When the ‘Tonka Town Fire Station’* set arrived we had one Very excited little boy on our hands. Ethan’s a boy whose ears already perk up when he hears ‘meemaws’ and he was totally thrilled to be able to sit in a Fire engine a few months ago at a summer fete so a Fire Station set was the perfect thing for us to try out!
With that in mind I’m sure you can imagine quite how hard it was for him to wait until we got this out of the box! Thankfully he focused on the fire truck, first, and so we were able to get that out for him to play with whilst we tackled the rest of it.
I was quite pleased with the packaging as it didn’t have a lot of unnecessary waste involved and it was relatively easy to remove things. There was a few parts of it that were secured with plastic but they were things like the two figurines which wouldn’t, otherwise, have been totally secured and so it didn’t matter so much – The majority, though, was cardboard (which is already in the recycling) and rather than any annoying plastic ties everything was held in place with a strong string. This meant that it was easy to un-tie, without scissors but it was still nice and secure. The open front of the packaging definitely had the right impact on Ethan, though, being able to see everything made it incredibly exciting for him.
Before I get on to what I think of this toy, in short, Ethan loves it. He’s played with it, without fail, every day since it arrived. In fact, other than his trains and train track, this is the only toy he’s played with – He’s definitely at the age where this sort of toy is just right; and considering the range is aimed at 3-5 year olds I think they definitely got something right! (He’s coming up for three and a half)
Obviously Ethan is the important one but, of course, we parents are the ones who decide which toys we spend our money on so what we think matters too! Clearly I’m swayed by how much Ethan likes it, but I actually really like it too.
I like the quality of this set – It’s well held together and the plastic is strong but has some ‘give’ to it so it flexes when it’s played with rather than being brittle and more prone to snapping (definitely something necessary with this child of mine!) Some of the hand rails didn’t, initially, seem as strong as I’d have expected but now that I’ve seen Ethan playing with it I’ve seen that the whole thing has stood up really well to his rough and tumble three-year-old habits. All in all I’m expecting it to last really well even with Ethan’s less than gentle ways.
When it comes to fun little details there are plenty. My favourite has to be the fact that the fireman’s hands are rubbery so they can be moved to fit around a handle on the fire fighter’s pole meaning that he can slide down properly, just as a fire person would.
The toy also has two buttons which trigger the flashing blue lights (which you can see around the top console) and sounds; an alarm bell and a siren.
There’s also the opportunity to slide the door section forward which creates a bigger internal space for the fire truck – This is a nice little feature as it helps keep it compact when it’s not extended. The little green ‘light’ above the doors is on a wheel which rotates to red when the truck isn’t ‘available for emergencies’ (or, if you’re Ethan, can be used as a traffic light for ‘stop’ and ‘go’)
This level also has a slider mechanism in the back which lowers and raises a ‘flame’ which also lights up when it’s up. This is one of Ethan’s favourite features as he raises it, presses one of the buttons, sending the firemen off to battle the fire shouting ‘Fire! Fire! Emergency!!’ – He really, really loves getting totally involved with this toy and it’s fantastic to watch him enjoy something which inspires his imagination so much.
The only change I’d make with this toy is that it’d be nice for there to be a couple more of the removable ladders which are included – They attach to various parts of the toy and it’s great that you can move them around but if there was one or two more it’d be a little easier to bridge some of the bigger gaps. That said Ethan’s not entirely bothered, imagination can do a lot!
This play set retails at £39.99 which I think is great for something so well made and with so many different parts to it. The range of products ranges from this price all the way down to £3.99 for figure sets and it includes a Jail play set, a Dump truck, Fire Engine, Police Ranger, Fire Car and Police Bike as well as the aforementioned figure sets. I think another of these sets will definitely be added to Ethan’s Christmas list along with picking up one or two of the figure sets to go in to his stocking (there’s 12 in total).
Also, which I think is quite exciting, from the 15th October there’ll be a ‘Tonka Town Magazine’ which will include all of the obvious things like colouring pages and stories as well as a Tonka Town character on the cover. Ethan loves comics so I think we’ll definitely pick this up.
Really impressed with this new and exciting range from such a well known and established brand such as Tonka – I think that Ethan will definitely look forward to adding to his toy collection with some more items from this range.
*This product was sent to me for the purpose of review