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Knights and castles are pretty popular among young boys, and CBeebies has clearly hopped on board with their show, Mike the Knight, which is relatively new. As the title suggests, it's about a young knight-in-training named Mike, and it's actually a lot of fun. So, when I was looking for a treat for my son after a stay in hospital and two surgeries, I thought what better way to reward his bravery than this castle playset featuring brave Mike the Knight! I bought it during the summer, and it had only been available for a few weeks, so I paid full price for it in Argos (£29.99) but it is currently available on Amazon for £18.00.
The set is approx. 10 inches tall and 12 inches wides. It is designed to look like Mike's bedroom in the show, and his horse, Galahad's stable underneath. The backside of the playset is disappointingly not a convincing facade of the outside of a castle, as I expected. There is brick work detail, and the Mike the Knight logo but all the visible screw heads would suggest that this set is only to be played with on one side. It didn't need much in the way of construction, with only the staircase needing clipped on. This comes off for easy storage, and, I assume, to stop it getting snapped off. Likewise, Mike's bedroom door can come off rather easily, but it simply clipped back in place. This is useful as I'd rather it came off the odd time than be snapped off beyond repair.
In the show, Mike pulls a cord on his canopy bed and it flips up, allowing him to get into his armour and slide down the slide concealed under his bed, to land on his horse's back. The playset mimics this to a certain extent. The bed is lifted up manually, but stays in the upright position well untill it is put back down. Mike doesn't actually have any armour to put on - there is a sticker on the underside of the bed depicting his armour, but you can slide the little figure down the slide and into the stable. If it is possible to land the figure on the horse, we have yet to acheive it! The figure has a small square of plastic attached to his feet to help him stand, and this is inserted into a square hole on the horse's back to give the impression that Mike is riding it. The Mike figure is made of a slightly rubbery plastic, and only his arm can move. He is in his normal clothes in this set, not his armour. (It's worth noting that we also got a Mike figure in his armour separately, though he can't use the slide as he has a lance permanently fixed to his hand.)
The set came with several accessories. Galahad the horse is fixed by his back legs to a black plastic base, and is hinged so he can rear up like he does in the show. As mentioned, he has a sizeable hole in his back, though a horse blanket accessory was included, probably to cover this up. It's made of the same rubbery plastic, and was pretty swiftly lost in our house. The set also included a treasure chest and two hay bales and a feeder to put them in. The stable area of the set has some pretty nifty features, like a swivelling trophy cabinet, a trap door hiding more treasure and a mirror. It also has four points on the base where other Mike the Knight sets can be attached to it. We bought the jousting arena set later, and it came with a piece of road that let us attach it to the castle.
Overall, the quality of this set is very good. Although the castle is made with lightweight plastic, it hasn't cracked or chipped at all. The figures and accessories are all great quality too, though the horse blanket was a bit misshapen. Everything looks very much like the TV show, especially the figures. My son loves this set, and was thrilled to get it, and he spends a fair amount fo time playing with it. At the price I paid, I felt that it wasn't particularly great value, and that I was paying extra for the Mike the Knight brand. I took one star off for this reason. There's no denying that it's great for kids who love Mike the Knight and there are other sets to add to it to create a really fun play environment. I would suggest you shop around to get the best deal (Amazon seems to be the cheapest at the moment) though if your child is more into knights and castles in general rather than this particular TV show, you can get much more for your money.