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The Playmobil people take to the seas
Playmobil 4469 Expedition Ship
Member Name: KLockwood75
Playmobil 4469 Expedition Ship
Advantages: Well-made, lots of detail, encourages imagination
Disadvantages: Tiny bits get hoovered up by mistake!
As a child, my sister and I were really into Playmobil and I have been looking forward to buying it for my little boy for ages. Although Playmobil is designed for children over the age of four, we decided to buy my son the Playmobil Expedition Ship for his third birthday as he was starting to create ever-more complicated imaginative stories with his space rocket and fire engines, and we thought the Playmobil range would appeal to his tendency towards that style of play.
* Reason for Purchase *
We chose the Expedition Ship because, following a family holiday to Mallorca last year when we went sailing with his uncle, my son had developed a fascination with boats. I spent a while debating the merits of the Expedition Ship and the Family Yacht, but chose this product because it seemed to have less 'tiny' pieces (and those that were included weren't critical to the playability of the product so I could remove them and hide them to be re-introduced at a later stage).
* Assembling the Product *
My son was very excited to unwrap the big box that housed the ship on his birthday and wanted to play with it straight away. So, we opened the box only to discover that the ship was in pieces and needed to be put together, something that was simply not going to happen on the morning of his birthday with a party to prepare for and a houseful of overnight guests! I eventually sat down to build the ship the following evening in a quiet house with time to concentrate on it - even with the time and space to do it, it still took me 45 minutes to put the ship together due to the sheer amount of fiddly pieces. You even need to know how to tie proper knots in the miniature ropes which hold the anchor and the winch to pull up the diving platform - luckily my husband used to be a Scout and he took care of that bit for me! There is actually a message on the box warning that the assembly time is approximately 30 minutes but we didn't notice that before we wrapped it up.
* The Product / Contents *
Once assembled, the Expedition Ship is a lovely toy. It is a sturdy boat which is weighted at the bottom to allow it to float on water - you can also add an underwater motor to the boat (at additional cost), although we have decided not to do that for now. The boat even has a transparent bottom so that the little people on board can see the imaginary fishes underneath! I particularly like the attention to detail that has been put into this product - with items such as a metal anchor, a working winch to pull the platform up from the sea, a tiny fire-extinguisher hidden beneath the deck and a well-equipped control deck. The additional items that come with the boat are three people; a female captain, a workman with his own hard hat and tool kit and a diver complete with mask, snorkel, air-tank and flippers. There is also a chest for buried treasure, a tool box for the tiny tools, a couple of pairs of tiny binoculars and a handheld radio.
* Other Features *
It is also suitable for playing with in water, although I wouldn't really recommend it as a bath toy unless you limit the items which can be taken into the bath. It's ok with just the boat and the people, but some of the smaller items could easily end up being washed down the plughole.
* Compatibility *
The Expedition Ship is also compatible with some of the other Playmobil products in their 'Underwater Range'. My son has the Diving Bell which can be attached to the winch on the Expedition Ship and has been eyeing up the Shark Diver every time we see it. You can also get a Research Submarine, a Researcher Boat with a whale and more divers in an underwater reef in the same range.
* Cost *
The price of the Playmobil Expedition Ship is £39.99. I think this is reasonable value for a very well-made product with a lot of playability. It is also possible to get it cheaper by shopping around - we bought it as part of the Boots 3 for 2 Christmas gift offer.
Overall, I have been really pleased with the product and my son loves it. He still plays with it frequently and it is definitely helping him develop his imaginative play as he makes up stories about the divers and the captain (although as she is a woman, he keeps telling her to cook dinner for the divers!). There is a slight issue with the size of the smaller items - a couple have unfortunately been sucked up by the hoover already - but apart from that we are all very happy with it and would definitely consider buying additional items from the range.
Summary: A fantastic toy for children who like boats and making up adventures
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