Big rigs moving at the touch of a button in red zone

They have all the bells and whistles and when viewed from a low angle, they really do look the part – right down to the lugs and chains and their sound effects, and yet they are only 1/14th the size of the real thing.

But that doesn’t stop scores of keen radio-controlled model trucking enthusiasts from turning out on the fourth Sunday of each month to drive their pride and joy on the RC Haulers club site with their multi-use scale roads in the red zone on the corner of New Brighton Rd and Brooker Ave.

The club has installed on-site 200m of concrete roads, also built to scale, complete with road signs and garages to reverse into or store spare trailers in.

RC Haulers club secretary and co-founder Kris Heslin, of Halswell, who doesn’t drive trucks professionally, said the club has a strong following both nationally and internationally.

“The attraction is to be creative and share a passion for trucks, I can tinker around at home and then come out and have a bit of fun,” he said.

He said a radio controlled model truck might cost over $1000 to outfit.

“But 80 per cent of the fun was in making it, and customising it how you want it to look and then sharing it with everyone,” he said.

Kris Heslin. Photo: John Cosgrove
Kris Heslin. Photo: John Cosgrove
On show were many semi-trailer trucks, light trucks, cranes, a working dirt processor, diggers and excavators.

All were intricately detailed and created from model kit sets or scratch built to replicate the original long haulers and the loads they carry.

There is even a M1 Abrams tank and a police car.

While marveling at their detail, the many spectators on hand couldn’t help but notice the sheer size of these model trucks.

They are big; with some road train outfits well over 1.5m long.

All motor around the scale roads, crossing over a bridge or driving through the tunnel to deliver their loads into garages or one of two scale quarry sites at the venue, all while making the appropriate noises on cue.

They start up, they idle, and then move away, forward under power or reverse complete with hazard lights and beepers.

But unlike the high speeds of radio controlled racing cars and off-road racers, these replica trucks and excavators also move at the correct scale speed – about walking pace.

Members said they must plan their journeys because they do strain under the loads carrying tanks, excavators, other trucks and cars, or even scale houses on their trailers.

Heslin said some of the loads can weight up to 14kg.
“They do get loaded down and you certainly feel the weight, especially when they go up over the bridge and don’t quite make it.

“Trying to make it more realistic is all part of the fun,” he said.

Enthusiast John Sanders built a copy of his own house to be transported by his truck and trailer unit, just because he wanted to make something different.

Heslin said there was no age limit, the club welcomes people to go along and try their hand at driving one of the trucks.

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