Count Dooku is listening…

Posted on Monday 27 March 2006

Toy Showcase – Hasbro Count Dooku Light Saber / Discovery Store Spy Car
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For my showcase I chose 2 example of great toys that I have had an opportunity to watch in action.

The first up, which is some respects is the most basic is the Star Wars licensed Count Dooku Light Saber.

Since time immemorial kids have been having pretend sword battles with wood sticks from the yard and other handy pieces of wood, in my Dad’s time it was probably Errol Flynn, in my childhood it was Zoro and now it is the many characters of Star Wars.

When I was with my son at Toy’s R’ Us last January he was eager to spend some christmas money from his grandparents so we went in search of a good light saber. In the price range of $20. there were two models, a Yoda light saber and the Count Dooku model. Immediately he picked the Dooku model. “Wouldn’t you rather have Yoda’s, isn’t he the good guy?” I said… he replied quickly “No, the bad guys are so much more fun!”

Hasbro Count Dooku Light Saber – $19.95
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First let’s look at Light Saber, the toy does well what it should and actually adds nice touches the pretend sword battles.

Pro’s• Allows kids to adopt the identity of character in movie.
• Constructed in sturdy way, mimicks shape of actual movie prop but end is blunted and rounded for safety.

• Use of technology to add ” Athentic” sounds not easily mimicked by child. Start-up whoosh, movement sensing to add “movement hum” as different from stationary hum. Shut-down swish. The most important of the sounds is the contact clash sound when the sword hits another sword or anything else.

• “C” Batteries in handle actually add to balance and give sword a true feel.

• Sword extends to nice length and retracts to good storage length.

Con’sDiscovery Store Spy Car – $39.95
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Pro’s

• Car drives quite well and navigates well even over some obstacles, a must on any spy mission!

• Microphone picks up sound quite well and transmits over a pretty good distance.

• Headphones keep mission somewhat covert allowing spy to listen in privacy.

• Car is durable and in good shape for righting itself.

• Controls are simple and straight forward, antenna seems durable and protected by control design.

• LED’s both on controller and on car give some feedback on what mode car is in and what is happening.

• Front spring shock absorbing bumper gives some protection to electronics.

Con’s

• For Spy Toy car is actually quite noisy. Possibly this was intended to protect the innocent*

• Antenna can get hung up on low clearance furniture etc.

Recommendations

• semi-soft foam tires could dampen some of the noise.

• gearing down the tires could allow for more torque and more stealth operation.

• ear buds for less obvious spying.

Actual use

What I have observed with both toys in the course of a year is the following. On the light saber it is obviously much more fun to battle someone with the a sword from the same collection and role play the battle scenes in the movie. My son takes his to playdates but rarely plays with it at home except at times when he wants to act out scenes solo.
On the Spy car, often my son is just happy to drive it and play with it that way. The headphones that the car came with are a tipoff to his activities as is the noise of the car itself, for this reason he has resorted to carrying the car into his sisters bedroom without driving it and placing it under her bed, he just confessed this to me this morning.

All in all two great toys made very well…


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