A variety of propulsion systems are used to power model vehicles, the most popular being electric power but many cars, especially the
larger scale 1/8th and 1/4 scale cars use internal combustion engines. The majority of model cars are radio controlled. Its important to differentiate between ‘toy’ rc cars and high quality models. Higher quality models are generally much faster and better built.
There are many different areas of vehicle modelling. A brief outline of these is covered below.
Off Road rc cars – This is a popular area of vehicle modelling. Off road racing is a very popular sport with different classes and scales of cars, buggy’s and trucks being raced.
Tenth scale (1/10th) off road rc cars are often powered by electric motors and utilise rechargable batteries. Races general last
around 5 minutes and can be held on grass, car parks or a mixture of both. Eighth scale off road cars are usually IC powered using 3.5cc glowplug engines. Quarter scale cars (1/4) are a relatively new area of car modelling. These are normally powered by larger petrol engines. Within a particular scale there can be two whell drive (2wd) and four wheel drive (4wd) classes.
On Road rc cars – Like off road racing there are different classes and scales of on road vehicles. Types of on road racing include Formula 1, drag racing, Nascar racing, stock cars and sports cars.
Motorcycles – Radio controlled motorcycles were first made available in the 70′ with Graupner Eleck Rider. This area of modelling has developed relatively slowly but now a number of bikes are available. Both electric and IC powered bikes have been produced. Electric bikes have been built in both 1/8 and 1/5 scale. Currently 1/5 scale appears to be the most popular, probably due to the fact that this scale uses widely available 540 type motors and regular sized servos, receiver and electronic speed controls.
IC powered bikes nitro bikes have been built in 1/6, 1/5 scale and 1/4 scale. Currently 1/5 scale appears to be the most popular size for nitro bikes.
Tanks – Radio control model tanks have been around since the 1970s. Although not as popular compared to R/C cars and airplanes, R/C tanks have their own appeal, and there is a growing market for them. The earliest commercial tanks were kits made by Tamiya in the 1/16 scale and Bandai in 1/25 scale. Recently R/C tanks have experienced a new popularity, with the advent of digital control systems, more efficient motors and batteries. Tamiya has updated their older RC tank kits and have even released additional WW2 era
German tanks. These tanks are electrically driven with realistic proportional control, actual suspension system, digital sound, and working lights.