While shopping at the local Lowes a few weeks ago, I noticed that they already had Christmas stock displayed in the seasonal section. They had the usual display of ceramic and porcelain buildings that are very popular with those who set up a Christmas village. I saw a Lemax animation of a familiar amusement park ride I road when I was a child and I was very impressed with it. I was unfamiliar with how the Lemax line was sold. That item was sold-out at the Lowes giving me the impression that it was a hot commodity. The price was just under $80, too rich for my blood. But I couldn't get this thing out of my head. I looked on the Web and found it. Little did I know that many craft stores would have it at about $80, but offer 40% and 50% off coupons or in-store sales. I got it for about 40% off the retail price with an online auction deal, but I would recommend that people shop locally for it. I go into detail about what I did to it on my Lemax Junior Flight School animation page. I make many of my own animations but this product, and others like it, are well worth the money. I wouldn't be able to make something like this. Perhaps my talents will one day be needed for repairing it. If you add up the price of a motor (I think this animation has 2 motors, one for the start-up/shut-down cycle, and one for the main drive), power supply, LEDs, figures (that you would have to modify), modeling materials to make the flying craft, styrene sheets and extruded shapes, paints, glues, hardware, and electrical components, you have exceeded the price at $50. Now factor in the time and hours tinkering.
The product looks fantastic. The figures are wonderful!. Lemax has done an excellent job on the sculpting of these figures; the faces and poses are exceptional!!!! And the action is equally fantastic with each craft "flying" up and down alternately. But the start-up/shut-down cycle is very, very impressive animation. I hope this item holds up for a long time, but even if I would eventually have to repair and simplify it, the action would still be great. And when you have to open something up and tinker with it, you learn a lot about how the animation was achieved. The one thing that I don't care about, or care to use, is the sound track that automatically loops. The sound quality is on par with similar items; gets a little distorted as the volume goes up, but it can be turned down so it is essentially "off."
So I am very excited about this and what will be offered in the future. I haven't been this captivated and impressed with an animation since the Lionel Playtime Playground with its magnetically operated swings on miniature chains. I urge everyone to take a look at what is offered in affordable animation. Nothing like seeing it in person. Even the best Web video can't do justice to these animations.