Miniature replica’s of real life vehicles are not always made for kids. In fact, two types of hobbies revolve around this, plastic military modelling and RC vehicles. The former is a process of building these replicas and the latter is the part that comes afterwards – play time. Both hobbies are fun and relaxing but in order to make the right decision you’ll need to learn a thing or two about both.
Plastic Military Models
Building plastic military models is a great way to exercise your artistic and organisational skills. With this type of hobby you can relax after a long day at work and clear your head from all the issues for hours on end. You can find all kinds of military models online or in physical shops which can teach you a lot about their history. You can also start creating a collection as you build them and make the models unique whilst doing so.
What Kind of Plastic Are These Models Made of?
Whilst almost all plastic military models online or in shops are made of polystyrene, there are also army models made of ABS plastic and PUR (Polyurethane Resin). Companies like Bandai and Tamiya are known to use a material they call “polycaps” which is a soft plastic. You can usually find the material inscribed on the back side of the sprue in a short form such as PP, PE, PVC and PS.
What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Plastic Models?
Plastic models can be painted on with either enamel or acrylic paints. Enamel paints provide a more durable and tougher finish and also better adhesion. Acrylic paints are the new and more convenient option since they do not require a lot of cleanup or thinner lacquer. Unlike enamel paint, acrylic does not produce irritating fumes but it is not as tolerant to buffing.
RC Hobby Vehicles
A hobby vehicle is best for those of you who enjoy the outdoors and can’t stay in one place for too long. You can use this activity to bond with your kids and the whole family as there isn’t much of a learning curve. You will develop good hand-eye coordination and help your kids learn something about responsibility since they’ll have to look after the models too. An RC hobby vehicle can improve your child’s motor skills since they’ll be assembling and disassembling parts.
Kit vs RTR
If you or your kids want to enjoy an RC vehicle right way, it’s best that you go with an RTR. Ready-to-run models just require you to place the batteries and you’re good to go. Kits, on the other hand, are for those of you who want to learn more about the model (on a base level) which can be beneficial further down the line. Should there be a need for replacement of any part, you’ll be able to do it yourself unless it’s something more complicated.
Types of RC Vehicles
Your standard RC car is called street and can drive on flat surfaces such as pavement and dirt roads too but with less manoeuvrability. These can be customised to perform better on uneven terrain which makes them a good vehicle for people that are just starting out.
Touring RC cars have both an upper and a lower deck which prevents the chassis form flexing. This allows them to drift without getting damaged or falling over but they can only run on flat surfaces.
Trucks are made to be used on off-road areas, like tall grass, gravel and dirt roads. They have big tires and a bigger suspension than street vehicles – although they can also be used on a pavement, you won’t be able to do sharp turns. Trucks are divided in two sub categories, short course and monster trucks.
The former have shorter suspension than a regular truck and have their wheels protected by the bumpers and shell. Monster trucks are highly popular thanks to their ability to go over puddles, sand dunes and even perform stunts.
The buggy is a crossover between a street car and a truck. You can use it on gravel, pavement and muddy stretches as it has long shocks and narrower tires than a monster truck. This is a good option when you are not certain what type of vehicle you want to go with.
A crawler is best used for climbing over uneven surfaces especially rocks. These may not be very fast but have a lot of torque and can be put against the most challenging of terrains.
If you want an RC vehicle that is fast in off-road conditions, your best bet would be a truggy. As you may have guessed, this is a cross between a buggy and a truck since it has the frame of a buggy and the tires of a truck.