RC Malarkey

Toys that should never have been made!

At RC Mania I'm constantly searching for the very best toy-class RCs on the market. Unfortunately for me, sometimes I find the worst instead. Fortunately for you, I've gathered these noteworthy failures all into one place for easy reference!

  Vehicle Reviewed Grade
rc New Bright RC Pro WolfThe Wolf is just another version of the Scorpion with different tires and a different body. It shares the same awe-inspiring potential, and delivers the same frustrating performance. Dec. '12 F+
rc New Bright RC Pro ScorpionEfficient, lightweight construction. Full suspension. Antenna-free auto-pairing quad-band radio technology. High energy density lithium ion battery techology. Super-quick charging. All of the makings of true RC greatness were assembled into this one vehicle. Somehow, for some reason, they completely and utterly screwed it up. Sep. '12 F+
rc New Bright Pro Dirt RatJust when I thought I had seen the last of the Interceptor/Velocity, here it is again. Technically this isn't the exact same vehicle, as it has a cool new body & roll cage and shorter wheelbase, but it's just as much of an overall failure as its miserable predecessors. When are they going to kill this thing? Feb. '12 F
rc Fast Lane Cross BowThe ways in which my experience with this RC sucked were quite new to me. Never before have I had a controller nearly catch fire due to shoddy assembly. Never before have I needed to take an RC back for an exchange not once, but twice before finally getting one that would actually operate. Adding final insult to injury, the third time was still anything but a charm. Sep. '11 F+
rc New Bright Pro Dirt VelocityHistory has repeated itself. Look familiar? If it doesn't, look at the picture right below this one. Not only is this a re-release of an abominably poor-performing product, but they actually managed to make it worse. Gone are the batteries & charger this time. You have to supply your own. Yet, they only knocked five bucks off the price. I can't believe this has actually happened. Oct. '11 F--
rc New Bright Interceptor buggyTalk about a bait and switch scam. The New Bright Interceptor looks greatto me from the outside and I was very excited to try it out. When I turned it on and tried it out, it was so slow and unexciting that I wanted to stomp on it, kick it, walk up to it, stomp on it again, break it in two, then burn it. Quite possibly the worst $45 I've ever spent. That a company could think it's in any way acceptable to sell such a terrible product for such a high price disgusts me. Mar. '11 F-
rc MXS RC Stunt BikeIt's one thing to release a product on the market that does not perform well. It's another to lie in marketing or on the packaging. The MXS RC Stunt Bike fails to live up to four basic claims it makes right on the box. That's called false advertising, and it is absolutely unacceptable! Jan. '11 D-
air hogs Air Hogs A-10A WarthogI wanted to like this plane. I really did. In fact, I liked it quite a lot until the first time I flew it. Some buyers of the Air Hogs A-10 have had good luck with it out of the box. Many have had the same experience as I did -- one of countless frustrating sub-10 second flights. It can be modified to fly better, but no buyer should be expected to fix something they paid for, before ever even using it. Buyer beware. Stick to the Jet Sets. Nov. '10 F
rc MaxTech MAXX'd Out RC Mustang I already said some scathing things about this car in the review itself, but it deserves more. Tragically performing products like this are the reason toy-class RCs often get a bad rap. The manufacturer is shooting not only itself, but the whole RC industry in the foot with rubbish like this. Any kid who receives this as a gift will be disappointed and disenchanted. Driving it in public will draw scorn and shame. It's simply inexcusable and needs to be stopped. Consumers, do not buy this car! Send RC makers a message! Nov. '10 F
rc Air Hogs TRON Legacy RC Light Cycle With the Tron: Legacy movie on its way and all sorts of related merchandise hitting the market, many fans anxiously awaited this first-ever RC version of a Light Cycle, capable of driving on the ground, on walls, and even on the ceiling! Amazing! NOT! Getting constantly stuck when driven on any surface less smooth than a flat plate of glass, this vehicle is one of Spin Master's very few truly epic failures. Oct. '10 F
rc Fast Lane AJ-058 buggy Don't tell me they've done it again?!?! Yes, it's yet another small-scale racing buggy from Fast Lane RC that's slower than the movement of the tectonic plates, and has less power than the tuft of a single dandilion seed. Fast Lane, the next time you release a vehicle that performs this poorly, I'm not going to be so forgiving in my review.
Sep. '10 F
air hogs Air Hogs Hawk Eye What is something with the lofty grade of "C" doing on this list? I had to give the Hawk Eye a passing grade because technically, it does everything it advertises. It flies. It takes pictures. It takes video. What troubles me is, it does everything in mediocre fashion, and it costs a lot, to boot. Come on, either do things well, or don't do them at all. Sep. 2010 C
rc New Bright ecomobile Solar Car This car was a truly great idea. It was astonishingly light in weight to maximize efficiency, and the solar panel offered the promise of an RC car that never needed a battery change. Just put it on the window sill in the morning, and when you get home from school, it's all charged up. RC battery chargers usually take 4 to 8 hours anyhow, so it's not like you're losing any time this way. Free power for all! It was a win-win. In concept. In reality, it gave a fraction of the advertised runtime on a given charge, and its top speed was less than that of a large ant. Oct. '09 D+
air hogs micro hovercraft Air Hogs Micro Hovercraft Cool! A hovercraft! A tiny one! It's from Spin Master, too, and you know they make a lot of good stuff. Well, this wasn't good stuff. It won't drive straight, it's hard to control, it requires a very smooth and flat surface to run on, and it doesn't go for very long on a charge. Adding insult to injury, though it floats on air, it can't go over water like real hovercraft can. An all-around let-down. May '09 C-
boat Fast Lane Sea Shadow Awesome-looking submarine for kids, isn't it? Too bad it takes a patient adult to set it up right, and once it's perfectly tuned, it's difficult to control and yet boringly slow. Oct. '08 D+
rc Air Hogs Skywinder Worst. Air Hogs. Ever. Heavy. Dangerous. Falls out of the sky if you try to do anything but go perfectly straight. Keeps the propellers spinning when you crash until you turn off the radio (?!). Requires about 5 lbs. of alkaline batteries to charge & run. Thankfully, it was pulled from the market, because it was discovered that the charger could fry the plane's batteries to a nice corrosive crisp. Oct. 2007 F
New Bright Jeep Wrangler Rubicon I got the feeling this vehicle was demonstrated to some management-type people in a ritzy board room with an enormous, exhorbitantly expensive table with a mirror-shine surface that was devoid of so much as a single speck of dust. Somebody from R&D drove it around and the management-type folks said "Sell it!" Unfortunately for them, they sold it to me, and I tried driving it on normal, real-world surfaces, like the ones actual, real-world kids would drive it on. The rest was disgraceful history. Sept. '07 F
rc Air Hogs Aerosoar micro rc plane Sometimes manufacturers try a little too hard to advance the state of the art for a particular type of product. The Aerosoar was an attempt to make the smallest, lightest mass-produced RC plane possible. Unfortunately, it came out so fragile that looking at it wrong could cause irreparable damage. Worse yet, it barely even flew, and then the battery would die. Sept. 2007 F
NKOK Nintendo Mario Kart (basic) When I bought this, I completely understood that it was one of those old school low-tech vehicles that would only go forward and turn (one preset direction) in reverse. Even for something that lame in fundamental concept, this was just plain terrible. I couldn't find any surface where it I could perform more than 50% of its (whopping two) functions correctly. Sept. '07 F
rc Tyco Shell Shocker From the heyday of Tyco's experiments with creating RC things that defied convention and explanation, came this... thing. You first paid $70 for it, then paid another $30 for a non-standard single battery & charger. You charged it up, tested it out in your room, and promptly broke several table & chair legs while inciting screams of "TAKE that THING... OUTside!" Outside, you struggled to figure out what to do with this thing, and why you wanted it in the first place. Oct. '06 D
Tyco Hot Wheels Fury FTX This was the very first RC tested at RC Mania, and it remains to this day one of the very worst. Great concept, promising design, good set of features, and absolutely abysmal performance. This was one of those hot off-road racing vehicles that did not want to be driven anywhere but the finest, smoothest, freshest, cleanest blacktop. Anywhere else and it was utterly uncontrollable. Misery, in remote controlled form. June '06 F