* Prices may differ from that shown
My son has begun to find a love for hot wheels. He had noticed this custom garage being advertised and because the car changed colour he really wanted to try the set. When I noticed it on half price sale on Amazon I decided I would get it for him. In the box you receive the garage itself and one colour changing car. You do need to assemble the set but it is very easy to do and takes no more than five minutes What we love about this set is it all clicks together and most stays that way which is a real advantage on a lot of track sets we have owned previously. The set is smaller than I expected it to be especially as it promised to do so much. All the pieces are made of durable plastic and although there are a few different pieces that need clicking together once built it is very sturdy so could be left assembled if you have space for it. It is bright and colourful and all the different features are large and impressive creating a wow factor for young children. Water is needed to change the cars colours so you will have to be happy with your child using warm and cold water.
We were all very excited to begin playing as it mixed water with cars which to my children is the perfect combination .The idea is to shoot the car across the raceway, where it falls into a tank of warm water. Instantly you can notice a difference in the cars appearances it changes from one colour to another. Then the car can retry the raceway and travel up the long slope to jump the broken bridge. As the car jumps the bridge, a waterfall tips over the car, and as it is cold water this time it changes the cars colour yet again. Finally the car finishes the race and then moves through a speed dryer to return it to normal again.
The thing that appealed to my son was there were a number of different things he could do with this set. There is of course a track for the car to race along, but along the way they are met with road traps, bridge jumping and waterfalls. There are so many different things that need to be done it holds the child's full attention. Also your child has to actually interact with the set. They have to mend the road or open it depending on which path they want the car to take. They have to push the button to launch the car across the track quickly and guide them into the different parts of the garage. The set can also be used without the water features which I think is a great idea. Sometimes my son decides he will just race his cars normally over the tracks and this provides him with great fun too. The cars do zoom off the tracks at times but again I think crashes and bangs are also part of the fun.
As the car starts its journey it runs over the track way where there is a missing panel and so it will fall into the warm tank of water. This part of the set was the most exciting for my son as it was an instant thrill for him. The only thing is you can't have hot water with children so it doesn't have as much of an effect as the cold water does. The car needs to be taken out of the tank again, and then the road can be fixed by pushing the plastic cover into place. At the start of the track is a large red button which launches the car up the slope very quickly. This means the car falls into, or goes around the track very quickly to build up for the big bridge jump at the waterfall.
The waterfall I think is a good idea but it is too fiddly. There is a plastic sheet that is supposed to guide the water down into a tank waiting at the bottom, but this is less than perfect at its job. Water will spill from it causing a mess but this is half of the fun. Also, it needs refilled each time the car passes. As this is a rather small track that really does not take long and it can need done every five minutes. You can refill it using the tank underneath that catches the water, but as the cold water heats up so quickly with the constant use and transfers this has less of an effect on changing the car.
The dryer is a great addition to the set as it gives it a finale piece. After the cars needs to be loaded into the allocated space, and at a touch of a button it spins around and around. The button is very easy to push even for small hands and my sons think that it is amazing. You also receive a pen with the set which can be used to make more detailed make over's for the car. It reminds me a little of an aqua doodle pen and it needs filling with ice cold water to activate the colour changing. What I like is that because little one does not have to come into contact with the water in the pen you can make it ice cold so that it has a noticeable difference on the car. My son mainly draws numbers or smile faces, and he thinks it is fantastic he can write whatever he likes. There is also a pretend filling station and garage just to add a little more for your child's imagination.
The set does receive some play from my son as it uses both water and cars which are two of his favourite things. It is a simple track way but the car can meet as many or as few obstacles along the way as little one wants. It can be turned into a normal set so you do not need to use water all the time, and other hot wheels cars are compatible with this raceway. It is durable and has lasted my two boys well. There is no difficulty in taking it down or putting it up. It is something that a child can play with independently but they need an adult to set it up for them.
Your floor will get wet. There are tanks to contain the liquid, but as there are a few different parts of the set that require a car to be splashed around in water, both the floor and your child's hands will become wet. It is not a huge problem as we tend to use a towel underneath or use it on the wooden flooring but it is something to consider. This is also part of the fun of the set so it not actually a downside as such just something that needs to be thought about. Another downside is the actual colour changing car. You are supplied on in the box but there are only four or five to collect in total from the hot wheels range. These seem to be difficult to find so you do need to keep the car separate from others. My son has tried using both toy story and Disney cars colour changers but they will not fit on the raceway. When it comes to the car changing colour this actually is really poor. For any noticeable difference it needs to be put in freezing cold or boiling hot water. Now I can put ice cubes in the cold water tanks and this has a huge difference on the amount the colour changes, but for the hot tank there is no way to put water hot enough in without it hurting a child. For this reason the warm tank is less appealing to my children.
We do like this set but it has not received the amount of use I expected. It is well made and stays in one piece but is less than perfect. My children do enjoy it and it was a great novelty to them watching the car change colours. Amazon have this on sale for around £40 claiming a £70 RRP but you can find it online for around £25. I think this is fairly reasonable as it is well made and has lots of features. It's not the best hot wheels set we own, but it certainly isn't the worst either. It is a fun twist on a normal race track that my children seem to enjoy. It is recommended for four years plus which I think is a fair age range as there are a lot on interactive features that would be hard for smaller hands.