There are RC (radio controlled) vehicles meant to be driven. And then there is Skyrocket Toys’ Missile Striker; an RC vehicle of mass destruction (VMD) meant to attack with. But while this futuristic-designed tank doesn’t have any problems in getting close to its target, it doesn’t have to. That’s because, like a cruise missile, it can deliver a payload from a great distance away with pinpoint accuracy.
Lets begin with an inspection of the VMD Missile Striker. Skyrocket Toys knows that an RC tank can’t be confined to a small space, so the controller operates at a distance using wireless. The RC controller itself seems conventional enough: dual joysticks used to drive the treads. Push both ‘sticks forward or back to make the Striker do the same; alternate angling moves it left or right or enables a quick spin clockwise or counter-clockwise. The Striker moves quickly for what is a moderately heavy design, but don’t expect the “AA”s inside to last as long if you push hard. The controller’s 9 volt cell should last longer than the “AA”s if it was conventional, but it’s not. The red cover that lifts up reveals an arming switch which lights up the skull design on the controller. Using the switch in conjunction with the front-mounted trigger at the right fires the foam missile. And when I say “fire” I’m talking about that missile flying 60 feet or more.
Oh, there’s no camera or mike or anything like that. So you have to be in visual range of the Striker to use it.
Of course range is meaningless without accuracy, which is why I spent a couple of sessions doing nothing but maneuvering the Missile Striker across the “rugged” terrain of the sidewalk. This was followed by my taking it to a nearby park so I could carefully aim and fire the missile in an open area with a large tree as the intended target. You have to learn how to approximate the flying angle of the missile because, while the barrel can be adjusted from horizontal to almost vertical, it must be done manually.
So now it’s time for the mission. I’ve put new batteries inside both and set the frequency to “B” (there are 3 choices just in case other RC’s are around). I’ll also extend the antenna to increase the range coverage since I’m going to be using it outside.
The foam missile has a stiff front that aids in making it aerodynamic. I slide it onto the barrel, which I’ve already adjusted to height. Now I’ll work the pump on the Striker’s back end until there’s a lot of resistance.
It’s time to move out. I’m at my building’s barbecue grill, overlooking the pool area. I’ll have to maneuver the Missile Striker across the concrete and tiles till I reach the optimum firing range — my target being an opened pool umbrella situated next to the hot tub. I start the Striker moving forward as it makes a slight humming sound. The Striker rolls forward without fits or jerks — thanks to my practicing — but a wheel clips the soda machine against one wall and for a second the Striker goes off kilter and I’m afraid it will tip over. I work the controls to spin it around and it rights itself. I wipe the sweat off my hands and get it rolling forward again.
The Striker has reached the launch point and it has a direct line of sight with the umbrella, which is as least 50 feet away if not more. I raise the arming switch cover and push up on the arming switch. The skull design glows red as I close the cover and let my right index finger press the trigger. There’s a “PHUT” as the missile takes off in an arc and hits the umbrella. But I’ve been discovered as a girl sitting by the hot tub points to the umbrella and then towards the Striker! I hit full reverse and then spin around and give it all its got. The Striker returns to my position, I scoop it up and leave. Yes the missile has been lost, but Skyrocket Toys provides 3 so new targets can still be acquired another time when I take the RC Missile Striker out again.
Bottom line: The VMD Missile Striker is an awesome RC tank because it can shoot a missile farther than any of its wimpy competition. If your idea of RC fun is driving a tank and hitting targets at a distance others can’t match, then spend $59.99 and start firing.
Wheelie blade add-on keeps tank from tipping over when barrel at extreme angle
Not suitable for night missions
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.