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Chuggington is a childrens television series that features a set of diesel and coal engines who work and live in the town of Chuggington. Similarly to the Thomas the Tank Engine series, all of the engines talk and have personalities on the show, so it was unsurprising to me that there were a series of toys released to accompany the show. These are made by Learning Curve who also make some of the Thomas sets. They have quite a different look to the Thomas range as the look is a bit more colourful, and more American in style.
Dunbar is a large shunting engine based upon the electric engine, the EMD_GP38-2 manufactured between 1972 and 1986. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_GP38-2. He has quite a square boxy looking appearance, and has a striking green coat of paint which I think looks really authorative. In the show Dunbar has a large role in the training of the younger characters in the show so he is a character my children are really familiar with and he features a lot in their games when playing with their models of the engines.
The diecast engines are all similar in size. Some of these diecast engines are a little more comfortable to hold than others. Dunbar is one of those that is less comfy. He features an 8 wheel plastic base which is a good quality. The wheels all turn round really smoothly, and we have never had any breakage on these wheels. Dunbar also has the same coupling system as all the other engines in this set which is a strong ball and socket connection which is easy to connect and undo, but will not split when pulling other trucks. You can get a flatbed truck to go with Dunbar, but we tend to use the smaller box cars and recovery trucks which go with Dunbar's assistant Calley who is a smaller shunting engine.
I think Dunbar's square appearance makes him look a bit more severe compared to the other engines. He has quite a large open mouth which doesn't look like a big smile like some of the younger engines. He has a simple level of detail on his paintwork. There is what looks like an outer handrail painted in brown, and the same simple detailing showing the windows. Other fans and grills are in green and shown more with texture than colour.
I think Dunbar is a fairly essential part of a Chuggington model engine collection if your child likes to recreate the sort of things they have seen on the TV. They can use Dunbar to show the younger engines how to behave.
The Chuggington engines cost between £3.50 and £5 from online shops like amazon and toy stores like The Entertainer. I feel Dunbar is one I would pick up at the cheaper end of the scale as I think the ones that have moving parts like Action Chugger or Mtambo are worth more in my opinion. Dunbar is well made. A lot of our engines have chipping on the more prominent edges through play and being stored in the toy box. Dunbar has faired better than most with his darker paintwork. A fine looking engine, with an important role in my childrens role play.
Dunbar acts as both Vee's right hand engine and as a mentor to the younger engines, he takes great pride in shaping them into successful engines. Let Dunbar drive around the interactive tracks (sold separately) and he will respond to the engines and locations he comes across. Each interactive engine features 'Smart Talk' technology which recognises places and engines with up to 80 sounds and phrases (when used with other Chuggington Interactive products). This engine has the real voice of Dunbar from the TV series and includes his favourite catchphrases. The Chuggington Interactive Dunbar with Flatbed is a great way to encourage imaginative play.