Remember when you were a kid and playing with your toys was a lot less expensive? You could beat on 'em practically all day without breaking them (most of the time). Nowadays dented oil pans, flat tires, and busted drivelines can quickly suck the fun out of a weekend or afternoon's play time.
Wanna get back to your toy roots without the expense of building a custom one-off RC rockcrawler? Check out the Funrise Nylint 1:6 scale remote-control Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Nope, it's not another incapable chunk of import plastic. This RC Jeep actually climbs over rocks and ledges really well. It features realistic aired-down tires, a high- and low-range, as well as spools (front and rear) for unbelievable traction. The controller is fairly typical and easy to use, even for smaller children's hands. There's a steering wheel, a throttle that controls forward and reverse, and a shifter that puts the Jeep into low- or high-range.
The high- and low-range can be selected on the fly, but it makes awful grinding noises no matter how you shift it. The low-range is awesomely low and allows the Jeep to creep over rocks and ledges with the help of the extremely flexible suspension. It reacts and handles almost like a real built Jeep. Even if you get stuck, manipulating the steering and throttle can usually get you out just like the real thing. It's actually pretty good training if you're still learning how to pick clean lines over large rocks in your big Jeep.
High-range is a bit of a disappointment. The Nylint Jeep is not all that fast and it has virtually zero torque. We wished it was at least peppy enough to spin the tires and do doughnuts in the sand. But it's not.
The large battery lasted through way over an hour of relentless crawling and bashing on melon-sized and larger rocks. We probably beat on our Nylint Jeep a lot harder than most people would and, as a result, we had a couple trail failures. Our front shocks separated after crashing down a few too many two-foot ledges. We also broke something in the front differential. This occurred while driving it down an 8-foot-tall, 70-degree slope (the backside of the dam at Buck Island on the Rubicon Trail). The Jeep started bouncing, then there was a pop, then no front drive. Our Jeep is two-wheel drive now. The good news is that replacement parts are available on the Funrise Web site. The Nylint Jeep can be found at Wal-Mart and other stores for around $150.