Street Price: $49.99 US
Manufacturer: Tyco / Mattel
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8+
Our recommended age range: 6-10
Primary use: Indoor or outdoors
Top speed: ~10mph
Radio: 27mhz (49mhz also available)
- Assembled vehicle
- 2x AA batteries for the controller
- Either 6x AA batteries for the vehicle, or
a 9.6V rechargable pack
Tyco is always the most daring RC manufacturer, coming up with some of the most original and bizarre designs for practically unexplainable vehicles year after year. I've had mixed experiences with these oddities. The Terrainiac and Terrain Twister both getting high marks, but the Shell Shocker completely flopped and the full-size N.S.E.C.T. was a noisy, overweight clunker. The Stunt Psycho looks pretty wild & wacky at first glance, but then you realize that it's fundamentally a four-wheeled car-like thing, which should make it harder for things to go wrong! The wheels, or tires, or whatever they are, are webbed and pretty flexible, and the yellow-colored toenail-looking things are made of rubber and should act like tire treads for extra grip.
Preparing to Drive
Ok, batteries are not included, but at first glance when you open up the battery hatch on the vehicle, it looks like it only takes 6 AA batteries. If you don't have rechargable AA's, I think that could get expensive. However, Tyco got really smart here and allows you to remove the AA battery holder and plug in a standard 9.6V rechargable Ni-Cad or NiMH battery pack! I really appreciate that flexibility. For this test, I went the simpler route and popped in some fresh AA's.
Off we go! The Stunt Psycho is not very on AA batteries, but it is fun, and unique to drive. It uses "tank steering," meaning you control both left wheels together, and both right wheels together, one side per lever on the controller. If you make both go forward, you go straight. If you make just the right ones go forward, but leave the left alone, it will go forward and turn left gradually. What's particularly cool is that you can make one side go forward and the other side go backwards, which makes the Stunt Psycho spin fast in a very small circle. You can quickly switch your spins clockwise to counterclockwise without risking any damage or stress to the motors because they're geared to have a lot of torque. If you drive straight backward, and then quickly go forward, the weight will shift back and the whole vehicle will do a big wheelie and stand on its back wheels, with the soft wing-like protrusions on top providing stability. While it's up on 2 wheels like this you can still steer and do even more impressive spins.
It's also possible to flip the Stunt Psycho all the way upside-down, and it can still drive, though not as well. Little lobes or "cams" on the rear axles push against the "wings," and with a little back & forth motion you can flip it right side up. The instruction say that if you use the Turbo button on the controller, it's easier to flip it back like this. Speaking of the Turbo button, yeah, there is one. Unfortunately with AA batteries the difference between normal and Turbo speed is completely unnoticeable. It's supposed to be a much bigger difference when you use a rechargable 9.6V pack.
The whees/tires on the Stunt Psycho are flexible enough that you can drive right into a solid object and absolutely no damage will be done to either the car or the thing you hit -- it's like you have a big bumper or shock absorbers protecting all sides of the vehicle. That same flexibility, combined with the relatively large diameter and the high-torque motors & gearing, lets the vehicle get over pretty rough terrain with ease.
Bear in mind that this video was shot with AA batteries installed. The Stunt Psycho is supposed to be at least 30% faster and more powerful with a rechargable pack.
(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)
This is a weird toy, but it works as advertised, if not better, and I'm happy with it. The only negative is that no batteries are included, which makes it a little less of a value than some other RCs out there of the same price, but if you get (or already have) a 9.6V pack you'll be in great shape. The Stunt Psycho is kind of loud and also pretty agile, so it might not be the very best thing to run in a small room, especially with hardwood floors. However, the flexible wheels/tires (whatever they are!) are a real plus for driving in medium to large sized indoor spaces because they are less likely to put little dents on furniture, doors & baseboards than typical hard plastic bumpers. Outside it where it has plenty of room to breath, it really shines. Score one for Tyco!