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My little boy is absolutely car crazy, he adores anything vehicle related, do you know what his first word happened to be? It wasn't Dada or even Mama, no it was bus! We waited all that time for his first word and he said bus. Considering his already huge collection of cars I try not to buy him more trying to steer him towards toys he has to think about and concentrate on but after a particularly good parents evening and school report earlier this year we took him to Toys R Us to choose a treat, he had recently started watching "Roary the racing car" so when he saw a shelf full of the toys he was smitten! We kept to him a budget of £5, otherwise we'd have come away with the whole store, and he eventually decided upon a push along Maxi.
Maxi is an Italian race car, the favourite of the owner of Silverhatch which is the race track where all the Roary episodes are based, he's the fastest and most expensive of the cars and has the attitude to match, he may start off an episode making fun of one of the other cars or boasting that he is the best but by the end he's realised that it's not his speed or winning that's important but having friends. The cars in the show are of the Talking variety, features of their chassis designed so they have mouths, eyes etc... rather then just giving them faces like some similar T.V shows do. Maxi is canary yellow with black "go faster" stripes painted down the side of his body, he wears a pair of sunglasses and baseball cap which are all part of his "cool Italian" image.
The toy itself is larger then the average toy car, we're not talking Dinky or Corgi cars aimed at older children but rather designed to be held easily by younger children approximately 15 cm in length, naturally the show is aimed at the younger audience so the toys are designed to easily used and appealing for them. His bright yellow body is made from a light weight plastic and is very eye catching, his features and details are all well sculpted and look just as he does on the show, even down to the number painted on the rear of his body. Unfortunately Maxi is not a friction powered car so rather then carrying on forward thanks to his own motion and friction design he'll move quickly across the room when pushed but equally as quickly come to a stop, he'll also veer off a straight line as there is not enough weight to the toy to keep him to one path.
Christopher adores playing with Maxi and together with my daughter Elsa, who got Plugger the toy truck from the series on the same day, they'll happily play for hours driving the cars around our living room carpet or their road play mat. They'll act out episodes they've seen or make up their own adventures, making the toys talk to each other and race. Because of the design I mentioned earlier and the lack of friction power the cars don't travel far on carpet although they will on laminate flooring, this is a good thing for me as it means I don't have to watch out for unexpected in coming vehicles when I'm trying to get housework done, it does somewhat spoil the fun of racing the cars which in the end they are designed for, after all they are race cars from a race car show, of course the children will want them to race! The kids will return to these vehicles time and time again to play with, they'll mix them with other vehicles especially their Bob The Builder ones who also have faces so would be able to talk to, and it creates hours of fun for them thinking up different scenarios.
The kids would be happy with the toys if they were made of card, brick, loo roll and glue.......whatever substance, that they're plastic is unimportant to them but as a parent I can see the flaw in the material they're made from. The plastic is quite thin and while this makes the cars light weight and easy for youngsters to handle it also makes them brittle, we've had no breakages to the main body yet but it would only take a little rough play or a unobservant parent to step on it and the frame would crack. While the baseball cap has been fixed on well the glasses are designed to be lifted so you can see Maxi's eyes, they are poorly fixed in though and ours fell off so often I stopped putting them back on and have stored them for safe keeping, I'd rather not run the risk of Elsa attempting to eat them, she may be a clever girl but she is still only 2 and I'm not willing to take the risk, especially considering her enjoyment of putting things in her ear! The wheels seem well fixed on though and we've had no problems with them so far, they handle out medium pile carpet well but I wouldn't suggest you run them over your sheep wool rug or shag pile any time soon!
Maxi cost us £3.95 from Toys R Us but is also available in Woolworths, Asda and Amazon to name a few places, naturally prices vary. Other vehicles include Roary, Drifter, Tin Top and Plugger, who I mentioned earlier, I'm sure there is also a CeeCee but I've not seen her yet, likewise Tin Top and Drifter are harder to find then Roary, Plugger and Maxi. Despite the flimsy material that the car is made of I don't regret buying it for Chritopher, it made his day to choose his own reward and he has had hours of play from the car since, it's great for imaginative play and for teaching him how to play nicely alongside other children, something that has been essential as he started school this year, it has also encouraged him to play gently so as not to damage the car. We always make sure the cars are put away nicely in their toy box so there's no chance of them being damaged accidentally, while this might be a great way of teaching the kids to tidy up after themselves it's unfortunate that this came as a result of the toy being to a less then perfect quality.
Maxi is the older Formula 1 type racing car who was the star of Silver Hatch before Roary arrived. He is temperamental and expects the best of everything - including first use of the tyre warmers. He wears sunglasses and a blue cap and sports the number 5. Maxi is Italian and is the favourite of Mr Carburettor.