Shed Type and Roof Size
Children have always loved playing at soldiers, and it’s a great way for them to use their imagination and also to use up some of the excess energy that they have. That will never change, but thanks to this this unique playhouse from Shire the way that they play can change. This playhouse can still be used as a place to store and use toys and games, even though the styling means that there is less volume overall than in many chalet style playhouses, but it’s also great for capture the castle type games. It has two ports that open, and these are ideal for using water blasters or nerf guns through, creating a fun environment for children over three years of age.
The playhouse itself can become an exciting garden feature, especially once it’s painted to resemble an old or modern fort or command post. Whilst it has a rectangular base it has a pitched roof on the diagonal, which whilst being very effective at keeping rainwater out means that the entry side is much lower than the opposite side. This is shown by the ridge height of 1.70m and the eaves height of just 0.98m. The overall width is 1.24m and the overall depth is 1.83m, both including the slight overhang.
Cladding, Frame and Floor
Whilst the design itself differs from any other playhouse that we’ve reviewed, we were pleased to see that the cladding used was tongue and groove, and that it has a thickness of 12mm. This is what we often find on timber playhouses, and yet once assembled this stronger than many, because of the above average thickness of the 35 X 35mm frame.
The roof, which is 11mm solid sheet material, and the floor, which is made of 12mm solid sheet material, are also both slightly thicker than most that we see on similarly priced playhouses, which creates a reassuringly robust environment for your children or grandchildren to play in.
Treatment Requirements and Warranty
The high quality cladding, and the way that it effectively keeps rain out thanks to its interlocking nature, should mean that it’s very resistant to rot, but this will need to be backed up by an effective preservative treatment. We were disappointed therefore to find that the manufacturer had only used a basic dip treatment, and that they had only given a one year warranty against rot. This means that the customer themselves will have to apply regular preservative treatments if they want to ensure that the timbers remain strong and rot free.
Doors and Windows
The hinged door is 0.60m wide, which is slightly above average again, but is only 0.80m high. This means that it’s designed to be crawled through rather than walked through. We don’t necessarily see this as a disadvantage however, as we feel that young children will love crawling in and out; after all what child doesn’t like an excuse to get messy? As well as the two opening ports mentioned earlier, and which can also be used to let cooling fresh air into the playhouse, there are three windows placed on two different levels, so there’s always a good amount of natural light inside on a sunny day.
Safety and Security
This playhouse is likely to have things hitting it, whether it’s jets of water, footballs, or foam nerf discs, so we were pleased to see that styrene glazing had been used in the three windows. It’s much tougher than standard glass and is virtually shatter resistant. The playhouse itself is certified to meet the European toy safety standard, BS5665 EN71, which brings with it added peace of mind. There is no lock included however, although the door does have a magnetic catch to keep it shut, so remember not to leave valuable or much loved toys in overnight.
Customisation Options and Extras
There is only one optional extra available to purchase at the same time as the playhouse, so we were glad to see that it was a fun one that can add extra enjoyment around the playhouse. It’s a boules set, priced at £37.99. If you’ve never played it before, it’s a fun game that all the family can enjoy, and is like bowls except that the balls are thrown towards a target rather than rolled towards it.
The use of tongue and groove cladding, and thicker than average roofing and flooring, shows a welcome attention to quality.
Longevity of Materials
We would have liked to see a longer lasting preservative treatment used by Shire, and the provision of a longer warranty period.
The design means that the play area itself is reduced, as the crawl in doorway demonstrates, but it still delivers lots of fun.
Ease of Installation
As long as the instructions are read and followed closely, this playhouse can be assembled in around three hours with the help of a friend.
This is one of the most original playhouses that we’ve seen, but it’s also significantly more expensive than many that we’ve seen.
Final Thoughts: If you have children or grandchildren aged over three you’ll know how much they love to play at being at war, whether they’re fighting off an opposing army, aliens or the neighbours. This command post style playhouse will let them have even more fun from the scenarios that are in their head, and as the EN71 rating shows it’s a safe environment for youngsters to play in. Be prepared to have a soaking every now and then when you walk past the playhouse, however, as the opening portals are perfectly sized for a water blaster. Even though we would have preferred to see it include a longer warranty, we still feel that this is a highly original and good looking playhouse.
Prices around: £309.99
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