Newest Review: ... A LOT of very teeny tiny little bits, perfect to be swallowed, appropriated by other Playmobil sets, vacuumed up and generally lost. You... more
An Egyptian Enigma
Playmobil 4240 Pyramid
Member Name: historywitch
Playmobil 4240 Pyramid
Advantages: Big, lots of pieces, historically accurate, fun for an older child
Disadvantages: Big, lots of little pieces, hard hard hard to put together
I mentioned it was a large toy and it is. Its base is 52 cm x 52 cm and it is 35 cm tall. Whilst it is possible to disassemble and store the toy, it really isn't ideal (see below) so you need to make sure that you have somewhere to store the thing. We have a small house and it doesn't get played with as much as it could simply because the only space we could find for it was relatively high up.
Like most Playmobil toys the assembly of this toy is down to you. You get the plastic pieces and the stickers and you are expected to put it together. This is fine for some of the smaller ones but this thing is massive and has lots of intricate bits. It took me about three hours to put it together and there was an awful lot of swearing whilst it went on. The base is four pieces that fit together like a jigsaw, then you have to put the interior together. Hah.
The interior is complicated. The entrance is a rotating 'concealed' door at the front of the tomb, which works on a cog and ratchet system. Could I get the thing to work....could I <insert expletive here>. Two years on and the door still does not rotate as it should and it's a source of irritation every time I look at the bloody thing. The swinging staircase and various scorpion filled traps were much more successful (and I happily imagined the designer of this pyramid falling into them). In several places in the pyramid there are little blue buttons and switches which make the various bits work - traps, sliding walls and hidden passages etc. Almost all of these worked beautifully, but there was one wall that definitely looked like it should slide or tilt or move or dance or something, but despite all my dedicated reading of the (really unhelpful) instructions I couldn't get that bit to work either. Neither could my husband, or my mother or my brother so I do feel a little vindicated there.
The pyramid comes with A LOT of very teeny tiny little bits, perfect to be swallowed, appropriated by other Playmobil sets, vacuumed up and generally lost. You get the priests, the canopic jars on their little stretcher thing and a sarcophagus with a mummy inside (and a skeleton inside the mummy in a Russian doll kind of thing). There is a treasure chest full of little tiny 'gems', lots of sceptres and bracelets, headdresses and a number of tiny little plastic scorpions for the traps. Two years later we have two figures, a skeleton and a few lonely looking stones left which is a bit of a shame.
There was also a little issue with the decoration on the three sides of the pyramid. Essentially you get three flat pieces which semi-lean, semi-slot into the sides of the thing. To decorate the sides they had the brilliant idea to put a pharaoh carving thing. Nice. Then they decided to break the pharaoh figure into seven or eight little panels all stacked delicately on top of each other. The idea is that you press an 'amulet key' at the bottom and the bottom panel pops out to make a secret passage into the pyramid. Oh that's fabulous. What fun. Except every time you want to move the pyramid.... they fall off. Everytime you knock the pyramid.....they fall off. Everytime you fart..... well, you get the idea. We have seven left and I still occasionally find them in other playsets, in shoes, under her bed etc etc. On top of these fiddly bits you have another three pieces of the exterior wall that come off so you can see inside some of the inner chambers. Sadly as they don't clip on to the large side pieces (more pieces that just lean) they also fall off regularly and we have lost one of those too.
By this point you might be getting the idea that I am not so fond of this toy and you would be right. But I am not the owner - what does she think? Well initially she loved it and played with it a lot. But when it moved up to create some floorspace she pretty much forgot about it even though it was in plain sight all the time. The traps etc are nice but you have to pick all the bits up after each time you sacrifice a tomb robber and all those scorpions get a bit irritating after the third or fourth time. She liked playing with the figures a lot, so they got requested regularly and sparked some really interesting conversations and ideas, but being separated from the main set did mean that they didn't always go back altogether. Her brother who is now three was introduced to it again recently and whilst he happily played with it for half an hour with his sister, when I got it down for him he got frustrated with how long it took me to set up all the traps etc each time. He ended up wandering off after about ten minutes of chuckling every time the robber hit the floor covered in scorpions and hasn't asked for it since.
For a patient older child (say seven or eight) without younger siblings and with plenty of floor space, this would be a more successful toy I suspect - especially if you manage to crack the code and get the thing together and working 100%. We have a small house, an inquisitive baby/toddler and other toys that appealed much more. We also didn't invest in any more of the Egyptian playsets either which might have made this more fun.
As far as I can tell (I have an ancient history degree) it is relatively historically accurate and would be excellent for a child who is very interested in the Egyptians. If it was me however I'd opt for one of the smaller playsets first, they are much easier to store and cheaper to buy in the first place. Perhaps my feelings would be different had I managed to get the two fiddly bits working, but I suspect not, its still from my perspective a deeply annoying toy.
Summary: Not my favourite toy.
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