“ Brand: Born To Play / Type: Trucks „
Since I've got to the point when I can recite probably every episode of Fireman Sam ever made, I decided to get my twenty month old son some of the toys and action figures. I hoped that this would mean that he would spend less time watching Sam on the television and more time doing some more 'constructive' play!
I was more than pleased with the Venus truck: the build quality is first class and it has stood up well to the rough and tumble that comes with being played with by a toddler. The problems with the Jupiter vehicle (the weak doors and the difficulties in getting the action figures into the cab) don't apply here. The doors are much stronger and the Penny figure fits very well. My son enjoyed the sound feature on the top in particular, and we've had it some time now and the batteries are still working well.
Well worth an investment: more play, less television!
Last year we went on holiday to Centre Parcs and the gift shop was full of Fireman Sam merchandise.
My son, being a huge fireman sam fan, went on about the shop the whole 5 days we were there. This made it a long 5 days. We had promised that before we left each of our children could pick something from the gift shop to take home.
On the last day we must have spent nearly an hour in the shop trying to choose what to buy because there was a lot to choose from. Eventually my son pick Tom in his rescue vehicle but my daughter was delighted when she seen this Fire appliance as it is driven by Penny Morris, her favourite character.
Penny is an articulated figure with posable legs, arms and head. The vehicle is very sturdy with 6 rubber wheels that are friction powered. Run it along the ground a few times and let it go and watch as it whizzes off at high speed. Press the button and the blue lights flash and sirens sound. There is a hose on top that you can turn round easily so Penny can put out a fire in any direction.
The driver and passenger doors open so that you can put Penny in but she is quite big and it is a real struggle to get her to fit in so we tend to push her in through the front window as there is no windscreen.
This is a fantastic addition to the fireman sam collection and is one of the best friction powered vehicles that I have come across.
Harry had his 3rd birthday a short while ago, and was very lucky with the presents he received from family and friends. We tried to limit the amount of toys he received because Christmas hasn't long passed and he got a lot then, so we really went for more educational toys. However, he is mad on Fireman Sam and the vehicles so when his Uncle asked for a present idea, I immediately thought of Penny's fire vehicle called Venus from the show. He already has the main fire engine Jupiter, so I thought this would be a good addition to his collection.
Fireman Sam is a popular children's TV Show set in the fictional Welsh town of Pontypandy. It follows the fire fights of the local fire station; Sam, Elvis, Penny and Station Officer Steele. A mountain rescue character called Tom has been added in the latter series. Venus is Penny's fire car and is used more in the newer episodes alongside Jupiter, and is quite recognisable with its bright red and yellow paint and flashing lights on the top. The truck is probably the one children who watch the show will recognise most after Jupiter of course, but Harry is more than thrilled with his Venus and has hardly put it down since unwrapping it!
The vehicle is made by toy company Born to Play, and is what is called a Friction vehicle. This means that when you push the vehicle with a little force, it will carry on with the momentum and continue to move on a carpeted or hard-flooring surface. It is slightly noisy because of the mechanism which helps it move after a push, but you soon get used to it and it doesn't bother me anywhere near as much as the far noisier Jupiter engine that Harry has. The car is made from plastic, has several noises, flashing lights and also has a little poseable Penny character as well, so you are getting good value for your money.
The car is a good size for toddler hands to play with as its nice and wide to grip for little hands, and is nice and sturdy in the main bulk of it too. The main body of the car is red, with a few logos on the doors, and a yellow box at the back which is just asthetic on this vehicle. It has a rotating hose on top of the yellow box which also serves as the tool to make the noises for the car. You just press it slightly and Penny will speak several phrases, or the sirens will sound. It is a random selection but it is a good quality sound. The on/off switch for the noise is found underneath the vehicle, which is also where the battery compartment is - the vehicle takes 2 x AA batteries which should be supplied with your vehicle.
When a sound is activated by your child, the lights on top of Venus flash alternatly as well and stop when the noise has ended. This is a nice touch and Harry likes the flashing lights as it makes the vehicle more authentic for its young users. The doors open and shut easily, but are made of quite thin plastic so I am a little concerned that they will soon break as they did on Harry's Jupiter engine, and this is really the only downside of the product. The small poseable Penny fits neatly inside the vehicle, and so do some of Harry's other characters he has from his previous toy so this is good that they have made them all compatible in all the engines. The legs, arms and head of Penny move about easily, so its fairly simple to get her sitting in the vehicle. Harry struggles with this, but I am always on hand to help out so it isn't too much of a problem.
It is a great toy which has some great points about it. The phrases are ones that are often used in the television show by Penny such as "Fire fighting can be dangerous" and "Steady on there!", the flashing lights make it a bit fun for children playing with it, and the friction aspect allows it to be very playable and Harry and I have fun racing Jupiter and Venus by giving them a big push across the sitting room floor. Venus moves easily and smoothly, even on a carpet so it is well made in that respect. The flimsy doors are a concern, but we shall see whether they stand the Harry Test in time.
I managed to get Harry's car on Ebay for just £10 which is a few pounds cheaper than on Amazon, but it should be quite widely available in toy shops such as Toys R Us. If you have a Fireman Sam fan in your house, then I would recommend this toy because it's well made, your child will get lots of fun out of it and the bright colours make it stand out amongst other toys too. Its clear they have made a lot of effort to make the toy exactly the same as on the TV show down to the pain job under the doors and logos on the door, and it all makes a difference because it really does look like a quality toy. Recommend by both me and Harry!
Amazon.co.uk price (March 09): £13.99
Thank you for reading.
Brilliant friction powered Venus with flashing light and sounds. Has opening doors and a rotating water cannon to make it just like the real thing. Comes with articulated Penny figure with poseable head, arms and legs.