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My grandson Jack is a big fan of Dr Who and also of Lego sets so last birthday his parents managed to buy him a Dr Who tardis that could be built using Lego. Up until recently it has been quite difficult to find much in the way of Lego sets featuring Dr Who since the BBC mainly owns the franchise and Jack's set was ordered from them. Fortunately they are much easier to buy nowadays and you'll find this and others under the banner of Character Options.
This arrived in a medium sized box and initially it looked like it might take a while to build. Jack is left-handed and has some co-ordination issues but he's excellent at putting Lego together though he is a little impatient and sometimes needs a grown-up to supervise. I happened to be staying with my family at the time and since he'd had a busy birthday it wasn't until the second day that I helped Jack make this. Since then he's taken it apart and remade it several times, but the first time was memorable.
I had imagined this to be much bigger than it was and so the small base surprised me. It didn't look big enough for a tardis and the two figures of Dr Who and Amy Pond figures to place inside, let alone play with. To make things even more confusing the base and sides were a dark blue colour, as is the tardis in the series. This did make identifying the bricks a little confusing but since the Tardis is really just a large box then it was just a matter of choosing the correct sized bricks.
After constructing the base and the sides there are panels that slot in the back and also in the front which need to swing the correct way as the Tardis opens outwards. This is a bit like a Saloon door in a Western, so you need to make sure the construction is firmly locked together. This is where adult help can be needed, as even I found it fussy. The top of the Tardis is a separate piece to build and has a rectangular top with a brick and something like a coping brick that fits on top to house the police-box light. I don't know if you can buy a different colour brick to replicate a flashing light, this was a standard brick.
I did find that the back and front pieces were hard to slot inside, but that could have been my fingers. Jack and I managed to get it fitted only to realize that there is stickers to make the inside look real so we had to do it all over again. I would advise doing all the sticky bits first if you are helping a small child (Jack had just turned six) as it spoils the initial excitement and no child wants to keep taking things apart.
The finished Effect.
The Tardis looked good when all the stickers had been put into place, adding the words 'Police box' and the white squares to signify the windows made it look authentic. The set had some spares so don't think you have missed something out, it's meant for any problems with the stickers. Now all we had to do was to put Dr Who and Amy together and this is very easy to do. The figures are very similar in all the kits so having built one you will soon learn what to do. These are nicely made with just enough movement to play with but not too fiddly. Dr Who (the 11th figure) has a claw-like hand to hold his sonic screwdriver but be aware that these fall out so easily that it's better to add a bit of blue-tack.
Playing with the Set.
This is where your imagination comes in. The mini-sets haven't any extra features and playing is a matter of making your own game up. This didn't pose any problems for Jack as he makes up stories in his head, but children used to TV games and remote-control toys might find they don't know what to do with it. We had already played with the large Tardis control room which almost fell to pieces several times, so were much more careful of the mini set. Opening and shutting the tiny doors is liable to break them so take care.
As with all Jack's Dr Who figures, sets and gadgets, they are bought to play with, not as a collector's piece so we gather together plastic dalek figures and other alien figures to set up a game. For adults who might have forgotten how to play it's a bit like playing with soldiers, so all you need is a dash of imagination and plenty of room not to step on the pieces. I found an old Thomas the Tank engine play mat that doubled nicely as the universe turned back to front. You might want to buy a cheap plastic tablecloth as this really does help with the tiny pieces getting lost. Next door's cat also found the figures were tempting to play with!
Since that first buy we've added several more of the mini sets. These are easy to build and don't waste money if your child gets bored easily with the sets. I expected Jack to wonder why they didn't do more but he had already made several basic Lego sets. His mum has told me that Jack looks forward to my visits since I don't mind being the dalek leader who gets beaten by the Dr time after time. I also use anything to hand to build a complete play set with a castle and a forgotten garage being used, as 'Earth sets' Jack is very aware that the sets are made up since he's been to the exhibitions.
Would I recommend this? I think since this was one of the first of the cheaper versions it's a good way of introducing the play sets. However, I found that it did take a bit of encouragement since it really doesn't look very much when the box is open. If your child is imaginative then I'd say it's worth buying one to try. So I'm giving this four stars simply because it's fun for a half-hour or so only.
I think this cost my son-in-law about £13.99 with postage. You can shop around and buy it for about £8 in places like Asda.
Thanks for reading.