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Geek Gifts 2008: The RC Battle Tank Type 90

Think Geek sent us the RC Battle Tank Type 90 to review for our annual Geek Gift Guide. The tank is obviously based on the U.S. battle tank the M1 Abrams. We took our battle tank for a little field testing and came away more than a little disappointed.
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By Mark Kaelin on
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1 of 15 Mark Kaelin/ZDNet
Think Geek sent us the ""="" href="http://www.thinkgeek.com/interests/giftsunder50/6279/" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">RC Battle Tank Type 90 to review for our annual ""="" href="http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/focus/Geek" gifts="" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">Geek Gift Guide. The tank is obviously based on the U.S. battle tank the M1 Abrams. We took our battle tank for a little field testing and came away more than a little disappointed.
The full review is published in the ""="" href="http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/geekend/?p=1439" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">TechRepublic Geekend blog.
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2 of 15 Mark Kaelin/ZDNet

The packaging makes us anxious to get at our new toy.

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Vivid simulation of an actual tank -- this is going to be cool.

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Looks like we have all of the pieces -- lets load the batteries and get to tanking.

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It looks sort of like the M1 Abrams, but the box and documentation got to great lengths to be non-committal on exactly what tank is being simulated.

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Here are all the pieces laid out on the table.

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Notice the hatch. As you can see the door is attached and hinged. Look back a couple of images and you will see what happened when I inserted the battery pack.
It turns out our tank, because of cheap construction, lacks longevity.
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Poor translation is not confined to bad Japanese video games.

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While it was nice to get batteries, even if they were off-brand, there is still some assembly required.
These detailed pieces have to be cut out and added to our Battle Tank.
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Brings back memories of my model making years. The little plastic pieces that never fit just right, the smell of the glue -- ah, childhood. I think the USS Missouri battleship I made when I was a child would hold up better than this tank.

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11 of 15 Mark Kaelin/ZDNet
At this point our Battle Tank is broken. I ran the tank down the concrete sidewalk when the right tread drive shaft broke. Distance traveled about 20 feet.
It is my contention that a RC Tank should be constructed in such a way as to be able to cover reasonably difficult terrain. I have seen RC vehicles crash into curbs and still keep going so I know it is possible.
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12 of 15 Mark Kaelin/ZDNet

I say the Battle Tank Type 90 is cheap and here is why: This is the drive mechanism for the left track. Notice the plastic spines of the gear. That is what transfers power from the drive shaft (metal) to the tread. The left assembly is still intact.

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13 of 15 Mark Kaelin/ZDNet

The right assembly is gone at this point. The arrows mark where the spines of the gear should be.

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From this angle you can see the holes were the missing gear spines were supposed to lock and drive the right tread.

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15 of 15 Mark Kaelin/ZDNet
And here you can see that the entire plastic gearing for the right tread has completely failed. The gearing, if it were constructed properly, should have been metal.
I was excited about reviewing the RC Battle Tank Type 90 for the ""="" href="http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/focus/Geek" gifts="" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">TechRepublic Geek Gift Guide, but after only a few minutes I was terribly disappointed. You can read the ""="" href="http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/geekend/?p=1439" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">full review in the Geekend blog if you want the ugly details.

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