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A train set was going to put a huge smile on my two little boy's faces but this train set lit their faces up when they received it as a present from their auntie and uncle last year. The KidKraft Metropolis wooden train set is an extensive train set that even had me amazed and a little concerned how much my family had spent on the boys! This set would be ideal for any child starting out a train set and the great thing is it includes that much you really wouldn't need to rush out and buy any extras.
The KidKraft Metropolis wooden train set contains one hundred pieces. There is plenty of track, a train, a helicopter, two bridges, a drive through mountain, crane, a helipad and many more accessories to keep your child entertained.
It all comes in a large strong box and very well wrapped up. There are parts of the set that do need a little bit of construction like the two tier bridge and the drive through mountain but other than those it is a case of building that train set. It does come with instructions to make the perfect set using all the pieces which we have managed on a couple of occasions. The instructions are extensive and it took my other half and brother in law a good twenty minutes to have it all set up.
There is plenty of wooden track to use; a lot of the pieces are corners or sloping pieces. If used correctly as the instruction booklet describes it makes a wonderful intertwining train track. A lot of the track is elevated with the use of plastic grey stands which you press the joints of track in to hold it up. There are a range of sizes to the stands in height.
This particular set is a city style set but we have over time adapted it to be more country style buying in a lovely wooden station and other tunnels. As it is a city style train set it does come with a stone looking (actually made of plastic) tunnel that you lay over the track allowing the trains to go through it. There is a helipad and airport landing strip on top of the mountain with a wooden helicopter and wooden plane to use on them. The set does contain a working crane that can be moved up and down to be hooked onto cargo and reeled in.
As well as a wooden train with two working magnetic carriages that you attach it comes with plenty of wooden cars and other accessories. There are wooden standing people, trees, construction pieces, signs, a cargo boat that you can use the crane to load and unload pieces of cargo out of from the train to the boat and plenty more.
A train set would not be complete without a bridge and this set shows off with two bridges one of which is two tiered. There is a rather small bridge which looks a little poor compared to the very large two tiered bridge.
As with most train sets they are about expanding and being able to buy more pieces for your set. So the set you buy first has to be practical in the sense the track will be compatible with other leading brands. This set does just that and has been tried with a few different brands up to now. The manufactures KidKraft do say it is compatible with leading brands such as Thomas and Friends wooden train set and Brio. We have personally tried it with Tesco's, Bigjigs and Chad Valley so far and have found it perfectly fine you wouldn't know they were any different. All the pieces of track fit together as if they were made to.
As I have mentioned already this set would be a fantastic set to start with as it has plenty of extras to play with but we have found with time you do need to add some more thought out extras. You can't complain this train set has plenty of playing opportunities and will help develop imaginations.
The train set is recommended for ages three years and above. My boys are three and half and two years. I do have to watch my two year old as he can be a little too rough with it but when he copies his older brother he really enjoys playing with it.
This train set can be bought with a table but ours wasn't. It does come with measurements for a table which it states it will fit a table top that measures 121.9cms by 81.3cms. For us the train set was about expanding it so we keep ours on the floor. Also you can buy a play board separately for the set which if you are planning to just use the train set alone it would be advisable.
On my initial viewing of the item out of the box I was amazed by the content and the playing opportunities my little boys would have with it. But over time I have come to realise as great as it is to begin with you do need to add more for it to become something amazing my boys will continue to play with for a long time.
My first little moan at the set is the track pieces are nearly all corners so a less you set it up as instructed you get a little struck and find the track goes round in a loop and you leave lots of pieces out. I wanted my son's to use their imaginations with the track rather than me or my fiancé building it from the instructions every time. So a need to buy straight flat pieces was a must quite early on for us.
The second little moan is the plastic supports are not easy to use for little hands and you find the tracks don't clip into them that easy. Again having a lot of the track elevated limits the layout of the track. We tend to rarely use these anymore. So doing this means it is rare for us to use both parts of the two tier bridge put this doesn't stop the boys from enjoying playing with it.
My third and last little moan is the accessories are a little rubbish they do their initial job but we have started to replace them with more fun actual moving pieces that become part of the track. For example the police station, bank, fuel station, fire station etc are a piece of wooden board with a picture on stood up in a small wooden block with a slot in.
On the plus side I have really enjoyed watching my son's play with the set for hours and I have been very pleasantly surprised by the durability of the set. I did think at first the plastic covering of the bridges and the drive through mountain maybe wouldn't with stand my two slightly rough boys but they have. The train track is made
*****My Son's opinion*****
On opening their present both boys were very eager to get the train set out of the box. They weren't too pleased on having to wait for it to be assembled and we found it easier to move onto something else with the boys whilst it was being assembled.
From time to time they have got a little annoyed with the supports which sometimes do fall over bringing some of the track to the ground. Apart from this small problem they love all the accessories that come with it and find the crane great fun to interact with.
The KidKraft train set is available at a fantastic price currently (Jan 12) at £39.99 on Amazon. It retails at around the one hundred pound mark. Personally I feel that the retail price is a little steep but £40 is a bargain for the great opportunities this train set gives your little one.
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