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Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours Airboat Review

The Mini Alligator Tours Airboat handles like the real thing with sliding turns and looks very scale in the process.

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Introduction


Retail Price:$109.98
Hull Length:18.25"
Beam:7"
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
Manufacturer:Aquacraft
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.

Kit Contents

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.

Piloting

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.

Is This For a Beginner?

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.

Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

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.

Pluses

  • Affordable price and ease of operation make it great for beginners.
  • Scale looks
  • ABS hull is quite durable

Minuses

  • 380 brushed motor, NiMh battery, and AM transmitter/receiver are somewhat outdated. I would love to see this airboat with a brushless/lipo/2.4gHz combo.

Credits

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..

Discussion

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Old Oct 25, 2010, 08:01 PM
When's the next fly-in?
dee-grose's Avatar
Tanner, Alabama
Joined Oct 2003
6,388 Posts
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!

Andy
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 09:45 PM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, Parma
Joined Jul 2009
4,835 Posts
Thanks Andy. I contemplated the pilot but chickened out for some reason...
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Old Oct 25, 2010, 10:14 PM
When's the next fly-in?
dee-grose's Avatar
Tanner, Alabama
Joined Oct 2003
6,388 Posts
I know you've got to have a G.I. Joe figure laying around somewhere. CA his plastic butt to that seat!
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 06:50 AM
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ducatirdr's Avatar
United States, MA, Sutton
Joined Aug 2006
1,287 Posts
Might this be the recovery vehicle for my float equipped planes? What do you think of it pulling a grappling hook like the Retrieval Decoy 2.4 RTR by Pro Boat Link
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 08:37 AM
Registered User
North Central TN USA
Joined May 2006
3,561 Posts
Very neat, just ordered one. Being as my pond is weeded up all I can run is an airboat. Bummer.
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 10:41 AM
M16 CIII/AR15/FN 2000 and PS90
Denile's Avatar
United States, AR, Waldron
Joined Jan 2005
521 Posts
Looks like a fun little boat. I wonder why the spec data area has been blocked out by that stupidly placed add.
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 10:50 AM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, Parma
Joined Jul 2009
4,835 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denile View Post
Looks like a fun little boat. I wonder why the spec data area has been blocked out by that stupidly placed add.
hmmm, Might be your computer. Spec data is viewable on my computer. no adds even near it. what ad are you referring to?
Matt
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 12:32 PM
M16 CIII/AR15/FN 2000 and PS90
Denile's Avatar
United States, AR, Waldron
Joined Jan 2005
521 Posts
The add is for the airboat thats being reviewed, ( aquacraft models ). Covers about 80%
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 01:11 PM
RCGroups Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, Parma
Joined Jul 2009
4,835 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denile View Post
The add is for the airboat thats being reviewed, ( aquacraft models ). Covers about 80%
ah I see. Thats not an ad, its a graphic I created for the review. The graphic moves as the window is resized. try increasing your broswer window size. if you are already maxed out, then theres not much I can do. Your monitor resolution might be set low. I will take that into account on the next review and decrease the size of the header graphic. thanks
Matt

FYI

Retail Price: $109.98
Hull Length: 18.25"
Beam: 7"
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
Manufacturer: Aquacraft
Available From: Your local hobby store
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 01:15 PM
Love anything RC
merlin703's Avatar
Alexandria, Virginia
Joined Mar 2008
3,575 Posts
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

Quote:
Originally Posted by ducatirdr View Post
Might this be the recovery vehicle for my float equipped planes? What do you think of it pulling a grappling hook like the Retrieval Decoy 2.4 RTR by Pro Boat Link
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Old Oct 26, 2010, 08:08 PM
Air Cooled VW mechanic
THX-181's Avatar
USA, CO, Longmont
Joined Jul 2008
202 Posts
Cute airboat
Nicely written review, thanks.

One little nitpick...
Wrong link in the spec box
Try...
http://www.aquacraftmodels.com/
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 09:51 AM
Registered User
Beaver Dam.Wi.
Joined Jan 2003
308 Posts
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!!!
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Last edited by harrisdouma; Oct 27, 2010 at 06:20 PM.
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Old Oct 27, 2010, 05:44 PM
rrg
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rrg's Avatar
USA, KY, Edgewood
Joined Dec 2007
1,257 Posts
Great vid, neat looking little boat.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 11:06 AM
Love anything RC
merlin703's Avatar
Alexandria, Virginia
Joined Mar 2008
3,575 Posts
Cool, how many runs have you had with the lipo? Have you been able to monitor temperature when put under stress?

Quote:
Originally Posted by harrisdouma View Post
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!!!
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