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Unbelievable RC

Nikko Wave Buster

August 2008

Street Price: $39.99 US
Manufacturer: Nikko
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8+
Our recommended age range: 6-8
Primary use: Pools
Radio: 49mhz
Includes:

  • Assembled craft
  • Transmitter
  • Instructions
  • 9.6V battery
  • Battery charger
  • 9V transmitter battery
Requires:
  • Nothing!

Initial Impressions

On the surface, I really like the look of this boat. It's sleek and a little futuristic. It uses a "catamaran" or "channel" design which means the hull is split into two separate parallel sections underneath, with an empty space straight down the middle to trap air and help raise the boat out of the water for more speed!

Preparation

As usual, Nikko was kind enough to include everything you need to run the boat, right in the box. This means a rechargable 9.6V battery pack for the boat and a wall charger to power it up, plus the 9V battery the controller needs. Easy enough! The battery compartment on the boat is closed by two easy-to-use latches (no screwdriver required) and sealed with a watertight rubber ring.

  

Testing

I was actually quite excited when I first put the Wave Buster in the water and saw it floating, slightly raised in the front, ready to lunge forward! Then I made it go, and it accelerated a little. Only a little. Top speed is depressingly slow. The motor is so weak and the power so low that even turning takes longer than expected. I was completely let down! See for yourself in the video.

Video

(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)

Conclusion

Depressing! I really enjoyed the last two Nikko boats I tested, but this one is so slow that I really couldn't enjoy it in any way. I still give it a generous C- grade, but with very specific conditions. First, the fact that the boat comes with the batteries & charger makes it a pretty decent deal for a complete package. Secondly, I only recommend it for younger kids running the boat in a fairly small pool, because for them the slow speed will make it more controllable and less likely to cause any damage. For true RC Maniacs, though, this is not a good buy.

C-

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