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My daughter has been collecting Sylvanian families for a long while now and has recently added more to her collection, from individual characters to some rather massive houses, and more, which all go to take up valuable space in her room, and beyond.
Fortunately for her, but possibly unfortunately for me and my wallet, there are a vast array of Sylvanian Families objects on the market these days, such as lovely little animal characters who live in such places as petite homely cottages or even a mansion or two and drive around in some rather lovely little vehicles, and it is one particular vehicle that I wish to tell you about today.
But before I go on I want to explain who and what Sylvanian Families are, just for those people who have never heard of them or for those that think that the Sylvanian families are the Royal family of some far off sunny land.
Sylvanian families is a collectable 'dolls' accessories, sort of, which became popular in the mid 1980's.
The Sylvanian characters are in fact animal such as beavers, monkeys, meerkats and others, with each type of animal living in a small family, usually a mum, a dad, a couple of kids and maybe grand parents as well. The characters live in several different houses, some small, some grand, and even a caravan too, but all are there to be added to the collection.
Then there's the many vehicles that the families travel around in, consisting of cars, motor bikes and this, the Sylvanian families woodland bus.
What does it look like...?
It a bus from the past, sort of, with that I mean that it has the curving steps at the rear leading to the open top deck.
The main body is a beige colour, sort of, with green around the wheels and above the driver cabin. Apart form that there's a few stickers to brighten it up and make it look more like the real thing, in Sylvanian world that is.
There's two 'decks' with each one having ample room to fit several characters so they aren't to crushed on that long journey to the seaside.
The upper deck is open top, with a good sized barrier surrounding it so no one falls out, and there's winding stairs leading up to it at the back of the bus.
The driver sits at the front, obviously, in their own special bench, with room at the side for a smaller passenger, then there's three more bench seats behind, with another three on the upper deck. The seats themselves are designed to look like they are made of leather and they do look pretty good, although they do feel like the plastic they are actually made of.
And that's it, it's as simple as that really, the thing with the Sylvanian families collection is that most of the things they make are simply made yet look very good indeed.
What do I think of this bus then..?
My daughter loves this little bus, telling me that it's 'Sooooo cute', as for me, I think it's pretty well made and a rather nice addition to her collection, even if I had it pay for it.
It is well design and extremely well constructed, showing quite a bit of detail, with the lovely looking seats being easily seen through the open sides, plus the stair rails and even a quaint little crank handle on the front.
You can get maybe 12-15 characters onto the bus, depending on the size of which characters you want to go on the journey.
And, slotting into the top of the bus, there's a nice little carry handle which helps carry the bus full of your characters around.
It's not massive, being about 250mm high, 400mm long and 170mm deep, weighing in at an easy to carry 1.5kg, or there abouts, so it won't take up much room on a shelf or even in a cupboard.
Sadly though you don't get any figures with this one, although there's not to many Sylvanian things that you do get figures with, apart from the figures of course.
But you do get other items, such as a little bus stop, a few signs and a few things that will help your Sylvanian characters have a lovely day out, including a little table and benches, which slides out of the rear, and an awning which slides out of the left side, but as I said, you have to supply the characters.
So, if you're a collector of Sylvanian families paraphernalia, or just want to get the younger members of your family a lovely little present for them to play with, then you can't go wrong with this little bus as it is one of he better built ones in the family.
As for the price, well it sells for... wait for it... around £35.00, or cheaper in some places, which is not too bad considering that it has the Sylvanian Families brand on it.
And finally, which I nearly forgot to mention, is the fact that this is aimed at people 4 years and above, mainly due to the few small pieces that come with it. But take away all the little accessories and the bus itself could easily and safely be pushed around by those younger than 4 years of age I suppose.
My daughters really love anything to do with the lovely Sylvanian Families and thanks to my in-laws, their grandparents, they have actually amassed quite a big collections of little figures and accessories. One of the latest additions to their collection, which arrived at Christmas, is the fantastic Woodland Bus. This bus is absolutely charming with lots of lovely surprises and is made in the same level of detail that I have noticed in all of the Sylvanian Family products.
The bus is delightfully old fashioned with a spiral staircase at the back at an open top. On the box it comes in, the picture on the front shows the bus packed with lots of Sylvanian characters. Do not be fooled though as these do not actually come with the bus. You even have to buy the driver and the conductor separately which is a bit of a shame. We don't actually have those figures yet so at the moment any old Sylvanian ends up driving the bus and sometimes a doll that is not even Sylvanian!!
The bus does come with lots of accessories though. These include an awning that pulls out when the weather is hot, a basket full of cakes and pastries, a bus stop and some destination signs. Best of all though, as this is hidden under the bus and therefore is a bit of a surprise, is a long trestle table and a couple of benches to be brought out so that everyone can have a picnic. My daughters were thrilled when they discovered these.
There are also some great details on this old fashioned bus such as a crank at the front that actually turns, and a moveable break handle and gear stick. Also, all the wheels move seamlessly so the bus can be bushed or pulled around going off on great adventures. Also there is good detail on the seats that make them look like leather.
The bus is a reasonable size but is very lightweight. It also has a carrying handle at the top that can come in very useful.
There is room for up to twenty Sylvanian characters to fit on the bus and my daughters certainly seem to enjoy cramming them in and sending them off on their travel adventures! The opportunities for making up lots of stories and creative play are immense which I guess is one of the reasons that this has been such a much loved toy since my daughters received it at Christmas.
What you always notice with Sylvanian Family products is the quality and this bus is no exception. It seems exceptionally well made and put together and has withstood a lot of wear already. I have no doubt that it will continue to do so as my experience with other products in the range have been just as good and long lasting. However, you do have to pay for quality and this bus definitely comes at a price. My in laws inadvertently left the price sticker on the box so I do know that they paid £39.99 for it from I believe a local toy shop. At the moment it is on Amazon for £37.50 (February 2011) which is not much of a saving but I am sure it must be worth shopping around to get it a bit cheaper. Having said that it probably is worth the price tag but I'm glad that I didn't pay for it!