flights under your belt before moving on to the best of the best. Here are some of the top rated, and what I find to be the best quadcopters based on skill level. Always remember to read the quadcopter reviews to see what other people have to say about the copter you want.
Hubsan X4 H107
There are many different versions of the Hubsan X4 quad and they all have good quadcopter reviews. The best one for abeginner quadcopter enthusiast though is the original Hubsan X4 H107. This one is 100% ready to fly and includes a 2.4GHz radio and a rechargeable 3.7 V 240 mAh battery. Considering it comes with everything needed to fly out of the box, the only thing you need to do before you get flying is charge your battery. The battery takes about 30 minutes to charge and allows you to get almost 10 minutes of flying time. Due to the lightweight airframe, ultimate stability, and small size of 60 mmx60 mm, you will get longer flight time which equates to more practice time! This is the best drone for flying indoors or outdoors but just be sure it’s not windy while flying outside.
The best copter for beginners in my opinion is the Syma X1 and the quadcopter reviews will agree. It is equipped with the latest 3-axis flight control system enabling it to have an incredibly stable flight. You’re going to want to practice most of the time but it’s also nice to be able to have a bit of fun. Even when I was first starting out this quadcopter gave me the ability to perform tricky pirouettes, flips, rolls, and more. It has a full 3D flight which gives you the freedom to go up, down, left, right, forward, backward, leftward flight, and rightward flight. There’s so much learning potential with this quad and at such a great price!
Estes 4606 Proto X Nano
Great for enthusiasts just starting out, the Estes 4606 Proto X Nano has a plastic body and should only be flown indoors. This was actually my first quadcopter I bought after reading it’s quadcopter reviews and I’m thankful it didn’t break every time I flew it into a wall. For the rare occasion when I broke a blade, there were conveniently 4 spare rotor blades included with the quad. There are even LED indicators on both the front and back which help you stay oriented during flight. Unless you’re holding your quadcopter in your hand, it’s very difficult to determine the front and back so the lights are a lifesaver especially in dim light. Included with the Estes 4606 is a 4-channel 2.4 GHz radio and a 100mAh 3.7 V LiPo battery making this a complete RTF quadcopter right out of the box.
DJI Phantom Aerial UAV This quad is a good step up from an inexpensive, simple beginner quad, but this is the largest jump I would make going up from a beginner version. You remain to have the simplicity of a RTF quadcopter but you also gain multiple innovative features with the higher price. Before stepping up to this level be sure you have a pretty good handle on basic controls to avoid demolishing the Phantom into the side of a tree. Once your Phantom arrives the only tasks you will need to complete before your first flight is charging the battery and attaching the landing gear and propellers. The transmitter included with the Phantom is pre-tuned by the factor and only needs 4 AA batteries installed before your first flight. The speed is a big jump between the toy you used to have and the technical beast that has just landed in your possession. The maximum speed is 22 mph and still allows you to capture action shots of any event, sport, or scene. The Phantom comes automatically fit with a GoPro mount but the camera must be purchased separately. You will be able to take aerial photos and videos like never before with the Phantom and GoPro super team.
Parrot A.R. Drone 2.0 There are many cool perks of this quad that makes it the best quadcopter if you’re kind of in between skill levels. First off, it has an incredibly robust structure which is built to withstand crashes and absorb impacts. The body is crafted out of foam which isolates the expensive parts to keep them safe and absorb vibrations creating a smoother flight. Also included with the Parrot A.R. Drone 2.0 is an inside hull which further protect your quad from damage. Even if you’re not fully advanced to an intermediate level yet, you can still move up to the Parrot and use the hull until you’ve reached perfection. The most advanced feature incorporated into the Parrot is the ability to control your drone via iPhone, iPad or any Android device. From your device, you can view life steaming video from your Parrot and fly via FPV. You can also record and share photos and videos directly from the FreeFlight 2.0 app. This may seem like a huge jump from a basic toy quad but as long as you start out with the hall and work your way up to fpv flying, the Parrot should last you many years of flying. DJI Phantom 3 Standard While I wouldn’t normally consider the DJI Phantom 3 an intermediate level drone, DJI has made the standard model affordable enough to barely make the cut. However, I wouldn’t recommend going straight from a mini drone to something of this caliber. Even though the Phantom 3 is extremely easy to fly, you would be better off having more experience under your belt with something like the UDI U818A. Initially, I was going to recommend a cheaper quadcopter, but frankly if you’re willing to spend anything in the $400 – $600 range, you’re better off saving up for the Phantom 3. All of the other drones in that price range simply can’t compare to capabilities of DJI’s new Phantom. For starters, this model comes equipped with a camera that can record video in 2.7k HD and take pictures in 12mp. While this is pretty great quality, what really should make you happy is the new f/2.8 lens with a 94⁰field of view. What makes this lens so great is that there is no more unwanted distortion, or in other words no more fisheye effect. This is awesome because not only does the video quality look better, you can also easily upload it online without a ton of boring editing. With the new DJI GO app you can even watch the footage live as you’re flying in 720p. This app can also be used to change your camera settings, perform auto takeoff and landing, edit and share your videos, as well as perform many other impressive tasks. One task that I’ve found to be quite useful is the new interactive flight simulator. This feature is great when first starting out as it allows you to practice flying in a safe virtual environment. While flying the Phantom 3 is honestly fairly easy, you should be warned it’s slightly more complicated to take pictures using the standard model’s remote controller. This is only because DJI left out all the fancy buttons for recording and taking pictures on the standard remote. This leaves you having to do everything on your smart phone or tablet, which can be inefficient if you’re wanting to take professional video or aerial photography. If so, you may want to save up for either the advanced or the professional model.
DJI Phantom 3 Professional When many people begin flying drones, they dream of the day that they’ll own a Phantom and take rule over the skies. Whether they’ve watched some videos of the Phantom online, or maybe even seen one flown at a concert – they just knew they had to have one. Sadly enough there is a problem that most people end up facing in their conquest of getting the Phantom 3. This worrisome problem is whether to get the standard, advanced, or professional model. Okay, maybe it’s not so big of a problem; but if you’re planning on getting the Phantom 3 then it’s one you’ll have to face. Essentially, the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional are internally exactly the same. The only notable difference is that the professional model comes with a camera that shoots video in 4k UHD. So, if you’re anything like me and want the best quadcopter possible for aerial imaging, go with the professional model. If you don’t care about the 4k camera though then just go with the advanced. No matter which model you choose, you’ll still get all of the same beneficial features besides the camera. The most important feature having to be the now built-in DJI Lightbridge system. This system effectively increases the range of your live video feed up to 15,000+ feet out while simultaneously connecting you with GLONASS satellite positioning. The extra satellites really help with improving flight stabilization and making sure the drone is where it needs to be at all times. This improved flight stabilization coupled with the 3-axis gimbal results in aerial video footage like you’ve never seen before. If you’re lucky enough to ever get the chance to fly a Phantom 3 Advanced or Professional, one of the first things you’ll notice is a light clicking noise after you turn it on. This clicking is actually known as the Vision Positioning system. DJI implemented the VPS to help with flying close to the ground and indoors without the aid of GPS. Essentially DJI installed an optical camera and ultrasonic sensors that scan the ground underneath the drone when you reach around 10ft off the ground. Even though DJI says the Vision Position technology helps with flying indoors, I still wouldn’t recommend it in close quarter environments. In a large enough room such as a warehouse or concert venue though you should be good to go.
Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K Another great drone that is steadily gaining popularity is the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K. While I wouldn’t quite compare it to the Phantom 3, it does come with a few benefits that some may prefer. For starters, included with the Yuneec Q500 is their handheld Steadygrip system that holds the CGO3 camera with the 3-axis gimbal. With this device all you have to do is attach your smart phone on top and you now have the ability to record seamlessly smooth 4K UHD footage right from the palm of your hands. This is a great addition for anyone who wants to take footage while on the ground without all the shakiness you would normally expect. This would have been amazing back in my skateboard days.. The next big advantage of the Yuneec Q500 is the ST10+ personal ground station. What’s so nice about this all-in-one controller comes is that it comes with a 5.5 inch Android tablet. This is awesome news because it eliminates the need of having to buy an extra one just to use with your drone. Since the quad itself already cost so much, the built-in tablet is definitely a nice bonus. Another “unique” bonus with the Typhoon Q500 is that you can watch the footage back in slow motion. All you have to do is record the footage in 1080p at a high FPS, then go back after and slow the footage down. This is extremely useful when making some cool videos. When comparing the footage from the Phantom 3 and the Q500 4K though you will notice that the colors from the Phantom are much more vibrant. Also I prefer the 20mm lens on the Phantom as it makes the footage not as blurry around the edges. Though the lens on the CGO3 camera is a little wider so I guess some people may like it better. Where the Typhoon Q500 could really use some help though is in the speed category. While it can reach a top speed of around 40+ mph without GPS, with GPS it can only go around 15mph at most. When you’re used to flying a Phantom 3 which can reach a top speed of around 30+ mph, this can seem a little slow. Since we’re on the topic of speed though I do have to admit that the Yuneec customer service is much better than DJI’s. This alone might just be the biggest reason to go with Yuneec as they’re much more pleasant to deal with if you run into problems. Which in the drone world is highly likely to happen.
DJI Inspire 1 It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s the most expensive drone on the market – the DJI Inspire 1! Haha, with all jokes aside, if you’re looking to get the best quadcopter that money can buy, short of building your own, then the Inspire 1 is what you want. This drone makes capturing amazing aerial footage more simplistic than ever before. While the camera is essentially the same as the Phantom 3, the Inspire 1 does have a lot of added perks that set the two drones apart. If you’re used to flying the Phantom series, as well as many other quadcopters, then you’re all too familiar with the propellers and landing gear sneaking its way into your footage. It’s so annoying trying to perfectly angle the camera to avoid seeing them, and when they do show up, it usually ruins the video. DJI avoids this with the Inspire 1 by giving it retractable landing gear that moves up while you’re flying. You can either press the auto take off button while you’re on the ground and it will do it for you automatically, or press the transformation button while you’re in the air and it will do it on command. Once the landing gear is finally up though you no longer have to worry about any part of the drone coming into view of the camera. This revolutionary design made it possible for the Inspire 1 to have a camera that can turn and film in 360°. While it may take some skill to fly the drone around and fully utilize the potential of the camera, you could always buy the upgraded package with two controllers and have someone fly or control the camera for you. Having the ability to control the camera while someone else is flying really brings me back to the days of doing airstrike missions on Call of Duty. Besides simply making the flight experience more entertaining, the dual operator feature also makes capturing the perfect footage or picture easier than ever before. For the most part, the Inspire 1 is a lot like the Phantom 3, just improved in many ways. One of the first differences you’ll notice is that the Inspire is much faster than the Phantom. While the Inspire can reach top speeds of up to 45+mph, the Phantom 3 can only go about 35mph. Another advantage the Inspire has is better Vision Positioning technology. This is the technology that allows the DJI drones to fly indoors and without access to GPS satellites. With the Inspire you can actually detect the ground up to a range of 16ft below, which is slightly better than the Phantom 3 at only 10ft. You can also upgrade the camera at any time thanks to the detachable gimbal. This comes really useful if you ever want to change or upgrade your camera, or if you want to use the DJI OSMO. There is one area where the Phantom 3 does outperform the Inspire 1 though and that is in range. Using the Lightbridge technology I can manage to watch the live feed with the Phantom 3 at a range of over 15,000ft. However using the Inspire 1 I can only watch the live feed at a range of over 13,000ft. Though compared to the Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K which only has a live feed range of about 2,000ft, both DJI quadcopters seem pretty impressive . Credits: http://bestquadcopterreviews.org
Electric RC cars are the most popular types of RC cars today. This might be because of the fact that every RC car hobbyist begins with this type of vehicle. The operation of an electric RC car is simple enough to be understood even by children. This makes it ideal for the beginner RC car enthusiast.
Electric RC cars have a lot of advantages. These advantages are what make them appealing to the general public. RC cars, which started as toys, have now become accepted as hobby items for adults. Here are some advantages of electric RC cars:
1) Ease of use- as said before, electric RC cars are very simple machines to operate. This is the reason why many parents opt to buy these vehicles for their children during Christmas. Unlike Nitro RC cars which require some complicated procedures in order to ensure correct operation, electric RC cars only require you to put on the batteries and you’re off!
This can be very important especially because of the fact that most people who buy electric RC cars are beginners in the hobby. It is often the fact that people who buy electric RC cars are buying their very first RC car kit. Although very few actually go on to become serious RC car hobbyists, the electric RC car can introduce them to the concept that RC car racing is fun.
2) Cheaper- Electric RC cars generally cost less than their gas-powered counterparts. This is the reason why they are more accessible to the general public. Electric RC cars can come as pre-assembled toys or can be bought in kits. Either way, electric RC cars can cost you so much less than Nitro models.
Economics can be very important to many people when they are looking for items to acquire. Let’s face it: not all of us can afford everything that we want in life. Some people go for electric RC cars because they provide a much more economical alternative to gas-powered ones.
They are also cheaper in terms of fuel. Contrary to popular belief, gas powered RC cars cannot be fueled with gasoline. The fuel that is used in nitro RC cars is a mixture of Nitromethane and castor oil which can be bought at various specialty shops. Electric RC cars, on the other hand, only need batteries or the regular recharge in order to run. This means that you don’t have to spend additional cash on fuel.
3) Indoor use- People are attracted to electric RC cars mainly because of the fact that it can be used indoors. This means that people are able to make use of their RC cars even if outdoor conditions are unfavorable.
What makes electric RC cars so different from Nitro RC cars? Well, it is a combination of two factors:
1) Noise- Electric RC cars run quietly. This makes them ideal for usage indoors. Nitro RC cars rely on combustion to run, which means that they can make a lot of noise. This is especially true if someone tried to operate a Nitro RC car indoors. The sound would reverberate off the walls and cause quite a racket.
2) Smoke- Since Electricity produces clean energy, there are no undesirable byproducts of running an electric RC car. However, electric RC cars need to be charged regularly which means that you might not be able to enjoy them for as long a time as you would enjoy a Nitro RC car. Credits: