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Micro Models: CAR Review by Kathy Gelzer

Micro Models: PLANE
By Duncan Crosbie and Tony Potter
Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
250 Wireless Boulevard
Hauppauge, NY 11788

Micro Models are little 4" x 4" x 1" boxes with 14-page books attached to the front. The box contains a "drawer" full of models to assemble. The book portion of this toy has informative text and realistic illustrations with certain items labeled. For example, one of the pages in the PLANE book shows an airport runway with the fuel truck and airport fire truck labeled. The CAR book text talks about family cars, station wagons, 4 x 4's, collector cars (called veteran cars), racing cars, a breakdown, and fun cars. The plane book covers gliders and microlights, engines, flying boats and ski planes, helicopters, and more. Each of these titles contains 12 tiny models to assemble. They are made of stiff paper (not quite cardstock). There are also 12 accompanying info sheets with assembly instructions on one side and information about the particular model on the other side. CAR models include a police car, a Lamborghini Countach, a limousine, and a Rolls Royce. PLANE has a turboprop, a stunt plane, and a Boeing 747 among others.

These are not for children under three years of age because of the choking hazard the little parts present. I think they are most appropriate for ages 8 and up. The books themselves would be enjoyable for children much younger, but the models are a little tricky to put together. They are extremely easy to punch out--these are the best perforations I have ever run across. But the little tabs are very hard to slip into the corresponding slots. My 8-year-old and 11-year-old got frustrated and gave up. Even I had a difficult time--and almost gave up. But the models are so cute! I just wish they had been easier to put together. Maybe a stronger paper would help? The models, once you get them assembled are very fragile, and they are not working models. You must use your imagination and your muscles to move them along a surface or in the air. The airplane models do not fly. I think my son was expecting them to, so he was a little disappointed. Also, the drawer containing the models does not slide in and out very easily.

The Micro Models are very cute and would make darling stocking stuffers or travel toys. The package size is very compact and appealing, and the book/toy combo is an attractive concept. It would be nice to see a traditional girl-themed version--maybe flowers or dolls or butterflies? I hope the manufacturer can and will improve the models, because I think there is a big market for such a great idea.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2007