Lego is always a good choice for a child's gift and the Lego City range includes a selection of construction based machines and sets, amongst them this sturdy little dumper truck, which was a present for my then eight year old son.
I bought this during Sainsbury's annual half-price toy event last year, ready for Christmas 2010. I paid £7.50 for this set which considering the number of pieces included seems a good price. It is currently available at Tesco Direct for the full RRP of £14.97 which is still not unreasonable for a Lego product of this nature. Don't, however, be fooled by the inflated prices of Marketplace sellers over on Amazon. This is currently selling for an extortionate £44.99! This really is not a set that would justify that kind of price tag and is purely opportunistic pricing.
The dump truck comes in one of the medium sized cardboard Lego boxes (rather than the very tiny sets) although the pieces inside only take up a fraction of the available space. As you'd expect with a Lego product, this comes in pieces ready to make up the dumper truck. A few little extras are included: a single workman mini-figure complete with tools, roadworks sign and barriers. My four year old's favourite feature is the inclusion of two unusual Lego boulders which can be loaded into the back of the dump truck and then tipped out.
As I've come to expect with Lego sets, the instructions are very comprehensive and easy to follow. The step by step guide includes pictures of the pieces as they are gradually assembled and there is no room for any confusion. Certainly, for the recommended age range of five to twelve year olds, this is a fairly straightforward process although care does need to be taken to ensure that the correct parts are used for each section. There are a lot of bricks and other Lego pieces involved and the set up took around an hour altogether, when initially assembled by my eight year old with help from his father. I would suspect that a younger child may lack the patience to complete this in one sitting - my four year old certainly hasn't got that much of an attention span, although he loves playing with the finished product.
The dumper truck has proven to be very robust once constructed and this really is a toy designed to be played with, rather than just pieced together. The truck pushes along easily and can used as part of imaginative play, especially if combined with other sets or vehicles. Admittedly, my four year old has tended to play with this more than his older brother whose interest waned slightly, after the hard work of putting this together was over. My younger son enjoys loading the back of the truck with a toy digger and then tipping out the contents, repeatedly. The truck doesn't actually hold much cargo but there is sufficient room to pile on some Lego pieces as well as the boulders included. It is a simple design but, crucially, the tipper section is very sturdily attached to the cab section so this stays in place, even through rather over-enthusiastic play, avoiding any frustration for heavy-handed children.
This is a fun little set that offers enjoyment and some challenges during assembly but, crucially, has ongoing play value, particularly for younger children. This can be used as a standalone vehicle or as part of a larger range of Lego City construction vehicles. (A Lego digger would be a good choice to compliment this. My son has to make do with his old Scoop toy!) If purchased at the right price, this comes with my full recommendation.