Hot Wheels RC Stealth Rides - Batman "Batmobile" (Tumbler)
Street Price: $24.99 US
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8
Our recommended age range: 6-12
Primary use: Indoor
Top speed: n/a
- Assembled vehicle
- 3 spare batteries
- Just a driver!
Here it is, the final vehicle in the 2010 series release of the Hot Wheels RC Stealth Rides. This one is the famous Tumbler from the Batman vehicles, but the package just calls it the "Batmobile." I've previously tested the Stealth Rides racing car and the Stealth Rides Power Tread tank, so be sure to check out those two reviews for a starting point. By comparison to those two, the Batman Tumbler version looks awesome. That's not to say the others looked bad, but this thing is great. It's an officially licensed model and it has really great detail for its size, including some hand-painted trim. The front wheels have hubs only on the outsides just like the real thing. Best of all, since this is a Stealth Rides car, that means the whole thing will fold up semi-flat and slides right into the compact controller. The controller, in turn, is about the size of a large touch-screen mobile phone, so it's pretty convenient to carry around. The controller is also a unique unit made specifically for the Batman car, with a different color scheme and design to set it apart from the others. The only downside of the whole design is that because everything is so small, they had to use really small "LR44" (also called "AG13") batteries. These are the most common type of truly miniature batteries, but they are still nowhere near as popular or easy to find as good old AAA's and AA's. As a consolation, a full set of batteries is included, pre-installed in the car and controller, plus, a free second set of 3 batteries is included for the vehicle.
Alright, enough about the looks & design -- it's time to put this car to the test and see how it performs.
The Hot Wheels Stealth Rides Batman Tumbler (okay, Batmobile) drives just like the Racing Car version. The controls are somewhat like on a tank or a skid-steer tractor, where the front wheels don't actually turn on an axis to steer -- instead, the motors powering either side of the car just spin at different speeds to make one side slower than the other, causing the vehicle to turn. It's very easy to get used to, and pretty precise and responsive. Because it's such a small vehicle, you have to drive it on hard, fairly flat surfaces, but that's to be expected. Basically anywhere you could roll around a diecast car, this will go with ease.
The Stealth Rides Batmobile not a speed demon, but nor are the other versions. This of course got me thinking, is the Tumbler the exact same speed as Racing Car, or would one of them be a clear winner in a contest? Fortunately every Hot Wheels Stealth Rides vehicle has two selectable control channels, so you can always race any two different vehicles against each other (even the same vehicle in the same color). I still had my Racing Car version, so I lined the two vehicles up for a long drag race. The results at the other end of the room? The Tumbler won! In repeated tests, the Batman car was consistently faster than the regular car! Why is this? Is this one more aerodynamic? Did they put a turbo booster in it? Stronger motors? No, no, and no. The answer is simply that the rear, powered wheels & tires on the Tumbler, are larger. This results in a slightly faster effective overall gear ratio, so the Tumbler is always going to be faster on equal batteries.
(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)
The Hot Wheels RC Stealth Rides Batmobile (Tumbler) is one cool car. I'm still impressed by the unique and innovative design of the entire Stealth Rides series, where the center of the vehicle actually collapses and the sides fold out, to fit into that compact & convenient controller. The look of the Tumbler was awesome in the Batman movie, and it's well captured with the Hot Wheels RC version. The fact that the Tumbler is faster than the regular cars in the series is a real surprise, and adds a load of "cool points" to this one for sure.
The two marks against the Hot Wheels RC Stealth Rides Batmobile are the use of the tiny batteries that are a less common than most, and the fact that the specific one I happened to pick up had a slightly stronger motor on one side than the other. This is a minor defect that I have no reason to believe is common to all of the Tumbler versions, and at the speed the vehicle travels, it wasn't too serious of a problem. All in all, this Tumbler is a great-looking toy that's ultra-portable and gives you some pretty good bang for your buck.