Tyco's RC Terrain Twister
by Mr. Stinkhead
Mattel recently gave us the hook up on some toys to try out for the holidays. My favorite by far is the Tyco RC Terrain Twister. You may have seen this in stores, or commercials for it on TV... but seeing this puppy in action is amazing. I'm not a big Radio Control toy guy, but I'm hooked on this beauty. My eyes have been opened... opened by two large power drills. But don't worry, they're rubber coated. [Ed note: do not put the Terrain Twister in your eyes] The Terrain Twister will be joining me on many, many outings.
The first thing you'll notice about this all terrain vehicle is the lack of wheels. Instead of tires, it has two "power drill" type cylinders on either side. The toy itself is about a foot long, and the remote control is very easy to get a hang of. It effortlessly performs on gravel, pavement, carpet, grass, leaves, wet sand, standing water, dirt and snow.
The controller is simple yet all you need. The left thumbstick allows you to control the direction you want the vehicle to go in, the right switch lets you pivot the twin drills (either to point to the front or the back) that make some cool moves when the vehicle is moving. We had success at 50 yards (guesstimate) distance from the controller, but it was getting out of sight, so we kept moving closer.
The first ground I tried it out on was wet leaves. The vehicle did well, but the looseness of the leaves left it more at the will of the ground. I could get it to twist and turn pretty well, but some branches on the ground were a little too much. Actually I had fun with the random aspect of the control on this surface. It was vaguely like Plinko or whatever on Price is Right. It was cool seeing which way it would go, and what aspects I did have control of. And in the end, I didn't have to spay or neuter my pet. [Ed note: Ever done that to a hermit crab?]
We took it to the shore last weekend. It had rained all day Friday, so when we went down to the beach the next morning, the sun had been out for a few hours, but the sand was still moist and clumpy. Out of all the types of terrain we tried out, this was perfect. It gripped perfectly to the wet sand, and would leave some pretty sweet looking tracks. The fun part was twisting the directions and such to make cool paths. This was the only terrain tested where the car would go forward / back, and left / right, exactly as I wanted it to. It got some great speed too (as you can see in the first video). I do not recommend dry sand. There was a patch of dry sand where the drills just spun and it simply kicked up dust.
The Terrain Twister did pretty well on the large pebbles, it would go forward when I wanted it to, and turned when I wanted it to. It wasn't nearly as fast as the wet sand though. You can see it travel over gravel and then go straight onto the brick driveway in the second video. This was rare; for the most part, we didn't come across two types of surfaces that were even, a lot of times you may have to pick it up and stick it on something if there is too much an incline.
The oddest thing was on the pavement... it would move great side to side, meaning it would strafe, really stinkin' fast to the left or right. But if you tried to go forward or back it would spin in place. The directions for the toy recommend not using pavement because of the danger of cars, but we tested in a vacant lot. The cool thing is you could get some trick moves and speed on pavement you couldn't get on the other terrains, but it's not my favorite.
The sweetest thing about this RC is that you can pick it up off the ground and drop it in some standing water (not salt water) and it will do some amazing tricks. It'll go forward and backwards in a pretty much straight line, but if you hold the joystick to left or right, it'll spin in place. It drained pretty well and worked great on dry land as soon as we pulled it out of the water. You can see it's moves in the third video. It leaves some pretty sweet wake.
Tricks and Maneuvers
The cool thing is that with different terrain, different tricks are possible, we had a great time figuring out what it could do on each type of surface, and we were running around looking for new types of ground. It's pretty cool what you can figure out with the pivoting cylinders.
I hit up the beach with a group of 24-35 year olds, and we were all anxiously waiting for the battery to recharge and to get turns on the remote. We took it around, and everywhere we went, people would stop what they're doing and check it out, a few people tried to get the remote out of my grubby hands even for "just five minutes, I promise" not a chance.
I didn't see any faults with the toy at all. It takes a little patience when the battery is charging, but the Tyco TMH Flexpak pretty much allows 4 hours of play for 4 hours of charge. The only downside is that you have to buy this battery for the toy to work, and in most cases, it costs $30. The Terrain Twister itself is $50, which I feel is a worthy price, but unless you already have a Flexpak for a previous toy, that's a requisite $30 to tack on there. If you're the outdoorsy type, or have multiple types of terrain in your immediate vicinity, I recommend checking it out, but I probably don't have to tell you $80 is a little steep if you don't get out at all. This is a great toy for $60.
Mr. Stinkhead Tries to Help You Out
I'm trying here... I keep updating this section with new deals when I find em. This update is from 01.11.06. Right now at Target you can get the Flexpak for $20. And a lot of places there's an additional 30% off on clearance items. Hurry, supplies are limited to whatever they got left.
I'm very pleased with this one. This has kind of opened my eyes to the fun of RC toys, but the uniqueness is what really drew me in. Being able to try out new terrains all with one vehicle was just as exciting as driving it around. I've also not found anyone that was "too old" to enjoy it. We're working on the price, but this puppy is pretty sweet. I don't even have to tell you the kids go crazy over it.
I will update these with lower prices as soon as I find em. If you have seen either of these components for cheaper, let us know.
You will need a 9V battery for the remote control. Any brand will do.
Video Clips MPG files, you may want to right click and 'save as'
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