Why I Don’t Buy RC Paint from a General Hobbies Shop


Why I Don’t Buy RC Paint from a General Hobbies Shop


By general hobbies shop, I mean the type of store that carries merchandise for a vast range of hobby interests — from candle-making to coin collecting to Pokeman cards to RPGs (role-playing games). Some aisles smell like potpourri. You can buy doll clothes, board games, plastic models, model trains, puzzles, greeting cards, silk flowers, poster board, calligraphy sets, picture frames, and hundreds of other disparate items that all fit loosely into the hobby category. A general hobbies shop covers many leisure pursuits, but it doesn’t actually specialize in any particular ones.

So let’s say you have a brand new, clear Lexan body that you want to finish and mount on your 1/10 scale remote control car. You’re itching to give it a nice custom look in your signature fluorescent colors. Does the general hobbies shop sell paint? Certainly it does. They have tempera, enamel, lacquer, acrylic, and artist’s oil paints, right next to a big display of wood stains and varnishes. Do any of the paints work well on Lexan plastic? That’s less certain. Does anyone working at the store know for sure? Probably not.

And to be clear, this is not meant as a criticism of any general hobbies shop. These stores fulfill many needs perfectly. They’re an anxious gift shopper’s paradise. They offer an exciting breadth of merchandise that introduces people of all ages to new, fun, creative activities that they’ll enjoy for a lifetime. What they lack, at least for the radio control hobbyist, is a depth of RC product, experience, and knowledge.

That’s why I don’t buy RC paint, or any other RC hobby merchandise, from a general hobbies shop. Most of the time they don’t even have what I’m looking for. But I know I’ll find it if I go to my local RC hobby store.

An RC hobbies shop offers a depth of radio control merchandise.

The remote control models you do see in a general hobbies shop are generally targeted toward a different type of customer than those who regularly visit RC hobby stores. The general hobbies shop will have lower-cost, entry-level remote control cars, RC planes, and RC boats, in convenient and beautifully boxed ready-to-run RC combo packages. Beyond that, you’re not likely to find much of a selection in the models or in the accessories available. Expect to spot even fewer (if any) RC model parts on the shelves.

Walk in the door of an RC hobbies shop and the whole world of radio control modeling unfolds before your eyes. Here’s where you’ll see that high-end competition RC buggy that only a die-hard RC racing enthusiast will buy. They also have the latest RC scale jets, the fastest RC deep vees, the most durable RC basher trucks, and RC rock crawling rigs with officially licensed scale bodies that can maneuver up, over, and through just about any terrain. They have everything!

Need a specific size of LiPo battery for your RC vehicle? It’s in stock and waiting for you at your local RC hobbies shop. Looking for a versatile new charger? The RC hobbies shop doesn’t have just a one-size-fits-all RC battery charger. They probably carry most or all Spektrum™ Smart chargers, from inexpensive USB-C units to powerful AC/DC chargers with multiple ports and a long list of advanced charging capabilities. Take your pick.

Spektrum Smart Chargers

The RC hobbies shop has what you need, and what you didn’t know you needed.

Let’s get back to shopping for Lexan car body RC paint. Buying one of the options at the general hobbies shop would likely have been a gamble. But at the RC hobbies shop, you’ll find paints from reputable RC brands that are specifically formulated for RC car bodies, such as Pro-Line® RC Body Paint. You can buy bottles of RC paint in assortment packs or get just the colors you need.

And that’s not all. On display right next to the RC paint, you’re going to find any number of accessories designed to make RC car body painting easier and more successful — including products you probably didn’t even know existed. The RC hobbies shop has masking materials, brushes, body scissors, airbrushes, decals, cleanup supplies, and many other items for finishing RC car bodies just like the pros.

Because the RC hobbies shop specializes in radio control, they have the experience to anticipate needs you haven’t yet discovered. The advice and knowledge available from the RC hobbies shop staff is priceless. Imagine asking the worker who’s busily arranging pottery at the general hobbies shop where you can find the nearest RC car track or RC airplane flying field. Or ask him to explain the difference between a spur and a helical pinion gear. Only an RC hobbies shop that’s dedicated to serving radio control hobby customers has the depth of RC experience, knowledge, and product to give you that kind of helpful service and support.

Pro-Line Paint

Support your local RC hobbies shop!

Here’s something else that’s important to consider. If you don’t buy your radio control hobby products from a local RC hobbies shop, that shop might not be there the next time you need it. All retailers need repeat customers if they’re going to survive. Without the RC hobbies shop, you’ll have no place to get in-person demos of new RC products…nowhere to go for service when your RC model breaks and you can’t fix it…nowhere to get acquainted with other RC modelers in your community and make new RC hobby-loving friends.

So don’t buy your RC paint from a general hobbies shop. Support your local RC hobbies shop. You’ll be glad you did.

Wally Armstrong

Words by Wally Armstrong (Senior Copywriter)

Wally has been writing about the RC hobby since 1987, when he was hired by Hobbico as a Copywriter after completing his master’s degree in English in 1983 and teaching for several years. He managed the Hobbico copywriting team until 2018, when Horizon Hobby purchased the company and brought him on board as a Senior Copywriter. Wally especially enjoys getting a first look at new Horizon RC products from the Product Development teams – and having the privilege of sharing details about their innovations with RC hobby customers.
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