City Life Set
Item No.: No. 5603 Manufacturer:Playmobil Includes:Bus, man in suit, man in jacket, suitcase, removable panels Action Feature:Opening door, opening hatch, access to engine in back Retail:$89.99 Availability:ca. 2012 Other:Redeco city bus
I was not in the market for the City Life Tour Bus but I had a bunch of expiring Toys R Us store credit, and it was $10.90. I'll buy pretty much anything marked down at least 85%. The sticker seems to say it was $89.99 - and I am not sure how correct that is, considering other versions of this mold have been sold for a little bit less over the years. (The FunPark bus model is under $40 right now.)
The bus is one of the bigger vehicles, coming in a box that's mostly empty space. Assembly is easy - there's a blog you plug wheels in to, and then you plug that in the bottom. If you have the RC Module, you can also make it a remote control toy. But I don't, because I only wanted to spend $11. It feels light - there's a dock on the driver's dashboard for a walkie talkie/cell phone, but one is not included. There's on-board storage for luggage, but only one briefcase.
This bus model seats twelve (one will be cramped) and has two grips for standing passengers, so you can reasonably expect to stuff up to 14 figures in here. It's an absolutely preposterous premise of a toy, a private motor coach for your well-to-do figures to be driven to a gig or the casino or another destination of your choosing. It's largely subtle, like the real thing - a big, blank black slate that swims up and down asphalt rivers with no markings and doesn't leave much of an impression. This has a little more color on it, but kids probably didn't take notice of it in a big way - hence the low clearance price.
The wheels roll freely, and the side hatch opens to reveal a small storage area. On the opposite side, a door opens and you can fold down a couple of steps for figures to walk up. It is not accessible. The back hatch opens for more storage, and has yet another hatch to reveal the bus' engine - this is pretty cool. There's also a steering wheel that moves, and you can pop the roof off to access your figures.
It's neat, but in no way quirky or weird. If you want a bus for a band or a rich guy, this is it! Playmobil has yet to make any real-life bands, although the various musicians from other themes would probably find this bus a nice home on the road. The pieces fit together perfectly and it feels rather sturdy. (Confidential to Playmobil: Devo, Bowie, Kraftwerk are all excellent choices.)
It's hard to see, but there's a lot of detail on the dashboard. In addition to place to keep your phone, there are all sorts of sculpted dials and panels - and no color or stickers to bring them to life. Since you'll probably never look at it, it's not a big deal. It's also feeling increasingly retro to see a little screen and the radio on there, given how so many cars are swapping out dials and other instruments for one big screen.
The other editions are better, but the engineering is the same - and impressive - on every release. For the price, this was a steal - I mean, I fell like I was getting away with something by only paying $11 for it - but the paint job is kind of blah and the dark blue windows don't let me look at my figures. If you're going to be paint a lot of money for the same bus mold, I'd steer you toward one with the clear windows, but you might prefer this one for custom projects or just something a little darker. Some of the other bus sets to use this mold - of which there are several since 2003 - generally have clear colorless windows and a couple of figures inside. If you want a bus, at press time, Playmobil has the FunPark Bus 9117 for a mere $32.99 and that's pretty cheap for a big thing to store a bunch of figures. And it has clear windows.
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