When I was a kid the world of remote and radio control toys looked very different than it does today. Back in the early 80s we were limited to two types of radio controlled toys.
The first type of radio control toys were enormously expensive model vehicles: rally cars, monster trucks and the like. These toys would cost the earth, so expensive that our only hope was to pester our parents in the approach to Christmas in the hope that they’d spend hundreds of dollars just for a moment’s peace and quiet. This approach never worked for me, but if memory serves my street was so full of formula one cars and monster trucks come Christmas morning that it must have worked with some parents.
The other type of radio control toys were, as they are today, cheap and crappy wastes of money. Costing just a few dollars, these toys were invariably useless: slow, poorly constructed and so thirsty for battery power that they’d cost many times more than the sale price in batteries – if we didn’t tire of them after a few minutes. These toys were the preserve of the uncles and aunts. They were bought at the last possible moment by relatives who were socially obliged to give something, but didn’t care one bit what that something was (I now find myself in that group, and I sympathise).
Today, though, the landscape has changed dramatically. As battery power improved and technology moved on the world of radio control toys moved with it. Today you can by toys for a small wad of dollars that are the equivalent of those toys that cost hundreds when I was in short pants. Even the least caring uncle and aunt can impulse buy a winner. Here, then, in recognition of the modern toy industry, is a list of the five best radio control toys below $40…
1. Air Swimmer Remote Control Inflatable Flying Shark
Have you ever wondered what would happen if sharks developed the power of flight and rose from the ocean to devour us in our homes? No? I have. Well, you can relive one of my nightmares with this remote control shark blimp. It sounds like a crazy idea, but take a look at the video below and tell me you don’t want one.
2. Kid Galaxy RC Bump n’ Chuck Bumper Cars
If sharks aren’t your thing you could opt for Kid Galaxy’s Bump n’ Chuck Bumper Cars, a head to head set of two RC cars designed to be crashed into each other. My brother has twin boys, so a set of these will be under the tree from me (I mean Santa, of course) come Christmas morning. Half an hour later the living room will be the site of a multi-car pile up after Dad decides these are too much fun to leave to the kids.
3. Cyclaws Remote Control Vehicle
The Cyclaws Remote Control Vehicle is everything I dreamed of when I was a kid – a sleek, fast RC car that can pick up an impressive amount of speed on the straight, and then when the ground gets a little rougher it converts into a tough off road vehicle that can handle any terrain with ease. At the push of a button the wheels transform into high-grip scoops that allow the car to leap up hills. Check out the video. This little thing blows me away.
4. Air Swimmers Remote Control Flying Clownfish
From the folks who brought us the flying shark comes this much cuter, less terrifying version: the adorable clownfish. If your kid might take fright at the sight of a hovering shark, the clownfish (in all its Finding Nemo cuteness) is sure to raise a smile.
5. Maisto RC Rock Crawler
Finally, for off-road enthusiasts you can’t go wrong with the Maisto RC Rock Crawler, a tough little vehicle with articulated suspension, enormous ground clearance, two motors and low gearing, all designed to allow this beast to tackle even the harshest environments. Let’s finish up with a video to see what the Rock Crawler can really do.