* Prices may differ from that shown
So as my title suggests I got this play set for part of my son's Christmas. He is 2, going on 3, and is quite obsessed with Postman Pat - he'll even say, 'hiya Postman Pat!' whenever we collect parcels from the postman at our door. So when B&M had a 10% off sale very close to Christmas and I spotted this play set I knew I had to get it :).
It was priced at £10 in B&M which is very reasonable given that Amazon are asking £26.48 for it. With the 10% off it cost me £9 so even more of a bargain. I'm glad I bought it when I did as I can't imagine paying almost 30 quid for this! I was further disappointed to learn the set didn't include Postman Pat's trademark red van :(. The packaging was very misleading as to this and it wasn't 100% clear that it didn't include the van - which costs £15+ alone! It does come with a parking space for the van, which is odd, but it's obviously a ploy to get you to buy all the add-ons ;). I think there is a helicopter add-on, too, but I will not be buying this if I'm going to fork out £15 for the blooming van!
The no-van issue aside this is a great play set that my son loves. There are also quite a decent amount of accessories that come along with the set; Postman Pat, Mrs Goggins (the Scottish postmistress of Greendale) and Ben Taylor (General Manager of the Pencaster Sorting Office), three plastic parcels, a parcel trolley, computer desk, two red chairs and a sorting desk. The play set is split into three separate scenes and this is where the '3-in-1' description comes from. There is the Greendale Post Office where Mrs Goggins works, the SDS Sorting Office where the parcels are sorted - and can be moved along on a conveyor belt, which is operated by twisting a - for want of a better word - knob on the back of the set. I've read varied opinions on using this but so far so good with us, it runs smoothly and is easy to twist and operate. My son can also use it quite easily :). The '3' part of the set is the Pencaster Square where Postman Pat's van is parked and ready to deliver parcels. My son mixes and matches different characters and scenes so I'm not sure the 3-in-1 thing works for him quite yet ;).
The highlights of the set are the sorting desk where Mrs Goggins is posed beside on the box as the scales 'work' (though they don't measure or weigh the parcels) for the sake of pretend play and the conveyor belt that works - with the parcels sliding down the sorting slides and into the sorting trolley.
Overall I'd give the set a 4/5 because of the missing van - and the cost of a van. It's a great set but not worth nearly £30, it would be worth trying to pick one up second hand on eBay or looking out for sales where you might be able to buy it as the varying accessories you can buy for this set are expensive (the van is about £15 and the helicopter probably isn't too far behind on price) and I just don't feel it's worth paying almost £30 for when there are superior Postman Pat toys on the market that would be worth forking out for. Practically I like being able to fold up the set as it looks less messy in my living room and it means it can be carried from room to room if my son wanted it in his room to play with. I'm happy with the money I've spent on the set and my son plays with it a lot so its thumbs up all round, just bear the other things I've said.
~Postman Pat Deluxe Pencaster Playset~
I'm sure everyone has heard of Postman Pat. He lives in Greendale and works for Royal Mail! As well as being able to watch the show on television/DVD, children can convince their parents to part with hard earned cash and purchase some merchandise! There are several Postman Pat sets available to purchase but today I am reviewing the 'Deluxe Pencaster Playset'.
This playset is marketed as a '3 in 1' playset which can be played with at home or at a relatives home. It is suitable for children over the age of 3 as small parts may pose a choking hazzard to younger children. This playset is presented in a hinged, plastic 'box' which allows it to be transformed into different scenes. There is the option to play in the post office, the SDS (special delivery service) centre and also in Pencaster Square. It all folds up into itself and features a conveinent carry handle.
As well as the actual playset, there are a few extras included to enhance playability :
*Character figures - Mrs Goggins, Postman Pat and Ben Taylor
*Scenery card - a 'paved' scenery card with a space for Postman Pats van
*Accessories - a few parcels and holders/ledges
~Price and Availability~
This playset retails at around £29.99. www.boots.com stock it but Amazon UK have it in stock at a discounted price of just £13.95.
My son loves his playsets. He received a lot of Bob the Builder sets for his 4th birthday and he has actually added them to his collection of Postman Pat sets. My sister bought this for Boo at Christmas (he would have been 3 1/2yrs at the time). He also has the individual post office, Ted Glens garage and lots of vehicles from this collection so his Greendale/Pencaster set is huge!
~Quality, Appearance and Durability!~
This playset requires a small amount of set up before it can be fully played with. The inside of the playset has some features 'built in' though one of the ledges in the post office and the parcel 'dispenser' in the SDS centre needs clipped into place. I carried out this task but my son managed to clip them back out and they have since been misplaced! This doesn't limit play though, it just makes the inside of the set look a tad empty.
The complete set when closed is a good size and big enough for one children to play about with. It is well detailed with cream walls, textured windows and some colourful, printed features to the front including flowers and a fruit stall. The set is made from durable plastic which has stood the test of time. There is a catch which holds it all together and everything can be stored inside for transportation. It is lightweight but a little bulky to carry on the bus to Gran and Papas home.
The set extends in different ways. Closed, it simply looks like a building with a few open panel windows. Opened, there is a bit of flexible plastic with double hinges which allow the set to be full opened and have the post office and SDS centre sitting angled to each other. The partially opened section between the front of each building is the perfect size for the cardboard 'scenery' card and this acts as a carpark for Postman Pat. The set can be set out with the post office and SDS building next to each other and this allows Pencaster Square to come into play!
The extras included in this set are basic yet compliment the set well. The figures all have relevance to the set. Mrs Goggins has her place in the bright post office which is adorned with colourful pictures. Ben Taylor works in the SDS centre and operates the conveyor belt up high (with the help of your child). The little parcels are small but the perfect size to fit in the different sections of the playset. There are no vehicles included but Pat is there! The little figures have moving limbs and are well detailed.
Overall the set looks good and is of a high quality. It is finished well with extra details and pictures making it attractive and the actual playset has no sharp edges.
My son loves this set and was quite pleased with what accessories came with it as some sets have very little in the way of extras. He can open, close and extend the set himself with no issues at all. The ledge next to the conveyor belt is a little stiff for him to pull down himself but its a matter of practice!
Boo is 4 yrs old and has a vivid and wicked imagination! His playsets allow his imagination to flow and he has fun with this Pencaster set. Although the set itself doesn't have hundreds of play options, there is the option to extend play by using existing vehicles. This is what my son does and it really does help. The open fronted windows allow the characters to be visible at the front and they are the perfect size to be operating the different machinery as well as being realistic and very much like their show characters.
Boo has several Postman Pat vans and both the larger and smaller vans can fit neatly in the parking space out the front of the building. My sons favourite play option is the SDS centre. There is a little dial to the front of the building which operates the large conveyor belt inside. Boo pops the little parcel through the window, the conveyor belt moves smoothly and tips the parcel down (now we know why there are so many RM breakages!). My son takes this opportunity to use his Postman Pat forklift (yes he owns one of those too) to transport the parcels from the back of the SDS centre to Postman Pats van around the front.
The post office is fun too but doesn't have much in the way of moving features. There is a counter for Mrs Goggins to stand behind which has till features and a little ledge for the parcels to be stored. What I find a little weird (and so does Boo) is that there is no door for paying customers to enter the post office. They have the option to enter the open plan back of the set but that is unusual!
Whilst not deluxe or worth £30.00, this is a decent playset. There are so many opportunities to expand the set. The 'closed' set is around 20 x 17 x 13 and is quite compact. A large space isn't really required unless your child wants to add in the extra vehicles. My son loves this set and has a lot of fun processing his parcels for delivery. His Daddy is a postman so you can understand where the obsession has came from!
This set is often taken along to other homes and it is amazing how many figures and other accessories can be popped inside! From a parents point of view, I feel £15.00 is a fair price though I wouldn't purchase or recommend at the full retail price.
Thanks for reading :)