Pros: rounded shape, nice size, working blades
Cons: Harold doesn't appear in as many Thomas stories or videos
Harold the Helicopter is an interesting little addition to our legion of train pieces and parts. Taken from the Thomas The Tank Engine series of videos and books, Harold is not an ever-present character in either series, yet he does fly in from time-to-time for a story or two. He is a fun change of pace after watching endless stories of talking trains. Who knew a talking helicopter would be so relieving?
Harold The Helicopter is sold along with the other character pieces meant to "fit" with the Thomas the Tank Engine toy train sets from Learning Curve. He is sold, along with his fellow engines, as a stand-alone piece, but packaged in sturdy cardboard and usually found near a tidy display next to one of those sample train sets tucked in Barnes & Nobel. (The one I must get to with an arm full of books since I know I won't be leaving it any time soon.)
Harold is solid wood as his train counterparts are, but with sturdy plastic blades at the top of his person (term used loosely). He is approximately three inches high from his base to the top of those aforementioned blades. He is about 3.5 inches long and perhaps 2 inches wide. He is actually kind of chubby looking in a very cute fashion. While many of the engines are full of straight lines an angles, Harold is decidedly curvy with rounded edges.
Decorated with a white background and red trim, his name is painted clearly on the tail, another nice feature. Windows are painted on and Harold's face is also painted while engines in this line have a plastic, more human look. Harold's face is sweeter and I find myself thinking he'd make a good stuffed "animal".
The blades twirl using human power only. No motor, no wind up and watch him go. The blades are relatively thick for the size of the toy, a nice feature when considering that thinner blades may have resulted in quick breakage.
From this mom's standpoint, not really. I think he has a very welcoming appearance, I like his thicker appearance, and feel pretty confident that his blades will hold up over time.
From the all-important target market (i.e. my son, Ben)? He enjoys Harold especially when we find him in a book we read. The downside for him, however, is the fact that Harold does not show up as often as many of the engines. His play story-lines seem to build upon what we read and there just, unfortunately, are not as many stories featuring Harold. This, I believe, would be the only downside for some children.
He's a nice addition and change of pace for a train set. His rounded edges mean that the paint does not chip as quickly as it can on much-used engines, and his face is a bit cuter than that of the engines. Plus he is a nice item for the aviation-loving child...there's no need to keep this one with a train set.
Age range: Begins at 24 months, per the manufacturer.
Video: Consider Thomas Gets Bumped & Other Stories to see Harold the Helicopter in Action