|Servo:||1 Hobbico micro rudder servo|
|Transmitter:||2-channel AM pistol grip|
|Battery:||6-cell NiMh 1100mAh w/ JST connector|
|Available From:||Your local hobby store|
The Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours is a ready-to-run (RTR) electric airboat developed to fill the void left by expensive gas and nitro airboats. This airboat is truly ready-to-run with an included a 6-cell NiMh battery, charger, and 2-channel pistol-grip radio. On the water, the Mini Alligator Tours handles like the real thing with sliding turns, and looks very scale in the process. The Mini Alligator is the little brother to the SuperTigre-powered Alligator Tours Airboat and features a 380-sized electric motor, ABS hull and plastic fan shroud. The street price is much less than the larger nitro version at $109.98. Let's take a closer look at this very affordable, scale airboat.
Like all Aquacraft boats, the Mini Alligator Tours is packaged well in a styrofoam cradle, while the box photo depicts the airboat in its natural environment. Included with the Alligator is an AquaCraft 2-channel 27MHz AM pistol grip, 6-Cell, 1100mAh NiMH battery & 12V field charger.
Unlike the original Aquacraft Air Force airboat, the Mini Alligator Tours is very scale in appearance, from the molded drivers' seat and steering handle, to the realistic fan cage and twin air rudders. Stickers are used throughout the hull to simulate the front storage lids and non-skid decking. The hull itself is made out of ABS plastic with three strakes along the bottom: one down the center and two up front. While the hull is relatively flat across the bottom, there is a bit of dead-rise, or angle, to the back of the hull at the transom. This allows the hull to slide around in the turns, but still bite enough to actually make the turn. The shallow v-hull at the back also keeps the outside of the boat lifted in a turn so it doesn't dig in and flip over.
Powering the Mini Alligator is a stock 380-sized brushed motor. It bolts to a plastic motor mount that sits atop an injection-moulded motor stand. The stand provides a slight bit of down-thrust to help in planing the hull. The propeller is 5 1/2" in diameter and is pressed onto the hub, which attaches to the motor shaft with a grub screw.
The air rudders attach to the hull with steel pins through a plastic bracket at the bottom and are tied into the fan cage at the top. Adjustable ball-links attach the right servo-controlled rudder to the left side rudder. The radio compartment on the Mini Alligator is a separate ABS box that is glued into a recess in the hull. At the back of the box are two watertight holes: one for the rudder arm and another for the wires to the motor. The lid, which is made into the seat, is not fully watertight. It does, however, have a recess designed to keep splashing water out. The front of the lid hooks into the box and is held in place with four strong magnets.
Inside the radio box resides a single micro rudder servo, and a combo receiver/electronic speed control (esc) sealed in a waterproof rubber housing. The servo is screwed to a bracket that's glued inside the box, and the 2-in-1 rx/esc attaches with Velcro, as does the battery.
The included AM transmitter is a standard no-frills unit with servo reversing and trim knobs. It requires 8 AA batteries that are the only thing not included with the Mini Alligator. The 6-cell NiMh battery pack is rated at 1100mAh (milliamp hours) and uses JST connectors. The 12V peak charger, which is also standard equipment with some Aquacraft boats, is powered through your car's cigarette lighter and does not have a 110v plug for a wall outlet. An LED light glows red when charging and green when charging is complete.
If the words "easy" and "stress-free" mean anything to you, then the Mini Alligator Tours airboat would be a great purchase. On the water, it's very manageable and poses no real risk of tipping over. Top speed is somewhere around 10mph and run times approach 8-10 minutes on a fully charged 6-cell 1100mAh battery. My very first impression on the water was sort of mixed: The Mini Alligator took a few seconds to get up on plane, and then struggled a little to stay up and moving in a turn, so if you're looking for a speed machine to compete in the Bayou Swamp Run 350, the Mini Alligator probably won't put you on the podium. But what it lacks in top speed, it makes up for with scale looks, durability and good 'ole down n' dirty swamp boat fun. I banged the little airboat into some rocks and tried to jump it off some floating debris (see pics and video) and the ABS hull just shrugged it off. Plus, we had more people stop to admire the little Alligator during the photo and video shoot and any of the other boats I take to the river.
Absolutely. The Mini Alligator Tours airboat features entry-level performance at an entry-level price. It comes ready to run, minus 8 AA batteries for the transmitter, and makes a great gift for any air, land, or sea rc enthusiast.
The Mini Alligator Tours airboat is a great platform to introduce someone to radio-controlled boating. It's docile handling characteristics make it perfect for a young modeler, or anyone looking for a relaxing boating experience without fear of capsizing. That's not to say it impervious to rolling, but its hull design and low top speed make it difficult to flip.
A big thanks goes out to my wife Jess for her video and photography.Last edited by Angela H; Oct 25, 2010 at 06:41 PM..
|Oct 25, 2010, 08:01 PM|
Nicely done, Matt! Love the action shots and the video is really slick, too!
One thing seems to be missing though...oh yeah...it needs a pilot figure!
|Oct 26, 2010, 10:50 AM|
|Oct 26, 2010, 01:11 PM|
Retail Price: $109.98
Hull Length: 18.25"
Weight: 24.6 oz
Servo: 1 Hobbico micro rudder servo
Transmitter: 2-channel AM pistol grip
Receiver: Combo rx/esc
Battery: 6-cell NiMh 1100mAh w/ JST connector
Motors: 380 brushed
ESC: Combo rx/esc
Available From: Your local hobby store
|Oct 26, 2010, 01:15 PM|
The boat is too small and too low to retrieve anything... pretty much. My first trip, the battery died just after about 5 minutes. It might have been because it was a bit windy and had to work extra hard. Anyway, it got stuck in the middle of the pond. The RR2 went to the rescue and couldn't get it out so I sent my amphibian plane (not sure what I was thinking ). It ended up upside down and with the RR2 and the amphibian plane also stuck! I like the looks of it. It has good detail but I wish it had a bit more power
|Oct 27, 2010, 09:51 AM|
Joined Jan 2003
I increased the power of this airboat by simply getting rid of the NiMh battery
and replacing it with a 2 cell Thunder Power 1350 20c lithium battery.
now it is lighter and faster!!!
|Oct 28, 2010, 11:06 AM|
Cool, how many runs have you had with the lipo? Have you been able to monitor temperature when put under stress?
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