“ Brand: Brio / Type: Wooden train set - Mickey Mouse themed „
For those of you who spend their evenings watching shows other than Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Pathfinder is the name of the Clubhouse Choo Choo. My son's have a rather extensive collection of wooden trains, ranging from Thomas the Tank Engine, to more realistic models like The Flying Scotsman, and The Mallard. They also really enjoy Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, especially my two year old who could watch it 24 hours a day, so when I saw Brio was making Mickey Mouse Clubhouse toys for their wooden train lines, it was a pretty good bet for Christmas.
Brio is famous for wooden toys, but I have found recently they have been using more and more plastic, with just enough wood included to still call them wooden toys. This set is pretty mixed between wood and plastic.
Mickey of course, like all Brio figures is entirely plastic, and I do think to have wooden figures this size would require hand carving, which although it would be lovely, would be far too costly. Mickey's arms move and his two legs can be bent down so that he can sit down or stand up.
Pathfinder was our main reason to buy this set. I really do think this model has perfectly captured the charm of this little toon train. The detail on this is quite good, right down to the spinning mouse ear key on the top of the engine, and the main rod pumping back and forth as the wheels spin around. This toy is almost entirely plastic though with only a very small wooden block on what would be the cab of the train. I would have been happy enough to sacrifice the one bit of wood for an open cab in which Mickey could ride. Still I do think this train is brilliant, and it is Pathfinder that made this set worth buying. Next comes a blue plastic carriage which, although entirely plastic, is also a brilliant addition to this set because it allows Mickey and one other character to ride the rails with Pathfinder, or hooked up to one of my sons' battery powered engines.
Finally you get two wooden cars, with a triangle and a circle, but this is where brio has let their usual high standards slip. You see all of the cars connect to each other by magnet. but if you look closely at the pictures you will never actually see the triangle car connected to the main train. This is because it can not. Magnets always have a north and south pole, and opposites attract but identicals repel. The triangle car has been made with two identical polarity magnets so that it can not be connected to Pathfinder, or any other car that is connected to Pathfinder. So basically this car is a complete waste and serves no purpose in this set whatsoever. Now it is entirely possible that only our set was made backwards, but Brio has refused to reply to my emails asking about this. Since they will not answer, I can only guess this is just how the train is made. At any rate, for a company as highly respected as Brio, it does seem quite unprofessional to refuse to reply to customer concerns. I can not find a phone number, but should they ever deem fit to send a reply I will certainly update this review.
Still I am giving this train 4 stars. It really is a cracker little train, and both my boys are really fond of it, but especially the youngest. Having Mickey mouse to add to their railway adventures is also a great plus. I paid £15 for this, but see it is now selling for £22.40 including postage. I do think it is bit expensive, but still basically worth purchasing for a youngster who loves Mickey and trains. But I would think of this as purchasing a train with two cars, not three, since one is useless. I would also consider buying pathfinder as part of Brio set 32222 instead, which is £10 more, but includes track a turn table, Daisy and Donald (but no Mickey) and a couple of other bits instead. I would have knocked another star for lousy customer service, but being my son loves this so much, I'll leave it at 4.
This train will work with all Brio railway tracks, as well as Wooden Thomas, ELC, Tesco, Asda, and most other wooden train sets.