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VS Tank Infrared 1/24th Scale Tiger I and Leopard 2 A5 Review

Mike Heer takes us for a high tech RC tank ride! With three forward speeds, multiple turning speeds and infrared fighting that can involve up to six separate tanks at a time, are you ready to RUMBLE?

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Introduction

Hobbico is now importing the the VS tank lines of 1/24 scale infrared combat tanks! Currently available are the Germany Tiger, the M1A2 Abrams and the German Leopard 2 in the A5 and A6 versions all with at least a couple of different paint scheme options. I have always enjoyed the look of tanks, and the VS Tiger tank looked very authentic to my eye and a quick comparison to pictures in a book. I thought it would be fun to get a couple and have some infrared combat with friends in the evening, and I was right! It has proven even more fun to let two visitors do battle. Now, let me share the fun with this review.

Tiger Tank I Early Production Model


Length:13 3/4"
Width:6"
Height:6 1/2"k commander
Weight:3.0 lbs w/batteries
Batteries weight:6.8 ounces for tank batteries
Climbing ability:35 degrees
Manufacturer:VS Tank
Available From:VS Tank

Tank Set Includes:

  • One tank
  • One transmitter
  • One tank antenna
  • English manual
  • Miscellaneous detail tank parts

Additional Items Needed:

  • 14 AA batteries (6 for transmitter, 8 for tank)

Features:

  • Full function controls
  • Rotational turret up to 330 degrees
  • Adjustable angle of cannon barrel
  • 3 forward speeds
  • 2 turning radius
  • 4 pivot buttons, two in each direction
  • 3 forward turning speeds
  • 2 reverse speeds
  • Up to six tanks can be operated at the same time (All on 27 MHz)
  • Individual wheel suspension systems
  • Can climb 30-35 degree angles
  • Treads are made of individually linked plastic
  • 1/24 scale with high details
  • Working front LED lights

Infrared Battle Features:

  • Hit (life) scoring system
  • Flashes lights, makes explosive sounds and shakes when hit
  • Tread movement sounds
  • Recoil action and firing sounds
  • Machine gun sounds
  • Real life reloading time
  • Brief invincibility time after being shot
  • 6 hits and the tank is dead

Leopard2 5A Tank


Length:16"
Width:6 1/2"
Height:5 5/8" with tank commander
Weight:3.2 lbs w/batteries
Battery weight:6.8 ounces for batteries in tank
Climbing ability:35 degrees
Manufacturer:VS Tank
Available From:Hobbico

Tank Set Includes

  • One tank
  • One transmitter
  • Two tank antennas
  • English manual
  • Misc detail tank parts

Additional Items Needed:

  • 8 AA batteries for tank
  • 9-Volt battery for transmitter

Features

  • Full function controls
  • Rotational turret up to 360 degrees
  • Adjustable angle of cannon barrel
  • 3 forward speeds
  • 2 turning radius
  • 2 forward turning speeds
  • Up to six tanks can be operated at the same time (All on 27 MHz)
  • Individual wheel suspension systems
  • Can climb 30-35 degree angles
  • Treads are made of rubber
  • 1/24 scale with high details
  • Working front and rear LED lights

Infrared Battle Features for Both Tanks:

  • Hit scoring system
  • Flashes lights, makes explosive sounds and shakes when hit with infrared shot
  • Tread movement sounds
  • Recoil action and firing sounds
  • Real life reloading time
  • Brief invincibility time after being shot
  • 6 hits and the tank is dead

Assembly

Both tanks come already assembled. I only had to install the batteries into the tanks and the transmitters, install the antennas and install a few details such as the tank commanders.

Instruction Warnings

Per the instruction manuals, do not operate these tanks in water, on sand or on carpet. Do not operate them for more then 10-15 minutes at a time or they might overheat.

Tank a Look Around

1/24 scale

These are nice size tanks. They can be easily seen and operated in a variety of settings, but are easy to store; the boxes will fit easily on most shelves. Even an apartment dweller should be able to find space for these tanks for both operation and storage.

Operational sounds & Lights

Both tanks have operation sounds that include motor/tread sounds when the tanks are in motion and firing sounds when the main gun is fired. Both tanks have exploding sounds and flashing lights from under the turret when they are hit with an infrared shot from the other tank. The Tiger I also has machine gun sounds, but the Leopard 2 A5 does not. Both tanks have two operating LED headlights. The Leopard 2 A5 also has rear LED red taillights. These tanks both make robust sounds, nice and loud! Neither of the tanksí motor/tread sounds are truly authentic operational sounds. While I wouldn't use them to dub a movie soundtrack of real tanks, the sounds were nicely mood-setting - especially the Tiger. There was no volume control on either tank.

Tiger I Movements

Neither of these tanks have proportional control and neither one uses a joystick. The tanks have different transmitters and therefore do not move in an identical manner. As one would expect, the Tiger I can circle in place at two speeds and in either direction. I found the slow speed worked very nicely, but that the fast speed was too fast for me. The turret rotates 330 degrees.

The Tiger has three forward speeds, three forward turning speeds, two reverse speeds (straight or turning) and two turning radii. I found with these speed options, I didn't miss proportional control, and I quickly became very comfortable with these control options. It can climb an incline of 30-35 degrees in forward or reverse. As mentioned above, it makes tread sounds as it travels that I found these to be fun in operation (but my wife didn't appreciate them while watching TV).

The Tiger I's transmitter is a two-handed design. The turning buttons in the upper right corner do nothing on their own and must be used with the forward and reverse buttons on the left to steer the tank in a turn. The 4 buttons on the bottom right with Roman Numerals cause the Tiger I to pivot or circle in place.

This is an outstanding control system! The best I have experienced in the dozen plus tanks I have operated before. Touch is a personal thing, but I thought it had excellent control. The transmitter has a very nice ergonomic design and allows for quick control motion. Multiple actions can be done at the same time such as firing while turning or moving turret while running.

Leopard 2 A5 Movements

The Leopard 2 5A transmitter has 5 columns of buttons. The outer two columns are for combat, and the center three are for movement. The Leopard 2 also has three forward speeds but only one reverse speed. These directional speed buttons are in the center column of the transmitter. To the right of that column are two buttons for right forward turns and one reverse turn, and the left side column has three identical buttons for the left. To pivot or circle requires using two buttons simultaneously (one from each of the last two columns mentioned).

The Leopard 2's controls are similar to those I have seen from some other tanks and they are good enough though not as smoothly operating the Tigers Iís. Both tanksí top forward speed was about the same. I missed having two back-up speeds with the Leopard 2 - it only backs up quickly, no slow speed back-up.

Downloads

Combat Basics

Combat is performed by hitting the fire button on the transmitter. The tank fires an infrared beam in the direction that the turret and gun barrel are pointing. At the same time, there is a firing sound and the tank recoils. In the Tiger I the gun barrel also recoils. They advertised a range of 8 meters (28 feet) indoors and about 20 feet in direct sunlight for the infrared combat. I decided to test the claimed range as well as the angle of attack (how accurate did my aim have to be to score a hit). See the results in my combat video below.

For combat, each tank starts with 40 shots, and after those are fired the tank is out of ammunition. There is a three second delay between shots to account for loading time. Each tank records six hits, and with each hit the tank shakes, makes an exploding sound, and lights located under the turret flash. After a tank is hit it has a short invulnerability period of about 6 seconds during which it canít be hit again. After six hits are scored, a tank is destroyed and the tank has to be reset by turning if off and back on.

On the Tiger I, the combat controls are on the top of the transmitter. Right top front fires the main gun and left top front fires the machine gun. The middle buttons on both sides raise and lower the gun barrel. The rear right button turns the turret to the right while the left side button moves it to the left. Good action, good sound and good control.

The Leopard 2 A5's combat buttons are in the outside columns. the left outside column turns the turret to the right with the top button and to the left with the bottom button. The right most column's top button fires the main gun and the bottom right button raises and lowers the barrel. There is no machine gun for the Leopard 2 A5 tank.

"That cover was really really on there good!"

My first night with these tanks, I was shooting at the parked Leopard 2. I hit it from all directions except when the commander was between the sensor and my Tiger's gun barrel so I parked the Tiger I and looked for a sensor. The manual didn't show the sensor on the Tiger I - just on the Abrams. The actual sensor cover was much smaller then the one on the Leopard so I wasn't sure if it was a sensor cover or just a detailed part. I put a fingernail from each hand under the top of the cover and tried to pry it off. I tried to lift the cover, and the whole tank lifted off the ground. I wondered if the sensors might be under the turret as part of the light system used to show a hit. I fired shot after shot at the Tiger from point blank range to as far back as ten feet. The only kills were shots from behind at the rear light bar under the back of the turret from about a foot. I worked on the problem for hours and finally sent Hobbico an e-mail. they responded the next morning, and I soon learned the little molded piece was indeed the cover. Armed with the certainty, I got a small nail into the small opening and popped it off and twisted and raised the sensor. The Tiger had gone from invincible to an ordinary target for the Leopard. In my defense I just want to say: "That cover was really really on there good!"

Infrared Combat

Both tanks fire an infrared beam from the gun barrel that is supposed to register on the other tank as a hit. The Leopard 2 A5 has a sensor that is covered by a small turret when not in use. This protective turret lifts off and a sensor pops up. The protective turret can be stored under a turret hatch cover for safe keeping. I had no problem scoring hits on the Leopard 2 with the Tiger I from most angles around the tank. I found the only dead spot was when the tank commander of the Leopard was between the Tiger I's gun and the Leopard's sensor. He was like a hockey goalie and would block my shot. Like a goalie, he can be pulled leaving an "empty net" for no blocking.

The Tiger I has a covering with pins to the left of the tank commander and slightly behind him. It took some effort to remove this cover the first time (see side bar) but since then it pops right off when I need it to. A slight twist and the sensor popped up on the Tiger I. There is a very small dead spot on the Tiger I tank if you attack from the left middle area as the tank commander and the raised hatch cover serves as a blocker from a couple degrees of angle in that direction. Otherwise, with the sensor up the Tiger was a good target.

Combat Tip: Both tanks pivot in place faster than their turrets turn. In combat, pivot the tank don't turn the turret unless the aiming adjustment is a very tiny adjustment.

Range and accuracy of the Infrared system

Indoors

The first video below is just offered as proof that the infrared system has at least the advertised indoor range of 28 feet. The second video shows the dead zone on the Leopard when the tank commander is in place, and that the infrared gun scores a kill even if a full tank off in front, behind or above the target tank.

Downloads

Outdoors

Under a canopy of heavy shade trees I had an infrared kill zone from about 12 feet or less at noon and slightly greater than that about 8:00 in the morning and 6:00 at night. Under the shade of one medium tree in an otherwise open field my infrared kill range was a maximum of about 3-5 feet with an occasional rare kill from 6-8 feet (but that was extremely rare). In the full noontime sun the kill range was down to 1-2 feet. An occasional kill, but very very rare from 4 feet plus away. Most of my combat will be in the evening anyway or indoors, and any outdoors combat on a hot and sunny day will be under the shade trees for me.

Are These tanks For a Beginner?

Either tank can be enjoyed by a beginner that has down the elements of movement and combat basics. Combat with a skilled operator will take some practice - newbie tank operators are much like newbie pilots at the front... the fodder for aces. That said, combat in bright daylight is a great equalizer. The combat video below features newbie operators with only a couple of minutes at the controls before I started videotaping.

Battle Video/Photo Gallery

The following combat video was shot slightly after 6:15 PM on May 23, 2007. The combatants were newbies to tanks - John and his son Kody. A good time was had by all.

Downloads

Pluses & Minuses

Pluses:

  • 1/24 scale is a nice size for operation and storage
  • Paint and detailing look very nice
  • Sound is clear and sufficiently loud
  • The Tiger tank's controls are excellent
  • Infrared system works fine inside, in shade or early or late in the day in sunshine
  • Dead Zone where commander or turret blocks their line of fire on my sensor, some strategy allowed

Minuses

  • Tiger I tanks and Abrams tanks cost about $50.00 more then Leopard tanks currently
  • Leopard tanks do not have machine gun fire
  • Leopard's transmitter is not as ergonomic as the Tiger I & Abrams transmitters
  • Infrared systems range was much shorter then expected outside in direct CA noon day sun
  • Dead zone where their tank commander or turret blocks my shot at the enemy sensor

Conclusion

I have enjoyed the infrared combat as have the several friends I have done battle with to date. I think we will be having major tank battles in just a few weeks, but you can have fun with just one of these tanks. I really enjoy the two handed operation of the Tiger. The ease of operation and the quality of sound make them enjoyable to operate. As with most things in life they are more fun when you can interact with someone else.

Last edited by Angela H; Jul 11, 2007 at 09:39 PM..

Discussion

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Old Jul 11, 2007, 09:47 PM
Fokker Ace's Avatar
Joined Aug 2006
1,551 Posts
Well, that looks fun for about 10 minutes. After that its eBay time.
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Old Jul 11, 2007, 10:31 PM
Im stupider than you!
Pekin Illinois
Joined Aug 2006
1,722 Posts
How Dumb. The slow tanks,not the review,to each his own I guess.
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Old Jul 11, 2007, 11:57 PM
BD Flyer's Avatar
United States, NJ, Monroe Township
Joined Aug 2006
7,093 Posts
If you don't have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Mike, ignore these guys. The tanks look fun and your review was GREAT!

Bill
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Old Jul 12, 2007, 12:26 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,369 Posts
We all have different interests, especially in this hobby. That is one of the great things about this hobby. I like almost everything RC. I love watching that Tiger tank in operation and the barrel recoil when it fires. My favorite plane is often the one I am flying at a given moment. Mike
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Old Jul 12, 2007, 12:02 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,631 Posts
Looks like fun to me...
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Old Jul 12, 2007, 05:45 PM
Survival is Attitude!
Skonkworkstexas's Avatar
Hallsville Texas
Joined Aug 2005
2,235 Posts
Wife has NOTHING to do with RC, but she said she wanted to shoot me with a tank a couple of Christmases ago. Might just have to ante up for a pair.
You never know, she might get into airplanes later!
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Old Jul 13, 2007, 04:16 AM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,631 Posts
I have a pair of "tanks" that have an IR laser and sensor and shoot the other person. When you get "hit" you get an electric shock through your controller. It's good fun to watch a couple drunk friends get pissed at each other.
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Old Jul 13, 2007, 11:54 AM
Survival is Attitude!
Skonkworkstexas's Avatar
Hallsville Texas
Joined Aug 2005
2,235 Posts
Like russian roulette?!?.........
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Old Jul 14, 2007, 04:59 PM
Registered User
Joined Jul 2007
2 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by BD Flyer
If you don't have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Mike, ignore these guys. The tanks look fun and your review was GREAT!

Bill
Looks really cool! whats the cost?
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Old Jul 15, 2007, 02:06 PM
Registered User
Joined Jun 2007
5 Posts
I think this is excellent work!

way to go with all the testing...Now what would be cool was it there was a battle simulation.
I wonder if those tanks can be outfitted with mini brushless motors, and if a lipo will fit on the inside of them. maybe have an all out infrared war with 10 tanks vs 10 tanks, and real terrain with real obstacles. heck maybe even incorporate a slo flyer or two into the mix with the infrared rc system for planes. Now that would make a good video.
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Old Jul 25, 2007, 09:32 PM
Registered User
Joined Apr 2007
14 Posts
I'm looking into the tank thing especially since the r/c heli didn't work out. Being that what space I have is limited for flying, I am too looking for something that is ground based. I'm figuring out the pros and cons of the r/c cars vs. the tanks.

The tanks would raise my brow even more if they had more speed. So, has anyone tinkered with theirs (motor, suspension)? I have in-mind an off-road chassis and suspension utilizing the tank tracks and body.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 12:17 AM
Doing it in the Lateral Axis
modfly's Avatar
USA, OH, Akron
Joined Dec 2006
15,360 Posts
I don't get it..why do they need to be faster?...I think the speed is about scale for the tanks...I have a set of no name I\R battle tanks from ebaY in this scale and they are a blast as long as you have an enemy to shoot at...takes 2 to play...anyway, these are the Cadillacs of the RTR IR Battle tanks. Nice review..I know, some people just don't get it..its gotta be fast or its boring eh rhondaward? Maybe we should stick a mamba in it and then it will be cool yes?
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Old Feb 20, 2012, 05:23 PM
Registered User
United States, VA, Alexandria
Joined Apr 2008
5 Posts
Great review - thanks for posting, especially in regard to the mod to the Tiger. The range testing in daylight was also informative.
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Old Feb 20, 2012, 08:02 PM
master boat slacker
USA, NY, Mastic Beach
Joined Feb 2006
568 Posts
you know your thank you is five years late
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