Hobbies can come in all shapes and sizes. One hobby turning heads of children and adults is radio controlled (RC) vehicles depicting battle tanks in a small yet functional scale.
A recent event drew over 20 Brunei Radio-Control Tank Regiment (BRTR) members who own hundreds of scaled tanks of different sizes.
The RC tanks boast sheer dedication to authenticity and are based on actual sized tanks with the sound of an engine roar, machine gun and cannon fire.
BRTR members regularly meet up to conduct mock battles using infrared sensors and convoy runs. RC operators and their scaled tanks traverse in tight formation similar to those seen in actual military service.
I met the group as it participated in one of the many events in the Belait District and attended one of their regular gatherings.
With the scenic backdrop of the Seria Energy Recreational Park and its iconic ‘I LOVE SERIA’ signage, the BRTR group set up its impromptu gathering displaying a myriad of impressive scaled models ranging from houses and trees to a drawbridge as props for what was to come.
Group member and gathering organiser Muhammad Syaiful Faizal bin Angas said the BRTR was formed in 2012.
“While we had been quiet for a few years, Alhamdulillah together with the members, we restarted activities and gatherings to draw more public attention to promote RC vehicles,” he said. “BRTR came about as we saw our friends playing with remote controlled tanks. That sparked interest which resulted in getting into the hobby.”
This gradual adoption of the hobby spurred many of the members to pick up other skills in electrical, creative and customising work.
“This is not just for play. We also pursue it to sharpen our minds as we express our creativity,” he added. “There’s more to it than picking up the remote. It is necessary to know how to modify, service, and maintain the RC vehicles to ensure peak performance.”
He said the tanks are resilient as they can take on challenges similar to their real-life counterparts. “We do rent them sometimes to children, which can result in crashes, but Alhamdulillah, most of them can be repaired as spare parts can be specially ordered.”
Muhammad Syaiful Faizal said, “The public feedback is encouraging, primarily from children, as even from a young age, we glorify these tanks.”
Muhammad Syaiful Faizal said it is all about the passion other than taking the first step in acquiring RC tanks to broaden its audience.
He hoped the BRTR and other RC vehicle groups can work together to develop the community as it is closely related to current technology.
“These technologies are not only related to entertainment and recreation, but they can also inspire creativity and innovation,” he added.