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==Star Wars Clone Wars Secret n Line Scooter==
It was Jack's 5th birthday last month and he was really keen to get a scooter and even more keen to get one related to Star Wars. When he saw this on the Argos website when we were looking for his birthday present he wanted this and nothing else.
So because it was only something that could be purchased online we ordered it and had to pay the extra £5 odd that Argos charge for delivery. It came within a few days on the specified date and was left in our garage. I had ordered it a few weeks before just so it was definitely here for the big day and kept it a secret that we had got it although it was more or less a given seeing as he was so sure that was what he wanted and nothing else.
The scooter as £45.99 p which is really quite expensive for a scooter and especially since it was his first one. We were more keen to get him one of the three wheeled scooters which would ease him into the whole scooter experience but he was having none of it. I think a big draw to wanting this particular scooter was the "secret draw" that is filled with Clone Wars figures.
The scooter was wrapped and presented to Jack on his birthday morning and he was so excited to have the scooter he wanted and was determined to ride it to school that morning. So once we were all ready to go we got on the scooter and set off. The handle bars needed adjusting to Jack's height which was easy to do with a quick release type bar and a twist of the handle bars. The Scooter itself can be folded down and we had to open it up and fix the second quick release bar in place so that the scooter would not fold in on itself.
From the minute we set off I could see this scooter was not the bet made and the quick release to enable to scooter to fold down was continually slipping and making the scooter fold in on itself whilst Jack was trying to scoot along. The more I tried to secure the bar the less it seemed to fasten and the worse it got. This was not only extremely annoying but also really very dangerous and clearly some sort of fault.
Along with the scooter folding in on itself the fact that the scooter was extremely noisy was another really bad aspect of the product. The "secret draw" seemed to vibrate through the whole scooter and rattle about it in way that was vibrating up Jacks arms and he moaned that it wasn't comfortable to ride on.
Luckily the trip to school is only around 5 to 10 minutes although it seemed a lot longer when I was trying to get the scooter up to the right position and stop Jack from bouncing off the thing. Needless to say while Jack was at school I took a trip back to Argos and exchanged this scooter for one that was not only cheaper but also far more suitable for general use. Jack was a little disappointed that he didn't have the Clone Wars figures but he soon got over that disappointment.
So because there really was nothing positive to say about this scooter I would only award the lowest possible score of 1 out of 5 stars and I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone wanting to actually ride outside on it. It was expensive and not fit for purpose.
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you
many thanks for taking the time to read.
My eldest, Oakley is seven and obsessed with Star Wars and Lego in equal measures. This makes choosing presents for him a doddle, especially as he always has a list as tall as himself, listing all the Lego Star Wars sets he wants. There are only four weeks between his birthday and Christmas so with all the family we have he usually does very well with this list. It's always nice to have a bit of variety though and my mum decided he needed something to encourage him to leave the confines of his room and do something different. After going through the Argos catalogue (the cheeky devil keeps a copy in his room) they decided on this Star Wars - The Clone Wars - In-line scooter.
Personally, I suspected his scooter choice had much more to do with the keyring figures in the secret drawer than wanting to use the scooter for what it was actually designed for, but quietly my husband and I were pleased and hoped it would encourage him in a more physical type of play.
The scooter came packaged in a standard white cardboard box and my first impression was that it was much heavier than I had imagined. I was expecting some plastic fantastic contraption, but most parts are metal which is well finished, there are no unsightly joins or lumps of weld. The scooter is ready assembled, it just needed removing from the box, unfolding and it was ready for use. It folds in half, the main steering column folding flat to the footboard. There is a blue clip at the front of the footboard which must be pulled to both open and fold, there is also a metal clip to the side, which must be moved in order to use the blue clip and it also locks the scooter into the position you have chosen. This all may sound fiddly, but it's very simple and helps make the scooter just that bit safer.
The handles can be removed from the main steering column by simply pressing a little button and pulling the handles from their holdings. They remain attached by a piece of elastic which is hidden on the inside, preventing them from getting lost. (A bit like toddler mittens!) There is another clip on the steering column, this one dark blue plastic, which holds each handle, tucking them in securely. This makes the toy quite compact when folded and easy to stow in the car boot.
The scooter is suitable for children aged five and over. The handle bars can be adjusted to fit as your child grows, simply by pressing a small metal button and pulling the handle bars upwards. Again there is another failsafe metal clip which locks them into position. You must try to keep it straight though, as the button slots into little pre-cut holes on the steering column. There isn't an upper age limit given on the box or on the Argos website, just a maximum weight of 50kg, but my eleven year old nephew (who is on the taller side) finds it comfortable to use on the highest setting.
It certainly looked the business in its shiny chrome and royal blue. The Clone Wars design is mainly printed on. The footboard showcases most of the Clone Wars pictures, which look great and there is a textured surface, a bit like clear sandpaper to create a non slip surface. The footbrake is in chrome, it covers the back wheel and is easy to press with the heel of your foot. The wheels are in a matching dark blue and although plastic, seem to be very hard wearing and have plenty of life left in them. The steering column also has pictures, but these are printed on plastic which has been glued on. Unfortunately this has started to peel away and we've tried glueing it back on to no avail. Another thing which lets it down a bit are the handles. There are plastic discs on each end which do seem a bit flimsy, especially as I expect them to receive a fair few knocks and scrapes. The bars are covered with moulded foam which is very soft, again, with the amount of wear they are going to get, the foam doesn't seem dense enough to last very long. Also, most chrome parts are now starting to get rust spots. This probably wouldn't have happened had we taken better care, it has been left outside and the grass and mud has only been washed off a handlful of times, so as a result it isn't looking so good after only four months of use. Build wise though I have to say that all parts are still very strong, secure and undamaged.
The secret drawer unlocks by pressing in a little catch on the underside of the footplate. There was a sticker just above the catch with instuctions, but Oakley didn't like it interferring with the pictures and removed it. Again, the drawer is much better quality than I imagined. It is made of plastic, but is spring loaded so moves in and out smoothly and is flush to the scooter body. Inside the drawer were six plastic keyrings of various Clone Wars characters. These are a nice touch, the features of each character are actually quite clear, but the plastic is a bit on the cheap side and we already have two which have broken from the chain. The keyrings no longer live in the scooter anymore, the existing ones have pride of place on his school bookbag, the drawer is now full of acorns, pine cones and a shiny stone that Oakley has collected on his travels. Measuring 33cm long by 9.5cm wide and 5cm deep, it's quite surprising how many treasures it can hold!
Oakley is not the most co-ordinated of children and has never had much interest in these kind of outdoor toys before, we practically forced him to have a bike last year and he still isn't confident enough to ride it without the stabilisers. It's probably worth pointing out here that he has hyper mobility in his legs, which means his ligaments are longer than most peoples and he has more flexibility in his joints. This causes him to walk with his legs turned inwards and it makes him a little ungainly and clumsy at times. His case isn't too severe and hopefully shouldn't cause him too many problems later in life, but strengthening the muscles in his legs will give him more support, part of which will come with age, but riding bikes and scooters will definitely help.
Okay, so hyper mobility is a medical problem, another not so medical problem Oakley suffers with is his attention span, he is very easily distracted by everything! Getting him to have a long ride on the scooter is nearly impossible. The first time we took him to the car park opposite our house. There are two large, flat, tarmaced sections, but they are connected by a slope which Oakley nearly went flying down due to the fact he was staring backwards at some giggling teenage girls. We lost count of the times he came too close to comfort to the only two parked cars (mine and hubbys!) and after falling off a dozen times in twenty minutes he decided he'd had enough.
To his credit, my husband has persevered and encouraged Oaks to use his scooter as much as possible. We've taken it to local parks, so he can ride it on the playing field, he has ridden it through the wood and to the shops. His cousins also have scooters and a lovely long back garden, so he takes it when he visits them so they can race. Oakley always starts out enthusiastically, but it doesn't take long for him to start complaining that it hurts his legs, he feels every little bump and says that the scooter vibrates too much. Initally I was concerned that it might actually be a fault with the scooter, but my nephews have played on it without reporting any such problem and they both actually favour it over their own. I will agree that it's not such a great idea to use through the wood, with the ground being far too uneven, but it runs very smoothly on tarmac surfaces.
One thing I have noticed though, during the many times I have had to carry it home, is that it is very heavy. The weight does give it a solid feel and probably helps with stability, but it is a hinderance to Oakley who only weighs three stone and has no muscle on him at all.
===Hit or Miss?===
Sadly for Oakley, it's a bit of a miss. If it's a choice of taking his scooter or his bike to the field (or car park) he chooses the bike, as the vibrations from the scooter hurt his legs and he finds it easier to ride his bike as it still has the stabilisers attached. Truthfully, these kind of toys just aren't his first choice and I think the effort involved in managing them is just too much for him.
But as for the scooter itself, the build quality is very good, the Clone Wars designs are bright, clear and eyecatching. The wheels have coped very well with a variety of terrains. The keyrings are a nice addition, as is the secret drawer. I think the handles let it down slightly, but so far they have proven me wrong about their durability. Appearance wise it does look like we've had it longer than four months, but we have to take responsibility for not looking after it properly. It cost £44.99 which I think is middle of the range for scooter prices and not bad considering it is adjustable.
I live with the hope that Oakley will develop more of an interest as he gets bigger and stronger, especially as it has plenty of growing room. Also my nephews who are much more interested in this type of toy love it. So overall, yes I would recommend it.
Folded: (H)23, (W)10.5, (D)62cm.
Unfolded and extended: (H)83, (W)33, (D)71cm.