The Tyco Python is a radio control vehicle manufactured by Taiyo of Japan, and released into the US market in 1993. The same model was released by Tyco in other regions around the world, repackaged for a local audience.
Released at the same time as the Tyco Fire Power (a missile launch truck on the same chassis) the Python was an instant hit. Of course it was!
Features and Performance
Despite being constructed on a fairly boring chassis, the ‘gimmick’ of the Python was a natural winner. A surprise, spring-up Python snake that squirted unsuspecting parents/sisters/cats and annoying little brothers, or whatever else required a dose of watery justice.
When launching the projects that would ultimately produce the Python and the Fire Power, Taiyo and Tyco needed a reliable platform to build their gimmicks and gadgets upon. There would be enough risk with the various moving parts required to create the effects they wanted, and so ensuring that the platform they sat upon was reliable and as near risk-free as possible was crucial.
For this purpose, they would select the 1990 Jet Bandit chassis, a known reliable ‘work horse’ that had proven itself by 1993 with at least two years data on the return rate and potential points of failure. Plus, they’d already have the tooling and factory setup required to produce 50% of the product already, and so it was an obvious choice, allowing them to focus their time exclusively on the Python and the Fire Power’s specific mechanisms.
Some Taiyo purists see these Tyco ‘gimmick’ cars as evidence of too much American influence on Taiyo, which ultimately caused its demise.
These cars, most of them designed by Neil Tilbor and Michael G Hetman include:
- 1990 Tyco Typhoon
- 1991 Tyco Fast Traxx
- 1993 Tyco Scorcher
- 1993 Tyco Python
- 1993 Tyco Hi-Jacker
- 1994 Tyco FirePower
These are all fantastic in their own way, bringing joy to millions of young and young at heart worldwide, introducing R/C to a new 90s generation of children that went on to re-discover the original 1980s catalog of greats.
As anyone who has looked at buying a Python will have noticed, almost all of them have one of the rear fins broken, per photo below. I suspect the fin gets swiped by the python when it springs up, most probably when the vehicle is racing around, causing it to stop off immediately or from repeated stress.
And so when using your Python I’d recommend only springing it out when the vehicle has stopped. We are talking about RC cars now aren’t we? Yes, good!
In a later design under the post 1997 Tyco Mattel Wheels brand, this whole area was reinforced. Though it’s still possible to break, it’s a much better design.
Whether you will enjoy the Python depends on your perspective, the type of collection you are building, and nostalgic value.
Many of these cars already hold similar monetary value to the original greats, and I see their nostalgic value only increasing as their original audience grows older.