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I got this for my 2 and 3 year old last year when they were 1 and 2, as they have always enjoyed watching Chuggington and had quite a collection of Chuggington die-cast vehicles that they could use with it. They had previously enjoyed playing with wooden train sets so I thought why not try something similar, but a bit different.
The set comes with a koko die-cast, the main roundhouse building which has 4 open-able doors in different colours and a turntable with 4 exits. It only comes with very minimal amount of track pieces so I bought a couple of packets of extra track, along with some signals and junctions, just to make the set a bit bigger and more interesting. I have also reviewed the track set here on dooyoo.
My boys were really excited to get this chuggington set, especially my eldest. They set it up and played with it straight away after being given it and have come back to it regularly ever since, they play with it most days but normally they try to just integrate it together with the wooden track, by placing it alongside that even though it is not actually compatible. That is because they do prefer the wooden tracks than the chuggington track, as it is much easier to put together and create the tracks, but they really like the roundhouse. Sometimes they pretend it is Tidmouth sheds from Thomas because we have not got a Tidmouth sheds, or sometimes they will make up stories about thomas and chuggington characters together.
The quality of the set is okay, I don't have any major complaints but I would not say it is the best I have seen. Unfortunately a little bit did break off from ours, but as it was not a vital component it's not too big of an issue.
I actually got this for just over 5 pounds from Amazon when I spotted it reduced! so at that price I was extremely pleased with it. Normally it seems to be retailing at around 15 pounds which is still not too bad, as you get the diecast koko with it which is normally around 5 pounds on its own, and then the roundhouse and the few track pieces.
There is a wooden Chuggington roundhouse set out now, which may be better quality so possibly a better buy but I would still say this set is good and it is totally compatible with the chuggington die cast range, so it is good to add some fun for children who already have some of the die cast engines.
I have 2 and 4 year old boys who like most little boys are into toy trains. Thomas has never been one of their things, but they do like the new series Chuggington on the cbeebies channel. The programme is about 3 trainee trains who are learning how to do all the jobs in the fictional town of chuggington. The roundhouse features in most episodes as it is where they sleep, so when my mum suggested getting this set for my boys i was quite happy to agree it would be a good idea.
The set seemed really good value for money as it contains enough track to make a circle, the roundhouse, and also comes with one of the trainee engines, Koko, which is a female green engine. (Cynically i suspect it is because maybe she is less popular than the 2 male trainee characters, although i could be highly wrong.)
On opening the box, the toy is in pieces, but it is very easy to connect it all together. The tracks don't have the usual jigsaw type connection that you see on Brio train sets. It is a system that clips together by lining up protuding sections on each piece so that they firmly clip together. A bit hard for my 2 year old to get the technique as you have to do it while it is completely flat or it doesn't line up. There are 3 pieces of track that make a circle for the engine to go round.
You then need to attach the launcher to the back of the roundhouse. This attaches in the same way, and once it is attached you can move it around the back of the roundhouse to the 4 different positions behind each door.
There are also 3 smaller parts that attach to the base of the play set in between the 4 doors. These are meant to be a paint spray machine, and a buffer, with a mirror to admire the end result. These pieces can only go in one position due to the way they connect to the base.
The launch system is a lot less complicated than i expected. I thought the engine should clip to the launcher before being released, but you just put it next to it and then you need to press it quite well to make the engine go any distance.
We'd owned this set for a couple of weeks before i looked at it properly and realised that it used batteries. As the launcher is moved round the board, it causes the shed doors to open. When you put batteries in, you also get an LED and each door plays a different engine toot. This is a nice touch. However, i was quite disappointed that a toy of this calibre did not come with batteries included so this could be played with from the start. I feel it is rare these days that toys don't arrive with at least a demo battery.
The kids do like the set, and have played with it a little. It does have a bit limited appeal though i think. If there were more track included then they might have more fun constructing different tracks, but it doesn't even look like you can buy more track to make it do this due to the way the ends of the track taper off on each play set i have seen.
If we had not got other engines in the series to add to this set i feel they would have played with it less than they have. They seem to spend more time pushing the engines around the floor or coffee table rather than playing with this.
Also, the blue shed door is already being a bit tempremental about playing its toot when the door opens, so i am not even sure it will last that long with fairly gently play. It took a few goes today to make it play.
I find this set quite disappointing when the engines themselves are such good quality and adding a few bits of plastic track could have made it much better. No train set these days comes with so few parts unless you can buy add ons. The kids will no doubt still play with it from time to time, but it is not as good as it looked.