Once you've been caught in the excitement of the RC hobby, many times there is no turning back. Many people start out with RC cars that are ready to race or run out of the box. For the more adventurous, they would rather buy RC car kits that they can assemble themselves. Of course, once you buy a kit, you'll need the tools, a toolbox, and the list goes on and on.
If you've seen an RC hobbyist hard at work on one of his RC car kits, you would note the image of a watchmaker hard at work on his instrument. These hobbyists have these kits down to a science, and if you're raring for the excitement of assembling your own RC, then you've just been bitten by a very infectious bug.
Although there are some RC car kits, mostly for kids, that cost just about $30, the serious enthusiasts should expect to shell out between $100 - $500 or more per kit, not counting initial investment of tools, consumables, and or course, the labor.
The RC car kits can be categorized as follows:
Radio Control (RC) Car Kits - Electric
Most reasonably priced and with the widest variety in this category is the RC kits as Tamiya America, with prices ranging from just below $100 to their top of the line products priced around $600. The products range widely as well, from a Mini Cooper RC Car Kit to Storm Racers.
Similarly priced as Tamiya but not as wide a range of products would be DuraTrax. Mid-priced electric RC kits are Team Associated and C+M/Team Cobra with prices within the $200-$300 range. Also popular are HPI ($400++) and Hot Bodies ($400++).
Radio Control (RC) Car Kits - Nitro
For the nitro-powered kits, the minimum price would be higher - just below $200 for the cheapest ones. More brands compete at this category such as Mugen ($550-$1000), OFNA ($200-$600), and Thunder Tiger ($450-$800).
Of course, the classic RC kit brands such as Tamiya, Team Associated, and HPI all have their Nitro Car Kits; which are the most popular.
Whatever type of RC kit you choose, remember that once you get started, more than the kit itself, it is the time you have to invest in constructing the RC car according to the specifications you want that will warrant the most fun, and the most cost as well.
The idea of constructing your own RC from scratch may seem daunting at first, but as many RC car kit enthusiasts know, there is something very satisfying about constructing something with your own hands - and that is exactly what RC kits are all about.
Also, check out my other guide on Repairing RC and Building RC