Hey, It’s Me, Foxy.

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meatbapt

Hey, it’s me, Foxy. Hey to all my friends on RCUniverse who’ve known me for years and hey to all the new friends I’m going to meet, you can also call me Foxy. 😀

I’m grateful to RCTech for the opportunity to write. I guess after moderating and doing the odd review on RCU for so long, they figure I’ve got more to share. Hopefully I can at least provide an entertaining read from time to time, share an insight, review something that interests you, or just give you a quality photo or two to look at.

So I felt I’d write a little piece about me, provide you folks with a face (that’s me there on the left. I’m the one not wearing a crown) and some context when you read my future articles. I’ve been around the block in this hobby more than a few times, and thanks to a blessed life, have been able to spend fairly well over the years, giving me a broad range of experience which I hope to share.

First a little personal background… I’m 38. I work in IT professionally for over 20 years. I’m British, but I live in Athens, Greece, having emigrated here after my Greek girlfriend finished her studies and had to return. I decided to take the plunge, change my country, my life and never really looked back. That was 15 years ago and we’re still going strong. We have two beautiful daughters; the eldest is just over 3 and already stopping traffic, while our little one is just 22 months and already showing signs of a powerful intellect. We have much to be grateful for.

I’ve been into RC since about the age of 8. I started as many have, with a (now vintage) Tamiya kit. My spur (no pun intended) into this great hobby was a next-door neighbour who suddenly appeared outside our houses every day tearing up and down the street with a Tamiya Hornet. That was it for me; I’d never seen anything so fast in my life. Christmas was coming and I knew what I wanted. My parents came through and got me a second hand but in great condition Tamiya Frog. I loved it, it was the first time I’d seen real shock absorbers, and the frog had them on the sides (like, woah!) Even the battery had a hump! Good times…

thefrog

Later the following year I started going to a boarding school, where I would often stay at school for weeks at a time, so out of hours and at weekends I used to play with my Frog. Slowly the hobby caught on, and more kids at school started buying them. Grasshoppers started showing up, then HotShots , Bigwigs and Foxes, the whole Tamiya line-up almost. Then people started modifying them, a technigold motor here, oil filled shocks there, and I was hooked.

I moved through the Tamiya ranks, my last Tamiya car being a Manta Ray (image below copyright Tamiya USA). I still remember the way that car looked and ran. It was great with an 18 double motor, but it kept eating spur gears! I had a hiatus for a bit after that and picked the hobby up again a few years later with a Kyosho Pure Ten EP and a Tamiya TL01 I think, it was an Alpha Romeo 33 touring car. Both were great fun, but somewhat slow. I was getting older and starting to acquire my own money, so I figured I’d try nitro. I’d seen a guy at work playing with a Kyosho Burns and it was so fast I couldn’t believe it.

mantaray

It was a chance purchase at Hamleys in Central London, a famous toy store. I was there for other reasons when I saw it, right there on a high shelf behind the counter; a Porsche 911 bodied Thunder Tiger TS4N touring car with an SH .12 nitro engine. It looked so cool. To my great surprise, the guy in the store showed me how to start it right then and there in this upmarket toy shop! Some of the other customers clearly weren’t impressed as the room filled with nitro fumes, but he went ahead anyway, giving me a basic demonstration of tuning as well! Slightly embarrassed I assured him I would manage, and he packed it all up again for me as I smiled gleefully.

That car was seriously fast after a lifetime of Tamiya electrics. Nitro engines gave me even more motivation for the hobby and while that great little workhorse SH .12 took the brunt of my learning about nitro, it served me well. It even went to a couple of ‘run what you brung’ club races, where it fared poorly. lol. However, that little Thunder Tiger paved the way forward for me, and the next 10 years I would call my nitro golden years, consisting of many HPI nitro trucks and touring cars, a couple of 1/8th buggies and a little more club racing with those (off road racing really isn’t for me), peaking with an Xray XT8 truggy powered an RB Concept 928 engine. What an extreme machine that was in its time.

xt8_1

My original Xray XT8 nitro kit with RB Concepts TM928 engine: still one of the finest RCs around, but if you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for the next big thing, and when I say big, I mean BIG. What followed was a period of large scale RC for me.  I quickly went through several different 1/5th and 1/6th scale models and became very active in the large scale community.

First came a Baja 5B which I subsequently ploughed serious money into and was never completely satisfied with, though by God it looked awesome (see below). Those of us who dabble in large scale, whether we started before or after the ‘Baja era’ have a lot to thank HPI for. They popularized 1/5th in a matter of 2 years, arguably doubling the userbase and causing a general gas revival. Momentum has dwindled of course now, mainly due to the fact that most new RCers are on the budget end of the spectrum, but it was a very special few years to be in the scene.

my heavily modded 'stealth' Baja 5b before I sold it

Personally, the Baja era led me to an FG Monster Beetle Pro which I still have and is up for restoration soon (watch this space, I plan to cover the whole restoration in a series of articles), followed by a couple of MCD 4wd Rally cars which were a riot when they were working (plastic gears on a 1/5th scale car? REALLY?) After that came a couple of Nutech 4wd buggies; one prototype which I tested for Smartech at a time when they were pretty much the only 4wd 1/5th buggy in production, the other was the production Nutech model that resulted from that testing and development, the Thunderbolt 2. I got a review sample of the Thunderbolt early version which I still have as well.

big boy's toys: my FG Monster Beetle Pro and Nutech Thunderbolt 2

Although along with the FG, I’m sad to say they are both in need of a great deal of TLC now, mainly due to… …The brushless revolution. And what a revolution it was. In times gone by, you either went for clean and fast but short duration electric, or dirty and fast but play-all-day nitro. All of a sudden, for an admittedly significant initial outlay (largely compensated by low running costs), you could have it all: motors with torque figures tripling the output of nitro engines, along with batteries that lasted half an hour and charged just as fast. Brushless and li-po had arrived.

I was resistant at first, gas is very cool, very loud, but the hum (again, no pun intended) on the internet about brushless and li-po was getting harder and harder to ignore. Eventually I dove in thinking that I would be left behind if I didn’t at least try it and see what the fuss was about. I pretty much shelved all my nitros and gassers the day after I got my first brushless truck. Before that I could be quoted as saying electric is ‘soulless’. Well, whaddaya know, triple the torque and duration and ‘soul’ doesn’t seem so important any more. 😉 The power and speed was truly ‘savage’ (pun intended at last!)

my Savage Flux after full mods, very little left stock

My first foray into brushless was a Savage Flux 2350, a flawed model quickly discontinued, but I persevered with it, eventually upgrading it to XL status and giving it the electronics and drivetrain it deserved. In the meantime, I had picked up all kinds of electric cars and again my motivation for the hobby was fired up; I wanted to try them all! I went through 4wd short course, 2wd buggy, 4wd buggy, Rally, 1/8th buggy and truggy, MTs, several micros, crawlers and scalers, all electric. Strangely though, it wasn’t until recently that I got my first brushless touring car (I don’t count the HPI WR8 J), a second hand bargain on an Xray T3 virtually unused. This is strange because touring cars (sedans) are and always have been my favorite class yet I never got around to one ‘til now.

My current electric pride and joy is probably not so coincidentally based on the same model as my nitro pride and joy was; the Xray XT8. Xray have been promising for several years to release a purpose built e-truggy based on the XB8 platform, but for one reason or another, have never gotten around to it. Thankfully, those with XT8 2009 nitro kits had the option to convert to brushless via 2 or 3 different manufacturers at one time. I went with the RC Monster solution, which I believe is now sadly discontinued. The RCM kit was the only total chassis replacement available at the time. It was when I saw that chassis kit available that I set my mind to finding a new in the box XT8 2009 spec – a tough asking in 2011. Eventually I found a second hand one that someone had started to build but abandoned. Perfect. I ordered the RC monster conversion and went and met the seller. The rest as they say is history. An e-truggy on 6S lipo is the pinnacle of mad for the surface hobby and I recommend the experience to anyone.

RC Monster brushless conversion for the Xray XT8 2009 spec, aka 'the madman'.

So there you go, that’s me. I’m primarily a basher with some 1/10th nitro sedan club racing experience, a penchant for Xray RCs, in it for the modelling aspect as much as, if not more than the driving. I also enjoy amateur photography, and spend a lot of my precious little spare time focused on my real car, currently a twin turbo, AWD BMW 335xi.

I hope you enjoyed reading all that information that will never be useful to you in your entire lives, at least it gives you a little insight into me and my slant on the hobby when (if? lol) you read my writing in the future. If you didn’t enjoy it feel free to let me know in the comments, I’m offering a full refund to anyone who wants one. 😉

Foxy out…

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About Author

I am a Brit living in Greece, bringing 30 years of playing with toy cars to the arena. I was never a serious racer though I do have some club level experience. I’m in the hobby for the engineering and the modeling as much as the actual driving. Having been moderating and doing the occasional review for RCU for nearly 10 years I hope to share an interesting insight or two as well as give you my opinions on any models that come my way. I also dabble in photography, modifying real cars and used to be a very serious gamer, BK (Before Kids lol). But that’s enough about me… Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up! ;)

5 Comments

    • Thanks! It was a great time for RC in general, for sure! I just finished a review of the new FlySky RTR level radio, you might be interested because I tested it in my ‘first drive’ of an iconic re-release, my Hotshot (in red of course!), look out for a little vid on that article soon. 🙂 Back in my Frog days I was green with envy at the hotshot owners with their 4wd and sway bars, now I’m the Daddy! lol

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