Category Archives: Musings

News at HPI?

It’s been a while since we have seen much come out of the HPI Racing / Hot Bodies stable apart from the very nice D413 4×4 1:10 buggy and a new mini rally car.  In the past HPI has released new products on an almost monthly basis, however for the last 12 months there has been nothing, and little completely new apart from some new bodies on kits.

So what is going on?   Is the Octane Savage (1:8 scale petrol vehicle line) still causing problems and holding things up as there has been no sign of them since the Hobby Town USA Dealers Convention and Nuremberg Toy Fair earlier this year.  Rumors flew everywhere back in February this year saying that HPI was in trouble and had been sold!  However those rumours only turned out that Hobbico/Great Planes had done a deal to be the exclusive distributor for HPI/HB in North america.  But then it”s been really very quiet since then.  We had a new website back in July this year, umm yay! Really what we want is new kits, more monster trucks, race cars, rally cars, and, well whatever, maybe a crawler?

The below image appeared on the HPI Facebook page a few days ago eluding to something new.  Checking the HPI website found this page http://hpiracing.com/en/article/view/2013121301 about being able to have your own personalised garage on the HPI website.  Fantastic service for enthusiasts, but not new or updated kits.  Still better than nothing happening, but HPI are going to need to step up as they are falling behind some of the other players in the market in respect to keeping up with what people want.  I’m the first person to say that I love the HPI Racing brand and vehicles, but they need to step up.

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Scale realism the best thing since sliced bread?

RC Cars have gone through a roller coaster ride of popularity over the years.  It would be hard to find any adult who doesn’t have the big kid inside us just waiting to get out and play when the opportunity presents itself.

Radio control car racing traces it’s origins back to a boom in the 80’s in electric 10th scale off road racing.  In the noughties, nitro 8th scale was king of the RC off road racing crowd, big, loud and fast.  However there has always been a core of “Bashers” who just have whatever car that they like, and drive at local parks, tracks etc.  Monster trucks have always been popular here, but the release of the big HPI Baja brought 5th scale into popular RC culture in both racing and bashing in Australia.  In recent years there has been a re emergence of electric 10th scale off road racing, with new 2wd biggies, 4wd buggies and stadium trucks hitting the shelves from a range of manufacturers.

However the real boon in RC in recent years has been vehicles that look great, and are fairly accurate in appearance and scale.  It is because of this that in many ways the hobby of driving radio control cars has gained a foothold in the mainstream with many hobby grade rc cars appearing in toy stores around the country.   Drift cars, clubs and tracks have been sprouting up all around the country, spurned on by the increasingly popular car culture in Australia, combined with the increasing awareness of drifting as a sport in Australia.  Likewise radio control crawlers, again with incredible levels of detail and accessories available, have gained a cult following with a whole range of new RC enthusiasts.  Sporting clubs, competitions, and a real passion for detail at almost unheard of levels, crawling has introduced an amazing new aspect of RC cars in recent years.  Ok, so great products at a good price from Axial Racing have certainly helped Crawlers to grow, but hit up any forum and see the incredible level of detail in vehicles that have been built from scratch, and you can see that crawlers have become an unstoppable juggernaut.

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Even rally cars have increased in popularity thanks to great vehicles such as the Tamiya DF-03 and XV-01, the entire Rally Legends range, they Kyosho DRX and the sport of Rallying in general becoming more popular though the likes of Ken Block and his Gymkhana videos (and scale versions of his car from Traxxas and HPI).  There is even an Australian RC Rally group on facebook trying to increase levels of interest in this area of RC to levels as seen in Europe, and Colorado RC Rally Championship.

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Even RC racing has taken a scale hit.  In On Road Racing (of which I am admittedly not as well versed as off road) the Vintage Trans Am classes sporting 60’s and 70’s muscle car low down force bodies are very popular in the US, and are gathering a foothold in some parts of Australia.  In Off Road Short Course Trucks have a major footing in almost every off road club with their more realistic looks and handling, low price, and excellent durability.  Even Short Course Buggies are gaining interest in some parts of the country, vehicles which somewhat resemble the pro buggies from the Australian Off Road Championships, even the Extreme 4wd vehicles are similar in appearance and build to Short Course Trucks.

I guess what I am saying here, is bring on more scale, it is helping to re invigorate our fantastic hobby and bring whole new generations into the fold of loving to drive toy cars!

Sources: Axial Racing, HPI Racing, Traxxas, Rally Legends RC, Rally Legends Australia, Tamiya, Kyosho, Vaterra, Velocity RC