Meccano 25 Maker System sets are definitely not starter sets. Recommended fior age 9+, they are really best for children who have some experience of building models (such as Meccano) using tools, and can use their learned skills as well as their brains to put the models together.
Inside the box we have all 443 metal and plastic pieces, and rubber tyres. There's actually quite a lot of plastic involved, but it's not a bad thing as it's really strong and allows for some shaping and fine cog work that would be very expensive to reproduce in metal, and would raise the cost of the set quite considerably.
The model building is, as you'd expect, quite complicated, but the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Some of the fixings need 4 hands or a degree of experience, so younger or more novice users of tools may need a bit of help. Our son had a quick lesson in all the different ways you can position a spanner!
The finished model 4X4 Off-Road Truck has 2 opening doors, a manual working winch and a sophisticated cogged driveshaft system underneath. The wiring is all neatly out of the way, and it has a good amount of power. There is a 3-way switch for forward, off and reverse, which is quite hard to get to with this model.
It's a really nice model, with the bonus that you can take it apart and make something completely different.
Here's a short video of the truck in action....
The model takes 4 x AA batteries (not included), although battery life seems really good so far. I'm a bit disappointed that with the main model the drive shafts fall out a bit easily, but when you have the skills, the Meccano allows for you to work out how to make the adjustments needed to solve problems like this.
Meccano building is excellent for honing fine motor skills, puzzle-solving, hand-eye coordination, use of tools, and supports STEM subjects your child will study in school - including speed, friction and angles for Physics and Maths.
This is a really nice set. For under £40 with instructions for 25 different models to make, including several really complex self-propelling vehicles, it represents excellent value for money and is a set to keep your child busy for the entire Christmas period. Don't forget the batteries...
The Meccano 25 4X4 Off-Road Truck is districuted by Spin Master Toys, recommended for age 9+, the rrp is £39.99 and it is available to buy now in all good toyshops, including online at Amazon.