Nikko Aqua Dodger
Street Price: $74.99 US
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8+
Our recommended age range: 8-13
Primary use: Pools & ponds
- Assembled craft
- Display stand
- 9.6V battery
- Battery charger
- 9V transmitter battery
Go Nikko! Another complete set with everything you need to run, right in the box. Batteries included! The Aqua Dodger looks interesting, too. It's sort of a cross between a marine animal and a racing boat. It should look especially great in a big pool. It even comes with a display stand set, though it's not as sturdy as it looks and took some balancing to get it to stay there.
The box promises that the Aqua Dodger can dive underwater. At the back of the boat, you can see a black-colored flap connected to a servo motor. This will be used to make the back of the boat go up at speed, thus making the front go down, and it should be able to slice under the surface of the water, if it has enough power.
Again, Nikko includes a rechargable 9.6V battery pack for the boat plus a wall charger. It takes 4 to 8 hours for the first charge, and about 4 hours for each charge after that. On the first charge, just check the battery every half-hour or so if you can. If it gets warm to the touch, it's fully charged. I also highly recommend reviewing the instructions that come with the Aqua Dodger to help explain the controls and how the diving action should work.
The fastest speed boats are usually long and narrow, allowing them to slice through the water like a big knife. Since the Aqua Dodger is relatively short and wide, I expected it to be a little on the slow side. I was wrong! It seemed just as fast as the Wind Chaser, and much more agile, able to turn in a very small circle. It really acts lively and responsive. The bright color and distinctive shape makes it easier to see & control at a distance if you run it in an open space like I did.
Now for the diving. It's best to get up to full speed going in a straight line, then you hit the dive button on the controller to activate the rear flap. Instantly, it noses down and goes right under! It doesn't stay under too long, as it's not meant to be a full-on submarine, but when it comes back up it jumps forward a little bit. If you keep the throttle on, it merely slows under water, then comes right back up to full speed very quickly once it re-emerges.
For advanced drivers, try starting a turn just before diving, and keep both the turn and the forward motion going while it's underwater. When it dives and slows down, it suddenly is able to turn much faster than at speed, and you can almost make it turn around 180 degrees while submerged!
(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)
I honestly wasn't sure what to expect from the Nikko Aqua Dodger, but by the time I was done testing it, I sure was happy. It's quick, sleek, agile, and has a couple tricks up its sleeves. Since it comes with batteries and even a charger, there's really nothing more I could ask for! It's great for the price as just a boat, but the diving action really takes the cake. It's a little on the pricey end of the spectrum, but you definitely get what you pay for. I call it a winner!