“ Brand: Mattel „
While browsing for Christmas presents for my five year old son I stumbled across this set on Amazon I knew he would love it. He loves drawing and designing cars, and usually the only part of a video game he will play with is the customising garage functions. He also loves playing with cars so it seemed the perfect combination when his favourite character and designing were involved. I was that confident he would love it I purchased this and a similar version of Mater at the same time.
The idea is simple. You receive a fair sized Lightning McQueen toy car, and in different areas are small holes for different pieces to be added to the car to make it more personalised to your child's taste. Of course it resembles Lightning McQueen from the hit Pixar films perfectly with his bright red paintwork. There is a simple push and click system to attach the different pieces so it is all very easy to work out. The car can be made into three different styles of lightning McQueen, Rookie racer, supercharged racer and grand prix racer. The parts can also be mixed and matched to make a silly lightning as my son likes to say and he enjoys these parts as much as matching the correct pieces for each set theme.
In the set are a range of different accessories including two sets of wheels, two bonnets, 2 bumpers and 2 spoilers. There is a huge amount of accessories provide which is great as little one can build different cars each time. Each part can be easily fixed to the car and taken off again so the style can be changed every time Lighting wants to make a pit stop. They are all a good size and extremely well made so perfect for small hands. Unfortunately the pieces from other characters in the range cannot be interchanged which my son has tried many times. This is however a really interesting stand alone toy so this does not matter at all.
**What we love**
My son was overly excited when he opened this and realised what was inside. He knew without reading the instructions what he was supposed to do and began playing straight away. He was amazed at the different pieces and sat putting the car all together again. Then he would strip the car off and begin all over again. My five year old son is able to change all of the pieces independently. He does need me to lift the bonnets off for him as it is too tight for him to do himself, but other than that he can play independently. My two year old son again can change all of the pieces himself other than the bonnets. The bonnet only have a small allowance at the front of them for you to lift them off which is difficult to do without any nails. All of the other pieces are larger and have something little one can hold on to but as the bonnet is flat there is nothing to give them grip.
The pieces are not overly small but I do think the age recommendation of four years plus is right for proper use. It holds my five year olds attention longer than my youngest son as he finds it's more engaging. My youngest son looses any interest after five minutes where my eldest son will sit happily for half an hour making different styles and driving lighting around. It really has been a massive hit in our house and he still seems amazed each time he uses the different combinations are car parts. All of the pieces are extremely durable. This has been played with every single day over and over again without showing any signs of wear.
All of the detachable pieces are in perfect condition. The only problem is they do become lost as there is nowhere to store them. My son has learned to keep all of the pieces in the same box, but numerous times I have had to tip all the toy boxes out to look for them. My son now uses a food storage tub to keep them all together so they are not all loose in the larger toy box. This means he can play with it straight away. It is mainly for use by one child but my children do play together one instructing the mechanic which pieces they would like, and the other being the mechanic fixing lighting ready for the big race. It is perfect for the imagination and my son loves making up stories using the different appearances of Lightning.
One thing I was worried about was that because it was so easy for the pieces to be removed surely they would just fall off while it is being used as a car. Actually the pieces all remained fixed to lightning even with the crashes he has been in. It is a fully usable toy car so it can be used in two different ways which we think is great. It is larger than most of the cars range we own. It is a lot bigger than the small diecast cars and larger than the shake and go selection. It is still light enough to be held and played with for long periods but still strong enough to handle the constant play it receives.
If you cannot already tell we absolutely love this toy. My son adores it and plays with it each and every day. It really holds his attention a lot more than any of the other cars toys we own. We have had it since Christmas but it has received use by my three eldest children daily so I can say that it is very durable. From what I can see this is only available at Amazon or eBay for around £14, which for a character branded toy I think is a great price. My son loves this car and it is one of his best love toys from Christmas by far. There are different characters available in the same range so if your child likes a different character you should be able to find one to suit. Even at the £19.99 full retail price I would highly recommend this toy.