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.