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The Top 6 Drones Under $100

RC Drones for less than 100 bucks

The type of flight that is now taking over the skies is personal drones and quadcopters. This fun hobby has allowed professional videographers and extreme sports photographers to reach new heights in capturing amazing footage. For those that aren’t professional photographers, hobbyists love the thrill of getting to fly and even modify their own drones.

Currently, U.S. officials estimate that nearly one million consumer drones were sold in the U.S. last holiday season. With that, there is a lot of talk which drone you should buy. Most people might not know that you can get a high quality drone for under $100. Here is a quick look at the top 6 drones you can buy for under $100.


1. Dromida Verso Inversion Quadcopter

Whether you’re a beginner drone pilot or an advanced drone pilot, you’re going to be satisfied with the Verso Inversion quadcopter. There are three selectable flight modes for beginner to experienced pilots. Sometimes even the best of drone pilots can put a drone on their backside. The reversing motors on this drone allow for inverted take offs, flights and landings. All of this can be done with just the flick of a button. If you’re looking for a more advanced drone that captures video and is still under $100 under the same brand, the Dromida KODO UAV Quadcopter is a great choice too!

2. EZ Fly RC Flipside Nano

The Flipside Nano is a great starter drone. It’s one of the smallest mini quad-copters in the world. You can test your skills with the ability to fly indoors or outdoors. Fly through your home’s hallways to work on maneuvering or go sky high while you and your friends fly through an open field.  The Ez Fly RC Flipside Nano can fly in any direction and can even perform front flips, back flips and barrel rolls, so there is no limit to the fun! This done is made for all skill sets too. There are three separate flight modes (beginner, intermediate, advanced) for your own level of flight control.


3. Rage RC Nano Drone

If you’re looking for a drone that fulfills your acrobatic side of life, this drone from Rage RC is your number one choice. The Rage Nano Drone is capable of performing some of the most insane stunts – in every direction! There are preprogrammed flight speeds, from low to high, so you can keep having fun while your skills increase. Once you have mastered the basics, turn on the expert mode and perform insane stunts and flips in any direction. Another perk about this nano drone is that you’re able to have hours of fun doing stunts thanks to the lithium battery power inside.


4. Heli-Max 1SQ Quadcopter

As a beginner quadcopter pilot, this is going to be one of your best options available. The Heli-Max 1SQ Quadcopter is a great option for beginning helicopter flyers. With the use of four independently controlled blades, this Heli-Max quadcopter is easy to fly indoors or outdoors. You’ll be experiencing the best flight handling with light winds. Also available under $100 is the 1Si Quadcopter.


5. Traxxas LaTrax Alias Quad

The LaTrax Alias quad has an extremely unique design. This quad has a molded-composite frame which makes it extremely light. With this style of frame, you won’t have to worry about damaging your quad either. The performance of the LaTrax Alias motor has 50% more power than standard motors. When you combine that with the body frame, you have one powerful and fun quad.


6. Estes Proto-Z Micro Quadcopter

The Estes Proto-Z Micro Quadcopter is an ultimate user-friendly drone! It’s a great starter quadcopter thanks to the True Direction mode. This mode is a great innovation for first-time flyers that moves the Proto-Z in the same direction as the control sticks. You can also execute flips with just the push of a button. The Proto-Z is ready to have fun right out of the box. Simply add two “AAA” batteries and you’ll be flying high and doing flips in no time and with Four LEDs you can have throughout the night!



As you can see, there are a variety of choices to choose from when you’re trying to decide on the right drone for you. All of these drones that are $100 or less are great for any beginner or expert operator.

Traxxas Skully & Craniac Review – Great Beginner RC Truck

Traxxas RC Monster Truck Skully vs. Craniac Review

What makes a great RC truck? The answer is different for every person.  Some people want something with speed and the ability to do some crazy sick jumps, while others what torque and the ability to climb over absolutely everything.  But, some people want something that’s durable, fun, and simple to work on and drive – which is what the Traxxas Skully (or Craniac) is.  Especially, if you’re new to the RC hobby, and you’re looking for a truck that you can take out on almost any terrain and have some fun with – this is a truck you should give some serious consideration to.

We put together this video review so you could see it up close an in action.  Eric goes through some close ups of the motor, ESC (Electronic Speed Control), shocks, and more – and then the fun begins.  We take it out and do some jumps with it in the dirt, get some shots of it running through the grass with our DJI Phantom 3, and then take on some pavement jumps.  If you stick around towards the end of the video, you’ll see if the Skully can outrun me pushing a lawnmower at lightning speed (ok, maybe I’m no Usain Bolt – but I was hustling pretty hard in this video).

Tech Specs

Motor: Titan Brushed 12 Turn

ESC: Waterproof XL5 ESC

Battery: 7 cell 8.4V NiMH – it also comes with a car charger – which is a bit inconvenient, but it charges about 8x faster (from 8 hours to just under 1 hour – so hopefully that makes up for it).

Top Speed (claimed by Traxxas): 30+ mph / 50+ kph


The Traxxas Skully is essentially the replacement to the Traxxas Monster Jam series, like the Grave Digger.  It’s a 2WD truck with a lot of pep for beginners.  If you’re on your fifth truck – this is the truck you buy for your kids to start on, but if you’ve only ever had cheap RCs before – this is a great place to start on something that doesn’t suck.  It also comes at a great price sitting at about $200 new.  It even has a “training mode” that you can enable if you feel like you need less power until you figure out how to control this beast.

Video Transcript

Transcript for this video provided by Mark at UpWork.

Hi guys I’m Eric with Dollar Hobbyz, here today to talk a little bit about the new monster trucks from traxxas, the skully and the craniac, these are ten scale monster trucks, they have electric motors in them, 2-wheel drive, and they are kind of an introductory model as RC trucks go. However, compared to one from a big box store, it’s a better upgrade compared to one that you can just go and buy off the shelf. Let us go over a few things today and give you a better idea for what the truck is all about.

This is the green version of the Skully, it comes in green and bright blue, there are also red and brown versions of the craniac. All of them are same trucks but with different cosmetics. Underneath the body, this particular one has green bumpers, the blue one comes with blue bumpers, and the craniac has black. Essentially, they have all the same parts, but it allows you if you get tired of one color to swap them out whenever you feel like it. It comes with a Titan brushed 12 turn motor, a water proof ESC and receiver box so that when you run into a puddle or some snow you shouldn’t have any problems with that.

This one uses the NiMH battery that happens to come with a car charger, which is a new development in the last few months or the last year from Traxxas. They used to come up with wall chargers, which were convenient, but they took about 8 hours to charge a battery and this one should charge in about 45 minutes, which is a big advantage. Otherwise, they have flat tires; they do not have any foam inside of them. However, with the weight of the truck, that does not seem to be much of an issue. They hold up really well and hold their shape too.

Overall, it is a nice truck to get going with. If you have the hobby or have any kids that want to try it, it’s a good truck to get going with. Its tops up to about 30 miles an hour, and the ESC can be tuned with training mode to go about half power. So if you are starting out and you are not yet confident in your skills, or you have a kid that you don’t want to run into stuff at full speed, you can tame it down in that way. That covers much of it. Let’s take it out, try it in few different environments, and see how it works.

Testing it out on dirt, pavement and grass and it works perfectly. It’s a fun truck compared to other 4-wheel trucks, which are brushless, weigh a lot less, and go a lot faster. The great thing with the Skully is that you can drive it at full speed and do stunts with it and it will still land on its feet and keeps going. It will not break very easily, and is quite lightweight. The tires not having foam and the body being plastic all over is not a problem. It handles everything super well.

It is an excellent truck for kids or anybody starting should try it out. It is tame but fast enough to be fun and the training mode is nice. If you have kids or someone trying to learn without causing any damage to anything, this is a great truck for that. Just for fun you can have skully outrun a person with a lawn mower.

MESArc: Math Engineering Science and Achievement with RCs


I had the pleasure of interviewing Jake Marshall, the Director of MESArc. He’s doing incredible custom RC projects with students and teaching them STEM skills in the process.

The Interview

What is the name of your organization? 

MESArc “Math Engineering Science and Achievement”

When did you start MESArc?

We started the program in 2008 as just an after school gathering.  Today it has grown and transformed into a student led business making it truly one of the top RC STEM programs around. It now is a class offering at the school!

What are the different branches of the program?

There are currently 3 main branches of the MESArc program. The first branch is the Engineering Department consisting of students divided into an AIR and GROUND divisions. These are the students researching, designing, creating, and testing various remote control vehicles, some designs will actually go into production and be sold to help support the program.  That leads to the second branch called the Product Fulfillment Department. When not helping the Engineering Department, these students are fulfilling orders for our local distributor.  The students package and manage the products that come in and out of our building. The last branch is our Video Production Department, these students film and create web episodes of what is going on within our walls to be seen by the world. This fosters communication, product development, advertisement, and much more.  They also share out to our community through our social media outlets.

Together, all three branches work together to make sure we are maintaining, sustaining, and continuing to progress as a company!

Tell me the story – why did you start this?

I started this to bring something new to the classroom, to create an idea that students can create something bigger then themselves, that we do not have to wait for the funds from the state, that we can generate it on our own, to show the community that partnering with students can be greatly beneficial, truly teaching and immersing these students in the 21st century classroom to prepare them for the future. Remote control aircraft and ground vehicles was a natural fit for this age group, and with a Fab Lab available at our school, it seemed perfect to have the students design and create problems with this technology using that RC lens.

What do you hope to accomplish by doing this?

The goal is to create a STEM program that develops long lasting relationships with our students, our community, and our partners, to see these students pursue Engineering majors in college, and to have successful careers in these fields.

What are the benefits for students that are involved with this?

The benefits for the students is they get to use the latest technology in their STEM application adventures. They get to run a student led company that has tradition now of always trying to out do the last year, to be able to have a say of the programs direction, to their names placed on products being sold at stores, etc.  It gives the students the ultimate STEM application experience.

How can others get involved?

We always welcome the collaboration with other schools from all over the nation wanting to implement the same setup. We have developed relationships with so many great schools, we fill that we are in a great place to spread what we have created to others in hopes to grow the hobby and STEM application. Business partnerships are always welcomed, with you guys we would cease to exist. It is always a great teaching moment when the students work with business leaders to develop and collaborate on projects.

How can they contact you if they have questions?

Contact by email: mesarcfoamfighters@gmail.com In some cases Skype too, the students love to Skype on the big screen communicating ideas or sharing accomplishments.

What is the hardest thing you have had to deal with in regards to the running the program?

In any program its facilities and funds. However, we plan to combat this issue by raising our own funds to accomplish the needs of our facilities and to pay for student-led project ideas.

What is your favorite part about doing this?

Seeing past students graduate and major in STEM fields, then coming back to help the current students of the program, that has to be the most rewarding part.

If you had one piece of advice that you could give to anyone that wanted to get involved in RC – what would it be?

My advice, don’t do it alone, you will be done with it in a matter of weeks, share your hobby experience with a friend, you will stay and love it forever!

Anything else that you want to share/tell us about?

Our links showcasing our program:

Website: www.mesarc.club

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/sshoover10

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MESArc.club

Instagram: https://instagram.com/mesarc/ 

Pit Stop Hobbies Summer BBQ Shootout


Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Shaun Duffy.

Pit Stop Hobbies Summer BBQ Shootout – June 13th 2015

Pit Stop Hobbies is a hobby shop with an outdoor 10th scale off road track located in the scenic little town of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. The Summer BBQ Shootout is one of two Saturday races scheduled this year at a facility that is well known for running under the Friday Night Lights.

It rained nearly every day before the race. The track crew had their work cut out for them to get the track surface ready for the big race. They eventually had to put down wood chips to help dry up the track which worked wonderfully.

The threat of rain throughout the day probably kept the faint of heart from coming out however there were 57 dedicated racers that braved the elements to take part in this event. We did get a brief 10 minute shower during the second qualifying round however the track soaked it up quickly and we were back in action 15 minutes afterwards.

For this event there were 3 rounds of qualifying and single Mains. We had Mike the race director calling the races and the program went off without a hitch. The food staff were hard at work keeping up with the line waiting for all the good BBQ eats. Everyone kept stopping by the display tables to check out the trophies and door prizes.

Thanks to our generous event sponsors we had nearly $2000 worth of door prizes to give out. The staff stuffed several bags full of items and the remaining items were placed out on the table for the winner to choose from. We would like to especially thank (in no particular order) Proline, JConcepts, RPM, RC Driver, SMC Racing, Boca Bearing Company, Castle Creations, Gravity RC, Tekno RC, Team Associated and Reedy, Schelle Racing Innovations, Tower Hobbies, Hitec, ServoCity, MIP, Carpys, Dollar Hobbyz, and Danny B RC.

Without the support of companies we would not be able to put together events like this and continue to grow the hobby.

We hope to see everyone come out again to Pit Stop Hobbies for the next Saturday race, Summer Extravaganza Race, on August 15th . Of course we’re also racing on Fridays under the lights every Friday. Check the website calendar for more details http://www.pitstophobbies.net/calendar/

The podium winners of the Summer BBQ Shootout:

2WD mod SCT Winners

17.5 SCT Winners


2WD mod Buggy Winners


17.5 Buggy Winners


4×4 Winners


Ask DH – A Primer on LiPo Batteries


Sometimes there are questions you have about RC you’ve always wondered, but for one reason or another, never asked.  Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or brand new, we’re going to bring you up to speed. Have a question you’ve been wanting to ask? Let us know in the comments!

A great upgrade for your truck is to swap out your stock NiMH batteries for LiPo (lithium-ion polymer) batteries. They aren’t the standard cylinders you would expect, and instead come in a semi-rigid pouch.

IMPORTANT: LiPo batteries are extremely sensitive and dangerous if not handled properly. We’re not kidding. This post is meant to be helpful, but please consult your manual/local hobby shop/forums on the interwebs if you are ever in doubt. Stay safe, and stay racing.

Why switch?

Because LiPo batteries are lighter, have higher capacities and discharge rates compared to their NiMH counterparts,  they add a tremendous amount of power to your ride at the price of strict maintenance requirements and a shorter life.

Is it worth it? The 6S LiPo that we tried last night says “yes”, but that’s up to you.

The numbers explained

There are a bunch of numbers on the face of a LiPo battery. Here is a run down of what they all mean.



4200 mAh (milliamp hours): This is the battery capacity which is one half of determining how long the battery will last (the other being discharge rate)

7.4v (volts): Each LiPo cell has a nominal voltage of 3.7 volts which has a direct correlation to speed. In this case If your motor is rated at 3500kV, it will spin 3500 RPM for every volt (3500 x 7.4 = 25900 RPM)

2s: How many cells the battery has (typically 2 or 3 cells). If someone is running “6s”, that means they are using two 3-cell batteries. Each cell has a voltage of 3.7v, so 7.4v total in this case.

25C: This is the discharge rate. To find the continuous discharge rate, C-Rating X Capacity (in amps). In this example, 25 x 4.2 =105A. Make sure that the motor you’re running doesn’t draw more than that on a regular basis.

Proper Care/Maintenance

  1. NEVER leave your batteries charging unattended.
  2. Always charge your batteries in a LiPo bag for safety
  3. Make sure your charger is set to the proper number of cells
  4. Never charge at more than 1C unless specifically authorized
  5. If the battery balloons or is punctured, DO NOT use it and immediately get it to a fire-safe place.
  6. Don’t let batteries drop below 3.0v. Most ESCs will have a Low Voltage Cutoff to help avoid this.
  7. Store LiPos at 3.7v (neither full charge or completely empty). Leaving a fully charged LiPo sit can cause damage.

More Info

Here is some great additional info from Traxxas on the proper care and use of LiPos.

More of a forum person? Great community post from Ultimate RC.

Meet Carson Stout: RC Post Daily


We had the chance to interview Carson Stout of RC Posts Daily, who already at 15 is making a name for himself in the RC community (when I was 15 I was playing video games and eating Ramen, but you have to start somewhere). Need your daily dose of RC? Check out awesome photos from his Instagram.

The Interview:

Age: 15 years old

Location: Kokomo Indiana

Cars: Traxxas Slash Ultimate 4×4, Traxxas e-Revo Brushless edition, Traxxas Slash 2WD VXL, Traxxas Stampede 4×4 VXL

When did you get into RC?

I got into RC when I was about 11 years old starting with my Losi 1/16 sprint car! 

What type of electronics/equipment do you use on your cars?

I’m a cheap kind of guy so I use Velineon. 

Why did you choose those particular cars?

When I first got into RC I was more of a Losi guy because that’s really all I knew about until I discovered Traxxas! Traxxas holds up very well and it’s my favorite brand and you can customize the crap out of your cars!

What made you decide to do RC Posts Daily?

I decided to do RC Posts Daily because I wanted to get my RC adventures out there and show everyone how cool RC is!

Who are you’re RC role models? 

Ryan Cavalieri 

What is your all-time favorite track/bash-spot and why?

Wow that’s a tough one! I’d say my favorite place to bash is at my friend Jaylen streets house! He has a few back yard tracks that me and my buddies race on and it’s ALOT of fun!!

Tell me about the best race/bash you ever had?

Well like I said I don’t do to much big racing, but I race with my friends and the best race I’ve had is when me and my buddy were battling it out all night long and we were always trying to get the best of each other but no one would give and when the a-main came along we both started side by side on the front row and battled the whole race and then the white flag came out and out of the final turn we both wrecked each other and we both lost!

Tell me about the worst race/bash you ever had?

The worst bash I’ve ever had is when I went out to Florida and took all my RC cars and I couldn’t wait to drive and I took them out on the beach and I had my sand paws on my stampede and I was ripping up the sand and my rear differential went out and I had forgot some of my wrenches at home so I couldn’t fix it!

What do you do when your not running RCs?

Duh I think more about RC, I work on my RC, I think about where I’m gonna bash next!

If you had one piece of advice that you could give to anyone that wanted to get involved in RCs – what would it be?

A piece of advice I’d give to some one that wanted to get involved in RCs I would tell them, don’t get frustrated when something goes wrong because that can make your whole RC experience bad.

Real RC Reviews: Telling It Like It Is


Getting reliable reviews on the myriad of RCs out there can be tricky. Enter: Real RC Reviews. We had the chance to interview Adrian Apodaca and his quest to get real (both positive and negative) reviews of RC products everywhere.

The Interview: Real RC Reviews

What is the name of your organization?

Real RC Reviews (www.realrcreviews.com)

When did you guys start this?

I started the site in February of 2014

Tell me the story – why did you start this?

Ahh, well, it goes like this.  I started in RC almost 5 years ago, with ZERO knowledge of hobby-grade cars and aircraft.  I had to rely on the guys at the hobby shop, videos on youtube, and countless RC forums.  I felt pretty helpless.  I originally put most of my stock in online reviews.

On the surface side, I found Jang from UltimateRC to be the absolute most reliable guy out there.  Of my 12 or so cars/trucks, I think 8 of them were bought after watching his reviews.  He stopped reviewing RC cars a couple years back, I still miss him!

On the air side, I found it a little more difficult finding someone who reviewed the aircraft I liked.  One of my favorites has always been 2Brothers Hobby, but of course they don’t always review the stuff I am considering.  I branched out a little more and tried taking advice from a few other reviewers.  Seemed okay at first, but a few times I bought a plane based solely on the positive video review, only to get the product, and find that it was of sub-par quality, or it didn’t fly anything like the video had described.  Like many RC folks, I don’t have unlimited funding for my hobby, so every dollar counts.  Dropping a few hundred bucks on something only to hate it drove me insane!  As I did a little homework, I caught on to the fact that a lot of the popular reviewers out there get a pretty steady stream of free or heavily discounted stuff to review. That and with the thousands of hits their channels get, they actually make extra cash that way.  I have nothing against good old fashioned capitalism, but lying about a product when you know folks rely on your reviews is really not helpful!

Out of this frustration, Real RC Reviews was conceived.  I knew I couldn’t compete with the guys with the hookups since I have to buy my own stuff, so as with many things, there is power in numbers. With a large group of RC enthusiasts, we could review a lot more stuff if we combined efforts.  I started a Facebook Group and that worked for a few weeks, then between comments and discussion, it got difficult to find the posted reviews in the group.  I have very limited web development skills, but figured I could pull of an actual site.  I registered the name, made a simple design, and uploaded the existing reviews to the website.  It made it easier to navigate and more scaleable.  Fast forward a full year, and we are now approaching 100 unique and TOTALLY honest reviews.

What do you hope to accomplish by doing this?

What we hope to accomplish is nothing more than to help inform guys trying to make a decision on their next purchase.  Some of the reviews are quick and to the point, but others are in-depth and really tell you most of what you need to know about a particular product.

What are the benefits for people that are involved with this site?

The benefits for people involved in the site (the contributors) is that they get their voice heard in a public place.  I try to only edit content for readability, never for opinion or influence from a retailer or manufacturer.

How can others get involved?

The best way to get involved, that is, if you’d like to contribute a review is to join our Facebook Group.  If you just want to hang out, see when the latest review is posted or discuss anything RC related, you can like our Facebook Fanpage.  You can follow us on Twitter.  And of course, if you just want to browse around, you can visit our website.  I know it’s a lot of urls but folks do the internet differently and we want to cater to as many people as we can.

How can they contact you if they have questions?

If you have a question specifically for me, the site owner and admin, contact me at admin@realrcreviews.com.  Otherwise, drop by the fan page and ask away!

What is the hardest thing you have had to deal with in regards to the site?

Keeping a steady stream of reviews is difficult sometimes. Since none of us are paid or sponsored, it takes the love of the hobby and desire to help others to make the time to write a review.  I’m lucky to have a few contributors that write a ton of reviews and do so in an excellent and detailed fashion.

What is your favorite part about doing this site?

Knowing that our readers are getting the REAL DEAL.  I have also, done a couple giveaways to my top contributors.  One received a Dromida Kodo, and a recent winner got $50 to his favorite hobby retailer… courtesy of Real RC Reviews.

If you had one piece of advice that you could give to anyone that wanted to get involved in RC – what would it be?

DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  Look at what reviewers are reviewing (is it always from the same company) and if they ever say anything negative about a product.  Most of even the best products on the market have some cons.

Anything else that you want to share/tell us about?

Join us, read us, discuss us, spread the word!  Your next hobby dollar could depend on it!

Ask DH – A Primer on RC Body Painting


Sometimes there are questions you have about RC you’ve always wondered, but for one reason or another, never asked. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or brand new, we’re going to bring you up to speed. Have a question you’ve been wanting to ask? Let us know in the comments!

– –

There’s nothing like getting a new body and a nice set of wheels for your truck to give it a new lease on life, not to mention a great platform to show your own creativity! Getting a clear, unpainted body can be a bit intimidating, but with a few simple steps you can get a custom body exactly the way you want it!


Most RC bodies are made out of Lexan (a brand of polycarbonate thermoplastic) which is both incredible durable and pliable. Bodies are created by vacuuming a sheet into a mold which leaves a lot of extra on the edges of the body. You will have to trim the body first. Using special curve scissors or a dremel will be easiest – this is no time to use chunky straight scissors. this is also a good time to drill out the body post holes.

You’ll also need a few tools:

  • High Quality Masking Tape or Liquid Mask
  • Permanent Marker
  • Sharp Hobby Knife and/or curved scissors
  • Clean Cloth
  • Lexan-compatible paint (e.g. Duratrax)
  • Dish Soap
  • Latex gloves


Once the body is cut the way you want it, draw your design. Most bodies now come with the outside of the body covered in overspray film which will protect the outside of the body until you are finished. This also means you can draw a sketch of your design with a permanent marker on the outside and peel off later. Make sure your body has an outer film before you go all creative on it and accidentally permanently draw on your new body – not all manufacturers come with outer film.


For the paint and masking tape to adhere properly, you’ll need to give the body a good wash in warm water and dish soap and then let it dry completely. You don’t need to wash it with anything special – just avoid anything with moisturizers (put that Essence of Jojoba Fruit Body Scrub down). While you’re painting, it might be a good idea to wear latex gloves to avoid getting oils, finger prints and Cheetos dust on your new clean body, not to mention avoiding some undesired finger nail polish.


Once the body is clean start masking the inside of the windows, along with any sections that are getting different colors if you’re doing multiple colors. Remember: contrary to everything else you’ve painted in your life, you’re painting the INSIDE of the body. It’s important to clean up the lines with a hobby knife so that you have a straight edge exactly where you want it. Don’t press too hard – all you need is light pressure or you’ll cut right through the body.


Not every rattle-can paint will stick to the plastic. Make sure to grab your lexan-compatible paint. We’re going to assume that you know the basics of using a rattle-can (outdoors, not too close, etc) Very Important: start with your darkest color first. Why? If you paint white first and then black second, black overspray on the white will show through. Just take our word for it. Start with light coats, and let the paint dry every time (it will turn from glossy to flat). You can use a hairdryer to speed up the process, but keep the heat to a minimum.  It will most likely take three or more light coats to get complete coverage. Use a hobby knife to peel back each layer of masking as you start painting the rest of the colors from darkest to lightest.

Pro Tips:

  • Backing colors with white or silver will improve brightness and protect your paint
  • Use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process – just take your time with minimal heat
  • Once painting is done, place some masking tape on the inside around your body post holes (and any other contact points) to protect your paint from chipping
  • If you forget where your design lines are, hold the body up to a light and you should see the outlines.

And you’re done! Just peel off the outer overspray film and get outside!

More Info

Feeling ambitious and want to try some airbrushing? Check out the bottom of this article.

More of a video person? Super helpful video from RC Truck Stop.

Want to put some flames on your truck? Put a little vintage style in your design.


BlackfootRC: Building Community in Calgary


Great things happen when a team of dedicated people, a great idea and a few shovels come together and make something happen. I was thrilled to interview Luke Magdy at BlackfootRC who is doing just that and keeping RC racing thriving in Canada (eh).

The Interview: BlackfootRC

What is the name of your organization?

BlackfootRC Association

When did you guys start this?

Remote Control (RC) has been at the Wild Rose Motorcross Association grounds for several years.  Multiple teams and individuals have worked to keep the park alive.  In March of 2013 the park began to be managed under the banner of BlackfootRC.

Tell me the story – why did you start this?

Although many of the RC tracks pre-existed BlackfootRC Association, the current organization of BlackfootRC was started by Brent and a lawn mower.  Some of the RC tracks were being maintained by RC enthusiasts, and others were in dis-repair.  The 1/5th scale track was grown over and un-usable.  Brent really wanted a place to run 1/5th scale RC cars and nothing existed in Calgary for this size.  The 1/5th track was mowed, and made usable and Brent began to try and organize an online community to discuss RC topics relating to the RC park.

Within the first year the tracks were improved, garbage cleaned, stairs donated and setup as temporary driver stands.  Weeping tile and track edging was donated, and a community started to form.  The leadership team expanded to include Charles and Paul and they helped keep the momentum moving.  We published our official branding, built the permanent 1/5th scale driver stand, hosted our first event (thanks Mark). The relationship between BlackfootRC and our neighbors WRMA, BMX club began to take shape.

This year the leadership team got an injection of new members including Paolo, Joe, and Luke.  Luke assumed presidency of the organization, and has been a significant driving force in making possible several things like Track sponsorships from The C-Can Store, the significant bobcat time donated by Decked-Out Landscaping, as well the addition of water to the tracks.  Terry, Chris, Action Hobby and several members of the crawler community also had a very strong presence and helped completely transform the crawler/scale area of the RC Park.  As a result of their efforts Rudeboyz RC and other organizations are now hosting events and we see significant attendance every day at the crawler area.

The Blackfoot leadership team is now 5 members strong (Luke, Paul, Paolo, Joe, Brent) and we fully expect the momentum established will continue.  Many people have all contributed to the park in different ways.  Without those people helping out (in many cases without ever being thanked) this place wouldn’t be possible.  The BlackfootRC leadership team is very thankful of all of the effort contributed by many different people to make the RC park what it is today, and we have big hopes for what it will be tomorrow.

What do you hope to accomplish by doing this?

BlackfootRC was created to improve the RC facilities within the WRMA motocross park, and to help promote the sport of RC within Calgary and Alberta.  We intend to be a family oriented and casual place to have fun with as many forms of RC as possible.

Currently we support 1/10th, 1/8th bashing and informal racing.  We are the only facility in Calgary that supports 1/5th scale bashing/informal racing.  We also have one of the best crawler/scale parks in western Canada.   Although we don’t support it yet, we are contemplating dabbling into some quad copter flying/racing and micro scale flying.

What are the benefits for people that are involved with this group?

The benefit of being involved in this organization is being able to help make Calgary a go-to destination for RC.  Many of our leaders are very proud of the fact that RCsparks, RC Trail Blazer, TRCC, RCCWR and others are all based out of this city and use the BlackfootRC park in their videos.  It’s exciting to see the events take place and have people drive from across the country to participate in this sport that we love.  If it wasn’t for the people who help make BlackfootRC better every day, then there wouldn’t be the facilities available to practice our sport.  It’s also a great place to meet new people from different backgrounds that have a common passion.  I strongly recommend to anyone interest, get involved and help.  It’s a good bunch of people.

How can others get involved?

Everything that everyone does at the park counts.  As simple as picking up some garbage, to tightening a loose tarp… all the way up to donating materials, or dragging a rake to smooth out a corner.  We are appreciative of the people that come to the park, pay the gate fee, and have fun.  We have a special place in our heart for those who actually invest some time and effort into making the place better.

We are constantly looking out for people that go that little above and beyond, that help a little without expecting anything in return.  We are looking for those people and invite them to be a formal member of the club where they will have a say in how things evolve, and where we go as a community.

If you want to be part of the RC sport, and you want to help make this place better than it is today then do it. If you feel that someone should be recognized for contributing, please send a message to the Facebook page, or an email to blackfootrc@gmail.com

How can they contact you if they have questions?

Send a message to the Facebook page facebook.com/blackfootrc, or an email to blackfootrc@gmail.com

What is the hardest thing you have had to deal with in regards to the group?

Our largest challenge is people and money.  Lots of people have ideas, not many show up with a shovel.  Some ideas require capital and currently we are being held back by lack of it.  The leadership team is seeing more and more people every day coming forward and offering their help.  We have plans in place and agreements with the WRMA regarding capital that will help us tackle some bigger and bolder ideas.  These challenges are not unique to BlackfootRC, and most organizations start with just a few good people and an idea.

What is your favorite part about doing this group?

Other than seeing a ridiculous number of RC cars all running circles around a track?  We love seeing new people coming to the sport with their families.  Several times this season a parents with their children have showed up at the track and asked how to get their kids involved.  This family oriented community is what we are striving for, and seeing it slowly start to take shape is very motivating.

If you had one piece of advice that you could give to anyone that wanted to get involved in RC – what would it be?

Be excited. Be involved.  There is so much good that comes from this sport.  There are life skills to learn. How to fix and maintain a machine. How to be a part of a community. If your excited and involved you would be amazed at the learning opportunities exist.  How to manage a club, how to shape and move earth, how to manage finances, how to lead people.  You could be the next president of the association, and all you have to do is be excited, and be involved.

Anything else that you want to share/tell us about?

The leadership team at BlackfootRC has big visions for the park.  We need volunteers.  Donate your time and effort, and we can make this place better than any of us ever imagined possible.

Ask DH – A Primer on Suspension


Sometimes there are questions you have about RC you’ve always wondered, but for one reason or another, never asked.  Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or brand new, we’re going to bring you up to speed. Have a question you’ve been wanting to ask? Let us know in the comments!

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So you want to tune your suspension – maybe you can’t quite hit that corner, maybe you’re landing on those jumps isn’t quite feeling right, or maybe you’re just a tinkerer. Either way, once you’ve got the right tires and fit them correctly, tuning your suspension can make a huge difference for each kind of track you’re on.

We’re going to break down the key components of your suspension set up and the pros and cons of each so you can determine what makes sense for you.

Shock Angle

There are multiple mounting points for shocks, both on the arms and towers, and each position has its advantage.

A helpful concept to keep in mind is leverage and mechanical advantage. For example with the lower mounting positions, the closer the mounting position to the wheels (outer mount holes), the shorter the “lever” is, and more force is required to compress the shock. The farther the mounting position is from the wheels (inner mount holes), the longer the “lever” is, and despite the now increased ride height, the easier it is to compress the shock.

Here’s a quick run down of each option:

Front/Rear Lower Mount | Outer Holes:
Firmer feel, less cornering at low speeds / more cornering at high speeds

Front/Rear Lower Mount | Inner Holes:
Softer feel for rough terrain, more cornering at low speeds

Front/Rear Upper Mount | Outer Holes:
Quicker steering and shock response, but if the rear is set to the outer holes, the back end could swing out partway through the turn.

Front/Rear Upper Mount | Inner Holes:
Less steering but smoother handling and shock response

Shock Oil

Oil thickness will determine how slow or fast your shock reacts. Thicker oil will react slower and help navigate large jumps and bumps. Thinner oil will react more quickly and soak up little bumps and ruts in the track. Ambient temperature can play a big part in performance – cold weather will thicken your oil, while heat will thin it. Change your oil accordingly to make sure you have the performance set up you need.

Changing oil viscosity can help maximize performance, but a “middle ground” will work if you’re just running in your backyard. Make sure to check your oil levels as leaks can negatively affect performance. Pitting and rust on the shock shaft can tear shock seals, so make sure to clean them especially after mud, snow or salt. Oil or WD-40 comes in handy for preventative maintenance.

Shock Pistons and Spring Stiffness

For shock pistons, you need to consider the size of the holes that the oil will pass through. Shocks are velocity-sensitive, meaning quickly compressing a shock is exponentially more difficult than doing so slowly. The rate of how difficult it gets, along with how soon a shock acts completely firm is often expressed as “Pack”. Large/more-holed  pistons are great for bumpy tracks since they react quickly and have less “pack”. Smaller/fewer-holed pistons are great for smooth tracks since they offer stability, but since they have more “pack” and can’t react quickly, small holed pistons will treat small/quick bumps the same way a truck with no suspension would. Think of it this way – more oil needs to quickly run through a smaller hole, and now there is only one of them, which means a lot more resistance.

There are a few different schools of thought on spring stiffness. Some prefer to keep stiffness the same across both front and rear for the sake of predicability. That is definitely one option, and all you need to do is increase stiffness across the board for greater direct responsiveness, or softer springs to soak up bumps in the road.

You can also have the front stiffer or softer than the rear. A stiffer front compared to the rear can increase jumping and stability while keeping traction in the rear, while a softer front compared to the rear offers better steering at the risk of understeer. Keep in mind that with high powered trucks running something like 6S LiPo, the back end will “squat” down under heavy acceleration. You may want firmer springs in the rear to keep things level for maximum traction.

More Info

Want a printable cheat sheet of the pros and cons from different set ups? Check out this awesome resource.

Want to change your shock oil? This video from Ultimate RC will guide you through.

Here is a great Q&A with Losi that walks through some benefits of different set ups

Ask DH – Nitro or Gas?


Sometimes there are questions you have about RC you’ve always wondered, but for one reason or another, never asked.  Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or brand new, we’re going to bring you up to speed. Have a question you’ve been wanting to ask? Let us know in the comments!

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In recent years, brands like HPI and Losi have pushed even more into 1/5 (or larger) gas powered RC cars. Rather than just being stuck between nitro and electric, gas is a viable third option. We’ve already given the run down of electric motors and advantages of brushless power, but for many people the lines between nitro and gas become a bit more blurred.

Wait, aren’t they the same? Nope. Few key differences:



Nitro engines run a mixture of nitromethane, oil and methanol that you can purchase from a hobby shop for $25+ a gallon or try and mix yourself. Ignition happens due to compression and a glow plug (think diesel engine).

For their size/displacement, nitro engines provide quite a bit of power, but must be frequently tuned and are easily affected by temperature and humidity. They can also more easily reach a higher top speed than their gas counterpart.

The advantage of a nitro-run truck is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Because nitro engines can be small while still producing enough power, a 1/10 scale nitro truck is widely available and doesn’t take up much space.



Gas engines run on a mixture of pump-gas and oil. Essentially you are placing a weed wacker engine in an RC. Ignition happens due to a spark plug similar to your car. Being able to go down to your local gas station and fill up for a tenth of the price of nitro is a huge advantage.

Though a gas engine might have 10x the displacement of a nitro engine, power could be very similar. What gasoline brings to the table is low end torque that can get a 21-pound 1/5 Baja 5B SS moving, though ultimately at a lower top speed limited by weight and drag.

More Info

Want a run down of pros and cons? Check it out here.

Want a full manual on nitro engine maintenance. This one has got you covered.