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My youngest son loves Thomas along with his brother and as he is always trying to steal his older brothers remote control cars we thought this would be great for him as it has simple controls so for once he would actually be able to use them. We paid around £10 for it when it was on sale on Amazon and I had some vouchers although regular retail is anywhere between £15 to £20.
**The train and remote**
The remote and train need 5 AA batteries in total to run 3 for the remote and 2 for Thomas himself. These batteries last fairly well and in the year we have had this toy we have only had to change them once. The remote is simple enough it has an on off switch at the side of it that does exactly that switches Thomas off and then back on when you want to play. E is only two buttons forward and back they are nice and large so easy for little one to press by themselves.
Thomas is made of plastic and fairly well made he is not very heavy at all so little one can pick him up and put him down wherever they want him to begin from. All the features are just like Thomas from the TV show making him easily recognisable to little one straight away. Thomas can be pushed along rather than just used with the remote but the wheels are not as free moving as they could be which makes it a little frustrating for little one.There are no starches or marks even though this has been bumped into walls and other toys many times which is great as it is aimed at children as young as 1 they are not always the kindest to their toys so it is great it is so well made.
To begin you switch Thomas on and then he is ready to go little one simply pushes one of the two buttons and away Thomas goes he does move really slowly and crawls along when used on carpet if you use him on wooden flooring he moves a little quicker but still fairly slowly not that my son minds he just thinks it is fantastic he is making Thomas move.
When you press the forward button Thomas does exactly that he moves forward in a straight line I did worry it would be a case of having to turn Thomas round manually as there are only two buttons but this is where the back button comes in to play. Rather than going backwards as you would expect when you press the back button Thomas actually moves around in a circle meaning little one can get Thomas to face whichever way they want.
Although this is a little difficult for little one to judge when to stop the engine and press forward to make him go the other way. This does not seem to bother my youngest son in the slightest he loves the fact that if he holds the back button Thomas will go around and around in a circle tooting every now and again and my older son is able to use the back button to turn Thomas whichever way h wants and then press forward again so I think it is a good addition.
While Thomas is chugging round the train randomly plays the Thomas theme tune and also each time little one stops pressing any of the buttons Thomas tots just before he stops moving. The remote works well and the response from the train is very good you do not need to be standing right next to the train for it to work and this allows Thomas to be driven a fair way away without it stopping play.
This is not a nosy toy although it does have sounds and there is no volume control as it is not constantly playing and when it does decide to play the Thomas tune it is at an acceptable level just loud enough for little one to enjoy it without it driving us parents crazy.
When we purchased this toy it said that the funnel lights up along with it playing the theme tune and tooting every now and again. Even when we first purchased this and the batteries were at the fullest it has only given a tiny bit of light and this is only noticeable if you are purposely looking down the funnel to try and find it. Saying that what my son does not know doesn't hurt him and as he never knew this function was supposed to be available he does not miss it and I am not sure he would be too bothered even if it did work.
This toy does receive some play but it is more of 10 minutes of play before my boys move on to something else, they do enjoy the time they use this toy but as it is that simple and slow paced they do become bored with it very easily.
It has lasted well for the time it has been used and both my youngest son who is nearly 2 and my eldest son who is nearly 5 enjoy playing with this although they do use it in different ways. It is interactive yet very simple and I would say although age recommendation is from 1 to 5 years it is suited at younger children between 1 and 2 years ideally as the remote is so simple to use and the limited interest of the toy.I would recommend this toy for any Thomas fan especially the younger ones as this is well suited to them I would shop around as with a lot of toys it tends to go on sale often especially on Amazon although I would have been happy paying the full retail for this toy as it is well made and works well.