My first, and so far only, RC kit that I built by myself is the T.O.P. Rebel 12. I have to admit, I was a little intimidated at the thought of building a kit that says in the instructions that it should be built by a person with building experience. However, the instructions and little alphabetized bags made building this car simple and easy.
After watching a couple guys building pan cars during the oval races, I understood the basic concept. Building kits takes time, this is extremely important because a well built car needs to be assembled very meticulously. Polishing, shaving, assembling little parts, and function checking are very time consuming, but well worth the effort. I can't even tally up all the hours spent on this because I broke it down into sections, but if I had to take a guess, it would be somewhere around 30 hours. After finally finishing, I was proud to complete my first RC from a kit and I posted about 30 pics of the build on my facebook.
I couldn't wait to see how this car drove. I knew it would be different than a 1/10 Touring Car, but I was amazed at how darty and twitchy the car was. Every tiny movement of the steering would make an over-exaggerated movement. I turned the dual rate down and played around with the exponential a little and finally became comfortable with my transmitter settings. The first time the car was on the track with other cars was in a breakout race... probably not the best idea... but I couldn't help it. I ran the first couple of laps trying to keep the car from turning anything faster than 6 second laps... but I just wanted to go fast. So I floored it... and missed a lot of laps... I ended up dead last even though I'm 100% sure I turned the most laps that didn't count. In the end, I ended up with a pretty bad chunked rear tire... but it was worth it.
After getting a chance to run the Rebel 12 on carpet, I couldn't wait for the next week when I could get this car turning right. I made a few adjustments (ride height, swapped 13g wire for 16g) and changed the stock axles out for Associated ones to get rid of the little e-clip and use 3mm locknuts. Three qualifiers later, I was more than satisfied because I qualified 2nd, right behind Tim Harrington. During the main, I ended up getting myself too worked up and found myself battling Justin Mitchell for the number 2 spot. His car was faster than mine and I tried my best to concentrate and stay on my line. After swapping back and forth a few times, Justin managed to get by and pull away. I helped out a little when I began to lose focus and make mistakes, but he earned the spot and was driving better than me that day. When all was said and done this day, I was very satisfied with my first outing in 12th scale touring. Two weeks is a long time to wait for a race day....
My most recent race with the 12th scale began like before, I was making some minor adjustments (swapped and trued tires, removed shims to reduce pre-load on front shocks). My practice lap times were right there with the fast guys. Once again, three qualifiers and there I was sitting in 2nd right behind Tim and right in front of Justin... the only difference this time was that I was nervous as hell (just an RC race...). After making a few mistakes during the first couple laps, I found my groove and retained 2nd the entire race. My lap times were quick enough to stay with the leader but my mistakes cost me again. I ended up performing my best all day during that main. I am very satisfied with the Rebel and I think that the mix of this car and my personal driving style are a great mesh. I hope to continue to improve and one day make a run at Tim Harrington, but only time will tell... and you know how that goes.