Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat, it’s time to buy your kids a present they can use to terrorise the cat. I know that doesn’t quite scan, but anyway. Remote-controlled toys are a staple of the Christmas season, and since it’s now September, you should be planning what automated toy is going to be racing round the living room banging into your ankles come Chrimbo morning.
Of course, RC isn’t just for kids these days. There’s a huge variety of RC stuff out there, from the standard cars and monster trucks through to planes, boats, airships and, er, sharks. So whether you’re planning to race in the back garden or scare the wildlife down your local duckpond, I’ve picked out 10 of the coolest RC gadgets that you can buy right now.
1. Zero Gravity Wall Climber
In the wrong mood, many RC gadgets will drive you up the wall. But how many can drive themselves up the wall, hmm? This one can. It’s a regular Humvee that when you drive it slap bang into a wall, simply drives up it, using its Air Venturi suction system to keep it from dropping off. Once up, you can drive it in any direction along the wall, knocking off pictures, dishes and flying ducks with gay abandon. £79.95 from Firebox.com [link]
2. RC Pirate Ship
Pirates rule. Not any more, obviously, but they ruled back in the day, when men were beardy and carried muskets, and women were equally beardy and carried muskets to blend in. And everyone had scurvy. Something like that, anyway. This is fantastic – a remote-controlled pirate galleon with full rigging, skull’n’crossbone sails and a cannon that actually fires. Well, pretends to fire, which if you’re a duck in its path is just as scary. £39.99 from Iwantoneofthose [link]
3. BB Battle Tanks
With all the hoo-ha over whether kids should be given guns – toy guns, I mean, there’s not really any debate over whether they should be given actual pistols – the evolution of RC tanks has been a bit under the radar. Take these, which come with adjustable cannons, the ability to climb up 30-degree slopes, and fire actual BB bullets. Really, this isn’t something you should buy if you’ve got a budding moggy-slaughterer for a child. You can get NATO, Desert or NCT models. £79.95 from BoysStuff [link]
4. Blimp Bomber
Airships, eh? What are they good for? Apart from getting nice aerial shots of the cricket, I mean. Well, this RC airship is pretty cool. It’s got three-channel micro jet thrusters to guide it around, and you can flick a switch on the remote control to drop bombs. Foam bombs that wouldn’t hurt a fly, but bombs nonetheless. As a bonus, I’m not sure how flammable the Blimp Bomber is, but you must have a fair chance of recreating the Hindenburg disaster in your back garden if you tire of it. £64.95 from Otherland [link]
Because there are plenty of people out there who still believe in aliens. The X-UFO is the most realistic RC flying saucer money can buy (well, unless the money is the CIA’s), with its carbon-fibre frame, stablising gyroscope and four independent rotors. You can make it go forwards, back, up, down, left and right, or have it hover in one place. Better still, it’s got an operating range of 100 metres, so you can hide behind a bush while buzzing the local cops / thugs / pensioners’ bowls club with impunity. £99.95 from Firebox [link]
6. Stealth Speed Boat
Well, as stealthy as anything can be while travelling through the water at 30 km/hour powered by two racing motors. Why they didn’t include a cloaking device, I don’t know. Anyway, the boat has a range of 30 metres, and goes for half an hour before requiring a recharge (i.e. get it back to the side of the pond / lake by 29 minutes, or get set for some wading). It’s safe too, as its propellors automatically cut off when you take it out of the water. £39.95 from BoysStuff [link]
7. RC Focke-Wulf 190 Plane
World War II buffs will appreciate the styling of this plane, based on the Luftwaffe’s "most potent piston-engine fighter" (it says here). It’s realistic in every detail, and has a whopping range of 2,500 feet. It’s also good whether you’re an RC novice or experienced flyboy, as there are two modes of operation. Mode A is for newbies, restricting your movements and so making it easier to control, while Mode B is for experienced users, letting you do loops, victory rolls, and plunge it into tree trunks when you get carried away with showing off. £129 from Iwantoneofthose [link]
8. Mini Radio Control Forklift
There’s nothing more manly than taking control of a forklift truck and tossing heavy boxes around. That said, there’s very few things less manly than taking control of a small remote-controlled forklift truck and tossing plastic crates around. Still, that doesn’t stop this gadget being marvellous. It’s got three forward speeds (but only one reverse), full RC control over the forks, and little lights that wink on and off. And besides the crate, you get two pallets to hump around, and some road cones to
flatten nimbly drive around. £34.95 from BoysStuff [link]
9. Shark Attack!
Sharks rule. Even more so than pirates. And RC sharks rule even more, especially when they come (as this one does) with a tail that actually controls how it swims. You angle the tail to the left, right and centre, as well as a mini-prop on its head to help it dive. All that’s missing is a button that makes it open its slavering jaws and bear down on the nearest coot. That would be perfect. It’s got rubber skin, and ten minutes of charging gives you five minutes of terror in the local swimming pool. Not that I’m suggesting that. £14.99 from Iwantoneofthose [link]
10. HPI Savage Quad RTR
Some might say this list focuses more on the gadgety end of the RC world, rather than the proper vehicles or kits. This is true. But as a nod in their direction, how about this monster ATV based on a real model from Kawasaki, except a fifth of the size, with a crash test dummy instead of a human sitting on it. The rider is actually tied to the ATV, so it moves around (and crumples) like a real rider when you’re controlling it. £343.99 from Ben Racing [link]