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... well not quite. Irving is meant to be a shunting engine in charge of recycling and cleaning in Chuggington, but he looks like a brake car or caboose to us. He is perfectly designed and looks just like the cartoon character, but this really is one of the lesser characters in the programme. When my son was younger , one his favourite stories was The Caboose Got Loose, and he still enjoys it now and then. My boys have also always loved the red braking car and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum - so they have always wanted a caboose. When my son saw this in a toy shop - he thought it was a caboose and asked for it. At the time though it was ridiculously over priced at about £10 - so I promised to see if I could get it online. Luck was on my side and I picked this up for £3 odd from Amazon. The current price is slightly higher at £4.49 - but still quite fair.
Irving has been used most often as caboose in our house, hooked up to another engine, or even a long line of engines. He feels a bit light weight, and I did have my doubts about the light plastic wheels, but he does roll along very well, picking up speed nicely on tracks. He can be a little bit prone to flying off ramps if going to fast, which I do feel is due to being light, but he is well made and like all of other Chuggington trains, after two years of play looks no different from the day he was bought. When hooked to another car he seems to do very well, but of course to many cars in a row increase the chance of flying off a track on a curve. This has been used with a set that has ramps and a Hotwheels style speed booster which pushes it along. Despite a few crashes - he has never shown any damage. My son has always especially liked this car because it is a bit different - and something to attach to the other trains. Coupling and uncoupling is made very easy with a simple plastic ball and socket.
I do really like this engine, but I bought these before the wooden line was released. I think these are ever so much better than the interactive trains - which sit unused in a large box - but they still don't match a wooden train set in my opinion. They are inexpensive, easy to collect, and well made though. You can also find accessories for these quite easily. We use this with the Wilson carry case, and my son has always enjoyed having a set of trains that can easily be carried about like this - and just as easily put away. I won't rate Irving down because he is not wooden - after all that isn't fair - if you are looking for a good quality die-cast toy - this fits the bill perfectly.
Chuggington is a fairly recent CBeebies television show that has really enthralled our grandson. It's a cartoon filled with colourful trains called chuggers, who are learning the ropes of how to be useful trains when they grow up. It's a bit like Thomas the Tank Engine but brighter and happier! The people behind the show finally put together a range of Chuggington toys that were released last month, and the grandson immediately 'needed' six of the new diecast Chuggington trains.
This little diecast model is of Irving. In the TV show, Irving is a mature train who helps to tutor the young chuggers. He's a big authority figure in the show, and a bit stuffy too, but for some reason he's one of the grandon's favourites despite his uptight manner.
I think they captured the essence of the character rather well in this model, though he doesn't look as mature in model form as he does in the cartoon series. He looks like he should look, looking at his shape and size and features - I just think they've made him look a bit younger than they should have done. I guess it's a bit easier to give a cartoon a look of maturity than it is a diecast train eh?
He's nicely made with lots of little moulded details all around his carriage. I do think he'd have benefited from some kind of interactive part though, like perhaps an opening door or similar. His coupling is strong and he attaches easily to the other trains, and his wheels run smoothly and fluidly.
Irving is a sturdy enough little train who works well and looks close enough to satisfy your average three to five year old. I think they put a little less effort into him than they did into some of the others from this range, but he'll suffice nonetheless. If you want to buy him, he retails for £5.99, which is pricy but only the same as you pay for the Thomas the Tank Engine diecast trains. We got ours from Toys R Us as part of a three for the price of two offer.