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My son's big present for Christmas this year was a home made Teen Titan Tower. By itself it wouldn't have been much fun, just a large "T" shaped structure made from a book case and a DVD unit - it was all the furnishing, lights, scenery and extra bits that made it fun - and this particular piece proved especially popular. I had managed to find a small green toy crystal to serve as kryptonite - and if you are at all familiar with DC comics - you will know Batman keeps a bit of kryptonite in his safe. It seemed like a good idea for the Teen Titans as well, and this also proved a handy place to store their arsenal of weapons. Of course DC comics really do not use a lot of weapons, but I had purchased a large set of Action Man weapons years ago and it happened to include many small weapons as well - so his Teen Titans are armed to the teeth. Even his toy dinosaurs have guns.
This safe really does look very good with its light up screen, bank vault style handle and flashing light in a green window which looks like computer circuitry. It has alarms and a computerised voice as well and certainly makes any superhero base a bit more high tech. I do wish I had bought two at the time though because my oldest quite liked this as well and would have liked one just as a wee secret place to stash his stuff. I think most children enjoy having a secret hiding place for money, valuables etc... I paid £13.99 for this on sale at Argos, and this is still the price listed, but all Northern Ireland stores are now out of stock, and they are out of stock for home delivery. Full price on this was meant to be £34.99 which I consider mad for a wee toy. If I do end up buying my oldest a safe at some point I'll buy him a real home security safe which I can pick up for less than this.
This does look like a safe, but it most certainly does not provide any real security. Taking the batteries out will reset the code to 0000. You then need to enter your own secret code which will be the number used until batteries die or are removed again. This is a very handy feature for children who forget their codes - but also means a sibling could open the safe if they wanted to. This is made of plastic, but it is thick and seems well constructed. I do not think it would break easily, from a simple tumble to the floor or such but it would not withstand any real abuse. The safe is a bit under 7" high, nearly 6 inches across if you count the hinges and 4 3/4" deep. It has a shelf and drawer at the top which would be handy to keep a bit of pocket money in and a larger compartment that could hold a phone, or in our case - the special torch that came with my son's science set. This safe is also meant to have voice recognition technology and be able to open to a recorded password , but we were not able to figure out how to make this work. I don't mind, my son is quite happy punching in his numbers.
This toy is sold by the National Science Museum and royalties from the sale of this toy will go towards the support of this institution. I have found most toys with the Science Museum logo to be educational, and this toy is meant to be educational as well, but in all honesty, I don't really see it. According to the wee paper that came with this "Experimenting with the Touch Screen is a great way to encourage children to explore numbers and mathematical relationships, part of the Key Stages 1 & 2 National Curriculum". In my experience, experimenting with the key pad is just a fun way to make noises and get the voice to say "password incorrect". Theoretically, this will teach children that 4 digit pass-code is nearly impossible to guess as their are too many combinations - and of course this is the reason for 4 digit codes on chip and pin - but I can assure you my four year old would not comprehend this at all and my 7 year old already has a good understanding of pass codes and that the more digits you add the more difficult it becomes to unlock.
But while I don't really think this is an educational toy in itself, it can be part of a great role play game and encourage imagination and creativity, and most importantly - it is fun. This toy was not bought for educational purposes, nor was it purchased to really keep anything secure. It was bought just as toy - to enjoy and have fun with - and as such it easily earns 5 stars. My son has had a brilliant time with this and it was the perfect addition to his tower. As far as toy safes go - I believe this is by far the nicest, most high tech looking one we saw. I really do feel £34.99 is a bit steep for this though, and would not have paid full price. But saying that - after seeing how much my son loves this - for the purposes of a key feature in a super hero base - it might be worth paying such a high price. It has had hours of play time and really set the Tower off quite well. For our purposes this is a decoration, a role playing toy, and a secret stash spot for my son. But if just looking for a secret hiding place for a child to keep their money, sweets or valuables, I'd buy a real home security safe at £29.99 which I am sure even a teenager would enjoy having in their room. So my recommendation as to whether or not this is worth buying depends largely on what you want it for, and what price you find it available for. If your local Argos still has these at £13.99 - it really is a great bargain.
This toy uses 3 AA batteries.