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Several RC magazines around the world have asked us to write a monthly column. With the kind permission we will re-publish the column at our web site too so all of the XRAY fans can read the latest news and behind the scenes information. Enjoy.

Column #1 - Behind the Scene Stories

Column #2 - Worlds Flashback

Column #3 - T2'007 Debut

Column #4 - Designing the T2'007

Column #5 - Worldcup Review and NT1 Testing

Column #6 - Developing and Designing the NT1

Column #7 - Developing and Designing the NT1 - Part 2

Column #8 - Back to the Races

Column #9 - XT8 Truggy Development

Column #10 - Touring Car Development

Column #11 - Bling-bling Mentality

Column #12 - Hot Summer Washout

Column #13 - New Electric Touring Car

Column #14 - Off-road Development

Column #15 - My micro love

Column #16 - Back in the Dirt

Column #17 - Worlds Preparations

Column #18 - 808 Tests & Stress

Column #19 - Excited for the Worlds?

Column #20 - Statistics, Expenses Sheets, Production Analysis, Calculations…

Column #21 + Column #22 - Euros + Euros + Worlds

Column #23 - The Busiest Season Ever

Column #24 - In Between the Worlds

Column #25 + Column #26 - Well Developed or Overdeveloped?

Column #27 - Back to The Future

Column #28 - 2009 Kick-off

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February is typically a month loaded with plenty of races and events. In previous years we used to travel to the USA for the world’s largest electric touring car race (the USA Snowbirds Nationals) and the famous nitro touring car race (the Winternats) with both races taking place in Florida. These races are around the world’s largest exhibition – the well known Nurnberg show – and it was always a difficult task to fit in everything around those dates. But this year was slightly different for me.

First of all we got some important new races on schedule… the very first indoor championship (January/February transition) followed immediately by the Nurnberg show. As I could not be at all the events at the same time we had a tough decision to make. After long discussions we decided that this year the USA races would be done solely by the US team which has for several years been doing exceptionally well; I had full confidence that they could showcase perfectly on their own. On the flip side of this decision, we decided to focus our efforts on the Indoor European Championship and other events in Europe. The US team once again did a great job at the US Snowbirds by taking home the wins for the sixth year in a row, making XRAY the most successful touring car platform on the planet!

I have already brought my view of the European Indoor Championship in a previous column. We left Italy with two very important titles: the very first European Junior Champion title in the 1/10 electric touring, and the second trophy belonged to the same XRAY driver Elliott Harper who was crowned as the European Junior Champion 1/12 pan cars. Two European Champion titles at the beginning of the year was a great start to the season.

Coming home from Italy I met quickly with our internal team who was preparing the latest details and last minute arrangements for the Nurnberg show. The all-new X10 project – the 1/10 pan car GT – was just being finished and the first prototype was put together for the show. The X10 became part of the extensive lineup for 2009 which included new kits of the most successful XRAY model representatives – XB808, NT1, and XT8. With the recently-released 2009 version of the T2 and the all new XII, the whole XRAY line was completely updated and refreshed, ready to bring the very latest developments to XRAY fans for the 2009. I was very happy and proud for both the racing and R&D teams for the excessive work they did over the last few months, working on the new cars to once again raise the bar a bit higher. During the last few months we worked not only on the new cars but also on new HUDY tools, set-up equipment and accessories to update the HUDY product line as well so the 2009 Nurnberg show was going to be extremely big for us this year.

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First parts for RC cars
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I was very much looking forward to the Nurnberg show and to personally present and showcase the new cars and products to the public, distributors, dealers, and press. As we were about to leave I fell ill with a very strange fever which broke me down completely and put me to bed on doctor’s orders. So for the first time since I can remember, XRAY would be attending the Nurnberg show and I was going to miss it. I called our internal team who was already in Germany at the show building preparing the booth and exhibition, telling them the bad news that I had to skip the event.

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Special aluminum tools
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Doing nothing (while healing) makes me go crazy, but there was nothing I could do but stay home and heal. While in bed I really missed the buzz and excitement of the Nurnberg show, and thinking about it took my mind back to the past. I tried to remember when I first visited the show… it was really a very long time ago… and the first years we did not exhibit as in those times we made everything in “amateur conditions.” It was early 90’s and we just started to make our own products officially and OEM produced for other well-known RC car companies. I remember the first shows when I did not know any English, just the German language a little bit. I took my son Mario who was at that time a high school student to be a translator for me. We packed a large bag with samples of our products and we walked around the show visiting all the RC car manufacturers and offering them our OEM services and products. It was really interesting to see the surprised faces and hear their questions: “Who is Hudy?,“ “How does this tire truer work?,” “Are you crazy? Special aluminum tools for RC car racers? This will never sell… people will never buy them.” “Set-up what? Why anybody would want to use some special set-up equipment for their cars?” These were some of the typical questions and comments we got when meeting the RC car companies.

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First universal comm lathe for stock & modified motors
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We did this for the first few years, walked around the major RC car manufacturers and offering them OEM production and our products and all we got were those kinds of comments. At that time no RC car car company… and I mean all the major companies you may know… was interested in looking at what they thought was “nonsensical” or “non-sellable” strange items like aluminum specialty tools, machines for automatically truing tires, or some weird equipment for measuring toe-in, camber & caster. Typical customers at that time had no ideas about those sorts of things. So it was really difficult time when we walked around and tried to explain and offer our products for which there was no interest, because they were something that nobody had seen before and had no idea what they were for.

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Tire truer with manual operation
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As such we made a radical decision, that if nobody was interested in products we would produce for them, I decided to produce them ourselves under my own name and sell it to interested distributors. We started to produce and commercially sell our HUDY products via a distribution network. The first set-up systems and purpose-designed tools and accessories were all new and unknown to RC car racers, but very quickly the products built a reputation and became standard products to be used for model cars. After a few years when all the products gained popularity, suddenly these products showed up everywhere in the pits of the vast majority of RC car racer. Then the companies who initially laughed at and rejected our tools and accessories a few years ago were suddenly interested in those products. By that time we were already producing our own products under the HUDY name (and then a short time later we founded the brand new XRAY company who is focused on designing and producing model cars) so by that time we did not have the time or capacity to make things for anybody else.

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Fully automatic tire truer
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I remember the statements like it was yesterday: “Are your crazy? Special aluminum tools for RC car racers?” Well, maybe I was crazy for deciding to go my own way and risk producing equipment and tools which were previously unknown/unseen and which the majority of racers had no idea what they were. However, I was a racer and designer at the same time so I knew those products would be successful because they make life easier for an RC car racer. Now I know I was right and had the right vision. Over the last years we saw almost every single RC car company come out with their “own” aluminum special tools, some of which look very similar to my own tool designs released a few decades prior. There might be maybe even 100 or more different aluminum RC car tools on the market nowadays; every day when some new brand shows up with some new aluminum tools it brings a smile to my face and reminds me of the times when everyone was questioning my sanity by designing marketing some “strange looking” aluminum tools. Anytime I see some “new” set-up systems and accessories or some similar-looking tire truers it makes me wonder where are all those forum fanatics with their “This is copy of…” fights. Anyway, these are all the silly things, and for me it just confirms and prove that my visions and beliefs and strategies so long ago were the right ones. To say the least it gives me great satisfaction and pride.

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First set-up system and accessories
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To be sick and do nothing is a real pain for me, but this time I had time to clear my mind and go back in history a bit to remember the very early days… the days when we faced completely different challenges and tasks than we do today. At those times my main challenge was to convince customers that a set-up system was something that every serious racer needed to adjust his/her car properly, and explaining to everyone what “this” or “that” adjustment meant and how it worked on the car. I had to explain to everyone how lightweight aluminum tools are specially designed to fit here or there on an RC car, how the long carburetor screwdriver works, how the glowplug multi-tool works, how to adjust the automatic tire truer, etc. Those were the years a few decades ago with different people, different market, and different problems. I really wished I could have been at the Nurnberg show this year rather than laying in bed healing.

After a few days when I could work a bit again I had to jump back to reality, take the January analysis sheets with production statements and results, check production schedules for the upcoming months, check the status of all the new projects, confirm the new drawings which would go into production, analyze the machines’ load for the coming weeks, check on the cash flow, confirm all invoices were paid, etc. Back to work, back to reality.

Ahhh… the daily work of an RC car designer.

See you around the tracks. Enjoy the ride and ‘til next time.

Dipl. Eng. Juraj Hudy
XRAY Chief Designer

Italian translation at Hobbymedia.it