My son is obsessed with the Ben 10 and Ben 10 Alien force series so my house is quite literally full of many things Ben 10! I may therefore end up writing quite a lot of Ben 10 theme reviews!
Ben 10 is a series about Ben Tennyson who accidently stumbles across the Omnitrix whilst on a trip with his Grandpa Max and cousin Gwen. He thinks the Omnitrix is just a watch but it in fact an alien device and once put on cannot be removed. It has the powers to turn Ben into 10 different aliens all with different kinds of powers and abilities.
For Christmas last year I bought my son the Ben 10 monster in line scooter.
The Ben 10 Monster in line scooter is a two wheeled scooter, and a step up from the three wheeled scooters used by young children. Inside the standing plate of the scooter is a drawer and it has 10 small aliens in there. To me I was unsure of which alien was what in many of the cases but my son knew who all of them were! They are very small and fat looking, not really like what the aliens look like on the show-but obviously they cannot be full sized as they need to fit in the drawer of a scooter!
Truthfully my son hasn't played with the scooter much. It is quite heavy and he is quite small for his age. The product is suitable for age 5+ and my son turned 5 in May. He doesn't really feel safe on the two wheels but we have kept it as hopefully in another few months he will be ready to have another go on it. The aliens however, have been played with regularly.
The scooter can be folded up by pulling a silver mechanism whilst folding the scooter at the same time. It is quite tricky to do and so I tend to just leave it up, though the option is there if you needed it.
It is not a cheap product, it cost me £40 at Christmas so it is a little disheartening that he will not play with it.
Another point to note is once you take the aliens out of their plastic packaging in the drawer if you put them back in afterwards the scooter makes a banging sound whilst being ridden as they are rattling around inside the drawer! I put a tea towel folded up in the drawer to silence the aliens!
Children grow up so fast so when my son told me he didn't want a baby scooter anylonger I got a little upset just thinking he was growing up.
For his 4th birthday he had asked for a big scooter and I was aware that he loved ben 10 (after hearing it 1000 times a day). So I searched high and low to find a ben 10 one. Over here at the time you could not buy them from Argos or Littlewoods so I went on line. I found an internet site called the big red warehouse which was the only place that I could order one without paying a fortune in shipping prices. This cost me £50 more than what you would pay now but still he was one of the first children to get it so it is expected to be that much (I shouldn't spoil him really).
This was brilliant, it was covered in ben 10 pictures, it had two green wheels and two padded handle bars. It has two height settings but on the lowest setting my son was still too small so it took him a long time to master pushing it along. It was easy to fold up and has a clasp to secure it folded or standing. The best part about this scooter is that it has 9 ben 10 alien toys in a secret storage compartment under the scooter so it made me feel as though it was money well spent. These toys are no longer kept underneath and we have lost a few. There is also a brake at the back which I think is a bit dangerous for a child to use.
The age range for this is 5 years +. It is hardwearing but the stickers do slightly peal off after a while. The down sides to this is that it is heavy to push along due to the secret compartment and also it makes a loud rattling noise due to the compartment too.
Overall this is good value for money and the child loves to take it to the park, it will also teach them co-ordination skills. The only difference between this one and any other is that it is ben 10 and the secret compartment which some others do have but with different things inside.
I always seem to be writing reviews about Ben 10 themed products because my six year old son is obsessed by the Ben 10 cartoon series, currently showing on Cartoon Network. The programme itself features a boy (Ben) who can transform himself into alien super-heroes by using his omnitrix (a sort of watch) and defeats villians using his special powers. As with any successful children's programme, there is an abundance of spin-off products available designed to part parents from their cash - little figures (got them), DVDs (got them) and now even a scooter emblazoned with Ben 10 images.
As far as tv programme merchandise goes, this scooter is actually of surprisingly good quality and, to be fair, not badly priced. We did some price comparisons before buying this for our son's birthday in September and found the cheapest stockist then to be Argos (at £34.99 compared to the RRP of £39.99.) Yes, I know that you can get 'cheap' non-branded scooters for half that price but this is the ferrari of scooters when you're a six year old boy! When my son first went out on it, there were literally kids on our road pointing and saying 'Look! He's got a Ben 10 scooter!' and my son felt really proud. He'd been asking for a scooter for a while as he's just starting to become more confident and independent and wanted something that he could go out and about on with his friends.
So, what makes this scooter stand out from the rest then? Well, obviously, the main attraction is the Ben 10 theme itself and it's mainly the name that you'll be paying a premium for. It does have a nice little addition of a 'secret hideaway compartment' for your child to show his friends. This is basically a pull-out drawer beneath the bottom of the scooter which includes nine Ben 10 monster figures. These are rather peculiar looking things that don't really bear that much resemblence to the actual aliens from the programme. They are tiny, squat little sumo representations of the aliens. My son was delighted on first opening the drawer and was able to work out who each figure was supposed to represent but he hasn't had a great deal of play value out of the figures themselves since then. They are really too small to be of much use for any imaginative play and I think we've mislaid a few already. The drawer itself seems quite sturdy and hard-wearing although I don't really see that it serves any ongoing useful purpose if you take the little alien figures out. (But then again, I'm not a five or six year old. My son takes great pleasure in showing off the scooter and its secret drawer and it always receives gasps of amazement!)
The main purpose of the scooter is, obviously, as something to ride on. According to the packaging, it's suitable for ages 5+. I'd say this is a pretty accurate figure. My husband had to extend the handle just a little way from its lowest setting and there is a good amount left on the handle to extend as he gets taller. As the handlebar height is adjustable in this way, it does mean that he should get a few years use out of it. (The scooter itself seems sturdy enough to withstand a couple of year's wear and tear, although I expect my son may move on to a different craze before he's managed to outgrow the scooter!) At 6, my son could ride his bike without stabilisers but struggled a little with stopping and starting. He's found this scooter incredibly easy to ride and goes up and down the road at such a speed that I cringe when I watch him! Luckily, there's only been a couple of near-misses to date! He can handle the scooter well as, although it's sturdy, it's quite lightweight to manage.
The whole scooter can be folded up inside itself when you want to store it. To be honest, we tend not to bother folding it up. It's got an (allegedly) easy quick release folding mechanism, but I can't work out how to do it for the life of me, although my husband can fold it at an impressive speed! Once folded up, it's quite a reasonable size to carry like that and doesn't seem too heavy to carry about for short distances.
The only other 'feature' of the scooter is a foot operated brake which my son mastered after a couple of days and was very proud of his ability to stop the scooter at speed! The brake isn't severe enough to catapult your kids off the scooter but it is effective once your child's worked out how to operate it. Since he's been using the scooter, my son has become much more confident about going out on his bike too, so I do think that riding the scooter has helped to develop his balance, as well as his confidence. It's a two-wheeled scooter so your child does need to be able to balance to ride it but it seems relatively easy to master.
Overall, I'd highly recommend this item. It seems very well made. Everything is sturdy and securely attached. It pushes along well and has the usual padding on the handlebars. The wheels are big enough to get speed up but not overly clumpy and the bright Ben 10 graphics are smart enough to make your six year old the envy of the street! If Santa is looking for something for a Ben 10 fan this Christmas, he wouldn't go far wrong with this scooter.
Update May 2009: Scooter still going strong!
Scooter with a secret compartment full of Ben 10 monsters!