Why I Love Kits

Sep 01, 2011 1 Comment by

I have been a very vocal proponent of ready-to-runs or RTRs. Not only do I believe they are essential for the hobby to grow, but I also believe they don’t hurt the hobby in any way, shape, form or fashion. The haters out there, however, think quite differently. It doesn’t take long for some loudmouth to spout off how RTRs are for lazy kids who don’t want to learn. Do kits offer a leaning experience? Yes, but it isn’t essential. Sorry.

As I’ve said before, but if you so firmly believe building should be a required part of the hobby, apply that logic to everything you enjoy and see how silly it really seems. For example, we all probably agree that knowing how a full-size car really works is a good thing, but I doubt any of us truly think you should have to build a car before using one. Same goes for a mountain bike, big screen TV or cell phone. Yes, I’ll take my iPhone RTR, thank you. The bottom line on RTRs is there is nothing wrong with some instant gratification.

My goal isn’t to defend RTRs. I’ve made all these points before. This time I have kits on the brain. I just finished building a Kyosho Ultima SC-R. Even though it was a slow build at times, it reminded me how much I love kits. I love kits for two reasons. First, building a kit is a hobby in itself; it’s like a whole separate hobby. It’s fun, it’s relaxing and it truly gets my mind off of things. Sounds like a hobby to me.

The second reason I like kits is that I can take a great deal of pride in my build. I like to think I can build a kit as good as anybody and I like to show a build off when I’m done. Yup, spin that drivetrain and compress that suspension. It’s all butter. Remains of a parts tree of my build’s A-arms? Unlikely. When one of the editors builds a kit here at RC Car Action, it gets scrutinized. I mean it gets looked up and down more than the new girl in a snotty high school. We look for flaws; we examine; we dig in deep hoping to find some sloppy bit of construction–anything less than perfect. I’m sure you guys are the same way. It’s all in good fun and it’s part of what makes kits cool. You can’t pop a RTR out of a box and say, “Look what I did!” Um, you cut the tape and pulled out a truck. Oh, my bad, you installed the included AA batteries. Way to go, Bob Vila.

I guess my point is I like both. I appreciate both. I do not believe you have to be pro one and anti the other.

 

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Featured News, Matthew Higgins

About the author

About Matt:I think it’s safe to say I’ve done a little bit of everything in RC. That said, I predominately race off-road and my current passion is short course. One of my all-time favorite classes is oval carpet racing. Besides racing, I can often be found working on one of my many never-complete projects, and it seems I have an ever growing collection of rock crawlers—specifically scale crawlers. Matt’s 5 Hot Topics: Short course, Racing, Scale Builds, Crawling and the General RC Hobby

One Response to “Why I Love Kits”

  1. Michael Wortel says:

    These are some really good points, Matt. I like the notion that kit building is a hobby in itself. In recent years, I have even found myself purchasing a kit JUST BECAUSE it is a kit–not really even caring about running it.

    I myself do see the value of RTRs for the industry, but I think you missed-out on one of the reasons that some people despise RTRs–build quality. While things like your iphone and full-scale car are RTR, they are assembled according to very strict specs. While there are some exceptions, most RC cars are assembled in Taiwan, by someone getting paid 20-cents/hour, with NO RC experience. I am sure that you have tested more than your share of RTRs with obvious buid defects. Although that is the exception, it unfortunately pollutes peoples’ perceptions of RTRs.

    I love building kits, and I do appreciate a good RTR for its instant gratification and ability to bring new people into the industry. If I were to give one RTR tip to everyone, however, I would stick to American and Japanese-made vehicles… Would you ever trust a full-scale car assembled in China or Taiwan? I think not!

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