I recently picked this set up from Target. If you're in the United States, that's the only place you can currently get it. (Though some people are reporting finding it at Costco, and it may have appeared at Toys R Us in the past.) It's an interesting mix of existing sets, and an overall revisit of an old favorite. I've always wanted to get this Safari set, but it was too expensive (the old one is pretty popular with collectors). Now that it's all new pieces, it's much easier for a collector to finally get his hands on it. As far as playmobil and pricing go, this set is a gigantic value. If you were to measure out all the plastic, I'd say you're getting $50 worth of playmobil here. But looky look! This set is only $30 right now at Target. If you get lucky and it hits clearance, it may go lower, but I say don't wait. This is definately an incredible value. And if you're buying it for a young family member, you will look like the hero, because most kids should know, this is way more than $30 worth.
What do you get?
You really do get a big box load of fun here. The centerpiece of it all is the platformed shelter. It's a solid construction, and it features opening and closing windows and door. The back wall is open, for easy furniture placement. Talk about furniture, I have to mention that I love the extra effort the designers at playmobil go through. Take for instance the two cots, table and chair, they're all foldable. They really fold up and get more compact. I'll bet you that if anyone else made a set like this, the stuff doesn't really fold up. I also applaud their efforts to include proper bedding for everyone included. My Arctic Dinosaur Excavation set has one chick, two dudes, and one sleeping bag. It's cold in the Arctic. Anyway, this thing also has a nice deck and staircase, and if you were inclined, you could rearrange the Steck construction system pieces in different ways. More on that in a minute.
You also get a great selection of animals. You get an adult and baby giraffe, a baby elephant, adult lion and cub, a parrot, a snake, a zebra, a monkey, and a vulture. All of these are classics from their line of animals, and they've all got that classic playmobil streamlined design. But they don't skimp you on features either. Most of them are pretty posable, and the lion can move his neck and open his mouth. We all know the monkey can hold a beer. Bonus just recently playmobil released the Zoo and Noah's Ark set, so many independant toy stores have lots of other animals available. You can even check out their Add-Ons catalog for more options.
Something I've never had much of, but glad that I do now, is playmobil landscaping, or nature elements. Playmobil's big stance on playsets and surroundings is to be minimal, to encourage imagination on the part of the kid, but they do like to spice things up and include the occasional tree and log. This set gives you two palm trees, one African looking tree, a bush, and a small tree (perfect for the parrot) and that has a surrounding bit of water that snaps into the curves of the base. I've never had playmobil water before (my wife has the pink waterfall for the princess castle) and it's pretty cool. It's a translucent blue with a wavy texture.
You get the two explorers (I was a teeny bit disappointed that they didn't have a new hat or color scheme) from earlier Jungle themed sets. You also get two high-powered cameras. One has a tripod. What was interesting to me was that these were the older styled cameras that need a base to be held by the figure. They can, however, take telephoto lens attachments. The current camera mold used in contemporary sets has a groove to be held and has a neck strap. It was cool finally getting my own set of the vintage playmo-camera. You'll also notice you're on safari, but it's a photo safari, no high-powered rifles in this set. I say kudos, playmobil. It's true I hate when people water-down things (I'm looking at you 20th Anniversary E.T.) but in this case it does work. If I'm giving this set to a younger family member, I'd rather it was to take pictures, instead of collect pelts.
You also get their outback jeep. This thing has t-bone suspension in the back, real rubber tires (including a spare) and a flip-down windshield. You'll notice it's pretty close to the original jeep, however it does not have the roll bar with spot lights. However, that jeep is no longer currently available. If you poked around online, you could probably get the part numbers to the roll bar and lights, and order those from the Parts Dept, if you were a completist like me, however I doubt your kid would notice.
So earlier I said you could play around with the set up of the platform. I love kitbashing playmobil pieces into new sets. You should check out my Gameshow/Newsdesk playset made with 100% playmobil. Sorry, got off track. So if you remove the shelter pieces and re-arrange the guard rail across the back, you can make a sweet platform for your playmobil executioner. One of the first playmobil I ever tracked down was 4524, Axe Man. He didn't sell very long in America, as you can guess, but he's still available on eBay from time to time. So I moved the pieces around, grabbed the weapons rack from my vintage Knights set (thanks Lando!), and rounded up that no-good scoundrel, Robin Hood. I made a full blown photostory you can check out here: Robin Hood Meets the Axe Man. Check it out.
It's playmobil week on MillionairePlayboy.com, so check back later this week for more reviews. See our archive of playmobil articles, including the free backdrops you can print out to hang behind your toy shelves!
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