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I am the type of person that likes to have a cupboard full off toys suitable for unexpected birthday parties or Christmas even if it is months away, so I always check the reduced toy isle in our local Tesco for gifts that would be suitable. One of my finds was this Hot wheels custom pack reduced from £15 to just £2. I knew straight away my eldest son would love it, as he has similar items already and loves designing cars. We also have a number of Hot wheels sets that he enjoys, so a combination of the two seemed perfect. There are a number of different versions of this set available, all with different cars for the main body of the toy. We chose the red off road monster truck version.
In the set you receive over 20 accessories to add to the main body of the car. The normal car is already made up in the packet to show what the final product can look like, but in total you receive 3 sets of wheels, 3 sets of doors, rocket launchers, body kits and exhausts etc. Then you receive the main body of the car, which of course is where all of the accessories can be added. It is supposed to be a simple push and click system, which is true for most of the set, but it can be quite difficult at times even for an adult. There are instructions on how to make three different cars. A normal car, a racing car, and a monster off road truck complete with missiles. All of the pieces can be used with each other, so little one is not limited to the three designs on the box.
The idea is to remove any pieces you would like to change, and then simply click the new accessory into place. There are small holes all over the main body of the car for the pieces to just click into place. It can be very quick if little one knows what they want to do, but my son likes to take his time and carefully decide what is going to go where. The set is said to be suitable for children four years old and above. I have to disagree with this because it is just too difficult to change the pieces. While my 6 year old son is able to three quarters of the customisation himself he needs help from us every now and again. The pieces are just so difficult to really click into place and removing pieces such as the bonnet can prove tricky even for an adult.
The car of course can roll across the floor and be played with as any other car can be played with. You do need to make sure the pieces are really clicked into place or the wheels will refuse to move. When it is made up correctly you can bang it and bash to a fair extent without the pieces coming away. The car works on a push and go system, so with a push it should travel on its own. This is a little poor, and there is no real power behind the car meaning it hardly moves at all, even with a good push behind it.
The thing my son loves about this set is the huge possibilities of different cars. As there are 20 odd pieces that can all be used together, there are lots of different options for a final car. This keeps the car interesting, as every time little one changes a few of the accessories it becomes something new for varied stories. I think this is the main reason my son still plays with it. He loves that he can completely change the cars appearance just by changing one of the accessories.
My only other downside is storage.As you are receiving so many different pieces for one toy it can be hard to keep them all together. We received the pieces in a plastic case, which after the task of removing it all from the box, it was squashed and beyond use. We have now had to dedicate this toy its very own toy box so the pieces are kept together. I am sure we have lost some of the pieces along the way which is annoying.
I was a little bit doubtful how long this toy would last when we first removed it from the box. The main body of the car is made from plastic and feels a little bit delicate. I was sure that the plastic accessories that need to be clicked in place would break straight away, or that the car itself would break from constantly having things shoved into it. The whole of the set has lasted really well and has been able to withstand a lot of rough play from not only my 6 year old, but my three year old son too.
My son loves this set so I would recommend it. He loves that there is so much variety from the one toy, and he can choose to design his vehicle however he likes. He does get frustrated with some of the parts as they can be difficult to change and put back in place. I think the 4 years plus recommendation is maybe a little low, but other than that it is a perfect toy. It takes a lot of concentration, and actually has my hyper 6 year old sitting down for at least 30 minutes at a time. It is a perfect interactive toy to keep them busy for a little while. At £10 or under I would recommend purchasing this toy, but £20 retail price may be a little too much.