Everybody’s Scalin’ – Kit Manifesto
If you’ll indulge me for a moment, this week I’m going to stand on the top of Mount Pious and make a righteous decree to all below that kits really are the Greatest Thing®. As I write this I’m knee deep in a new Vaterra Ascender build (the pic above is my freshly painted body) and having a blast so I figured I wanted to take a minute and talk about how cool it is that this segment of the hobby is dominated by builder kits in 2015.
Ok, maybe dominated is a strong word. I’m sure RTRs outnumber kit sales by a wide margin, but still. I think every popular scaler of note is available in kit form. Some of them multiple kits! Let’s take a look at some of the current popular offerings –
Axial: SCX10 (JK Unlimited, RECON G6, Dingo), Axial Wraith (Standard and Spawn), Axial Yeti, Axial Yeti XL
Gmade: Sawback (Standard and Sport)
RC4WD: Trail Finder 2, Gelande II (D90, D110, and Cruiser), Beast 6×6
Tamiya: Highlift (Ford F350 and Toyota Tundra), Bruiser (Mountain Rider), CC01 and CR01
Vaterra: Ascender, Twin Hammers
Ok, you get the point. In the early to mid 2000’s the general thought was that kits would go the way of the dodo for all but the most hardcore of racing machines. So much for that wisdom, eh? In part due to the popularity of scalers, kits are back in a huge way. It’s not really a surprise as to why. This segment of the hobby loves to wrench and it also helps that the vehicles are representations of something you’d find in the real world. Putting together an Axial Jeep kit is in many ways a throwback to building a plastic Ertl or Revell model with rubber cement….except you can actually wheel this one as hard as a 1:1 when you finish.
Another contributor has to be that modern kits are all so easy to build, what with well laid out instructions, awesome factory QA and organized parts bags, that more and more noobs are taking the plunge into building one for themselves. Back in the day you never knew what kind of wacky schematic Brand X truck would have (except for Tamiya, they always rocked). Many vehicles could be a total chore to put together, and when problems popped up it could be difficult to get an answer unless you “knew somebody”. Nowadays you can just consult Google or YouTube and find the answer within 2 minutes. Add in the fact that most kits have great value thanks to the inclusion of hop-ups and it makes a whole lot of sense to go kit over RTR to get your scaling fix.
Building a totally new platform for the first time (like my Ascender, in this instance) will always be one of the most fun parts of the hobby for me. Cracking the box, seeing how things are arranged, perusing the instruction booklet to scout a plan of attack….if that stuff ever stops being fun then I should just get out.
Before someone throws stones at me, I’m not discounting RTR. They will always be top sellers and I definitely appreciate the convenience they provide. They will always be king of the retail shelf, as they should be. Still though, I’ll always be a kit guy at heart. Let’s hope the trend continues. As long as people are buying them, the companies will continue to provide them.
So raise a glass for the builders kit. Hear, hear for long nights installing diffs backward, forgetting to thread lock machine screws and losing small e-clips at the worst possible time! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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