Modarri toy cars are bright and colourful, and with "real" suspension and steering they're a blast to play with. But the coolest thing about Modarri cars is the ability to strip them down to parts and rebuild them in countless combinations.
Modarri is a modular car building system from a company called ThoughtFull Toys. Each set contains one to three vehicles, or the parts to put together those vehicles in various combinations, as well as a tiny screwdriver to get the job done.
The deluxe three pack contains three cars with two additional hoods and fenders and retails around $US59.99 ($76).
Each vehicle is comprised of seven parts (11 if you count each wheel separately). There are two sets of wheels attached to spring-powered suspension mechanisms, a chassis, a hood, a fender piece and a frame. The parts are mostly plastic, though each frame is made from die-cast metal, giving completed vehicles a lovely heft.
The building blocks of a sweet ride.
Putting together a vehicle is pretty simple, and it takes under a minute once you're familiar with the process. The seat, wheels and suspension pieces screw into the chassis. The hood piece is placed, then the bumpers over the top of it. Finally, the die-cast frame is secured on top with a pair of screws.
What I love about the building system here is the use of actual screws and tools. The screws are secured into each piece so they won't fall out of their parts, so kids are safe from sticking (these particular) bits of metal up their noses and adults don't have to crawl around on the carpet feeling for parts. But the action and experience of loosening and tightening screws and assembling parts is very much here, which helps younger children develop skill and confidence working with tools and taking things apart.
What's also very neat is that all of these parts are completely interchangeable. With a few quick parts swaps, this car...
... becomes this car.
Same frame, same seat, same wheels, different hood and fenders. If you want to get really fancy, you can even swap the wheels on the suspension parts.
Or use keyboard caps to put your fancy race car up on blocks in your toy front yard.
Once you have a car assembled, you can stick your finger in the driver's seat and tool around to your heart's content. Steering works by distributing weight left and right, and the tiny cars are pretty responsive. Build your own obstacle course, or use the tiny orange rubber cones than come in the deluxe three pack to simulate a driver's test.
The only caveat I have to give about Modarri vehicles is that if you get into them, you're going to want all of them. The deluxe three pack I started with runs $US59.99 ($76). Individual packs with single cars and no additional parts are $US19.99 ($25), while single cars with extra hood and bumper pieces are $US24.99 ($32). I would also highly recommend getting the $US19.99 ($25) case for storing cars, parts and colour-coordinated screwdrivers.
What I enjoy most about the Modarri car building system, aside from making vrooming noises while driving about the finished product, is how much stealthy learning and development is packed inside each plastic clamshell. Creativity, tinkering, a little bit of physics — it's all here, and all without any sort of electronics or flashy LCD screen.
And if you're an adult and already have a firm grasp on these concepts, it's still a great deal of fun turning this...
... into these.