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Stikbot Studio Pro

(Zing $39.99)

Last year’s Toy Portfolio Platinum Award winner has been updated this season. Basically, what’s new is the addition of what they call a magic changing 2-in1 Z reversible screen and extra figures all in one set. Now film makers can have a green or blue background. Otherwise our review of last year’s winner stands: For any fan of stop-motion movies, the Stikbot Studio set from Zing is one of the best toys around. With two Stikbots and one tripod to hold you phone, you can explore the art of making your own movie. What makes this set so great is the flexibility and stability of the Stikbots. The suction cups at the end of their arms and legs are strong enough to allow creativity when posing the models. The tripod is also well made, allowing users to change the height of the camera. And who doesn't want to make a stop motion video of Stikbots break-dancing their little hearts out? Includes a free app for i-phone and Android. The app really adds a lot to the versatility of this product, giving you background scenes to take your stikbots to the moon, the beach or into the blue skies. Or kids can use a photo of your own house or yard as background settings. Use the green screen and box (which disappear) to animate the stickbots as if they are floating on air. Extra stikbots are available for crowd scenes. Note: The box for less expensive Pro versions($25) shows three stikbots but only two come in those packages. We like the six pack in this set; if you buy extra figures a six pack cost ($21) so this combo set is a good buy. Our tester found the suction cups work better on a stone counter than on a wooden desktop. But in fact, they are designed to stick to the green or blue platform. It’s still ridiculously marked for 4 and up, but nothing here is for preschoolers or even most early school aged kids. That said, it’s a terrific way of exploring movie making and animation. 8 and up, up, up.

Ages: Tweens, Teens

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2016

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