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Knowing that my son loves Doctor Who my Mum decided to buy my son the Character Building Doctor Who Dalek factory for his most recent birthday. When my son opened the present on his birthday he was ecstatic because it combined two of his favourite things, those being building and Doctor Who.
What is it?
Character Building seems to do quite a range of toys and I have to say I wasn't really aware of the brand at all until my son was probably of school age. They do a range of Doctor Who toys which focus on building a set much like you would do with Lego as well as smaller mini figures which can be integrated with the sets.
The Doctor Who Dalek factory is as the name suggests a kit in which you can build a good sized set up in which Daleks are made. The set came in a large cardboard box which showed a picture of the assembled factory and advised us that the kit was suitable for children aged six plus. My son is a competent builder with Lego but it was his seventh birthday anyway when he received this toy and so we felt confident that it would be appropriate for him.
This was the first thing that my son got out of the box when he had opened all of his presents on the morning of his birthday as he just couldn't wait to get going with it.
All of the parts are provided in various plastic bags inside the box as well as a large instruction booklet as well. What I didn't like about this set from the off was that despite the different bags provided with parts in there seemed to be no differentiation at all as to which bags certain parts were in. There was just no order to it, nor were they numbered unlike Lego bags and so you basically had to open up all of the bags and were left with a massive amount of parts all over the place. The parts were nice and shiny and felt like they would last well and look nice once the construction was completed.
I helped my son sort through the parts before I had to crack on with various jobs of the morning preparing for his birthday party and such like and so I left my son to the building knowing that he is perfectly able to construct Lego kits properly. When I came back my son was struggling a bit with the set and so I sat with him and started to offer my assistance and found that the parts already assembled kept coming loose and basically just falling apart. As my son had already spent the best part of an hour on this kit and not got even half way through we decided that we would put it upstairs and the next day we would dismantle it and do it together in case he had gone wrong somewhere along the line.
The next afternoon we did dismantle the work my son had already done and began again taking it step by step together. I have to say that whilst the instructions were ok they are nowhere near as clear as Lego ones and we had some trouble initially distinguishing between what was a certain coloured brick on the instructions!
We worked through the steps together and again it took around an hour to get to the same point where my son did and again that is where it all went wrong. The problem with this set is that the bricks just aren't Lego. No other building block really lives up to Lego in my opinion but this set was particularly awful. The blocks don't sit properly on the base and even if you hold them down whilst attaching another piece they simple lift up and fall down numerous steps later down the line. This was so frustrating for my son and I and I have to say we both got very angry and at one point I wanted to just throw the set in the bin because I knew there was no way it was ever going to stay together let alone be used as a toy. We must have spent another hour with the kit considering using super glue at points to hold things in place but in the end I rang my Mum and asked her to contact her catalogue and ask for a refund as I was outraged that she had spent so much money on a toy as poor as this.
The recommended age range of seven years on this toy is ridiculous. My son is able to build Lego constructions much more difficult than this one aimed at a higher age because Lego is good quality. As an adult I found it impossible to keep the construction together and having looked on amazon for a current price for the toy I noticed many reviews which simply say the same that the toy falls apart if you breathe on it and is basically unplayable. What frustrates me even more is that the BBC must have endorsed this given that it is a Doctor Who product and they should really be quite embarrassed because young fans of the show and their parents are not getting anything like good value for their money.
My son was so let down by this product and on the second day we were building it he actually said very sadly that he really thought it was going to be an amazing toy and that goes to show I suppose that even if something looks great on the outside it is not necessarily going to be up to standard when it comes down to it. I cannot recommend this product at all and I am just thankful that Littlewoods understood when my mum contacted them and agreed to have her send the toy back for an exchange of something else. It is such a shame because the idea of a Dalek factory with moveable parts and a conveyor belt is actually a great idea for little Doctor fans to be able to construct and play with but the product just doesn't live up to the idea.
Price and availability
Available currently from amazon for £12.99 with free delivery currently but I would go near it at any price in all honesty as you will simply end up with an unplayable toy and a disappointed child.
Thank you for reading my review!