European Stars And Stripes Newspaper Archives Dec 22 1999, Page 34

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European Stars and Stripes (Newspaper) - December 22, 1999, Darmstadt, HesseWednesday december 22, 1999 stars and stripes accent Page 3 piece of cake or painful putting construction skills to the test assemble from Page 1 to get some idea of How things shape up for toy assemblers this Christmas the Sentinel recruited a group of parents to put together four unopened toys marked adult Assembly the five parents including one Cou ple responded to a notice in the Sentinel seeking Volunteer Guinea pigs. Amazingly there were dozens of people out there eager to relive the Nightmare before Christmas. Spread out in a Large Confer ence room at the Sentinel were the parents and their toys David and Jennifer Yeaman parents of two boys and two girls Ages 6 to 14. Because two Heads Are better than one in most families they were Given what appeared to be the greatest Challenge the deep sea explorer by Matchbox a sort of Jacques Cousteau work station. Michael Johnson father of one boy and one girl Ages 6 and 4. He tackled the hot wheels Chase n crash by Mattel. 4 Kathy Blume Mother of two girls Ages 6 and 2. She was As signed the Fisher Price water magic Kitchen a Little water Cooks up big fun. Denise Mcdermott Mother of two boys and one girl Ages 6 to 9. She was stuck with the hot wheels tune up shop by Mattel. The assemblers were Given no time limit 800-number help lines were off limits. Kathy Blume got Lucky. The water magic Kitchen was Simi Lar to one she put together last year but it did t have All this stuff she said a boxing an array of plastic dishes and foods and pots and pans and stickers. She said a Christmas eve disaster a few years ago taught her to go slow and be patient. We skipped ahead in the instructions and put on the wrong thing. A piece broke off and we had to super glue it. It was at the far end of the room the Yeamans had carefully spread out on the table before them a huge Jumble of pieces that were supposed to result in the deep sea explorer a science station that converts into a ship. Jennifer was seated at the table in assembling position David stood by ready to Supply encouragement and assistance. When my father visits us he usually is the designated Assem of land Sentinel Tom in Rtuh Knight bidder Tribune information services meth ii Johnson putt together a hot wheels Chase v crash set. At sem bling toys it 9 Holiday ritual i Many households Bly person Jennifer said Eye ing the sea of plastic and sound ing not too confident. Meanwhile Michael Johnson was feeling no pain As he went to work on the Chase n crash. This is pretty easy he said connecting pieces of track. Not so sanguine was Denise Mcdermott. There was a hint of panic in her eyes As she looked at the instructions for the hot wheels tune up shop a multilevel Jungle of ramps elevators Cranks levers and Gates. They Don t say anything it s just pictures she said. They did t even number the pieces. I Don t know if they slide in or snap. So i be just got to figure it out. I guess a lot of times i la end up looking at the picture on the first to finish in 25 minutes was Blume. The water magic Kitchen was a piece of cake. The hardest thing were the stickers she said. Johnson was making slow but sure Progress on the race track despite pictures Only instructions. It s user Friendly or user stupid As the Case May be he said. The Yeamans were still exploring the mysteries of the deep sea explorer. David i just can t see on that Side. I Don t want to break it trying to Force it Jennifer no. 13 goes on top i Don t see it on the David see it shows it coming up from and so on. But at least the Yeamans were making Progress albeit of the Tortoise variety. Not so poor Denise Mcdermott. Most of the tune up shop was still in pieces. Early finisher Blume came Over to help her fellow Damsel in distress. They Don t Tell you anything Blume said looking at the instructions. That s the Way the other Side looks she added As Mcdermott tried to Jam two pieces together. It Ain t hinging i Tell you that said an exasperated my , the sound of Triumph. A there got it Blum cried after applying the finishing touch to the tune up shop. I this Little Knob had t been there it would have been a lot easier. Want a boy now with a utile help from he Friend Mcdermott took about an hour to assemble the tune upshot. Across the room the Yea mans were finishing up with the Peep see explorer. It would have been Tough Forone person because you have Assembly time on a scale of one aspirin bottle which Means not too difficult to four bottles which Means difficult even if you possess an engineering degree the results of our decidedly unscientific study on toy Assembly Are As follows Fisher Price water magic Kitchen hot wheels Chase n crash limb Matchbox deep sea explorer i to Rin hot wheels tune up shop aspirin source Orlando Sentinel kit Susan Carl stars and stripes they Don t say anything it s just pictures. They did t even number the pieces. I Don t know if they slide in or snap. Some angles to figure out said David who figured the angles while Jennifer assembled. It s funny Jennifer said looking at the picture on the Box which shows the deep sea explorer immersed in water. It says do not use in real water you Don t always know what you re getting from looking at the Michael Johnson was the last to finish. The others stood and watched As Johnson seated on the floor affixed cheesy card Board backdrops to the tracks. Having completed that annoy ing final step he plugged in the track and up Lieck the trigger on Denise Mcdermott attempting to assemble the hot wheels tune up shop the Power gun. The hot wheels car zipped around the track once and flew off. He put it Back on the track and pulled the trigger. This time the car did t move. Man that track does t come together real Well he frowned. Johnson pushed together the pieces of track where the car had stalled. He pulled the time the car sped around the track several times like Gerbil on amphetamines before flying off the track. By toy Assembly standards this qualifies As a merry Christ Mas. Distributed by Knight Ridder Tribune information services

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