RCU Review: AquaCraft Alligator Tours


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    Contributed by: Matthew LeMay | Published: October 2010 | Views: 38358 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Mini Alligator Tours
    Top photo
    Review by: Matt LeMay
    NAVIGATION

    DEALER INFO

    MINI ALLIGATOR TOURS
    Distributed by:
    Great Planes
    Model Distributers

    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Telephone: 217-398-3630
    Toll free: 800-637-7660


    Website: www.greatplanesdistributers.com


    HITS

    Ready to run
    DC charger
    Run almost anywhere
    Realistic design
    Great hatch design
    Action figures can ride


    MISSES

    Would like the antenna to be behind the seat

    intro

    There's a reason I'm intrigued with the Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours air boat.

    Is it because it's so easy to run? Maybe it's because it can be run in almost any body of water including large puddles and drainage ditches. Perhaps it's because there's no underwater propeller to get tangled in the weeds. It could be that my boys enjoy placing their army men on the deck and we can all enjoy the boat together, or maybe it's a combination of all these things.

    Let's take a look at how all of this is possible with the Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours ready-to-run air boat.

     


    specs

    Main photo

    Name: MINI ALLIGATOR TOURS RTR
    Price: $109.98 varies with dealer
    Hull Length: 16.3125"
    Overall Length: 18.25"
    Width: 7.125"
    Height: 7.25"
    Weight: 24.6oz
    Motor: 380 size brushed motor (air cooled)
    ESC: Water proof ESC/Receiver combo
    Running Gear: Two plastic air deflecting rudders
    Propeller: Airplane type which measures 5.5" across
    Radio: Aquacraft 2-channel
    27MHz AM pistol grip

     

    REQUIRED-ITEMS

    • Eight "AA" batteries for radio



    AT-FIRST-GLANCE

    Appearance

    It's no secret the Mini Alligator Tours RTR boat is unlike any other conventional boat. The first thing you will probably notice is the propeller is mounted above the water. The propeller resembles an airplane propeller for obvious reasons. This boat is powered by the forced movement of air instead of water.

    The boat is trimmed with decals for added detail and appearance. The decals consist of the Mini Alligator Tours logo, deck floor detail, bow compartment details, and striping. There is no need to worry about installing these decals since Aquacraft has done that for you.

     

    Left
    Front
    Right
    Left angle
    All included
    Right angle
    Top
    Rear
    Underside

    AT-FIRST-GLANCE

    Hull

    The ABS plastic hull measures 16.3125" long, 1.5" thick, and 7.125" wide. The front 2/3 of the hull consists of a flat bottom and the rear of the hull contains a very shallow V design. Outer strakes run from the front and cover about 1/3 of the hull's length. A middle strake, or beam, runs the entire length of the hull.

    The seam of the hull is sealed around the perimeter with what appears to be an epoxy based sealant. The seam surrounding the recessed radio tray is also sealed. I tested the hull for leaks in the tub and it passed with no problems, however there is one spot on the edge of the hull which appears to have a thin spot in the sealant. I will add a little sealant of my own to that area just for piece of mind.

    If you plan to get crazy with your driving, aquacraft has got you covered. They've inserted some foam which fills the rear 2/3 of the hull and is a great added security to keep your investment afloat.

    Hatch

    The plastic hatch is held securely in place by inserting the two front hooks under a lip in the radio box and setting the magnetic rear of the hatch in place. This system feels very secure and the four recessed magnets hold well.

    A chair and control stick are mounted on top of the hatch for appearance and make a great spot to secure your own operator. I put an army guy in the seat and secured him using a rubber band. The only thing I would like different about the hatch is the antenna placement. It is directly in front of the seat, it would look much better behind the seat and that may be something I decide to modify later on.

    Steering

    Steering this airboat is made possible with the use of dual 4.1875" tall rudders. The two rudders are linked on both top and bottom by adjustable connecting rods. An additional adjustable link which is fastened to a servo controls the rudders. The tops of the rudders are fastened to the cage and the bottoms are fastened to the hull by use of a plastic bracket.

     

    Recessed magnets

     

    Hatch detail
    Hatch
    Steering linkage
    Air rudders
    Rudder linkage
    AT-FIRST-GLANCE

    Transmitter

    The included Aquacraft two channel 27MHz AM radio includes steering trim and sports a pistol grip design for comfort.

    Servo

    The Hobbico plastic gear micro steering servo provides enough torque to rotate the rudders side to side. Two screws secure the servo to a plastic mount which is glued to the bottom of the radio box. The servo horn has had three of four arms removed and it looks a little rough. Now, I know I'm being a little picky since this will in no way affect performance of the boat and you won't notice it with the hatch in place.

    Electronic speed control & Receiver

    The ESC shares a waterproof casing with a 27.095 MHz two channel receiver. The ESC/receiver combo saves room and is fastened inside the radio box to the side wall.

    Motor

    Perched on top the plastic motor stand is a 380 size air cooled brushed motor. The front of the motor fits inside a plastic motor mount that hold it securely in place. Two screws hold the motor in place while an additional two screws secure the mount to the stand. A fiberglass gaurd/brace protects the rear of the motor and helps keep everything sturdy.

    Mounted to the motor shaft is a plastic propeller which provides the necessary thrust for all your alligator adventures. The propeller is housed inside an injection molded plastic cage. This not only protects the propeller but protects your hand as well. The gaps between each horizontal brace are 2.125" wide which is large enough for the average finger to squeeze through, so caution will still need to be exercised.

    Battery & Charger

    Included with this ready-to-run package are a battery pack and charger. The battery, which uses a hook-and-loop mounting system, is a six cell 7.2v 1100mAh NiMH pack and the 12v DC quick charger is fitted with a cigarette lighter plug. The charger is easy to use, just plug it into your vehicles cigarette lighter and plug the NiMH battery into the other lead. The charger will beep is sync with a flashing red light when the battery is fully charged. The cool part is you can do this while at the pond.

     

    Steering servo
    Transmitter
    ESC/Receiver

     

    Prop nut
    Motor stand
    Motor mount
    7.2v Battery pack
    Radio box

     

    DC quick charger

     

    Action shots

     

     


    performance

    Test Run

    I wanted to test the Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours airboat in a body of water I wouldn't dare put a conventional rc boat. I chose the murkiest, swampy, and most colorfully overgrown body of water I could find. I couldn't reach the water to place the boat in because all the weeds and mushy banks so I needed to come up with a launching and retrieval system. My solution was to bend a hook out of some wire and secure it to the end of my 4' level. I hooked the fan cage and lowered the boat into the water and off she went, the alligator search was on.

    The boat pushed it's way through the algae growth with ease and created a small wake in the rear. Steering the Mini Alligator Tours was a pleasure and very responsive. Gradual turns at any level of throttle leaned the boat into the turn with graceful ease. Fully cranking the wheel at full speed however, yielded a different outcome. Hard left turns were fine but sharp right turns caused some unwanted leaning which resulted in some prop slap.

    I tested this several times and have concluded that the offset battery weight is playing a part in this. I turned the battery upright and fastened it to the servo mount and it did help some. I had best results from slowing down slightly before making sharp right hand turns.

    The Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours isn't likely to break any speed records but I understand that's not what the boat was designed for, however it does have plenty of thrust for a great airboat adventure. Maneuverability was typical for an airboat. Turns can easily be made within a 10" radius and even tighter once you master drifts and spins. Overall the boat handles well and is stable with the supplied power system.

    Where can I run this boat, that I can't run any other boat?

    I set out to find some strange areas I wouldn't even think of running other boats. The swamp I just spoke of was obviously the first but where else could I go. Hey, a big mud puddle! Let's try it! I know it sounds strange but as you will see in the video, this boat is well suited for this. I ran the boat in several puddles and recorded the largest of them all. You wouldn't think it would be so much fun boating in a big puddle, but it was a blast. I think not being able to do this with my other boats is why I enjoyed it so much.

    I was driving home when I happened by the soccer fields and spotted the drainage ditches. Yeah you heard me, I drove it in the gully. I was having so much fun I stood in the rain maneuvering the boat up and down the concrete drainage ditches, with the flow and against the flow. I was standing there thinking how cool it was to be driving a boat in a few inches of water without having to worry about damage. It wasn't difficult for me to decide I needed footage of this, so after the rain stopped I went home and invited my wife and two boys to come along.

    The seat was a perfect spot for an army man to chill so I sat one down and secured him with a rubber band. We added a rubber alligator into the mix for some added fun. Not only did I have a good time, but my family did as well.

     

     

    CHECK OUT THE YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE MINI ALLIGATOR TOURS BELOW

     

    See the Mini Alligator Tours in action!

    conclusion
    The Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours is definitely a fun little boat. If someone is looking to hit mach-V with an rc boat then this boat will not be able to satisfy that craving. However, if you're looking for a fun boat that is incredibly versatile and can be driven in almost any body of water, then this boat is exactly what you're looking for. Thinking back at this experience, I can say it was just as exciting as my other speed boats. Not because of adrenaline pumping power, but the places I was able to drive. That was my first time driving an air boat in a drainage ditch and if you've never been able to experience it, you should try it too.

    manu and credits

    Aquacraft Models

    Aquacraft Product Support:
    3002 N. Apollo Drive, Suite #1
    Champaign IL 61822

    Telephone: 1-217-398-8970
    FAX: 1-217-398-7721
    Email: boatsupport@hobbico.com
    Web Site: www.aquacraftmodels.com

     

    Comments on RCU Review: AquaCraft Alligator Tours

    There are no comments

    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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