Silverlit "Flying Dutchman" RTR Pirate Ship Review - RC Groups

Silverlit "Flying Dutchman" RTR Pirate Ship Review

Ahoy, mateys! Prepare for journeys untold across the Spanish Main with yer very own pirate vessel. Fresh water fun be as close as yer hobby shoppe. Ralph Squillace and Jeff Brock tell the tale.



Servos:None; vessel steers by varying the speed of the screws
Transmitter:Three-channel proprietary
Receiver:Three-channel proprietary
Battery:Four AA-cell batteries in both the receiver and transmitter
Motor:Two brushed Mabuchi-type "can" motors
ESC:Integrated with the receiver
Manufacturer:Silverlit Toys Manufactory Ltd.
Available among others
List price/average selling price (USD):$99.95/$34.95 to $55.95
Video #1: The Flying Dutchman under full sail, or if you prefer, full throttle.
Video #2: Demonstration of the working cannon.

Avast, ye! Prepare yerself for a whole mess o' pirate talk as we discuss a proud little RTR vessel, the Silverlit Flying Dutchman. We'll be doing this review from a slightly different perspective, that of a brand-new R/C user as told through, well, me.

After following my reviewing exploits here at RCGroups, one of my oldest and closest friends by the name of Jeffrey R. Brock took the plunge (or walked the plank) and entered the world of radio control with his first R/C purchase, that of a new Silverlit Flying Dutchman RTR which he's been running in his swimming pool. Problem: Jeff and the ship live in Georgia, and I live in California. Solution: Have Jeff provide photos and piratey fun feedback while I put the whole works together in a review.

Time to weigh anchor!

Kit Contents

Since this is an RTR, you basically pull it out of the box, install the batteries and set sail. *Your fully assembled, semi-scale model pirate ship comes with:

Injection molded styrene hull and deck with simulated weathering

  • Full rigging with non-functional cloth sails and plastic ratlines
  • Twin counter-rotating screws for propulsion and steering
  • Cannon with light, sound and motion effects operable via the transmitter
  • Three-channel transmitter

You will need:

  • Eight AA-cell alkaline or ni-cad batteries
  • Phillips screwdriver for removal of the battery hatches on transmitter and receiver
  • Diagonal cutters for removal of packaging


Once you've removed the model from its package and the packing tray , it's time to hit the water!


No, that wasn't a cheap shot at pirate talk, although a lot of that comes later. It was how Jeff felt since he had one heck of a time freeing the Flying Dutchman from its moorings, as it were, In his piratey words,

"Ahoy, bucko! The galleon was a pain gettin' out o' th' packagin'. It was zip-tied in about five places and I had to rip th' aft end o' th' box t' get it out. Once out, I had t' get th' four screws out o' th' door at th' bottom t' put t' batteries in it. It took 45 minutes and a trip t' Home Depot t' get th' thing off."

In short, have a good screwdriver and some diagonal cutters on hand.

Now that the access door along the keel is off after all that wrestling, you'll see a black plastic battery holder with - you guessed it - another cover. Another tight cover. Pirate Jeff relates his latest struggle thus:

"Once (the hull access cover is off) thar be a little black box that holds th' batteries. It was difficult t' get it open because th' lid fit too tight. Th' transmitter was much easier t' put t' batteries into. One little screw and th' door came open."

Good news for the transmitter, but not so good when it comes to replacing the receiver batteries which are more likely to be replaced on a regular basis given the current draw of the motors.



Well, the term "basics" really does apply here. Switch on the transmitter, switch on the receiver, place the ship in calm, fresh water and push the transmitter sticks forward. The Flying Dutchman forgoes a rudder to steer instead by varying the speed of the counter-rotating screws; you operate it in much the same way as a bulldozer or a Bobcat. The only really odd visual here other than a sailing vessel churning a wake is the power switch, an exposed affair in plain view on the deck. You'd think they might have hidden it, but there's no reason this couldn't be camouflaged with a bit of modeling skill.

Since this a model of an early sailing vessel as opposed to a hydrofoil, performance is rather leisurely, although not as much as you might assume. The ship moves at a good enough clip to be entertaining in a swimming pool and any first-time user will find it easy to operate. Jeff sure did:

"Except for th' battery problem it works good and easy t' use and steer. Just pop it into a landlocked lagoon (read: swimming pool) and it maneuvers around very easily. It be movin' quite smartly and turns on a doubloon. It does pretty good power slides. You have t' be careful doin' th' power slides because it will sink. I have come close t' sendin' it t' Davy Jones' locker!"

OK, so power-sliding a model of a pirate galleon isn't exactly true to the prototype. The point is, it's fun. You have the option of either guiding it around the pool or pulling off hitherto unseen escape manuevers guaranteed to leave the pursuing Royal Navy eating your wake.

Blackbeard would have been proud.


The star of this show has to be the replica "six-pounder" cannon. Press a button on the transmitter and the cannon roars to life with light, sound and motion. Or, to put it another way:

"Th' coolest thin' be th' six-pounder. Thar be a button on th' transmitter. You push it and th' six-pounder pops up, th' tip o' th' barrel glows red and it makes a six-pounder firin' sound."

For those of you with swimming pools who absolutely, positively have to have one of these for your very own at this stage of the presentation, you may be excused.

Is This For a Beginner?

Without question. This little model, poised halfway between toy-grade and hobby-grade, has the potential for hours of warm weather fun in a swimming pool or pond no matter what your skill level happens to be. Fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise who happen to have some modeling skills have the perfect R/C platform upon which to create their own Black Pearl replica.

One with a working cannon, yet.

Photo Gallery


It would seem that new R/C enthusiast Jeff has definitely been bitten by the R/C bug thanks to an affordable, easy-to-operate and just plain fun model. He wraps up our review with these few words:

"It be pretty detailed for an R/C o' its price. Th' sails be cloth with the skull and crossbones on them. It even be painted rather well. If you have a landlocked lagoon, I recommend it."

Aye, and we be seein' ye 'round these parts when next we sail!

Last edited by Angela H; Jul 14, 2008 at 08:28 PM..
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Jul 15, 2008, 05:32 AM
Registered User
Hum ....

No video ?
Jul 15, 2008, 09:52 AM
Slow Flyer
Bombay's Avatar
Nice detail.
Maybe I missed it, but what is the run time?
We need some video with sound (cannons).
What about the standard pro/cons or pluses/minuses?
Jul 15, 2008, 12:04 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Originally Posted by twinflandres
Hum ....

No video ?
Actually, there are two; my friend uploaded them to YouTube and the links are up in the infobox. One shows the model under power and the other shows the cannon. They were too large for him to e-mail to me and he isn't a member of the authors' forum, so he couldn't upload them here.
Jul 15, 2008, 12:11 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Originally Posted by Bombay
Nice detail.
Maybe I missed it, but what is the run time?
We need some video with sound (cannons).
What about the standard pro/cons or pluses/minuses?
Good question re. the run time. It runs at a very low speed and simply requires fresh alkaline batteries when it slows down, although I suspect the little battery cassette can be swapped out for a ni-cad. You'll find links to a couple of YouTube videos of this very model up in the infobox. They were too large to be e-mailed to me and added here.

I thought it was a bit too small a subject for the usual pluses/minuses, but in a nutshell, the pluses are:
  • Inexpensive purchase price
    Fun alternative to more expensive models of its type
    Working cannon adds an additional dimension of fun
    Cloth sails instead of plastic sails
    Better than scale performance

I'd list the minuses as:
  • Difficult to remove from packaging
    Difficult to change the receiver batteries
    Exposed on/off switch takes away from the scale effect
    Inexpensive models of this type don't generally have replacement parts available
Jul 15, 2008, 10:03 PM
tomme21's Avatar
great looking ship, but, where can i get a DANGERFIELD doll??

no disrespect intended.
Jul 17, 2008, 03:29 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Is Rodney cool or what? I found him in most of his original packaging in a thrift store and sent it to Jeff since he's such a huge fan. The thing actually moves its head and arm in sync with original Rodney Dangerfield recordings. Yup...Rodney pulls on his tie. It's supposed to move its mouth, but doesn't. I think it was still on the original demo batteries and I thought fresh batteries would get it working properly, but they didn't. Anyway, they were produced about ten years ago and they show up on eBay every so often.
Jul 18, 2008, 03:22 AM
Registered User
I hate to be the one to say this.

It would be OK for a child perhaps. But many adult beginers would be disapointed.

A great RC toy however.
Last edited by tigerbay; Jul 18, 2008 at 03:35 AM.
Jul 18, 2008, 11:53 AM
Done it all
This review doesn't even belong on this web site, what are you thinking? I wouldn't do this, or post this toy stuff for any amount of money.

If anyone wants a bargain on toy electric boats, try an Ebay search for "harbor tug". The price should be around 59 bucks and it has a big nicad or nimh battery.

Mama Mia, what is this world coming to when an adult does a reveiew on a hobby web site for a glorified toy.

The negative, it's hard to remove from the packing? Give me a break, please delete this thread, I can't stop laughing.
Jul 18, 2008, 08:29 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
FWIW, I think this is perfectly relevant. The owner is fifty years old with no previous experience; I'm forty-seven and all of my previous reviews have been on large, hobby-quality subjects. I thought it would be fun and different and the administrative staff agreed or I would never have started the article in the first place.

The point is, toy-grade or semi toy-grade R/C can be fun. This isn't a Pro Boat or Traxxas nitro-burner, but rather a fun little ship which is perfectly at home in a swimming pool, probably more so than most R/C boats. Most boats are simply too fast for a pool. If my parents' pool weren't saltwater, I'd get one for my dad. Your fifty bucks gets you a pool toy and I think that anyone reading the review can see that.
Last edited by DismayingObservation; Jul 18, 2008 at 08:57 PM.
Jul 18, 2008, 08:58 PM
Registered User
This review reads like and advert.

I doubt very much that an 'article' like this would appear in any modelling magazine. Because fo the nature of the product.

It is an RC toy.
Jul 18, 2008, 09:32 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
Oh, come now. Any review is going to have a certain amount of "hype" to accentuate the positive aspects.

Also, this isn't a print magazine. And no, this isn't a full-blown model ship. It is what it is, a toy and a fun one. Toy R/C often leads to bigger and better models. They're also excellent tools for introducing kids to the hobby.

My first R/C car was a Monogram Lightning and my first plane was a two-channel HobbyZone Firebird Commander. The Lightning was far from a race-winning buggy and you sure as shooting couldn't consider doing pylon racing with the Firebird. But...those models each sparked my interest and I haven't looked back.
Jul 21, 2008, 10:27 AM
Done it all
Ya know, you and the administrative staff have opened up yourself for some funning. Sorry for using this review to have some fun and vent frustration at your expense. Take it with a grain of salt and a smile. After all, this review is based on a toy item.

I'm also glad you edited your post to elimiate those swear words you were calling me. LOL

However, Pro-Boat, or World Hobbies boats would be a really good subject, especially their potential conversion to electric. The problem with decent size electric boats is the duration (running time) between charges. One race and the boat is done.

I sure wish that the administrative staff would couple thier ideas with hobbiests that would tackle some of the areas that entail future development. Like, how about doing a electric conversion to a large size Cat type boat that would run for an hour between charges?

Jul 21, 2008, 06:56 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
No problem. Believe me, I wish I had a place to run a boat. The only body of water of any consequence near where I live doesn't allow model boats; our club is negotiating with the county to set aside an area for boats and float planes. I don't get out to the Colorado River often enough to justify buying one. Otherwise, I would most certainly have a gas-powered Miss Budweiser or something equally fun in the R/C stable. So, I thought what the heck. Why not have a bit of fun reviewing a ridiculously simple model that anyone with a pool or pond can enjoy?

Thanks for the nice note.

PS: Not to worry; I didn't reeeeally swear at ya.
Jul 21, 2008, 11:16 PM
Done it all

To continue the fun, try this link.

When the sale expires, search EBay for Sea port work boat. Like I said approx 59 bucks. Yes, it's a RC toy but the darn things are great. It's a China knock off of a very expensive RC boat sold by a high dollar British company. I bought 4 of these things to play with while boating on that Colorado River. I also tried to use them to retrieve downed RC float planes and my son's World Hobbies gas boats.The tugs actually squirt water through fire hose. Great for splashing the woman while they are trying to drink their wine coolers.

Soooo, what does your sailing ship do? That is if someone can open that battery compartment and stick in some AA batteries. LOL

I'm still funnin with ya. After all it's cheaper than visiting a shrink.

Last edited by SCALEFAN; Jul 22, 2008 at 07:31 PM.

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