THE Cub Report, 11.05.2012, Version: When Pigs Fly
When I first started writing THE Cub Report for BigSquidRC a half decade ago there were weeks when I’d rarely receive an email in regards to the column. Steadily over the years that has changed, and it isn’t uncommon to get 50 emails (or more) after a particularly saucy week. But… I have never received emails regarding a Cub Report the week before it was posted, well, not until last week. This week we have received a half dozen emails basically saying “We can not wait to see the next Cub Report!”. Well here it is, hopefully you enjoy, and even if you do not feel the love, hopefully it gets some water cooler conversation started.
Why would people be so stoked with anticipation about this weeks Cub Report? If you don’t already know you must have been living on Mars the last few days- because Traxxas announced their new DR-1 helicopter and QR-1 quadcopter last week.
It was remarkable to see people’s reaction to the Traxxas air product news- initially people simply refused to accept it, and who could blame them, getting into the air market is an incredibly radical departure from their current product line-up. Once the fact had sunk in the next question out of their mouth was “Why air????”. There is no doubt that Traxxas getting into the air market will help their bottom line. Geez, you can’t walk a hundred feet in a mall, flea market, or big box toy store, without seeing some little dual rotor heli, and the quadcopter market is blowing up like a bad guy’s head in a Schwarzenegger flix about right now. It is easy to see there is a lot of cash to be made in the small heli and quad market.
And… how many of those mall/flea market heli’s and quad’s have terrible parts support (hint- all of them)? If you are more than passively interested in flying a lil’ heli or quad, parts support is quite important, and if Traxxas is really good at one thing it’s having parts in nearly every LHS in the country. For heli/quad flyboys it will certainly be nice to be able to walk into nearly an LHS in America and pick up replacment parts right off the shelf.
Double and… after-market support for Traxxas surface product has historically been huge. Surely the mouths of new age heli/quad guys are watering right now with thoughts of uber hop-ups quickly becoming available for the new Traxxas heli and quad. Sure, getting a new product and using it is fun, but hopping it up is what being an American is all about.
So not “everything” about having a new Traxxas heli and quad on the market is bad.
However… you have got to be freak’n kidding me. Traxxas is on top of the world right now, seemingly with more raw cash than Brinks trucks to hold it all. You’d think they’d have more than enough resources available to come up with something more innovative and original for their first foray into the air scene. I am no air guru, nor are most of the people that will be looking at buy the new Traxxas gear, but to me their new heli and quad do not look to bring any of the Texan Swagger to the table that put their surface gear on top of the car/truck market. You would have thought with their first air offerings Traxxas would have been looking to make a bold statement, right now that statement comes across as “Yee Haw, lookee at what we just sourced from Asia!”. Having worked in this industry a long time I know certain concessions have to be made to meet price points and release dates, but when mountains of resources are available and the king of the mountain is looking to make a splash in an entirely new genre, that is the perfect time to go huge, not ho-hum.
I saw first hand another “big name” surface rc company’s first design in the air market when I was in SoCal about a year ago (still unreleased). This company is known for quality surface products and their air design was quite impressive. This particular product was designed from the ground up in-house using known concepts from the air field plus some uber surface concepts to make it like nothing else on the market. No, the product I saw had no chance at making a hundred dollar price point, but it would have been price competitive against its rivals, and it was uber trick and brought some serious performance advancements to the table. It was exactly what the latest offerings from Traxxas should have been.
No doubt Traxxas is going to sell millions of dollars of their new air gear, but like I mentioned in last weeks Cub Report, they have jumped the shark, and their latest air products do nothing but cement that statement.
That’s it for this week crew, support your local hobby shops, tracks and bash spots. Do you have a rebuttal for this weeks Cub Report? If so, shoot it to me, Cubby at BigSquidRC dot com.
YOUR Cub Reporter