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BigJigs Buffer Set
Member Name: pmcds
BigJigs Buffer Set
Date: 22/12/12, updated on 23/12/12 (22 review reads)
Advantages: Quality design, educational
Disadvantages: Nothing really
This set of 6 buffers is a good accompaniment to your train track set. Our eldest, when he was more into making tracks, found that he'd end up with multiple routes and couldn't always get them to join up to each other, so he needed to end them where they were. Sure, he could have just left them open ended, but it's much better to use an end point like these buffers to indicate the track finishes deliberately there and not because there's no way of joining it to another!
As with all Brio track pieces, the design here is intricate. In the pack, you get 6 buffer pieces, 3 of each of the 2 connections to allow pieces of track with either end (nobble or hole) to join on. This is important and well thought out, as you wouldn't want to worry about which piece of track you're finishing with, and it allows you to tail off wherever you are or whenever you want. The pieces with the bobble on the end may look shorter, but really they're all the same length it's just that the pieces with the hole have more track widthwise so this reflects visually on how long it looks.
There's just enough room at the end of them too. Most compatible train sizes don't have an excessive amount of overhang at the end, nor do the wheels finish right at the edges very often. This means that you're unlikely to start noticing the trains coming to a stop at an awkward position on the end of the track, and in reality it doesn't really make that much difference. The designers have made sure that there's enough track without making it look like the train is short of where it ideally should be.
The vertical part of the track is also a good height. In reality, train buffers are curved and designed to take impact and absorb contact if necessary, but there is obviously no such need here unless you manage to make your train go at Scalextric speed in which case it won't stay on the track anyway! Here, the vertical part is just right, firm design ensuring seamless link between it and the flat part. There's a striped red and white warning symbol on the front that is there to give some sort of indication to the theoretical driver, and this is quite a good educational point as well, teaching kids to be on the lookout for something when they see these colours together.
It provides a good talking point, and shows that sometimes the simplest designs are the best. The treated wood shows in the durability of the products, and this is where I was surprised to find that this is not quite the same as the other pieces in the set we have. The vast majority is Brio, yet this is not, and I have spent a long time thinking it is, mainly due to the hardwearing nature of it. Bigjigs train track pieces are compatible with Brio, which is something certainly worth knowing. As a train buffer, you'd imagine that this buffer certainly gets more bashing than many of the other pieces, and the buffers have held together well under some intense and devastating train crashes. The red and white symbols have stayed surprisingly intact, showing only the occasional slightest bit of wear and tear, but other than this, you wouldn't notice much difference between old and new.
The educational benefits of having quality toys to play with are so important. There's nothing worse than seeing a disillusioned child giving up on an inferior toy that doesn't do what it possibly should, and there's no danger of it happening with this. The design and finish are top notch, and although this is usually reflected in the price, I genuinely think that some things are worth paying for. These Bigjigs pieces come in at a cheaper price than Brio, the leaders in quality design for wooden train tracks, but the tracks are compatible and I was actually surprised to find that these are not Brio, such is the quality. We were lucky enough to acquire the vast majority of our track pieces at a car boot sale for a real bargain, but anything we have bought subsequently or any money others have spent on adding to the set has been worth it in terms of value for the track pieces. Highly recommended.
Summary: Another top quality Brio track piece
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