My partner bought me a small remote controlled boat for Christmas (well, I bought it and she paid for it!) which I almost blogged about at the time. It didn’t really seem worthy, even though it is great fun, but I’ve just bought 2 more remote controlled vehicles so now have plenty to say!

I’ve blogged about a drone I own here but long before that I’ve had a small fascination with remote controlled things. When I left Unipart back in 2003, I used some of my redundancy package to buy my dream car – a 1988 8v Lancia Delta Integrale. I blogged about my car history here, but when I eventually sold the Integrale (something I still regret a little today) I bought myself a remote controlled Tamiya TT-01 version (the linked one is a newer TT-02 version). It’s never really been used in anger and was really more of a display item to remind me of the smiles my Lancia used to put on my face, but also the huge hole it burned in my wallet!

My daughter’s had a few outdoor play dates recently with her friends where their slightly older brothers have also come along, so the Tamiya model has been out on the road a few times to entertain them. I’ve become a little less worried about it being destroyed than I used to be, although I still watch somewhat apprehensively whenever I’ve handed over the controller. Anyway, we’ll come back to that.

The inspiration for a boat came from a walk down by the river with my dog. On the walk, I’d thrown a ball which had bounced off her nose, a tree and ended up down a small bank bobbing at the edge of the river, trapped by some tree roots. I decided I’d be able to reach down and rescue it (I suspect I’d given someone a hard time for losing ANOTHER ball, and didn’t want to repeat) and while I was balanced precariously across a tree branch, a guy walked past with a large remote controlled boat. It was tucked under his arm and must have been 30-40″ inches long, but after watching me rescue the ball we had a chat about it as we walked a little further along the river.

There is a pretty large lagoon to the side of the river, and the boat guy went his way to that, while we carried on down the path along the river. He’d offered to let me have a shot if we passed back that way, which we didn’t, but I was immediately looking for a smaller version when I got back home. The timing of buying it on Amazon and the lack of being able to think of anything else I might want for Christmas resulted in it being handed over on arrival so it could be wrapped and opened on the 25th.

The weather hasn’t been brilliant, so it’s only been out a few times, but it’s a super little boat and great fun for a 10-15 minute blast. I was considering buying another so I could race it with my daughter, but the fact you need to find some water to use it put me off. We’re luck to have a couple of lochs nearby, the Grand Union Canal and the lagoon by the river I mentioned earlier, but it does require a special journey, and isn’t quite as easy as popping a car down on the street outside.

So my search for a car began! I’d looked for a few options on Youtube, and found a couple of reasonably priced options but they involved a purchase from Banggood. I’ve seen things online there before, and always been a little apprehensive, but thought I’d give it a shot with a ZD Racing DTK16 model. It was only ~£80 for a brushless car which from the video’s I’d seen has some decent reviews and had taken a fair amount of abuse.

I really needn’t have been worried about the service from Banggood, as the model arrived just 11 days after I’d ordered it. The service was that good, that I ordered another car that had caught my eye after all the Youtube research – a WL Toys 124019. That arrived even quicker, and almost fell foul of being another gift (it’s my birthday in a few weeks) but I did get to play with it first!

I took them both out for a blast in the street and let my daughter take control of the DTK16, which I think she has adopted and named ‘Bob’! They are both so much faster than the Tamiya model, and the 124019 is almost as fast as the DTK16 with the power dialled down about halfway! It’s also much nicer not worrying too much about any damage, as they both seem much more robust than the Tamiya model from the first few outings.

I’ll write another blog when I have a little more time with them both and will try and do a couple of videos. Until then, here are some pictures…