Boys and Star Wars
I watched a Fireman’s Parade a few weeks back hoping to take some fun photographs. Apparently the parade got started late so while sitting for an hour near two grandparents and an early elementary boy, I heard all about Star Wars. This little guy could tell me anything I wanted to know about the movies, the TV programs and more – and he did, for 40 minutes! Today on facebook a friend stated he had just purchased 65 tickets to the opening night of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. He was getting ready to make a great memory. His wife teasingly asked “Do you even have 65 friends?”
So what is it about Star Wars and boys – young and old? What is the magic which attracts them to this story?
The Star Wars movies have several components that draw boys and men into the story.
First, it is about self sacrifice and fighting for something bigger than yourself. Next it holds family and friendship very strongly. The movie presents tension with good and evil clearly on opposite sides. The characters are flawed, but heroic. Finally, there is lots of adventure and action and a few pretty girls (for the older boys.) What more can any male want?
I know many boys love to “play” Star Wars, especially the battle scenes. So it would be great if your son could feed his creative imagination and even be tested with some intellectual skill, fine motor practice and even patience, just like we used to get from making model kits back in the day – right? Well, maybe he can.
Recently a representative from REVEL (subsidiary of Hobbico, Inc. the radio control and hobby product company), a company that has been making plastic model kits since 1945, sent a model kit for review which is sold as a “new” type of model kit for a younger audience. It is advertised as part of a new “Snaptite” series:
Star Wars POE’s X-Wing Fighter Build N Play Set
Fun Lights-&-Sound Vehicle Models for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’
Snap-Together Vehicles for Ages 6+ Also Feature Moving Parts from Wings to Landing Gear
As many of you know I like the old style toys where boys had to think and build with a greater degree of “involvement” so I was excited about a “good old” model kit. But time does not stand still, so Revell has introduced a new type of model which no longer needs glue or paint. Instead they are snap together and pre painted.
According to the information sent to me: “Each of the four SnapTite® Build & Play™ model kits has 15 to 20 pre-decorated parts with no need for glue, paint or tools, takes roughly 30 minutes to assemble, and can keep kids engaged for hours after the last piece is clicked into place. They are also the first to use Revell’s new DuraMod™ snap design, an innovation in the model market highlighted by extra durability, easy handling and assembly, a high level of detail, and interactivity not available in traditional models.”
Now even I got excited! So I called a friend with an 8 year old in second grade and asked if she would be willing to build the model with her son. Here is how it went:
According to Mom, the directions were straightforward, even for a mom who is not an experienced model builder, but she still needed to help figure things out and had to help her son. It took them about 25 minutes to put together. Son said he really likes the “noise” it makes! (Battle sounds.) Poe’s X Wing Fighter has –
• Open/close cockpit canopy
• Battle action sounds
• Wings open into “Attack” mode
• Removable landing gear
• Retractable landing gear
• 2 LR44 Batteries included
• 18 Pieces
Honestly, I do not particularly like toys that do any of the imaginative work for the child, including making noise. But since there are several fun moving parts which encourage imaginative play I can forgive the “noise.” I love the fact that this toy is a model, something the boy has to put together, and still provides plenty of imaginative play – not typical for traditional models which were made to look at, but not play with. Just realize, as with traditional models you will most likely have to help your son, especially if this is his first model kit.
Though rated for 6 and above, Mom felt like her second grader had his hands full and even needed help. So if you get this model for a 6 year old be prepared to do much of the work for him. By about 3rd grade the child would likely be able to make this for himself, especially if he has some experience with models.
The Model Kit has a MSRP of $19.99 which was the price online at Target.com. I saw a whole end display of Star Wars models from Revell at my local Toy and Hobby Store with prices from around $15 to over $30 for more complicated kits designed for older children and more experienced model kit makers. Here is a link to the Snaptite Model Kit series on Amazon: Star Wars Snaptite by Revell
The completed Star Wars POE’s X-Wing Fighter from Revell held by a very satisfied and happy second grader –
All in all the toy is a winner and I would recommend it to those looking for fun toys that get a boy involved with a greater level of imaginative and physical experience. This is most definitely a welcomed step away from the passive toys of today! Mom and son enjoyed their experience and would recommend this model to a Star Wars enthusiast ages 8 and up! I am excited that Poe’s X-Wing Fighter will provide many hours of great imaginative play.
A bit of trivia for you: All Revell Star Wars models for “The Force Awakens” are designed with the same computer data used to create the movie props, resulting in strikingly accurate facsimiles of the vehicles that moviegoers will experience on the big screen.
For more information visit http://revell.com.
Since this Mom has two sons and Revell only sent one model, I purchased a second model for the 3rd grade brother. This Revell Snaptite kit had more parts and was slightly more involved. It presented some challenges (more like I remember from my old days of building models) that I will present in a future blog post.
*Disclosure – the toy was provided free by Revell in exchange for an honest review. No other remuneration was received.