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REVIEW: Topobots

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The Topobots are the latest series of wood toys from Geared For Imagination’s Topozoo line. While we’ve seen various animals and dinosaurs in the past, this series is made up of four special robots: Herobot, Piratebot, Rockbot, and Vampbot.

As can probably be surmised from their names, each wooden 3-D toy puzzle combines a popular character (especially amongst kids) with a robot. Every Topobot is made up of four interconnecting pieces, each one painted in a single color.

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The Facts

Series: Topozoo
Manufacturer: Geared For Imagination
Material: Recycled Wood
Dimensions: Around 12"tall
Points of Articulation: Zero
Designs: Herobot, Piratebot, Rockbot, Vampbot
Pricing: $9.99 each

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The packaging is fairly simple. Every Topobot come packaged on a recycled cardboard backing, and the toy is held in place by clear plastic. All that means is that you can recycle the recycled packaging.

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Our Opinion

I have a three-year-old son. Little boys of that age appear to be obsessed with a few specific things: cars, construction equipment, nature (bugs and animals), and robots. Not surprisingly, the moment I opened the package from Geared For Imagination, he wanted to bust open one of the Topobots.

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Each figure is made up of four pieces. There are two body pieces and two legs. The body pieces work in conjunction with each other to give depth and changes in color (since each piece is painted one solid color) using the cut holes. Also, there are some pieces (Piratebot’s eye and Vampbot’s heart) where it appears a router – I’m sure they have something much more advanced – has been used to give you a view of the base wood.

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As far as playing, it’s fun for kids to be able to put them together and take them about. That also makes it easy for storing them. My son did take advantage of me by constantly asking me to attach the Piratebot’s leg. I’m assuming that, if you wanted to, you could just glue the whole thing together.

As far as characters, I like 3 out of the 4 (sorry Rockbot). I’d probably rank them Vampbot, Herobot, Piratebot and then Rockbot. But kids should be able to relate with each one, as they’re all types of characters they see in cartoons every day.

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For collectors, I know there are some folks out there who collect wooden toys. Remember The Good Wood Gang from Friends With You and StrangeCo? Blamo Toys has released several wooden toys. And a lot of Gary Ham and Scott Tolleson’s creations are made of (or started out as) wood. I’m sure there are plenty of others.

And less than $10.00 is the perfect price for a toy such as this.

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You can pick one up at the following:

Geared For Imagination: $9.99 each

GFI Topobots Grades
GFI Topobots 03
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REVIEW: Topozoo Owl

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Topozoo is the first collection designed and produced by Geared For Imagination. The eco-friendly line of 3-D puzzles feature interlocking pieces of recycled wood and felt made from recycled bottles. The Topozoo series is released in single character sets or three figure playsets.

We were sent the Topozoo Owl, which “includes a handsome owl puzzle ready for woodland adventures”.

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The Facts

Topozoo Owl
Series: Topozoo
Manufacturer: Geared For Imagination
Material: Recycled Wood and Felt
Dimensions: 10” tall x 8.5” wide
Points of Articulation: Zero
Pricing: $14.99

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The Topozoo Owl is packaged in a flat cardboard box. It has a front opening that allows you to see the product inside. The writing on the package is in green, which makes it a little difficult to read. But since this is more likely to be a child's play toy, I'm guessing not many people will be keeping the box.

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Our Opinion

I feel that the Topozoo Owl might be the best representative of Geared For Imagination's Topozoo line. Unlike some of the sets, it features both wood pieces and several felt layers. It actually includes six pieces in total, which are then layered on top of one another.

The Topozoo line is entirely interchangeable. That's what makes the three figure playsets appealing. For example, there's a dinosaur set. Each dinosaur is one solid color. But you can swap out parts to create crazy, new dinos.

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There's also the Topozoo website. You can go there to download “layers”. These are pdf templates that you can print out, color, and add to your wood Topozoo character. Wings? They'd look good added on to an owl.

I think the term “puzzle” best describes the Topozoo line. I don't see these being uber-popular with collectors. Aspiring collectors – aka the children of collectors – will get the most fun out playing with a Topozoo set. While they're fun to assemble, disassemble and switch around...they're also not as “playable” as an action figure.

You can pick one up at the following: $14.99

Topozoo Owl Grades
Topozoo Owl 05
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REVIEW: Deglingos – Kitschos The Fox

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Deglingos (deh-GLING-goes): common noun. Animalos molto funnios and muy crazios. A uniques species of contagiously quirky animals, the Deglingos speak their own language which consists of finishing many words with 'os'. Made from over 50 different fabrics and designed in France.

Thanks to the US distributor of the Deglingos line, Geared For Imagination, we're able to get a closer look at one of the newest character – Kitschos The Fox.

You've heard “sly as a fox”? No! Kitschy as a fox! No lie, all classic coolos for me – like James Bondos. A little bit megalomaniac and 100% seventies suavos – I am Kitschos the Fox!

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The Facts

Kitschos The Fox
Series: Original Deglingos
Manufacturer: Globe Trotoys
Distributor: Geared For Imagination
Artists: Laurent Manceron and Stephanie Dick
Material: Plush (Line uses of 50 types of fabric)
Dimensions: About 9” tall
Points of Articulation: 2 (Arms are stringed so they can be turned)
Pricing: $29.99

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Each Deglingos plush comes with a small, booklet-like swing tag. The book features photos and mini biographies (in English and French) of all of the characters in the series.

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Our Opinion

The Deglingos plush line is fairly unique in the world of designer plush toys. Each animal character is a patchwork of various materials. It's not surprising that the eyes don't match or the inside of the ears are different fabrics. Since the Deglingos are also targeted towards children, they have various textures to those fabrics (such as a burlap bottom).

I think out of all of the Deglingos characters I have reviewed, Kitschos might rank at the top. A few Deglingos have a Dr. Frankenstein's monster look to them. They're a mishmash of fabrics that sometimes don't mesh, but Kitschos definitely works.

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I'm a little partial to the Fox due to his overall orange color. Some of the items I like include his trendy 1970's style vest and his tail. What's great about the tail is that it shows off 6 or 7 different fabric...oh...and those tattered pieces just make it look puffy.

As far a pricing, $29.99 sounds like a fair price. A lot of 12” tall designer plush sell around $20, but I think you pay a slight premium for the Deglingos due to the various fabrics used in the production.

You can pick one up at the following:

Geared For Imagination: $29.99

Deglingos Kitschos Grades
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REVIEW: Croakos The Frog

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The term Deglingos is defined as “animalos molto funnios and muy crazios”. They're the animals that speak their own language consisting of finishing words with 'os'. The latest addition to the line goes by the name of Croakos The Frog.

My name is Croakos but my friends call me “Big Mouthos”. I speak so loud that I often cause a real commotionos! I'm a real chatterboxos – but don't you find it charming.

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The Facts

Croakos The Frog
Series: The Deglingos - Original
Distributor: Geared For Imagination
Artists: Laurent Manceron and Stephanie Dick
Material: Plush (Line uses over 50 different kinds of fabric)
Dimensions: 10” tall
Points of Articulation: 2 (arms via string)

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The Deglingos tag is becoming more of a Deglingos booklet. With all of the new characters, they've been adding new pages. It's great if you're not familiar with the line, as the tag has photos, background info, and a bio on each character.

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Our Opinion

Deglingos are always a mishmash of colors and fabrics. (They claim to feature over 50 kinds of fabric and string) It's like someone went crazy in a pile of scrap fabrics and came out with a completed plush toy. But all of the Deglingos I have seen appear to have a corduroy body.

Croakos The Frog is the first amphibian Deglingos. It's predominantly green, but you can see that he/she has red hands and a single blue arm. It appears that Croakos is wearing a red and white striped bathing suit from the 1950' well as a white collar. The lone strange element is that the eyes are set at different depths and one is larger than the other.

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While the Deglingos line is created for kids, there's also a portion of the collecting community that will enjoy them. If you have kids, remember that those arms are held in place by a few strings. It gives the plush some articulation, but it also impacts the plush's durability.

OVERALL: Being a collector, and having a little one, I've come to the conclusion that the Deglingos line is loved by kids. There are plenty of colors and different textures to keep the little ones entertained. Personally, I like some of the other Deglingos characters more than Croakos. I think if his eyes were the same size and used the same design, I'd bump him up half a point.

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You can pick one up at the following: $31.59

Croakos The Frog Grades

Plush Quality: 9/10
    Stitching: 9/10
    Material: 9/10
Softness: 7/10
Packaging/Tag: 8/10
Cuteness: 8/10
Fun Factor: 9/10
Value: 7/10

Overall: 8.2/10

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REVIEW: Crazy Cuddly Wolf Playset

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T'es Fou Louloup (Crazy Cuddly Wolf) is from a pair of French designers - Anne Lelong & Ferdinand Lecomte – who have been making children's toys since 1994. In the United States, the line from Ebulobo, is distributed by Geared For Imagination. And while the Louloup line is rather expansive, we decided to choose the Crazy Cuddly Wolf Playset to review.

A crazy cuddly wolf too greedy, Louloup has an all blue tongue, as he eats everything. In his belly there is a pan, a mobile phone, a chicken bell, a pig squeaker and a little red riding hood.

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The Facts

Crazy Cuddly Wolf Playset
Series: Crazy Cuddly Wolf
Manufacturer: Geared For Imagination
Artists: Anne Lelong & Ferdinand Lecomte
Material: Plush
Dimensions: 14.5” long
Accessories: Five activity toys hidden in body (Little Red Riding Hood, Chicken, Pig, Pot, Phone)

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The tag is very simple. It has a short background story about the character, although most of the language printed on it is French. It's something you wouldn't mind tossing away.

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Our Opinion

The Crazy Cuddly Wolf Playset is probably targeted towards children more than collectors. And while my 8 month old son doesn't give good verbal feedback as of yet, I'll have to play the dual role of collector and child. If you know's not that difficult of a transition.

The children will like the wolf as a whole. It's nice and soft and is made of various materials. There are random squeakers and crinkly parts to explore. You're using at least three of your senses (don't try to eat the toys) The kids will love that it unzips and has five additional toys inside. There is a cloth pot, a pig that squeaks, miniature Little Red Riding Hood, a chicken with a bell in it, and a yellow cell phone that rings when pressed.

The collector will love that the Crazy Cuddly Wolf Playset keeps their children entertained. While I don't really care about the extras inside – being a collector – the plush itself is pretty interesting. The various textures and the unique look of the character will definitely fit in any plush collection.

Quality-wise, these are well-made. They need to be held up to a different standard as they are primarily children toys.

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OVERALL: I'll admit that these will probably appeal to collectors with young children. They appeal to me for that reason and I know my son love playing with all parts of the Crazy Cuddly Wolf Playset. And I'll occasionally catch myself squeaking and shaking that wolf as well.

You can pick one up at the following: $49.99

Crazy Cuddly Wolf Playset Grades

Plush Quality: 9/10
    Stitching: 9/10
    Material: 9/10
Softness: 8/10
Packaging/Tag: 6/10
Cuteness: 9/10
Fun Factor: 9/10
Value: 6/10

Overall: 8.8/10

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REVIEW: Ducky Deglingos

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Released by Geared for Imagination in May 2010, the Ducky Deglingos are a line of designer bath toys. Featuring four popular Deglingos characters, they are meant to be at home on an executive desk or a kids' bathtub. We’re going to take a look at two of those designs: BigBos the Wolf and Ratos the Rat.

BigBos the Wolf
He's the boss of the bath! BigBos features his trademark pinstripe suit and debonair spotted necktie. Comes packaged in a stylish clear box.

Ratos the Rat
This tough rat features a heart tattoo and strapping suspenders. Comes packaged in a stylish clear box.

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The Facts

Ducky Deglingos
Series: Deglingos
Manufacturer: Geared for Imagination
Artist: Laurent Manceron and Stephanie Dick
Material: Plastic (BPA and pthalate free)
Dimensions: 5” long
Points of Articulation: Zero
Designs: Ratos the Rat; BigBos the Wolf; Nonos the Dog; Ronronos the Cat

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The Ducky Deglingos are packaged in a rather simple clear plastic box. They vary slightly, since each box has the character’s name imprinted on it. It’s the type of packaging that you wouldn’t be upset to throw away.

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Our Opinion

Over the past five years or so, designer “rubber ducks” have become the rage. There are sports stars, film icons, comic book characters, etc. who have been turned into this childhood bath time staple. And since the Deglingos characters have been imagined in plush, baby rattles, baby toys, children’s shoes, and even a board game…it makes complete sense that we’d see them in “rubber duck” form.

Currently, only four of the most popular characters have been transformed into the Ducky Deglingos line. They’re made for all ages. If you have a young child, these will be their bath time pals. (I tested them, and they do float) Or…the Ducky Deglingos can be displayed right next to the plush version of the character in your collection.

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Overall, the paintwork on these is better than I had expected. I assumed that they might cut some corners because the majority of Ducky Deglingos will probably be hitting the bathtub. And I also give them kudos for creating four unique sculpts…instead of using one generic “duck” body with various paint-ups.

Price-wise, I found them selling for $9.99 on Amazon. I feel that’s a reasonable price. It was on the higher end of “rubber ducks” sold via Amazon (averaging around $5.00 each), but you have to take into account their designer quality.

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You can pick one up at the following:

Amazon: $9.99

Ducky Deglingos Grades

Figure Quality: 8/10
   Sculpt: 7/10
   Paint: 8/10
Accessories/Outfit: N/A
Packaging: 6/10
Durability: 10/10
Fun Factor: 10/10
Value: 8/10

Overall: 8.8/10

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