Is This RC?

Is This RC?

We all know Hot Wheels, and it probably goes without saying that we all love us some Hot Wheels. Heck, one of the best things about having a 4-year old son is that I can buy bushels of these cool 1/64-scale cars without anyone thinking anything of it. Just like dad, he has an affinity for the off-road trucks and hot rods–with a couple cop cars thrown in for good measure. In the same way that we’re all familiar with Hot Wheels, I’m sure everyone knows Hot Wheels is owned by the toy giant Mattel. Mattel has offered RC cars before which have all been marketed as toys. Toy-grade RC is nothing new and it’s no surprise Mattel would be in that space.

Not everything, however, Mattel offers is so clearly a toy. Case in point: check out this pint-sized racer known as RC Nitro Speeders. They should be available this fall and they’ll set dad’s like me back about $21 per vehicle.

This little car is certainly RC, but how close to hobby grade does it get? It has fully proportional steering and throttle. Is it possibly a good introduction into our hobby? Maybe cars like this are just what we think of as RC really needs.

Bottom line question: what are our thoughts on the line between toy-grade and hobby-grade RC getting continually blurred?



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Updated: August 16, 2011 — 11:38 AM


  1. The toy companies are getting much closer to hobby grade.

    I purchased one of the new Air Hogs Hyperactives (1/32nd) — no proportional steering (bang-bang style) but tremendous speed for its side which makes it a lot of fun to drive — very nice for a $50 car.

    2.4 ghz allows up to ten at a time to be raced (the Hot Wheels cars above only have three frequencies) — the Hyperactive has become a great way for me to start an informal and very affordable local racing club in my neighborhood and drop the price tag from $200+ to $50.

    A lot of fun at a very low cost — and I’ve found this to be a great way to generate awareness of RC.

  2. I think this is great for kids, and adults too! Whether or not they follow the line down the road into full hobby grade RC, these little cars look like a blast, and they would be fun to race against each other on a garage floor when it’s raining out too! I say It’s a great product for anybody from the demo video!

  3. Given the advancement of New Bright, Mattel, and others offering of proportional R/C vehicles the line is becoming blurred. However I would examine why they are attempting to create such products and take the line even further to be drawn at Exceed, Red Cat, HobbyKing. They are not bringing products to market to “advance” or generate a good new interest in the hobby, they are just looking to make the almighty buck. New Bright and other brands at big box stores offer replacement by mail same as Exceed. Because of the low price point and “how cool it looks on TV” many new comers to the hobby buy the toy grade R/C vehicles that are misrepresented as hobby grade and show up at hobby shops expecting to find service and parts on the shelves because the original retailer said they would be there. Leaving anyone with an interest in the hobby with an undeserved bad taste.
    In my opinion hobby grade is drawn at the line of something that performs to the expectations of durability and performance and is available locally and supported by a distributor on the continent.
    Not to say that New Bright and Mattel don’t do a bad job, they’re a good introduction to proportion, but the speed and performance is toy grade.

  4. I love the detail on the ToyGrade RC, for the money you can not get better detail on ToyGrade. I love that this is stupid fast, no selling me faster motor’s and hop-ups. Its just fast like I want it to be out of the box, Plug and Play fun. Plus its a HotWheel. :>
    Matt did you see this one too, if your son wants a Ken Block Gymkhana Car and you do not want him to crash your Traxxas VXL but don’t want to keep telling him “No you can not play with Daddy’s toy.” Now with this toy grade you both can have fun. :>
    Hot Wheels Radio Control Ken Block Gymkhana Stunt Car

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