Mike the Knight is a relatively new TV series shown on the childrens TV station, cbeebies. I first came across it in 2012 through my children watching it on the television. The show seemed to appeal to both my 4 year old and six year old thanks to the male central character, a child called Mike, who wants to be a knight. The TV show has a lot of appeal because Mike wants to be a knight like his father, and we get to see him learning skills as he is goes about daily life when he takes on missions. He is the sort of character who means well but often does things a bit wrong in his eagerness, but he always learns his lesson and does his best to put things right.
This set was bought from Tesco in their half price toy sale before Christmas at a cost of around £19. Currently this is for sale at about £30-35 online, and I think at this sort of price you are beginning to pay a bit too much for the play set. There are quite a few bits, but unless your child is a huge fan of the show I personally don't think it is worth it.
My sons are very into playing with little figures and dressing up. This set was well received at Christmas time, and is the sort of set that does get some play, but that play seems a bit limited to me as they prefer playing with a playmobil pirate ship they got for Christmas more than the little Viking longship in this set.
The set is well made. You get a beautiful looking Viking style longship with carved dragon head and tail. There are three shields down each side of the boat, and three oars, which come off and can be put back on again. The boat has wheels on the base, and as you push it along, the oars make small circles as it moves. This does look very appealing, and will entertain a little. You then get 4 figures with the boat. One is Mike the Knight, who is a few inches tall, and chunky for little hands. My children like the fact that his helmet goes up and down. There are then the two dragons that are Mike's friends in the show - Sparky, the red fire breathing dragon is the largest, then Squirt is a lot smaller in blue in colour. These three figures have had the most play I would say as my children have been using them with the playmobil to make up their own stories.
There is then a fourth figure, a Viking man, who is a little larger than Mike, which is good as Mike is only a child. It is similarly chunky and ideal for toddlers to play with. The good thing about both the Mike and Viking figure is there is a small hole in their feet and protuding pegs on the floor of the Viking boat, so you can stand the figures on the boat and they are not moving about all over the place when the child is moving the boat along.
Out of the whole set, the bit that has had most play is the sword that came with the set. This is kind of dagger sized I would say. We have had a foam sword before purchased from the English Heritage castle we visited, and this sword is also meant to be foam, but is much better quality. I find that the sword is quite soft so it doesn't hurt if you get hit by it, but it is not so soft it will bend when you are using it. This sword was taken out of the box the set came in first, and my son has played with it every time he has seen it since. He finds a way to include it in so many games.
My overall thought on this set is that I think it is aimed more at younger toddlers really. It has had some play, but the figures and the boat are nowhere near as popular for my sons as I thought that they would have been. They don't tend to choose this to play with when they have free choice of toys, its more an afterthought. I think I would have been better of getting my son the Mike the Knight Missions playset which is a sword like in this set alongside a blue helmet that the child can wear.
The quality of this set cannot be faulted, and I think the size of the pieces is such that I personally would have let my sons have this from about 2 years old to around 4 and a half. Now my son is only a couple of months from 5, it doesn't provide enough stimualation for his play. It's not that my sister bought a bad toy, just my boys are getting more mature in their play and are really a bit old for it. I would recommend it for younger pre-school age kids, but if your kids are older like mine then I would say save your cash, and get something more suited to their interests.