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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Construction Toys

 


2013 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Headhunter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $49.99 Score:)

One of the intermediate builds from the new Star Wars collection for 2013, the Headhunter got high marks from our testers even though it's not from a major scene or have a famous minifig. Our tester reported: "We've built a number of the starships and most of them are not sturdy and the wings fall off and need rebuilding when you play with them. This one is impressive and sturdy." The build comes in four bags. Our tester loved that three of the bags included a minifig - keeping the interest going as the build progressed. Comes with a Jedi who has 4 arms and 2 double lightsabers. This is not your father's Star Wars!

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO City Grand Prix Truck
(Lego Systems, Inc. $29.99 Score:)

While Star Wars often gets the lionshare of requests from our LEGO builders, some of their more traditional trucks got rave reviews from our testers. This Grand Prix Truck received high marks because it was an interesting build. The truck opens in different ways to make room for the Gran Prix car (which "you also get!!").  With 315 pieces this is a satisfying challenge for a beginning builder. The box says 5 & up -- most fives will need assistance, which is fine.  In addition to the truck and the racing car, the set comes with three minifigures so there's lots of room here for pretend play after the building is complete.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO Kings Castle
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:)

We love that in the land of licensed lines, LEGO still makes an old-fashion Castle complete with draw bridge, towers, king's throne, collapsing wall, and most appealing to our testers a hidden escape door. Comes with seven mini figures including the King and the White Knight. The game play focuses on keeping the castle safe from the evil Dragon warriors. The build is done in sections -making the castle more manageable for younger builders. The castle is a great parent-child opportunity.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO Creator Thunder Wings
(Lego Systems, Inc. $19.99 Score:)

Our LEGO testers consistently love builds from the Creator series since they include three builds from the same set. With this set you can make a jet, a robot, or a futuristic car. With only 235 pieces this is a very good place to start with beginner builders.  

 

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO The Lord of the Rings Pirate Ship Ambush
(Lego Systems, Inc. $99.99 Score:)

"You're kidding!" was the response we got from our die-hard LORs fans when we told them that LEGO was now doing builds inspired from the trilogy. The Pirates Ambush gives fans the opportunity to build a LEGO version of Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas surprise the Orcs with the Army of the Dead. We have a feeling there will be many teens and adults eager to help with this set!  Comes with a satisfying 9 mini-figures. With 756 pieces, this is a good parent-child build or an independent build for more advanced builders.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Jek 14 Stealth Starfighter
(Lego Systems, Inc. $69.99 Score:)

Our LEGO STAR WAR testers were very eager to build this Stealth Starfighter that belongs to rogue clone, Jek-14. If you're saying "who?"...you may not be watching the cartoon series that has captured the imaginations of a whole new generation of Star Wars fans. Once built, our testers used the starfigher for their own stories involving Jek-14. The build comes with 3 minifigures: Jek-14, Separatist Bounty Hunter and Special Forces Clone Trooper. 550 pieces.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO STAR WARS Mandalorian Speeder
(Lego Systems, Inc. $24.99 Score:)

With 211 pieces, this is a great place to start for fans of Star Wars and LEGO. The small blue and grey vehicle comes with Darth Maul and two Mandalorian Super Commandos. Be forewarned there are projectiles on this build. Also smaller, the Corporate Alliance Tank Droid comes with 271 pieces. The circular middle portion of this build is unusual in that it has a moving track like a tank. Comes with Jango
Fett, Clone Trooper, and Battle Droid. Also top-rated, the Homing Spider Droid (295 pieces):  this spider- inspired droid,  comeswith Stass Allie, Clone Trooper, and two Super Battle Droids. For beginning builders - these two sets are just right.  While the bigger kits look appealing, start small so that your child has a positive experience to "build" on.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO STAR WARS AT-TE
(Lego Systems, Inc. $89.99 Score:)

One of the larger builds introduced this year, this classic Empire fighting machine is anadvanced set with 794 pieces. Comes with five figures: Battle Droid Commander, Battle Droid, Mace Windu, Coleman Trebor, Clone Trooper Commander. High marks for the moving pieces that lift panels of the AT-TE as well as the circular base feet. Be forewarned there are projectiles on this build.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens, Teens, Adult. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
Playmobil City Action Cargo Boat with Loading Crane
(Playmobil $79 Score:)

An 80-piece cargo boat with working crane that pivots 360 degrees. Ideal for loading important products from the cargo boat to crane and onto the plane. This comes with a two containers, three action mini-figures, and a ship's galley complete with coffeemaker for the crew's long nights at sea.  4 & up.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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2013 Award
LEGO Creator Family House
(Lego Systems, Inc. $74.99 Score:)

A gender free house that can be built as a modern Mediterranean villa, a classic family home, or turned into a factory. There are 756 pieces and clear instructions for building and rebuilding this versatile set. Testers loved the working light brick that illuminates the interior with a golden glow. Depending on the site, kids can choose to build a variety of accessories such as a pool, BBQ, or delivery van. 8-12.

Age: Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

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