Category Archives: Toys

Toys. I’m not sure a description is warranted here?

The Plastic Record Player
[Partner Content] 23 DEC 2016

For some reason my mom opted to store most of the toys that Ryan, Claire and myself played with as children. As it turns out, both my kids and Claire’s kids love this very decision of hers – because it means that when the grandchildren arrive at Granny and Grandpa’s house for a visit then there are loads of toys already there, just waiting to be played with!

One of the favourites for the girls to pull out of the toybox is this old wind-up, red and white toy music box/record player.

Despite coming from the ’80s, this brightly coloured music box still winds up and plays tunes via its rainbow coloured selection of plastic ‘records’, basically pretending that it hasn’t just spent the last 30 years of its life in the back of a dusty cupboard!

But that’s the thing though – my mom held Fisher-Price toys in high regard, believing them to be the best in terms of quality and longevity, and this record player from them then kind of proves that very point.

The plastic hasn’t perished, the wind-up mechanism still works, and the colours haven’t really faded all that much either.

More importantly, the girls get an absolute kick out of playing with it.

For some or other reason, Fisher-Price kind of disappeared off the radar in South Africa in recent years though – with the result that both Emily and Jessica missed out on the excellence of their toys through, which really is a pity.

The truth of the matter is that most of the toys that they had as toddlers have long since been donated already, with most of those toys being already near the end of their lifespan anyway.

Pleasingly though, Fisher-Price have now themselves recognized the fact that they have managed to miss out on a whole generation of kids playing with their toys – and are now putting a whole lot of focus on rekindling their relationship with us the South African parents.

Which is kind of neat when you think about just how good their toys really are.

So, the question then is – do you have any memories of your favourite Fisher-Price toys from when you were a kid?

Related Link: Fisher-Price Facebook

Show off Your Collection to Win the Ultimate Hot Wheels Garage!
[Partner Content] 13 JUL 2016

If your boys or girls are into collecting the always awesome Hot Wheels cars, then you’ll be pleased to know that you still have a couple of days in which to make your bid to win a Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage… valued at R2500!

hot wheels ultimate garage being played with by two boys

To enter is easy enough. Go to My Epic Collection and share a picture of your kids’ Hot Wheels collection and then get your family and friends to frantically vote for that entry! The top 10 photos with the most votes will win (with the competition closing on 31 July 2016).

The Ultimate Garage is itself pretty cool, coming packaged with five cars and one helicopter for fun right out of the box. The play set features a pier drive (with chomping shark – don’t ask), multi-level garage, city scene, racing ramps and two elevators!

As you might have noticed by now, this thing is big!

Related Link: My Epic Collection

The Play-Doh Town Pet Store
[Partner Content] 24 JUN 2016

Oh. Hasbro has gone and expanded the Play-Doh universe by introducing Play-Doh Town, which I guess is aimed then at slightly older preschoolers. The concept is pretty cool – essentially you now have a host of townsfolk characters and locations to play with, which obviously is great because you now get to build stories in addition to just messing around with clay!


Thanks to a friendly blogger drop from Atmosphere, Jessica received the Pet Store play set to test out, which has a whole lot of moulds that allow you to press out animal shapes to fill the storefront up with. You can also create hairstyles and slippers for the pet store owner, as well as bunny ears for her companion rabbit.

It seems a pretty fun idea, especially if you have more of the sets in the Play-Doh Town series, and I can definitely see how this might make Play-Doh playtime a whole lot more fun!

hasbro play-doh town playsets

Related Link: Hasbro | Play-Doh Town

Bath Time Fun: Yookidoo Flow ‘n Fill Spout! Toys 28 FEB 2016

Chantelle spoiled the two girls with a rather fun surprise the other day – she ordered two Yookidoo Flow ‘n Fill Spout baby bath toys from Takealot (two, because sharing is not a concept often understood by small children!).

yookidoo flow n fill spout bath toy

The Flow ‘n Fill Spout is a battery operated spout that essentially pumps water in an endless stream without wasting water from the bath tap. It is as cute as a button and comes with 3 interchangeable, stackable bath cups, each with different water straining and spraying effects.

As you might well imagine, Emily is absolutely over the moon with hers (she is two after all!), and surprisingly enough, Jessica is quite fascinated with hers as well.

In other words, Chantelle’s masterstroke has bought us a few more of those precious and rare moments of peace and quiet in the daily hustle that is the evening bath and bed routine! :)

Related Link: Yookidoo Flow ‘n Fill Spout

Figurine: Satsuki Kiryuin (Senketsu) from Kill la Kill by Good Smile Company Toys 20 MAY 2015

Hobby products manufacture Good Smile Company turned to the final scenes of hit anime Kill la Kill to come up with this particularly angry looking figurine – antagonist Satsuki Kiryuin, armed and ready for bloody action, wearing Senketsu – the Kamui (Godrobe) sentient sailor uniform made up of Life Fibers.

satsuki kiryuin figurine senketsu version by good smile company 1

The figure is based on the garage kit created and sold by Iwanaga Sakurako from Shokubutu Shojo-en, with this PVC figure version having been sculpted and painted to be as close to the original kit as possible.

satsuki kiryuin figurine senketsu version by good smile company 2

Kill la Kill is an anime television series produced by Trigger. It follows vagrant schoolgirl Ryuko Matoi on her search for her father’s killer, which brings her into violent conflict with Satsuki Kiryuin, the iron-fisted student council president of Honnouji Academy, and her mother’s fashion empire.

satsuki kiryuin figurine senketsu version by good smile company 3

Satsuki Kiryuin is the 18-year-old ruthless student council president of Honnouji Academy. She administers Goku Uniforms to students using various hierarchical schemes such as a no-late day and battle royale-esque tournaments such as the Naturals Election. She wields a katana named Bakuzan which can sever Life Fibers and dons the Kamui named Junketsu. She serves as a major antagonist to Ryuko for most of the series. After having learned the true nature of the Life Fibers at an early age, she uses the Honnouji Academy Cultural & Sports Grand Festival to begin her rebellion against her mother and the Life Fibers.

satsuki kiryuin figurine senketsu version by good smile company 4

satsuki kiryuin figurine senketsu version by good smile company 5

satsuki kiryuin figurine senketsu version by good smile company 6

Related Link: Kill la Kill | Characters | Good Smile Company

Figurine: Noire / Black Heart from Hyperdimension Neptunia by Alter Toys 17 MAY 2015

Japanese figurine maker Alter is releasing this particularly aggressive (but in a cute way), 1/7 scale, anime styled version of Hyperdimension Neptunia’s Noire, aka Black Heart, figure late October 2015.

japanese figurine by alter - Hyperdimension Neptunia Noire Black Heart Figure 1

With her look faithfully replicated from both the anime and game, Noire comes in her standard HDD bodysuit processor unit with her signature large sword plus accessories and wings.

japanese figurine by alter - Hyperdimension Neptunia Noire Black Heart Figure 2

Hyperdimension Neptunia is a video game series of role-playing games created and developed by Idea Factory. The series debuted in Japan on August 19, 2010 with the video game of the same name exclusively for the PlayStation 3, later re-released as an enhanced remake under the name Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 for the PlayStation Vita. Two sequels, Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 and Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, in addition to the remake titles for both of them and three spin-offs on the PlayStation Vita, have also been released. Another sequel on the PlayStation 4, titled Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory II, was released in 2015. It has also branched off into a manga, light novel and anime media franchise.

A television anime series adaptation, titled Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation, began airing in July 2013.

japanese figurine by alter - Hyperdimension Neptunia Noire Black Heart Figure 3

Games within the series takes place in the world of Gamindustri, which is divided into four regions: Planeptune, Lastation, Lowee, and Leanbox. Each region is completely different from the others in appearance and atmosphere, with each representing a specific video game console. In the beginning of the story, the four goddesses are fighting each another for “shares” in a war known as the Console War.

Noire, aka Black Heart, is the goddess of Lastation (representing the PlayStation 3), who has a very individual personality and likes to perform things by herself in her own time, yet is quite forgiving and fair. She initially has a strained relationship with Neptune, who acts as her rival.

japanese figurine by alter - Hyperdimension Neptunia Noire Black Heart Figure 4

Related Link: Wikipedia | Characters | Alter

Toys for Boys: 4D MASTER: Spitfire Mk. VB Debden Model Plane My Reviews | Toys 08 NOV 2014

Chantelle had a good chuckle as she handed over a shiny silver-wrapped present to me on our recent 5 year wedding anniversary. Apparently during the present purchase process, the sales lady (about to wrap it) had asked if it was for a little boy, to which Chantelle gleefully answered, “No, it is for my husband!”.

Ha ha.

Anyway, not that it matters whatsoever, because underneath all that very shiny wrapping was something pretty damn cool. A 4D Master Spitfire Mk. VB Debden snap to build model airplane.

4d master spitfire mk.vb debden model pieces to completed

As a boy I was in love with World War II flying machines, and my bedroom ceiling was plastered with all sorts of airplanes precariously dangling from strands of fishing line. Some of the larger ones were known to sometimes escape their prestik bonds and fall to the earth, something my Gran discovered head first during one of her holidays down with us in Bellville.

Anyway, this Hong Kong produced toy from the guys at Fame Master is actually seriously fun for young boys as essentially it is an already painted, snap together, high quality model aircraft for which the goal is to see how fast one can actually put it together. It’s built to be taken apart and put back together again, and I have to say, I was truly amazed at the fantastic plastic machining that has gone into the pieces making up this gorgeous but ridiculously named “4D Puzzle”. (Seriously Fame Master, 3″D” + “D”etails does not equal 4D, no matter how much bolding you add to the font.)

All the pieces snap together perfectly, they are designed so that they can’t really be placed wrong, and the end result is a beautiful 1:72 scale model.

Of course it isn’t quite the same as the classic AirFix or Tamiya scale models which you painstakingly glue together, paint, and place decals on, but it does come with just as much satisfaction seeing the finished product, and to be fair, perhaps looking slightly better than if you had to make the whole thing yourself in the first place! ;)

It’s relatively inexpensive to buy, and this one Chantelle picked up from PNA whilst doing supply shopping for her cakes, meaning it’s easy to come by. In short, definitely a recommended toy for a school-going boy interested in putting things together!

4d master spitfire mk.vb debden model box

Related Link:

LEGO on the cheap: Enlighten Bricks My Life | Toys 23 JAN 2014

enlighten lego girls train setAs a child I adored LEGO. Obviously we didn’t have very much in terms of LEGO sets, because even in the 80’s LEGO was ridiculously overpriced and we were poor(ish). Today it feels even worse. (The overpriced LEGO, not being poor.)

A brand new, wonderfully stocked exclusively LEGO store opened in Willowbridge Mall a few months ago. It’s an awesome browse, but man, I can’t see myself buying anything for Jess at her current age at those prices. It’s disheartening that one can charge so much for what amounts to little more than a few moulded pieces of plastic.

Anyway, I know I’m preaching to the choir here.

Now I’m no stranger to buying counterfeit LEGO systems, indeed I got a great big bundle of the oversized blocks from Mambos Plastic Warehouse for Jess when she was a little younger, which she thoroughly enjoyed. (We’re very lucky with her in that she completely skipped the stage of putting everything she could lay her hands on in her mouth, meaning that from an early age I was quite content to play plastic bricks with her).

jessica lotter building lego tower

Towards the latter stage of our December holidays I stumbled across a nice surprise. PNA in both the Somerset Mall branch as well as the Strand branch was stocking something that looked remarkably similar to your standard LEGO sets but coming in easily at a third of the price!

Enlighten Brick has been around since the 60’s apparently, and it is produced by a company called Zhongyue Industry Co. operating out of Cheng Hai, China. It’s a pretty infamous and controversial LEGO clone, with the majority of sets being little more than rip-off clone copies, often featuring slight modifications just so as to get away without being called a direct copy.

Curious, I purchased a few small box items for Jess over the course of a few days, all of which ranged between R10 and R30.

And I have to say, I was very impressed.

The packaging is fantastic, all the pieces are present (with build guides as expected), the colouring is good, the plastic quality is great, and the bricks fit well together – heck, it is as if they got their hands on original LEGO moulds to be quite honest!

In other words, I can definitely recommend this as a cheap alternative for introducing LEGO to younger children without the worry of them destroying it in the first week and in the process blowing a full month’s salary.

Oh, and the topping on the cake? LEGO is notoriously anti-military, but ENLIGHTEN doesn’t suffer from that. They’ve got some pretty fun military-themed sets that is sure to delight the boys!

As for Jess, well she’s in the stage of loving planes, trains and automobiles! :)

enlighten lego rocket launcher military series

Related Link:

OS Idol Win-chan (Version 2.0) My Reviews | Toys 19 NOV 2008

I mentioned the fact that Ryan purchased the highly adorable, rather voluptuous and very risqué Win-chan last weekend, a figurine that you can only own if

a) Your girlfriend shares your passion for all things Asian,
b) You don’t have a girlfriend, or
c) You have a sturdy lock on the door to your ‘office’.

Needless to say, I don’t qualify for any of the above three, meaning that Win-chan shall never coyly languish upon my desk. (In any event, Conan and the rest of his barbarian horde probably wouldn’t appreciate her languishing in their spot either.)

Now, back to Win-chan herself.

OS Idol Win-chan Version 2 figurine 1

Her full name is OS Idol Win-chan (Version 2.0) and she doesn’t come from any particular series. Manufactured by Kaiyodo, this 1/7 PVC scale figurine is based on Mine Yoshizaki’s Win-chan character created for Japanese magazine Tech Win, a monthly publication that deals with Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

The model itself is beautifully realized in hard-wearing PVC and is modelled extremely cleanly with almost no seam lines and a particularly cute facial expression. Of course the main outstanding feature is Win-chan’s outrageous hairstyle and the modeller has certainly pulled this one off with quite some flair. Of course, one really has to be squint not to notice the fact that this is one of those bikini-models, so we’ll just leave it at the pose is quite nicely done, well proportioned and manages to come across very playful all rolled into one.

The paint job looks pretty neat and colourful, with no seepages or any real discolorations to speak of. That said, she is just a tad over-shaded on her underside, but seeing as the model isn’t really made to pose this way, this isn’t a particularly glaring problem. Oh, and her stand is actually a pretty nice touch too – a fake ‘Win-chan CD’, thereby by nicely cementing the whole ‘OS Idol’ angle.

The box packaging is pretty good it must be said, complete with fake Windows and Compact Disc logos and also features some original artwork from Mine Yoshizaki. The inside packaging is secure and also provides a good giggle thanks to its female bits hugging moulding :)

All in all, Win-chan is an adorable, risqué little production that is well priced and should fit nicely on any otaku’s desk – provided they fulfil requirements A to C previously mentioned.

For those of you who wish to see a little more:

OS Idol Win-chan Version 2 figurine 2

OS Idol Win-chan Version 2 figurine 3

OS Idol Win-chan Version 2 figurine 4

OS Idol Win-chan Version 2 figurine 5

{Photos swiped from: EmencyBlazer Works}