RC racing appeals to all kinds of enthusiasts, from the full-blown tinkerers to the weekend warriors to those just beginning their journey in the hobby. Chances are if you’ve ever seen an RC race car, you’ve also noticed the level of detail that goes into a well-built machine. Building and setting up these fine-tuned, race-level RC kits can be simultaneously the most rewarding part of the hobby and at times equally as daunting. It’s in those daunting times of need that we turn to the experts, the builders who have turned their knowledge, expertise, and love of the hobby into a true craft; professionals like Nick Wautlet, founder of the renowned Wallie Builds.
Nick, through Wallie Builds, offers a wide range of expert kit building services as well as pre-built race-ready RC race cars, and a budding array of hop-up parts and other goodies to go with them. He is also an avid racer himself, having competed in plenty of club and pro level events nationwide. Join us as we ask Nick some questions about his passion for RC and his work at Wallie Builds.
RCCA: What inspired you to create Wallie Builds?
NW: Awhile back I had a huge spending problem and I was pretty deep in debt. A few people on my social media page were asking me if I would build them up some cars. At first, I didn’t really know how to respond, but after I did a few cars and was receiving positive feedback on them, I thought this might be something worth looking into!
RCCA: Can you describe to readers what kind of work Wallie Builds does?
NW: As of late, Wallie Builds has grown into more of an online store and will continue to go that route as I move forward with it. The main product that I offer is completed builds from a variety of manufacturers. These cars come race ready with the most current setups already installed. I believe this helps the newer people coming to the racing side get started in the right direction and helps to limit the frustrations of trying to learn everything. I am also available for setup questions and phone calls if a customer has issues.
RCCA: How would you describe your role at WB?
NW: At this time, I do everything. From filling orders to social media posts, to product development and the builds. Everything is on me at the moment. I do have my friend Carrah Tompkins who helps with the website and will be helping me when I switch to the new updated site later this year!
RCCA: How long have you been an RC racing enthusiast?
NW: I have been in this hobby since I was 5 years old. My grandfather got me started in it racing Boats. I raced boats under NAMBA District 19 up until about 16 years old. I won the Gas World Championships in 2006 in Las Vegas, probably my highlight from racing boats. From there, I picked up the car side of things and really enjoyed the off-road side of racing. I started racing at So Cal RC Raceway with some friends and quickly got sucked into putting most of my extra time into getting faster.
RCCA: What’s your favorite type of RC car to drive?
NW: As far as racing goes, definitely my RC8B3.2. 1/8th Nitro buggy will always be my favorite class to race. I wish I could race motocross and be good at that, but since I can’t 1/8th nitro is the closest I can get haha. As for a basher, the SC8.2e is my overall most favorite car to drive. So many good memories minus the time I got knocked off my feet by getting hit in the head during a demo at the Offroad Expo lol.
RCCA: Your passion in your work definitely shows, what aspect of building RC cars do you find most enjoyable?
NW: As of late I enjoy using it to escape from the world. The world is pretty unsettled right now and if you watch the news or your phone too much, it will drive you crazy or into some sort of depression. Plus, I love seeing the finished project and the amazement from the customer when he gets the car.
There was one time when I wired up a car and sent it back to a customer, he called me and said the transponder was not in the car. I told him that it was in there, but he didn’t believe me. He sent me a photo and when I received it, I drew a circle around the transponder and sent it back. He was like, “well I guess that’s why I sent you the car.” We both had a good laugh.
RCCA: What’s your favorite style of car to build?
NW: I really like building 1/8th buggies. They may take the most time to build, but the finished product is pretty sweet in my opinion.
You’re known for your highly detailed work, what would you say is the most important detail when building a kit?
The biggest thing when building kits is to take your time and make sure the parts go together properly and that it is built correctly. I have built a few cars that have been started by the customer and a good amount of the time are built incorrectly, to the point that it would cause severe problems when it was driven.
Additionally, if you are going to use a setup from a top driver, make sure that you copy everything on the sheet. I have seen this happen over and over again. Someone at the track says they copied a setup sheet perfectly, but the car doesn’t handle right. When I ask them if they copied the setup 100% they will say “yeah except I did this or that instead.” The best thing to do is copy all the notes and everything the setup sheet says, it is on there for a reason. After you drive with the setup and you need the car to be better in a direction, then make changes.
RCCA: WB also develops its own line of products, any new releases you’d like to mention?
NW: WB will be putting out an apparel line here soon starting with hats. I will also be working on some carbon accessories and tools soon, but that is all that I would like to share for now 😉
RCCA: Are there any future plans or projects in the works?
NW:I do have some Ideas to put on a race event during a larger mainstream event. Just need to find out where I can fit it in and how to make it happen. Might be something that I try to make happen next year. I had some ideas this year with the help of some friends to get a nitro buggy demo race going at the Fox Raceway round of the MX National Series, but with COVID-19, it might have to wait ‘til next season. Might be a good thing so that we can plan it a little better too.
RCCA: Is there anything else you want to let our readers know?
NW:Just want to say thank you for all the support over the last few years and if you are interested in a build, check out walliebuilds.com or @wallie_builds on Instagram! Stay safe and healthy everyone!
Text by Lauren Short
Images courtesy of Nick Wautlet