Reviewed by Carron Charlesworth
My 3½ year old twins really like the programme Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom so when I told them we were getting the Ben & Holly figures to play with they were over the moon! When the package plopped through our letterbox, they were so excited. It’s a good job that the packaging was minimal because I couldn’t get the figures out quick enough for them. Even though the packaging was sturdy, it was very easy to open – no need for scissors, just a quick rip and the plastic came away from the cardboard and we were in!
At first glance, the Ben & Holly figures are really good quality. However, it wasn’t too long before one of poor Holly’s wing’s was bent away from her body and it almost snapped off. The wings are quite small and semi transparent, and I worried about the wing coming away altogether and getting lost. Both figures have bendy legs and arms, which is great because it gives the figures a little more flexibility and a more realistic feel. Again though, I would worry that over time the bendable legs might snap or come away from the body too. We did like the swivelling heads though, and these were fixed very securely but still able to do a full turn.
My little girl spotted straight away that Holly didn’t have her usual crown on, and Ben didn’t have his elf hat on. They are wearing outdoor woolly hats, but I think for collectables their usual clothing would be better suited and then children can relate better.
For us, the real downside to the two figures is that they are top heavy and the characters won’t stand up without their detachable stands which are little green oval shaped discs. This is where the frustration kicked in! Ben would stand on either disc but Holly would only stand up on one of them – so if they got mixed up there were tantrums! For a 3½ year old, it was quite fiddly to get the holes underneath the character’s feet lined up to fit onto the little pegs on the discs. If the figures are taken off their stands frequently, I can also see the holes under the feet stretching over time and therefore the pegs not being able to hold the figures in place, rendering the discs useless and only allowing Ben & Holly to lay down! The discs measure 3cm by 2cm, so potentially easy to get lost.
For my children, I soon realised that having two figures wasn’t enough for them. They started asking where the Thistle Castle was, and wanting other characters to play with such as Gaston the Ladybird. We did improvise though and we made a forest out of some our toy trees and this kept the twins quiet for a while. I think the five pack of characters would be better if you want to start purchasing Ben & Holly collectables.
Since the arrival of Ben & Holly, they have been picked up and played with for short bursts of time. For us, I think the attraction was lost with the fact that the figurines couldn’t stand up without their discs. Perhaps it would be better for the discs not to be detachable.
All this said, I would recommend this product because the characters were very realistic (apart from the headwear) but I would give a few warnings about the bendable parts, and also the stands – to overcome any frustrations, some people might find it easier to just glue the stands to the figures’ feet.
Overall, a nice, colourful product which enables children to bring to life some of the characters from a great children’s television programme.
Suitable age: 3 years +
Available to buy from Character Online here.