Sunday, 19 April 2015

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Avengers Age of Ultron Teaser!



Who else is looking forward to the release of Avengers - Age of Ultron? *Raises hand* I know it's not really suitable, but Marvel Cinametic Universe film series have been our family favourite, and we have seen every single movie in the chain so far (with parental guidance and covering little eyes at places). Clay's favourite is Iron Man and Captain America, and Abby's is Thor and Iron Man. Their ultimate favourite is the movie Avengers, when all the heroes came together, so we are eagerly waiting for the Blu-ray's release (the movie is rated 12A).

The good news is, while we have to wait longer to watch the film, we are very excited to hear about the release of the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Avengers range, in time for the movie release Avengers - Age of Ultron! It'll take the kids' mind off the movie for a bit!

The premiere is tomorrow, and LEGO has been building a giant Hulk Buster Smash for the event! What we know is it's looking like this:


And the LEGO playset version looks like this:

RRP: £29.99

video

The giant statue is obviously going to look very different from the playset. Looking at the teaser video of how they built the leg (you can see the inside of the leg. I've always wondered how a LEGO statue's inside looks like! The effort and details the crew has put in is just wow!) makes me want to see the finishing result now!

If you want to catch up with the premiere news as well, simply follow the Twitter hashtags #LEGOMarvel and #AvengersAgeOfUltron.

Oh! And the ultimate LEGO Marvel Super heroes Avengers play set!


Friday, 17 April 2015

Children's Play Room


Photo credit: bit.ly/1b2K4qX
We've moved into our new home (no no, not the one above. I wish!) almost half a year ago now, and there is one room that hasn't been touched yet - Clay's room. As the kids are still young, we decided to let Abby and Clay sleep in Abby's room as it's bigger (almost as big as our master bedroom!), and turn Clay's much smaller room (it really is unfair, why can't they make the 2nd and 3rd the same size?) into a play room until they decided to split rooms.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of storage, we temporarily used Clay's room as a storage room, until our recent guests visited. Now that his room is clear from boxes (more or less), we think that it's time to sort his room out. This is how it looks like at the moment:



I did a Google search on the words "Children's Play Room" for some ideas, and found the image at the top of this post. O.M.G! I want one! For my retirement!

Obviously we don't have THAT space (and money!) at the moment ("at the moment"), but it has given me some ideas of what I can add to Clay's room, without adding too much clutter to the big heap of  clutter  toys waiting to go back into the room:

  • I (me me me!) want that pastel colour dome in the room! It's absolutely stunning, but I can't possibly drape the whole ceiling with fabric. A rainbow canopy should do the trick
  • I want those big colourful cushions in the room as well, most likely under the rainbow canopy. It will help spread the canopy fabric base wide apart, and it'll be comfortable for the kids to sit/ lean on. Although, cushions do go flat soon, epecially if sat on, so perhaps some big flat bean bags will be more suitable as they hold their shape much better and could even serve as extra seating when we have guests over.
  • Wouldn't it be lovely if you sit under the rainbow canopy with fairy lights at the top as well? Using a hanging basket frame instead of a hoop will give me a bigger area to wrap the fairy lights around, it's going to be mesmerising!
  • Considering getting a rainbow rug for the room as well, although will that be too much with the colourful cushions on top?
  • Storage! It's either a pile of toys on the floor or a pile of toys inside the storage. I like the idea of this one that you build using assorted square panels!

It looks like the rainbow canopy will have to be DIY-ed, but materials aren't hard to find. Another couple of hours browsing the Internet and I've got the room put together (on "paper" anyway)! Now I just need to make sure that I do this room up slowly instead of breaking the bank in one go... hopefully we can get at least the rainbow canopy and bean bags in soon!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Crayola combines Colouring and Augmented Reality in Color Alive


Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

As an Art and Craft (plus more) company, Crayola has never ceased to amaze us! They are quick to follow modern day tech savvy children's need and created one after another product to help children develop their creativity, on top of their art and craft skills. This is the kind of company that will keep their customers interested and happy!

Although there are bits of debugging and updating happening, I believe that Crayola's latest product range - Color Alive is another winning range they've created. We were sent the Enchanted Forest and Mythical Creatures Color Alive packs to review, and we were really impressed (okay yes we are easily impressed, but seriously, wow!). We are still trying to figure out how it works! Read on and you'll understand what I mean.


Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

Left screen appears during the first time you start the app
Product Information:

Crayola Color Alive Colouring Packs (RRP £6.99 per pack) currently comes in 4 titles - Enchanted Forest, Mystical Creatures, Barbie and Skylanders. Each book contains 16 colouring pages, 1 special effect marker and 6 pip-squeaks washable markers.

The Color Alive app by DAQRI 4D is free to download from App Store, Google Play and Windows Store. All the features from the app requires internet connection. Apart from interacting with the book through the Play option, you can also download additional pages through Get More Colouring Pages for a small fee (£1.30 for about 8 pages). You can access/ download pages from your book through My Saved Stuff, as well as characters you've coloured and saved under 4D mode (more about this later).


Note: There is also a Crayola Color Alive crayon version for each title, but for some reason they are marked at RRP £40.57 on Amazon UK. I'm guessing that they might not be out yet in the UK and these are shipped from overseas.


Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

Left: A successful scan of a page will look like this.
Special Effects:

For the special effect markers to take effect, after selecting a book, scan the name of the special effect markers like in the above picture (or closer. It doesn't really matter as long as the name is seen). Once they are scanned, they can be used in any of the books.

Note: There is a chance that the app might mistake dark brown as the Fiery Breath (for ours anyway).

All the Color Alive Markers can be used in any of the books. In the above picture the special effect marker from Mystical Creature - Fire Breath is working at the same time as the Enchanted Forest special effect marker - Pixie Dust, in the book Enchanted Forest. It is so cool! We'll have to collect the other 2 special effect markers as well, it will be amazing!

It is unfortunate that the special effects won't appear in 4D mode, but 4D mode has its own special effects which is awesome too!


Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children

Crayola Color Alive, 4D colouring book, Virtual Reality for children
Left: If you coloured the tree, mailbox and broom in the picture, these will be coloured too
Right: Little Witch is completely out of the picture, yet the app hasn't reset it like other AR games! Thumbs up!
4D/ AR:

I purposely coloured the rose wand only to see what the app will do with uncoloured pages (and I should leave the rest to Abby hehe), and look! It's absolutely amazing! It has got all the colours right (although the rose should be a bit pinker*), and the little witch is still uncoloured! Also, if you shade your colours (darker in some area), the app will take that into account as well so you can create a nice pattern on the dress.

*Edit: just noticed that it's the correct pink!

By moving the camera around the character, you can see different sides of them. However the character will only face one way (the bottom of the page). You can use the touch screen to move the character wherever you want, even off the screen (ie away from the colouring page). I moved her so far that I ended up standing behind her! Other apps I've tried before would reset as soon as the base (usually a card) has disappeared from the camera range so I found this highly amusing!

You can also save the character (into My Saved Stuff-Book-Characters) to play with them next time.

  • For some reason, this function didn't work for us. We can save the character, but it didn't appear in the My Saved Stuff-Enchanted Forest-Characters where it is supposed to. I've checked a few comments and reviews, and found 1 person in the US having the same issue, though no one else mentioned about whether this feature worked for them so I can't come to conclusion whether this is an issue of the app or my phone. I have passed on my feedback anyway and it's being checked out.

It is another great selling point though as children can go anywhere with their creations and take selfies with them without bringing the coloured pages.

Another fun thing to do is that children can also play with the 4D base. A few question marks appeared on the base (on this picture anyway) and once clicked, something will pop out from it (the broom, mailbox and tree). The treasure chest appeared out of nowhere after the 3 has "spawned" and once clicked, it sucked the 3 items in and disappeared!


Overall:

Can you understand why we are so excited and impressed? Although we have encountered the odd bug, the whole concept is fascinating. It encourage children to be more patient and finish their colouring (mine needed that), so that they can see their own creation (sort of) come to life. It has definitely brought colouring to another level! For £6.99 plus a free app, it will make a fantastic gift any time! Just make sure that, like all other children's app, you download it onto something you don't need all the time like your phone... also, as all the other Internet required apps/ games, it drains battery pretty quickly.


Note:

You can check if your device is compatible before buying here. I've tested it on my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and it works fine, albeit the occasional bug. If it doesn't scan the pages well (ie the 4D buttons didn't pop up), you can try the following:

  • Check your My Saved Stuff - Book - Pages. Click on the uncoloured pages to scan all the pages for your book (applicable only for the book you've bought. You can however buy pages from other books from Get More Coloring Pages).
  • Try scanning a different page, and come back to the page you want when it's successful
  • Cover your camera lens for a while to reset it, then try scanning again.

I haven't spotted a special effect marker refill yet, but you can simply use any Crayola pip-squeak washable markers (not sure if it will work with others) for the normal colours.

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