Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Bandai Armouron review

If you make a checklist of all the things that boys (and tomboys) want from their toys, you'll find pretty much all of them in Armouron from Bandai. Dressing up and roleplay - check. Construction and creativity - check. Running around and rolling about on the floor making aaaggghhhh noises - check. Mindless violence - check, if you want (but it's only pretend !). Looking like your favourite heroes and TV characters - check. So it's hardly surprising that it won the best role-play category in the Toy Fair Best New Toys for 2010 Awards

When the lovely people at Bandai offered to send me some to try out, I thought Pierre might be a bit small but Juliette was keen to give it a go (see ? Who says it's just for boys ?!)so I said yes please. I was astounded to see just how much turned up ! They sent through an Armouron Action Set, two Armouron accessory sets, five Snapperons sets and two Armouron short daggers. Wowee !

The Armouron (I keep writing Amouron - not quite the same ! Must be my "make love not war" mentality coming through from my subconscious !) Action Set is the basic starter set. It costs £30, comes in red or blue high density foam and comprises a helmet, chest and body armour, a shield, a gauntlet and Snapperons. (More about those in a moment.) This would be enough on its own but you can add to it, funk it up and get creative by buying add on kits.

Such as the Armouron Accessory Sets - we got the Spikes set, but they also come in Wings or Flames (from left to right below).

Each Accessory Set costs £15 and basically allows you to jazz up the basic Action Set so that you look extra funky and can show off your twiddly bits to your mates ! You get a head piece, shoulder pads, visor and shield to add to your suit, plus some extra Snapperons, and, I have to admit, they do look very impressive once they've been added.

Ah, the Snapperons that I keep mentioning. Well, as their name suggests, they are the fastenings which allow you to snap on the different parts of your costume. You can get silver or gold coloured Snapperons which are very bright and shiny and a pack of 6 Snapperons costs £5. You do get a few Snapperons with each kit that you buy, but they're the smallest parts so will inevitably get lost and need replacing, or you may just need extras if you have lots of add-ons or just want to make your armour look funky and bejewelled !

Now, it's no good looking like a souped-up Power Ranger if you haven't got something to wave around aggressively ! Forget laser guns, Armouron keeps things traditional and gives you a choice of Short Dagger (£10) or Long Sword (£13). I was initially a bit concerned about passing these over to the kids but they are soft and bendy and won't do any damage. The middle bit is hard plastic and could do some potential damage if you smacked somebody on the head with it though !

I can certainly see why this is such a popular toy, because you do get to construct (and deconstruct and reconstruct and customise) to your heart's content, constantly changing your outfit, but it is a bit scary (as a parent) when you start adding up the total cost of your collection. For the big boxful we were sent, I've just done a quick tally and it comes to just over £100 (but, to be fair, that is for two people). If you think of the kind of toys that girls collect (Littlest Pet Shop, Barbie, Zoobles, etc), it's exactly the same and, at least with the Armouron, the kids do get the encouragement to go outside and run around in the fresh air too.

The basic kit at £30 is actually a good price so, as long as you get together with the rest of the family to buy the add-on accessory sets for Christmases and birthdays, you could get a fabulous collection built up quite reasonably.

Pierre has just turned 2 so he's still a bit small to play - the website says that Armouron is not suitable for children under 36 months and also warns that this toy does not provide protection. It does however provide hours of entertainment, creative play and make believe, which is always a good thing. And it does make a very nice change from fairy wings and princess dresses !

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £30 for the basic set, £5-£15 for the add-on accessories

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  1. I have 4 boys. I just imagine the pleasure they would get out of this!

  2. Just bought the basic set, the flame accessory set, short dagger, sword and two sets of snapperons for just under £16 for the lot from Home Bargains in Nantwich Cheshire. Looking forward to seeing my little boy's face when he opens his birthday present. Daddy was a happy bunny at the low price too!

  3. Wow, that's a fab price. Well done you, great bit of bargain hunting ! :)

  4. this is for what age until what age?

    1. The box says 4+, which is about right, up until whenever boys stop wanting to run around playing battle games so about 8 I'd say ?!