Solar Robot Kit

Several years ago I switched over to rechargeable batteries because kids are battery gluttons. They still manage to run through them like water, and occasionally lose them. But that's only one reason I like this 6 in 1 Solar Robot Kit from Robotikits. The biggest reason is that I want to play with it myself.

This is advertised as "educational" because of the solar power, which I suppose is a good thing. Kids know about solar power, but outside of their pocket calculators they don't get to play with solar power much. This little pocket-sized generator runs the kinetics of the robot outside on sunny days, or inside under a 50-watt halogen lamp. The parts go together to form six different solarcovershapes of robot: a car, a puppy, an airboat, a plane, a windmill, and another plane that flies around a pole. No screws are involved in the assembly, so it should go pretty fast. And when you get tired of one configuration, just reassemble it into another shape! I'd like to see the puppy walk most of all. I think the cats would really enjoy that.
The 6 in 1 Solar Robot Kit is £12.99 in the UK and $19.99 in the US.

Creative Beasts
These Scientifically Accurate Dinosaur Toys Are Ready to Rule Your Desk
Creative Beasts
Creative Beasts

In May 2016, we told you about Beasts of the Mesozoic, a line of Kickstarter-backed dinosaur toys that would reflect the feathery truth about the mighty beasts and provide an alternative to the Hollywood-enhanced glamour of the Jurassic Park franchise.

Then, absolutely nothing happened. Having being fully funded on the crowd-sourced platform, Beasts seemed to be mired in production issues. Now, nearly two years after designer David Silva announced the project, the toys are finally ready to hit shelves.

A Beasts of the Mesozoic action figure in retail packaging
Creative Beasts

The Beasts line will initially consist of 11 figures due to ship this month, with six more expected to arrive in May. Included in the first wave are Velociraptor mongoliensis, Atrociraptor marshalli, Balaur bondoc, Dromaeosaurus albertensis, Zhenyuanlong suni, Pyroraptor olympus, Linheraptor exquisitus, Velociraptor osmolskae (red), FC (Fan’s Choice) Dromaeosaurus albertensis, FC Pyroraptor olympus, and FC Zhenyuanlong suni.

In his updates, Silva said the delay was due in large part to how quickly the scope of the line grew. At the time the campaign started, he was planning on just three figures that would ship by May 2017. By the end, he had 25 items, including accessory packs.

You can pre-order the first wave ($35 to $40 each) at BackerKit.

Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images
7 Shockingly Expensive Barbies You Can Buy Right Now
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images
Gareth Cattermole, Getty Images

When the Barbie doll debuted in 1959, she flew off the shelves at $3 a pop. Today, though the price of some new Barbies can start as low as $10, the value of certain older models has skyrocketed over the years. Obviously, an original Barbie Millicent Roberts doll (yes, she has a full name!) in her black and white striped swimsuit will cost a pretty penny; this blonde version is currently on Etsy for $5800, while another is on sale at Ruby Lane for $4495. But even some that you may have played with as a child—like this $148 Talking Teacher Barbie from 1995 who is dressed like a glamorous Ms. Frizzle—will set you back quite a bit if you want to recreate your original collection. Check out these seven other surprisingly expensive Barbies that you can buy right now.


First released in 1992, Totally Hair Barbie had a mane of completely unreasonable Rapunzel-esque hair that went all the way to her toes. With more than 10 million sold, Totally Hair is the best-selling Barbie ever. But even with so many originals out there and a 25th anniversary doll that also sold well, there are plenty of boxed '90s dolls on eBay—both blonde and brunette—going for more than $50. Who knows if that Dep hair gel is still any good, though.


American Girl Barbie with bending legs
RomitaGirl67, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Barbie's stick-straight posture got a little more human when "bendable" versions began coming out in the '60s. Sure, it was just her knees that bent, but that little movement made her look much more convincing while "walking," like this Skipper doll who is ready to romp on the beach with her new-found mobility. (Now, of course, some Barbies are bendable enough to do yoga). Buying an early model of this new design can knock you off your feet though. This used, 1965 bobbed-hair American Girl Barbie with only one leg that still bends properly has set the opening bid at $400 (which seems like a lot, until you see the same doll in new condition asking for more than $3000).


Twist and Turn Christie Doll
RomitaGirl67, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The first Christie doll was a 1968 talking version, and since then, the African-American doll has been a consistent member of the Barbie family. Nice, boxed Christies can command several hundred dollars, like a 1976 SuperStar Christie asking $875 or this 1981 Golden Dream Christie priced at $300, but even a $100 Kissing Christie is a steep price compared to what she would have retailed for in 1980.

Pro tip: The black hair on the older vintage and mod Christies has a tendency to oxidize red, which is normal (like on this $295 Talking Christie from 1970). But, if you can find a doll that has retained its original black or brown hair color, those tend to be worth more.


In 1964, Mattel tried out a number of new techniques on one particular doll. "Miss Barbie" came in a box set with three wigs to alternately play with, so rather than having the "rooted" hair that is most familiar, she was the first to have "molded" hair—that is, hair painted directly onto the head mold. She was also the first and only Barbie to have "sleep eyes," or eyelids that could close while she was laying out in one of her three pink swimsuits. She wasn't a big seller then, but now a Miss Barbie without all of her accessories can go for $195 (this one, which is in a different vintage dress with none of the original swimwear, is asking $200). However, original sets—those including her three wigs and swimming cap, poolside swing, palm tree, mini magazines, etc.—can command around $1000.


Tinker*Tailor loves Lalka, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The earliest Barbie models didn't have long hair to brush or braid—they had the short curly bangs and elaborate ponytails of teens of the '50s and '60s. The first seven models, released between 1959-1964, were all variations on this look, and any original, Japan-made ponytail Barbie will put you back a few hundred dollars. This #3 in a colorful, custom evening gown is currently going for $725, while this blond "busy gal" #3 that has been partially restored is up for $650. A small subset of this ponytail group? The "swirl ponytail" Barbies, which featured slick bangs that were swept to the side and back into her ponytail. A mint original swirl doll could go for $799, while others are available on Etsy or eBay for under $300.


The My Size Barbie craze of the mid-'90s had 3-foot-tall versions that kids could stand up to play with, rather than kneel or sit on the floor. And to pre-program a generation of girls who would later watch marathon hours of Say Yes to the Dress, there was even a My Size Bride Barbie, complete with a bridal gown for 7-year-olds to play dress-up in. Today, many are available for around $150, though some, like this unopened Dancing My Size Barbie, can go for $200 or more.


Vintage Color Magic Barbie
RomitaGirl67, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In 1966 and 1967, Mattel issued the extremely groovy Color Magic Barbie doll. She came with either blonde or black hair, and if you used a changer solution packet, her hair would transform to two shades of red. She also sported much more vivid makeup, which highlighted her bright yellow, pink, and blue swimsuit. A blonde one is currently available for $475, and a "Scarlet Flame" (the color the blonde becomes) is also listed for $200. But if you want the whole color-changing solution kit and caboodle, it could cost closer to $700 (though there's no guarantee that the hair will work the same magic as it did 50 years ago).


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