The Spinmaster RC Air Hog Switchblade — has gotten a lot of buzz lately. It was featured on Letterman–where happily for the company and our friend Shannon…it worked on air–much to the delight of the audience (and Dave).
So we were eager to give this one a try. The results were decidedly mixed. If the Switchblade is fully charged, there is no wind–and you’re relatively skilled with these types of toys–it goes up and will fly–and it is extremely cool. Now here’s the down side–we could only get it to do what it’s supposed to do two or three times in the course of a full afternoon of testing. This is not a load it up, charge it, take out and fly it kind of toy — it requires much more finesse.
After having several teens try it with limited success — (they all really wanted it to work)…in come my two adult engineering friends (one designs drone helicopters and the other has a degree in nuclear engineering). Nothing like watching grown men get very excited about these types of toys. I shared the reports of the day—and they both were not satisfied. They were sure that they could get it to work. After about a half-hour of consulting –they both gave in and concurred with their younger counterparts. “Great idea, poor execution.” They then offered a much more detailed report about why it wasn’t working. (I love these guys. I remember when we first started toyportfolio.com, one dad (he worked for Dupont) sent back a ten page review of an Erector set with design modifications!)
One of my go to teen testers told me that he often reinforces the very lightweight material with some duck tape–so that crashes are less likely to do permanent damage to the toys. I thought that info was worth passing on–of course, he warned that if you don’t put it on the right way you can blow the whole aerodynamics of the toy. Of course!
So even though this toy can be fantastic…in the end, it can not sustain the wow factor.