The Taiyo Road King 4×4 is a radio controlled truck manufactured by Taiyo, and released into limited markets worldwide including Japan.
Similar to the Taiyo Sound Blaster and Taiyo Sound Spark, the Road King 4×4 has a built-in sound effects chip to provide various sounds for different modes of operation. Insert the plastic key and start it up, and you’ll hear the big truck engine starting, then ideing. It also comes with acceleration sounds, reverse beeping, air brakes, and klaxon.
With 8xAA batteries at 9.6V (NiCD) and 12V Alkaline, the truck is no slouch, and it’s unusual to see this chassis style with such power behind it. Personally I own a Tyco Big Rig Truck 9.6V Turbo which appears to be very similar, with some key differences in the body design and lack of sound effects. Sadly I’ve not yet had a chance to run it, so I can only assume that they’ve both got a decent amount of power, rather than speed.
Birth of the Tyco Rat?
In some countries, probably in Europe or South America, the Taiyo Road King 4×4 was sold and decal’d as the Mad Rat. On the side of the vehicle you can see a clear representation of the 2000s era ‘Tyco Rat’. Very strange! Not only seeing it on a Taiyo Japan product, but 10 years before it would be used by Tyco in their commercials.
The Road King 4×4 and its unusual Mad Rat cousin are easily in the Top 5 most rare Taiyo R/C vehicles that I’m aware of.
Dedicated Taiyo Collectors would jump at the chance to have one of these in their collection, not just due to the rarity, but the fact it’s a 9.6V in a truck chassis, the only time this ever occured, save for its Tyco ‘Big Rig’ variant.
Added to that is this mysterious ‘Tyco Rat’ cartoon on the Mat Rat, ten years before it appeared on our TV screens only serves to make it even more interesting.
If you’d like to add one to your collection I would’nt hold your breath though. The Road King does appear occasionally on Yahoo Japan, but the Mat Rat is something I only saw for moments before it disappeared, never to appear again!