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Gillette, Losi team up for new radio-control truck and accessory venture

By Hal Miller
Published: March 23, 2011

A former Horizon Hobby executive is coming back to the surface radio-control business, and he’s bringing some well-known names with him.

Mike Gillette, former Horizon president and CEO, has formed the Firelands Group along with R/C notables Gil Losi Jr. and former Team Associated engineer Jason Corl to produce surface R/C vehicles and parts.

The company has inked a deal to provide proprietary radio control products to HobbyTown USA stores. Firelands’ first project is a 1:18 short-course truck due out in May under the Helion brand name. Other trucks are also planned for the line.

The company will also have its Radient line for HobbyTown USA, consisting of parts and accessories for general surface R/C including motors, batteries and performance components. Gillette describes the line as “products with features that are a little bit future-looking.”

The second part of the Firelands venture is hop-up parts for cars and trucks under the Anza brand name. These will be available to all hobby stores and have been developed by Losi and Corl. Gillette says they are aimed at the mid-priced market, primarily geared toward high-end bashers.

Some of the first Anza parts appeared at the Cactus Classic in Scottsdale, Ariz., March 18-20, but Gillette says a broader selection will be rolled out over the next nine months. When asked if the company is developing a vehicle of its own, he said, “They take longer to develop, but it’s likely that down the road we will.”

The big question: What makes these vehicles and parts special and why do dealers need them in their stores? “They have a value proposition that’s significantly better than what they [dealers] are seeing right now,” Gillette says.

“We're excited and pleased to partner with the Firelands Group to develop highest quality proprietary product for HobbyTown USA franchise owners,” said HobbyTown USA President Bob Wilke. “Mike and Gil have an excellent track record of creating both economic value and terrific product, so we’re anticipating great success.”