I have always had a fondness for Iron Man, especially for the fact that he shoots laser beams out of his hands. We all want gloves like that, but sadly, not all of us can have shrapnel embedded in our chest so badly that we must be powered by an ARC reactor and can therefore go ‘Pew! Pew!’ out of the palm of our hands. However, the “Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab” from Uncle Milton, another toy in their Marvel Science line, allows kids to harness the power of Tony Stark’s primary weapon and put it on your living room table. Instead of shooting blasts, this item uses air power to suspend spheres in the air that you can create obstacle courses for to understand the science part of what a repulsor ray is. The kids over at Foodie Tots are lending us a helping hand once again on this one, and will give us a real child’s opinion over whether this product is worth your time, or if you should start selling your Stark Industries stocks now.
Here is a shot of the complete kit from a bird’s eye point of view, out of the box (which is a very colorful package and hard to miss in a store). The kit includes two round balls, three obstacles, and the arm. The pair of spheres are thankfully very soft, made from a foam-like material that is very squishy – so no need to worry about any broken windows with those.
This contraption would be the magic behind the Repulsor Ray Tech Lab, namely the device that makes the air flow happen. Sporting the traditional red and yellow pantones of ole’ shellhead, the arm-like device rotates in and out of position around the base, which resembles the repulsor rays on the palm of the armored Avenger’s hand. The repulsor ray would seem much cooler and more “magical” if it didn’t sound like a leaf blower, since it is very noisy, but that is also the price you pay for a toy that shoots a steady stream of air out of it.
Here is a close-up of the three different sized obstacles that you get to navigate your balls through. This trio also alters the difficulty of getting the balls through them, with each one having less space than the others. I wonder if Uncle Milton will offer an expansion pack for this one with more obstacles?
This is a great toy, but unlike Thor’s hammer and Spider-Man’s web creator which we also reviewed, the box didn’t make a lot of sense to the kids. Foodie Boy was generally unimpressed with it until he opened it up and began playing with it, at which point he had fun with it and began to understand the concept better (keep in mind that he is seven years old at the time of this article, so do keep age in mind when buying this for a child).
Thar’ she blows! Here is the toy in action, with both Foodie Boy and Foodie Girl giving it a try. The Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab just needs batteries to get it started, no assembly required. You push the blue button to get the air flow going, and from there you can set it to the two different modes that it has, “Tabletop” and “Handheld”, which is created by swiveling the part with the air so that it faces outward. The item also lights up and is recommended to try playing with in dim light (which we did not snap photos of because iPhone cameras are awful at dim light without a flash).
Foodie Girl is operating the toy while Foodie Boy is testing how the air flow works by waving his hand underneath the levitating ball. You can clearly see both kids having a good time now that the product is doing something, and really makes the science aspect of this very enjoyable.
You place it on the air flow and once it’s airborne, you try to move the ball by moving the repulsor ray unit. Once you’ve gotten used to moving it, the next step, or as they call it “phase”, is to move the ball through the energy sphere obstacles. This is where things get really tricky. It’s difficult to master but a lot of fun. The instructions recommend setting up an obstacle course once you get more used to it. Once you master that, they provide instructions on how to make your energy sphere fly through a tube, but that was a science experiment left for another day since the kids were having enough a good time just playing with it as is.
While Foodie Boy had a lot of fun with it and even managed to get it through the obstacles several times, it turned out to be Foodie Girl who really loved it. The obstacles were a little too much for her at three years old, but she began to create her own experiments like seeing if she could get two balls to share the air flow at the same time, or seeing what happened if she moved her hand through the flow while the ball was in the air. Perhaps it is a sign for Uncle Milton to find a way to start targeting the young girl market with their science products as well, and offer Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk or Black Widow science kits…
Overall, our Foodie Tots testers both enjoyed this item, although this is definitely one of the more science-oriented toys in the Marvel Science kit catalog. That does not take away from the joy of it at all, but it is one that would benefit from parents playing with their kids, and may not be meant for kids that are too young to appreciate it. As a toy, it’s a lot of fun, but the educational aspect might be above certain children’s heads, so make sure you parents out there play with your kids with this one, too.
The Uncle Milton Marvel Science Iron Man Repulsor Ray Tech Lab is available from Amazon.com for around $15, and is normally in stores for $25. At either price, it’s a great toy that will not let you down, and your kids will have hours of fun experimenting with the air flow and trying different ways to manipulate it.
Want to read more about what the Foodie Tots are doing, and learn from their parents about how to get kids to eat well and support locally-grown food? Head over to their blog to hear about all of their escapades!