For this project I was tasked to create a new range of toys, aimed at 6/7 year olds. With the intention that these toys would come under the Airfix brand.
Growing up, playing with toys such as Lego, K’NEX and Mechano I learnt a lot about how to create models laid out in the instructions.
With this understanding I went out created my own models and things sort of snow balled from there.
My toy takes carries on with that approach of learning and taking creative control over. The ability to make the model and decide whether or not to change it, or make it completely different. Make it your own unique toy.
My toy would be designed in the same vein as the injection moulded plastic parts famously used in Airfix, but with more emphasis on making it easier to put together (without the need for glue). My intention with toy was to allow kids to decorate their characters with pens (or whatever could mark the surface), keeping mess (hopefully) to a minimum.
The playset will revolve round the three characters, Jacob [Cat], Charlie [Dog] and Percy [pigeon] who live in a London suburb. Where their story goes is up to the child.
The toy itself will be retained in the injection moulded form famously used by AirFix, but in a more simplified and child friendly form.
Benefits and Attributes:
- Allows children to be creative with what they make.
- Each model can be completely unique.
- Easier to use.
Jacob the cat is mischievous, clever, independent, nosey and loves to hide.
Charlie the dog is clumsy, silly, messy, grumpy and dependant.
Their owners have mysteriously left, leaving the two behind. Additional playsets and characters will be based upon Jacob and Charlie’s adventures round London, using iconic landmarks recognisable by a child. Percy, the character used in testing, is a friend they make along the way.
What will they get up to on their own?
What adventures will Jacob and Charlie have?
Product tiering will work within the world created for the characters. The main characters will be in the second tier, while smaller characters or accessories would occupy the third tier. The top tier will be larger playsets, with lots of parts for customising, based on locations in London, such as the Zoo or Big Ben. Jacob and Charlie’s house or other small locations will also make up the second tier.
The main character set will come in the tradition extruded tray of part, simplified for children. The trays will have additional parts included, such as different eyes and ears for their character.
The models will be finished in a neutral tone such as white with a matte finish, allowing for easy application of stickers or colouring in with a marker pen.
Parts for the animals such as arms and legs will share the same connections so that they can be swapped with different characters, creating a completely unique animal. With sustainability in mind the products can stay with the currently used ABS which can be chipped and re-melted to be formed into new products. Alternatively, the models can be made from a plastic derived from natural sources such as PLA.
Why PLA (Polyactic Acid)?
- Made from cornstarch.
- Can work within a closed loop cycle.
- Carbon neutral material.
- Non-toxic even when burned.
PLA is also very popular material used in 3D printers, leaving for the opportunity for home manufacture. This opens up revenue streams of downloadable designs or allowing children and parents to create their own parts.