How to choose a radio-controlled model, selection tips and reviews


radio controlled model – a reduced copy of a vehicle or military equipment, as well as a figurine of an animal or robot that can be controlled from a distance. Such a toy introduces the child to technical devices, develops the skill of orientation in space and the ability to concentrate on completing the task. Playing with a radio-controlled model will give you a lot of bright positive emotions.


Children’s – the easiest to use and cheapest models with a minimum of functions, low power (electric motor) and speed. Children’s models are often called “mini” (mini-boats, mini-helicopters), which indicates their small size. Equipment of this class is ideal for introducing a child to the world of radio-controlled models. Children’s models can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Amateur – a more complex technique, designed for teenagers who already have experience playing with children’s models and collectors. Amateur models are more expensive, have more functions, are distinguished by increased power (internal combustion engine) and speed. They differ in larger dimensions. Amateur models are used on the street.

Professional – the most difficult option, which is suitable only for adult experienced modellers. The technique of this class has the maximum number of functions, the greatest power and speed. Professional models are the most expensive, largest and most similar to the original. They are for outdoor use only.


Automobile (including special vehicles and special equipment) – able to move in any direction, overcome obstacles of varying complexity, turn on headlights and brake lights. There are anti-gravity machines that can move along vertical surfaces, such as walls and ceilings.

According to the place of use, cars can be divided into two categories:

  • for home – the game takes place on the floor or table (children’s class);
  • for the street – racing on the highway or off-road (amateur and professional class).

Radio-controlled car models are divided into several types.

SUVs (“monster”) – copy monster trucks (pickup trucks with huge wheels, powerful engines). These models are characterized by high cross-country ability, but are unlikely to be suitable for high-speed driving.

SUVs are divided into the following types:

  • stunts – designed to perform jumps and acrobatic numbers, overcome obstacles. Models have large wheels, a powerful engine and suspension, high ground clearance;
  • short-course – used for driving on ring dirt tracks of a relatively small size. The cars have a high level of protection against impacts and collisions when jumping, have a very strong design and reliable shock absorbers that can withstand severe loads. A good choice for a beginner.

Buggy – light all-wheel drive cars for off-road driving, for example, sand. In terms of their qualities, they are close to off-road vehicles (short-cors). The model exactly repeats the original, for example, it has safety arcs.

Traggi – in their characteristics they resemble buggies, but differ from them in larger wheels and long suspension arms. Thus, truggies are inferior to the previous type in terms of speed, but they are superior in cross-country ability. Used for trick riding and short corse.

Rally – the middle option between SUVs and road cars. In appearance, they resemble “turings”, but they have a powerful engine characteristic of SUVs and increased protection against dirt. The best option for driving on a dense surface of fine gravel or sand.

Highway auto (“touring”) – in appearance exactly copy real cars. They are distinguished by high speed and controllability. They can be divided into the following types:

  • drift – designed to drive on an asphalt track at maximum speeds with the constant use of a controlled skid. Models have a rear-wheel drive and a rear differential lock. The tires of such cars are smooth or have a shallow pattern. Drift models are much closer to the original cars than the ring ones;
  • ring – used for time trials on flat, hard-surfaced tracks. Ring cars are distinguished by a characteristic “licked” body shape, which increases the aerodynamic performance of the model.

Tank – able to make sounds while driving, move in different directions or rotate in place, shoot, raise and lower the cannon. To increase the realism, the tank can turn on headlights and parking lights, simulate fire when firing, and even “smoke”.

In appearance, the tank may have a shape that only remotely resembles the prototype (children’s class) or exactly repeat the original model. The gun in the tank can be pneumatic (shoots rubber or plastic balls, quantity 40-100) and infrared (shoots IR rays). There are also spy tanks equipped with a video camera and with increased cross-country ability.

Helicopter – able to take off and land, perform various figures in the air, hover. The key element in the helicopter is the propellers, which allow you to take off and perform various maneuvers.

By design, screws can be divided into two categories:

  • coaxial – the screws are located one above the other; models with this screw design are easy to manage, but their maneuverability is limited; found in children’s class helicopters;
  • classic screws – one main screw is on top, the other – in the tail. Helicopters with such propellers are more difficult to control, but more flexible maneuvers are available to the operator. Classic screws are equipped with amateur and professional equipment.

Airplane – can take off and land, including on water, perform various figures in the air (for example, a dead loop), plan. In professional models, you can find a jet engine – more powerful and expensive than an internal combustion engine.

Aircraft are divided into several categories:

  • training – inexpensive models with a good aerodynamic system and a wing made in the form of the letter V. Most often there are high-wing aircraft. This model is suitable for both a child and an adult;
  • aerobatic – maneuverable aircraft designed for experienced pilots. Most often they are low-wing, medium-wing and biplanes;
  • copies real aircraft – imitate their prototypes as accurately as possible. They have powered wings, retractable landing gear, wheel brakes, side lights;
  • fan flyers – used by amateur aerobatics. They are equipped with a fast and precise system of mechanization and automation, which allows the model to perform complex figures in the air.

Ship – boats, yachts, hovercraft, submarines and large ships.

  • boats – are able to move in different directions and “jump” over the waves at high speeds;
  • yachts – in addition to the motor, they have a sail, which provides additional speed;
  • underwater boats – can dive deep and float to the surface, move forward and backward.
  • large ships – reduced copies of battleships, destroyers, cruisers.

Robot – a mechanical humanoid creature that can not only move, overcome various obstacles, but also carry out assignments (bring a small object or keys). Some models transform into various shapes, for example, into a ball and back.

Animal – fish, snakes, tyrannosaurs, ladybugs, beetles. In appearance, they resemble their prototypes, they can move, make characteristic sounds.


Electric – universal type of engine. It is found in a large assortment in terms of price, power and speed.


  • small size;
  • low noise level;
  • environmental friendliness, which allows it to be used indoors;
  • Easy to operate – no adjustments or lubrication required, and changing batteries or recharging the battery is easier and cheaper than filling up a tank of fuel.


  • long battery charging time;
  • dependence on weather conditions (temperature, air humidity);
  • less play time (up to 15-20 minutes) than internal combustion engines.

Models with an electric motor are the best option for children and beginners.

Internal combustion (ICE) – a more complex engine that copies the full-size counterpart in real cars.


  • high power, which allows you to develop high speed (more than 80 km / h) and provides a greater margin of play time;
  • maximum realism of the game (characteristic sound of the engine, exhaust emissions).


  • higher cost of both the engine itself and its operation, taking into account the price of fuel;
  • inability to use indoors due to exhaust gases;
  • the need for careful and complex maintenance – washing, sorting, special storage conditions;
  • engine tuning requires certain knowledge and skills.

Models with internal combustion engines are suitable for fans of radio-controlled models, for whom the realism of the toy is especially important.


Model Scale – the ratio of the size of the model to the size of the real prototype. Thus, using the scale, you can estimate the size of the model. A ratio of 1:24 means that the real car is 24 times larger than the model. The larger the scale number, the smaller the model.

With an increase in scale, the functionality and power of the toy increases, the complexity of its control increases, and the price increases.

Radio-controlled models are found in the following scales:

  • cars – 1:24; 1:18; 1:16; 1:14; 1:10; the most common scale is 1:14;
  • tanks – 1:36; 1:32; 1:24; 1:16; 1:16 and 1:24 scales are the most common;
  • ships – 1:25 (boats), 1:115; 1:325; 1:360 (battleships, destroyers).

Small models can be used indoors, larger models can be used outdoors, on a dirt or asphalt road, in a pool, on a river.

Important: The scale does not always reflect the actual size of the toy. At the same scale, the sizes of models can be different, depending on the actual size of their prototypes. For example, a battleship can be made at a scale of 1:1000 and it will be a model of impressive size, while a car with a similar scale will be tiny.


The age of the child recommended by the manufacturer for use of a particular type of radio controlled model. Since the radio-controlled model is a difficult toy to control, capable of developing a sufficiently high speed, it is not recommended to purchase it for children under the age of 2-3 years.

To kids up to 5 let fit cars that are not realistic or animal models with a range of several meters. The main thing is that the toy is bright.

children 6-7 years old you can pick up more complex and realistic equipment – cars, helicopters, robots, planes, boats.

Guys age 8-10 years old interested in tanks, larger and more complex analogues of previous models.

Teenagers 14-15 years old the most realistic technique equipped with a video camera, gyroscopes, servos, etc. will do.

Max speed

The highest speed that the model is capable of developing depends on the engine power. Some car models reach speeds up to 110 km/h. The optimal indicator for a car is up to 15 km / h. Also, the speed is determined by the type of engine. For example, a boat with an electric motor can accelerate up to 55 km/h, and on an internal combustion engine – up to 80 km/h.


Radio remote control – occurs most often.

IR remote control – protected from radio interference caused by, for example, high-voltage lines, but does not work well in sunny weather. In addition, the IR remote control requires a line of sight between the transmitter and receiver.

remote control using Bluetooth/ Wi-Fi – in this case, the control panel will always be at hand. This requires a smartphone / tablet with a special control program installed in it.

The control range can vary from 5 to 500 m. The greater the range, the more interesting the game and the more expensive the equipment. The range depends on the conditions in which the equipment is operated:

  • up to 50 m – for models (robots, special equipment) designed for indoor use;
  • 100-300 m – for aircraft, boats, jeeps that are used in the open air;
  • 300-500 m – for aircraft that move not only in the horizontal, but also in the vertical plane.

The more functional the model, the more radio communication channels are needed for control and the more difficult the control process itself. But on the other hand, the operator can perform more maneuvers and tricks.

  • auto – 2-6 channel communication;
  • tank – 4-6 channels;
  • helicopter – 2-9 channels;
  • airplane – 2-5 or more channels;
  • ships – 2-4 channels.


Battery – a device that stores energy, which is then used to power a model with an electric motor.

Important: Pay attention to the capacity of the battery installed in the model. The more powerful it is, the longer the toy will work and move faster.

Batteries come in two types:

  • Ni-Mh (nickel-metal-hybrid) – relatively inexpensive, reliable, has a significant capacity, resistant to temperature extremes. It is also characterized by the absence of a drop in capacity when charging an incompletely discharged element. The disadvantage is that these batteries can only be stored fully discharged for a few days.
  • Li-Pol (lithium polymer) – has a small size and weight in the absence of a drop in capacity when charging an incompletely discharged cell. Disadvantages: high price and sensitivity to low temperatures.

Replaceable elements:

  • AA (“finger-type batteries”) – are most common, are inexpensive and allow you to quickly and easily replace a “dead” battery. The disadvantage is weak power. Therefore, to power even on-board electronics, several batteries are needed.
  • AAA (“little batteries”) – differ from previous batteries only in a smaller size. The disadvantage is even weaker power than AA. Radio-controlled models that run on such batteries are almost never found. AAA is mainly used to power on-board electronics.
  • 6F22 (“Crown”) – has a rectangular shape and two contacts on one of the ends. A more powerful element than AA, but much less common. It can be produced in the form of batteries.

type of drive

The following types of drive are found in car models.

Full (4×4) – thrust from the engine is transmitted to 4 wheels. Advantage – high permeability. Ideal for SUVs and especially stunt cars. Also good for drifting. The disadvantage is the high price associated with the complexity of the design. In addition, a four-wheel drive vehicle consumes more energy (fuel) than a “single-wheel drive” one.

Rear – Traction is transmitted to the rear pair of wheels. Such a drive is simple, reliable, inexpensive and occurs most often. The disadvantage is the tendency to drift. The best option for drift racing, but hardly suitable for off-road driving. Beginners are advised to start mastering models with rear-wheel drive.

Front – Traction is transmitted to the front pair of wheels. This drive ensures high stability of the car while driving, which eliminates skidding and makes it easier to control the model. Disadvantages: high cost and low reliability. Not suitable for drifting. Occurs rarely.

Crawler – Traction is transmitted to the tracks. Found in tanks.


The material of the model depends on its class and type. For example, children’s cars are made from plastic – an inexpensive and lightweight material that can be given any shape and color. However, plastic models are not strong enough when used in difficult riding conditions.

There are plastic car models, supplemented metal details. They are more durable, but also more expensive. The most expensive – professional cars have a full-fledged metal case that is resistant to shock.

Aircraft (planes, helicopters) usually have an internal metal base covered with thin plastic panels. This provides good aerodynamic performance with an optimal combination of strength and weight of the model.

You can find models from carbon – high-strength, very light, but expensive material.


To increase realism, the following effects may occur in radio-controlled models:

  • light – the glow of headlights and flashing lights on a car or the illumination of a gun when a tank is fired;
  • sound – the roar of the engine, the screech of brakes, whistle, siren, car horn;
  • shooting – a cannon shot, machine gun fire, the sound of an explosion when hit by a tank.

Functions and equipment

Moisture protection – prevents moisture from entering the parts and components of the car model. This feature is required for SUVs and other outdoor models. Otherwise, short circuits, corrosion and other unpleasant consequences are possible.

Dirt protection – protects the model from dirt on parts and assemblies. Like the previous one, dirt protection is required for models that are used outdoors.

center differential – found in all-wheel drive cars. This device allows the rear and front wheels to rotate at different speeds. Increases the cross-country ability of the car.

Metal deck chassis – the frame on which the body and the engine are located. High-strength decks are found in models that experience significant loads when riding (short-course). Metal decks are most often aluminum, which combine high strength and low weight.

Gyroscope – found in helicopters and ensures the stability of flight along the vertical axis.

Servo drive – provides communication between the engine and the control system of the wheels, blades, landing gear. It is an intermediary between the machine and the operator. There are analog and digital servos. Digital ones process commands more accurately and quickly, but they are also more expensive.

Video camera – allows the operator to see the world from the point of view of the model. A particularly breathtaking view opens from a bird’s eye view of the aircraft.


  • Before purchasing a model, carefully study its technical characteristics. This applies not only to the speed or control range, but also, for example, the operating time (flight duration) of the toy, the wingspan of aircraft, the diameter of the main propeller of helicopters.
  • The radio-controlled model in terms of power, speed and complexity of control must correspond to the age of the child. Remember that a toy that is too complex and fast can quickly break down and even injure a child, as a young operator simply cannot cope with its control.


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