so I ended up buying like 800 IR LEDs
After many unsuccessful attempt of trying to build a model wheeled platform myself, I figured it is probably a lot cheaper to buy a toy one, use the driving/turning mechanisms and re-do the electronics myself...
Ripleys and World Record Books
I got a dog.
Goodwill and other thrift stores are a great source for wall wart power moduals and +5vdc regulated cell phone charges, usually $1-2. Also old VCRs are a great source for electronic parts and are cheap sometimes.