Friday, April 20, 2012

Summer Toys -- Wrist Copter!

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I've always kind of enjoyed toys that have packages that seem to blatantly lie about the abilities of whatever is inside its box. Wrist Copters for example, make claim to fly up to thirty feet into the air. Thirty! By random comparison your average Tyrannosaurus Rex stood about 15-20 feet tall (and about 40 feet long). When I was looking at Wrist Copters in the store, I had some pretty severe doubts that these cheap plastic helicopters would be able to launch themselves higher than your average T-Rex.

As it turns out I may have slightly underestimated what these things can do. Thirty feet seems to be a best case scenario... but if the wind hits just right and you get enough pull on the draw string you can get pretty close to that number. As a matter of fact I was able to launch one clean over the top of my house. For a six dollar throw away toy that is a pretty impressive accomplishment! One that is well worth taking a closer look into...

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Wrist Copters are sold in one of those cleverly oversized boxes that from the store makes it look like you are getting a hell of a lot more than you actually are. In reality we have three Mini-Copters and a wrist mounted launching pad. The box is deceptively large, especially when you factor in just how small each helicopter actually is. The blades on the top... those are about the size of a silver dollar. And they do not stand much taller than one either.

As you can see everything has been pained with some very nice, bright colors. Each Mini-Copter sports a different pain scheme, although astute eyes will spot that the blades are the same color as the bodies just swapped out and put onto a different model. The pilot / cockpit (cockpit!) area is a pretty cheap looking sticker that definitely wins no style points... but it gets the job done. Overall the Mini-Copters feel very light weight, due to a combination of them actually having to fly and trying to keep the production cost of the toy as low as possible.

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The wrist pad has an awesome neon orange band with a pretty cool looking blue and gray circular disc. Long after the Mini-Copters get lost or ran over by a lawnmower or forever lost at the top of a tree, there is a good chance that this wrist launcher will be the only part of the set that anyone holds onto. Which is why that hook thing on the side of it is so important. It is meant to hold onto the Mini-Copters and that is all fine and dandy but at some point you know as well as I do this shit is getting converted into a makeshift key ring.  I used  to freak out over things like this as a kid. I very rarely used toys how they were intended, always finding some alternative use for things. That hook would have been a big deal to a seven year old version of myself.

My favorite part of this set is probably the wrist launcher, though. I can imagine a time when the Mini-Copters are gone and this launch pad no longer becomes a launching pad but instead turns into a wrist mounted laser beam, used to shoot down aliens. Yes, I would have ended up treating this part of the set like some sort of awesome James Bond gadget. What can I say, I had an active imagination as a child. 

I really like the attention to detail that has been put into it as well. It is cheap but not the kind of cheap that falls apart thirty seconds after you take it out of the box. Take the neon orange strap, for example. Nine times out of ten these things simply do not work. Either they are five hundred times smaller than any kids wrist or they refuse to snap. This one actually fit on my arm, I had to use the largest setting... but I am just a tad bit over the target audience. It also stayed snapped. While I was fumbling around the back yard with five trillion different cameras and tripods, cursing out the neighbor for choosing this specific moment in time to use the weed-wacker... it stayed in place. For a short while, I actually forgot that I was wearing the darn thing. So long story short (to late) even though its cheap, it is actually one of the more durable 'Summer Toys' that I will be covering. 

For those of you wondering when I am going to get around to posting a video of Wrist Copters... well we are going to get to that here in a second. There is just one thing, turns out no matter how hard I tried. No matter what combination of camera and tripod I set up I simply could not seem to get a proper video of these in the air. I have plenty of footage of them taking off... but once they got airborne, Wrist Copters become harder to photograph than Bigfoot's dick. Its not much but this is the best I could do:



Which is actually sort of a testament to how well Wrist Copters work. Like I said in the beginning of the article, at one point I launched one clean over top of my house. Numerous times they hit the roof. One eventually got stuck in the gutters and I had to fish a second out of a tree. They work much, much better than I thought they would. Initially I figured we would be lucky if they flew five feet in the air... ten would be like a moon landing. Wrist Copters are one of those few and far in-between cheap toys that exceed all expectations. Which means that whoever makes them must know a thing or two about toy designs.


The makers of this Summer Toy are a company called Lanard, and from the looks of their corporate website they actually make quite a few really awesome generic toy lines. From the GI Joe inspired Ultra Corps to the Micro Machine / Hot Wheels like line of Super Shots. Lanard looks like one of those toy companies that I have always respected. The ones who make really awesome toys that just don't happen to have a big license attached to them. The world could use a few more Lanard like companies. Here are my final thoughts on Wrist Copters:

Price: 3 out of 5 --Wrist Copters are one of the more expensive Summer Toys that I will be covering. One package, which includes three Mini-Copters and the Wrist Launcher cost $6.00. Considering how easy it is for these to fly onto the roof of your house and the fact that you cannot purchase any extra Mini-Copters the price is sort of a big deal. I would feel much better on this product if it was sitting at the $3.50 price range. What saves Wrist Copters is the fact that they work much better than I expected.

Quality: 4 out of 5  -- Another item with lots of bright, eye catching colors. The Mini-Copters seem cheap but all things considered the Wrist Launcher is made of some pretty high quality materials.

Package: 2.5 out of 5 -- This thing is way to big for what is inside with lots of little extra cardboard pieces sticking about. I was not a fan of the 'pop art' style package. With that said... I did like the overall color scheme and it makes up ground by having a really nice back panel. Complete with awesome looking instructions. I photographed it but couldn't find anyplace to fit it into the article.

Replay Ability: 4 out of 5 -- I am confident that children of all ages will have fun with Wrist Copters. Heck, I am twenty five years old and I am not going to lie... I had fun 'testing' these for the sake of this article. I would have given them a 5 out of 5 but I had to dock a single point because of how easily the Mini-Copters seem to get lost and the fact that you cannot just walk into the store and purchase replacement ones.

 Overall: 5 out of 5 -- The price may be a little on the high side but otherwise these things are like the perfect Summer Toy! They promote going outside and spending an afternoon in your backyard, a quality that I look for not only in Summer Toys but in all toys in general. What I really like about Wrist Copters is the fact that they work and they are fun to use. No matter your age, if your seven you'll enjoy playing with them. If your babysitting your kid brother... chances are you'll end up having just as much fun seeing how high you can get these to fly. Great product and almost a perfect Summer Toy!

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Be Sure to Check out these other Summer Toy Articles:
 --Creepeez

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