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My 4 year old son got a few Playmobil toys for his fourth birthday in January this year, as part of this was a bundle of Fire rescue boxes including this fire boat. This has been one of the favourite bits he has in the fire range in part due to its ability to squirt water.
What is it?
The set comprises of a trailer for the boat to rest and be carried on. The boat itself including various hoses and attachments to squirt water and a fireman complete with helmet and life jacket.
Putting it together
As anyone who has had any Playmobil you will know there is a degree of construction involved in it. I was actually pleasantly surprised but how little there was to do with this set compared to the fire engine. As some of it was so straight forward my son was actually with a bit of prompting to assemble parts of it such as putting on the lights on the top. Other bits were a just a bit too fiddly for his little fingers such as the barrier around the boat or attaching the hose connectors. In all it probably took between 20-30 minutes to construct this toy together which compared to over an hour for the fire engine meant it was good to go for playing with straightaway.
The trailer aspect of this toy is probably the least used part of the set for my son. It can hook up to his fire engine but he finds this makes the convoy a little long and hard for him to manoeuvre. I think it would be better suited to being pulled by a car really. The boat we find does sit ok on the trailer but it will fall off especially when moved, unless the red elastic hooking line is attached over the top of the boat to the trailer below. My son rather than launching it from the trailer to the carpet sea below will just lift it off and then re winch it back on board with the rope attachment.
One of the appealing facts about this boat for my son is the fact that it does squirt fire so he can pretend to put out fires. The filling of the water barrels is very tricky though and it is often down to me to fill them as the hole for the water to go in so small. The best way we have found to fill them is to use a bowl of water and press the barrel so the suction from the barrel takes on water. Doing it this way means my son can do it but he still prefers me to do it as he never seems to get as much water in the barrel as I can. Then attaching these to the hose section is again a bit fiddly I think for the younger end of the age range of this toy as you have to coordinate lifting the red section the barrel sits on and attaching the hose via the small hole in the barrel. Even when I do this for him it can become detached before we have even pressed the barrel to squirt water. To activate the hose you need to squeeze the barrel and water then comes flying out of the hose gun that is mounted on the front of the boat. This actually produces a good squirt that can travel a good 20 cm's across the room and straight at the castle or his dad depending what and who are on fire.
The person with the set is a typical Playmobil person with fully movable limbs. The figure is in a blue fire outfit complete with the life vest that is day-glow orange. He also has a pair of gloves and a helmet and my son thinks he looks great and uses him to interact with the rest of the toy well.
The other accessories that come with the set are an orange buoy that can be thrown to people to save them, a lifesaver ring, a loudspeaker and a hook that I assume is for people to grab on to rather than for spearing fish. All of these get played with regularly with the boat set and to rescue various people and animals. They are a bit on the small side so can be easily lost and I am often searching on a night for the loudspeaker as I tidy the items up. They also could prove a choking hazard for younger children.
The toy is great fun for my son he loves the fact that the boat is for the firemen and rescues rather than his usual boats that he has in the bath and uses it to wonderful role playing advantage. He is often saving people from sharks or the pirates on his pirate ship from a fire and it is great to see him using it in such imaginative way. The boat can float on water so can be used in the bath if you wish. We have confined its use mainly to the rest of the house as he has other boats in the bath and I think this sits better with the rest of his fire sets than some of his submarines and fishing boats. The toy is well constructed and is standing up to many knocks and bumps with no signs of damage or breakages in it and I am very happy about the quality of the toy.
Overall and recommendation
This is a great toy not only is it well made but it is great for encouraging imaginative play about rescuing people and animals from fires and dangerous situations. The boat can be used in the bath or in normal play. My son prefers it in lounge as he can use it there to rescue more people and animals. At around £20 I think it is a great value set for the money as he finds it such fun to play with. The only quibble I have with it is how hard and fiddly it is to fill the barrels with water and connect them to the hose. For this reason it only gets 4 stars. If you want you can buy a motor to fit to the boat but this is something we are not considering as the boat is played with lots even without this additional gadget.
Model: Fire Boat