You may remember that GeekDad Dave Giancaspro saw Hasbro’s remote control Millennium Falcon at the Toy Fair earlier this year. I saw it again at Comic-Con this summer, and finally got a chance to give it a spin myself. Turns out “give it a spin” is a pretty apt description—this is one Millennium Falcon that won’t be making the Kessel Run anytime soon.
On paper, it’s a great idea — the shape of the Millennium Falcon is perfect for putting in the twin-rotor mechanism. The body of the ship is made of very lightweight foam, with a small base on the bottom that contains the motor. You charge up the ship with a cable that stores in the remote, which uses four AA batteries. The flight throttle controls the speed of the rotors, and the direction throttle turns the ship left and right. There are also trim buttons to adjust the rotors if the ship rotates to the left or right — the manual notes that “trim will need to be adjusted each time you fly.”
In practice, though, the Falcon can fly for about five minutes after charging for half an hour, during which time you may spend the entire time trying to adjust the trim. What was especially frustrating is that the cockpit, while certainly a nice aesthetic touch, is just enough to unbalance the vehicle. I didn’t always have that much trouble with the ship rotating left or right, but I did have the pretty consistent problem that the Falcon always tipped a little to the right after take-off. If the vehicle is moving fast at take-off, you’ll crash into something well before you’re able to steer it back around. (And my attempts to counterbalance the weight by shoving a few pushpins into the opposite side didn’t appear to work, either—then the ship was simply too heavy to lift off at all.) I’m seriously considering just cutting off everything but the ring with a utility knife — it would completely spoil the look, but maybe I’d be able to actually fly it.
Here’s a little video of me trying to fly it — this is probably the best flying I’ve gotten out of it, but as you can see it starts to lose altitude almost immediately, and this was after a fresh set of batteries and a full charge.
If only it were more like the real thing: “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid.” Instead, we’ve got a ship that’s nothing more than a pretty face. I’m disappointed, really—I’ve been thinking about getting a little flying R/C toy for some time and this seemed like it would fit the bill.
Wired: A remote control flying Millennium Falcon is an awesome idea.
Tired: Sadly, awesome ideas can sometimes lead to not-so-awesome reality.
Disclosure: Hasbro provided a unit to review.