R/C Toy Memories is a blog about a collection of vintage and retro Radio Controlled cars, and a few other toys as well. The website was launched in 2012.
I’ve been a fan of R/C cars since the 1980s, and an avid collector since the early 1990s. So I’ve accumulated a moderately-sized, but hopefully interesting and unique collection.
It consists of both so-called hobby-grade and toy-grade models, along with many other related artifacts – parts, magazines, souvenirs and so on. All the photos here will be of items I own (unless otherwise specified). They will mostly be vintage items, but there may occasionally be some newer things that I think still capture the appeal of the types of toys that were around when I was growing up.
There may also be some other toys that aren’t R/C related, but that may be of interest to fans of 1980s toys in general.
Sometime in the mid-2000s I thought it would be fun to create this website to share some information I had gathered and learned, in a not-too-technical way. Of course, it took a further 6 years of procrastination to actually figure out what to write about, let alone how the website should look.
The goal of R/C Toy Memories is to discuss vintage R/C toys in a way that reflects how I first experienced them as a kid. In other words, rather than performing (too many) in-depth technical analyses and posting “build threads”, I mostly just waffle-on about how much I like things. And why I think they were significant. That said, I do have a keen interest in the collecting side. And that means I will get into the weeds on certain topics such as: how to identify what’s original or vintage, and what isn’t.
I’ve also tended to have an interest in “why” so many people enjoy the R/C car hobby – the nostalgia, the emotional bonds formed during childhood, and so on. Particularly in relation to the boom era of the 1980s when life seemed a little simpler, and the toys had a realistic and sometimes imperfect charm to them.
As any 80s kid knows – no other era of toys will ever match the 1980s. (Though the 1960s, 1970s and early 1990s weren’t too bad either). The best description I’ve ever heard of the 1980s is “it was like a perfect blend of old-time innocence combined with modern technology”. Many of the modern technologies we enjoy today were born in the 1980s. And yet it was still a pre-Internet, and mostly pre-mobile phone era in which kids played outside as much as they did on screen-based activities. And there was something great about that. And I swear it’s not all rose-tinted, either.
Life in general was a little more ‘traditional’ back in the 1980s. This of course, also had downsides. But the great toys and toy shops that were around still make me wish that I could travel back in time – if only for a day or two of rabid toy shoplifting, before making my escape back to the present in a DeLorean or a Telephone booth packed with 12-back Star Wars figures and mint in box Tamiya kits and Lego sets!
My approach to collecting
- I collect both hobby-grade and toy-grade items. Some people dislike R/C “toy-grade” cars and only care about high performance, hobby-grade R/C. But I think all vintage R/C cars are worth being nostalgic about. And some of the so-called “toys” can actually be more valuable these days than some of the so-called “hobby-grade” models. So clearly I’m not alone.
- I don’t collect “everything”. Some people do like to collect everything. More power to them 🙂 I only tend to collect the specific models I like. I think every person collects in their own way.
- Some people like to modify R/C cars. I prefer to keep vintage R/C cars 100% original, both for hobby-grade and toy-grade models. I feel hobby-grade conversions of toy-grade cars ruin the intended purpose of those toys. In my humble opinion, they should be left to run “as they were” and as we remember them. When you modify, you fundamentally change what the toy was. And in many cases, value will also decline after modification.
- When I build vintage R/C kits, I like to keep things kit-standard, right down to plastic bearings and mechanical speed control. Original means original, to me. It’s fun to experience these cars as most people would have – straight from the box. Again, this is just my preference. I view historic R/C cars much the same way people view historic full size vehicles.
What I don’t support
- I don’t support “repro” or counterfeit items. I have no objection to privateers who produce 3D printed spare parts for themselves and friends. But I’ve never purchased commercially available repro, fake or counterfeit items and I never will. By definition, commercial fakes are made by companies that profit illegally from the intellectual property owned by other brands like Tamiya. Tamiya is an historic, family model company that essential helped create the model industry we enjoy. But such companies may disappear if consumers support illegal fakes that undercut their business.
- I don’t purchase any hobby products made in China. As of 2019, I refuse to buy any R/C or hobby products which are made in China. This includes cars, paints, accessories, radio gear, batteries – anything. This is a personal choice on ethical grounds. In fact, I refuse to buy any product made in China – period.
- This site has no affiliation with social media. I don’t use Facebook and will never use Facebook 😀 I host my own content. And I support organizations like Mozilla, who support the Open Web.
More about this website
- This is an Australian-based website. So my thoughts and experiences will sometimes tend to be written from an Australian perspective.
- This website is non-profit, 100% independent, free to use, and paid for by the owner (me). It’s not a business. The most I ever do is occasionally list a few things for sale from my collection.
- This website has no affiliation with any brand or company. I have declined many offers of sponsorship. Thank you for your interest, but I will not be serving advertisements – ever.
My goal with this website was simply to create a genuine space on the open web, to share some memories and to archive what I’ve learned about R/C models over the years. At the time I started it, I was tired of not being able to find much in the way of quality, long-form reading material related to vintage R/C. Many will insist that hasn’t changed (!) even since this website began 🙂
Nevertheless, I hope this site offers you something interesting to read. And perhaps you’ll continue to stop by from time to time and find something new.