Monday, 20 December 2010

Review - Meccano Spykee and Xtreme

by Karen 

Review for Meccano Spykee Micro, Suitable from 7+, £19.99

Tested by 9YO

We were all very surprised with the very small size of the Spykee in comparison to the size of the box.

9YO quickly laid out the parts and began construction; 15 minutes later he had completed the mini robot and was driving it around the table.

He was slightly disappointed that the tracks didn’t turn and it was manoeuvred by small wheels underneath but he was proud that he had built it all himself.

As an adult, I feel the attraction of Meccano is in the challenge of building and I would really have expected about an hour’s worth of entertainment as before an hour was up from opening the box, the novelty of the little robot had worn off.

Saying this, it is a sweet little robot and would make a interesting stocking filler and a good introduction to Meccano for younger members of the family.

Review for Meccano Xtreme, Suitable from 7-12 yrs, £5.99 - £49.99

Tested by 7YO and 9YO

7YO decided that this was the project for him, especially as the age on this was 7 – 12 years old, we were expecting it to be at least as easy to build as the Spykee which is classified as 7+.

On opening the box and sorting the pieces into separate plastic tubs (rummaged from the back of the kitchen cupboards – not supplied, but essential to minimise the chance of loosing the 110+ pieces!), he was ready to begin the build.

Within 2 minutes, the calls for “Mum” started.  The first picture was a bit difficult to decipher, and even more difficult to attach to the pre-made base unit.

9YO then moved into try to help, but even he found attempting to screw the pieces into place very fiddly, so 7YO came back on the scene, wielding the hex key, while I positioned each piece prior to attachment.

After approximately an hour and a half of building, the first car was completed; batteries inserted and ready to drive.

And what a remote control car!  Fast, sturdy and the large wheels make it excellent at negotiating small obstacles and ramps.

All in all, an excellent kit.  Not only a great Meccano challenge, but the end product is fun and prolongs the enjoyment of the toy, plus the ability to rebuild into a second design adds longer term potential.

As a word if warning, if your child is a novice at Meccano, be prepared to help out quite a lot.  Both my boys are experts at independently building the most complex Lego projects, but required a large amount of assistance with this one.  This Meccano set certainly offers a new challenge and opportunity to develop new building skills and I would definitely encourage parents to purchase this as it offers real value for money by delivering both a great construction toy and a fun remote control car.

Karen is a mum to three boys and writes at TwoAddThree.

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