Product Type: Tomy Novelty Toy
Newest Review: ... 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 splitt... more
They forgot the volume control!
Thomas Magic Bubbles
Member Name: loveableukangel
Thomas Magic Bubbles
Advantages: Fun. Durable, Hard wearing, can be used static or in motion
Disadvantages: you cannot switch the 20 second looping tune off, drains batteries quickly
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
Summary: a fun toy for all little Thomas the tank engine lovers out there