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Even young children seem to be able to discern what constitutes a 'proper' radio controlled car. Well, I know I did. I've a vivid and slightly sepia-tinged memory circa 1980 of assessing a large Christmas present, days before Christmas day, which I reckoned was large enough to contain a proper radio controlled car. Whoo hoo! A boyhood dream.
Well, my dear Grandma had in fact bought me a sonic controlled car. Which is, well, ever-so-slightly different to a radio controlled car. I summoned up a suitably grateful face, but inside, I was disappointed.
And what a thing it was - basic in the extreme, and controlled by loud audible clicks from a hand controller. It wouldn't even turn right! Left, stop, and go where your only options. To be fair to Grandma, it was reasonable fun, but it was rendered useless once I ventured away from a perfectly flat surface.
My wait continued until several years worth of pocket money accumulated and I was able to satisfy my boyhood R/C fantasies with the object of my dreams. A full-in-the-flesh Tamiya Hornet. Oh boy. And did I love that car. I loved everything about it. The big proper springy spring sock absorbers. The meaty 540 motor. The dune buggy styling. The bendy front and side rail bumpers. And before I got a chance to get too used to the car, I got the customizing bug.
It would go something like this. I'd see a friends car, like Mark from the new estate's Tamiya Fox with the 'ooooh so shiny' gold wheels. And I'd want them. So that would be the next 3 Saturdays gone, as I would trawl round Leamington Spa's toy and model emporiums in search of new wheels. But having only birthday and pocket money, I would often have to resign myself to buying a pair at a time.
Thinking back, it was so much fun tweaking a very basic car, and I can almost taste the boyish agony of saving every 50p until I could afford a new Technigold motor. Soon after that it was body-shells: polycarbonate moldings that made the car look like a touring car. I initially bought a universal Le Mans style body which i had to cut down to let the wheels turn. Then I upgraded to a BMW 3 series with wide arches. Happy times.
Oh how it absorbed my weekends. In fact, it was a combination of my Hornet (and later a Tamiya Falcon), my Raleigh Bomber and my Spectrum 48k that pretty much filled my waking moments. Until I realised I could buy a real Austin Mini in need of an MOT for £80.00. But that's a different story altogether.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: