Revell are well-known for their long history of producing model kits, and their Junior Kits are especially designed to introduce young builders to modelling - while working as a fully functioning toy once built. We've been sent the Fire Engine (or Fire Truck if you prefer) Level 1 Junior Kit to review, suitable for children from around age 4.
My newly 6 year old is no stranger to building and modelling, but is not a natural instruction-follower and usually has a 20 minute attention span. He maintained interest throughout this build with a couple of short breaks. He did need a little help with 2 errors and 1 part he simply
couldn't understand, but otherwise it is all his own work - and you can tell how pleased he was with it...
The model kit is in a big box, and includes everything you need, including a specially shaped screwdriver designed to be easy for little hands. My son was eager to begin and got everything out on the table ready.
There are some really nice parts, and everything is well made and finished. There's no sign of excess plastic (sprue) and the tyres are proper rubber. The fixing screws are cleverly designed and work very well - it's very hard to mis-thread a screw, and almost impossible to mis-slot the screwdriver into the screw head and round it off.
The instruction manual is incredibly clear, a good size with large illustrations. It is not necessary to be able to read in order to complete this model.
The model shape comes together almost immediately, so young builders can see their model and understand what every part is doing. The model also has a large sheet of stickers, which my son loved putting on himself - and he made a neat job!
My son hasn't really used a screwdriver before, and he got the hang of it instantly. The screws often fasten into a captive nut which you slot into the model beforehand, and getting the hang of that is a little fiddly. Although my son always knew where to put the 'nut', he did ask for me to do it for him a couple of times.
The model suggests a build time of around 45-60 minutes, and I think my 7 year old would manage that. It took my 6 year old around 90 minutes, but he did take a couple of breaks when something shiny caught his eye elsewhere.
The hardest part of the build (and the only tricky bit really) is fitting the cab doors. You have to have a lot of hand strength and we were scared we'd break it. It's tough plastic though, and once in, the doors fit really snugly and open and close well.
The finished model is a really big 1:20 scale and 30cm long, with 39 parts and 27 connecting pieces. It's strong and hefty, and will withstand a lot of rough and tumble play - it can fight many fires before it'll have to be retired...
The model has opening cab doors and 3 opening hatches, plus the turntable fire hose on the roof. It moves really nicely and has everything a young firefighter should need to play firefighting, including some accessories in the rear compartment.
We are especially impressed with the strength in this model kit. The pieces are very well made and finished, the quality shows. The stickers were super easy for my son to apply neatly unaided, and the instructions easy to follow. The finished model is a great toy, and it can be rebuilt as many times as you see fit - ours apparently always needs a replacement tyre!
There are 5 Revell Junior Kits, each is big and sturdy and suitable for children aged 4+. The Fire Engine which we reviewed has a recommended price of £24.99, and is available from all good toyshops or online, including Amazon where it is currently £20.