"The social aspect of hobbies is what keeps them growing and bringing in new people. Get out there and build something!“
By RC Enthusiast - Ken
How did you first become interested in the RC hobby?
I first got into the hobby when I was 15 years old. I picked up an old nitro Airplane and Grasshopper buggy from a local Colorado garage sale and, with the help of my father and uncle, got the nitro plane running. Mind you, I only got to fly the nitro once, most of the air time was my dad and uncle. The grasshopper, with mechanical ESC (like a slot car), was something I occasionally played and tinkered with. What really got me excited though was when my dad and I went into a local Hobby Town and saw a nitro 1/8th scale AWD buggy. I was turning 15 (our birthdays are the same day) and I asked him if we could get it for our birthday. He said if I paid for ½ he would pay the other ½. So we DID! This was no small feat as I had to save a ton to afford it. We spent weeks trying to get it to run right… and sadly, it never got through a full tank of nitro. One of the times while at the hobby shop for the nitro I saw some guys racing 1/24th scale carpet cars. A gentleman sold me a chassis and speed control for one and unfortunately, I never got a chance to build that car. My interest in RC slowed when I hit 16 because now I could drive. The nitro buggy, 1/24th on-road car and airplane ended up sitting in a box until I moved out, and eventually went with me and all my belongings to Florida. I spent 16 years in Florida and when my wife and I had kids, we decided to move back to Colorado to be around my family. 25 years after getting that buggy, while unpacking in my childhood Colorado home, I found the RCs that started it all (except the grasshopper). My father and my birthday were coming up in a few months and I decided I would do what ever I could to get the nitro running correctly after all those years. While deep diving into getting it fixed, as well as finally building the 1/24 scale DTMsp Carpet car, I came across all the amazing changes in RC over the last 25+ years. From 1/28th scale “Mini-Z” to the Mini Rock Crawlers and race buggies. I fell deeply in love with Mini RC and within 2 months of being back into RC, my YouTube channel was born, “The Shop – Mini RC”.
What was your very first RC product? And how did you feel at the time?
My first RC was a used old Nitro airplane and grasshopper buggy that I picked up at a garage sale when I was 14. I was ecstatic and loved tinkering with the buggy.
I never really got the fly the plane but did watch my uncle and dad fly it a lot and I was amazed at how capable a balsawood and shrink-wrapped machine could be.
Do you have any advice for friends who want to get into RC? For instance, what knowledge and skills do they need to be aware of?
I feel like anyone can do RC. Now with all of the YouTube videos and social media groups, it’s very easy to get information and help. RC is much more approachable nowadays because there are Ready To Run kits. I would just suggest that you should find tinkering and fixing things enjoyable to get the most out of the hobby.
With whom do you usually play RC? And where is your favorite place to have a good time or challenge the game?
Anywhere I can. When I take the kids (2 and 4 years old) to the park, we usually take a crawler or buggy with us. The mountains and the local race track. One of the things I really like about smaller scale RCs is that you really can run them just about anywhere and they are easy to travel with.
What does the hobby mean to you?
I feel like hobbies are important in general. Everyone should have some kind of hobby to help them escape from their daily stresses. I have multiple hobbies and they are all important to me. My hobbies have helped shape my life and my family. RC is an amazing hobby because you can enjoy it both on your own, or as part of a community. I very much prefer to be part of the community and meet new people.
As an RC enthusiast, what channels will you use to hone your RC skills, expand your RC knowledge and scale your fun?
There are far too many to list! In all honesty though, my own channel has pushed me to learn more and go outside my comfort zone. I try to show people it’s ok to cut, trim, bend and mold your RC into what you want it to be. Many new hobbyists are afraid to take apart their new RC, but I try to show them that anyone can do it and to be OK with trying new things!
Do you have any recent events, activities (online or offline), accomplishments, etc. to share?
I race and competitive crawl every week! Sometimes I am top of the podium and sometimes I am dead last. The key is to keep going out to events and participate in the activities. A big part of the hobby for me is the social aspect. Most of my friends (and even my wife) have come from my hobbies. The social aspect of hobbies is what keeps them growing and bringing in new people. Get out there and build something!