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I bought this second hand, and my set does not include the tower. My review is primarily of the giant Thomas, with my thoughts on Tomey road and rail as whole included as well. As this set has very limited availability now, anyone looking to buy one will likely have to go for second hand as well. Our set did not come with the battery operated trains either, but I assume at least one would be included. The battery engines are quite sturdy and well made. There are a very large number available, including Thoams of course, Percy, Diesel, and James. Most take one AA battery, but the ones with tenders will take a size c battery.
The giant Thomas is a brilliant toy for Thomas fans. It is designed to hold a large number of Thomas trains, with eight trains or cars fitting in the top compartments, six on the second story, and another eight or lengths of track below. I have to say I quite like things that double as storage space. This keeps all the trains tidy and out of the way. The train can also be used as giant tunnel, you can run two tracks through the bottom section and another track through the middle if you lift Thomas' head up.
The train also has a whistle sound if you push the brass coloured pipes down. Giant Thomas can be used as a toy by itself as well and will roll across the floor. It says clearly it is not meant as a ride on, but my sons have always done this anyway when little and had great fun with it.
The only thing I could possibly fault with this toy is the fact that the red doors on the bottom layer fall off constantly, spilling trains across the floor. This toy has been well played and well loved for years and I expect will remain a part of our household for years to come.
Now for the tracks, I am not so glowing with praise. They do take a good while to set up, even though I dont have the full tower, and get knocked down easily. Also if a track is the slightest bit out of alignment the trains will stop running so it does get to be a bit of nuisance at times.
We do have the road sections and other add ons, and this is where things get to be a real headache. In fact if I set up these trains it goes right next to the computer so I can jump up and down every five minutes to fix something or other. Trying to put this up and get anything done in the house is a nightmare.
I am giving this 5 stars because the rating is for the big Thomas mainly, which is well worthwhile. If I were rating the tracks alone it would drop to a four. They have not had the same use as the wooden train set, but they have still filled many a rainy afternoon with fun for my boys, so as long as you get a bargain it can be worthwhile. I definately prefer the wooden trains overall, but even so, this giant Thomas would be lovely as storage for wooden trains too. I would defiantely buy this without the tracks just to play with on its own and keep otehr trains in. We also use a few of the tracks with the small Thomas chugging around it under our Christmas Tree each year.
i just want to thank thegarleon for his review! i just bought part of this set second hand and had no idea that thomas' head lifted up or that the whistle didnt need batteries. [i was looking for the battery cover!] needless to say, reading your review prompted me to have a proper play with my "new" toy and figure out how it worked.regarding the double storage at the rear, i have found that the narrower carriages [such as milk and fuel] will fit nicely, while the wider ones like cattle will just fit in.thanks again thegarleon!!!
having 2 boys that are mad thoams the tank engine fans this went down very well with them, they love it.
It is a very large set, hence the name giant set, so you do need a lot of space & also a lot of time & patience to set it up, but within minuites of completing putting it all together you can see it has been well worth it as the enjoyment of playing with it can be seen for hours after.
My two boys like to push their trains around on it & interact & tell their own stories as they play with it so they tend to push the trains around themselves instead of letting them run around using the batteries, this is a great set that all thomas fans will love over & over again, if you can stand putting it together all the time, it would be fantastic for someone that had a spare room that could leave it up all the time, or for more than a few hours at least.
Giant set with high and low level rails and double track for engines to race and chase each other.