Let the experts at Tower Hobbies be your guide!
Radio Control (R/C) is piloting your own Air Force, commanding your own fleet, or 4-wheeling in your own monster truck! It's being totally in control of a fully functional scale model that is just waiting for your next command! If you're interested in mechanical or electronic devices, you'll be fascinated with the advanced components and design of these models not like the R/C toys you see in department stores. These are life-like, "to scale" models with high-quality, mechanical working parts. Whether you want a relaxing afternoon getting away from it all or a hot race, there is an R/C land, sea, or air model for you. The keys are to participate and have fun!
Radio Control Cars & Trucks
Many radio control modelers get their start in the hobby with an R/C car or truck. That’s a good idea. Getting the hang of a model that stays on the ground — most of the time! — is a little easier than controlling one that also challenges you to beat the law of gravity.
While R/C cars are easier to control than their flying counterparts, some are still high-performance machines that are loaded with powerful, sophisticated engineering. That brings up one of the most exciting things to do with R/C cars — race them!
An R/C car race can be as informal as two kids tearing around a ball diamond...or as organized as the IFMAR Worlds Championship, which attracts top R/C drivers from all over the globe to compete in such exotic locales as Italy, Switzerland, and Australia.
Tower Hobbies has a very wide range of R/C vehicles to choose from. At the small end of the scale are electric-powered Micro/Mini Vehicles — some are less than eight inches long and can be raced almost anywhere! At the other extreme is the 1/5 scale
HPI Baja 5SC... almost three feet long and powered by regular unleaded gasoline!
For our recommendations on the R/C cars and trucks that are best-suited for new modelers, click here.
Off-Road vs On-Road
The most popular type of R/C car is the Off-Road Buggy. Big tires with "knobby" spikes, full-travel suspension parts and a high ground clearance allow the off-roader to go almost anywhere. Most are 1/10 scale (about 15" long), are either two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel-drive (4WD), and reach speeds of 15-30 mph. On-Road cars usually have lower ground clearances, slicks tires, aerodynamic bodies, and are capable of a bit higher speeds.
Electric vs Nitro
Electric cars use a rechargeable battery pack for power. They can run up to 10 minutes and can be recharged in about 15 minutes. Nitro cars are actually powered by a small engine that burns a special glow fuel. Some can reach speeds of over 50 mph! We recommend nitro cars for advanced modelers.
Kits, Prebuilt or RTR?
Of these three model categories, Kits require the most building time and effort. That’s not necessarily a disadvantage. You gain the pride of knowing that you’ve successfully put together a fast-moving vehicle by yourself. And you learn a great deal about how it works — experience that will help you upgrade its performance and quickly repair any possible damage. Replacement parts as well as “hop-ups” are available from Tower Hobbies.
The majority of cars and trucks aimed at first-time modelers fall into the other two groups. Both come almost entirely factory-assembled. RTR (or Ready-to-Run) models let you start driving almost immediately after opening the box. They come fully equipped with a power plant and radio system already installed. Prebuilt models (also known as ARR, or Almost Ready-to-Run) are usually identical to RTRs but don’t include a radio, in case you have one already or would rather choose your own.
What else do I need?
You will generally need to get a 2-3 channel Radio System to control your model. Tower Hobbies carries a wide selection of high quality, affordable models from the most popular manufacturers. You will also usually need at least one battery pack and a charger. We often offer these kits in "Combos" which allow you to buy nearly everything needed to get going (car, radio, battery and charger) using only one stock number - and save money!
Check out all of the exciting R/C cars and trucks available through Tower Hobbies — like the
DuraTrax Evader EXT2 RTR. It’s factory-assembled, professionally painted, and ready for high-revving action in just minutes! Many other ready-to-run, prebuilt, and kit models are available — racing trucks, car crushers, and street machines, with nitro or electric power — plus options and accessories. Click the tab above or this Cars & Trucks link to find out more about them.
Radio Control Airplanes
Nothing can describe the excitement of your first aircraft takeoff! Your own flying machine rises into the sky with you as the pilot! Our typical airplane kit consists of all the wood you need to build itas well as plans, instructions, and even some accessories.
The number of accessories varies from one kit to another, so when you're ready to place your order check out our Ordering Basics section for tips on how to get everything you'll need to fly! Our exclusive computerized database of every in-stock airplane can instantly access this information for you. You'll also need such equipment as an appropriate motor or engine plus radio system.
Kits, ARF or RTF? Tx-R or Rx-R? What does it all mean?
In R/C modeling, you can also decide how much — if any — building you want to do. If you're a "do-it-yourselfer" who enjoys putting parts together and knowing what makes things tick, Kits are an ideal choice. With an ARF (Almost Ready-to-Fly) model, the majority of assembly is done at the factory. Many include a motor, engine or other extras. Rx-R™ (Receiver-Ready) or RR models take prefabrication even further, with most including factory-installed servos, plus a speed control, battery or charger, or fuel accessories. Tx-R™ (Transmitter-Ready™) aircraft are also factory-finished, with a power system and servos included. Most include a battery and charger, too. What makes Tx-R aircraft stand out is – thanks to a preinstalled 2.4GHz SLT™ (Secure Link Technology) receiver – you can fly any number of planes using the transmitter you like most…yours!
For maximum ease, the hobby also offers prebuilt RTF (Ready-to-Fly) models. These include virtually complete radio and power systems. Some are so complete, there's nothing else to buy. They're priced higher than Tx-R and Rx-R aircraft, ARFs or kits, but let you enjoy your model almost immediately.
We strongly recommend that you learn to fly with a qualified instructor. There are more than 1000 R/C flying clubs all over the country that can help you find one. Or, contact the Academy of Model Aeronautics, 5161 E. Memorial Drive, Muncie, IN 47302 (on the web at www.modelaircraft.org) for the name and location of the club nearest you.
Gift Certificates & Gift Cards
R/C makes a fun, exciting, unique and fascinating gift and Tower Hobbies makes it incredibly easy to give! You can order a Tower Hobbies Gift Certificate or Gift Card right over the internet, and well send it to your recipient along with a free copy of our latest, 244 page Tower Hobbies Catalog (U.S. Only). Gift certificates are available in any whole dollar amount from $10 up to $500. Its easy, its fast...and its sure to please!
An Ultimate Combo is a prepackaged collection with almost everything you need to complete an R/C modelfrom kit to paint brush and batteries, all carefully selected by the modeling experts here at Tower Hobbies. It's ideal for your first project and perfect to give as a gift. Ultimate Combos are available on many of our most popular R/C kits. Click here for a list of all Tower Hobbies Ultimate Combos.
With Towers preselected combo packages, you know youre getting compatible products AND a good value. But youre not limited to our accessory choices in order to enjoy the lower prices. You can also build your own combos!
Its easy. Our Build-Your-Own Combo pages list dozens of our most popular models along with a huge variety of perfectly matched engines, radios and other accessories. Decide for yourself how much you want to spend, and how much sophistication you need.
With each item you select for your combo, youll see if we have it in stock and how much youll save compared to buying it separately. At any point in the process of putting your combo together, you can get an updated total cost with one click of your mouse!
Putting together your first order for an R/C model and accessories might seem a bit intimidating. But the Tower Hobbies website is designed to make the process fun, and also as simple as possible. Be sure to take the brief "guided tour" on our Ordering Basics page.