For Bashers, By Bashers!

Monster Truck Madness – All About R/C Tanks

Hello everyone and Happy Thursday!

Another week, another detour from monster trucks. Hey- I hope if nothing else many of you appreciate the wide swath of stuff that I’m in to as it pertains to the hobby. Monsters will always be my favorite thing, but variety is the spice of life! You never know what’ll you get in this space of the Internet!

I’ve mentioned it in passing over the last year, but I’ve gotten big into 1/35 scale model tank/armor construction. It’s been fun learning how to paint and weather them (I’m still not great, but each time I get a LITTLE bit better- and that leads me to another project I’d love to do- a fully weathered Clod Buster…but that’s a digression for another time).

As I’ve continued to work on my small scale tank modeling skills, an elephant has started to manifest itself in the proverbial room. One that I had only thought about in passing before, but now is a fully realized thing in my mind. It’s something I must try. The world of 1/16 scale r/c tanking.

I’ve long avoided it because of how terrifying (to my wallet) a rabbit hole I’ve figured it could be. I’ve always been a tank nut, and that was before getting into modeling them. Heck- even before I got into r/c! And like many other middle aged dudes, I’m also a general WW2 buff to boot.

So yeah, slippery slope and all that. Well, it’s time to test the waters out.

So when I was looking for information on r/c tanks, a fellow poster on a message board that I frequent (the Something Awful Forums, which was basically like Reddit before there was a Reddit- yes I’m an old millennial!) Lord Ludikrous, went out of his way to post some information on what the modern r/c tank scene is like in an effort to help me choose a model to start with. After reading several excellent posts and private messages from him, I asked if I could amalgamate and post them to my blog here, as I figured it would help other hobbyists out. I suppose I should add a disclaimer that these are his opinions. Here is what he told me –

Lord Ludikrous says-

Tamiya – The original and many would say the best, but with the highest price tag and they can be hard to get hold of. The electronics are also somewhat dated but at least can be swapped out with something newer. These are built from kits, and are comprised mainly of plastic with metal reinforced chassis. A huge range of WW2, cold war and modern tanks are available.

Heng Long – Used to be more or less cheaper copies of Tamiya but have come a very long way over the last couple of decades and now boast the best electronics of the “out of the box” options. These are substantially cheaper than the other brands and all come RTR out of the box, complete with extra parts sprues, and waterless decals. Their latest versions have both airsoft and IR battle capability. Hulls and turrets are entirely plastic but varying options are available at different price points, such as completely plastic, metal sprockets and tracks, and metal sprockets, tracks and road wheels. By far and away the most popular and easy to work with, but some models suffer from accuracy issues, and some hulls don’t handle metal running gear very well. They offer a good variety of WW2 and modern vehicles, but cold war options are practically non existent aside from the T-72.

Taigen/Torro – These sit between Tamiya and Heng Long in terms of pricing and are characterized by having all metal running gear, metal lower hulls, plastic upper hulls, and either plastic or metal turrets. Decent accuracy for the most part and very high build quality compared to the other options (except Tamiya). They also sell tanks fully painted and ready to run out of the box, or alternatively as unpainted kits for those willing and able to do it themselves and save a large chunk of change in the process. They also offer the unpainted versions without any electronics for those who wish to put the more advanced aftermarket options in. They have a decent variety of WW2 vehicles but no cold war options and the Leopard 2A6 is their only modern option. The only real downside is their electronics have fallen far behind Heng Long, and their tanks can either have IR or airsoft – not both.

Mato – These are about as expensive as Tamiya and are characterized by their all metal construction. Some prefer these as they add a nice amount of weight and inertia to the vehicle, but be aware it’s a pot style metal. Predictably they’re also very difficult to work on compared to plastic, and the significant extra weight is a strain on the gearboxes and batteries. The electronics are far behind all the other options.

Most popular is Heng Long, followed by Taigen. Tamiya and Mato are much rarer due to the substantial price difference.

Good starting models

For the most part the WW2 models are all safe choices if you want to start getting into R/C tanks, with only a few models being problematic.

The first Heng Long (and Taigen) release and still the most popular today is the Tiger 1, and this is a really good way to get into the hobby, especially if you opt to go with Taigen. The large boxy hull has a lot of interior space to fit all the gubbins you want, and theres a huge range of parts and extras available. With both being copies of the Tamiya kit, you can easily mix and match between Heng Long and Taigen. Its very common for people to get the Heng Long version then replace the lower hull and running gear with Taigen.

Other good starting models:
Panther G – The second tank to get a release and benefits in the same way as the Tiger does, but this model and onward can require some modification to mix and match.
M4A3 Sherman – The Heng Long version is highly recommended as a solid and reliable runner.
T-34 85 – Same as above, although the Heng Long version rides too high on the suspension for my liking.
Panzer III – Basically a dinky Tiger. Easy to work with and a good option if you want something smaller.

Ones to avoid as a newbie:
King Tiger – Nothing actually wrong with it, its just expensive, enormous, and in the case of the Taigen version, very heavy. Very impressive when done right so best to get this once you’re sure it’s a hobby you really like.
Panzer IV – Accuracy issues and some reported problems with the suspension.
M41 Walker Bulldog – Glaringly inaccurate as Heng Long chose to alter the shape of the tank to fit the gubbins rather than alter the gubbins to fit the tank.
Panther (1st Heng Long release) – Often referred to as the Pantiger, this was Heng Long’s first attempt at a Panther. While the turret was hardly accurate but at least recognizable as a Panther, the hull was rejigged to fit the Tiger 1 lower hull. Awful.
T-72 – A common issue with these when using metal running gear is the plastic hull where the idlers attach to cannot take the weight and over time will break. Fixable but requires extensive modification.


Now THAT is some info for a newbie, and I thank Lord Ludikrous for going out of his way to help me get into this segment of the hobby. I hope some of you will find that info useful as I have!

This post is getting long, so I’m going to try and wrap it up quickly. I’m going to order a Heng Long Pro RTR tank. Which model exactly, you’ll have to wait til it comes in to find out!

The reason I’m going with the Heng Long is that it sounds like the most economical way to get into this segment of the hobby to see if I like it before potentially diving deeper with a more optioned out offering.

I’ll post my impressions when it arrives. Until next time, keep it on all 4’s!

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Posted by in Monster Truck Madness on Thursday, May 16th, 2024 at 4:52 pm