Zip Zaps!

There are two major crazes for this Christmas - trust me.  First, there's the Pixsters, sort of kiddie PDA's.  Check them out when you get a chance.

There's also these - Zip Zaps!  These cool little (1:64 scale) radio control cars are a terrific idea.  They are produced and sold through Radio Shack, so that's where you'll want to start looking.

There's a variety of styles of car, and lots of extras as well.  There's additional motors, body styles, wheel covers, etc. etc. etc.

The car comes in pieces, and you put them together - assemble the wheels, insert the engine, snap on the body, etc.

If you find these little guys interesting, there's a great site that cover this style of RC - Micro RC Cars - and you can find them for sale at the Radio Shack website.

Packaging - ***
Normally I wouldn't mention the packaging on a toy like this, but I'm pretty impressed with it.  The car is shown off on the top, with the rest held in a plastic container below.  It catches your eye on the shelf, and does what a good package should - helps sell the toy.

Sculpting - **1/2
Okay, these aren't the most detailed car sculpts.  The one here is a Mustang, and there are a variety of other cars to choose from, but it won't be the detail of the body that sells you on these.  It's adequate, but it's not the driving force..

Paint - ***
The paint ops are fine, although quite basic.  There's not as much detail as a Hot Wheel for example, and no tempos on the basic cars.

RC Feature - ****
Okay, this is what you're buying it for.  The car mounts on the charger/controller, and charges up in about 45 seconds.  It will go for about 7 minutes or so on a charge, and recharges back up very quickly.

The range is fairly good as well, and you can be up to ten feet or so away from the car.  The controller is light weight, and the two thumb controls work great.

I had a TON of fun driving this little car around the room, and although the cat wasn't too thrilled, my kids sure were.

Extras - ****
One of the neat things about these mini muscle cars is all the extras available.  There's performance packages with bigger motors, wheel and rim sets, racing kits, and more.  It adds to the fun and excitement, and it's an excellent idea.

Value - ***
The starter sets run about $20, which isn't a prefect value, but not terrible.  Of course you'll have to buy some batteries, but it doesn't seem to eat them too quickly.

Overall - ***1/2
If you're looking for some mini-RC fun, these cars are perfect for you.  They are also a great way to get younger kids into the hobby, and with all the extras gives them ways to increase their interest over time.  With the fairly basic but smooth controller, and the ease of handling, it's perfect for kids in the 7 or 8 age range.  If these were a little more widely available, they'd have taken off even more by now. 

Where to Buy - 
I picked this one up at the Radio Shack at the local mall.  On-line:

- Radio Shack has the starter sets for $20.

- there's also another brand called MicroSizer.  Similar idea, similar style.

UPDATE 01/17/03:
I have a couple links to add to the review.  First up is a very long and detailed article comparing Zip Zaps and Microsizers:,3973,604830,00.asp

The second is a site that sells the Microsizers themselves - Table Top Racers.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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