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Recently in the Wilkinson's toy sale I was lucky enough to pick up two of these light sabers for just 10p each. I have since discovered that the RRP is £7.97 making my purchase an utter bargain, more so because these extendable light sabers have been one of the most used and useful toys I have ever bought. I bought them in red but I have also seen them in green and blue and in packages of one red and one blue. Recommended age is 4 years plus, but there is nothing dangerous about these for younger children -unless you count arming an unpredictable and emotional toddler with a long piece of hard plastic!
My 6 year old is a huge star wars fan and so are most of her friends so as soon as these were spotted she and her friend were absolutely desperate to play with them. The sabers have been vacuum sealed with a particularly sharp plastic so removing them from the packaging means a pair of scissors, lots of effort and some swearing. Once out you have a hard plastic handle, about 40 cms long with a hook to hang the saber on your belt and a small red plastic switch. To use you simply assume the position, push the switch with your hand, sweep your hand across your body and say 'Vvvvvvvvrooooooooom'. The blade concertinas out of the handle and clicks into place and you are ready to kick some Jedi backside.
The blade is a series of firm plastic cylinders that fit inside one another. They are held into the handle with the switch latch and once that is removed they are free to slide out and move into position. Once out they stay out, held in place by the tight fitting cylinders above and below them. To put the light saber away once you are finished you put the red tip on the floor and push down with the handle until all the cylinders are safely concealed again. If you'd rather do it by hand you can push each piece back inside starting with the tip piece. If you start with the bottom piece then the tip won't fit inside for some reason, no idea why. The blade doesn't automatically click back into the handle, you need to twist the tip a bit to get the latch to take again, ready for your next encounter with a Stormtrooper, Droid or that pesky Skywalker. If you don't get the latch to take you will be forever tripping over your light saber blade if you attempt to hang it from your belt. It can be a bit fiddly to get the blade to stay put, the latch is the weakest part of the whole toy and the external red switch is not going to last for years and years of boisterous play. However the beauty of this toy is that even if the latch breaks you can still play with the toy, you just won't be able to hang it from your waistband. At the moment though the fact that it extends and retracts is a big bonus as then I'm not left with a long thin thing to find a storage place for; retracted these fit easily into a toy box or on a shelf.
Unlike other light saber toys that are designed to light up, make noises and look pretty this one is pretty simple. This is a light saber designed to fight with, to be Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. The blade is surprisingly strong and it will take an awful lot of punishment from small children hitting each other/ hitting random things under the impression that they are droids. The sliding out blade is an awful lot of fun, you can strike lots of dramatic poses before leaping into action with your light saber suddenly ready in your hand. My daughter had a little friend around every day after school for a whole month this year and every day they were out in the garden for two hours, jumping, rolling and playing the most marvellous imaginary games. I have never seen her have so much fun with such a simple toy. Even my two year old enjoyed running around after them and he got the occasional go with the light saber too, which he enjoyed immensely.
This is a toy that I can wholeheartedly recommend for keeping children active and imaginative. The sliding blade makes it more exciting than a sword and its durability means that it will last and last. Its light enough that any accidental contact is no more painful than being hit with a plastic sword, a quick sting and then back to beating up Luke Skywalker. This is definitely an outdoor toy, I wouldn't want this to be played with in the house, that's just asking for things to be broken or damaged. It is definitely worth the £8, but if you can get it cheaper then you will be getting a total bargain, this is a fantastic toy with loads of play value and fun to be had with it.
Its also fun for adults too...especially after wine has been consumed.......VVVVVVRRRRRRROOOOOM