So, you're interested in 1/12 scale, but what do you need? OK to start with a bit of history, 1/12 scale is one of the original classes of RC Car Racing and used to be just as big as 1/10 scale saloons are today. So why 1/12? Well they;
- Are just as quick , if not quicker than any other electric class
- Cost very little to run, you don't need the absolute top equipment
- Races last 8 minutes so more run time
- Teach you how to drive smoothly which will be of benefit in other classes of racing
- Are totally different to racing scale saloons, and some would say much more fun!
To try and help we've compiled a shopping list of items that you need to get started and explode some of the myths behind 1/12 scale. The bad news is that not every model shop stocks 1/12 items so kits and spares are not readily available off the shelf. However the popular makes are imported by the main UK model car distributors CML and Helgar so parts should be easily available to order.
The good news is that 1/12 cars do not date quickly so you can be confident that the car you purchase today will be just as competitive in 2 years time. This also means that buying 2nd hand is a safe bet providing the car has been reasonably well looked after.
Car Chassis - 4 main choices available in the UK, Corally, Associated, Trinity and Calandra Carpet Knife. All 4 types are very competitive and will cost between £130 to £200. This may seem a little expensive compared to the cost of a scale saloon but what you are buying is a fully spec'd top of the range racer.However FTX do a budget version for approx. £100. There are no other budget racer in 1/12 scale, unless you include Mardave V12 which will always struggle to compete, although are fun for racing against other similar cars.
Wheels & Tyres - These are soft foam tyres rather than the moulded type found on scale saloons. There are many different compounds available but we'd recommend any of the following; TRC Grey compound rears and Purple compound fronts (these can be quite expensive but used by most of the top drivers), Corally Gold compound rears and Silver compound fronts or UFRA Pink Medium compound fronts and Pink Medium compound rears.
The tyres can come pre-mounted onto the wheels (make sure the wheels are compatible with your car / axle's) or un-mounted (known as donuts). Donuts will need to be glued onto the wheel of your choice using Evo-Stick and then excess removed to make sure they are perfectly round. This can be done using a drill or using a proper tyre truer (one exists within the club). Tyres will need to be treated with `additive' before each race to soften them and obtain much more grip. At MKRCCC we recommend TC-2 (Jack the Gripper), although any BRCA approved additive can be used.
Bodyshell - Bodyshells are based on the GT type cars that run at Le-Mans. The most popular types are the Bentley Speed 8 and Zytec, both manufactured by Protoform.
Radio Equipment and Speed Controller - Your normal radio equipment will be fine but for obvious reasons, the smaller it is the better. However this is not crucial and provided you can fit it on the chassis then fine. Most people choose a smaller servo and these typically cost between £20 (HiTec) and £45 Futaba. Use the same speed controller as you would in your scale saloon but, as previously, the smaller it is the better.
Batteries - 1/12 caters for cars 4 cells running a 19 Turn or modified motor. You will need 3 x battery packs of at least 3300 capacity. To hold the batteries in the car, most makes will require some form of tape to be used. You will need a good glass-fibre type to get the necessary strength and Staples (the Office Superstore) sell very reasonably priced rolls.
Motor- As mentioned above, motor classes are 19 Turn and modified (any wind). At MK 19 Turn is the most popular and is recommended.
Everything else used for 1/12 scale is the same as any other class of racing.