The Tyco Devastator is a 1/14 scale radio controlled car, manufactured by Taiyo (Japan), and released by Tyco in the US, UK, and worldwide.
The design of the Devastator is based on toy manufacturing economics. One of the most expensive parts of manufacturing any toy, or any plastic part really, is the cost of designing and creating the 420 stainless steel moulds – anywhere from $10,000 – $100,000 each in modern dollars.
These are large blocks of steel which are intricately hollowed out to create pathways for the plastic injection moulding process to work its magic, and spit out a perfectly formed shape – like a RC car body.
In Tyco’s case, the mostly one piece body of their R/C cars, and most other pieces for the chassis which holds the motor, gears, batteries, etc. are all injection molded, and each required its own stainless steel mold to be created before any parts could be produced.
For this reason, Taiyo and Tyco became very good at mixing and matching existing molds+parts to create new vehicles, and the Tyco Devastator is one of these.
Can you identify the two models used?
The carpet does not match the drapes!
One thing many are unaware of is that the fluro yellow isn’t actually the plastic – it seems to be a paint covering! Looking closely at the image below, you can see the front of the Devastator has its yellow paint peeling off, and underneath is the usual Tyco / Taiyo black plastic. This is very much a good thing, considering what unusual colors and additives can do to plastic strength over the long term – more on that later.
Features and Performance
Perhaps it’s just me, but I find the design of the Devastator / Hammer chassis to be quite well made. Thick plastic struts, many supports and strengtheners, and overall quite interesting to look at.
While it is essentially just a Hammer with a new body, the Tyco Devastator is a great car in it’s own right, with its own Comic-book Monster Truck style, and great performance.
- 9.6v ‘Turbo’ battery pack
- Rear wheelie bar
- Oversized tires
- Available in Neon Green 27Mhz and Black 49Mhz
- Pistol Grip Controller
- All-Round Shock Absorbers
- Large size and extra tall height
Interestingly, US/AU/NZ Devastators were Made in Singapore as per most Tyco R/C models, however those in Europe/UK were Made in Malaysia.
Eye watering asking price
As with the Hammer, the Tyco Devastator has some hefty asking prices on eBay. At time of writing, two are listed, one for $1347 USD New In Box (NIB), and another loose for $650 USD. Are these prices realistic? An item is worth what someone is willing to pay, and increasingly people are willing to pay considerable amounts for these items of 80s and 90s toy history.
They’re obviously great cars, and highly desirable to any Tyco or toy collector generally, but there’s one problem. There aren’t many of them around! Why? (Edit: well I think I know why now! See the warning below).
So should you get one? Absolutely – but only if you can be 100% certain it’s not affected by GPS. Either handle it in-person, or buy from a trusted collector in the community who can vouch for the plastic’s strength.
Unfortunately it seems the Devastator is affected by so-called Gold Plastic Syndrome, using the same plastic as Taiyo’s awesome but cursed Customax Subaru WRX. There’s an excellent article on the Transformers collectors community (where the name originally came from), and YouTube video of the problem.
I know this because the photo of the broken Devastator below is mine – costing alot of money to ship from the UK, and having it arrive like this, realising it’s the same sparkly plastic which crumbled in the post… Devastated!
I cannot be sure that it affects ALL Devastators, however there is a suspiciously few of these around, and I’ve had 2 or 3 Customax Subaru WRX of the same plastic which all disintegrated either in post, or upon assembly. This one only had a minor fixable crack (or so I thought) in the body when it was listed, and the box arrived apparently undamaged, but on further inspection it was clear something heavy had been placed on it, and the weak crumbly plastic just quietly snapped like a hard wax.