One of the things I scooped up from eBay last week was a Tyco Phantom FX-4! A little background: the FX-4 was a buggy styled like a fighter jet, much like the Tyco Blaster, only the FX-4 had “lazer lights”- flashing red LED’s in the “intake” and “exhaust”. The Phantom FX-4 is the mini version of the FX-4, ditching the LEDs, suspension, etc., and only runs on 4AA batteries.
The one I received came with the original box, and I was really pleased with the overall condition of everything, the vehicle looked untouched. The seller said it had been tested and working, so I didn’t waste any time popping fresh batteries and giving it a go.
Now, I don’t know if it was paranoia or my on stupidity, but I kept thinking it was broken. First, I turned on the remote and the LED didn’t light up. Well, after taking apart the remote (read ahead), I could see that the “LED” was just part of the casing. Another interesting bit is that the car was twitching, so I took apart the radio and cleaned the contacts. Now I had fwd/rev, but no steering. Well, get this: the vehicle only lets you steer while you are already moving fwd/rev. By experimenting with my Aero Hopper and it’s remote, I could tell that this is built into the both the transmitter and the car. It’s funny to see the interesting ways the Tyco engineers were able to cut corners in order to make a full function car at a lower price point and scale. Just in the transmitter alone, the antenna, indicator LED, on/off switch, and even circuitry had been custom-designed to be as efficient to produce as possible.
So, how does it drive? Well, in a word: slow. I wasn’t expecting a speed demon from a 20 year old budget kids toy RC, but in high or low gear it seemed to be lethargic, even with fresh batteries. Admittedly, I bought this car mostly to have as a shelf queen, so it’s not a big deal since it looks brand new. One of the cooler parts of this score was the box, as it had little ads for vehicles from what I like to call “the Golden Age” of Tyco RCs, lol. Pictures coming soon.