EB Brands Iron Man Flying RC Extreme Hero
|Weight:||2 oz (57g)|
|Height:||3" (76.2mm) chest to upper back|
|Construction:||Printed thin plastic over 3mm Depron; plastic head and electronics housing; plastic electronics mounting plate with steel support spring; plastic propellers; plastic protective covers on the toes of the boots|
|Servos:||None; toy steers via differential thrust and a pivoting motor mount|
|Transmitter:||Proprietary 2.4GHz two-channel with analog trim and umbilical cord used to recharge the flight battery|
|Receiver:||Integrated unit with motors, ESC and built-in battery|
|Battery:||3.7V lithium polymer, capacity not stated|
|Motors:||Two 6mm brushed coreless|
|Propellers:||Two 44mm counter-rotating pushers with spares|
|Operator Skill Level/Age:||Beginner; 8+|
|Flight Duration:||6 - 8 minutes|
|Range:||Approximately 200' (61m)|
|Recharge Time:||30 - 40 minutes depending on the condition of the transmitter batteries|
|Manufacturer/Distributor:||EB Brands LLC, 4 Executive Plaza, Yonkers, New York 10701 USA|
|Available From:||Various box stores, online retailers and possibly some hobby shops|
|Average Price (USD):||$69.99 - $79.99|
For some time now, I've enjoyed YouTube videos and RCGroups blogs from Greg Tanous. Greg is the founder of RCSuperhero.com, an online hobby shop which manufactures and sells R/C model aircraft in the shape of, well, life-sized superheroes. These really have to be seen to be believed and I've embedded a YouTube video of one of these incredible models in action further down the page.
In a recent blog, Greg posted pictures of a custom-built radio controlled superhero commissioned by the office of Robert Downey, Jr., star of the hit motion pictures Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 and Marvel's The Avengers. I'd always wanted to review one of Greg's creations, so I shot him a quick private message asking for a sample of a flying superhero.
What I didn't expect was to learn more about Iron Man's "little brother."
He promises to be among the hottest toys of 2013-14, if not the hottest when he makes his official debut in the fall of 2013, complete with a national television ad campaign.
We are about to encounter the EB Brands Iron Man Flying RC Extreme Hero, a collaboration between Greg Tanous, EB Brands of Yonkers, New York and Freeman Public Relations of Totowa, New Jersey. This remarkable new toy is the first of what promises to be several subjects tying in with Marvel's Avengers Assemble, a new animated series airing on the Disney XD cable television network. I had the pleasure of chatting on the phone at length with both Greg and Dan Perlowitz of Freeman Public Relations. Both were extremely enthusiastic over the Extreme Hero and both were looking forward to sending me a sample for review.
To be honest, I too was enthusiastic to play a small part in the introduction of such a toy as this backed by the Marvel brand; just the licensing fees EB Brands laid down for this project surely had to be stratospheric.
Based on Tanous's original flying superhero and designed with his input, the Extreme Hero utilizes dual coreless pusher prop motors, a 2.4GHz two-channel radio system and an ingenious, patented method of steering: Iron Man's head moves from side to side, acting as a sort of rudder.
The one-piece head and electronic assembly is slung beneath the shoulders on a spring; a combination of proportional throttle control, differential thrust and movement of the head and power system guide Iron Man through the air with a surprisingly tight turning radius. It also scores high on the cool factor scale.
As for Mr. Downey, he personally called to thank Greg for such a marvelous model. When Greg told him about this miniature Extreme Hero version, he was as enthusiastic as can be, with a heartfelt "oh, yeah!"
Time to charge up the suit and get our tiny Tony Stark airborne!
Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby, Iron Man made his first Marvel Comics appearance in Tales of Suspense #39, published in March 1963.
Iron Man is billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, who suffered a life-threatening chest injury during a kidnapping attempt. Stark built a powered, life-supporting suit of armor to save his own life, gradually adding weaponry and technology which allowed him to fight crime.
The character has since been adapted into a number of cinematic and television presentations, most notably the critically acclaimed motion picture series starring Robert Downey, Jr. and, as represented by the Extreme Hero, the leader of the Avengers Assemble crimefighting team of Marvel superheroes.
Although Iron Man's suits of armor have changed considerably and often over the years, the underlying premise of a super-strong metal suit bolstered by light- and force field-based weaponry and propulsion remains the same.
Anyone who spent the 1960s as a small child almost certainly watched the 1966 Grantray-Lawrence Animation television series, The Marvel Super Heroes. I did despite the rather limited animation (hey, I was a little kid in 1966!), so enjoy this bit of nostalgia:
|THE MARVEL SUPER HEROES (0 min 57 sec)|
Almost everything needed to get airborne is provided:
The only things needed are:
Unpacking Iron Man is simplicity itself, so simple in fact that there are directions on the box and shipping tray giving the order of unpacking under adult supervision.
Once the inner shipping tray is removed and the strap holding the model in place is cut - I was able to simply undo mine without cutting - Iron Man lifts right off of the tray.
Like Greg Tanous's life-sized superheroes, Iron Man is essentially a "flying fuselage" with most of the lift coming from the body. The outstretched arms serve more as stabilizers than as wings, although they do in fact add some lift. It also looks somewhat strange at certain angles because of the design, but it's a well made, nicely finished product with crisp, clear printing and careful attention to assembly. For a toy R/C product, this was as nice as I'd ever seen.
A small phillips screwdriver is necessary to remove the transmitter from the tray and to remove the battery door. Once six AA-cell alkaline batteries are installed, all that's left is to charge up and fly.
An charging umbilical which is permanently attached to the transmitter is coiled up beneath a small round hatch cover at the rear of the transmitter. It's polarized, but the excellent instruction sheet clearly shows how the plug is inserted into the toy.
The power switch on the front of the transmitter is then moved to the left; a flashing red LED indicates the battery is being charged. After about 30 minutes, the LED was out and Iron Man was ready to take to the skies.
Iron Man's first flight took place at the Dennis Keat Soccer Park in Cathedral City, California. Named in tribute to a man who was credited with bringing organized youth soccer to the city and who died at a young age, the park is exactly the kind of wide open, grassy flying area recommended by the instruction sheet.
Here are a couple of photos which I took just before the maiden flights:
Unlike hobby-grade 2.4GHz radio systems, Iron Man must be bound to the transmitter before each flight. The toy was first powered on which caused its red LED to begin flashing. Once the transmitter's power switch was moved to the right, the bind was nearly instantaneous and the LED then glowed steadily.
The system was armed by advancing the spring-loaded throttle stick to full and then bringing it back to zero throttle.
I throttled up to about 3/4 throttle, pointed it into the wind and gave it an underhand toss. Between the wind and too much throttle, my first couple of attempts to get flying were less than perfect since it wanted to pitch upwards and stall. However, the Extreme Hero came down both times none the worse for wear.
My third attempt was at half throttle and tossing Iron Man at an angle into the wind.
That was the ticket. Iron Man was off with both propellers droning and let me state for the record that it looked absolutely terrific in the air.
Since there are no servos, it climbs rather well with simple application of throttle, cruising beautifully at roughly half to three-quarters throttle with a "head-up" attitude. I wouldn't have expected anything flown with differential thrust to be as agile as Iron Man was. Before long, I had him climbing, swooping, diving and turning on the proverbial dime.
Even though the wind was picking up somewhat, Iron Man still had enough thrust to penetrate the wind with moderate effort. With the wind at his back, Iron Man flew surprisingly fast and under control. That lack of control surfaces beyond the moving head doesn't exactly make for a pattern flyer, but neither is it the sort of aimlessly wandering toy R/C I've come to expect from past experience. It's simply fun to fly, but it's necessary to keep some power going in order to steer.
Power started dropping off after about five minutes; landing was a simple as throttling back and gliding in. I left some power on in order to guide it to a spot close to the front of me and the Extreme Hero came in belly first for a gentle landing in the grass.
I didn't have the time to recharge the battery for a second flight, but I brought the toy with me to work and recharged it there in about 35 minutes.
When the time came to shoot video, I once again enlisted the help of George Muir, videographer of the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club near Thermal, California east of Palm Springs.
Sundays generally bring out a lot of members and a lot of terrific models, including a turbine, but Iron Man created one heck of a buzz, prompting a lot of questions from those present.
There was a steady breeze blowing from right to left across the runway, one slightly stronger than that in which I first flew the Extreme Hero. I knew from the maiden flights that it wouldn't be a problem, so off it went.
The video shows Iron Man affected somewhat by the wind, but he still flew beautifully. Precise control was a bit of an issue once more given the lack of control surfaces. Even so, I had an absolutely wonderful time putting it through its paces in front of the camera with the Santa Rosa Mountains as a backdrop. At no time did it ever feel twitchy or out of control. It wandered a bit in the windy conditions, but it did pretty much all I asked of it.
Iron Man also drew quite a few onlookers who watched the fun from behind the flight line; at least two of the members of the audience vowed to buy an Iron Man of their own!
While the full-sized RC Superhero is aerobatic, the Extreme Hero is not due relatively modest power to the lack of control surfaces. However, this sort of stable, predictable flight is just the thing for a beginning R/C pilot.
Not only is Iron Man for any beginner age eight and older, it's a heck of a lot of fun even for experienced R/C pilots. No previous R/C experience is needed, but if one can get help from an experienced pilot, the odds of success are greatly increased and will minimize a lot of wear, tear and possible damage. New pilots are certain to bang Iron Man around a bit, but most damage can be easily and quickly repaired with some transparent tape. Some foam-safe CA and kicker (beginners, check with your local hobby shop to learn what I mean) is also useful to have on hand for repairs.
Another caveat for beginners: Don't run the battery too low. When Iron Man needs a recharge, he'll slow down. That's landing time.
Under no circumstances should the battery be overly discharged by running the motors to the stopping point. A lithium polymer battery run too low is a permanently damaged one.
This is the national TV ad coming to an HDTV monitor near you:
|EB Brands Flying RCEXTREMEHERO Ironman TV Commercial (0 min 31 sec)|
Here's the video of yours truly doing some "windsurfing" with Iron Man. Despite the right-to-left breeze blowing across the runway, Iron Man handled it in stride like the hero he is:
|EB Brands Iron Man Flying RC Extreme Hero (1 min 51 sec)|
Greg Tanous does likewise in this, his own video:
|EB Brands RC Extreme Hero Ironman toy Rocks! MUST SEE !!! (1 min 32 sec)|
Greg and his son Nathan put a full-sized RC Superhero model through its paces:
|Impressive RcSuperHero flight!! -Pilot / Nathan Tanous (5 min 28 sec)|
Greg Tanous, EB Brands and Freeman Public Relations have hit a home run with what may be the greatest mass-market R/C flying toy to date. It's fun, easy to fly and will stand up to most (but not all) of the rough handling to which a young flyer will inevitably subject it.
Yes, it's limited in comparison to a hobby-grade R/C airplane, but that's an apples-and-oranges comparison. This is a product aimed at a general market. Control is somewhat imprecise compared to a model with hinged control surfaces and the range of 200 feet (61m) sounds somewhat limiting, but it's still one terrific toy for the price and besides, a nineteen-inch-long flying superhero figure is going to be mighty tiny at that 200' mark.
Iron Man is already available at the online stores of Toys "R" Us, Walmart and Target and should be in the brick-and-mortar stores by November if he isn't there already. According to Greg, some stores have sections devoted to comic book heroes and action figures and Iron Man may wind up there instead of with other flying toys.
I would not normally be enthusiastic about a toy R/C product, but this one is a winner, pure and simple.
This is a must-have for the Christmas season and I give it my highest possible recommendation. Two thumbs way, way up for Iron Man!
My heartfelt thanks go to Greg Tanous of RCSuperhero.com for arranging to have a sample of his terrific invention provided for review. Thanks as well go to Dan Perlowitz of Freeman Public Relations for actually making the sample available. Congratulations are in order for Dan as well; I'd first spoken to him mere days before he was to be married! George Muir is the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club videographer who is my go-to guy for videos and I cannot thank him enough for his help and friendship.
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There are a lot of pluses, including:
|This thread is privately moderated by DismayingObservation, who may elect to delete unwanted replies.|
Heck, get one anyway for those family weekends in the park! I guarantee the kids will never forget the experience. I know some grandkids who are going to flip their cookies when they see mine.
In the meantime, Greg pointed out one small issue: The downrange radio range isn't 200 feet. That's the operational ceiling. I'd assume that going much higher than that risks a flyaway.
I went a couple of hundred feet downrange during pretty much every flight and at no time did it lose signal.
PS: Thanks for the compliment, Jon. I wish I could take credit for that screen cap, but when I saw it, I had to make it the lead image.
This is fantastic Greg! I'm so happy for you! All your hard work in coming up with the original idea and then making it available to us appears to be paying off! I know this flyer will sell like hotcakes and I couldn't be prouder of you! As one of your first customers to purchase a 75" flying Villain a few years ago, I also want to thank you again for your outstanding customer support. WHOOOO-HOOOOO!!!
This is not the first RC flying-superhero mass-market product. Anyone remember the RC "flying Superman" of several years ago? It was also a dual-brushed-motor, differential-thrust product (like so many of these mass-market flying RC toys). And it was about the same size.
When I first saw the photo-link to this review in the RCG sidebar, I thought, oh wow!...they're going to mass-market one of the big 'flying-man' type RC designs -- like the 62-inch-long RC 'Flyguy' that I built a year or two ago (and still have)! But then when I read the review and saw that the product is going to be only 19", it's a lot less impressive. There have been so many different shapes and configurations of mass-market flying RC toy already brought to market -- from helis to biplanes to UFO flying saucers to land/air hybrid vehicles to jets (both prop and ducted), that I would think the market is already pretty jaded. This product's sole claim to fame will be that it is shaped like a man. And that has been done before ("Superman").
No one said it was the first RC flying-superhero mass-marketed product.
Yes, I remember the flying Superman from a few years ago, I bought one for my Grandson to fly when he was at my home. It flew terrible. It would barely stay in the air. In fact, I modified it by removing the two little motors and adding an E-flite 180 with a micro rx and also adding elevons with two tiny servos. It wasn't a flying man, it was a delta wing (shaped like his cape) with a man hanging below it. Greg Tanous designed the first flying man after which many others ripped his design, including the flying guys you mentioned you have. Some even tried to lead us to believe it was their idea and design. Greg deserves kudos for all his hard work and success, not unnecessary negative comments like yours! Why so negative?
Included below are a couple of pictures of my modified Superman of which you spoke.
Last edited by harrymc; Sep 22, 2013 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Spelling
"There have been plenty of remote-control toys before this. But no one has created a flying superhero in this category," said Chris Wilson, executive vice president with EB Brands, the company behind the toy."
It was easy to find the article with that quote -- I just followed the link in this RCGroups review to rcsuperhero.com. The article was prominently linked near the top of that page.
Sometimes when things get over hype'd, a gentle bit of perspective is appropriate.
Where's the pictures, videos... anything???
I've never met Greg Tanous. I've talked to him a number of times on the phone concerning the purchase and building of one of his Superhero flying men. He is a very polite, helpful, genuine guy. I felt bad for him watching so many people rip his idea and was truly happy to see his latest success with the toy version of the flying superhero. I've seen a couple of fellow modelers ideas come to toy success and almost every time it shows up on rcgroups instead of fellow modelers congratulating the success, you have a few modelers who feel compelled to attack in some way that success. Were your comments really necessary? What were you hoping to accomplish with them? Do you really feel it's your place to add "perspective" to things you see as "over hyped"?
In this day and age of instant social media it's so easy to throw negative comments out there. Everyone wants to be the expert, the authority, the smart one, always with the last word, never concerned with hurting feelings. You are by no means alone with this. It's an epidemic. You can't go anywhere online without seeing these and much worse comments. I've heard it said that we should communicate online as though everyone seeing our words was sitting at the table with us. I think that's very good advice for all of us.
Flying Man History Lesson 101
Lets take facts & dates
The video link below shows the original Flying Man dated February 8, 2010 (almost 4 years ago).
The so called flying men before this date were not true flying men but rather some type of wing with a human figure attached to the wing.
Greg Tanous was the first person to design and successfully fly a true Flying Man where the actual human form was the lifting body.
Notice in the video, this first prototype could fly vertically, hover, and fly at a high alpha angle very slowly and all with full control.
It was this exact first prototype that Greg built that created the Flying Man rage, period!!!
This prototype went on to become the RcSuperhero / Rc Extreme Hero (RcSuperhero.com)
If anyone disputes these facts, bring your proof here and just the facts!
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