Thursday, 28 July 2011

Toyologist Review: My Own Leaptop

£19.97 from Toys R Us.

I should point out I have no experience of the education of children beyond being a parent and knowing...hmm, it seems I know a whole load of primary school teachers (none of whom I consulted about this product prior to review). I have taught a some university students some maths and supervised a bunch of laboratory sessions, but most of those people could already read and write.

(Saying that, I did mark some lab reports from some biochemists once and most of them definitely couldn't read or write if the bizarre stuff they put in their reports was anything to go by. You know, those who actually bothered to write anything at all.)

Monday, 25 July 2011

Toyologist Review: Pig Goes Pop

£16.99 from Toys R Us.

I went to university for…well, it was a long time.  It was there that I met my wife (this is good) and Andy (this is…well, he’s left the country now. Phew!). While I was there, in between eating Snickers Pie, ‘working from home’ and dressing like a crazy person, I did quite a lot of Research.

Before this game arrived I did some Research on the internet. I found the official website and discovered the following –
‘Quite a few throws later, the ever-expanding pig will have reached max in the digestion stakes - and 'explodes', to everyone's delight!’
It may just be because I’ve watched quite a lot of horror films, but I was quite scared by this description. First, that this pig was going to ‘explode’ all over my living room, and second, because 2-6 players aged 4 & up would be ‘delighted’ to see this rather messy event.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Toyologist Review: Mr Potato Head Silly Suitcase

£12.99 from Toys R Us.

I don't know what sales of Mr. Potato Head were like in 1994, but in 1995 they must have rocketed. Yep, that was when Toy Story was released. Suddenly an old fashioned, dull toy was AWESOME. The brown lump of plastic suddenly had a personality and I have no doubt he was more popular now than at any point since he was introduced in 1952.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Toyologist Review: Power Rangers Samurai Megazord

Haim Saban is my hero. True, I don't know anything about him beyond his work, but how can you not love the man who's name appears on the TV shows that defined my childhood? Inspector GadgetThe Mysterious Cities of GoldM.A.S.K.He-Man and the Masters of the UniverseSpider-Man and His Amazing FriendsKissyfurSpider-ManX-Men...

Jack Olesker's also my hero (he worked on The New Adventures of He-ManM.A.S.K.Heathcliff...) and Saban is Jack's hero.

Hero of a hero - does that make Haim Saban a superhero?

Saban is most famous for creating (with his ever-present pal Shuki Levy) the Power Rangers franchise in (eek! It's been going forever!) 1993. It took footage from the Japanese Super Sentai franchise and then sprinkled in some new bits with American actors where required.

It was a big hit and has been running ever since, rebooting itself (almost) every year to keep things fresh.

Power Rangers arrived slightly too late for me. All I really know about it is that the pink one was quite attractive. Saying that, there's probably been enough for an army of pink ones by now.

Oh, and the Dragonzord thing was cool.

The boy next door is the world’s biggest Power Rangers fan (that’s probably an exaggeration, but I've learned from job interviews that underselling yourself is a big mistake). Despite running round in a Power Rangers outfit and generally being ‘pro’ Power-anything he’s never actually seen the show. ‘Huh?’ you say. Well, he spent a big chunk of time in South Korea and apparently they advertise it like CRAZY there. Yes, the advertising is even worse there than it is here.

Since my boys play with this boy, they’ve now been infected with the disease.

So we have three boys, all Power Rangers mad, and none of whom have ever watched it.

So we come to the review...

As well as Power Rangers, my boys love Transformers, so this Megazord went down a storm since it’s a bunch of little things that stick together to make a bigger thing. As my 4 year old son said,

"I can build it. I can take it apart and build it back into a big one and little ones again. It is very quick to do."

After making a billion Megazords over the years, Bandai have got the process perfected. It's solidly built, quick & easy to transform which is good for playing (far better than Transformers which can take weeks to convert), and looks exactly like the one in the TV show (you may complain that lionzord doesn't look much like a lion, but then the one on the show doesn't either). The box has an age of '4+' but my 2 1/2 year old easily manages to play with it (even though he couldn't find on of the legs of the bear at first - see video).

Really a review is pointless, however. If your children don’t like Power Rangers, then they’ll have zero interest in this.  If your children like Power Rangers, then they’ll demand this.

Of course you could say ‘no’. In fact you’ll likely say that since it’s the initial reaction of any parent (apart from me) when a child asks if they can have a toy. But when they ask and ask and ask and ask and ask…

Well, then you get a grandparent to buy it. Because that way if young Jimmy never plays with it, at least it wasn’t your money wasted.

But my boys love it, so definitely no wastage here.

Note: the Transformers on either end aren't included,
but my son took the photo and insisted they were in it.

A small sample of the other photos my son took (and he took a lot)...


Other Toyology reviews can by found in the Toys R Us Toy Box on Facebook.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Review: Transformers - ROTF Leader Optimus Prime

We were off to Grandma's house. I wasn't driving, and when I'm not driving I like to sit and waste away the hours fiddling with something. I find Transformers fill this role quite nicely as it can take a few minutes to turn them from robot to vehicle and back again.

Transformers from the films are very good in this regard, as some of them can take forever to transform.

As you'll be aware if you've read my review of Dark of the Moon, I'm not a particularly big fan of the live-action Transformers films. That doesn't necessarily mean the associated toys are bad though. Generally, I think the toys are about as good as the first Transformers film was - okay, not nothing spectacular. We pick up a few (usually when reduced) that look like they're going to be quite good.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Review: MOTUC Bikini Teela

$19.99 from, though currently unavailable.

Once upon a time in the Masters of the Universe…um…universe, there was no such person as Prince Adam. There was no such person as Stinkor, or even Shadow Weaver.  When the world of He-Man began, there were a lot less things generally.

This included clothing.

In the days before the infamous Filmation cartoon, things were very different. It’s debatable if He-Man would ever have hit the big time without the changes to the toy line resulting from the cartoon, but there are a number of people who preferred it the old way. The way things were in the first issue of the DC comic.

Maybe this had something to do with the fact that once upon a time Teela didn’t like wearing many clothes...

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Toyologist Review: Littlest Pet Shop Jet

Launching July at Toys R Us.

I am not a girl. I've been called a Big Girl at times, but I'm almost certain that's not the same.  My boys are not girls. I have a daughter, but she can barely roll over. My friend has a niece, but she lives miles away and, you know, postage costs and all that. There's a school across the road, but I have a suspicion I'd get arrested if I stood at the gate handing out toys to young girls.

What I'm trying to say is I don't know any girls.

So who was going to review Blythe's Jet for me?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Toyologist Review: Step 2 WaterWheel Play Table

By Step 2. £34.99 from Toys R Us (online & instore).

My next door neighbour is of the opinion that children only require 2 things to make them really happy: water and a cardboard box. He's in his 80s and has seen plenty of children and grandchildren grown up, so he ought to know.

He's also a bit handy with tree-pruning equipment.  But that's not something I want to go into right now. Needless to say, when he tells you something you pay attention.

Moving swiftly on, the great thing about this WaterWheel table is that you get both water and a giant box! The box contains the following bits - 

Note absence of Kevin Costner figure in box.

Saturday, 2 July 2011