He looks like a cross between a marshmallow and a Michelin man, but there’s something strangely appealling about Disney’s latest unlikely hero.
Another movie, another raft of merchandise. Hot off the release of Disney’s latest release Big Hero 6 comes a collection of related toys and stationery gifts. So what’s the story? Techno genius Hiro inherits his late big brother’s creation, an affable and nurturing robot called Baymax, who very raison d’etre is to help and to heal.
When Hiro realises his brother’s death was no accident, he enlists his science geek friends to help him seek revenge against the evil San Fransokyo, a dark figure in a kabuki mask. The trouble is geeks don’t make the most natural warriors – but they do have the technical know-how to upgrade their skills with whizzy special effects.
Cue a mass transformation as Hiro and his four friends become kick-ass fighters. Add an armoured-up Baymax into the equation and, like Marvel‘s Fantastic Four and Avengers ensemble, you have a new band of superheroes known as ‘Big Hero 6’.
This two-in-one toy cleverly transforms from nurturing nurse-bot to noble ninja in just a few nifty moves. But one thing never changes: Baymax’s mission to protect and to serve.
The play value comes in two parts. Baymax and his ‘armour-up’ counterpart can both be used as an action figure in either mode. There are also elements of construction play as your child has to piece the armour together.
Part of its appeal undoubtedly comes in its clever transformation mode, that is simple and straightforward. Simple lift up Baymax’s head then twist his sizeable belly so that his portly tum becomes broad strong shoulders, then add his armour piece by piece, with front and back pieces clicking together. Our 9-year-old tester had a few issues with ‘clicking’ the leg pieces together at first, but soon mastered the technique.
Transformation is completed with his helmet (with a touch of Ironman chic) and his pointy aerodynamic wings that cut an elegant picture. The figure is only mildly poseable, and movement of limbs is restricted.
Fun fact Baymax is 6 feet tall and weighs 75 pounds — until Hiro mechs him out. Baymax, in his armour super suit, is more than 7 feet tall and can lift 1,000 pounds – even though he’s all air.
Did you know? Big Hero 6 made their first appearance in a series of Marvel Comics in 1998. Characters included boy genius Hiro Takachiho, Honey Lemon with her power purse, hot-headed GoGo Tomago, and ‘Monster Baymax’, who becomes Hiro’s best friend and father figure.
Good For… fine motor dexterity; hand/eye coordination, and manipulation; coordination; communication skills; vocabulary; listening; following instruction; problem solving; imaginary play; story telling and role playing.
Keep in Mind… The toy comes with removeable parts and that always poses a risk of losing or misplacing a vital piece, so you may want to store them carefully when Baymax is in his non Armour-Up mode. Once you’ve seen the film, you might find your child asking for the rest of the Big Hero 6 crew…
What Kids Love Fans of Transformers are likely to enjoy the ‘transformation’ aspect of the toy and Baymax’s striking demeanor certainly wouldn’t look out of place if children want to put him into the mix with other action figures for pretend play.
What Parents Love The sweet, nurturing side of ‘healthcare companion’ Baymax shows how even action figures can have a sensitive, caring side. There’s a pleasing aesthetics to his demeanor: as he himself admits, he’s designed to be ‘unthreatening and huggable.’
Designer Details Bandai is a Japanese toy making and video game company, based in Tokyo, and is the world’s third largest producer of toys (after Mattel and Hasbro). Founded in 1950, Bandai is best known for licensed products from popular television and comic book characters, such as Power Rangers, Sailor Moon and Digimon. They also had huge success with their handheld virtual pet, Tamagotchi, which were released in 1996 and have since sold over 76 millions units worldwide.