21 October 2016

REVIEW: K'NEX Mighty Makers Director's Cut

Lights, camera... build!

Another K'NEX set today, but one unlike we've ever reviewed before. You might think of K'NEX as the construction system good for building roller coasters (or lately blasters), but there is a new range for buildings and playsets aimed squarely at girls with not a princess or costume change in sight. We review the K'NEX Mighty Makers Director's Cut.

This set includes 308 K'NEX pieces and two figures. Yes, figures. This is the first time we've seen a K'NEX set with actual human figures, and it goes to show that the Mighty Maker series is intended as actual playsets. Lily, as she is named, is fully articulated and comes with a base stand. Her wee pup is also a constructed figure, with articulation in the legs, tail, and head.

The set took about an hour to put together, but we've had quite a bit experience with K'NEX over the past few months. If you're new to the system, it could take longer, but as with other K'NEX sets we've built, it goes together easily and the finished model is exceptionally sturdy.

But what is it? Well, the Mighty Maker sets are all about encouraging a wider range of career options for girls, and in the case of the Director's Cut, that would be film making. The model is actually a combination filming studio/movie theatre which lets kids film a movie (on a smartphone - not included) using the characters and props, and then watch it back, using the phone as the screen. Because of that, the model has a few interesting touches like curtains that draw open and closed, and transparent rods to attach to the backs of the figures, so you can move them around the stage.

We didn't bother building it as it would have required dismantling part of the cinema set up, but you can also construct a cool stand for your phone to use while filming. Being K'NEX it features moving parts, whereby the rig can slide the camera up, down, forwards, backwards, and side to side. You can also swap out your phone for Lily and the included camera accessory.

To add to the sense of a night out at the movies, the reverse of the set also features a neat little display board that kids can customise to show the title of their work. By visiting the K'NEX website you'll find a copy of that board and even create your own professional version to print off. Nice touch.

Other play features include a couple of nice details to help playing at going to watch the film, including a box office and popcorn counter...

...and also a doorway for your leading actors to make grand sweeping entrances.

In full cinema mode the set also features seating for the audience, with the five seats possessing pins to slot into the backs of the K'NEX figures. If you choose not to build the seats, you can use the parts to make other things for the stage, such as a jump for the dog. Or, y'know, whatever your masterpiece demands.

The K'NEX Mighty Makers Director's Cut set is just about as open-ended as toys can get. As well as being a toy in it's own right, it also gives kids (not just the girls it is primarily aimed at) the chance to create. All they'll need is their (or, more likely, your) phone to get started, and we're pretty sure you'll be receiving invitations to special screenings in no time at all!


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