Wednesday, December 2, 2009

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Review: "Automoblox Originals" Modular Wooden Toy Cars

Now I've done it! My son told me today that he wants to change his request to Santa from the building set he had asked for in his letter to an Automoblox vehicle. Maybe I should have waited until after Christmas to review the C9 Sports Car and the Limited Edition Full Size T9SE pickup truck.

Automoblox are modern works of art turned into award winning toys by designer Patrick Calello. This one toy combines the concepts of classic toys, such as wooden cars and trucks, building blocks, shape sorters, and 3-dimensional puzzles. Those reasons combined is why both children and adults are avid collectors of these cars and trucks.

What my family and I thought about our Automoblox:

1) Our kindergartner was bursting with anticipation when he first saw the Automoblox boxes.

2) The first thing anyone will notice about Automoblox is that they are of high quality and are incredibly detailed.

3) All the Automoblox cars and trucks have translucent roofs, which allow you to view the "Smart People" whose bases are different geometric shapes and fit into the corresponding shapes inside the vehicles. Since shape sorting is not a challenge for my son, he did not seem to pay very much attention to these simplified figures.

4) Each vehicle comes apart into 14 pieces, not including the figures. This allows your child to create a brand new custom vehicle by mixing and matching the pieces. The trick is to use the correct connectors, which also teach your child shapes, such as triangles, squares, and stars.

5) The thing that impressed my husband the most was the exceptional quality of the woodworking. Anyone who has owned wooden toys knows that it is difficult to have exact precision for every flat side, so for the parts of these Automoblox vehicles to fit together so well really says a lot.

6) My favorite part about these vehicles is the wheels. Not only are they the most ornate parts on these cars and trucks, but I love the variations in colors, wheel style, and tread textures. The fact that the rubber tires come off the wheel and are interchangeable has a pretty high coolness factor. Different sets of tires can be purchased separately from the Automoblox Parts Department.

7) You know you have an authentic Automoblox if the bottom bears the signature of the artist, the Automoblox seal, and an Automoblox serial number. This may not be important to a kindergartner, but it would definitely be for any collector.

8) I like the idea that the race car and the pickup truck we received are color coordinated. That way, the parts can be interchanged and the colors all still match. On the other hand, it would be fun to have a car that had four different colors of tires.

9) The part of these Automoblox that is the easiest to play with are the tires. They can be rolled, stacked, and piled into the back of the truck.

10) So far, these cars have proven to be very durable. I would recommend that they be purchased only for children who understand to a degree that they should not drive their Automoblox vehicle off the side of the dining room table and allow it to crash onto the floor. Although it has not happened to us, I'm sure it is possible for the wood bodies to chip and the plastic roofs to crack.

My son loves to play with cars, but he also likes to collect them. Because of the price of these full-size Automoblox, we will not be able to give our son as many as he would like and I don't see anything wrong with that. These cars are special and for him to only add one to his collection once or twice a year seems perfectly fine to me. Perhaps we can use Automoblox as a reward for the next time he earns a new belt in taekwon do.

Automoblox is launching some new vehicles for holiday 2009. This includes the impressive chrome trimmed T900 Truck and the new line of mini Automoblox Hot Rods. Both are scheduled to begin shipping on 12/15.

Visit to place an order or to learn more about these unique building toys. Any full-size vehicle or trio of minis would make a cherished gift for any car-lover . . . young or old.

Thank you to Automoblox for providing us with review products free of charge.