Thomas the tank engine plastic train set instructions not,train set for little girl,toy wooden train table,ho scale train size comparison - PDF Books

06.10.2013
Young children may have already enjoyed playing with the wooden train sets, but as they grow they come to expect a little more than a wooden block with wheels. The train sets covered by this review are the battery operated train sets covering those branded with Thomas The Tank Engine (Thomas and Friends) and the unbranded Tomica Hypercity (Tomica World train sets).
The photo below shows the Tomy Trackmaster track, with engines from both Tomy and Fisherprice running on the same track. Confusingly there are three different train sets that are in some ways compatible with each other. The first of these Thomas branded train sets (which is no longer made) is Thomas and Friends Motor Road and Rail. In addition to the train track some sets also included a grey car track that provided a circuit for battery powered cars (mainly Bertie) to go around similar to the trains.
The newer generation of the Thomas the Tank Engine branded train sets is the Trackmaster range. The blue track used in the Motor Road and Rail sets is now available under the Tomy Tomica brand, but is no longer sold with any Thomas the Tank Engine branding.
The Tomy sets have a car track, but this is for push along cars rather than any kind of battery powered cars as was previously created under the motor road and rail sets.
The brown track is branded as Trackmaster and provided with the Thomas and Friends train sets. The blue and brown track can only be connected together using special adapters provided with some train sets or available through Ebay, in the Trackmaster extension pack from Amazon or through some other retailers. The engines and carriages for Trackmaster, Motor-road-and-rail and Tomy Tomica are interchangeable. The road and cars in the Tomica set can be used alongside any of the sets, but only works with the Tomica level crossing (if that is desired).


One of the things with these sets and in particular Trackmaster (Tomica has some more interactive options) is that once it's running it's pretty much a hands off toy. There are now some remote control Trackmaster trains, such as the Remote control Thomas trainset.
The remote control is very easy to use and allows the trains to go forward, reverse and have two sound effect buttons. The Fisher Price Trackmaster is for ages 3+, whereas the Tomy Tomica Hypercity sets have an age range of 4 to 7. The alternative to both of these is the Thomas Take-n-play sets (formally known as Thomas Take-A-Long). The tracks are not compatible so you may want to try and get only a single type of tack, although you can get adapters or run the different types alongside if you do get the different tracks. I think the Tomy Tomica track is better from the point of view of available accessories as children get older, but the Thomas the Tank Engine branding of the Fisher Price sets is likely to be popular with young children. The train sets have plastic tracks (different types which can only be joined using special adapters) but the trains and carriages are interchangeable. So here's a little of the background which may help to explain the reason for this and which are compatible with each other. The track is the same as the brown Trackmaster track used by Tomy, but the trains (in particular the carriages) appear to be of a poorer quality than those previously made by Tomy, although they are also releasing some products with new features such as light and sound.
Tesco Direct) these are listed as Mattel TrackMaster rather than Fisher-price, but these are the same. This is available as Tomy Hypercity which is all based on more realistic modern electric trains, compared to the predominately steam (and Diesel) trains with faces from the popular book and TV series associated with the Thomas themed trains. My suggestion would be to avoid the gray car based track as it takes up a lot of space due to it's limited configuration and is difficult to fit around the train track.


In reality most of the parts have the same level of difficulty so you should be able to get away with 3 to 7 for most of these (although older children may prefer the more realistic Tomica).
Many toys are labelled ages 3 and up as it is normally the minimum age where toys are rated due to choking hazards, but with these train sets it's also about the interactivity; children under the age of 3 are unlikely to be satisfied in watching a train go round and are likely to want to push the trains (see comparison with Thomas Take-N-Play below). Thomas and Friends Take-N-Play (formally known as Thomas and Friends Take Along) is another alternative which is explained further in a separate review. It was based on the Tomy Tomica train track with Thomas the Tank Engine branded trains and stations etc. The engines and carriages appear to be identical to the Motor Road and Rail versions, but with the new branding on the packaging, but the track changed to a brown coloured track. There were car "turntables" available, which should have reduced the amount of space required, but in practice I found them to stick and didn't work automatically most of the time.
This is more of an issue for younger children who may want to push the trains along rather than just watch them go past.
They are also portable although it's rare that we've actually taken them somewhere with us. These adapters were included in some sets (although have now been dropped from the more recent sets) or are available to purchase separately on Ebay, in the Trackmaster extension pack from Amazon or through some other retailers.



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