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With this set you receive 5 engines, Bertie the bus, Harold the helicopter, the fat controller and the thin controller, 2 signal polls and a buffer. There are different variations of the set although Thomas James and Percy always seem to appear the other 2 engines seem to swap and change we went for the Spencer and Rosie version as these were well known to my son.
The engines -Three of the engines are main characters in the TV show and while the other 2 are well known it is nice to have something a little different to every other set you get. The engines are made of thick plastic which means they can take a good deal of bashing without coming out any worse which is perfect for a toy designed at younger children as they do not tend to look after their toys well and them exploring often means they get a lot of rough play.
Each engine and piece of this set is painted bright in colour and every detail is perfect meaning they are easily recognisable to little one from first look and with the details such as the engine number.
The wheels move on the engines and although they do not make noises or move by them self they are nice and chunky a good size for little one to hold in their hand and push along to provide hours of fun. Although the wheels move round they are set firmly in place and in the 3 years we have had this set there has never been a case of them coming loose.
The sizes vary and it is great that they remain true to the TV show Spencer and James are a little longer than the rest of the engines as they are on the show and my son certainly noticed this and thought it was great calling all the other engines little when pretending to be James.
Bertie the bus - again made of durable plastic this bus has movable wheels and scoots along the floor when little one pushes him. Bright red pain and his smiley face all make sure he is just as lovable as the character from the TV program.
The fat controller and station master- These are simply 2 plastic figures that stand well on flat surfaces they have no moving parts and are set in one position but my son loves sitting them at the side of the set to make sure the engines are being really useful.
Signal polls and buffer- Again made of plastic these are great props for setting the scene for the engines to play they have took a lot of bashings from engines that have lost control and are very well loved.
Harold- designed to look exactly on the engine from the show he has propellers that move and is often flying in over many of my son's toys.
Well we have had this set since my oldest son was 1 and he is now nearly 5 and not 1 piece of the set has any scratches or has been defaced in any way and considering it has had all that use from toddlers I think this is fantastic. As all the set is plastic it can just be wiped clean so always looks as good as new.
This set is great as you do not need a track to play with it so little one can use it on normal flooring and have lots of fun. The wheels are all movable and more freely on both wood and carpet flooring and the blades on Harold can be pushed around also.
There is no need for worrying about pieces falling off as they are made of 1 large piece of plastic apart from the wheels and these have not loosened even a small bit in the years we have had them.
Although they are chunky and a great size for smaller hands they are also very light meaning they can be moved around very easily. They can be used together as a set or individually and the signals, buffers and the controllers often get used at the side of my sons track master sets.
Another fantastic thing about this set is the age range it can be used for it is recommended from 1 year plus which is when we first brought this for our oldest son and he still plays with it now and he is nearly 5. Our nephew is 7 and this is one of the first toys he reaches for when he comes to stay so they really do last for years and have appeal to a big age range.
This is a fantastic set and the only negative I can see is it is hard to come by now it used to retail at around £30 but was always on special offer and we actually paid under £10 for it. You seem to be able to purchase them on eBay still and Argos outlet on eBay always have great prices for them I would definitely recommend them for this price it is a steal.
The Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends Mega Value Playset is produced by Golden Bear Toys and consists of 12 pieces, 5 engines, 2 characters, a helicopter, a single decker bus, one buffer and two signals and retails at £14.99 from Argos.
Littlest HonestBob received this set for Christmas and loves it. The trains are made from plastic and chunky in design. Their wheels are rubber and whoosh at great speed over my laminate floor. Littlest HonestBob thinks this is great, I'm not so keen when my toes are their resting point. The trains don't actually 'do' anything. They have no sound effects, no battery operated parts, no flashing lights, educational songs or pull-back-and-go features. They are just chunky plastic models. Thomas is 6cm high, 12cm long and 6cm wide, James is 15cm long, Rosie, Percy and Spencer are of similar proportions. They are the perfect size for toddlers to cart around. None of the parts are removable, the wheels are firmly fixed in position (but do rotate on axels firmly located in the plastic engine body) and the engine body's are smooth to the touch, hence the guide age for this playset is 12+ months. An ideal starting age, and a toy that will last several years, yes, 9 year old son does play alongside 23 month old littlest son quite happily with these trains.
I have found that the engines are the most played with part of this set. Harold the helicopter gets an outing every now and then. The kids often use him with the elc whizzaround garage which has a helipad for him to 'land' on, and he's the perfect size for it. Bertie Bus is often added to games using cars and a road map mat that we have. The station porter figure and Fat Controller figure get brought into games occasionally, more so by the older children (aged 9 and 10), less so by littlest HonestBob. The buffer and signals are not used at all and have been consigned to the bottom of a toy box since Christmas day. They are a pointless addition to the playset since the set does not come with a track (the engine are all free-standing, no track to run on and no carriages to pull) and they fall over at the slightest knock.
We love the engines, helicopter and figures in this set. I use the engines to teach colours and words such as 'fast', 'slow', 'forwards' and 'backwards. Littlest HonestBob uses the engines to ram into each other and use words such as 'crash' and 'naughty engine'!!
Playset includes Thomas, Percy, Harold, Bertie, Spencer, James and Rosie, The Fat controller, Station Master, 2 signals and a buffer to create endless hours of fun.