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My little boy is completely train mad. He turned 2 in October and just absolutely adores standing in front of the television shouting "Choochoo!" as Thomas The Tank Engine comes on. If he sees a picture of Thomas when we are out somewhere he will stop still and point, if he sees a toy whilst we are busy trying to do the shopping in Tesco he will refuse to stop crying unless he gets to carry it! He really is starting to get a little train obsession going on! I quite like it if i'm honest as it makes a change to dolls and princesses that Hope is into and it's nice he has an interest. This meant that buying him Christmas presents this year was pretty easy, he basically just got lots of Thomas things including this Diesel engine.
Take Along Thomas
Thomas the Tank Engine was a big hit in my house when I was little, my brother had the bed covers and I remember being really excited when the theme tune started and the programme was about to begin. There is something special about this show that really captures children's imaginations and attention which is still there today as now my little boy loves it. Some people recommended I buy him 'Take Along Thomas' for Christmas. I hadn't heard of these before and a quick Google showed me that these are quite small toys which come with tracks and engine sheds and that the majority of them fold up and some have carry handles so they can be carried along. I presume this is where the 'take along' element comes from. The engines you can buy all fit these tracks and sheds although these detract from the 'take along' as they don't fit into the tracks/sheds for carrying purposes but they are small enough to be held in the hand. For Christmas we bought M about 6 different engines, some of which I'd never even heard of before but we mainly bought them because they were different colours so would be easy for him to pick out rather than because they have names he'd recognise. So this is how we came about owning Diesel.
Details of the product
Diesel is an engine I hadn't heard of before, it seems that there are more and more engines being added to the range- is it to create more stories or is it to make money?! You decide! Diesel measures approximately 7cm long and 3cm wide. He has metallic elements as well as some plastic. He also has a magnet at the back and one at the front of him so he can attach to other engines. He is mainly black, the black is all around, the only thing that isn't is his face which is pale grey and the very front of his 'lights' which is red. The picture Dooyoo has provided suggests that the red goes all the way around the sides too but on our toy it doesn't. The wheels are black plastic and these go all the way round so it can be pushed along, It is actually fairly heavy for a train, it's not excessively so but you can tell that it is metallic and not plastic. When the toy is picked up it has a slight rattle to it as the wheels move. The toy fits in the tracks and the tunnels that we have as part of this range and the wheels move freely so that he is easy to push along the tracks without effort or frustration.
M playing with this toy
M loves his trains and first thing in the morning, before he has even had his breakfast, he will get his little box of toys and carry them into the lounge. He will get them out and play with them right away. He likes to set up his tracks and then run his trains along it. I have been using the trains as a way to try to encourage M to recognise different colours so I've been asking him to pass me the 'red one' or the 'black one' rather than 'James' or 'Diesel', the colours come first, we can learn names later. He has started to really interact with them and chatter away in baby language whilst playing so I can see his imagination coming through which is nice. He doesn't seem quite as interested in this toy as he does the others and I wonder if it is because he is black so not very bright or cheerful and the face of the toy is really miserable! The others all look happy but this one has got a bit of a grumpy face, it is smiling but the dark eyebrows and funny expression makes it not a very believable smile which is a bit odd! So although he doesn't show this one that much attention he will still push it along the track whilst playing with his trains, probably just not quite as much as the others. It will connect to the others using the magnet and it's quite a good, strong pull as they will stay together whilst being pushed around.
The ugly bit
Yesterday, whilst M was playing with these he had an accident. He was holding Diesel in his hand and stumbled. Now this is a toy which is called 'take along' so suggests it is one which is likely to be held whilst being taken somewhere. When M fell he landed on this toy. M is only very small for his age, he is still in age 6-9 clothes and so he hasn't got far to fall but this toy caused a lot of damage. I was absolutely stunned when M stood up from his tumble and turned to look at me. He had blood pouring out of his head. There were a few tears but he was mainly stunned. After we cleared up the blood i looked at the toy that he had been holding and wondered how on earth it could have caused so much damage and blood and then I realise the nose of it is very, very sharp. It is a pointy nose and just to touch it with my finger was sharp, not like a pin sharp but still very pointed. I felt all other parts of the train and although the corners are a little sharp they are not as much as this nose is. Once the blood had stopped coming out and it had dried up I was able to see the actual puncture mark and it looks as though something very thin (the nose) has sliced through M's skin for about 10mm. I can't believe that this nose has worked like a knife! I am so shocked by it and it's made me look at the other toys too and assess their noses. They're not as sharp as this one luckily. It seems strange that they make a toy have such a sharp point on it when it's recommended for young children and also recommended that they are 'take along' toys!
I am really surprised by this toy. I always thought that Thomas Products would be really reliable and that little details like this wouldn't have been overlooked. M doesn't seem phased by what happened and still has gone straight for his trains as usual first thing this morning. I know he will still love his choochoos but this one is being taken out for now! It seemed like a nice little train which went well with the set and M would enjoy playing with but it is also a very miserable looking engine and it's dark colours aren't the most inspiring for a young child so it definitely isn't his favourite in the set anyway. The fact that it has such a dangerous element to it really surprises me and for now it will be remaining out of the set and he may only play with it when I am watching him closely and not have him stand up with it again! I am going to ring the company who make these toys on Monday to report the incident so that they can hopefully change the design slightly so that other children don't experience such an incident. Fisher Price manufacture this product and it cost £6 from our ToyMaster shop. It gets 2 stars, 2 for being easy to push along, to have a good magnet, that it's a nice size for little hands to hold... 3 knocked off because it's hurt my son, it's miserable looking and it isn't his favourite of them all.
My son has a Thomas the Tank Engine Take & Play set that we are gradually building up over time. We buy him parts of the track for Christmas and for birthdays and we collect the trains here and there for small treats or with pocket money. One of the trains that we picked up as it was in Asda quite cheap (at around £4) was this Diesel engine. The Take & Play set is recommended for children aged 3 years plus, so the trains are naturally for that age too. My son is two and a half and has owned the set since he was two and I have no qualms with this. It is certainly safe for him to play with he just probably gets a little frustrated with the set more readily as his co-ordination is not so good.
The Diesel engine is perhaps not the most recognisable character from the Thomas the Tank series - it certainly wasn't a character that I was familiar prior to purchasing this. But then, there are a lot of trains in this set that I am unfamiliar with! It is also not the most attractive train in the set as it is largely black in colour. It is also quite square and angular looking rather than having smooth curves like the other trains. At the front of the train, there is a grey square face and the expression on this train is not very friendly either. The other trains seem to have happy, smiling faces that appeal to my son but this one looks quite grumpy. As I say, the bulk of the train is black in colour with a red floor. At the front and back of the train are two small, rounded silver magnets. These are embedded into the train, which is die-cast, so cannot be removed which is good from a safety aspect. These work to attach the train to other trains from the set so they can be pulled around the track in a line. The magnets are very strong and work both ways - so do not repel the other trains whatever way they are placed together.
The train is quite heavy, being die cast but this means that it is also very durable and well made. The paint has remained in place well too, despite being handled roughly at times by a toddler. It is probably one of the trains from the set that you can generally pick up most cheaply - at around £4-£5 - and I think that this is because it is so dull looking. It is certainly not one of my son's favourites - he hasn't even bothered to learn it's name yet - but it is a nice addition to the set none-the-less as the trains can tend to be quite pricey. Overall, not a favourite but one for a collection, especially as it is one of the least expensive ones!
Product line: Thomas the Tank Engine / Diesel take n play / Size: small / Take-n-Play a durable die cast engine that features Smart Magnets that connect either way / and allow you to connect other engines or tender at either the front or the back / Works with Fisher Price Take-n-Play portable playsets