Product Type: ELC Doll
Newest Review: ... to follow as they have plenty of illustrations to show what should be going where. What I liked best is that you don't need any tools ... more
Expensive but worth it
ELC Tower of Doom
Member Name: NickyBo
ELC Tower of Doom
Date: 30/12/10, updated on 08/08/11 (652 review reads)
Advantages: Sturdy and well made, easy to put together, so much fun
My husband and I bought this castle for our 3 year old son as his main birthday present. We first saw it in a Mothercare shop with an Early Learning Centre section. It was on a high display and my son spotted it from across the store. He dragged us over to it and was in awe as he stared at it. My husband, of course, checked it for it's sturdiness and durability while I checked it's price! We were both happy with it so bought it for a very happy little boy.
The castle comes flat packed so requires assembling. I was a bit worried about this to be honest as it always means there's a potential for missing parts or bits that don't fit where they should. Thankfully I had no problems at all assembling the castle. I built it on my own and it took approximately 1 hour 15 minutes, but I was watching TV and had a glass of wine at the same time! The instructions that come with the castle are incredibly easy to follow as they have plenty of illustrations to show what should be going where.
What I liked best is that you don't need any tools at all as there are no screws or nails involved in the assembly, all the pieces just slot together. Surprisingly though, the finished castle is incredibly sturdy and feels very well built. I was worried that it would be a bit flimsy since the pieces just slot together, but that actually seems to help make it stronger. Each piece of the castle is made from thick wood and feels of good quality, there are no thin, easy to snap bits here.
*Appearance and features*
The castle is a fantastic size, measuring approximately 110cm in height and 95cm in width which means it is big enough for a few children to play with it at the same time. The castle is mainly black and grey in colour and has a lot of detail painted on. On the base there is a fiery effect and around the bottom of the castle it has a rocky effect. One side of the castle has a moving drawbridge; there is a handle and when it is turned the drawbridge raises or lowers. It works easily and was also easy to build. On the other side of the castle is a dungeon area with lifting door.
Each side of the castle has different sections where characters can be stood. These sections all have painted details on the floor, such as rats or octopus tentacles sneaking out through grates. These are interesting effects for children to look at and help their imagination and game playing. At the top of one of the turrets is a big flag pole with material flag.
My son's favourite feature is in the middle of the castle, near the top. It's what he calls the 'trap door'. Two pieces of the floor are hinged so they can swing down. They balance on a little bit of wood that is actually the tongue of a gargoyle. When the tongue is pulled out then the trap door opens, plummeting any figures standing there down to the floor. It is amazing how long this trap door can entertain a 3 year old!
This castle is part of a set from Early Learning Centre. The castle is the main toy but there are many others in the theme. There are around 8 figure packs, usually containing around 4 figures. You can choose between different sets of knights or monsters. I won't mention them too much here as I'll be reviewing the other toys separately in another review and don't want to just repeat myself.
The castle cost £75 and came with a free pack of monster figures, normally costing £15. Although it is an expensive toy, in my opinion it is worth it as it has so much play potential. It is also incredibly well made and durable so I can imagine it will last for a lot of years. The box recommends it being suitable for ages 3-8 and I would say this is about right, although some older children may still enjoy playing with it. I wouldn't recommend it to children younger than 3 as I don't think they would get as much out of it and I think they would find the drawbridge and trapdoor difficult to work.
Summary: Don't be put off by the price, this toy will last for years
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