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Solo1
2014.11.15, 06:20 PM
Like the title says i'm looking for a little history lesson on the miniz. I dont understand why they keep changing things but stay pretty much the same.Also dont get why these havent caught on more than they seem to have, i find it a lot of fun almost as much as 1/10th but i can do it in my living room! I would think many more 1/10th racers would use this for practice?

arch2b
2014.11.15, 07:54 PM
long and short of it is, kyosho doesn't really market them, outside maybe a dozen RC magazine reviews, product replacements over the last 15 years. they imported the kyosho mini-z cup for a very short time and for whatever reason, pulled the plug.
Kyosho has stated that mini-z isn't their priority and our market is even lower on the food chain. the main focus, and justifiably so, has and will remain their home market and the larger scales. they give us the occasional wag but really, kyosho usa just gets what they decide to send over and usa isn't really integrated into what is going on at the home office. think of mini-z as a boutique brand.

in the early days kyosho distributed through great planes and great planes routinely undercut all the hobby shops they distributed to making the relationship contentious to say the least. many hobby shops then refused to carry kyosho mini-z, and maybe carried the large scale stuff. many hobby shops that did carry mini-z and were fortunate enough to have a track (that was brutal on bodies) had rules that prevented customers from racing with parts bought outside the shop. this was the dawn of the end of mail order or catalog ordering and the beginning of e-commerce. hobby shops then stuck to their guns and tried as hard as they could to avoid the eventual transition to an e-commerce environment as a compliment to brick and mortar. for whatever reason, it is an industry that was very slow to see and take advantage of the change. there were exceptions to the rule but for the most part, they despised and were often very rude to customers that bought online, talked online pricing, etc.

the xmod actually did more for mini-z than anything kyosho has ever done. it was an inferior product but they advertised the hell out of it, made it cheap and got it into everyone's hands. this naturally led to exploration of what else could be done and was out there that led people to mini-z. it was the hay day of customizing and it was a glorious time indeed. i remember doing some extensive modding back then myself.

it's been a long roller coaster since i got into reading and owning mini-z circa 1999-2001. people were decrying the end of mini-z as far back as 2004 and 10 years later we are still here, more to our own credit than anything else. if there were not a demand, kyosho would have let it die ages ago. but it's still here, still changing and still available, albeit in far fewer places post 2008. :rolleyes: thanks to change in economics, many shops simply can't support the overhead to stock lot of inventory so they buy only as much as they can quickly sell. gone are the days of shops that had shelves full of inventory, with some exception like rckenon.

sure, 1/10 drivers would be surprised out how well they would do with mini-z and how it can actually assist but what remains true in 199 remains true in 2014, these guys just see the size and think it's a toy. it doesn't matter what you say, show or demonstrate, it's an attitude that simple prevails and remains dominate in the US rc market that big rules and small are toys. others and myself have been preaching otherwise for over a decade but it is what it is. for the entry cost and size, it's seen as an expensive toy. :(

byebye
2014.11.16, 01:26 PM
Well said...
Kris

HammerZ
2014.11.16, 03:12 PM
Amen. even on the box it reads "this is not a toy".

NoBrainer
2014.11.17, 03:49 AM
The same goes for Norway or other contries.
We see that 1:12 pan car, 1:10 touring and other scales drivers get an actual benefit of driving these small scale cars. They get a lot of exercises, but you can't convince that many to try this. Since it's a "toy".

And most of us drives 1:10 on tarmac in the summer, but when it get's cold. We go inside and have a blast with Mini-Z.

JesseT
2014.11.17, 04:13 PM
I'm relatively new to the Mini-z scene with around 3 years under my belt now. I did some 20 years of 1/10 and 1/12 racing with different factory sponsorships developing the cars, but bored in the end. The scene was too serious, and the cars too easy to drive at their max pace. It became the norm to drive the full 5/8 minutes at the cars full speed potential without a single mistake. If you didn't have the pace, then you didn't have the pace. Only the 6-cell 1/12 cars back in the days were such that you always had enough power and still could go for a faster motor, but you didn't want to. That was fun, and even!

No with the Mini-z, and VE modified especially, there is the same situation. You always have enough power, so that it doens't matter if the other guy has a newer motor, or better fets or whatever. The car is always faster than you are, and you need to select and drive at a suitable strategic risk level for the race situation. That is fun and challenging. It's only about the driver and the car preparation skills, not really money. You can't buy the car fast in any case. Most unnecessary aluminum and graphite hopups just make the car more bling, but worse anyhow.

Then the last and best thing about Mini-z. It has always been my opinion, that any form of RC is only as good as the track you have easy access to. In Mini-z, you often have race tracks with over 30 apexis, and that is often with around 3-4/second. This clearly makes it the fastest RC sport out there as far as pace is considered. Most large 1/10th touring tracks in the end have only 5-6 corners in total, and it quite fast becomes boring and not very challenging.

TheSteve
2014.11.17, 04:19 PM
Well said Jesse! As a former 10th scale racer I agree. I also made the biggest improvements in my driving skills with 18th scale and then MiniZ. You can really put in the hours at a much lower cost then 10th scale etc.

abasualdo
2014.11.17, 04:48 PM
No with the Mini-z, and VE modified especially, there is the same situation. You always have enough power, so that it doens't matter if the other guy has a newer motor, or better fets or whatever. The car is always faster than you are, and you need to select and drive at a suitable strategic risk level for the race situation.

Couldn't agree more, sometimes stock racing just turns into a motor/battery race, not driver skill.:)

herman
2014.11.19, 05:00 AM
first off welcome to the forums... :D

hmm... i've been around since the first mini-z came out and been on these forums since 2001... lots of good points discussed... let me try to give my view

basically from you post...

"why these haven't caught on more than they seem to have... "

hmm by "these", i presume you are pertaining to kyosho's mini-z's...

i guess it depends on some factors like...

- where you live
- local support
- kyosho support
- market perception / acceptance
- economy

there may be more factors that i missed out on, but lets go over these factors one by one...

where you live...
some places have an actually big mini-z following... again it depends on the area...
i have been quite fortunate to travel to places over the world, and i try (time permitting) to see how the local mini-z scene is over there...

support...
like if we were to talk about japan (the birthplace of mini-z)... it has a big following usually backed up by local support in terms of hobby shops (i.e akihabara in tokyo) racers, and tracks, not to mention heavy kyosho support.

market perception / acceptance...
well this is a bit complicated as there are other factors to consider when pushing a product... factors like how much attention and resources are being pushed towards the promoting the product through marketing... locally (within the area), and through kyosho (as a whole) as well...

i believe the japanese market is quite big when it comes to market perception / acceptance, as they take these small things quite seriously (as experienced during my trip there, once upon a time, long ago)... i believe that kyosho does a good job in promoting mini-z and regularly has a mini-z cup that is run and supported nationwide... good marketing to me... and because of this, market perception and acceptance is also quite big...

economy...
as it is, this whole mini-z thing is still a hobby (when the economy is doing good and people have some disposable income, they usually engage in some sort of activity or hobby)...

so when the economy is good, the hobby generally should be doing good as well... and when the economy is bad... any spending on hobbies and unnecessary things, activities or items, is the first to stop...

tying it all in...
if and when all of these factors are quite favorable, (i may have missed out on some other factors like pricing), generally extra curricular activities and hobbies (in this case - mini-z) should be doing good and well in a particular area...

now lets take a look at the other places i've visited that seemingly have a good and healthy mini-z scene (well to me at least)...

hong kong
location - space anywhere in hong kong comes at a premium... so running a track at a fraction of the cost of lets say a 1/10th scale does seem lucrative... if i'm not mistaken, there are currently 3 mini-z tracks in hong kong, and they all have quite a following...

there are also some other factors in your favor, local support - there are a number of hobby shops along kwong wah st (but unfortunately they have been slowly disappearing over time due to rising rental rates, and space as i previously mentioned in hong kong comes at a premium) as well as kyosho support and the local economy...

of all the places that market mini-z's, i believe prices in hong kong tend to be one of the more affordable... and in this r/c market, i believe the mini-z's provide the most bang for your buck vs. any other scale...

singapore
while in singapore, a couple of years back, i visited a track and got to meet one of the owners named fred, and a couple of singapore's top drivers - dave (currently sponsored by PN racing) & alvin, just when they got their first shipment of kyosho's mr03ve...

since then, they moved to a bigger location and just last week, mini-z sg ultimate indoor racing hosted the 2014 PNWC (PN World Cup) 10th anniversary race which was participated in by 10 countries, 60 racers, 3 classes... PN Racing (owned by Philip Ng) provides third party parts for kyosho's mini-z... so i guess you can say that they also have a healthy hobby scene over there as well...

however, one cannot help but notice that due to the cost of living based on their economy, things tend to be a bit more pricey over there...

malaysia, indonesia, & thailand
although i've been to these countries, i haven't had the chance to visit any hobby shops/tracks while i was there, except probably in kuala lumpur, where i got to see a kyosho hobby shop which was.... unfortunately closed...

upon reading some articles, i believe that these countries also have quite a following... with indonesia, and thailand hosting big races this year sponsored by atomic (another third party mini-z parts provider) a couple of months back...

based on some articles that i've read, i also believe that mini-z is also doing well in europe...


so going back to your question....
"why these haven't caught on more than they seem to have... "

my guess is the lack of kyosho mini-z support in the US, and market perception / acceptance...

arch2b gave you the long and short of it in his post pertaining to kyosho's support in the US...

there was once a time when there was a kyosho rep who was quite active posting on the forums... anybody remember tim? he was quite helpful back in those days...

another thing is the market perception / acceptance... without any kyosho support, you're left with local support within your area... i.e. hobby shops (online or otherwise) and local tracks in your area that run mini-z's

i got to drop by kenon racing in CA and got the chance to meet grant matsushima and mr pn himself... a great bunch of guys that promote mini-z in the area through his shop and track... although local support is huge in that area, support from kyosho would most definitely bring it to a different level...

in terms of market perception and acceptance... if the r/c market just perceives the mini-z as just a toy... that's just the way it'll be... add to that, the mentality of bigger is better... and pricing... you'll probably hear "what? $$$ for that small thing? i'd rather go 1/10th"...

as mentioned most of the factors mentioned above play a small part in this hobby's success... the irony for me is... there are no favorable factors present in my country... no support locally (very little hobby shops around, and none really carrying kyosho mini-z) and much less from kyosho (i usually get my stuff online... or when i get the chance to visit hong kong)... not even a track.... although i've seen a handful set up a shop / track, sadly they eventually had to close down....

in the end, for me it is still just a hobby... and given my situation... you can just call me crazy for keeping this as my hobby for so long... but i guess it is how much you love the hobby, the places that you've been to (however near, however far - unfortunately for me though it has been more often than not, very far), and the people that you meet along the way that will keep you holding on...

oh not to mention the pretty cool stuff kyosho comes out with from time to time... (case in point - mclaren c12 gt3... now how cool is that?) i also heard that kyosho is coming out with something next year... that's all i was told... lol

hope this helps... :D

class dismissed

herman
2014.11.19, 05:06 AM
I would think many more 1/10th racers would use this for practice?

actually when the mini-z died down over here, some guys shifted to 1/10... and instantly they were great drivers and won various races...

herman
2014.11.19, 05:10 AM
Couldn't agree more, sometimes stock racing just turns into a motor/battery race, not driver skill.:)

hmm... unless i understand stock racing differently...

on the contrary... doesn't stock racing regulate motors/batteries? i believe the essence of stock racing is that everybody runs a car that is stock or pretty close to stock, such that nobody has a distinct advantage over anybody.... and since the cars are pretty much equal (stock), driver's skill plays a big part in the race...

i've read that racers who participated in "box stock" mini-z races had the greatest racing experience... i believe it's a great format for everybody, that emphasizes driver skill over anything else within a pretty reasonable budget...

abasualdo
2014.11.19, 09:44 AM
Herman, I agree with you, in theory away. :)

But, box stock, is not blinged out stock class racing.

If people are buying motors by the dozen, just to pick out the fastest one, whats the point?

I think all clubs should have a box stock class, I think it's the best way to bring in new racers.

Hey I am waiting for Kyosho to release eco brushless LM readsets.
That would be a great box stock/spec class.

JesseT
2014.11.19, 09:51 AM
hmm... unless i understand stock racing differently...

on the contrary... doesn't stock racing regulate motors/batteries? i believe the essence of stock racing is that everybody runs a car that is stock or pretty close to stock, such that nobody has a distinct advantage over anybody.... and since the cars are pretty much equal (stock), driver's skill plays a big part in the race...

i've read that racers who participated in "box stock" mini-z races had the greatest racing experience... i believe it's a great format for everybody, that emphasizes driver skill over anything else within a pretty reasonable budget...

The less power you have, more important it is. On a 70T motor, if you're motor is 10% slower than your opponents, you're in trouble. With a 9500kv VE car (or practically any modified motor), if you are 10% short of power, you couldn't care less. You just press the trigger a little deeper.

mleemor60
2014.11.19, 03:38 PM
Absolutely nothing quite like "more power" to make up for less skill. Having more power is essential for practicing the art of cracking bodies and breaking nose clips not to mention the lost art of screaming "marshal, marshal" while he tries to recover your car from under someone's pit table. Yes. No doubt about it. More power is the answer to everything. Including the dwindling number of participants at most venues.

cam
2014.11.19, 05:19 PM
Absolutely nothing quite like "more power" to make up for less skill. Having more power is essential for practicing the art of cracking bodies and breaking nose clips not to mention the lost art of screaming "marshal, marshal" while he tries to recover your car from under someone's pit table. Yes. No doubt about it. More power is the answer to everything. Including the dwindling number of participants at most venues.

I so agree with this, you cannot buy skill. More power without experience just means more hassles.

Solo1
2014.11.21, 10:53 AM
Absolutely nothing quite like "more power" to make up for less skill. Having more power is essential for practicing the art of cracking bodies and breaking nose clips not to mention the lost art of screaming "marshal, marshal" while he tries to recover your car from under someone's pit table. Yes. No doubt about it. More power is the answer to everything. Including the dwindling number of participants at most venues.
LOL i find this very funny as most of the people that i have met locally in 1/10th that are new to the hobby cant understand why they cant win with a 6.5 turn motor! I've also been reading about many people on the forum pushing for stock class racing and from personal experience find this to be very valid, new people have a much better chance of doing well and learning more with stock class racing of any scale! The 1 thing i don't understand is why in mini z stock you would not be allowd to change front springs as i think this forces more tire buying.
So far i'm having a blast with my track,timing system, and chasing the lowest possible laptimes in my living room! I'm up to 3 cars now a 458 s an mro2 mclaren and a porsche 962

arch2b
2014.11.21, 11:32 AM
lets be careful not wander to far off topic, you can have a LENGTHY conversation on what 'stock' is :p in 15 years, there has not been a single universal standard for 'stock' class racing and there likely never will be so it's not really fruitful to wander into that tall grass as each club determines whats really best and easiest to manage and implement for themselves. if the desire is to contribute to that topic specifically, there are ample threads on the subject ;)

herman
2014.11.21, 11:21 PM
Well, I guess I'd have to agree that there are no standard international 'stock' race rules... Mostly, I believe that it's up to the track owner / organizers to come up with the basic rules, in the hope of promoting the 'stock' class in such a way that everybody will be equipped with cars that are running on a more or less equal platform.

Then from there you can have some other variants of the 'stock' class
i.e.
- fully box stock class: self explanatory with probably allowing tire changes as the only option for modification
- modified stock or regulated stock class: a bit confusing if not explained well - for me this would allow some option parts allowed (again depending on organizers which could be as simple as bearings, cf t plate, tires)
- pro stock: bring in the bling... anything goes as long as the motor is stock

To avoid disparity in motors, hand out motors could be done (obviously would entail additional cost)... Other rules can be done... In the end it'll be up to the organizer/s...

Apologies for wandering off topic...

Solo1
2014.11.22, 09:30 AM
didn't mean to steer the conversation off track but i think a mention of classes and learning curves is part of the history,also think its good to realize the diversity of people involved and their ideas. Would like to thank all for your thoughts and help as i just got into the hobby last spring and now wish i would have known about miniz at the beginning as i probably would have saved a lot of money and had just as much fun! Was wondering if anyone has some inside info on where kyosho intends to go from here?

arch2b
2014.11.22, 10:11 AM
If you don't see news posted here, keep a routine check of the various mini-z blogs and news feed sites. Most news will leak or release in Japan anyway.

herman
2014.11.22, 10:05 PM
I usually go to Hong Kong once a year... and if I have time, visit the hobby shops and tracks while I'm there... I learned about RCPHK last year and got to drop by... I learned that Ishikawa Hiroshi (one of kyosho's big wigs) often drops by their track before going to kyosho's factory in china... I try to get some scoops on what's happening from the RCPHK guys, but they are pretty tight lipped about any info regarding kyosho mini-z, just got word that something is coming out next year... and that was it... Lol...

if you got time you can read up on some of my posts re: r/c heaven through the years (http://mini-zracer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29702&highlight=R%2Fc+heaven+years)...

Here's some more 'history'... Excerpt from this thread ---> click me (http://mini-zracer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=33478&highlight=Suzuki+interview)

Interview of Aki Suzuki, chairman of Kyosho, Auto RCM February 2004

At the last toy fair in Nurenberg (feb 2004) Aki Suzuki, chairman of Kyosho, gave us an long interview concerning the future of the Mini-z. We could feel how much he likes the Mini-z and how he sincerly appreciated people enjoying the Mini-z like he does.

ARCM: Hi, Aki, thank you for inviting us. First we would like to know your feelings about the success of the Mini-z. Do you feel some proudness?
AS: Yes, why not? The concept was different in the beginning but the success being there...

ARCM: Some numbers?
AS: 500 000 units produced (2004) and a worldwide hit in Asia, Europe and the United States.

ARCM: Talking about success, what about the F1, they don't seem to spread that much?
AS: I would not say that. In Asia, the F1 has a certain success, probably more than in Europe, that is right. But the choice in touring cars is wide and the volumes are important. In F1, the choice of models is limited and that can give the impression that this category is less pleasant. Model by model, the F1 have had the same success than the others in fact, globally.
However, I think we committed some errors with the F1. The price, at first, is too high to begin with compared to the touring cars, while the performances do no justify this difference in price. We should have made the F1 more exclusive and faster. It was possible, but then they would have been more fragile.

ARCM: In the 80's Kyosho tried 1/18 and 1/20 scale RC. Today, it seems that your competitors use these scales for their models, rather bigger than a Mini-z. What do you thinks about these scales now?
AS: The 1/18 and 1/20 Kyosho models from these times had some frank success. The problem was that they were too small for outside and to big for inside use. 1/20 was by then the smallest scale technically feasible. The technology did not allow designing models the size of a Mini-z and even today the Mini-z is very hard to achieve with these kind of performances. All the technologies exist, but the real difficulty is to join them together by choosing the correct compromises. It has been 5 years (2004) that the Mini-z is in existance and it has not been copied with success that much, despite certain attempts. The 1/18 cars spreading out today (2004, Micro RS4) can not be considered competitors to the Mini-z. In fact, the "size" is paramount. Some may ask why the Mini-z is not 1/24. The concept was to be able to use the model on a dining table. So, what is important is the steering radius. The actual scale has no importance (note: the scale of the Mini-z is an average between models: 1/27.52).
A 1/24 would have need much more space to evolve. The Mini-z is a scale by itself. Toy makers have developed their own universes in the past, and so we would like to etablish a "Mini-z size world", separated from any other scale, not using etablished norms.

ARCM: This implies that the Mini-z is at its beginning. What about that exactly?
AS: The Mini-z are 5 years old (2004). We already have plans for the next 10 years. The Mini-z will have in their range buggies, all wheel drive, and much more like Mini-Mini-z's, or front wheel drive, why not. The Mini-z are at their beginning but have many days in front of them.

ARCM: Among all evolutions, apart from the chassis aspect, are there other projects like competition, etc...?
AS: The cars call for the race. It is natural that the Mini-z races are spreading now. When you have Ferraris, Porsches, or Corvettes in hands of car lovers, it is rather logical that it will concretize in racing. Races are a part of the Mini-z and we attach much importance in them.

ARCM: Shall we expect a Kyosho Mini-z Cup?
AS: Why not? This will depend of the interest of the customers. In Japan, we organize 6 races/year and a finale, just like in France in fact.

ARCM: OK the Mini-z calls for the competition, but don't you fear that some enthusiast pilots would make it too sharp?
AS: You are mentionning experienced competitors able to sort the batteries or tune the motors... This is indeed a concern.
The race must remain a pleasure. If it becomes too difficult (I mean sorting batteries from a wide amount) or dangerous (overloading the batteries) to win a race, then our industry must react to preserve the spirit. In Japan, disposable batteries are mandatory during the finales. The cars are a little slower but accessible to a wide number of pilots and only the best drivers win.

ARCM: You were speaking about Porsche, Ferrari and other prestigious names. How does the cooperation with these brands happen?
AS: The cooperation with the car makers is not only mandatory, but also necessary. The car makers must protect themselves. We must protect our innovations and the makers their rights. We must negotiate copyright agreements. We only negotiate non-exclusive agreements because exclusivity tend to reduce the interest for a certain model in the scale model market. In addition, the licences guarantees the quality of reproduction.

ARCM: Regading licences, you announced models coming from the movie culture, like "Fast and Furious", and in Japan models from "Back to the Future", "Knight Rider", will we have these models in France?
AS: "Fast an Furious" without a problem. However, other models can not be exported to Europe today. The agreements only carry the Japan market. However, we are working on the development of this kind of fun models, and we hope the french collectors will be able to obtain them in the future.

ARCM: To conclude, what would you say to our readers and all the Mini-z fans?
AS: Like I previously stated, the Mini-z has at least 10 years of development in front of them. I already collected many ideas of wished models, more than 200 as of today. My wish is to be able to make them all, with no exception, one by one. So, if your readers may send me their ideas, I will add them to my long list.

ARCM: Thank you Aki, see you at the Kyosho Masters in June.
AS: Thank you all.