Radio-controlled cars a big-time hobby
RC cars may be small, but they offer plenty of fun.
Just ask Nic Wiedeman.
The Norfolkan purchased his first RC truck about seven years ago and hasn’t looked back. At one time, he had 28 vehicles.
“Went to Omaha one day and saw all the planes at the HobbyTown, and thought, ‘That looks like a blast. That would really be a lot of fun,’ ” Wiedeman said. “So, I ended up going there one day. Didn’t take my wife along and ended up buying one. Next thing I knew, I had a couple more.”
Wiedeman said RC (radio controlled) vehicles come in the shape of cars, trucks, boats, airplanes, helicopters and drones, among others.
“There’s so much that you can do — a lot of different options you can do with them,” he said.
For example, people can use drones to race and do tricks, as well as perform work-related tasks, such as check center pivots in farm fields.
“They have some crazy capabilities on what they can do,” he said.
Some cars are made for jumps and straight-line drags, going as fast as 60-70 mph. Some boats can move almost that fast, he said.
The trail trucks, he said, are similar to four-wheel-drive off-road trucks and can be used to play in the mud, climb rocks and even move snow.
“They’re 100 percent waterproof on some of them. It’s rain, snow, shine, it’s everything,” Wiedeman said. “I have one that I have a snow blade on so I can actually go and scoop my driveway without having to go outside. That’s a neat thing. There’s quite a few people who actually do that.”
But that’s where the modifications come into play, Wiedeman said, which can be both fun and expensive.
“Almost everybody who gets into it, you always want to make yours better than the next person,” Wiedeman said. “So you’re always building, always making some different modifications — trying to do something better than somebody else.”
From paint schemes and body styles to mechanics and interiors, the vehicles can look like they belong on a showroom floor at a dealership, he said.
But it’s not cheap.
Wiedeman said a stock, off-the-shelf RC vehicle costs around $350 to $450.
“And then you add different tires, different motor, everything you can think of,” Wiedeman said. “It just goes into how much you want to make your (RC) look better than somebody else’s.”
Wiedeman said he has some RCs that have cost around $1,000 to modify.
“Then there’s others who completely make spending $1,000 on a machine look like that’s junk because they’ve put ... $5,000 into them,” Wiedeman said. “It’s just how deep your pockets are and how much you enjoy the hobby. That’s really what it is, it’s a hobby. Like most hobbies, it gets expensive.”
Even so, the hobby is quite enjoyable, especially since he can involve his family.
“I find it’s a lot of fun. It’s relaxing,” Wiedeman said. “There’s plenty of people out there that can go out and find another hobby. But this one, you’re able to include your family 100 percent.”