Pros: It definitely looks cool, when it is in one piece
Cons: Falls apart too easily, definitely not for younger kids
My children, as a rule, are absolutely spoiled rotten. This is especially true on major holidays, as they seem to get enough toys to last a lifetime from all members of their extended family. Case in point, my uncle picked them up The Superhero Squad Show Super Hero Headquarters for Christmas last year as a gift to share. While they don’t know many of the Marvel characters, they are big Spider-Man and Captain America fans, so The Superhero Squad Show is right in their wheelhouse.
Essentially, the Super Hero Headquarters is a “flying” battle station that apparently doubles as the home base for the characters (I don’t watch the show, so I have no clue if this is just a toy made to cash in on the popularity, or if it actually appears in the show or books). There is a small amount of assembly that is required to complete the headquarters, including a few small parts that draw the warning on the box that there can be a choking hazard for children 3 and under. It specifically states that the toy is specifically for ages 4 and up, though we’ll come to why that isn’t true later.
The airship opens up to reveal the command center available inside. There isn’t a whole lot to it; other than there is place to attach the jet board and Iron Man figure that comes with the set. There are a couple of mechanical arms and decals to be added to the inside to make it aesthetically more interesting to look at, but overall I’m guessing that most kids are going to play with the headquarters closed.
The airship in its closed form is where the real fun begins. There are several pieces that need to be added to the exterior to complete the construction (a few guns and four engines), but they all snap on and off pretty easily, meaning it is easy enough for most kids. There are also four discs that can be loaded on top of the ship that connect to a launcher. The launcher’s trigger is located like a handle under the ship. If you pull back the trigger, it will launch a disc at whatever you are pointing at and a shooting sound will be made. If you hold down the trigger long enough, it will actually play the team’s theme song. The set does also make noise if you open up the headquarters. Obviously, with the features involved, you will require some batteries (3 AA’s that are sold separately).
While the set looks cool, it has quite a few flaws to it. First, the doors of the command center don’t line up properly, so you have to push one side up and try to get things closed with much more difficulty than should be required. This is especially the case if you have anything inside the command center (like Iron Man and his jet board). Secondly, the four jet engines that attach to the outside of the ship fall off far too easily. If you pick the ship up and swing it around (as you’ll be prone to do, as it is a disc launcher after all), you’ll have at least one engine fall off every time. Heaven help you if you drop the thing…all four will go flying off in various directions.
More troubling for me is the difficulty that is required to pull the trigger for the launcher portion and to open the command center. Both buttons are hard enough to pull/press that neither my 6 year old nor my 3 year old were able to use the features without my assistance. For a children’s toy not to be able to be used by the children it is intended for is completely unacceptable. This is on top of the fact that there are several characters on the box it comes in, but only Iron Man is included in the set (this kind of marketing is common, but my kids were still disappointed).
Overall, my children were very disappointed with the set overall. While it was a gift and the cost didn’t effect me, the fact my uncle had to pay so much (roughly $40) for something that wasn’t worth the value is a little upsetting. For an older child, you would probably get better use out of it, but in that case they shouldn’t say it is age 4 and up. In any case, I can’t recommend it.