Something Special? Mr Maker?Jack's Boat. No, of course not. The answer, obviously, is Space Pirates. However, since they don't show that anymore the best show currently showing on Cbeebies is Octonauts.
It's a bit like Thunderbirds, but underwater. So... Stingray then. Stingray without a scary baddie and with more educational bits about sea creatures. And anthropomorphic animals. And a kick-ass theme tune.
Yeah, I think it's the theme tune that steals it.
Anyway, we really like Octonauts in our house, which is why I relented when two boys badgered me into buying the Octopod (aka the Octonauts base). Plus it was dirt cheap, which always helps.
I'd read some iffy reviews about the Octopod before purchase. I can't remember what, exactly, the reviewers disliked about it, but after playing with it for a couple of weeks now I'll be damned if I can't find a single thing wrong with it.
Maybe it was the price. But it's pretty big, with a number of accessories, so even full price it's not a total ripoff.
The Octopod is a large orange dome, with four small domes branching off. There's a slide connecting each of the small pods to the main one, down which the Octonauts can slide, much in the way they do in the show. At the bottom of the main pod there's a mini vehicle (a tiny Gup-A) in which one figure can sit. Turning a lever releases the Gup down a little tunnel and it launches out of the bottom of the Octopod. Which is pretty darn cool, if I do say so.
The slides are so placed that if you leave the hatch open, you can get figures to whizz down the slide, drop into the launch tunnel and shoot out of the front. This entertained me far more than it probably should have.
With the top half of the main pod being the launch bay, the upper half is the main command section. The four mini-pods comprise Kwazii's & Barnacles rooms, medical area and dining room. These can be slid off and replaced with 'deluxe' pods (sold separately), although the ones supplied are perfectly good.
There are little 'lift' things attached to the exterior of the pods. These can be used to raise Octonauts or injured animals up and down.
The set has a couple of large stickers which have to be applied as computer consoles and a sticker for each of the pods. These pod stickers cover up sculpted detail which makes me suspect that they were originally intended to be painted. An idea dropped, I presume, to cut costs. Speaking of paint there's very little (ie none) on the Octopod, but I don't think it needs any. It looks great as it is.
There's a detachable sound making device, which when pressed emits a number of noises and character voices. While variety is nice, the only sound the children really want to hear is the Octo-alert, which calls the Octonauts to action. They therefore have the whack the thing several times to get the noises to cycle round to the one they want.
The set comes with two figures - Barnacles and Kwazii - which on the one hand is great as you can instantly start playing, though on the other hand almost every Octonauts toy seems to come with Barnacles or Kwazii, which is a tad annoying. In addition there are a couple of sea creatures, all ready to be rescued. Or protected.
The Octopod is a simple, yet fun toy. There are no elaborate electronics or excessive action features which are good for one purpose and hinder or limit play, as can be the case with these things. I recommend it for any Octonauts fan, of any age, or even people who just like watching small plastic figures whizz down a slide.