Product Type: Born to Play Toy Car
Newest Review: ... aware of the programme and characters etc. The Van itself is the classic bright red Postman Pat Van, it is of a nice size and made out of... more
Postman Pat ran over his cat.....
Born To Play Postman Pat Friction Van
Member Name: cmh4135
Born To Play Postman Pat Friction Van
Date: 07/07/08, updated on 07/07/08 (195 review reads)
Advantages: Simple, low maintenance toy
Disadvantages: Quite a few functionality tricks missed
The van is made from bright red moulded plastic, and is about 17cm long and 12cm tall. It's designed to be a good replica of the van that is used on the TV show and bears the number plate "PAT 1". The van is a good runner in many ways - not only does it not require batteries (so no servicing costs) it also drives very well in the hands of a toddler. One reasonable push will see the van travelling to the other side of the room with little fuss, making that unmistakable "friction-vehicle" sound as it goes. I like the fact that this really is a push and go toy rather than having a pull-back mechanism as I've found that toddlers can often get frustrated with the latter when mummy/daddy can do it but they can't.
The van comes with two vinyl figures;Postman Pat and Jess. Postman Pat is moulded into a sitting position with his arms extended out front to grip the steering wheel. This is really my first gripe as it means that Postman Pat can't really be used in any other in role play (unless it's a sitting scene!). Jess is a plain model cat - nothing to write home about really (but I understand the necessity of having her there!). The charcters can be placed in the van and accessed by opening the front doors of the van. Both my son and I have found these to be stiff and I forsee that, with repeated play, they might well suffer. Certainly, at present, my 2 year old has to ask for them to be opened. Thankfully the windscreen provides a big enough gap to ram the figures in!
The front doors of the van are the only bits of the van that open/move (wheels aside). I think this is a shame and my toddler frequently tries to open the back doors but they're just decorative. This doesn't seem to bother him too much but I feel a trick has been missed here. The back could open and pretend letters/parcels could have been used to recreate the role play. As it is, there's nowhere for letters etc. to go.
The toy is aimed at the magic 3+ market (although what changes magically at 3 I can't yet tell) but to be honest there's nothing about it that stops a 2 year old playing save perhaps the strength to open the doors! Certainly, so long as you regularly check your toys for damage I can't see an issue.
In my mind this is a toy that could be very good but is, instead, rather mediocre and one which I do not expect to have a very long life (least not if we don't find a jointed Pat to go in it). With a little more thought and the inclusion of a jointed character this would be very good.
As far as my son is concerned, at the moment, he loves it and the van regularly races Fireman Sam's fire engine (a very similar vehicle with similar shortfallings).
This toy is available in most major retailers retailing at around £8-9. Personally, I think it overpriced but would give it a tentative thumbs up for those character loving toddlers who just seem to like these things.
Now, if only I could stop singing the alternative words to Postman Pat's theme tune!
Summary: An adequate, but not superb character toy.
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