USED TOY REVIEW: SHIFTY EYES THOMAS
Welcome to the first in a new series of Used Toy Reviews! In each edition, I’ll gently lampoon bits of plastic, toy box tat. Probably making a series of – dare I say it – off colour remarks in the process.
This week, we dip our toes into the world of bath toys. Even better than that… Thomas & Friends bath toys!
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PRODUCT: SHIFTY EYES THOMAS
AKA: The Thomas & Friends – My First Thomas Splash Bath Toy
Manufacturer: Fisher Price
Target Age: I’d say babies, up to 5 years, but the product info says it’ll murder anyone under 3. Between 3 and 5 then, when they suddenly give up on Sodor.
Original Retail Price: Unknown – Given as gift.
Current RRP on say, Amazon: £10.99… And it’s on Prime. I’d dig around a Charity Shop first, though.
On first purchase – or “box fresh” – this cheery faced fella comes with two sort of truck things, and a reasonable ‘Harold’ facsimile.
These two lads, coloured orangey yellow and green, are designed to convey water to and from the Thomas water spouting face thing. If memory serves, they’re both perforated in slightly different ways*, which yes, does make the process slightly harder. But remember, these are kids we’re dealing with here. Miniature, short lived shower effects are fun to them. Don’t deny them that.
We lost both trucks almost instantly. I imagine my wife binned them at some stage, so – if they’re lucky – they’ll have been melted down and turned into something else by now. Perhaps even exactly the same thing. Could happen… Like Toy re-incarnation.
*EDIT: They’re not even perforated differently.
HAROLD THE HELICOPTER BATH GUY
I won’t sugar coat it: Harold’s kind of shit. He has a stunted little, non-moving propeller that suggests cost cutting somewhere in the R&D process.
Is he hollowed out? Yes, I think he is. We lost him too, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him knocking about in one of our bigger crap boxes. I’m not digging him out now though.
THE MAIN EVENT
And now we move onto the main man: Old Shifty.
He’s a decent sized Thomas frontage, about 6″ by 4″, made out heavy duty plastic. I don’t know the exact type… On the back, it’s fitted with not one, but TWO generous suction cups for maximum purchase on your bath wall. Is it a wall? No. Though crucially, it could be. Neither sucker has come off yet, despite about 3 years of heavy use (albeit on and off). That’s got to be considered a boon.
The USP of this product is this: When you pour water into a slot in his head, he almost – but not quite – vomits it out of his mouth. Instead, the H2O comes out of a hole slightly further down, which in turn spins a little yellow cog wheel. Yes, it is fun.
SPECIAL FEATURES 1: MENACE
That’s not the best bit though. Making the wheel spin activates the special feature: SHIFTY EYES!
Yes, Thomas’ eyes will wander menacingly from right to left, taking in the bath-time sights. The rate of eye movement is of course dictated by the speed of the water, etc. Or can it be? Yes, that’s how physics works, I’m pretty sure.
SPECIAL FEATURES 2: LAUGHTER EFFECT?
BUT WAIT! Not content with giving us the lifelike, mildly threatening eye balls, Fisher Price went back for another bite at maximum child entertainment. Thomas does a little laugh.
Not through sound though – that would be mental. No, as the wheel spins and the eyes shift, Thomas’s upper set of teeth dart up and down. Sometimes. That bit doesn’t work quite as well now… Perhaps it never did.
Anyway, the effect is less laughter; more exposure of teeth. As though his top lip were receding slightly, and then returning to its original location. It still has the power to disturb.
Would I, an unemployed pseudo-Dad Blogger recommend this item? Yes. Despite the bits of guff that come with it being bobbins (to me), the main thing is entertaining enough. It does what it sets out to do, I suppose. Your kids, if they’re anything like mine, will pour empty shower gel containers into it; then maybe gather it up in a separate pot.
Where’s the harm in that? I can’t find any.
RATING (COMEDY RATING SYSTEM TBC)
I’d take a punt on it. 3 and a half stars.
Note: Product images are courtesy of some South African Hamley’s website. I don’t know if that counts as crediting them? Perhaps not.