When I was a child I absolutely loved trains - but they weren't considered a girls toy - mores the pity - the boys got all the good toys! I do think the family may have been a bit worried about me - thankfully today people are less concerned with gender sterotyping in toys but now I am sadly too old to buy toys for myself - thankfully my sons took an interest in trains too - so now I can buy them and play with them to my hearts content - but when they outgrow trains - I am keeping Puffer Pete.
Puffer Pete is the only steam engine in the Chuggington range - and he is meant to be 150 years old. He is also meant to be based on the old American 4-4-0 style of locomotive, such as the Jupitor. I can see a resemblence but without the huge spark arrester and cattle guard used across the American prairies - I think it is only slight. It does remind us quite a bit of the trains and the Downpatrick and County Down Railway which we visit each Christmas for our own Polar express trip. It certainly isn't as bulky as the Orenstein and Koppel Industrial Tank Locomotive we usually end up with, but it's close enough to be a wee reminder.
My sons have caught my fascination with trains, aircraft and everything that goes, although I expect most boys seem to like these things too. We have had Puffer Pete for a couple of years now. We had it on my Amazon watch list and ordered as soon as it was released as my sons were both especially interested in this train, and along with Action Chugger, this was one of his very favourites. He isn't quite as much into Chuggington anymore, but when he does take the trains out, this remains a firm favourite. This has had far more play than the battery operated interactive Chuggington trains we bought, and in retrospect - I wish wwe had just stayed with diecast from the beginning.
When we first bought these trains - I was not impressed with the wheels. They are plastic and really did not look the best made to me. I think I misjudged these though - as despite plenty of play - this is still looks like it has just come out of the box, and the wheels are still perfect. Everything else on the train is perfect as well, despite numerous crashes and being used on a racing track with ramps etc... There is not a chip on this train - or any of our die cast Chuggington trains, nor has there been any fading of the colours. The plastic coupling joints are still as good as new as well, and very easy for even very young children to attach other cars to - or take them apart.
I paid about £6 for this, but it is slightly less now at £4.89 new and delivered from Amazon. I have seen these on special at Smyths for even less - so it may be worth shopping around. As much as I like this train, if Ithey has had these in wooden when we first starting buying them - Id have paid the extra couple of pound for a wooden engine. I absolutely love the wooden train tracks and we have a huge set up on a permanent train table made from an old door. My son has used these on teh wooden tracks - but they really don't fit well. On the plus side though - there is a large range of tracks and accesories for the diecast trains, they are reasonably priced - well made and nearly impossible to damage. My son especially loved taking these in and out of a large Wilson carrying case, and even now this is always returned to its case when he done playing. I am happy to recommend this to any Chuggington fans and would like to mention that you can buy a lovely little book of Puffer Pete from Amazon as well.
*** Before I write this review, I noticed that the picture currently in the catalogue shows an interactive train, which is not the train that we own. I have asked dooyoo to change the picture here to the correct one for the product listed. ***
Chuggington is a popular TV series shown on the cbeebies channel that shows life in the town of Chuggington, which is populated by a collection of trains and a few people. My sons have never been Thomas fans really, so when they were quite fond of this show, I suggested to my mum that she might want to choose some items from the show for Christmas presents for my children. We have owned these Diecast engines for nearly two years now, as they were bought for my eldest son when he was 4 years old.
Old Puffer Pete is quite a distinct character in the show. He is a really old steam engine, and though he gets quite confused, he features quite a lot in the show, and because he is quite a funny character, no set of trains would be complete without him. To buy your own Puffer Pete, he is currently £4.99 on amazon, though I have seen him in shops for £3.99.
The chuggington trains are all diecast, with metal bodies and plastic bases and wheels. Each engine has couplings which connect to each other. These are plastic joints a bit like a ball and socket, so you can link any chuggington train to another. Puffer Pete looks quite distinctive as his body is all black with some gold and red detailing. He has quite a short cab section, then a long body with a funnel. The headlights are plain black and are on the front of the body section. I always think these look a bit like glasses and because his eyes are a little droopy and half closed, it always looks to me a little like an older gentleman who is squinting through glasses perched on the end of his nose.
The trains are quite hard wearing. None of the plastic bits have snapped off or failed in any way, and most of the engines are still in great condition. With this one I have noticed that some of the red paint around the edge of his roof has started to chip in places, the black paint is still immaculate. The gold paint has worn on the front funnel.
The chuggington models are all pretty similar in scale so that they can work with any set. This one is about 4 inches long by 1.5 inchs wide and almost 2 inches tall at the cab end. It runs well on the Roundhouse track that we own, and I found that they also run on a Brio style wooden track that we got from IKEA many years ago. This size is also pretty good for a toddler to hold in their hand when they are playing.
I find that the wheels on these turn smoothly when they are pushed on a hard surface or the track, and that the play experience is pretty satisfying. My sons seem to enjoy making a long train out of all these engines and pulling it around either on my laminate floor or on a track they have created themselves. Sometimes they make them all into one great big circle, and other times I hear them recreating some of the things they have seen in the show.
While Pete is not one of the main characters in this show, I do think that he is central enough to make him important for any collection.
Die cast Old Puffer Pete engine with easy Coupling System to connect and play to ensure engines never detach from each other.Although he?s the oldest train in Chuggington at 150 years old, Pete—a steam engine—has been looked after so well, he can still chuff up and down the tracks, albeit slowly and wheezily.He loves nothing better than watching the trainees work and learn, while passing on his wisdom like a grandfather figure. He has a real sense of humour and loves to ?pull the youngsters? pistons.