Most helpful critical review
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Fun, But Not Very Useable
on December 28, 2009
This was a Christmas gift for my five year old. We had a blast putting it together, and he was able to follow most of the directions himself. There are separate instruction books for each vehicle that are very clear, with pictures (no words) that are detailed enough for you to figure out what needs to be done. Each step is thoughtfully broken out into do-able segments, but it sometimes is an exercise in "how is the picture in this step different from the last picture?" If your kid likes "I Spy", they'll love this. We had fun exercising counting skills to identify the different parts by the number of 'pegs', along with color and shape. You might need to help small fingers press some of the flat panel pieces and small one peg pieces in place, so be available.
THE BAD: A lot of the parts are held only by shallow Lego pegs, so as your child tries to play with the vehicles they will continually fall apart. The crane is especially bad since it has the most moving parts and is most complex. The rotating base easily pulls off the truck frame. The winch will fall off each-and-every-time your child tries to winch anything up (I am going to attach it with small self-tapping screws). Your kids will soon learn to hold the crane boom mounts onto the crane base to keep that too from pulling loose every time they try to lift anything. In the time it took to write this review I have rebuilt the loader twice because when it gets dropped the undercarriage seems to explode from the tension of the rubber tracks. So be prepared: all those cool moving parts will separate a LOT and your kids will be reassembling it over and over and over again. My five year old absolutely loves it though, in spite of the frustration of repeated reassembly.
TIPS: I suggest getting a shallow box or large brownie pan to empty the large bags of parts in and a small bowl for the small bag of tiny parts inside the larger bags. This makes sorting a lot easier and prevents loss. Also, give yourself plenty of time to complete the crane. This is the largest and most complex project, and will take well over an hour (of course, my boy wanted to start with that piece). Keep the books! You will need them when the inevitable drop/breakage occurs and you need to reassemble a part. NOTE: there are some parts in an unmarked bag. Don't panic if you can't find a part in the labeled bag: look in the unmarked bag. I found every part needed after some initial alarm. And there are lots of extra, small parts for some reason that I suppose you could use for something.