Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summer Toys -- In The Air Flitter

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In The Air Flitter is a down and dirty Summer Toy. The ultra cheap kind that even if it breaks thirty seconds after you get it out of the box, has already sort of served its purpose.  The entire point of a (good) Summer Toy is to encourage kids to get outside and not spend all afternoon sitting inside playing Xbox Live. The Air Flitter does that in the cheapest possible way so for that.

What we are going to take a look at today is one of the many "rubber band" toys that get released around spring and summer time. These kinds of toys are usually among the cheapest that you can find. The Air Flitter is nothing more than a piece of plastic that you launch into the air with a rubber band. Supposedly up to 100 feet before it floats back down. Pretty much guaranteeing that the first time you try the Air Flitter out, it will end up in a tree or so far down the street that it is basically not worth the time or effort to go retrieve it.

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Everything about the Air Flitter looks incredibly cheap. From the package design, the color scheme, to the toy itself. This is sort of what makes the Air Flitter such a timeless item. I can picture this exact same package hanging on the shelf at the local drug store in 1992 ... and yet here we are in 2012 and it doesn't look any more outdated now than it would have back then. That doesn't mean that it necessarily looks good... just something that never really goes out of style.

Making it exactly the kind of Summer Toys that I had in mind when I decided to start this series of articles. The ones that have seemingly been around forever. The kind that doesn't seem to be anything special. The ones you run into at the strangest of locations. Gas stations, grocery stores, drug stores, temporary 'summer sections' at larger retail chains. 

Toys like the Air Flitter always seem to make their way into them, never really being the reason why you went there but somehow always ending up in your shopping cart on the way out. Parents purchase them to fill the obligatory 'get something for my child to make them shut up' quota that usually comes with going to any store. Kids are indifferent about owning them... but as long as it is something that they can call there own. That is all that matters. Air Flitter is exactly that. Something to take home. To momentarily call your own. The temporary love of owning a brand new toy, no matter what it actually is.

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Perhaps the best ideas for what to do with the Air Flitter are the things it suggests you not do. Aiming them at animals, I do not condone... but people on the other hand. That to me sounds like a fantastic idea. I was generally a "good" kid growing up but when I decided to do dickish things, I excelled at them creatively. Once, I threw a taco at the local 'crazy semi-homeless man' who used to ride around town collecting cans and going through peoples garbage.

The Air Flitter seems like the perfect toy to quickly and effectively launch things at innocent passerbyers. Besides, while it would probably hurt to get hit by one... and save for the rouge shot that hits someone randomly in the eye, its not like it would do much lasting damage. Not that I recommend going out and shooting people with these, but it is probably what most ten year old do when they get one.

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So how exactly does it work? Thankfully these directions explain just exactly how this thing works better than I ever could. You hook the... hooked end of the Flitter into the rubber band, pull back and let it fly. There will be no demonstration video for this post, because exactly what I thought was going to happen... ended up happening. I loaded up the Air Flitter for the first time, gave the rubber band a yank and watch it soar up into the air and arc directly onto the roof of someone else's house. Presumably never to be seen or heard from again. I was not about to go looking for it. Which is exactly why it costs only $1.00

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Here is our first... and consequently last look at the Air Flitter out of its sealed package. Sitting on a gigantic rock that I have in my back yard. It is an un-assuming little toy. One that will surely get overshadowed by its more expensive summer counterparts. Its made of the lowest quality plastic imaginable, not very brightly colored, and the pieces that make it "flitter" are just your run of the mill low grade plastic.

As for how it flew. I would say it went a little over 50 yards... roughly half the distance of a football field. That was with me firing it into the air at an angle. I would have liked to shoot it a second time directly up into the air to see what kind of vertical distance it could achieve... but no dice in that department, as it ended up on someone else's roof.


The Air Flitter is one of the many (many) items available by a company called "FunTastic". You know those gigantic racks of cheap summer toys that pop up from time to time, the ones that end up in your local super market... the big spinner racks or the overfilled dump bins. Chances are those came from FunTastic. 

They specialize in bulk toy orders, all things that fall under the "Summer Toy" category. Squirt guns, water balloons, travel games, jump ropes, yo-yos, and different things of that nature. So if you need a gigantic rack of summer toys for your place of business, FunTastic would be a wise choice to look into.

Price: 5 out of 5 -- Price is about the best thing that the Air Flitter has going for it. It will only set you back $1.00 ... basically they are giving the thing away. As a parent it costs you basically nothing to bring one home to your child, and as a kid... it is relatively easy to scrounge up $1.00 in junk change and make your way to the store to purchase one. The perfect price for an item such as this.

Quality: 1 out of 5  -- The colors are pretty dull and everything is made out of the cheapest, lowest quality plastic. But what else would you expect for an item priced as low as this?

Package: 3 out of 5 -- Its kind of crappy but its timeless. It looks exactly like what I imagine most Summer Toys should look. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

Replay Ability: 1 out of 5 -- This thing gets lost way to easily. Unless you live in the middle of a field, its going to end up in a tree or on top of the house in a matter of no time. Even if you are lucky enough to live someplace with no obstructions in your path... I have a feeling the rubber band will snap quickly or the plastic piece that holds the rubber band will snap in half if you apply to much pressure. It just does not strike me as something that will last very long.

Overall: 2 out of 5 -- While it does not offer much in the replay department and its made out of the worst kind of plastic I have ever seen... it is cheap and that has to count for something. Sometimes the name of the game with these toys is not so much how it actually preforms but what it has you doing. At least the Air Flitter has kids outside and doing something productive. Even if it is only for a couple of minutes. Would I recommend it? Honestly, no... but toys such as this don't need to come with a recommendation. Heck, they don't even really need to be any good. They just need to exist. Yes, it is only a 2 out of 5 ... but I am thankful that the Air Flitter is around!

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