2016 Christmas is soon around the corner...just few days away from Ho! Ho! Ho! and few days after that it will be 2017, i'll be 39 soon but not that soon...i do feel old now but still young at heart like i always do as you can see here. It feels like walking MechWarrior trying to move 100 tonnes of weight per-leg as i walk about my daily life not as agile as i used too. While waiting for new cool models to arrived from my sponsors and some uncompleted project to progress on its time for me to relax few days, munch some of those pre-Christmas cookies and share my thought about stuff that we have taken for granted. Been talking a lot about technical stuff, reviews and tutorials all over but now lets talk other most important things...about "you and me" as Radio Control model hobby enthusiast face to face. If you're one of those R/C people born before or around 1980's you're definitely dig this article that i'm about to share but if you're somewhere born above 1990's you guys won't understand and under appreciate what we are going to talk about unless you passionate about model hobbies and live not to regret about it.
A piece of conversation
A month ago i went to local hobby shop belong to an old veteran in R/C models a friend of mine, as usually i always come over to buy some of his treasures and great bargains, unfortunately there not much left interesting models to buy except for that 1/5 monster truck left under the shelf collecting dust for years which later then i bought it with pride. Economy was bad this year for 2016 especially for leisure products such as R/C hobby models especially for local hobby store owner since most customer prefer to buy cheaper product online via China (clones and rebranded models), with recent oil prices going down most well off consumer who worked in such industries couldn't afford such hobbies and decided to let go. Vice versa that's good news for me, i bought bunch of seconds hands from these guys before they left the country for greener pasture. So me and the LHS store owner sat down as usual have a great long chat about R/C models as i flip around those yummy looking KYOSHO catalogs, then suddenly he took out a vintage TAMIYA's 1980 Toyota pickup truck to awe me. Some so called unlucky dude sold him for USD$100 all intact except for mild rusted chassis, busted tires and scrapped stickers yet highly over engineered R/C model which TAMIYA was good at in the past. I asked my buddy if he could sell it to me as i'm wiling to add extra cash so he could profit out of it since it was all beat up looking truck but he declined. After much persuasion i smiled and respected his desire to keep it because we both understand its not about just to enjoy playing the truck its about buying part of our past and history. As soon as he placed it on the table and we watched every corner of the truck we started to talk tirelessly the era of this piece of manly machinery and how we used to lived back then before computer, internet and digital age come into play....it was the days of great outdoors and glory days of R/C hobby. We talked for almost 2 hours with some laugh and pondering some nostalgic moments about participating R/C activities in the 80's~90's and come to conclusion that each models that we used to enjoy is part of our identity and history. He deeply regret he sold many of his classic and vintage R/C models that he used to play with community of enthusiasts back then because every model he enjoys is part of personal history and achievement in life but he lost all of it and yes i too agree as i deeply regretted sold most of my old vintage models just to progressed forward with improved modern R/C models. Looks like both of us missing breadcrumbs of our hobby timelines...they physical breadcrumbs. It is decided from now own we decided to buy our history back, a piece of conversation, a piece of our past, our identity and as piece of proof of our root....learned great lesson not to let go our possession that once made what we are today. "A man without a history is nothing".
Who are you?
Some one definately asked: "How long you've been in this hobby?"... Here the most important part why you should keep a piece of your history...isn't that scary to hear that you don't have any proof of your existence in the area you're good at which you can related to?....you don't have a piece of your history to tell, your identity. Its not just about R/C hobby, but also could be anything: Cycling, Gaming, Stem collectors, Coin collectors, StarWars collector, LEGO builder, Plastic modelers or any hobby which you're passionate at with intention to go on permanently. A friend of mine came to my house because his young son eagerly wanted to see himself a FPV P-51D Mustang that he saw on my Youtube Channel, i can see in his little eyes he was fascinated and excited to see the plane that was once roam the glorious blue skies above the clouds....the one and only small plane in the world capable to do that. He and his father went to visit my hangar, that kid had that speechless Wow! face expression when he sees my collection. Then behind the corner he spotted the race checkered FPV P-51D Mustang and to his amazement he look at the small size plane and touched it. "I want to be a real pilot!", he told to his father....weeks later he bought his son books about warbirds, aeronautic stuff and magazines. Every time he saw a yellow nose P-51D Mustang he always tell other..."Ah! that's uncle David plane...he roamed the skies with it!" to his friends. Yeah i always have a huge grin especially when some kids with their parents come around to watch me fly some cool models at the club fields. Lucky me i still keep that plane else know one knows the history about it. Every time i finish flying any models that i flown they would swarm around me, touch it and love to listen some history about every plane i flown. Some take pictures with it and other will get a simple plane where i could teach them how to fly. Some photos i've put it at "Social" gallery section. It made me realized how important it is to keep some of my models as public reference and as historical artifact rather than gut it out for salvage/part donor for other models or sale it to others like 95% hobby people would do. Every great epic moment and experienced that i have obtained with my R/C models make a great memorable and nostalgic piece of conversation that can't be bought by money. Without all this i wouldn't be here being part of R/C community, DIY drone builder or what so ever. The stuff that i build, drive, fly and promote defines who i am, its an identity and a piece of personal history which is uniquely me...which no other world has it. So if you have some special R/C models that is uniquely build, you work hard on it and made you who you are then never ever sale it and let it go...it can become pieces of your personal history for future generation to tell, a story about you through the models that you've passionate on. I had a lot of people trying to buy my FPV models especially the FPV DRIFTER ULTRALIGHT but i decline to sell it, some even offer extremely hefty amount of money but i resist because all of my plane already made it to fame, made history, had so many epic memorable flight and its the plane that responsible to startup a whole new genre of FPV Ultralight flight and other subs in the community...that's the plane that made me who i am right now. Selling it is like take my identity, my history, my life story out of me...how i'm going to tell people and the future generation about my past, my build, my skills and my achievement without solid credibility?...proof? When people saw the FPV Drifter Ultralight in the blue sky they know the "Man" behind it because history was told. It's like "Who discovered America?" = Christopher Columbus!
I'm 100% sure you've been in the same situation where after 10 years away from R/C models you're trying to get back into the crowd again empty handed. Previously you sold off everything, every traces of your history you sold it off to cover those budgets/cut budgets....now 10 years later you're back in the game there's no traces of you belong to the community from the past because you're not keeping any physical timelines, not even a single R/C models related to tell story to the community that you've been there, done that, the skills you earned and that respect was gone. You're nothing..you've have to start from scratch..."zero". People view you as a stranger in R/C world. Don't hide the fact, i've been into that situation. I used to sold off lots of R/C models i owned when i was young just to buy a computer and being budget when i was in college same goes to my veteran uncle who was an R/C enthusiast too, when i returned i felt like seating at the back seat among the crowds. No glory, no history ..i'm nothing. It felt so empty and shamed...call my elf a huge enthusiast with nothing to back me up. Its like saying "I was a professional race car!"...but didn't have any throphy, medals or piece of that race car you used to drive to prove it.....at least some videos, but people prefer solid stuff...seeing, hearing it, touching it and feel it. Unfortunately buying then selling off R/C property has becoming a repeated norm among enthusiast just to keep up with latest R/C trend and technology causing too much stigma of lost purpose "What am i now?". Some people join R/C hobby because they wanted to be part of the crowd temporary.."to belong to" (not an honest hobbyist), other just for leisure, some for self improvement and development and others are hardcore into it. Regardless who you want to be if you're thinking you're going long route into this hobby its best to keep some models as part of your historical timelines artifacts so that when you look at every models you own you can recall back all those happy days playing around with friends, working on it and maybe related to many events happening at the time you own that R/C models and at the same time proven you're once part of it.
Back to present time almost 20 years into R/C, now i have hangar full of R/C models from planes, helicopter, car, off-roader, drones (FPV/UAV), some DIY models, plastic models kits and all those things i love to do (except R/C boat cause we have to many crocodiles locally) and wanted to have when i was young. Each models i have in the hangar has its glorious history: won some trophy/medal, prizes, winning some model competition, made historical events/flights, started up communities, helped community of model builders and become part of teaching/lecturing material in classes, university, flying workshop and semina rs. 80% of my collection consider vintages, limited, collectibles and some were out of production models. Unfortunately throughout my lifespan into this hobby since i was 12 years old till present time i've sold lots of what was mine, yeah my mistake not keeping them but if i did it should totaled up about +500 over R/C hobby models accumulated throughout my life till today, another misfortune was i lived in the days where digital camera is hard to come by so there no snapshots to keep some picture for my own memoir...Kodak film cartridge was expensive back then! Most importantly each models has is own story to tell...not an ordinary story but an amazing story! (you can figure it out by browsing my models, article, photo galleries and videos on my website/channel). Some had help me rise my ranks among community, help me socially make lots of friends, meeting people, made some public news, helped some non-profit agency for good cause (green eco) and inspired others to be one. Life was good! Life as and R/C model was good!... it made me feel alive again with a purpose!. Of course there are times some people might laugh at me being so immature still playing those toys especially when i walk around in office tug around my models. But after i elaborated brief intro an each model history, show some referral and things it has done to the community they were like shit on their own pants. Hahaha! love that looks in their face when they have nothing to say about it. Words spreads and i gained some respect. If you have some R/C models that you love, don't just love it or let it sit around, go out make a history by doing some positive activity with friends or community; like racing around, competition, flying, showing some skills and share expertise with others, that hobby will grow on you. Years later you'll thank your R/C models for giving such a great time and there's always a story to tell to new generation of model enthusiasts out there. Do not be ashamed of those dents, scratches or bruises inflicted on your R/C models, it means its has been there and done that proven that historically it happens.. each of those marks tells a story.
Missing pieces of nostalgia
November 2016, moments i've been waiting for. After seeing one 30 years ago i finally bought it and arrived in 3 days on my hand. I'm actually buying back my childhood! It's the release version of TAMIYA "WILD WILLY" R/C model that once once popular in 1982 the re-released again in 1999. It was the first ground R/C models that i was curious about and fall in love when i was young, that made me going into R/C hobby. My uncle own it and it wheelies in front of the house around the big open grassy compound, i was amazed with the wireless radio technology, detailed plastic models, electric driven models and everything under that hood. The 80's was a great era of scale detailed plastic model kit and companies started to spread their plastic models products into Radio Control models. Brand names such as MARUI, KYOSHO and TAMIYA was 'The Brand' accompanied by smaller yet affordable ones like NIKKO, TOMY and TAIYO. I used to have 80's vintage TAMIYA SUPER CHAMP and a NIKKO but i lost it...*sob *sob. Back then R/C models are luxurious hobby and people would gather around to see it race around the track or beaches. R/C buggies, BMX and roller skate was a hip activities for people at the park. My father used to walk me along the beach held my little hands tugging as i ran towards people racing their 1/10 R/C off-road buggies on sandy beaches. I would stand there watched in awe. There are times i would stop by outside the hobby shop mesmerized by the beautiful box art of TAMIYA R/C models placed behind the window pane. Having a young sensitive nose i could smell the rubber tire of an R/C models emanating from the shop, that smell only TAMIYA models has it. I could recall some R/C models i saw in the shop clearly; ASTUTE, AVANTE, TERRA SCHORCER, MAD CAP, CLOD BUSTER, SUBARU MUD BLASTER, NISSAN KING CAB, SONIC FIGHTER, The BOOMERANG, PORSCHE and HORNET. Others is MARUI brand; the SAMURAI, NINJA and SHOGUN. While the KYOSHO was OPTIMA series. All their R/C boxes was huge for my kiddy size and i could feel like i wanted to hug it and build it myself. By today any models from 80' or early 90's are considered collectible vintage and expensive can fetch as high as USD$4,000 on Ebay because of its solid workmanship and quality that was genuinely made in Japan, had original real race sponsored decals like "Penzoil", "NGK" or "Good Year" and others which consider licensed, over engineered mechanicals, plus most bodyshell are made from actual solid plastic which is remnants era of scale Plastic Models generation unlike today soft soapy look Lexan body shell. I ask my dad if i could own one but all he could do was smile and buy me chocolate box that comes with plastic toy kit within. As i kid i live in the era of awesomeness, In 1980's there are so many plastic kits toys imported from Japan. Toys were made in JAPAN i tell you! Some quality 101 and it sells at grocery store and marts. Sometime me and my relatives would help me assembled it at dinner table..i do recall it was a robot mecha. Even a simple pack of corn snack comes with plastic kit toys that is bigger than the snack pack itself. I remember it can either that or cards of Ultraman, Ghost Buster sticker, He-Man or Go-bots stuffed inside. Speaking about GO-BOTS....its the early version of Transformer cartoon before the actual TRANSFORMER...now that's old! Don't forget about Japan's Speed Racer and Macross. BMX was the thing, headbands, fluorescent colored pants/zebra lycra pants, car headlights with wiper, WALKMAN cassette headphones, dial telephone, cool foldable like pencil case, Micro machines, Care Bears, Smurf, curly hairs, Michael Jackson, asbestos, Airwolf, Blue Thunder, The A-Team, don't forget The Fall Guy series, Mc Gyver, photo of cat with costumes, robot wrist watch and toys that were made from tin and spark some sparky fire thing under the wheels that got banned. There are so much cool thing in the 80's that are too many to list down but i''ll leave that stored in my sweet memory of mine. Yes, we live in the days where movies stunts and machine are for real...no CGI. Also only in 1980's we had the best Christmas celebration with cakes, munchies, fireworks and had it lasts for days. Oh yeah i have a smart cat and some dogs too. I also do recall as a kid that me and my friend who is my neighbors are perfect version of real life Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Fin...lots of sweet curious and outdoor adventure! We even made our first wild bushfire and local communities doesn't like it! Wow! recalling or those good times had me so mouthful to talk about it. Ok on to the R/C stuff, my family couldn't afford me any of those cool manly R/C models since we live lower middle class status, so my only substitute was to tie a string infront of a cheap green plastic soldier Jeep and tug the string along as it coasted on the ground (like tugging a kite). Only in 1986 i got my very own mini R/C monster truck from my father....unfortunate its Remote Control model not Radio Control, there a long wire control still attached behind between the truck and the remote so i have to walk along with it, duh!. Since it runs on AA battery once depleted i always ask some money from my dad if i could get a pack of AA's which agitated him since rechargeable battery on toys are unheard of here. Those are my super cool days and sometime made me chuckled and laugh just to think about it after some stupid funny things i've been through as a kid. I would pay anything to get an item that is so related to sweet life from the 80's.
The link to missing childhood
Fast forward into present time 2016 which is 30 years later here i am holding the very same TAMIYA box with the very same smell of rubber tire that i used to sniff around as a kid. Hugging the beautiful TAMIYA box art i was like......."Oh!! you're back! How long has it been?". It was like holding a whole package of time capsule with memory of my past all in one. Nostalgia!! As mentioned before this "WILD WILLY" was the re-released version (1999) with slight improvement over the 1982 version of WILD WILLY but most important thing for me to have the chances to re-lived my past and compensate the time and the dream i lost to have one of these and also chances to recall/trigger memory of sweet days in the era of great Radio Control models from the past. That night for the first time with my old hand and glasses i took my sweet time assembled the kit; cut it, snap together, glue it, painted it and passionately enjoying it as i would have wanted as a kid. I made a video of the assembly so that i don't missed my great moment enjoying what was once a lost dream. After completed the build the feeling was super awesome, had almost drop my tears too see an old friend on the table, "i finally did it!". Looking at it its like peeping back my good old days with my family, relative, friends and the era where we lived in freedom away technological influences....the great outdoors! My missing childhood was complete! I showed my completed TAMIYA WILD WILLY 2 to my friends, community and online and everyone was delighted to see and re-lived those moments. This model was a piece of historical conversation that bind missing time and also missing puzzle among old and veteran enthusiast of R/C worlds.
Every time i get back from busy day at work, reached home feeling tired and entered my hangar...as soon i see a WILD WILLY sitting on the table among all the giant models it totally made me smile as it always reminds me that i was lucky to have a wonderful childhood, a wonderful family, a wonderful era and i make sure that from now on each second, minutes, hours, days and onwards that i live is a moment to appreciate and enjoy. Even today i'm still happy for who i am, what i am and what i do...i have a great hobbies!..its a path of life full of adventures!. One day if i get old maybe 60 or if i'm lucky getting at 80~90 years old i would again someday sitting down on the very same hangar full of my collections with youngsters pointing out to individual R/C models that i have telling real story about how great my life was back then.......a great history of life to tell. Merry Christmas everyone!. :)