Reviews for a Predator Drone toy

The reviews on the Amazon page for a toy Predator drone are pretty trenchant:

You've had a busy play day - You've wiretapped Mom's cell phone and e-mail without a warrant, you've indefinitely detained your little brother Timmy in the linen closet without trial, and you've confiscated all the Super-Soakers from the neighborhood children (after all, why does any kid - besides you, of course - even NEED a Super-Soaker for self-defense? A regular water pistol should be enough). What do you do for an encore?

That's where the US Air Force Medium Altitude, Long Endurance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) RQ-1 Predator from Maisto comes in. Let's say that Dad has been labeled a terrorist in secret through your disposition matrix. Rather than just arrest him and go through the hassle of trying and convicting him in a court of law, and having to fool with all those terrorist-loving Constitutional protections, you can just use one of these flying death robots to assassinate him! Remember, due process and oversight are for sissies. Plus, you get the added bonus of taking out potential terrorists before they've even done anything - estimates have determined that you can kill up to 49 potential future terrorists of any age for every confirmed terrorist you kill, and with the innovative 'double-tap' option, you can even kill a few terrorist first responders, preventing them from committing terrorist acts like helping the wounded and rescuing survivors trapped in the rubble. Don't let Dad get away with anti-American activities! Show him who's boss, whether he's at a wedding, a funeral, or just having his morning coffee. Sow fear and carnage in your wake! Win a Nobel Peace Prize and be declared Time Magazine's Person of the Year - Twice!

This goes well with the Maisto Extraordinary Rendition playset, by the way - which gives you all the tools you need to kidnap the family pet and take him for interrogation at a neighbor's house, where the rules of the Geneva Convention may not apply. Loads of fun! [Maurice Cobbs]

This is the best toy ever. Finally, I can pretend that I'm a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize! It's like I'm sitting right there in the White House with my very own kill list! [Raini Pachak]


  1. Kids have always played soldier. This toy company is just responding to a demand.

    When I was a kid we imagined being on a nuclear submarine with cruise missiles, sea launched ballistics, and covert SEAL teams. Isn’t a drone just a reusable cruise missile? I imagine the kids in ancient Athens played ‘kill the Persian’.

    1. I share your lack of concern, but I expect others feel the children-playing-at-war thing is at best a symptom of a defective culture and at worst a cause. And there may be something to that, though I think that attitude on today’s Internet  could lead to an awkward position of defending violent video games as harmless entertainment but condemning plastic airplane models as a big problem. 

      That said, I’m all for people being clever and/or snarky.

      1. While I don’t believe we should be indoctrinating our children to believe that war is ok, this product and the review is more of a metaphor.

        It’s about people that demand gun control when US children die, but don’t care when innocent foreign children are killed by the bombs they paid for.
        It is about a government that is allowed to disregard human rights and basic freedoms by apathetic and fear ridden citizens.
        It is about the US government that cannot resolve international problems but continues to make enemies and combatants around the world, while the US citizens are placated with our toys.

    2. Kids have always played soldier.

      Bruno Bettelheim’s The Uses of Enchantment talks about the value of violence in fairy tales and how it allows children to develop and work through issues. I’m pretty sure that the lessons learned from pretending to be a soldier in a firefight versus pretending to kill people without danger to yourself are radically different.

    1. I can’t wait for the next Iranian photos of one of their new drones over Tel Aviv, showing a die cast seam along the edges. 

  2. I wish I had this toy when I was a kid.  When I played soldier with the other kids one was from Pakistan.  There was that whole nastiness with having to look him in the eyes and getting pretend blood on me.  I could’ve just run past him with my toy drone and been back in time for pb&j sandwiches!

  3. A kid who loves playing soldier with mil-tech toys would probably be disappointed with this.  

    This is the unarmed reconnaissance version, the RQ-1:
    R = Reconnaissance Q = Unmanned.  

    He’d likely want the MQ-1 (or maybe the MQ-9 Reaper):
    M = Multi-role (Recon + Attack)  Q = Unmanned

    It’s only the MQ models that have the hard points, electronics, and targeting systems necessary to mount Hellfire missiles or other munitions.

    1. The product description needs amending, then. It describes the model as an RQ-1; but also claims AGM-114 compatibility. This false advertising must not stand!

  4. Why is it people get so worked up about ‘drones’?

    It seems to me that they’re confusing the delivery platform with the moral (and legal) issues surrounding the attacking of suspected terrorists or insurgents who are not on a battlefield with standoff weapons.

    The US military has been attacking suspected terrorists and insurgents who are not on a battlefield with standoff weapons for quite some time now.  

    They’ve used  ‘smart’ munitions delivered by high-altitude jet fighters and bombers, by helicopters, by stealth aircraft, and by cruise missiles.  

    I’m not sure why putting the pilots on the ground instead of in the cockpit suddenly makes this behavior any more reprehensible than it’s previously been (assuming it is).

    The Sikorsky MH-60K and MH-60L Blackhawk helicopter variants that the Army’s 160th Special Operations group (“The Nightstalkers”) use have camera/IR targeting systems, a laser designator, and Hellfire missiles, very like the Predator and Reaper systems.  (They can also mount an assortment of chain guns, autocannons, Sidewinder missiles, and/or pod rockets.)

    They get used on some of the same sort of Special Ops missions as the Predators. (They flew insert and cover on the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.)

    But that wouldn’t make a kid’s toy model of the LACoFD’s Sikorsky S-70A Firehawk  (a Blackhawk variant that puts all that cool vision gear to work attacking wildfires)  the subject of risible Amazon reviews and snark about “killing terrorists”.  Would it?

    All the “Geneva convention” and “due process” complaints should apply to doing the same things with manned aircraft or cruise missiles – or even long-range artillery, for that matter.

    These are not “killer robots”.  They are aircraft flown by humans, firing weapons targeted by humans.  The big difference between these and other aircraft is that the pilot is on the ground, not in the cockpit.

    Unmanned remotely-piloted aircraft are tools that can be used for good or evil or both –  just like manned aeroplanes and helicopters and zeppelins before them. 

    All of which exist as kids’ toy models.

    It’s not about where the pilot sits.  It’s about what the pilot does.

    1. Their association with the CIA’s exciting new “let’s have our own air force!” plan doesn’t do their popularity any favors…

      Obviously,  conventional military branches also use them, and there isn’t anything stopping the CIA from having manned aircraft; but the…enthusiastic… uptake on the CIA side, and the traditional association of manned aircraft with the military, gives drones that ‘Official town bird of Langley, VA’ air and helps make them a proxy for disquiet about their users.

      Nothing, in theory, prevents the ‘shadowy network of extrajudicial execution facilities’ program from being implemented with manned aircraft; but that isn’t how it has been implemented, so drones get the credit for their work.

    2. Why is it people get so worked up about ‘drones’?

      Deliberately running people down on foot or with your car are both wrong and illegal. In the latter case, the technology allows for an exponential increase in negative consequences.

      1. Yes, but that’s true of manned aircraft, too And even more so of cruise missiles.

        I’m not claiming UCAVs are harmless, or that they’re no more dangerous than a car or a hammer or something 

        I’m just saying that the things being done with them are just as worthy of moral approbration when they’re done with manned jets or helicopters or cruise missiles or artillery.

        Believe me, you can do a heckuva lot more damage with the Nightstalkers’ Blackhawks than with a Predator – never mind a barrage of cruise missiles.

        (Why don’t cruise missiles set off the ‘killer robots” hand-wringing, I wonder?  They’re unmanned jet aircraft that are way more robotic than Predators – and as tools, they don’t even have any real non-violent uses – unlike planes and helos and drones.  Curious.)

    1. Something like this?

      In all honesty, from a hobbyist perspective it’s a very nice platform for all kinds of electronics – photography, FPV etc.

      I fly mainly gliders/quadracopters but having a RC drone would greatly interest me, especially the concept of homebrewing low cost automated navigation/stabilisation, possibly out of a cheap android mobile or raspberry pi…

  5. Kids play at what they hear about. When the news is full of drones, kids will play ‘drone strike’. After we crossed the U.S./Canadian border, my 7 year old son spontaneously built a fortified border crossing outpost from LEGOs complete with sniffer dogs, armed guards, and a railroad-style vehicle gate. No, they didn’t hassle us or search our vehicle, but he saw what he saw and incorporated it into his play.

  6. “Unmanned remotely-piloted aircraft are tools that can be used for good or evil or both –  just like manned aeroplanes and helicopters and zeppelins before them. ”
    I need a drone to protect my family. I only take mine to the range once in a while to blow off steam. I’m a collector. Drones don’t kill people, people with drones kill people. The Constitution guarantees me the right to bear drones. You can have my drone when you pry the joystick from my cold, dead hands…

    1. Well, I want a drone to make 3-D aerial photomaps.  A  Gatewing X100, say, or maybe a Sensefly eBee.

      (And note, BTW,  that, unlike the military UCAVS, both of those are actual robotic UAVs – give them the coordinates of the area you want mapped, toss them into the air, and they automatically fly a pattern over your target collecting photos and sensor data, and then land automatically.  No piloting skills required.)

      NASA is using modified Predator and Global Hawk drones for long-duration Earth Science missions. And it’s been designing and building its own purpose-built UAVs, both as testbeds and operational scientific systems.

      Predators don’t kill people.  Hellfire missiles kill people.

      And it doesn’t matter whether you deliver the Hellfire missile from a jet fighter or a turboprop gunship or a helicopter or a drone.  It’s all the same to the guys getting blown up.

      And  yes, America uses all those things to deliver Hellfire missiles (among other things)  against “suspected terrorists” in the War Against Being Terrified.

      It’s just that kewl/scary ‘robot’ drones get all the press.

  7. They should offer this drone toy as a set.

    The set should include 100’s of homes filled with figurines of innocent families you can knock over in your quest to destroy two bad guy figurines wedged between one or two of the houses.

    Kind of like a “Where’s Waldo” where Waldo is the enemy and the way you find him is by carpet bombing many more innocent people around him.


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