“ Eddingtons / Type: Gadgets - / Fly Catcher/Swatter „
I received this as a gift a few years ago where I believe my initial response was along the lines of "What in Christ's name is this!" (I'm sure you are saying something similar at this very moment!) Always one for wacky and unusual gifts my sister revels in the gift-giving arena of all things weird and wonderful. Whilst this is certainly wacky, unusual and weird it isn't anywhere near as wonderful as I had hoped.
This strange device is a fly catching instrument. Resembling a sort of harpoon gun in shape it measures around 38cm in length and is made entirely of a rather cheap hard moulded plastic. The main body of the gun is black whereas the hand-shaped plastic clapping mechanism is yellow. The idea being that you draw the mechanism back like a crossbow and then stalk your prey with the intention of clapping it between the yellow hands when the trigger is pulled.
I must just say that I am not one for killing flies at a whim - don't get me wrong, they are heinously insufferable and seem to enjoy tormenting me in the warmer months as they fly around my front room with their incessant mocking buzz. However, when it comes to getting rid, I always prefer to shoo them away out of an open window rather than become a purveyor of death. This might be due to my limited success in the newspaper swatting games which only amounts to me scaring the bejesus out of passers-by on the street as I whack my window with a copy of the TV guide. I also tend to take pity on any creature that yearns its freedom so much but will still crawl around an open window and then manage to fly straight back into the room.
Digression aside, I still decided to give the Clap Trap Fly Gun (hereby referred to simply as 'gun') a thorough trial period to determine how effective it actually is. The answer? Unequivocally useless!
To load the gun you need to pull back the mechanism using the appropriate plastic thumb grip that lies at the end of the gun nearest the yellow clasping hands. This is similar to a crossbow loading mechanism but without the bolt. Pulling this back opens the hands outwards in a sort of pre-clap position which then click into place ready to fire. Holding the gun by its handle in your favoured hand (or both hands if you wish to take this far too seriously) the idea is to line up the gun so that when you pull the trigger, a spring forces the hands to clasp shut killing the fly.
I know what you're thinking and yes, it is very difficult to do! The fact that a fly is a moving target and the fact that the hands clasp shut slightly in front of their loaded position makes this almost impossible to time correctly. The target sticker on the palm of each hand with the scoring circles 25, 50 and 100 points is laughably optimistic. The hands are simply too small and the mechanism too slow to catch even the dimmest of flies. An added hindrance is that, despite the air holes in the hands, when clasping shut the hands create a surge of air that will give any previously unsuspecting fly a welcome shove away from danger.
The end result is a resounding failure and a fly that is even more determined to avoid its demise. Think of it like a computer game where you fail a level and have to restart only to find that the difficulty level is ramped up each time. An increasingly frenzied fly coupled with ever-waning enthusiasm from myself makes this a game with only one winner.
To give you an idea, here is a typical level of Man vs. Fly...
Armed with my loaded gun I find myself creeping slowly around the room like Elmer Fudd hunting 'wabbits'. Then, after several tense minutes of stealth-like movement and silently asking myself "Has he seen me yet?", jackpot! The fly has found an open window and begins the endless cycle of flying around the general vicinity of it. The time to strike has arrived. The chance of success has increased from wafer-thin to biscuit-thin. I decide to stay rooted to the spot and slowly extend my gun holding arm out towards the fly in order to avoid any unnecessary movement. Then, when in range and overwhelmed by the possibility of an actual success, all logic disperses and I thrust the gun towards the fly pulling the trigger whilst releasing a vitriolic war cry. I overbalance and fall forwards into the window scaring Mrs Robinson in the process who is outside watering her plants at the time. After pretending that's what I intended to do I eagerly open the clap trap to see if I had claimed my bounty. The buzzing at the other end of the room confirms my failure; the fly is now wearing a grin the size of Manhattan and is laughing raucously from afar at the defeated object rubbing his elbow (although this is only a theory).
I certainly wouldn't recommend trying this out on wasps. I don't think the hands spring together fast enough or tight enough to kill a wasp and the last thing you want is a slightly stunned but royally P'd off flying menace armed with a sting chasing you around the room.
To add to the misery, the gun is so awkward to hold with the hard moulded plastic and the handle is shaped perfectly to avoid any sized hand gaining a comfortable grip. Everyone who has had a go with the gun has said the same thing and has found it equally impossible to succeed. On a positive note, the gun has held together very well and the mechanism still draws and fires as it did on first use. This after having been used on and off for a few years until being relegated to the attic as useless junk (I can never bring myself to throw away a gift of any kind, regardless of how appallingly dreadful it is).
The Clap Trap Fly Gun is therefore not something that I recommend you fritter away your hard earned income on. If you are intent on killing flies then you are much better with a rolled up newspaper. There are also much more competent products available on the market. This gun is completely ineffective and is nothing more than a novelty toy. I will continue to try and teach flies that the window they came in through works both ways and have forced the Clap Tray Fly Gun into an early retirement. This is available on amazon for around £9 including postage but please don't bother; the Daily Star only costs 30p.
*No flies were harmed during the making of this review*
Thanks for reading :)
Eddingtons / Type: Gadgets - / Fly Catcher/Swatter