Friday, May 30 2014 23:12

Summer Toy Review: National Geographic Explorer's Torch (Uncle Milton)

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As summer approaches, time outside will be plentiful, and I'm always on the hunt for new toys for outdoor fun. One recent arrival here at Rock Father HQ came from Uncle Milton, and is a pretty unique bit of fun, albeit one that's been known by a few different names over the past year or so. The National Geographic Explorer Academy Explorer's Torch (also sold by ThinkGeek as the "Wall Torch Sconce" or Uncle Milton direct as "Torch in my Room") is one of those simple toys that just hits on all the right marks for exactly what it's supposed to be.

The authentically-styled torch just screams "adventure" and is perfect for indoor use, or those backyard explorations that we tend to enjoy here at home. If I were a kid, I can guarantee that I'd be out pretending to be INDIANA JONES, roaming the darkness hoping to avoid snakes as I did my best Han Solo Harrison Ford impression.

Simple, sturdy and overall a good design, the torch features a realistic flickering light that's powered by a pair of AA batteries. Complete with a mountable wall bracket and "rope" (it's molded plastic), the torch can, indeed be mounted on a wall for fun at a moment's notice, which is really handy if those bedroom monsters happen to show up. 


The only thing I'm not fond of is how the switch works. To turn on the torch, you simply twist the flame, but if you go too far, it can open up as if you were doing a battery change. Far from a deal-breaker, but just a little bit of Rock Father examination. 

Overall, a 4-star toy that I highly recommend (and the kids do, too!).


The Rock Father Rating: 4/5 Stars
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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