“ Brand: Tomy / Age: 18 months+ / Thomas the Tank Engine toy that blows bubbles and plays tunes „
Tomy's Thomas Magic bubbles is a solidly built plastic train but is one of those toys that make you wondered why you bothered!
Thomas requires 3x size 'C' batteries although I much prefer it without them! He has 3 wheels on each side of the main body, along with a 'guiding' wheel positioned underneath the front end between the 2 front wheels. The guiding wheel keeps Thomas driving in the same direction and can be set to increase or decrease the turning circle and is quite stiff to the turn. There is also a lock switch next to it to keep him in a straight line if required. Bubble mixture can be poured directly into his funnel and when switched on, Thomas will sing a merry (read as annoying!) tune then stop randomly to launch lots of bubbles into your small childs inquisitive face!
Operating Thomas is very easy using the 3 way switch on his back to select from these limited modes.
1) Off (the best mode in my opinion!)
2) Bubbles only - Thomas's traction is turned off in this mode and he can be free wheeled in any direction whilst blowing bubbles randomly.
3) Bubbles and Thomas traction on - Thomas will blow bubbles at random intervals whilst he whistles his tune and travels around in a set pattern without the need to be pushed.
Ok, so why do I dislike it so much....
Do not use it indoors with bubbles in the funnel! It's almost guaranteed that your small child will push this over at some point, and lo and behold, washing up liquid is spilled like an oil slick all over your carpet or kitchen floor.
In mode 3, my small child insists on pushing it which causes an almighty clicking noise as he forces Thomas against his own will. The clicking also occurs when Thomas gets stuck against any object...it's enough to drive you mad.
As if the inane clicking wasn't bad enough, Tomy decided to put the most annoying, ear splittingly loud, repetative Thomas theme tune on it. It gets into your head so much, you end up singing "They're 2, they're 4, they're 6, they're 8....pushing trucks and hauling freight" at the most random times! If they'd installed a volume control, I probably would have given this an extra star!
On top of all that, it just doesn't get used very much (which is contradictory in that that should please me!) . The odd 5 minutes here and there doesn't justify the cost and annoyance that this 'toy' brings.
A generous 2/5
Musical Bubble Thomas is described by the toy manufacturer Tomy as a fun, bubble blowing, music and sound effects toy all rolled in to one and thats just what it is.The toy itself is the perfect replica of the much loved Thomas the tank engine, great for any little Thomas the tank engine lover out there and with the added fun of bubbles which you can use as either a static toy or in motion.
The design of the toy is the perfect replica of the little blue train, the colours, the expression of Thomas' face, even the realistic train sounds that you get as he chuggs along on the ground makes him great fun for any child. Its made out of extremely robust plastic which makes the toy extremely durable and hardwearing, great seeing that its designed for those of 18months upwards and could be prone to heavy hands and the risk of being dropped.
Now I will admit that I purchased this for my son when he was a little under a year old. Before he was crawling we would have it on a flat surface using it as a static bubble machine and then when he started crawling I would use it in the motion mode, he absolutely loved following Thomas around the room on all fours, chasing it around the lounge floor or out in the garden and chasing all of the bubbles trying to pop them. He is now coming up to his fourth Birthday, its still in perfect working condition and he still loves playing with it and having just as much fun with it as when he was a baby.
To be able to function the toy will require 3 x C size batteries, these are not included so you will need to purchase separately. The batteries go into a compartment located on the base of the toy, you will find that you will require a small cross head screwdriver to access the compartment to be able to insert them. Now the combination of the bubble machine, sounds and the motion means that this toy does drain the batteries fairly quickly so I would recommend you consider purchasing some rechargeable as in the long run you may find this more cost effective.
The toy itself comes with a small bottle of bubble mixture that obviously is to be used in the toy, the mixture is of the correct consistency for bubble Thomas to be able to work perfectly but unfortunately its only a small bottle so it runs out very quickly. Now there are many different bubble solutions available out there on the market but not are all of the same consistency or formula as this one. I've found that if the formula is too thick it wont work in this toy, if its to watery it wont work in this toy, I have tried many different bubble solutions that are available and would like to take the opportunity to highly recommend that you go to Early Learning Centre and purchase their bubble solution mix, I've found that it is the perfect consistency for using with this toy and their is no need to dilute and Early Learning centre is a reputable children's toy retailer so you know you are getting something that is child friendly.
The bubble solution itelf goes into the front section of the train, to fill it involves removing the front section of the train, (thomas' face and funnel), now to be honest my son sometimes get a little concerned that mummy is removing thomas' face and I can understand this. Maybe not a great design idea from Tomy.
To remove this section you will find that there is a small little catch under the front buffer of the train, this needs to be moved across and held whilst you push a button located just below Thomas' face which combined should release the front section, then all you need to do is pull this section away from the train. It can be a little tricky at first to figure out but once you get the hang of it you will be fine, I would highly recommend that you follow the instructions of you could risk damaging the toy and do not think that you can just pour the bubble solution into the funnel as if you do this you cannot judge the amount being poured in and could also damage the toy.
I also recommend that when removing this section and looking for the little catch at the base of the train DO NOT tip it upside down as you risk being covered by any excess bubble solution that may be left in the train from previous use and getting it everywhere. This is also a great reason why to make sure you supervise your child with this toy if you dont want the bubble solution everywhere.
The solution itself goes into a small little compartment to the back of Thomas' face and funnel, there is a minimum and maximum level mark on this so be sure to fill between these two level markings or there may be too little or too much solution to allow it to work properly and create the desired bubbles.
Once filled you need to click Thomas' face back onto the front of the train, it should click in really easily and make sure that it has locked in and it is secure.
To turn the toy on you will find a small switch located at the rear of the train, this can move along to two different settings of which each can be identified easily by two small images, this means its also easy for your child to identify each of the modes.
These modes are:
-Thomas in static motion whilst playing the tune and blowing bubbles through the funnel (great to use as a static bubble machine)
-Thomas in motion whilst playing a tune and blowing bubbles through the funnel
Now most product descriptions for this toy state that Thomas moves in a forward motion or in a circular motion. Now this means just that, this toy cannot turn of its own accord so if its in forward motion and it hits an obstruction the toy is going to get stuck and you or your child will forever be rescuing him to set it in the right direction again, it can become a bit irritating after a while.
Now I feel that for the cost of this toy maybe Tomy should have included a mechanism at the bottom which you find in a lot of other free movement toys that allows the toy to change direction if it comes across an obstruction that prevents it from going on further, it would be so much easier as we dont have a huge house so there is only so far the train can go forward before hitting something.
The train does also have the option to go in a never ending circular loop. As well as the six normal train wheels that Thomas has this toy also has a small wheel at the front centre that can be moved into three positions. forward facing for it to go forward, turned 45 degrees to the left to got in a full circle to the left or 45 degrees right to go in a full circle to the right.
The bubbles themselves are blown out intermitantly through the funnel of Thomas, each time a nice amount of small bubbles are created and blown out into the environment that can give your child lots of fun.
Now as I have said each of these modes involve playing the thomas the tank engine theme..this is a forever repeating 20 second tune that is NEVER ending and that you cannot switch off, it also has no volume control to turn it down either so after a period of time it will start to imprint on the brain and slowly drive you insane.
I really wish that there was a silent mode, that it would blow bubbles whilst either in static mode or in motion and did not have to play the irritating tune, three years of it is driving me nuts but i persevere with it because my son loves playing with it that much and gets so much enjoyment out of it because quiet honestly if he didnt it would have found itself in the bin. A volume control really would have been better than nothing.
As well as the irritating music issue I do feel that it does have another design flaw.
I have a very inquisitive son, he has been since an early age and he is fascinated by the working mechanisms and moving parts of all toys including this one, unfortunately the bubble mechanism is located within the funnel and it is open enough for him to acess with his fingers, my son wants to know where the bubbles are coming from, he can see movement and his automatic reaction is to stick his fingers in, unfortunately a few times it has resulted in him almost getting them stuck in there, I feel that their must been a way that the toy could have been designed withhout the mechanism having to be as exposed as much as it is, especially when it was designed for children of 18months plus.
After each use I would recommend that you remove the front section again and rinse it with warm water to remove any excess bubble solution residue that may be left inside as if left to dry it can effect the bubble mechanism from functioning properly and it will get all stuck up.
All in all I do think this is a fantastic toy for any little Thomas the tank engine lover out there. I wouldnt necesarily go by the suggested 18months plus as my son really did get a lot of enjoyment out of it before hand, I would just reccomend that its used with adult supervision at all time, even when the child is older because of the spillage and moving mechanism issues.
In three years my son has had many hours of fun with this toy, its withstood his ever increasing heavy hands and withstood being dropped a couple of times yet it is still in perfect working condition. At times I do wish that the sound would give up the ghost as that ever looping 20second look will drive you insane but I guess that is just wishful thinking.
The product retails at £24.99 which I consider reasonable because of the amount of useage its had and how durable and hard wearing it has been as my son has grown over the past three years but I would advise that you look around as I have seen this available new in stores for as little as £14.99
My son has loved Thomas the Tank Engine for much of his young life and at 2 and a half years old now he is still as crazy about this children's TV programme as he ever was. Whenever it comes on TV he's always pointing and the screen and recoginises the familiar blue engine. So, around Christmas I was looking for a Toy he would love and play with, and settled on this Thomas Magic bubbles toy that was just under £30.
He absolutely loves it and can't get enough of it. The toy is aimed at 18 months or over which is probably just about right. The idea of this particular toy is that it plays music and blows bubbles out of the funnel from where you would normally see steam rising. You will need 3 C batteries for this and these go in the base of the tank engine. In order to add the bubble solution to Thomas you need to screw off the head and add it in there, so pretty simple really.
When the engine is turned on the whistle blows and and bubbles come flooding out of the funnel as he goes along. As he moves around the room he plays the Thomas the tank engine them tune over and over again which is fun for my son, but does get a bit irritating after it's played a few times on a continuous loop! The tank engine moves along very slowly in a straight line.
I personally think it's a good novelty toy and my son does enjoy it. My only reservations for some people is the price and that could put you off perhaps. At nearly £30 for the tank engine and then the battery price on top and the bubble mixture which was around £25 for the big bottle it can be quite expensive for what it is. Still, it does provide some entertainment for a while and means your child will occupy himself or herself for a while.
My step son is mad about Thomas the tank engine and mad about bubbles...so when my mother in law asked what she should get him last christmas I suggested the Magical Bubble Thomas.
I had seen it in the Argos catalogue and thought it was perfect, though at £24.99 and after spending quite a lot on other presents for him it was a bit much for me.
The toy is a Thomas the tank engine train which plays music and blows bubbles out of the funnel - like steam from a steam engine...but bubbles instead. It is aimed at age's 18months+. It requires 3 C batteries which aren't included which is quite disappointing as C batteries aren't the easiest to find or the type that you would have lying around the house.
Once you find your batteries you need to unscrew the base to insert them. Yes extra safe but also frustrating if you don't have a mini screwdriver to hand. Then comes the fun part! You need to take off Thomas' head to add the bubble solution! Quite disturbing if baby is watching however if it was left up to daddy the bubbles would have been poured down the funnel, however the instructions advise you NOT to do this or you could damage it. Good job mummy reads things first!
Anyway, to remove Thomas' head could be quite a task without instructions so I would advise anyone to keep hold of them until they have used it once. The bubble solution is poured into a compartment in the back of his head and when switched on he toots his whistle and off he goes full steam ahead blowing bubbles all the way. The first time you switch him on it takes a while for the solution to connect with the bubble wand but once it has done its job it works well. The stream of bubbles isn't constant but it does pump out a good amount each time however, I feel a bit short changed with the size of the bubble solution. For £25 a bottle a bit bigger if not twice the size would have felt a bit more appropriate.
You can either choose to let Thomas roam around or make him stay in one spot, either way he plays the same song over and over again. He moves in a straight line quite slowly, if he hits a wall he keeps trying to go that way which is a big disappointment. I would think for the price of this toy the least it could do it maybe change direction or if it hit a wall start going backwards...ANYTHING except just banging into the wall repeatedly! Even if he drove in a circle it would be better. However the staying still mode isn't much better, the result is that you have a soaked, slippy carpet.
The other thing I don't like is the music! Yes its all part of the Thomas experience and it did make my son dance like a loonie for all of a few minutes but after that it's just irritating. There SHOULD be a button which turns the music off and still allow it to blow bubbles. Also how exactly are you supposed to stop an inquisitive 18month old from looking down the funnel to see where the bubbles are coming from? Or sticking his fingers in the very open hole? Or picking up Thomas and tipping him upside down?? We played with this for the first time today and lasted roughly half an hour before my step son did all three of the above leaving bubble solution all over the floor and bubbles in his face and he is 5 months older than the suggested age. MY son is 16 months and happily sat and clapped his hands when the bubbles came out but I imagine it wouldn't take him long to start exploring its parts.
Overall this product IS a good idea but in reality it has a few things that need adjusting to make it child safe. It is a lot of money to spend on a toy especially when the novelty (and bubbles) runs out pretty quickly.