* Prices may differ from that shown
~Trackmaster Brave Blue Belle~
Code : V8339
The range of Thomas and Friends toys on offer is quite immense. The Trackmaster range on offer features quite a number of different track sets and there are also various motorized engines on offer too.
Today, I will be discussing the 'Brave Belle' Trackmaster engine which is suitable for children over the age of 3 and requires 1 x AA battery. Belle is a three piece engine presented in a plastic and cardboard case. Brave Belle features in the Day of the Diesels film. As well as Belle herself, this set includes a cargo trailer and a mini fire engine trailer.
~Where To Buy~
This set is available online from a few websites :
www.lambstoys.co.uk - £19.95
www.buythomasthetankengine.couk - £16.00
www.houseoffraser.co.uk - £16.99
My son owns quite a few Trackmaster sets and several Trackmaster trains. Having previously bought the regular Belle engine at Thomas Land last year, my son took an interest in owning the Trackmaster version. Santa delivered it to him along with his Trackmaster sets on Christmas morning and he was delighted.
Brave Belle certainly looks more distinctive than many of the other engines in Sodor and this Trackmaster engine version of her is quite striking and 'realistic' which is why, in my opinion, my son took a shine to her in the first place. It is worth noting that not all Trackmaster engines can be opened up with the same screwdriver which is rather irritating but we didn't have any major issues with getting Belle up and running and full of power.
Brave Belle is an excellent addition to our Trackmaster collection. Belle herself is well made - solid and a high quality finish. I do agree with the three years age recommendation as some parts of Belle could cause a choking hazzard if pulled off but at the same time, the engine is so well put together that I don't see parts being pulled off without a fight! I must admit that I find Belle to be one of the best looking engines. She is a gorgeous, deep blue colour mainly with red wheels and red bells above her head. Gold bands around the top of the engine and a smiley face complete the look. It is clear that the manufacturer has paid excellent attention to detail here. Brave Belle is marked with her engine number of 6120 and she is quite a good size when all of her carriages are connected.
The extras included with Brave Belle are basic but are very fitting with the Day of the Diesels film and this is something that my son appreciates. The carriages can be connected together with little white couplings. My son used to struggle with connecting the carriages as this operation is a little fiddly for a young child but now he is very confident in doing this himself. Other carriages can be connected on to Brave Belle which is a positive thing for us as we are constantly misplacing the extra carriages so more often than not, Brave Belle has to pull different carriages from those she originally came with. The mini fire engine carriage is actually quite cool and relates to Fiery Flynn the fire engine from the film so is a welcome addition.
When it comes to helping out in Sodor (our toy room), Brave Belle is efficient and does her job well. Brave Belle can run on any Trackmaster track and has experience of Blue Mountain, Powerline Collapse and the mail delivery track. Numerous engines can be on a track at any given time and she seems to get on well with her workmates which makes her a hit with the Fat Controller! Brave Belle features six wheels and she is easy to position on the track. There is a small lever on the top of Belle which needs to be altered to send her zooming around the track.
With a full battery, Brave Belle chuffs around the track and up any hills she faces. The couplings are well secured and allow Belle to effortlessly pull her carriages behind her. Brave Belle isn't overly noisy herself but with numerous engines running at any one time, there can often be a lot of noise from our toy room - it's all good fun. My son likes to tell me the story of how Belle became 'Brave Belle' as he has watched Day of the Diesels on numerous occasions.
I wouldn't say that there was much educational value of a toy like this - it is a novelty toy which is simply for a child to play with and have fun. I know that my son enjoys playing with all his Trackmaster engines for a little while before moving on to something else but Brave Belle is definitely one of his favourites and well appreciated. One issue I have with the Trackmaster range is general is how little time the batteries last for. With only a short amount of play, the batteries start to run down quickly and this, in turn, slows the engine down. Brave Belle is no exception and replacing her batteries is an expensive job!
We would recommend Brave Belle. She is well made, is durable and looks really good. This engine is expensive for what it is but a lot of character toys are. She is worth buying if your child likes Belle.
Thanks for reading :)