Star Wars Blade Builders: Spin Action Lightsaber

Lightsabers have vastly improved from the Force Beams of my youth.

Star Wars The Force Beam advert

These were translucent plastic tubes fixed on the end of a red plastic torch with a piece of coloured plastic over the bulb. They only came in Green and Red (despite there being no green sabers until Return of the Jedi), and weren’t even licensed – yet they were so brazen that they not only mentioned Star Wars in their advertising – this ad was on the back of UK Star Wars comics.

Modern lightsaber toys are a much improved product. They have authentic hilts, retractable blades, and flashing lights with saber crackling sounds.

The simple pleasures of these toys are not enough for Hasbro (these toys are also properly licensed now), who have introduced the Blade Builders range, where saber toys can be joined together in increasingly complex and unwieldily forms.

This is the Star Wars BladeBuilders Spin-Action Lightsaber set.

Star Wars BladeBuilders Spin-Action Lightsaber

It features a full sized lightsaber toy, a ‘dagger’, two ‘elbow’ joints, and a spinning hilt.

The aim is to basically enable the owner to create their own bizarre Lightsaber configurations. Our daughter is lucky enough to have a few saber toys with the required ‘Blade Builder’ joints, so she put them together. The results were rather difficult for her to manage.

Still, she had fun putting it together and trying to use it. But to be honest, nothing really compares to the joy of staging lightsaber fights of crashing blades with the basic interactive sabers – and trying to do that with one of these contraptions is difficult at best.

As a set, it’s good to have for the extra saber toy, and the light up dagger is nice to. The spinning hilt connector (as seen on Star Wars Rebels) is tricky for a kid to use without the potential for smashed ornaments (well, in a house as compact as ours) but perhaps in a bigger space it would be ok.

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Disclosure: Hasbro sent us this product for the purposes of this review

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Say hello to my little friend (#MySundayPhoto)

As another summer season beckons, the garden is becoming a place for us to hang out in again. This year, our daughter is 5-years-old, and it’s always interesting to see how her age each year changes how she engages with this outdoor space.

This particular Sunday, I was doing various little garden and/or kitchen tasks while she was pottering about. She excitedly came over and asked “What is this?”. She had a woodlouse on her hand, crawling around, as she moved her hand to compensate for its movements so I could see it.

I was surprised that she wasn’t scared of it, this classic creepy crawly. In fact, she was so enamoured with it that she wanted it to be her pet. She called it ‘Lucy Louse’, and she wanted it to come and live with us.

I explained to her that it was a creature of the wild, and it wasn’t fair for us to trap it inside with us. It was driven to be free in the outdoors, and not kept as a pet.

She was disappointed, but accepted this. She bounded off and then enjoyed the rest of her time with Lucy, until she bade a fond farewell.

This desire for a pet is ongoing. She would love to have one. She is a very social person who likes companionship, and has many imaginary friends. She is desperate to have a sister, but knows my wife and I don’t want any more children. This desire is in part my motivation for arranging regular playdates (2-3 a week), so she has that social activity in a home environment.

Anyway, this was one of the photos I snapped that day. I like that it shows her grubby fingers that have been pottering around in the garden. I also likes that you can see the classic Yoda quote on her Star Wars top: “Judge me by my size do you?”

It applies here too, that a small and humble woodlouse could generate such joy and empathy in a little girl.

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Photalife

Our Star Wars Day Hallmark haul

Star Wars Day – May the 4th (be with you) – has become an annual celebration of all things Star Wars. It has also become a day for many of the licensees to promote their own Star Wars products – and we were fortunate enough to receive from Hallmark UK & Ireland a substantial haul of what seems to amount to pretty much every Star Wars product they make!

As a greetings card company, many of these were cards – but like many manufacturers in the gift business they also had some plush toys as well – both little and large. Very large…

Here’s a rundown of the highlights of our haul.

Star Wars Itty Bitty (standard size)

Hallmark Itty Bittys are cute little plush toys, and their Star Wars ones have lots of different characters – from cute Ewoks to fierce bounty hunters. All the main characters are there too. Especially cute was the Han and Leia double pack, on a Millennium Falcon cockpit card backing.

Darth Vader Itty Bitty (Jumbo)

Hallmark told me they were going to include a jumbo Itty Bitty of Darth Vader. We have a few other large Itty Bittys (of Batman and Superman) that are just shy of a foot high, so I figured this would be the same. It isn’t.

This Darth Vader so-called ‘Itty Bitty’ is huge – 2 1/2 feet tall! It has an elasticated ‘belt’ with spaces to hold 6 normal sized Itty Bittys – which looks quite sinister, as if Vader is collecting people as trophies.

Jumbo Vader is now (much to my wife’s displeasure) an established addition to our daughter’s room. She says Vader is standing guard, protecting her against monsters.

Star Wars Greetings cards

We got  dozens of different Star Wars greetings cards, which will keep us in good stead for many birthdays of friends and families to come. My favourite is this Yoda one, which has a push out Yoda for the recipient to assemble.

Star Wars Gift Bags 

There were also a variety of gift bags, which again will come in handy come gift giving times ahead. However, my favourite was this one featuring classic imagery from the Star Wars Marvel comics of my youth – so I may hang onto this one.

Miscellaneous

This was a curious one – a Darth Vader bottle shroud. It’s a cardboard cutout to turn your bottle of booze into the Sith lord.

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Disclosure: As this article details, we were sent these items free of charge by Hallmark UK & Ireland.