Halo Scorpion RC
Street Price: $24.99 US
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8
Our recommended age range: 6+
Primary use: Indoor
Top speed: n/a
Radio: Infrared, 3-band
- Assembled tank
- 6x AA batteries for the tank
- 1x 9V battery for the controller
In conjunction with the much-anticipated release of the Halo: Reach game, an officially licensed remote controlled version of the venerable UNSC Scorpion tank has been deployed as well! I already reviewed the Warthog and the Hornet, but I think this one got me the most excited. It's very inexpensive, so I didn't expect it to be a great-quality toy, but the pleasant surprises began as soon as I actually read what was on the box. This thing has an infrared battle system built in! You can run up to 3 of them at the same time with friends, and actually aim and "shoot" eachother! Four direct hits will actually cause a tank to be immobilized, so there's no cheating!
Opening the package up, I was treated to another revelation. The controller has not only buttons for independent forward/back control of the left & right treads, plus a fire button, but it also has what gamers would call "bumper" buttons, which are used to turn the turret remotely. Already, before even running the Scorpion, I felt like I had gotten a good deal. Now, underneath, it is a little cheap in that it only has treads in the front pods, and free-spinning plastic wheels under the rear ones. However, at least it does have real working treads (which I did not expect), and the whole thing looks pretty good from every angle except turned upside-down.
Powered by 6 AA batteries (not included), the RC Halo Scorpion actually moves pretty fast for a tank. It's pretty agile and responsive, too, but the turret moves slowly and smoothly, which is pretty realistic. Now, right out of the box, the tank would not drive perfectly straight forward, and though there is a way to correct this, the instruction sheet didn't explain it well at all. Instead of a trim dial on the vehicle or a knob or pair of buttons on the controller, there's an unusual three-position switch on the controller. You start with the switch in the middle position. Let's say when you push both control buttons forward at the same time, the tank actually turns to the left a little. Move the switch to the left position, and start driving the tank forward. It will start out still turning left, but it will slowly straighten itself out. As soon as it's going straight, immediately move the trim switch back to the center position. Unfortunately because this is a digital setting, it is only stored for as long as the controller is on. The next time you run, you have to trim it again.
That may have been a lot of writing about directional trimming, but thankfully it only takes a few seconds in practice, and then you're ready to go until the batteries run out. The use of real tank-style treads allows the RC Halo Scorpion to go over some bumps & small obstacles, and it can actually drive over low carpet (though you should be careful not to let too much hair & carpet fuzz get stuck in the treads & wheels). It has enough power and traction, too, that if you put up some makeshift obstacles, it can often knock them down or move them out of the way.
In multi-tank battles, you really don't need perfect aim to hit your target, and the remotely moveable turret makes it easy to line up a shot. For the most exciting and challenging battles, it's best to play in room to room combat, or in an area that has a lot of corridors and large things to drive around, so most of the battle is about chasing and hiding. In an open area, it can be easy to score the fatal four hits and reset the round.
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Fun! That's all I really need to say. This remote-controlled Halo Scorpion tank is great, clean fun, and plenty of it. You get a lot for your money. For an officially-licensed product, I'd expect an RC in the $25 range to look good, but it performs really well too. I expected the turret to either not turn, or have to be turned by but , but it's remote controlled. I expected the whole thing to be driven by hidden wheels, but it's triven by treads (though only 2, not 4). I expected it to just drive around, but it has a battle system that keeps score. As there are two colors available, I expected each color to have one control band, but there are three available bands built into every tank -- you could run 3 of the same color at the same time. Having to reset the driving trim with each use is a hassle, but with all of the good stuff there is to say about this RC, I think a few seconds of preparation before each use is very, very easy to excuse. I'm very happy with this purchase.