My eldest son is Ben 10 mad as are most young boys at the moment, so of course this was another of those presents that my son just had to have at Christmas time.
The rustbucket is Ben and Gwen’s name for Grandpa max’s camper van or RV as they say on the show. This toy is your very own rust bucket with a hidden secret Lab in the back.
In the back of the van you will find an alien clay factory, transforming alien rocks and an animation viewer.
once you get all the pieces out of the box it’s very easy to put together and although when you first use it it may seem quite flimsy, we’ve been using it for a few months now and nothings broken yet.
For the alien clay factory you get 10 moulds of Ben’s aliens and a press that the moulds click into and a tub of green clay. My son really loves making all of the aliens our favourite game is for him to put a mould in while I close my eyes then I have to work out what alien he’s made. The pot of clay it comes with is really small and although we kept it in the tub it went hard really quickly, but we just use normal playdoh with it now and it’s fine. It also means that we can make the aliens in different colours other than just green.
You also get five aerial’s for the van which you are supposed to be able to use as moulding tools for playing with the clay but they are useless and do nothing.
The alien viewer comes with 3 animation disks and additional ones come with some of the Ben 10 figures you buy separately. This part is not really very good, the images are hard to see unless you get them at the right angle in the light and when you do see them there blurry and not really worth it.
You get a beaker, test tube and spoon for using with the transforming alien rocks. The rocks are just bath bombs which fizz and hiss when you drop them in water, using the spoon you can stir the rock around and when it’s eventually all dissolved you’ll be left with a mini Ben 10 figure.
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Although again this is a really fun element, this part does have it’s flaws. The rocks take absolutely forever to dissolve, we’ve taken to using hot water to make it be quicker but we still end up taking it out before it’s finished and picking the bits off as my son can’t wait any longer. You might think that’s a bit extreme but we’ve left it sometimes for 15 minutes and it’s still not fully dissolved and by that time I’ve had enough of “is it done yet” “when’s it going to be finished”.
Also if your little ones are anything like mine they can get a bit over zealous when their excited. Subsequently most of the van still has remnants of the white frothy alien rock residue all over it, from a bit of over enthusiastic stirring of the rocks. I mopped up everything that I could and one first expectation wasn’t too worried as I thought it was only cosmetic and just a bit messy, but when my son tried to push the van around about a week later the middle wheel wouldn’t roll and when I looked underneath the metal axel was rusty from the water damage. I managed to brush the rust off and the wheels then moved again but it means being extra careful and drying it really well after every use of the rocks just in case.
Another thing is that the rocks are a constant expense, they cost £4.00 for 2 rocks and every time we go to the toy shop my son asks for more, He really enjoys doing them but they are expensive after a while.
Also the figures that you get at the end are very small, so he’s not allowed to play with them unsupervised as we’ve got a one year old in the house so they are kept in a special box and only taken out when little ones out the way.
I was a bit disappointed that you couldn’t use the van with all the Ben 10 figures that we have, but my son enjoys just pushing it around and making Ben 10 appear to be jumping out of the side.
When your ready to put everything away my advice is to look at the instructions carefully, It takes a while on the first attempt to figure out where all the pieces are meant to be stored, but when you get them all in they fit in nicely. Even though there’s a lot of separate pieces they all fit in the closed up RV and it’s a great space saver and so handy to have everything in one place so they don’t get lost.
The age recommendation is 4 plus but if fully supervised I think a 3 year old would be fine with this. My boy had it for Christmas when he was 3 and 2 months and he loves it and can participate in all the different activities.
I think in summary that this is a good toy, most tv tie in toys aren’t the best quality and I believe this to be one of the better ones. Yes it’s got it’s flaws but I think it redeems it’s self with the sheer fun factor of the clay and alien rocks.
I would recommend this to any young Ben 10 fan’s harassed parents, anything to get a wound up boy to sit down for 5 minutes and have some quiet time with the playdoh is a godsend.