Author Topic: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836  (Read 9592 times)

Offline Timotheos

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Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« on: August 10, 2008, 20:59:13 »
This is a quickie review 5840 (dragon) and 5836 (forest knights with cannon).

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Here is set 5840.  It comes with a lot of stuff for only US$19.99.
2 figures = $3 x 2
1 horse  = $4 x 1
So at $10 for the 2 figs and horse, you would have a bargain counting the dragon ($15 off DS?) and big mountain.


The horse comes with Playmobil's new all purpose saddle (note the handhold, which is re-used for the circus act).  This set however doesn't provide any accessories for the saddle.  However, 5836 which I review next does.

Note also the "dragon wing knight".  His wings attach to an apparatus that is part of his collar.  You'll see a better photo of one with 5836.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a closeup of his companion knight (which is why I call this a quick review!).  The figure is interesting for his wings.  Note that the wings are red.  In the other mini set featuring these figures (not reviewed here) the wings are dark gray, but otherwise the figures are identical.  The companion klicky has lightning bolts under his eyes.  Other than the dragon, the new saddle, and the klicky with wings, however, this set doesn't have parts that excited me.  Except, the winged knight's fire shield, which looks nice.  I don't normally like that style.



Here is where the controversy starts.  The dragons limbs are made of a soft rubber (mine also had a strong, somewhat objectionable smell).  The legs can be pulled out with gentle force, but otherwise stay in place.  The arms, however, for being jointed, don't have much range of motion before they inadvertantly pop out.  I'm tempted to prophesize dire portends for the future of playmobil, but I remember having as a kid expensive, yet fall apart, Shogun Warrior toys.  So, I doubt this is a reputation killer.

I forgot to photo the back of the mountain, but it really is hollow, as if a thin mountain had been sliced in two and PM forgot to give us the back half.  There isn't a whole lot you can do with the back, either, because it is so thin (unlike the pirate carry-on island set which has little alcoves for a hideout).  I suspect PM wanted to give kids a mountain for the dragon to run out of without making this as expensive as the $95 Dragon Knight castle.



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Moving onto set 5836...
My photography here didn't turn out to great, or maybe that's just a cloud dimming the otherwise sunny day.

I like this set a lot, despite the Big Bertha mortar with red ball.  The knights are an attractive green color with interesting designs on their chests and nice designs on their shields.  The cannon shield could almost be turned into a Spartan-style shield if you took it off the cannon and devised a handle for it.



Below is a close up of the leader knight and the new saddle mechanism.  The leader knight has what I think is a new type of hood.  The horse's saddle is the same as the hand-grip saddle from 5840, but comes with an extension that clicks to the hand grip.  The extensions has two side-knobs which can hold a quiver, dagger sheath, or anything that connects to a knob.  In this case, the bow is attached via the hook-and-clasp used with some of the medieval dragon knights to carry axes on their back.  Playmobil gave it a new use--bows and shields, something I should have thought of!  Also, the top knob on the saddle presumably allows reigns to be attached to it like the chariot does with its specialized harness.  That's why I call this an all-purpose saddle.  The downside is that it may lead PM to stop producing its wide-variety of different saddles.



I should have used a flash!  This picture was supposed to show you the squire knight's two-knobbed collar.  It is identical to the "dragon-wing knights" apparatus except for the color.  In this case PM connects a sword and hook-and-clasp for the shield to it.  Note also the other knight doing a handstand like with the circus set.



Here's the final picture, almost viewable.  Note the nice design on the knight's chest.  It is a dragon, but it is less tacky than with the red dragon knights of old.  You could use this clicky in other settings without distracting from the sense of authenticity or feeling like he is a football player. 

These knights have nice, soft colors and are attractive.  The squire knight, though not pictured well here, wears scale mail and could probably be turned into a Persian or something for the Roman theme with a little bit of imagination.  If I had to choose between the "forest knights" and the "dragon wing knights", I'd pick the forest knights and ditch the gaudy dragon wing knights.



Further Notes:
My Targets don't yet have the new blister packs or the new two-figure minisets (forest knights, dragon wing knights, and Roman gladiators with tiger).

My Targets had one $12.99 timber set with two barbarians.  These barbarians are almost identical to the upcoming special Germanic chieftain, and I didn't bother buying the set.  I also inspected the Roman mini-arena ($34.99) and Roman playset ($19.99) but found no new parts or compelling economy of scale to lead me to buy the sets.  You're basically paying for the big, plastic background accessories.

Finally, I'm not crazy about fantasy, but the stuff PM is doling out is interesting and except for maybe the dragon set, it is Playmobil quality.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2008, 21:13:50 by Timotheos »

Offline Justindo

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2008, 00:42:09 »
Nice reviews, Tim!  Your local Target's stock mirrors my own.  I picked up the forrest knight set mainly for the squire klicky and the shields.  I'm going to try to order the shields from DS tomorrow, but I doubt I'll have any luck!
:egypt: :roman: :viking: :knight: :arrr: :indian: :cowboy:

Offline Jahme88

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2008, 03:29:37 »
Groovy review Tim.  8-)  Thanks.
I have these guys too (5836), and I agree, nice colors and more appealing than the red dragon knights.  Lots of versatility in those parts.  I particularly like the new smaller hoodie the redhead fella has on.  It's more diminutive in size than the typical Viking style hood....I believe it originated in the Skatepark set.  Nice use of it here.

I also agree that the cannon is annoying......the design on the sheild-y thing is nice and celtic lookin'.....but otherwise, who needs another big bertha, red ball or not.  ::)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2008, 04:07:57 by Jahme88 »
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Offline CountBogro

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2008, 04:51:02 »
Thanks for the review, Timotheos!

I like the green knights even more now. They definitly have a celtic feel about them.
I still like the green Dragon, even though it is of a lesser quality.

Bogro
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Offline Martin Milner

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2008, 06:03:50 »
Lovely review Tim, and much clearer and more informative pictures than I've yet seen.

It's a shame, but I'd be more attracted to these sets if they had LESS in them - cut out the catapault and the half-mountain from 5840, leave Big Bertha out of 5836, but I guess young boys like firing the missiles about and knocking over their Playmobil figures, so Playmo try to include these things as much as possible.

The dragon wings certainly seem to be a bit of a whoopsie from Playmobil, suggesting insufficient play-testing with real children. I'm reminded of the Tom Hanks film BIG, and wondering how far removed the designers have become from their audience; though the presence of the catapault shows some understanding.

I wouldn't worry about this saddle replacing all others, Playmo have created many different saddles over the years to suit different themes, and I think this is just an interesting re-use.

Offline CountBogro

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2008, 07:49:09 »
I agree with you completely, Martin.

Although I do see some used to the "flat rock" - but mostly in displays I must admit.

Bogro
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Offline Jahme88

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2008, 04:51:45 »
I purchased a 5840 Dragon Rock set today.  I can't believe I am about to say this, but.........I HATE this set. :no:  This is one of the most poorly made Playmobil sets I have ever come across.
 
My dragon wings barely stay on and they certainly don't stay put when I position them since the the swivel part of the joint is loose.

The flat rock looked neat from the box picture but I see now that it is a thin prop piece, with limited use in a scene.....it would have to be shoved up against a wall to be useful, rendering the pass-through cave moot. 

The klickies are the exact same ones that come in the smaller (more enjoyable) set #5832, the knight's wings being red is the only diff.

I feel swindled a bit.  This set is NOT worth the 20 dollars I paid for it in my opinion.  I have paid more for smaller better made sets. 
This is nowhere near typical Playmobil quality, it is waaaay below the bar.  What it lacks in quality, it also lacks in detail.

I say this with no preconceived maliciousness....I wanted to like this set.  It looked like a fun concept.  It's just so poorly executed and corners were obviously cut in material quality.

I had a hunch, so I checked for the words on the box....sure enough I found them.....MADE IN CHINA.

Those three words pretty much sum up why and how this set takes the good name of Playmobil into a downward nosedive.

Sorry to be such a bummer.   I wish they wouldn't have set up to manufacture anything there........ shoddy Red Dragon indeed. >:(
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Offline CountBogro

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2008, 05:02:30 »
mmm - there's definitly a problem here. Hopefully Geobra is listening  :'(

Bogro
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Offline Martin Milner

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2008, 05:33:10 »
I wonder how long this set has been in the pipeline?

One miht think that after all the anti-Chinese-manufactured-toys press in 2007-8, it wouldn't be worth Playmobil allowing Chinese sets onto the market to damage their reputation like this.

Are the other Dragon and Green knight sets also Chinese in origin? Those hideous huge handles on the new take-along sets are suspiciously "Pyrates" looking.

Offline Timotheos

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Re: Quick Review of 5840 & 5836
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2008, 11:10:06 »
Hi Jamie,

Yeah, I know what you mean.  As if to underscore, my old-style dragon arrived in the mail yesterday.  The old style is much nicer-looking (smaller and "cuter") than I got by looking at box covers.  But, yes, the old style used the same arm mechanism as the new dragon, except that the arms and legs are firmly in place.

One miht think that after all the anti-Chinese-manufactured-toys press in 2007-8, it wouldn't be worth Playmobil allowing Chinese sets onto the market to damage their reputation like this.

Hey Martin
Don't turn this into a nationalist thing.  Chinese manufacturers make to spec.  Playmobil commissioned the softer rubber for whatever reason.  I think PM is trying to compete on price.

Compare:
Old style dragon with one rider costs $19.99
New style dragon with two figures, a catapult, and a slab of plastic called mountain = $19.99

Either Playmobil has to take a big hit on profitability with the new set or playmobil has to go cheap on materials.

So don't blame China, blame the designer who provided (or approved) the spec.

-Tim