Eeek! It is, isn't it? It might still be November, and there might still be a tonne of leaves on the trees, but the decorations are already up in most High Streets, and we're sure you've already bought at one least gift. As Christmas beckons so closely, we have once more put ourselves right out there and played with a new set of toys. We know... we're martyrs.
Star Wars Stormtrooper Look-alite
The franchise from a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away is everywhere at the moment, thanks in no small part to the forthcoming release of The Force Awakens. However, if you thought the machinations of George Lucas (or rather, these days, Disney) had extended merely to action figures, LEGO, and video games, think again... they'll also be lighting up your child's room.
The Stormtrooper Look-alite is a LED desk lamp that... well... looks like a Stormtrooper. The body is hallow plastic into which you insert the three (not included) AAA batteries, while the helmet part is actually a shade that surrounds the single small bulb. Not bright enough to fully light a whole room, but certainly enough for a fun night light or side light. And yes, thankfully, Darth Vader is also available.
£19.99 from www.maplin.co.uk
Playmobil Super 4: Royal Tribune
Playmobil have their own TV show these days, Super 4. Drawing upon several themes previously explored by the toy line (there's dragons and spaceships and spies etc...) Super 4, appropriately, has it's own toy line, the sets from which are causing quite s plash in the toy world right now. We were sent one from the medieval-type world, complete with horses, knights and kings.
Royal Tribune features a raised platform with a throne, a horse in full jousting regalia, several accessories and weapons, and also three figures. One of the people included here is Alex, a main character from the show, this being his signature set. We actually rather like what is included here, and the size and sheer amount of stuff makes it great value. The rest of the range is also nicely kitted out, with a good mix of buildings, vehicles, and figures. Check it out.
£22.99 from http://bit.ly/PLAYMOBILUK
Playmobil's Super 4 is also currently running free adventure trails across the streets of Central London, designed for young budding heroes and grown-ups to attempt in a bid to find treasure! There is a reward for every challenge completed, but four especially lucky kids might find the world’s most expensive Super 4 figures hidden on each trail, each plated in 24 carat gold! Find out more at www.super-4.co.uk
HEXBUG AquaBot Seahorse
If you were thinking of getting your children some goldfish this Christmas; a, you're an idiot, and; b, better make sure that toilet flush is working fine – you'll be using it on Boxing Day. Kids and goldfish just don't mix – and it isn't the children's fault. To be honest, fish are sooooo dull that we're never surprised to hear about them be neglected, or tortured, or fed to the cat. Get them this instead.
The HEXBUG AquaBot Seahorse is the kind of pet that won't complain (or die) if it goes unfed, and will supply the kids with hours of entertainment right up until it doesn't anymore. Afterwards as we've said, it won't die. Simply drop it into the water and it will start to swim – quite a remarkable sight, especially considering the way it swims! It will float around, swimming about and bumping into the glass of the bowl or aquarium (or bath, which is what we tried it in). After a while it will stop, but to wake it up simply give it a nudge, or rap your fingers on the glass. Lots of fun, and loads more types of sea life in the range.
£9.99 from www.hexbug.com
Radio Controlled VW Sampa Campervan
If the weather gets really bad this winter, and you find yourself stuck in the house for days on end, at least you'll be able to imagine you're cruising off on a coastal summer adventure... all thanks to the Radio Controlled VW Sampa Campervan. This officially licensed RC car is a scale replica of the original campervan which is so synonymous with the 60s and 70s, and, refreshingly, isn't something you can control with your phone.
No, this ships with a good old fashioned controller, the type that, although it might make your thumbs s ore, it will give your hours of fun play. 'Hey guys, lets drive to the beach,' you'll call, come Christmas morning. 'Don't forget the sandwiches mum! And dad, you can bring the drugs.' Cue awkward family talk about levels of appropriateness. But this is a tonne of fun to drive around, and very easy to do so thanks to that tactile controller.
£19.99 from www.maplin.co.uk