Archive for the ‘Toys’ Category

Monster Treads! JohnDeere RC Gator

By concretin_nik Thursday, September 25th, 2014

This time, the Cretin family reviews something TheBoy WILL like! The John Deere Monster Treads Gator! At only 6, TheBoy has little experience with RC vehicles. He’s had a couple of basic 1 or 2 button RCs, but nothing too fancy, or fast. His eyes lit up when I revealed this box to him. “Finally, no SuperHero toys.” *sigh* You’re killin’ me Smalls.

A box of KidJoy.

Our first attempt to play was thwarted by the inevitable toy fail of “not enough batteries.” That was my fault. We had the 6AAs, but no 9V for the controller, and my paranoia really didn’t want to set a precedent of thieving one from a smoke detector. We were both pretty disappointed in Dad. So be sure to get those before showing this to the kids.

Something else you’ll need that is not listed on the package, nor would you necessarily think about… a bike pump. The “monster treads” tires require inflation. A plastic “needle” pump adapter is included, but will go unnoticed when freeing the Gator from all of the tape and ties holding it in the box. It wasn’t until I read the manual that I learned of the pump requirement. (Yes internet, I’m a Dad that actually reads the instructions. Neurosis. Just leave it alone.) Also included is a cardboard cut-out to make it very easy to know when you’ve reached the proper size/inflation.

Checking for proper inflation.

PLAYTIME! TheBoy was so excited, even with me driving. He squealed in delight and ran from the Gator, and then wanted to chase it. (Had to put a stop to that as that would inevitably lead to him stepping on it.) The Gator is fast! Too fast for our small house really. When he took the controls, he essentially just bumped into everything, but was having a blast. We ventured outside to the yard with about 5 days of fresh growth since the last mowing. The Gator handled the semi-high grass fairly well, but not as well in reverse. It ran great in the areas where we have gravel. TheBoy never stopped smiling and yelling “Dad! Watch this! Watch this!” KidJoy.


Of course, when you have a slide, and an RC car, you WILL send it down, over and over. The large wheels didn’t have much grip on the plastic and always allowed it to spin around, usually falling off the edge sideways, causing several rolls and tumbles. But the Gator took every crash and kept on keepin’ on.

So the verdict… TheBoy gives it a big “Thumbs up!” I give it a “Meh, OK.” (Good fun, but pricey.)

TheBoy approves!

Pros: Fast and durable. The stand up and spin is a fun trick that will make kids laugh and giggle. The large inflated tires allow it to roll through grass, and make it very fast on carpet, flat surfaces, and in gravel. Six AAs and one 9V battery isn’t too bad for a vehicle this size. I also liked the quick twist access to the vehicle battery compartment(but the controller still needs a screw driver).

Cons: Unexpected tire inflation required. While it is a bit larger vehicle, for a higher end RC toy price ($59.99), I expect a better steering mechanism. Steering is done by the body of the Gator being tilted which causes the front floating axle to pivot left or right. The servo doesn’t actually control the front wheels at all. This results in a wide turning radius, which is why it is more fun outdoors, but too fast for tight quarters.

The John Deere Monster Treads Gator is recommended for kids 8+ and is available now at and local John Deere dealers.

High Rollin'

Disclosure: We were not compensated for this post but did receive the RC Gator free for the review. The opinions above are straight from the Cretin family.

Hasbro RULES! Transformers: Age of Extinction

By concretin_nik Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

That title = ‘nuff said. But you need photographic evidence, I know.

Seriously, that's just the BOX!

I received a most excellent Father’s Day present from Hasbro last week. I arrived home from a 3 day camping trip with TheBoy (more on that at a later date) to find a BFbox o’ new toys* promoting the new Transformers: Age of Extinction movie opening this Friday. *(I’m 41. I believe “collector pieces” is the proper term, right?)


I now own more Transformer toys than I’ve ever had in my life! And NONE of them are hand me downs! (That’s a big deal for the youngest kid of 3 brothers.) I know what you’re saying, these are for your kid, not you. But I offer evidence to the contrary. Exhibit A. My previous posts regarding StarWars and SuperHeroes toys and promos, CLEARY state the TheBoy doesn’t dig this kind of thing. Exhibit B. No request of review or anything was made by Hasbro. “Have a great Father’s Day … enjoy the toys!” Exhibit C. TheBoy can’t even carry this box! Exhibit D. The XL shirt included is obviously not for a 6 year old. Verdict? Dad’s box!


So yea, there is a stereotypical “boy” in my head that I thought I’d be raising. Based quite clearly on ME and what I liked and hated as a kid. TheBoy doesn’t like cheese burgers. Got it. I feel ya, I was exactly the same way until college. Favorite food? Pizza. Right on. But he loves fruit and yogurt. (I’ve questioned his paternity on this alone.) Everyone will warn you that “kids like what they like.” And “you can’t force them to like anything.” And you think to yourself, “I know that. But how can he NOT like THIS? I loved it!” And when it happens, you’ll be a bit lost. But when that same kid says things like, “Look Daddy! You got a great big box!” and “I kind of like them because YOU like them,” and “You’ll love this toy aisle Dad, it has Super Heroes!” you’ll know that you’re still doin’ ok raising an awesome kid.

All that being said, when we play together, he’s just gonna have to deal with Optimus Prime and his friends (and enemies) romping through Equestria right along side Applejack and Twilight Sparkle. Dad likes what he likes too.

Thanks again Hasbro! Oh, and he did LOVE the HexBug Transformers Warriors Battling Robots arena. (That’s a mouthful. Let’s just call ‘em “awesome.”) Bonus: The arena doubles as a MLP “secret lair.”

Go see Transformers: Age of Extinction. Robot dinosaurs, and Marky Mark? You know you wanna.

Disclosure: I received the BFBox o’ toys free of charge, but was not compensated (nor even requested) to write this post. This is life in the Cretin household. We simply dig Hasbro toys and games.

Equal Opportunity SuperHero Meh

By concretin_nik Monday, March 31st, 2014

We all know I’m a Super Hero fan. I’m no Super Geek and won’t go ballistic on a movie production if they don’t follow the original comic storyline. To. The. Letter. I mean come on, we’re supposed to buy the idea that glasses and wardrobe change are a sufficient disguise for Superman and Wonder Woman? If it’s entertaining, I’m in. If my kid digs it, I’m REALLY in… so my frustration continues… because even with Super Hero toys and a t-shirt or two, he still says, “I’m really not into them. They’re ok.” Not Marvel. Not DC. *crushyourDadwhydon’tya*

But it’s not for lack of exposure. He digs the toys we have, and he’ll mention them when he sees Super Hero shows/images/random sightings, because he knows I like them. “You’ll like this toy aisle Daddy, it has Super Heroes.” (Such a sweet kid.) But even throwing a Cheerios promo in the mix of fantastically abnormal humanoids apparently isn’t gonna do it. Don’t think for a second that’s gonna stop me from trying! How else am I going to justify buying thousands of dollars worth of action figures!? (Seriously, I’m asking!)

If YOUR kid digs comics and DC Heroes, check out specially marked boxes of General Mills cereals through April for exclusive in-box comic books featuring various Super Heroes from the iconic DC Comics Justice League. And if you’re a serious collector, there is a bonus issue only available at Target.

Special Edition Comic and Cheerios

Get this...

The boxes will have Super costume pieces ready to cut and wear printed on the back.

The back of the Cheerios box.

Cut these out... Be Super!

Get in on the action and share your photos tagged “#SuperHeroing” on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Wasn't easy, but eventually got him to humor me. *sigh* #SuperHeroing

Disclosure: DadLabs was not compensated for this post, though I did receive the Cheerios and the Superman shirt free. But the story of angst above is all mine. –Concretin Nik

Avengers Assemble! Redefined

By concretin_nik Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

TheBoy doesn’t dig super heroes like most little boys. Much to my dismay. I mean, it’s ok, kids like what they like. But his lack of any obsessiveness with super heroes also means I don’t have an excuse to buy action figures like I have been counting on for the last 6 years. My action figure desires are somewhat quelled by his fondness of My Little Ponies. (MLP for you hipsters.) At least they do have small plastic action figures, even if they do have hair and are presented in pastels and rainbows. I can still work with this. Crafting playsets out of cardboard and making stop motion movies gets us playing together, and sparks his imagination. And that’s the whole point of action figures (for me anyway). Perhaps the citizens of Equestria will be gateway figures to more ‘core toys like Star Wars, Batman, and The Avengers. Hope springs eternal.

Hasbro has perhaps come through for me with Super Hero Mashers. These are action figures with extremities that have the interchangeability of Legos. Want to see what Spiderman would look like with Iron Patriot’s head? You can do that. Want a hero with the smash power of the Hulk, yet wears the drapes of Thor’s mother. Tada! Easy. (Didja catch that Avengers reference?)

Hasbro Super Hero Mashers

The All American Super Hero Mashers

I received a package of 2 Mashers. Let me first say that on both figures, the elbow joints took some serious elbow grease (see what I did there?) to get moving, as they were locked up out of the box. They loosened up enough after a bit o’ working them back and forth. Other than that, these seem like toys with a cool design that your 11 year old will dig, but are also durable enough that your 5 year old won’t destroy them.

They sent me a Fourth of July set, if you will, of Iron Patriot and Captain America. So the typical mishmashing of trading out arms and legs didn’t produce a particularly dramatic result, though TheBoy was already laughing and having fun. (Score 1!) But let’s see if we can’t come up with something even more fun. Enter… IRON PRIMATE, and CAPTAIN MONKEYPANTS!

Our Mashups

Gorillas be super patriotic, yo! #mymashup

We laughed and laughed and made gorilla noises the entire time. I’m not sure these will ever get switched up again. Thank you (again) Hasbro! The Super Hero Mashers are a hit in the Cretin house!

You can get in on the fun and share your mashups on Facebook and Instagram tagging with #MyMashUp.

Disclosure: I received the toys free from Hasbro in exchange for my honest review and opinion. –Concretin Nik