Many of the ready made remote control mini rc hovercraft made for the toy market are really toy boats masquerading as hovercraft and, if many of the reviews are to be believed, are unreliable and not terribly good as boats either! Consequently, I have searched through many of the offerings to find the best which are available.
First up is the Tomy HoverQ HO-03 Mini RC Hovercraft. It is small, in fact it fits into the palm of the hand, which only makes it more remarkable, as it is a genuine hovercraft. It is claimed to be “the world’s smallest indoor infrared R/C hovercraft” and there is no reason to doubt it, so it gets my vote on novelty value alone. That said it is only intended for indoor use on a desk or floor and I am doubtful if it would survive harsh treatment. One reviewer said it only moved a foot a second, but that sounds pretty fast to me. It would make a perfect executive toy, or desktop curiosity. Also, I believe the price is very reasonable, especially when compared to its’ less realistic competitors of similar size. You can check it out and here: Tomy HoverQ
One of its’ competitors, which is really a boat, is this Mini RC Hovercraft of which you will see many on the internet, in a variety of colours and at a variety of prices. It can be put in the water, (it is a boat after all!), but reliability could be an issue. If you just want something to put in the bath and won’t be too disappointed if it doesn’t necessarily last too long, it might be what you are looking for. Learn more here: Mini RC Hovercraft
What we have seen so far are both mini rc hovercraft and, being realistic, there is a limit to what you can expect from something so small.
If you are really keen for a ready made remote control rc model to use on water and have fun with then, personally, I believe this will be your best option, but I have to admit, it’s not a hovercraft, it’s the Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours Airboat. In it’s favour it has good reviews and it looks quite cool. Well, at least its’ propeller is above the water and it can operate in the shallows! For an off the shelf option it’s well worth considering and will probably deliver the thrills you are looking for in the model rc world, at least on water, although it’s a step up in price. Discover more here: Aquacraft Mini Alligator Tours Airboat
Returning to the world of hovercraft is the 4M Hover Racer Science Kit. Intended for indoor use, it has real educational value. The manufacturer describes it as follows:
“Watch your own fantastic Hover Racer skim smoothly across the floor supported on it’s cushion of air. Learn the science facts behind the hovercraft. It’s a fun science project which supports the school curriculum. And it’s an ideal science-fair kit too.”
Although fun, it is not a toy, but an educational kit, which is evident from the styling, which is somewhat spartan, as you can see from the photograph. I have also read that assembly should be supervised by an adult, or completed by someone aged fourteen or over. The manufacturers have slightly amended the design, but all the reviews I have seen of the original version were overwhelmingly positive. Check it out here: 4M Hover Racer Science Kit
Should your interest be in the larger rc hovercraft models, (some of which are even used to scare aware birds from around airports!), you will be interested in taking a look at http://www.modelhovercraft.co.uk/
You can even learn to build your own. There are several books on the subject of rc hovercraft. One of which is the “Introduction to Radio Controlled Hovercraft” by Kevin Jackson and Mark Porter. It is described as a “comprehensive tutorial bringing together all the information required to design and build a successful radio controlled Hovercraft model. The book introduces the construction of Hovercraft models and the concept of their operation. Written by two leading authorities in RC Hovercraft design, Kevin Jackson and Mark Porter take you through both the theoretical and practical aspects of the design and construction process”.
I have also discovered a DVD entitled “Hoverpower – Mastering RC Hovercraft”. It includes a short history of hovercraft and the basics of how they work and so should be of interest to anyone who wants a quick introduction to the subject. It then goes on to look at the development of some successful rc hovercraft models. The guide covers designing a remote controlled hovercraft; the hull; the materials; the construction; waterproofing; creating the air cushion; thrust and steering; radio control and operation.