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~~~ INTRODUCTION ~~~
As a parent I fully understand the importance of providing my little boy with a range of toys, games and books that will provide him with plenty of opportunities to develop his skills. Simulating and age appropriate toys will help him develop cognitively, physically and creatively as well as providing him with a range of social and emotional skills that will prepare him for later life ...
As a massive retro toys fan and collector I also want to share my love of robots, aliens and spaceships with him. Transformers are one of my all time favourite toy lines and I have a collection of many of the vintage "Generation One Transformers" (as well as some of the newer toys based on the two Transformers Movies). My little boy absolutely loves sitting at my desk with me and playing with my vintage Transformers stuff ... he especially enjoys pressing the sound box that came with the 25th Anniversary Optimus Prime.
However (as most parents will know) the problem with so many toys these days is the fact that they just aren't safe for younger children ... if you have a baby with an older brother and sister you have to be very careful what they play with as so many toys have small parts which can be swallowed. Transformers toys are one of the worst culprits too !!!
As my little boy is only 16 months old I thought that buying him his own Transformer toy would to have to wait until he was much older ... but then I discovered Transformers Cyber Slammers !!!
~~~ TRANSFORMERS CYBER SLAMMERS ~~~
Transformers Cyber Slammers are a new range of Transformers toys designed for the pre-school range. I feel that is important to point out that they do have a 3+ age range printed on the packaging but in my opinion thay are perfectly safe for toddlers as young as my son as they have no small parts and are extrememly well made.
Essentially they are similar to the majority of friction powered toy vehicles on the market but have an additional "transforming" mechanism.
Each vehicle has a hidden robot inside. The robot's upper torso pops up and when pressed down the vehicle rolls forward. When the vehicle comes to a stop the torso pops up again and can be pressed down again to make the vehicle move. The mechanism is released gently so there is no danger of getting hurt or injured and small fingers cannot get trapped inside the mechanism as it simply will not close if an object is in the way.
The robot that pops up is also fantastic ... with lots of detail that makes it visually appealing as a character but looks a lot cuter and cartoon like than the Transformers toys that were released following the recent Transformers movies. There are also no guns present with this version of the Transformer ... so it is simply a cute chunky little vehicle with a cute robot that pops up.
Older children will of course slam the mechanism down (hence the name of the product) but the vehicle can be made to move just as effectively by simply pressing the robot down slowly and gently. It is basically a friction powered toy car that doesn't involve a great deal of wheeling it backwards and forwards to build up enough friction for it move. The clever mechanism inside the Cyber Slammer does all the work for you ... all your child needs to is push the robot down and off it goes !!!
There is also a small switch underneath each Cyber Slammer which locks the robot down. When the switch has been pressed the friction mechanism is disabled and the toy works like an ordinary toy car and can be pushed along in free wheel mode ... this is a great feature and the Cyber Slammer toy in this mode becomes a great little vehicle for whizzing across the lino !!!
~~~ OPTIMUS PRIME ~~~
The Cyber Slammer I bought for my son was of course Optimus Prime. The heroic leader of the Autobots is perhaps the best known of all the Transformers and the Cyber Slammer version of Optimus Prime is a cute and chunky looking truck ideal for my little boy to play with.
When I gave the Cyber Slammer Optimus Prime to him he immediately pointed to the shelf with my own Optimus Prime on it ... which clearly demonstrated that he knew that this wasn't a regular toy vehicle (it also shows that Hasbro have created a classic toy aimed at younger children without losing any of the Transformers identity in the process). The main difference between this toy and the rest of the Transformers on the market is that this toy range is cuter and with no guns or firing missiles it is far more approprite for younger children (it's simply a chunky little truck with a friendly looking robot who pops up every now and then).
In addition to this, unlike the Transformer toys on the shelf (which usually have several pieces that could become choking hazards) this was a product that, as a parent, I felt comfortable with him playing with on his own. He chuckled when Optimus Prime popped up and watched carefully as I pressed him down and when the truck rolled across the floor he when scurrying after it ... after several minutes he had mastered the push down mechanism on his own and seemed to really enjoy playing with the toy. I also noticed that when the vehicle stopped he picked it up and was saying "hiya" to Optimus Prime who had popped up to say hello !!!
As a parent and as a Transformers fan I felt very happy. The magic of a vehicle that turns into a robot character (that I loved as a child) had been shared with my son in the form of a product which has clearly been designed with younger children in mind. He loves playing with Transformers Cyber Slammer and takes it with him when we go out in the car ... unlike many of the toy vehicles he has it is actually easier to get this vehicle to move across the floor. It is a toy he loves and I am very happy to say that since he has been given his own Transformer he doesn't seem interested in wanting to play with my collection anymore !!!
~~~ PLEASE READ CAREFULLY ~~~
As I said at the start of this review this product does have a 3+ rating clearly printed on the package but I am more than happy with the safety aspect of this toy if given to an active toddler who may be a little younger than three. To be totally honest, we have actually taken toys off my own son in the past which claim to be suitable for 12 months plus simply because as parents we felt that they were dangerous ... so please be assured that I am writing this review fully aware of the importance of child safety. But as a product that has been thoroughly tested and played with by my own 16 month old I can also confidently report that the toy is well made, has no small parts and has given us no cause for concern.
~~~ THE TRANSFORMERS CYBER SLAMMERS RANGE ~~~
In addition to Optimus Prime, Hasbro have produced several other Transformers Cyber Slammers. The current range includes; Bumblebee, Brawl, Barricade, Jazz and Ratchet. Clearly there are more Autobots (the good guys) than Decepticons (the bad guys) but hopefully as the range develops Hasbro will add a few more Decepticons (a Megatron Cyber Slammer would look awesome).
These toys are widely available in stores such as Toys R Us, Toymaster and Argos and retail for an average price of £7.99. However, if you have an ASDA Supermarket nearby then I suggest you check out the toy section as Transformers Cyber Slammers (as well as a number of other great toys and games) are currently being sold for a lot less. The last time I visited ASDA (last week) the Transformers Cyber Slammers Bumblebee and Jazz were being sold for £4.69 each !!!!!
Being an extremely nostalgic person I have had some level of influence on the cartoons and toys that my children play with, while my little girl is amassing an impressive My Little Pony collection my little boy has taken a firm interest in Transformers, an interest made easier for me to cater to following the live action film release last year. He is only 3 ½ though and finding Transformer toys that are appropriate for his age group can be quite tricky, he may have the ability of a 5 year old and be able to manage those toys well but I do still get concerned about "small parts" especially with his younger sister around, step up Transformers Cyber Slammers, specially designed for the younger fans and perfect to capture his imagination.
Optimus Prime Cyber Slammer-
Based on the 2007 movie character the Optimus Prime Cyber Slammer in basic terms is a press down and release toy, shaped to resemble the truck (minus trailer) of Optimus Prime (he's the leader of the good guys the Autobots) when pressed down, as the truck rolls forwards the centre of the truck pops up revealing Optimus Primes Torso and head, it is this section that then needs to be pressed down again to wind the trucks mechanism and once released the truck will drive forwards again.
The truck has 2 modes available, you can keep the press and release mode or you also have the option of sliding along a white plastic "lock" on the underside of the truck, this will lock the body of Optimus Prime into place so that the toy can be used in truck mode as a basic vehicle.
Christopher loves his Cyber Slammers, he has Optimus and Bumblebee and will play with them for hours in both modes. He's always loved cars anyway so these fit in perfectly with all his other cars and trucks when he has his play road mat out on the carpet. He may only be 3 but he knows who the characters are and will always ask me where I've put them on a morning when he's finished breakfast so he can continue playing with them, they've fast become one of his favourite toys and he'll take them everywhere with him. The Slammers may have very basic function but they are aimed at 3 years olds who don't need lots of fancy options and modes to make a toy fun and interesting.
The truck does tend to roll better if you have wood, laminate or similar style flooring, you get a much better distance out of them then you do on carpet, of course this can be a problem if you let your toddler loose in a wood floor hallway and he sends the cars rolling off in all directions getting under every ones feet as they try to walk by.
Made of chunky plastic and with limited small parts it is designed well for the age group, they are not too highly detailed giving the child a good representation of the character without becoming too fussy. The plastic and the internal pop up mechanism stand up to a lot of strain, toddlers aren't the most delicate of people after all and will take the "slammer" idea literally, the paint work also seems to last well without chips or rubbing, however I'm sure after time, like all toys, it may see a little wear.
Christophers little hands are able to operate the truck without difficulty and even Elsa, who is only 20 months, can make the truck work after a little bit of effort, it's only the lock which holds the truck in vehicle mode which they cannot operate, a handy little fact as I can "accidentally" put the lock on to prevent nanny having an accident on one when it's rolled under her feet as she's carrying a cup of tea through the hallway.
Price & Availability-
Christopher received his Cyber Slammers as a gift from a Transformers obsessed friend of ours, not that I mind, it saved us money I'd have probably spent myself, still they can be found in most toy stores like Toys R Us and Woolworths and retail from £5.95 to £7.99, obviously prices vary depending on store, they can also be found on Amazon and occasionally pop up on Ebay if you're after a bargain .
Other characters available are Bumblebee, Brawl, Barricade, Jazz, Ratchet and Cliff jumper. All but Cliff Jumper had major appearances in the live action movie and the toys are based on these characters.
Go to http://www.hasbrotoyshop.com for more on the range.
Review also found on Ciao
As the truck rolls along the robot pops up. Age: 3+