* Prices may differ from that shown
A couple of years ago my mum was looking at what to get my children for Christmas. I suggested that she might like to buy some items from the Chuggington range as both boys were fond of the TV programme on cbeebies, and I was pretty sure they would enjoy playing with the range. When Christmas day came, she had bought pretty much everything you can buy in the range, so as well as the main engines, we also got a nice selection of accessory carriages, one of which was this Mtambo safari set.
Mtambo is a special chuggington train. He does not feature in a lot of the episodes, but when there is cause to go to the Safari park, then you see him. He is the tour guide for the safari park. One episode of the showed the animals getting up to mischief, so the fact that the two carriages both feature an animal is interesting for the kids, and it is novel.
These two carriages are a little dearer than buying one engine from the range. The RRP of a single engine is about £5, whereas the RRP on this particular set is £9.99. On amazon this is currently £8.44. I think really, this is nice, but if I were buying the Chuggington trains for my children myself, I don't think I would have gone to quite so much effort to buy every train and carriage from the range. I class this particular engine as an extra to me. Of course the kids recognise it and enjoy playing with it, but they would not be too bothered if it wasn't there. Perhaps if I set up a safari style scene with them with some extra animals then they would get a lot more out of it.
I find that these carriages are on the same size plastic base as all the other diecast engines in the range. The little monkey in the passenger car is attached to the seat so you cannot remove it. The elephant however does come out. I find that these animals look more like cartoon animals than actual animals, and this spoils the look a bit for me.
These carriages have the same coupling section that all the engines have, so they could attach to any of the engines, not just Mtambo. I think my children would have been just as happy attaching these to one of the three trainee engines who are the central characters to the show.
The colouring on this is quite light, and I have noticed that all the other light coloured engines have chipped on the paintwork. These have as well, but not as bad as others we own, so I think that tells me that the kids have not played with these engines in quite the same way as the main engines.
One good thing about these carriages is that they are small enough to fit in the Brewster carrier case that my mum also bought the kids. Some carriages are too tall or long, and it is a pain trying to store it all together. I find this pleasing as a parent.
My overall impression are that these are as well made as all other engines in the series. There is less detail on these as they are just painted characters and not painted to look exactly like a character from the show. I think these are nice, but not essential to enjoy the Chuggington range.