Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Radioshack James Bond Aston Martin DBS

A few things in life are absolute. Even less are totally agreed upon.
We spend our whole lives arguing over what's beautiful and what's attractive. Debating this curve or that back-side, that color or that crest. We all have different taste, it's a fact,
but i have yet to encounter someone who hasn't gasped in awe at the magnificence of the Aston Martin DBS. The sheer passion that was poured into its design. The incredible craftsmanship it takes to realize that passion. And the tremendous attention to detail in its look from every single angle. No matter what side you're gawking at (and trust me, you will be gawking) the DBS looks achingly, mind-blowingly, unbelievably gorgeous.

That alone, makes it a really tough job for anyone to make an accurate scale model of it, let alone a radio-controllable one. But that hasn't stopped Radioshack from trying.

The Radioshack James Bond Aston Martin DBS

  • Cost : Around $40
  • Body Type : Sports Car
  • Available Frequencies : 27 or 49 mhz, Single Band.
  • Speed : 1100 Feet Per Second (Around 20 km/h)
  • Battery Requirements : Radioshack 9.6V Battery pack for the car, 9V For the Controller (Both not included)
  • Radio Control Type : Dual Stick 7- Function Non-Proportional System
  • Unique Features : None.
Let's dissect this miniature beauty then;


Ah the looks, this is a tricky section. Radioshack have certainly got their job cut out for them on this front.
I'll use the "picture is worth a thousand words" philosophy with this one, take a look :

Just look at that...

No that's not the actual car. That's the Radioshack model. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful?
The looks are spot-on. Having seen and gotten in the real thing i can tell you it's not 100% accurate, but it's extremely close and frankly, i don't think they could have gotten it any better without the price rocketing up into a different market segment.

I kid you not the day i got this car i didn't run it for a second, i just put it in its stand and kept ogling it. This has to be hands down the best looking toy I've ever bought, bar none.

Those wheels, those rims, that incredible grill and those swooping curves, they're the craft of angels. The beautiful eyes, or as you mere mortals would call them; Headlamps, look as dreamy as a junior high student in love. The proportions, the detail and even the coloring are things to behold. I bow to no man when it comes to design, but i tip my cap in respect to both the original designer and whoever it is that scaled this work of art down. It is truly magnificent.


This handsome looking brute is Rear wheel drive. The motor is on the powerful side but not particularly oozing with torque (for an electric motor, that is). Turned over the car sounds like an electric drill running, very fast and powerful. But on the road it fails to deliver that power properly.
The main problem is in the rubber, on the wheels. It's too hard and the tread pattern, although stellar-looking, does little in the way of gripping to the road surface. Any attempt to run the car on anything smoother than unpolished granite resulted in spin-outs and donuts.
The car really suffers from the lack of a digital proportional system. At least if it had one the
lack of grip could've been cured by feeding the throttle in until the tires "clamped on".

You have no other option but to buy the Radioshack 9.6V pack (or any other brand pack with a Tamiya connector) and because of that i don't see the point of it not having the pack included in the box and the price combined, but i guess they wanted to give you the option not to buy the pack in case you had one lying around or were getting it elsewhere.

The only surface i found suitable for this car is smooth tarmac. Parking lot tarmac is just too rough and will really knock it around. This leads to the next point to explain how and why this happens.


The whole rear wheel axle is connected to the motor and both are in a suspended contraption which i can't for the life of me find a name for. What i can tell you though, is that having such a suspension setup isn't very pebble friendly, to say the least. If the car hits anything the whole rear side , including the motor, hops up and since the car is rear-wheel drive, it loses traction and slows down considerably.

The steering angle is a bit too sharp for a non-proportional setup and as a result you need to flick this stick in the direction you need to go, otherwise it'll just spin out. The whole traction issue again come into play here and the result is under-steer over-steer and then anywhere-steer.

The turning angle is sharp though, and although doing donuts looks cool all the time sometimes you just want it to go where you want it to go, and that it doesn't. It gets really frustrating after a while when you just wanna see its top speed, you have to flick forward a bit, then again, then hold it and even then you're not sure it'll stay straight and true.


What do you expect? it's a show model, not an ATV. You so much as bump it into anything and it will have scratches and dents to show for it for sure.
It never helps, either, how unpredictable it is. You think you're going the right way and the next thing you know you're smacking lips with a pole. Check out what a semi top-speed crash into a concrete lip -Yes, A LIP- did to its face:

A moment to weep, please.

Ok now i should note this isn't 100% the car's fault, but given that it handles like a hovercraft on acid, i think it's a 50/50 blame, and i'm being nice.

Overall, driving this car was a total disappointment. I was expecting something as sharp as the real thing, at least that's what the stellar looks lead me to believe. The only reason I'd recommend this car is for its spectacular looks, and even then, there are die-cast models that are just as accurate.

My advice: Avoid.


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Friday, 27 February 2009

The Radioshack Toyota Tundra 1:12

Up first is probably the first 4-wheel drive RC truck i've ever bought. I say probably cuz i don't remember paying attention to the drive train when i was younger. First off, the facts:

Radioshack Toyota Tundra
  • Cost : Around $30
  • Body Type : Monster Truck
  • Available Frequencies : 27 or 49 mhz, 3-Bands Each (A, B, & C)
  • Speed : 570 Feet Per Second (Around 10 km/h)
  • Battery Requirements : 6 AA Batteries or Radioshack 9.6V Battery pack for the car, 9V For the Controller (All not included)
  • Radio Control Type : Dual Stick 7- Function Non-Proportional System
  • Unique Features : 4-WD. Spring Suspension. Headlamps and flood lights. 40 Degrees climbing angle. High/Low gear settings.

Now my impressions:

This truck is weird.

You look at it in the show-room and you think "Mmmm, Shiny!", then look away.
You shop around and then for some reason you wanna look at it again. So you go back and take another look at it.
It's not exactly pretty, it's just well-proportioned. The body size is exactly right. The tires look extremely well fitted to the body. Any bigger and they'd look ridiculous. Any smaller and well, the whole thing would look ridiculous.

Then somehow it grows on you and you just have to have it. And that's what i did.


Now i should state that i used to hate RC monster trucks, i used to loathe their sluggishness and incompetence. Their incredible hunger for battery power and their lack of "character".
To me they always felt like their real-life counter-parts; Slow, Brutish and completely lacking in both style and finesse.
But then monster trucks were never designed to race around circuits, nor outrun other vehicles in standing quarters. They were designed to crush opposition not out maneuver it. Torque-Turn the earth so the quarter mile gets dragged towards them, and scare everyone stiff rather than stun them with their beauty.

This little tike, though, is nothing like its daddy. The moment you pull it outta the box and lay it in front of you it gets under your skin. It looks so innocent. I'd even venture calling it "cute".

The chrome rims look a bit on the cheap side, but well made and sprayed nonetheless. The rest of the chrome-sprayed bits don't look as good. I particularly hate the overhead flood lights mount. It looks sloppy as if the mold it was made in wasn't properly , errr, made.

That said the body color, be it black or crimson looks just right, and the whole things looks "chunky" and sturdy, but we'll get to that later.
Overall for the price, the quality is a bit on the iffy side, but that probably means they spent more on the rest of it.

Or does it?

First of all you need the 9.6V battery pack. The 1600 mAh one cuz this truck retains that old annoying Monster Truck habit. It eats batteries up. So take my advice and get the rechargeable pack.

The truck is four wheel drive, the torquey motor is mounted in the back along with the transmission. This makes the truck butt-heavy (heheh) and it tends to tip over backwards when trying to mount any obstacle more than half its height. Mind you that's pretty much what it's like with any other truck but i found the truck a little too "Hands in the air" happy.

It's not particularly fast, but it doesn't need to be. It's eager enough that it makes up for it. And if you put it in low gear, reverse and then slam it into forward it kicks its front wheels high up and does a 'fake' wheelie. It actually holds the wheels up for a long time (which again shows it's back-heavy), a move which never gets old. Whereas in my bigger Ford F350 this looks menacing and threatening this little thing actually looks really cute doing it because of the truck's relatively small size and chunky proportions. It's always a giggle to have it charge at someone's legs and watch them stare nonchalantly at it. Nobody would look that smug with the mighty Ford gunning for their shins.


The steering on this baby isn't bad at all. MTs (at least toy-grade ones) have always had abysmal turning circles. This one however turns pretty sharp on any surface. On road it feels powerful but doesn't go that quick. Moreover if the road's really smooth the tread will lose a bit of traction and it will move even slower. So this truck's not really for on-roading, sure it can handle it, but the performance on it is a bit disappointing.

Take it off-road, however, and you'll see it spring to life. The car hops around handling crests and bumps very nicely. The suspension, while primitive, does a good job of keeping the truck straight and the steering accurate. I should state that this truck won't jump no matter the run-up. It's too slow and too heavy to lift even slightly. That said it's very lively off-road and feels pretty brisk and able.

Runtimes are between 18-25 minutes with a 1600 mAh 9.6 pack, depending on your driving style (stop and go or straight on) this figure will decrease or increase, as is the case with all battery consumption issues the temperature, driving and charging all affect runtime, but on average this isn't as power hungry as most of its class rivals.


On this front the Tundra scores alot. Not that it's fast enough to crash but i ran it head on into lots of things, including the mighty Ford F350, and it took it like a champ.
I've dropped it from as high as 2 meters and flipped it over running down slopes and nothing but tiny scratches. The front bumper works amazingly well. I don't think you can break this monster even with intent of abuse. Not unless you just WANT to break it, that is.

The Other Stuff

Overall i really loved this truck, especially on the first few weeks i got it. It's got a lot of character and charm, so much that it always puts a smile on your face.

I don't like the fact that all the lights come on when you turn it on. I feel it's a bit too much drain on the batteries.

More speed on it would've been nice too, but might've been over-doing it for the size. Problem is for us big boys, we need more power and more speed, so although this is quite the little charmer, it doesn't have the lasting appeal of the more powerful counterparts such as the Radioshack F150 and the F350.

I'd recommend this for a son or little brother rather than for yourself, although i'm sure you're gonna sneak a few runs with it when he's not looking.


Next up is the achingly beautiful Radioshack Aston Martin DBS. Stay tuned.

Hello !

Hello Everyone !

I am a keen RC car and truck enthusiast. I have bought well over a hundred different RC cars of the toy grade over a 10 year stretch. Now that may not seem like alot (or it may seem like too much!) but being a grade-A student and an amateur writer for a local newspaper i barely have time for my "hobby". Or as my friends call it, my sickness (Hehe).

As you can imagine I've encountered many a disappointment during my years of toy RC collection. The thing i wished for was finding somewhere where i can read tips, reviews and news about this stuff. All i can find was websites that review (and secretly promote) 1000 dollar hobby-grade cars which, frankly, were way above my budget.

This is my way of contributing to the world i love. This is RC Car and Truck reviews for the budget buyer. For those who don't have enough to (or don't want to spend too much on) buy and upgrade and maintain expensive RC cars and just wanna have fun.

So in this blog I'll mainly focus on Toy-Grade RCs (Like Nikkos), Toy-to-Hobby grade RCs (like XMods) And budget low priced hobby-grade RCs (like the Traxxas Rustler & Stampede).

I'll include in-depth reviews and previews, pictures, and even videos where possible. With such often omitted figures like run-times with typical or common batteries, range and weight. Along with possible improvements and variations.

So without further ado. here we go !