My daughter was lucky enough to get this lego set for her birthday from Granny. She has just turned 6 and is a bit of a lego fan already, this set is part of the "City" range. As you can see from the photo it is a cute item with 2 people and a number of play elements - a bbq with a fish - strange but sweet, a surfboard and also the ability to be opened up so that your little people can go to sleep or sit down on one of the three little seats.
The first thing to say about this van is that it is a lot smaller when built than it looks on the box. It is 14cm long and 7 and half cm tall and barely 5cm across. Actually for me this is quite a good thing as it doesn't take up too much space, and it is nicely detailed as I shall explain, however that photo is really deceptive.
The set comes in two bags, cunningly numbered "1" and "2", with step by step instructions in booklet form (if lost these can be downloaded from the lego site these days). You build the chassis first and then the top, which is a good idea as it makes hunting for pieces less of an ordeal if you don't mix up the bags, and also you don't have to build the whole thing at once.
The age range from lego is 5-12; I think a 5 year old could manage with help, I'm not sure that the 12 year olds I know would really be interested in this, it does seem aimed at a younger market being a van that can be played with after building. There are 165 pieces in all - which sounds a lot, but as some of them are single blocks and quite tiny, isn't in fact excessive and certainly not enough to put off a new lego-builder.
It took my daughter somewhere between half an hour and a hour to build this van, the instructions were clear and there were not too many fiddly bits, though she did struggle to put the wheels onto the bike, and also needed some help with the stickers for the number plate and logos on the roof. You can't deviate from the instructions really, which is a bit limiting, but I did find that this didn't seem to worry my daughter who was keen to make the van.
Finished item and play value:
Once complete, as mentioned the van is pretty compact. The construction of it is solid; it is cleverly designed to that you can take off a small retaining hinge on the back and open it up to see inside, the whole thing swings easily on two hinges.
There's a hidden sleeping area for your little people, a mug and saucepan attached to the walls, this is a bijou but very sweet camper van. We have found that the camper van does stand up to being wheeled along the floor by an enthusiastic younger sibling, the people do fit nicely onto the bicycle and when you are playing with it no bits fall off, which has not been the case with other sets we have had. The little people will also hold the accessories included quite nicely, I think the little mug is my favourite, though it is quite small so probably doomed to be lost up the hoover one day soon!
I like the fact that this item is suitable for girls and boys, and think that it does encourage imaginative play as your child gets the people to set off on holiday with their surfboard and other assorted items. This set seems to be priced at around £13-£25, for the lower price it is good value.
This camper van is definitely one of the better new sets that we have had, and although once built it can't really be changed into anything else (the creator set models are 3 in 1 and offer more construction), it is a lovely little van. I would thoroughly recommend it as a good gift for a child of 5-8. It's a great fun item!
More info from lego.com, where you can also sign your child up for the lego club for free, they will receive a magazine every few months and get more building ideas.
Good news for Lego fans - there are lots of new products that have recently been released! This is the first recent release that we've bought, the Lego City Camper set 7639. It's very reasonably priced at £13.70 and can be bought from most toy shops as well as the official Lego shop and Amazon.
What you get for your money is a reasonably sized Lego set. The box isn't overly big, but it's big enough to get a little Lego fan excited. They've tried out something new inside the box with regards to the building instructions, and I was exceptionally pleased with this.
Basically, you get this set divided into two bags, and the instructions run in two sections also. So little ones, who don't have the attention span to sit and build the whole model in one go, can do this model in two parts. Our grandson is a bit young to building Lego for long periods of time, so it was ideal that he could sit and build up the base of the Camper, then Grandad was able to take over and put together the top half for him.
Both halves are really simple to assemble, and it took a four year old and his Grandad about ten to fifteen minutes to put together. The ideas they've used here are pretty clever, and make assembling an intricate working model really easy.
Once built, you can swing open the two sides of this Camper to reveal the inside of the caravan. There's a TV on the wall, and a clip on either side to hold a frying pan and a mug. There's a line with two chairs either side of it to work as a table and chairs, and there's even a sneaky little compartment in the roof section so you can slide a minifig in there to have a sleep!
The roof lifts off easily to allow you to sit a minifig in the driving seat, but there are also little opening doors you can use too. There's only just enough space to get your minifig in through the door though, so even little hands will probably prefer just taking the roof off.
As well as the little mugs and frying pan, there's also a bicycle included, a fish on a barbecue, a surfboard and two minifigures. The minifigs are very new and a little bit different to the ones we've had to date. The woman has long hair that sits round across her shoulders which is something I've not seen before, and the man has a really smug look on his face!
This is a fantastic new addition to the Lego range, and well worth every penny. I highly recommend it to all Lego fans, and would agree with the recommended age of 5-12yrs.