K´NEX, a well-known manufacturer of construction toys, is taking off with their latest release, the Rippin´ Rocket Roller Coaster. This construction kit contains 1,000 pieces and 25 feet of track, creating a scaled-down roller coaster with a five-foot peak, turbo-boosted rocket cars and a stomach-clutching soundtrack.
"Children don´t realize it´s educational," says C.R. Bedrosian, senior national account manager for Toys ´R´ Us, "but the whole design of K´NEX is about geometry." According to Bedrosian, Drexel University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania holds an annual construction contest wherein participants compete using only an intermediate K´NEX building set.
An exciting addition to the Rippin’ Rocket is the accelerator motor that propels the cars around the track. Designed with authenticity in mind, the wheels run on a tube-like track that allows the cars to achieve maximum G-force. How fast is that, exactly? According to Bedrosian, if the Rippin’ Rocket were built to full scale, the cars would travel at 150 mph.
Like every K´NEX building set, the Rippin´ Rocket Roller Coaster is versatile, offering several different builds out of the box. The set also has the advantage of being interchangeable with Screamin´ Serpent, the earlier K´NEX roller coaster toy released in 2001.
"You can build anything with the amount of track you get with this toy," said Kate Stec, manager of marketing communications at K’NEX. Rated for ages 10 and up, Rippin’ Rocket is estimated to take 6 hours to assemble. "Of course that depends on how many parents are involved," says Stec. "The kids get it quicker."