Playmobil: Soldiers Boat (#5948)

Arrr, Matey’s. If ye going to be having pirates, you be needing people to chase em. Ahem. And that’s where the Soldier portion of Playmobil’s pirates come in. I thought I’d kick off the Playmobil festivities with a look at this awesome medium range set that gives you a good start to building some advesaries for your pirates to fight.

The set comes in the standard Playmobil blue box, which has become pretty iconic by now. You’ll note that there isn’t a lot of writing on the box, and that’s largely an effort to keep it multi-lingual. I think it’s cool because these toys pretty much speak for themselves. You get a picture of the toys in action on the front and on the back you get photos of everything that comes in the set. In this case the set contains 55 pieces, which may not sound like a lot, but it does include a nicely sized ship, two figures, and a good number of accessories. The medium to larger Playmobil sets have boxes that open up like a cake box, and are sturdy enough so that you can use it to store the toys. Inside, you get the boat’s body, a number of deck boards all rubber banded together, a couple of baggies containing the figures and accessories, a baggie containing the sails, mast, and rigging, an instruction booklet, and a sticker sheet. Phew. If you like putting things together, here’s where the fun begins!
In my introduction a few days back I noted that despite being lumped in a lot with Legos, Playmobil are not building sets. But that’s not to say you won’t have to put these sets together, and the ships especially require some time to set up because of the sails and rigging. This one isn’t so bad, though. All you do is snap in the decks and fasten the sail to the crossbeam. The sail in this set is more of a soft paper than actual cloth and it’s rather delicate. The punched holes for the plastic fixtures are also close to the edges, so you need to be extra careful not to tear it. Part of me would have preferred a molded plastic sail for durability, but there’s definitely something cool about the way this simulates a real cloth sail. There are some big colorful stickers that need to be applied. Larger Playmobil sets tend to have any stickers already in place. As with all the Playmobil ships, this one floats and has a spot under the hull where you can attach a battery powered motor (sold separately for about seven bucks), which is such an awesome idea it nearly blows my mind. The boat also features a section of the deck that opens to store extra accessories.
The two figures are typical Royal Navy types with some excellent printed decos to make them unique. I would have liked if one of them looked more like the Captain of the ship, but they’re still great figures. I should point out that the figures in this  set is strangely deficient on weapons, as you only get a musket and bayonette. A sword or pistol would have been cool. You do, however, get a firing cannon with two projectiles, which is perfect for positioning on the ship or using ashore if you have any of the land based playsets. Other accessories include a small barrel, a water bucket with ladel, a telescope, and the 18th century equivalent of a bullhorn.
Playmobil toys sometimes get a reputation for being expensive, but as we’ll see this week that’s something of a misconception. True, the vintage and retired sets and pieces can go for crazy money, as can some of the special limited releases. But the price tags on the modern sets that you can buy off the shelf at your local TRU are pretty darned reasonable. Case in point, today’s set was just under twenty bucks. For that price you get a good sized boat, two figures, and a fair amount of extra stuff. And as we’ll see tomorrow, these sets are delightfully expandable thanks to Playmobil’s many figure and accessory packs.

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