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Product Lab - August 2005

Published: July 28, 2005
CEN Racing Aqua Jet nitro
Reviewed by Reviewed by Mike Hollis, with Jim Faber

Product: The Aqua Jet GP is a ready-to-run nitro boat with relatively easy set-up and some pretty strong performance. It also comes in an almost-ready-to-run version that needs only a battery; a RTR electric with a 550- or 775-sized motor; and an electric almost RTR with either sized motor but without a radio system.

The GP model comes with .16 water-cooled marine engine that actually stays cool, unlike other water-cooled nitro boats this reviewer has run. Everything else to run the Aqua Jet, including radio equipment and a pre-wired micro-switch speed control are included.

One note about the packaging: although eye-catching on a store shelf, the designation of which version of the Aqua Jet is in the box is tucked away on the corner of the package.

VITAL STATS
Product: Aqua Jet GP Nitro
Maker: CEN Racing
Stock number: 2054
MSRP: $387.99

BOTTOM LINE
  • Easy to get from box to lake
  • Engine starts easily, runs great
  • Sharp-looking boat

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    Kyosho's Cobra is a performance-car icon
    Reviewed by Andy Lilienthal
    Product: The Shelby Cobra 427 S/C is an iconic sports car designed by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby. The car featured a British AC body with a 427 cubic-inch Ford V8 under the hood. This made for an amazing car in both race and street trim.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Shelby Cobra 427 S/C
    Maker: Kyosho
    Scale: 1:18
    Stock number: 08045BL
    MSRP: $60
    Availability: Minichamps USA

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Great paint
  • Very nice interior
  • A popular subject

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    Parnelli Jones' '68 roadster belongs in your winner's circle
    Reviewed by Mark Savage
    Product: Back in the day, when race drivers weren't walking billboards and shills for corporate sponsors, the drivers sometimes gave their cars nicknames.

    Parnelli Jones called his red-white-and-blue No. 98 Watson roadster "Calhoun." It was a trusty steed that he drove to the Indy 500 pole in 1962 as the first driver to top 150 mph, and again in 1963 when he won the race. Carousel 1's faithful reproduction of that 1963 version is nothing short of stunning. But then, that's what we've come to expect from Frank Dalton's firm.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: No. 98 Agajanian-Willard Battery Special Watson roadster
    Maker: Carousel 1
    Scale: 1:18
    Stock number: 4415
    MSRP: $119.95

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Great attention to detail
  • Storied car and driver
  • Throwback to a different racing era

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    Reef Racer 2: an easy, fun start in R/C boating
    Reviewed by Jim Faber
    Product: The Reef Racer 2 is a ready-to-run, electric R/C boat with a v-shaped hull. This zippy little boat, just 15 inches long, comes with everything needed to run it - battery, battery charger, two-channel pistol-grip radio and one mini servo. It's powered by a 380-sized electric motor and a 7.2V 1100mAh NiMH battery pack.

    Everything is installed; just charge the battery, install eight AA batteries in the radio and go.
    The Reef Racer's packaging is bright, attractive and informative. There's no mystery as to how easy this boat is to use after reading the box. The Reef Racer 2 comes in six colors: blue, yellow, red, white, orange and purple.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Reef Racer 2 RTR boat
    Maker: AquaCraft
    Stock number: HCAB14
    MSRP: $84.99
    Availability: Great Planes Model Distributors

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Incredibly easy to run
  • Good zip for entry level
  • Durable, tough body


  • MARKETING
    "It's very maneuverable. It's quick. It has everything in it. You can throw it off the end of the dock, literally (to launch it).
    Dave Henk
    Hobby Oasis
    Jacksonville, Fla.

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    AMT recreates an off-road legends
    Reviewed by Mike Krueger, with Jim Faber
    Product: An SUV before there were SUVs, the International Scout debuted in 1961 to compete with Jeep. The International Scout II was first produced in 1971, with production ending in 1980. A rugged truck, a Scout SS II won the 4WD category of the 1977 Baja 1000, finishing almost two hours ahead of any competition.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: International Scout II
    Maker: AMT
    Scale: 1:25
    Stock number: 38207
    MSRP: $12.95
    Availability: RC2 Corp.

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Good detail
  • Interior/chassis easy to make
  • Quality tooling and molding

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    Revell's '78 Corvette recreates the Indy 500 pace car
    Reviewed by Steve Culpepper
    Product: The Chevrolet Corvette was 25 years old in 1978, and Chevrolet celebrated the event by introducing the most extensively redesigned Corvette since 1968. Revell's version of this special Corvette is a reissue of an earlier kit (no. 2444) that includes a new, expanded decal set with a complete gauge package and trim for the alloy wheels.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: International Scout II
    Maker: AMT
    Scale: 1:25
    Stock number: 38207
    MSRP: $12.95
    Availability: RC2 Corp.

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Accurate rendition
  • No major fit problems
  • Well-detailed interior

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    Unlease your inner monster with Monsters Menace America
    Reviewed by Jim Faber
    roduct: It's rare to find someone who hasn't enjoyed the guilty pleasure of watching Godzilla, King Kong or some other movie monster stomp on a city. Doing it yourself adds a new dimension of pleasure, but it's a lot of work to make a monster suit and model city just to destroy it. Fortunately, game maker Avalon Hill has distilled the joys of a monster rampage into a new board game: Monsters Menace America.

    The game, for two to four players, offers the chance to stomp across major American cities, smash military units, destroy landmarks and mutate to gain new powers as Konk, a giant ape; Tomanagi, a Godzilla knock-off; Zorb, an eyeball-shaped alien; Megaclaw, an ill-tempered and giant anthropormorphic lobster; Gargantis, a mutant praying mantis; or Toxicor, a shambling product of the Hudson River.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Monsters Menace America
    Maker: Avalon Hill
    Stock number: 0-7869-3781-5
    MSRP: $44.99

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Amusing monster figures
  • Fast combat leads to smooth play
  • A raucous, good-time game


  • MARKETING
    "We glued all the pieces on the board and hung it from the wall."
    Scott Thorne
    Castle Perilous Games
    Carbondale, Ill.

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    Get your grain on with this 1:29 covered hopper
    Reviewed by Jeff Wilson
    Product: This new large-scale model of ACF's distinctive Center Flow covered hopper is loaded with detail. ACF has built prototype Center Flow cars in many sizes over the years, and with this model scaling out at about 57 feet, it most closely resembles ACF's popular 5,250-cubic-foot car. The model's details (low-mounted brake wheel and horizontal stiffening corrugations at tops of sides) mark it as an ACF car built after August 1971. Large four-bay cars like this one are sometimes used for grain, but are most often used to carry plastic pellets, chemicals and other products that are less dense than grain.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: ACF four-bay covered
    hopper
    Maker: USA Trains
    Scale: 1:29
    Stock number:14110 for the Burlington Northern, also available in other roadnames
    MSRP: $129.95

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Smooth ride
  • Loaded with detail
  • Another choice in a small market

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    Sharp model of popular steam-era express reefer
    Reviewed by Jeff Wison
    Product: Walthers' latest new body style is a good-looking model of a 50-foot wood express refrigerator car built by General American. Express refrigerator cars, known as reefers, were equipped with high-speed trucks and steam lines, enabling them to ride at the head end of passenger trains. Express cars meant faster shipping times compared to standard refrigerator cars. Shippers typically paid these express premiums for items such as first fruit of the season or for highly perishable items.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: General American wood reefers
    Maker: Wm. K. Walthers
    Scale: HO
    Stock numbers: Soo Line with GSC trucks (No. 932-5482) also available in other roadnames
    MSRP: $24.98 each; two-packs (available for some schemes) $49.98

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Appealing to mid-century modelers
  • Workhorse cars, seen on many trains
  • Good detail; smooth ride

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    LCM 3 was a no-frills, effective ship, and so is the model
    Reviewed by Reviewed by Robert Faber, with Jim Faber
    Product: The LCM 3 50ft Landing Craft was used extensively by the U.S. and British navies during World War II to ferry troops, lightweight armored and wheeled vehicles, and other materials weighing up to 30 tons from ship to shore. This landing craft was built in numerous shipyards in the U.S. from 1942 until the end of WWII. More than 8,000 LCM 3s were built.

    The LCM 3 could be launched from larger ships or towed behind those ships, like many were across the English Channel in advance of D-Day.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: LCM 3 50ft Landing Craft
    Maker: Italeri
    Scale: 1:35
    Stock number: 6436
    MSRP: $79
    Availability: Testor Corp.

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Fits in scale with armor kits
  • Simple vessel equals simple building
  • Perfect for dioramas

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    Days of Wonder's new game is just the 'ticket!'
    Reviewed by David Popp
    Product: Ticket to Ride Europe is the latest addition to Days of Wonder's stable of family games. This board game for up to five players includes a large, colorful map of Europe, 265 plastic playing pieces, wood score counters, 110 resource cards, 46 destination cards called "tickets" and a full-color, eight-page instruction book. The game also includes a plastic storage tray for keeping everything organized.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Ticket to Ride Europe
    Maker: Days of Wonder
    Stock number: DOW7202
    MSRP: $39.95

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Lots of replay value
  • Better than the original
  • A natural for railfans

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