|Dueling Marine Copters:||1 blue, 1 green|
|Transmitters:||two infrared transmitters|
|Battery:||internal battery in each Marine copter|
|Available From:||Think Geek|
|Price:||$49.99 a pair|
Although my now adult children don't share my passion for RC flying, I do try and include some kind of “toy” for them every Christmas. These have included Cylon USB snowmen, flying screaming monkeys and puzzles from the Think Geek website. I even got my wife her own Star Trek Phaser from them, and I am on their e-mail list by choice as I like to see their new products. Recently they announced the Dueling Space Marines Copter set, and I knew I had to try them out. So far, everyone who has tried them has liked them.
The set includes two infrared transmitters that run on channels A,B or C along with a green and a blue dueling space Marine copter. There is also a small Phillips screwdriver and four replacement tail rotors. Finally, there is a small piece of lead tape that can be added to the Marine to adjust the way he flies, but there was no indication as to what it was or where it goes.
Additional Items Needed:
There is no assembly! Just insert 6 AA Alkaline batteries into each of the two infrared transmitters. Use the included small Phillips screwdriver to remove the screw securing the battery cover and insert the batteries.
The Space Marine bodies are made out of durable EPP foam according to Think Geek's website. The box calls it: "unique material withstand crashes”, and the material did indeed do a good job of holding up despite many crashes.
The Space Marine Copters charge from the transmitter via an attached cord in the transmitter. Total charging time is 15 minutes or less. On a full charge you should get 5-7 minute of flight time. There is a large WARNING on the box to not let it charge for over 20 minutes. During the writing of this review the chargers always shut off before 20 minutes, but don't leave these unattended while they are charging.
I wanted to make sure the transmitter and Space Marine Copters were on the same letter by set: A, B or C. The letters were in plain view on the transmitters, and the transmitters could be switched between the three letters. On the Marines I found the charging jack and On/Off switch on the back right side of the helmet, but I found no switch to change the channel. My blue Marine was on letter C, and my green Marine was on letter A. There is a flashing blue LED behind the charging jack and On/Off switch in both Marines that shows it is turned on by flashing.
The two stick controls on the face of the transmitter control Up and Down and Left and Right. A control on the shoulder of the transmitter is the Fire control. Each copter has an internal battery that is rechargeable. Four extra tail rotors are included as spares.
These are indoor RC devices. They can be used outdoors on days with no wind (and I mean ZERO) but since they are infrared controlled the range, control and combat may be affected by sunlight. Even indoors watch out for flying near air vents, hear outlets or fans.
When we went to fly two together for the first time we had some problems and ended up with one transmitter controlling both space Marines. To avoid this, lock in your Marine to your transmitter when you turn on the Marine copter. Following that method, we were able to keep individual control of our Marines.
Flight is initiated by pushing up on the left stick on the transmitter that controls the throttle for the rotor. I found this control worked very well once flight was started (see below). I had very good control of height and was able to maintain altitude and raise or lower the Marine copter at my direction with the left stick.
The right stick controls side to side direction and has a trim tab to adjust to get steady facing hover. Directional control does exist, but it is not nearly as precise as the vertical control. Due to torque, the control to the right is different than control to the left. Turning left can slow down the copter's forward movement, while turning to the right tends to increase the copter's forward movement most of the time, but not always. The amount of battery charge also had an effect on my ability to control the Marine copter. When fully charged, a left turn done with too much stick movement often caused a left spin. Fully charged, the right turn caused more forward movement then when the battery was about half discharged or more.
I found as with other miniature helicopters I have flown, I had better control if I gave the rear rotor an occasional twist downward. A little downward rotation seems to give me better control of my right turns.
Both Marine Copters work wonderfully with a hand launch, and can be easily steered back for a hand catch to end the flight. Starting with a vertical take off from a flat surface was often successful if the pilot was standing completely level. If the pilot was leaning, the initial torque would usually cause him to flip over onto his side. Landing upright was even more of an iffy thing. Most of my launches and landings were from and into the hand.
Each Space Marine is holding a cannon at his waist that fires invisible infrared beams. A switch on the shoulder of the transmitter activates both the cannon and the sound of the space cannon firing. The first hit on the opposing Space Marine Copter causes your opponent to lose directional control and make his Marine start to spin. On the second hit, the Marine loses some power, and on the third hit, the Marine plummets to the ground, explodes and is consumed by fire. (OK I exaggerated on that last part. They actually only fall to the ground on the third hit.) After the third hit, the Marine has to be switched off and back on before he can resume flying.
Aim did not have to be right on to score a hit. Shooting in the general direction in a normally lit room was sufficient to score a hit. The rush of combat seems to adversely effect one’s ability to control the flight pattern of their Marine to some extent.
Alas, winning in combat seems to be as much a factor of luck as anything else. Range proved to be important, as more hits were recorded when the copters were near each other. Hits were recorded from 10 to 12 feet away, but I don't recall any hits from distances greater than that. I would be facing my opponent, in excellent control of my Marine, shoot and not score a hit while my opponent's Marine would fire on me while spinning like a top and: "He shoots! He scores!” Of course that luck factor worked both ways.
These Marines are approved for beginner to expert pilots. The operator will need some developed eye/hand coordination, but the durability of the helicopters make it ideal for everyone to have fun with them. Affordability also makes them great for the smart masses. The manufacturer lists the product for ages 8+.
The control of flight is about what I have experienced in other miniature helicopters that sold for $20.00-$25.00, and none of the others that I have flown were able to do combat. Combat is what sets these Space Marines apart and makes them special.
I have had several different people fly them and engage in combat in the short time I have had them, and everyone has enjoyed the experience. I have seen some real adrenaline rushes in some of the pilots when they switched from training flying to combat.
For an RC junkie like myself, this is a very fun little product. When a friend comes over we can have a little fun flying around the room and then have a little combat. Or as I have done with one person, fly around the room and then shoot him before he knows about the button on the top right and what it does. Nothing gets someone going like a little ambush.
|May 10, 2008, 04:46 PM|
Joined Jun 2007
The ones I tried would shoot itself down if you were near any windows or mirrors. Too bad the beam doesn't have its own frequency to prevent shooting yourself down.
|May 10, 2008, 07:41 PM|
Is this like the Picooz where is you fly with another picooz on another chanel.
You simply land and then switch your transmitter to their chanel and push the throttle right up.Then they fall out of the sky?
|May 11, 2008, 06:56 AM|
I have confirmed that reflective surfaces such as a window or a mirror can bounch the beam back and a marine copter can shoot itself down via the reflection.
When turning a marine copter to the on position it is important that the marine copter is only receiving the infrared signal from its own transmitter. I find my body does an excellent job of blocking the signal from the other transmitter. This way you maintain control of your marine.
Yes Jason youcan knock your opponent out of the sky by switching your transmitter to the channel your opponent is on. But then again you can knock your opponent out with a baseball bat and that would be equally subtle.
|Jun 06, 2008, 09:46 AM|
Perhaps relevant, perhaps not...
Last Christmas, I gave my nephews a couple of the Air Hog helos, and these Space Marine helos seems similar. As regards the "erratic" forward motion, I read somewhere that the turning effected some sort of control. Supposedly, turning one way would get the helo moving forward, turning the other direction would move it backward. No doubt the "torque" issue mentioned in the review.
I will have to look into the tail twisting trim technique, as that sounds interesting. What I did at the time was start sticking some pins in the nose of the helo to bias the cg toward a forward movement by default. It had some positive results, but as the boys simply wanted to fly them, I was unable to do any conclusive "research!" I haven't as yet picked one up for myself, but these combat helos sound a touch more fun!
|Jun 09, 2008, 05:10 AM|
Utter junk! airhogs havoc more durable
I usually give pretty good personal reviews of things I buy. But I got these and they were just junk! One spaceman would not hold altitude and had a bent main shaft out of the box. The other worked for about 6 flights then the flybar broke. I fixed that using parts from the first. Then the tail boom just fell out. But these space men were a waste of money.
Hint: Buy from toys-R-us and you can return it. Or buy a warranty and get your money back(less the warranty cost). The airhog havoc seems to be much more durable. Mine lasted a month.
|Jun 11, 2008, 09:52 PM|
Sorry you had a bad experience Hangglider. Mine have survived a number of flights and combats and two parties so far and will be used again this coming Saturday afternoon. Mine have held up very well so far but I don't expect them to last forever. They leave for post graduate combat this Sunday with my oldest son after he visits for Father's Day.
Toshi next up is the Tandem Z Chinook. Mike H
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