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At my husbands Nanas house there is a great big box of toys for when the children visit, there is about 15 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren (I think) so there has been a great number of toys over the years and one of the character toys that sits there is a range of Bob the Builders from when my Nephews were little. My eldest daughter took a great liking to Muck so was allowed to bring him home to play with. The toy is pretty old but Bob the Builder is still around so you can manage to pick it up second hand, curently you can get it off Amazon for £7.95. The toy is basically a plastic version of the bright red character Muck from the Bob the Builder series, the toy is about 20cms long and about 10cms high so is a good size for little hands to be able to handle. Muck has a skip type area on his back and a moveable scoop for picking things up and the scoop moves backwards and tips so that your child can actually pick bits up and pour them into the back, Sophie used to use Muck to pick up her Lego bricks and make tidying up more fun which was great as it meant she would actually join in and help with the tidying up. The scoop on the front of muck actually moves up and down the arms too so it can be pulled up so it sits above the floor or down so that it rides across the floor as Muck moves. The toy is really durable being made of hard plastic and it has been around for about 10 years now and apart from the odd little scratch there is no damage to him. Muck works by friction and has black rubber around his 4 wheels which are just pretend as the working 4 wheels are actually underneath the toy. This toy is really good, it is a basic toy that Sophie never really played with on it's own apart from when she was picking things up but she would play with Muck along with her little dolls where he would give them rides in his skip. Muck is nice and brightly coloured ans is a great size for little hands, Sophie loved playing with the toy and I found him to be really great quality, this is recomended for any Bob the Builder fan.
We have four Bob the Builder "truck" characters in total, one was bought by us, the other three including Muck were given to me by a good friend whose son is older and had grown out of them. Muck is one of the Bob the Builder characters and I have to say he is my favourite truck from the series. My son loves Bob the Builder stuff and I have a couple of Bob the Builder DVDs which I sometimes let him watch which he has learned the characters from. He then reenacts some of the stories with his own track characters, singing "Bob the builder can you fix it"! Muck is a digger made from a very durable red plastic and can be rolled along on his track belt, there are four wheels on each side of the truck, within the belt. He pushes nicely along the floor and has a motion track, ie. if you pull it back it will propel forward on its own. He has a moveable a moveable digger scoop at the front which my son loves and a tipper on the back, although this has limited movement and to tip things out you often have to tip the whole truck. I like Muck as he has s nice smiley face and looks very friendly. All his features are moulded into the plastic, rather than stuck on with stickers and thus he has stayed in really good condition, he is a very durable truck. My son loves these Bob the Builder character trucks and I am really glad we have them. Most of these characters cost around £10, so a quite expensive although I am sure it is possible to pick them up second hand or for cheaper on Amazon if one looked around. It's good my son has four of these characters as he does play with them interactively. He is quite obsessed with diggers and building things generally and these toys really do keep him very happy and occupied for long periods of time.
Muck is the fourth of my Bob the Builder vehicle reviews. Bear with me, there is only one to go after this! For those who haven't read my other reviews, Muck is part of a set of friction powered vehicles made by the company Born To Play, based on the popular TV series. Though the " Bob Universe" now contains a ridiculous amount of characters, I decided to stick to the original five vehicles that appeared on the first show: Lofty the crane, Dizzy the cement mixer, Roley the roller, Scoop the Digger and this one, Muck the bulldozer. For me, the main characters cover all the bases and I have no desire, or cash to buy all of the new characters too! Muck can be bought from new from sites such as Amazon for £8, though it really does pay to look around markets and car boot sales for these vehicles. In the set we own, I only bought one vehicle from new. All the others were purchased from the local market for £2-£3 each. As the toys are well made and durable, I have found that there is very little difference betwen a second hand model and a new one, apart from price. Indeed, Muck the bulldozer looks as good as new, despite the fact that we have had him for about 6 years, and the only part that doesn't work on the toy is the friction mechanism itself. Muck is a red/orange bulldozer. The toy is quite big, and to scale with the other toys in the set, but much bigger than the average hotwheels/matchbox type toy car. His eyes are painted and fixed and he has a smiley face. He has a movable scoop at the front that can move forwards and backwards as well as up and down and has a good degree of tilt. The scoop makes a fun clicking noise when you move it up and down, which will be exciting for young children. There is a tipper on the back, which has quite a limited range of movement and tips back and forth. The wheels on the side that you can see in the picture above are for display only, and are fixed in position. The real wheels are underneath the vehicle. As I briefly mentioned, the vehicle is friction powered, and the wheels underneath are designed to propel the vehicle forward. This relies on the vehicle being "revved up", rather than pulled back and released. As I mentioned, our Muck doesn't work, and I have found the friction mechanism is always the first thing to go on these toys, though it doesn't inhibit enjoyment, as the toy can be pushed along normaly quite easily, and the toy has the advantage of not needing batteries. The big tipper at the back of the vehicle has lots of room for putting "passengers" and cargo inside, as well as smaller toy cars. The fact that the toy has a face, turn him into a character, rather than just a vehicle, and gives the child more opportunities to build stories around the characters, as well as playing with it as a regular vehicle, carrying cargo and racing with other cars. These Bob the Builder vehicles have been a popular part of our toy collection for the last 6 years and I am confident that when they are finally outgrown, I will be able to pass them on or sell them easily as they are still in such pristine condition. They are safe for very young kids to play with, as they have no sharp bits and do not break easily, even when bombarded with rough treatment. These are well built toys.
***Background*** This range of toys are to compliment the television series and all the DVDs and books that are available, featuring the industrious character of Bob The Builder. Shouts of 'Can We Fix It?' can often be heard from our living room as my son watches the Cbeebies show. Muck has been featured in the show for as long as I can remember and she is well named. Being a bulldozer is hard and dirty work but this little beauty doesn't mind getting on with any task that Bob sets her. Her catchphrase is 'Muck to the rescue!' and she uses this whenever one of her friends is in need of a little bit of help although she doesn't like the dark much and needs a little bit of support at night. ***The Toy*** Muck is red in colour with orange digger and tipper sections. She is made of hard plastic, which is pretty sturdy and is easy to clean should she be outside getting all dirty. Her face is made up of a smiling silver grille and two white eyes that are fixed, so they don't move when she does. Being a bulldozer, she has a set of caterpillar wheels although these don't actually move. The friction movement is taken care of by wheels underneath this vehicle and they are well hidden to make it more realistic. When pushed, her tipper section rattles back and forward although it doesn't tip right out when stationery so any muck that your child puts in here will need to be emptied by either one of the vehicles, such as Scoop, or tipped upside down along with the whole vehicle. The digger section at the front is pretty good. It is worked by two arms that can go up and down and then the digger bit can also be rotated to get the right angle, as well as going in and out too, so it looks reasonably realistic. ***Friction Test*** The thing that is great about these toys is that they don't need any batteries to work them. A gentle push or a harder shove will see them taking off in any room whether it's laminate or carpet. I like to test this out to give you an idea of how well they actually work and tried it out on both surfaces. This is what I found out. You don't have to rev this one up at all on either flooring surface. It skids over laminate and flies right across the room on the carpet too. Both areas are over 14 feet long and objects stopped the travelling Muck so I'm not sure exactly how far she would have gone unblocked. The sound that it makes as it travels is a real whooshing sound too and my son loves this. ***My Thoughts*** As you might have guessed by my recent reviews, my son is a big fan and is quite a collector of these toys. They are played with on an almost daily basis at the moment and he loves copying some of the stories that he sees on the Cbeebies channel. This one is pretty important to him because Muck can pick up objects and carry them over to where he is 'building'. The one thing that I think is a bit disappointing is that her tipper section doesn't actually tip out and this caused a little bit of a problem when he was playing with it in his sandpit last summer, as he sand got a bit compressed when he was taking it out with Scoop's little scoop. Luckily we managed to clean her up very easily and there were no problems there. Muck has quite a comical face and the character is well known for getting into mischief. She has a really strange voice on the show and it is extremely funny to listen to my son trying to replicate that voice, as he plays with her. I think it's a good idea that the caterpillar section doesn't actually turn, as we have had problems with the track coming off in similar style vehicles that do turn round. The wheels underneath are very well hidden and this makes her look as though she is just gliding along. What I think is so important about this type of toy is that children can really use their imaginations and it's a way of getting back to basics without flashy lights and noisy sounds. I'm all for encouraging play like this and my son loves to get all his Bob toys out when he has friends over. I haven't met one little boy yet who hasn't wanted to play with them and there are even a few girls who enjoy the odd turn too. ***Other Friction Toys*** Scoop, Lofty, Benny, Sumsy, Scrambler, Travis, Roley, Trix, Tumbler, Zoomer, Skip, Packer, Dodger, Flex, RVee, Bristle Dizzy has a different type of mechanism and is available as a freewheeling toy or a pull back one. ***Price & Availability*** Muck is available is most big toy shops from Woolworths to Toys R Us but I found him at Tesco for £5.99 a couple of years ago where it was the cheapest around at the time. I have managed to find a cheaper price at the moment though on Amazon where she sells for only £5.38, which I think is a bargain for a toy that comes from a television series and is such good fun.