Playmobil Playroom: Take Along Sets

Welcome to the Playmobil Playroom, where we take a monthly peek inside those impressive blue boxes and see what treasures await within. Sometimes we’ll have step-by-step photos walking you through assembly, maybe we’ll discuss and review a particular set or theme, or maybe we’ll have an unboxing video.

Today, we’re  taking a closer look at Playmobil’s Take Along sets. There are a number of different Take Along sets (we previously featured the Take Along School House), but today we’re focusing on the Pirate Stronghold and Fashion Store.

The reason for the “take along” label is because these sets close up and lock together, and you can carry them with you. Which makes them perfect for playdates and sleepovers. Open one up, and you’ve got an instant playset. No need to worry about bulky sets with pieces that might come apart.

They also pair really well with other sets and toys of similar themes. The Pirate Stronghold would easily combine with other Pirates (or Knights) sets. The Fashion Store slides right into a world created with Family Fun or City Life sets. Or just mix ’em all up and play with everything together! That’s what my kids do.

Specs:

  • Product Numbers: 9112; 9113
  • Number of Pieces: 104; 83 pieces
  • Number of figures: 2 adults (male); 2 adults (female)

Ease of Build:

On a scale of 1-5, these are toward the lower end of the spectrum and are probably about a 2. Click the two halves of the building together, add the floor, and voila! Most of the pieces in each set are accessories and doodads. There’s not a lot to actually “build” in these sets.

Coolest Features:

  • The “take along” carryability is obviously the best feature here. These aren’t meant to be elaborate, intricately detailed sets. Because of that, they also make great “starter sets” and gifts.
  • The Pirate Stronghold has a trap door, and the chandelier can be triggered to fall (on an unsuspecting rogue pirate).
  • There are also some cool bar accessories in the Pirate Stronghold: a tapped barrel of beer, bottles, mugs, wooden tables, and a parrot.
  • The figures in the Fashion Store set have slimmer bodies so you can swap out their outfits.
  • The store has a small changing room with swinging door.

Playability:

Surprisingly, for such small sets, they do pack in a lot of playability. Even though they’re intended to be portable (and they are), they obviously combine with one another and every other Playmobil set out there. On their own, kids might grow tired of them after a while, but that’s kind of to be expected. These are designed to be small, inexpensive sets that can be carried with you. And that’s their attraction. These make fantastic last-minute holiday or birthday presents.

Kid Verdict:

Taken by themselves, these two sets practically scream “I’m for a boy!” and “I’m for a girl!” They’re incredibly gendered. Neither of my kids took a shine to the Fashion Store set, and I think that’s largely because it assaults you with pink. If it were any other color, then it might’ve been more of a hit. The gender breakdown in the figures also leaves a lot to be desired. The Fashion Store comes with two women, and the Pirate Stronghold has two men. Because of course. This is becoming a bit of a broken record for us, so gender representation is hardly an issue unique to these sets. Playmobil has a long way to go there.

The Pirate Stronghold, though, gets two enthusiastic thumbs up. They love the details, the pirate figures, and all of the little piratey doodads included. Having recently seen Pirates of the Caribbean might have helped, though.

(Disclosure: These Playmobil sets were provided free of charge for review purposes. All opinions remain our own.)

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. When he's not knee deep in a convoluted grammatical mess of a sentence, he's likely on an adventure with his two adorable ragamuffins. You can check out more of his ramblings on The Roarbots, StarWars.com, and Babble.