LEGO Star Wars – Rey’s Speeder and General Grievous Playtest plus Giveaway

With less than a month to go until the release of The Force Awakens, Star Wars continues to dominate our leisure time. As well as enjoying watching Episodes IV РVI in anticipation, checking out trailers, speculating what may happen in the new movie (my daughter already predicts that Kylo Ren will get both hands chopped off), we’re also working our way trough the six season Clone Wars animated series. So it was great to receive two terrific LEGO sets that encompassed these strands of the saga.

Rey’s Speeder

Appearing early on in the very first trailer for The Force Awakens, this was one of the first new vehicles to be revealed.

Rey's Speeder, Star Wars, The Force Awakens, Daisy Ridley

Its blocky, lo-fi, junkyard style design quickly became a fan favourite.

This LEGO version is a lovely little set to construct.

LEGO Star Wars 75099 Rey's Speeder

This was one of my favourite looking ones from The Force Awakens line (admittedly, the iconic , far larger, and more expensive Millennium Falcon just edged it). The suggested age is 7-12, but my 3-year-old daughter put it together with minimal supervision.

Rey is clearly a central character to the new saga, so it is great to have a minifigure of her. My daughter loves the fact that she is another female Star Wars character to play with.

Rey LEGO minifig

The minifigure has the usual two faces, though the expressions are a fairly subtle ‚Äėwry smile‚Äô and ‚Äėdispleased frown‚Äô. The freckles are a nice detail, that reflects some of the close up pics we have seen of Rey so far. She also has a mask with goggles, as seen in one of the more recent trailers.

Rey wearing mask and goggles, Star Wars, The Force Awakens

The set also comes with a second mini figure, the hooded and mysteriously named Unkar’s Thug.

How much the speeder features remains to be seen, but it already feels like one of the more iconic new vehicles of the new saga and is a great addition to our LEGO Star Wars collection, that that my daughter frequently plays with already.

General Grievous

We are also currently watching the Star Wars cartoon The Clone Wars, which is set between Episodes II and III of the prequel trilogy. Whatever your opinion of that set of movies, their existence is entirely justified by the fact it led to this show being made. We are only on season 4 of 6. It is full of thrilling space fantasy action adventure, with (IMHO) much more rounded characterisations of the main characters, than the movies the show is sandwiched between.

General Grievous originally appeared in Revenge of the Sith (2005), and it was pretty widely accepted that for such a cool looking character, he was a bit wasted.

General Grievous, Revenge of the Sith, lightsabers

However, he is a major recurring character in The Clone Wars, and here he finally gets his due (though he’s still a bit of a tool).

This set is part of the recently released six buildable LEGO Star Wars figures. We have previously reviewed the Darth Vader figure, which was a fine set Рbut even then I could tell that this General Grievous figure was the one that suited this format best.

General Grievous vs Darth Vader

The skeletal construction pieces suit Grievous’ robotic structure perfectly. The sculpt on his head is great. This is basically an awesome General Grievous figure that you put together yourself!

Unlike Rey‚Äôs Speeder, this set (recommended age 9-14) was totally out of my 3-year-old daughter‚Äôs ability to put together – but not mine ūüėČ I had a great time putting it together – albeit¬†with expert supervision from my daughter. She loves playing with it though, and one of the first things she wanted to do was stage a fight between Grievous and Darth Vader.

Who would win in a fight between Darth Vader and General Grievous?

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If you have a young Star Wars fan in your life, then two things they probably should be are a) Fans of The Clone Wars cartoon, and b) Excited about The Force Awakens. Given that, either of these sets would perfect gifts for them.

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  • Rey‚Äôs Speeder has a RRP of ¬£19.99, and is available here
  • General Grevious has a RRP of ¬£29.99, and is available here

Or if you fancy your chances, how about entering our General Grievous giveaway?

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LEGO Star Wars 75112: General Grievous
**This giveaway is for UK residents only**

 

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Disclaimer: While I was not paid to write this review, we did receive these LEGO sets free of charge.

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These sets are based on the Star Wars prequels, cartoons, and the forthcoming sequel. Do you or your little ones have a Star Wars preference – originals, prequels, cartoons, or new series?

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Family Fever
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Review & Giveaway: Karate Lottie, Ballet Lottie, plus Sweet Dreams Accessory Pack

We already have a varied¬†collection of¬†Lottie Dolls. We love them for many reasons, but particular because it’s easy to see similarities between them and the kid.

Why we love @lottie_dolls – she's a lot like my daughter ūüôā

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Well, this week we were sent a suitably eclectic trio of items that my daughter had chosen to complement the likes of her Rockabilly Lottie above.

Karate, Ballet, and Sleepy – our latest collection of @lottie_dolls are ready for action (or inaction).

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The first of these items was the Sweet Dreams Outfit Set.

This is an accessory set, so there’s no doll just the clothes – but it’s great to have more outfits¬†for them. Our daughter has always liked putting her toys down for naps and sleeps, and this accessory set gives her a chance to do that while at least one of them is dressed and ready for bedtime.

It comes with all-in-one pyjamas, a dressing gown/robe, and fleece slippers Рall perfect for making sure your Lottie doll is nice and snug.

Next up was the first of the two dolls РSpring Celebration Ballet Lottie.

Our daughter has been going to dance class on Saturday morning for a while now, and loves it. Like this Lottie, her¬†outfit is also all pink (the choices for children’s¬†tights and leotards for dancing¬†seemed to be pink or pink), plus she has a tutu she wore last term too¬†– so this Lottie is one she definitely associates with her experience of dancing.

Ballet Lottie is nicely decked out in her special ballet costume (with a 3-layer tutu), a sequin leotard, ballet slippers, and a drawstring shoe bag.

My daughter’s¬†final choice is¬†my personal favourite – the Kawaii Karate Lottie:

As mentioned on this blog previously, Kawaii essentially means ‚Äėcute‚Äô in Japan, and as well as providing a handy instance of alliteration, it’s an accurate description of this doll (although Kickass Karate Lottie would‚Äôve worked too).

Kitted out in full karate gear, plus a choice of white or yellow belts, a rising sun headband, a helmet, plus some collector cards displaying how to hit and kick like a girl, this is a great set.

Playing with her new Lottie Dolls
Playing with her new Lottie Dolls

We are a multi-racial family, and we have toys around us that reflect that diversity. Lottie have dolls of various skin tones, and I was glad that our daughter has chosen a brown skinned Lottie to add to her collection.

The choice of Ballet and Karate¬†Lotties is¬†not as random as it¬†seems. Our daughter’s been very interested in Batgirl of late, and often picks out my Batgirl of Burnside¬†trade paperback to look at¬†(I‚Äôve read the whole thing to her – dating apps, transgender villains, evil algorithms and all).

There’s a page showing the pre-Batgirl Barbara Gordon doing¬†ballet (pink outfit) and martial arts (white training gear), and I think that’s made an impression.

Karate + Ballet = Batgirl. And now Lottie too.

This selection of dolls displays yet again why Lottie is such a great product. Her range of outfits and interests continue to¬†reinforce the message that being a girl shouldn’t limit your aspirations – and you can like frilly pink skirts¬†while also being kickass at karate.

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Kawaii Karate Lottie, Spring Celebration Ballet Lottie, and Sweet Dreams Outfit Set are all available from Amazon.

Or alternatively, enter our giveaway below!

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Lottie Dolls Giveaway

*** This competition is open residents of all countries ***

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Lottie doll retails at £16.99 (USD $19.99); accessory sets and outfit sets retail at £7.99 (USD $9.99)

Lottie is also available online at www.lottie.com.

In the UK, Lottie is also at Debenhams, Ocado, Natural History Museum, Jo Jo Maman Bébé, and independent toy stores.

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Disclaimer: While I was not paid to write this piece, my daughter did receive the featured dolls and accessories free of charge.
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Which Lottie doll is your favourite? Check out the range at www.lottie.com, then head back here and tell us!

Check Out These Great New LEGO Scooby-Doo Stop Motion Videos (plus Giveaway)

I grew up with the animated adventures of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and of course Scooby. I’ve started showing them to my daughter too (my all time fave remains¬†when Batman and Robin were¬†guest stars).

In their latest way of taking my money, LEGO have released some great new Scooby-Doo sets.

As you probably realise, I love sharing¬†photos of our LEGO, but have a look at¬†these – they’re going that extra mile with a collection of great¬†LEGO Scooby-Doo stop motion videos.

Additional videos will be uploaded weekly, so head over to ScoobyDoo.com for more, and if you like the look of these then why not subscribe to the WB Kids YouTube channel too.

To celebrate the launch of these¬†LEGO Scooby-Doo sets and videos, we’re offering you the chance to win¬†a ¬£150 Gift Card from Smyth‚Äôs – perfect for you to snap up some¬†LEGO Scooby-Doo sets for yourself.

LEGO Scooby-Doo - New Stop Motion Videos and Giveaway

Good luck!

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This is a collaborative post.

Tara Binns – Books That Empower Little Girls to Dream Big

One of my issues with princesses has always been this. The role is not a career aspiration. I live in an actual monarchy, where there really are princesses, and there is even a possibility of our daughters becoming one. But I think we can all agree it’s a fairly narrow life path to target.

I suppose it’s a more realistic aspiration than being a¬†superhero, but at least most of them have real jobs as¬†journalists, lawyers, wealthy industrialists, Amazon princesses‚Ķ er, where was I‚Ķ?

Anyway, of the many characters aimed at children, male ones tend to be the only ones tied to a profession. Think Postman Pat, or Fireman Sam. Female characters are far more likely to be more fantastical.

In a clever twist, tying the two together, is the Tara Binns series. Created by Lisa Rajan and illustrated by Eerika Omiyale, these books have¬†the tagline of ‚ÄúGiving Little Girls Big Ideas‚ÄĚ. The format of each tale involves our eponymous girl hero playing dress ups in her attic, and being magically transported into a fantasy (or is it?) involving the profession one of her outfits.

From 'Tara Binns - Eagle-Eyed Pilot' written by Lisa Rajan and illustrated by Eerika Omiyale
From ‘Tara Binns – Eagle-Eyed Pilot’ written by Lisa Rajan and illustrated by Eerika Omiyale

In Tara Binns РEagle-Eyed Pilot, she suddenly becomes a jumbo jet pilot Рin mid-flight Рand quickly has to learn not only how the cockpit works, but also has to navigate a storm and wrestle with a moral dilemma involving old pirate treasure.

The next book is Tara Binns – Crash Test Genius, where she becomes an engineer who quickly learns how the application of science benefits us all, and is inspired to invent a new concept of her own.

Coming soon is Tara Binns РDouble Choc Doc, where she has to deal with everyone’s winter nemesis Рthe common cold!

My 3-year-old daughter loves being read these books, and requests we revisit¬†them regularly. She is full of questions about the professions themselves as well as the way Tara deals with the dilemmas and opportunities presented to her. She’ll often ask questions about them out of the blue, when we’re not even reading one. They have clearly made an impression, and an immensely positive one at that.

The prose is bright and snappy, and the illustrations whimsically delightful. Tara, as both herself and when she’s exploring¬†her various professions, is a great role model. One that is thankfully a world away from fairy princesses.

These books would be terrific for any child Рbut parents of girls in particular may find these to be essential bookshelf additions.

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Tara Binns Man vs Pink Giveaway

This giveaway has now ended ‚Ästbut¬†Tara Binns – Eagle-Eyed Pilot, and Tara Binns – Crash Test Genius, can be purchased from¬†Amazon.

Keep up to date with all the latest news about Tara Binns on Facebook and Twitter.

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Disclaimer: While I was not paid to write this review, we did receive these books free of charge.

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What profession would you like to see Tara Binns explore next? Please comment below.

DC Kids Super Hero Creator Giveaway

Like many, my daughter is into superheroes and really loves creating her own. DC knows a thing or two about superheroes as well, and they have a cool new interactive Super Hero Creator for you to try. My daughter came up Green Dragon (pictured above), and Water Shark (below).

DC Super Hero Creator - Water Shark

Also check out some of the new videos from Warner Bros, including favourites such as Scooby Doo  & Batman Unlimited.

They seem pretty active with their video content at the moment. Subscribe to their channels –¬†DC Kids Channel¬†and¬†WB Kids Channel¬†– to see what else is coming up.

Win An Amazing Gift Set From Warner Bros.

To celebrate the launch of the DC Kids Super Hero Creator, they have this great prize on offer. It includes Teen Titans Go Action Figures & T-Tower Set, A Batman Unlimited Action Figure, DC Super Friends Gift Set, and Batmobile.

Win An Amazing Gift Set From Warner Bros., Including Teen Titans Go Action Figures & T-Tower Set, A Batman Unlimited Actions Figure, DC Super Friends Gift Set and Batmobile

Good luck! Let me know what heroes you or your kids come up with.

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This is a collaborative post.

Playtest and Giveaway: New LEGO Star Wars Buildable Figures

The latest LEGO Star Wars figures are a little bigger than the previously available ones!

This giant (in LEGO terms) Vader is one of a series of six new buildable figures from their Star Wars line – Jango Fett, Clone Commander Cody, Obi Wan Kenobi (Clone Wars) General Grevious, Luke Skywalker (Return of the Jedi), and Darth Vader.

Unlike the previous LEGO Star Wars sets, which have been in the classic LEGO format, these are more like Bionicle and other similar buildable LEGO figures. When constructed you have a fully poseasble and articulated Star Wars figure.

We chose Darth Vader, as he is probably my daughter’s favourite character after Princess Leia.

The set a seemingly manageable 160 pieces. But this was my first constraction set, and many of the pieces were unfamiliar to me – with only a few seeming LEGO-like. The build was a different experience too.

My daughter and I like building LEGO sets together, even if the recommended age is far older than she is. However, it soon became clear that this was probably going to be something I built myself – which was obviously no great hardship!

This is not a criticism, as the recommended age is 9+, but other sets we’ve built had a similar age recommendation and we were able to collaborate on. This set, with it’s different style, was a more complex proposition, plus it required gross & fine motor skills which she simply does not have at 3 years old.

However, the finished result is a great toy for her.

It has some cool custom features, such as the cape, the lightsaber, and the head is a great Darth Vader sculpt.

We only had access to Vader, one of the six sets, and while it’s pretty cool when constructed, I would say that General Grevious appears to be the most successful. As he is a robot, his body of metal struts and joints suits the style of these sets perfectly.

These sets offer a nice point of difference to LEGO’s Star Wars line, as well as the wider range of Star Wars toys available. This is a far more stylish Darth Vader toy than many of the other official figures you see out there.

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Disclaimer: While I was not paid to write this review, we did receive this LEGO set free of charge.

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These LEGO Star Wars buildable figures are available from Amazon

Or, enter our giveaway below for your chance to win a Jango Fett figure (UK residents only).

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buildable LEGO Star Wars Jango Fett #75107

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This set of buildable LEGO figures feature a mix of goodies and baddies. Which characters do you or your little ones like best in Star Wars – the heroes or villains?

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Family Fever

Playtest: LEGO Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Tydirium – with a LEGO Princess Leia!

More LEGO Star Wars fun with my daughter this week as we built another new set, the Imperial Shuttle Tydirium.

LEGO Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Tydirium 75094 LEGO Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Tydirium 75094

Firstly, a confession. I’ll admit it. The reason why we selected this particular set for review was because of one of its smallest elements Рthe Princess Leia minifig.

(As you can see, we also have Sabine, from another soon to be reviewed set.)

This is not to put down this LEGO Star Wars set by any means. But we have wanted a Leia figure for some time (that WASN‚ÄôT in her ‚Äėslave‚Äô outfit) and we‚Äôre stoked to finally have one. My daughter was so desperate for one she started making up her own from what we had, creating brand new adventures for her too. Now we have one, sporting a rather cool if fragile looking camouflage poncho.

As well as a LEGO Princess Leia in her Endor outfit, you also get Han Solo & Chewbacca, plus two similarly attired Rebels. Accessories include the usual guns (Chewie gets his crossbow one), some thermal grenades, plus what appears to be cake – presumably the food Leia offers to Wicket the Ewok in the movie.

LEGO Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Tydirium 75094, LEGO Princess Leia ,  Princess Leia LEGO minifig, Han Solo LEGO minifig, Chewbacca LEGO minifig, Endor ooutfit

This is the latest in a line of Imperial Shuttle LEGO sets, but is the first one to include the rebels, and is taken from the scene in Return of the Jedi when they attempt to sneak onto the moon of Endor to sabotage the force field protecting the under-construction Death Star.

Han Solo LEGO minifig, LEGO Star Wars Han Solo, LEGO Star Wars Chewbacca,
“I don’t know. Fly casual!”

The build took us a few sessions of an hour or two, with my 3-year-old daughter helping me out with this age 9+ recommended set. I can see why the age is relatively high, as this is an intricately engineered model, with hinged ramp and cockpit plus fold up wings and doors in the cargo section.

LEGO Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Tydirium 75094,  LEGO Princess Leia minifig, Princess Leia LEGO minifig Endor ooutfit
No room for Leia in the cockpit. It’s not wise to upset a Princess with a gun.

REBELS - cargo crop

It also features fold-out guns and fireable rockets/torpedoes – the set comes with (or at least ours did) much needed additional spares. It also has retractable landing gear, which is cool but we have found to be a little temperamental.

While the dominant white colour scheme is not reflective of the colour of the ship in the movies, it makes for a more eye catching model, that is visually different from our other grey Star Wars sets.

Being a vehicle, to me it lacks the full on creative storytelling led playability of the Death Star Final Duel set, but my daughter still loves opening the doors, ramp, landing gear Рand of course firing those missiles! It has prompted many creative play sessions, involving new adventures and scenarios.

While I found the Imperial Shuttle to be one of the less interesting craft in the movies, as a LEGO Star Wars model it looks great. It’s still one of the iconic ships of the original trilogy, and adding these classic minifigs to your LEGO collection is a nice bonus. My daughter and I had fun building it, and a great time playing with it too.

The LEGO Star Wars РImperial Shuttle Tydirium (75094) has a RRP of £79.99, but please see below for your chance to win one.

LEGO Star Wars Imperial Shuttle giveaway, LEGO Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Tydirium 75094,  LEGO Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Tydirium 75094 prize

** This giveaway is now closed, but the LEGO Star Wars Imperial Shuttle Tydirium set (75094) can still be purchased here **

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I think it’s important for boys and girls that female characters such as Princess Leia are¬†included in merchandise like this.¬†What do you think?

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Disclaimer: While I was not paid to write this piece, we did receive the set reviewed free of charge. All opinions remain ours.