Half the fun of RC hobbies comes from assembling a car, boat, plane, or helicopter from a kit prior to firing it up and running it about the block. RC hobbies offer a passion for all ages and budgets, allowing anyone to perform wheelies, flips, barrel rolls, and dives at a one-tenth scale. Getting started with remote model craft requires only a little bit of technological knowledge, a few tools, and enough patience to get a craft off the ground. A hobby-grade kit should be strong enough to absorb a decent amount of punishment – from children, pets, or simple gravity – in comparison to a collector's model or a simple children's toy, giving these cars or planes the strength needed for a long lifespan.
The difference between most RC hobbies is the difference between vehicles in the real world: they are either large or small and run on fuel or on electricity, with advantages and disadvantages to both. Most electric vehicles are smaller and have a better top speed but can not run as well on a bumpy track or in windy weather; the nitro vehicles, by comparison, have a lower top speed but can handle challenges like hilly weather. A smaller vehicle, between one-tenth and one-twenty actual size, uses less power. A larger craft, between one-eighth and one-quarter size, will be able to achieve excellent top speeds (as high as sixty miles per hour) with several gears, but need constant juice and suffer from damaged parts more frequently.
Electric vehicles make RC hobbies clean and quiet. Their engine makes little noise and no fuel fumes are expelled, making them ideal for indoor use. They cost less than their fuel counterparts but require more frequent top-offs, with a battery life that rarely runs past fifteen minutes. Those with experience in RC hobbies can modify electric engines to give better performance at the cost of battery life by installing an aftermarket motor.
Engine vehicles, also called nitro vehicles, run on methane fuels that give them greater top speed and run time. Filling a nitro vehicle is easier than replacing a battery but much more expensive; a quart costs anywhere between ten and twenty dollars. Many people who pursue RC hobbies prefer the authentic sound of nitro models, as pint-sized monster trucks and wave-runners sound just like their real-life counterparts. Just like their real-life counterparts, however, engine RC parts need to be repaired, which is a messy practice. Do not ever use gasoline in an engine model, or else it will melt away the interior and possibly start a fire.
Whether you are interested in electric or engine RC hobbies, there are several necessary tools for either operation. A slotted screwdriver as well as a Phillips-head screwdriver is critical while a set of needle-nose pliers and a good knife are invaluable for inserting or extracting miniature parts. Most hobby kits that require a wrench to complete the model will include one within the kit. The same transmitter may be used for both electric and fuel RC hobbies.