“ Brand: Learning Curve „
Chuggington is a childrens television series filmed for the BBC and shown on the cbeebies channel and on bbc2. I became familiar with this programme just over two years ago when my boys started watching it as a new programme. In a similar vein to Thomas the Tank Engine, trains are given human features and emotions, and complete tasks around the town while getting up to mischief and learning from the error of their way.
My children really liked this as a telly programme, so my mum decided to buy them some of the trains from the TV show in the form of diecast engines, and we amassed quite a collection. One of the sets that we own came as a two piece set. This retails for around £9.99 on amazon, which is a reasonable price as one engine alone can retail for around £5. However, if you shop around, stores like the Entertainer can have these engines for a lower price, and obviously, the lower price is better value if you are wanting to buy a few trains from the set.
Calley is a small shunting engine in the show. She is an assistant to the larger shunting engine, Dunbar. She can be found pulling flatbed trucks, but she also is seen in the show going to the rescue of engines that break down. We already own the tow truck and the fire engine truck, but in this particular set, Calley is towing a slightly more boring box car.
Both Calley and the box car are a little smaller than the other engines in the series. Most of the diecast engines are on a plastic base that has 8 wheels. Calley and the box car both have 6. The width of these trucks are the same as the other engines. The box car is the same height and Calley is a couple of millimeters shorter.
Calley is quite a striking little engine, with bright orange and olive green paintwork. I feel she has quite an old look with prominent facial features. There is a section that is more prominently stuck out, which is the nose and mouth of Calley. The headlights are like cheeks, and her windscreen has gold highlighting and wipers which looks like heavy eyelids and eyebrows.
Calley and the box car both feature the ball and socket coupling system which is unique to the Chuggington engines. This connection is really strong, and Calley can connect to any other engine or accessory truck, and the box car can be towed by any character engine.
The box car is a bit dull in my opinion. There is yellow, orange and blue detailing to make it look like a truck. There is a panel in the middle of the left hand side of the truck which slides to the right. It reveals a sticker which shows the inside of the truck and some tools and cogs. This sliding panel is very stiff to unclip, and I find it requires a lot of effort to move it and the children find it hard to do alone.
Both engines are little enough for toddlers from about 2 and a half to walk around with and operate by themselves. They run smoothly along tracks and smooth surfaces. You can use them on the Chuggington track, but they work equally as well for us on the Ikea (Brio style) wooden track that we own, and the Thomas stuff.
Personally I don't think this is the most appealing pairing in the set. I don't think my boys would notice much if they didn't have this set as they prefer the characters that get more screen time. Its well made like all the other engines in the Chuggington range, though the orange paint on Calley has sustained some chipping on the edges with being played with a lot. The box car paintwork seems to be a bit shinier and harder wearing, and doesn't show any signes of wear at all.
I think I would personally buy some of the other characters like Frostini or Action Chugger before buying Callie, as this set is just not as big on the personality and play is less satisfying from what I have seen with my two boys.
Calley, a shunting engine, is Dunbars feisty assistant. She has her own set of service cars to perform her many different tasks. She loves to use her flashing yellow warning lights when shes out on an emergency and is like a big sister to the trainees. Her catchphrase is absotootly! Diecast engine with easy Coupling System to connect and play to ensure engines never detach from each other.