Monday, January 23, 2012

Mini RC Cars Appreciation Post

You know what's one of my old favorites?  Miniature remote-controlled cars.  And I'm not talking about foot-long ones, I'm talking 2-inch ones (length of a AA battery).

I had a couple of tiny cars like this many years ago (a blue Subaru Impreza) but since then, I've lost them.  Either that or they stopped working.  But then I found one cool car on eBay for about $12.  These are Shen Qi Wei racers (yes, they have no desire to conceal the "Made in China" label).  There's many other mini RC brands out there to check out but this is just one of 'em (EDIT: Well that was embarrassing...I stopped typing mid-sentence again.)

This is just a demo.  The car models are rather nifty.  Hey look, a Ferrari F40.  I can't tell what the other car is.

How the car works is you stick the car to your controller for just a minute to charge the thing.  Then you put the car down and drive it for about 5+ minutes.  Rinse and repeat.  It doesn't get any more complicated than that.

My main concern with the car is that it would be fragile or just not work.  Ever since I opened the thing up and drove it around, it worked like a charm.  They zip around rather quickly.  Also, I was worried that the car would begin to veer one direction by default but it doesn't take much nudging on the underneath switch to get it working fine.  It's good.  It's fallen off my desk a few times (I cringe a bit when that happens) but it seems to be perfectly fine.

This is the car I bought.  It's a BMW.  On my car, the antenna is much longer and the stickers aren't as well-aligned as you see here.  Apparently, the Chinese worker just slapped those stickers on without regard to positioning.  BTW, as you can see, this car is POWERED BY GASOLINE.

This is another car.  I can't tell what this is but the paint looks awfully similar to the Celica rally car of Sega Rally fame.  So I might buy this car too if I feel like it.  This car HAS BRAKES ON IT.

Anyway, if you can't tell by now, you can buy these cars from this site.  Yes, free advertising, now gimme a cigar.  You can get four cars for $45.  Doesn't sound too bad.  There's a Skyline, a Mercedes CLK-GTR, a BMW, and another one of those funny Skyline things.  There's other models on that site to buy.  I think there's other Shen Qi Wei models out there but you have to look hard on eBay/retail sites. doesn't sell the F40 so you have to look hard for it.

Now for my main caveats with these things.  Don't get me wrong, they're awesome but I can't give anything a pass these days.  The controller has four buttons--left, right, forwards, backwards.  Problem is there's no "throttle" so it's either 0% or 100% speed.  The cars' have very twitchy handling in that they can corner on a dime.  That's good on some occasions but it's weird since real-life cars don't turn THAT fast.  If you drive on a clean, smooth surface, it has the best top-speed as well as easy cornering.  So don't drive it on carpet, you morons.

And probably the biggest caveat of all with these adorable little cars is that I'm afraid I'll break 'em.  Therefore I hesitate to drive them and thus I become sad and depressed.  Like they'll get dirty, something will get stuck in the wheel axles, or they'll start veering off uncontrollably.  I've popped the frame off these cars and sort of know how to assemble/disassemble them so repairs are doable.  But I hate to resort to these things.  Oh well, if you spend all your time worrying about breaking your stuff, then you'll never have fun.  Even if the cars break, they still look cool as a normal toy/paper weight!

Seriously, if someone made a solid mini RC car--one that's durable, quick, handles perfectly, features many different car frames/parts, and has long battery life, I'd buy it at a big price (about $70).  I want one of those so badly.


Holy s***, Initial D.  Also comes with entire Akina track replica (another $500).

Imagine that...a 23 year old making a big deal out of little toy cars.  I don't one cares about cool stuff like this.  It's all about Skyrim and Mass Effect these days--AW HELL NAW, NOT ON MY WATCH.

EDIT: An addendum to this post.  After doing some more browsing on eBay (the best place right now to find these cars cheap), it turns out the Shen Qi Wei brand isn't exclusive: there's more brands of "identical" cars out there.  They use the same body frame and controller.  Brands like Panther, Thor, etc.  So basically, they technically are knockoffs, but that would suggest ripping off something of greater quality, and as far as I know, they're exactly the same format and price:

Doesn't really bother me.  It means more variety.  Plus they use the same charger so the cars are interchangeable.  As long as they're the same quality, then what's the big deal?  I'm buying more of these soon cause I'm an addict...


  1. Whoa, 15 bucks? I bought mine for $5 each!
    No, seriously. $15 is a ripoff. I googled, these Q-Steer ones, which certainly aren't Chinese knockoffs, are sold for the same price, more or less. All of the online stores I visited were sold out on them, though.

    Anyway, it was fun racing with dad/friends, controllers had these little switches that allowed you to change the radio frequency, allowing you to drive your opponent's car off the track and stuff. Good times.
    Now I'm almost 20 and it's really embarrassing to be seen playing with toy cars, lol, so I just... 'drive' them around in solitude.

  2. I actually looked at the Q-Steer ones before but personally, I liked the proportions of the Shen Qi Wei ones better. Yeah, $15 seems like a ripoff but I don't know where to find these terrible Chinese knock-offs at a lower price. From what I hear, these Chinese cars go faster and have better battery life so that's what's up, I suppose.

    I also saw Initial D RC cars (the AE86 and RX-7) that were more similar to the Chinese ones--not as tiny and stumpy. Think they were made by Tomy as well. I don't see these cars anymore...did they stop manufacturing them altogether? Like Micro Machines (those were the bomb)?