“ Brand: Tomy / Type: Salty the engine toy from the Trackmaster range „
My son as you may know from reading my many other reviews on Thomas related items loves Thomas the tank engine. He has many track sets but most of them are Tomy trackmaster sets which are the ones that are compatible with these trains. There are a variety of characters which my son has most but one of his favourites is Salty.
Salty the engine is made up of very durable plastic and has painted details of the character from the TV program so that it is easily recognisable at first site. For the £12.99 we paid to take Salty away from toysrus we received salty himself and a trailer which attaches to him.
There are couplings at the back of the train where this trailer can be attached detached and any other trailer, truck or even train are all the same so that they all link up together which my son loves. There is a witch on the back of salty that can be pushed forward and back and this is what starts and stops the movement of the train.
It moves around the track rather slowly but all by himself to my sons amusement so I am not sure it matters how slow it moves. The train never gets stuck's or falls of or is even disrupted on the track unless it is my son putting something to block it or pulling it off which is great as it stops frustration for toddlers. They do not need to be on a track to move around they work on carpets wooden floors as long as it is a flat surface they can move around.
To add a battery you have to lift the case of the top of the engine which clicks off very easily to reveal where the battery's are added. The case can then easily be replaced and you have a free moving salty. The batteries last for ages we have only had to put them in when we first got him July 2010 and he is still moving around with as much power as when we first put them in which I think is great.
My only downside to this item is the case is a little rattle from the amount of times my son has had a train crash with salty and the wall floor or anything else he can get a big impact on but he is still in full working order after all these bashes which I think is really impressive.
It is suitable for children aged 3 plus but to be honest my son had these from his first birthday. They are large chunky and contain no small pieces perfect for little hands so I would say they can be used by children of a younger age.
The Thomas the Tank Engine series of books by Reverend W. V. Awdry has been hugely successful over the years, leading to children's tv series, films and merchandise. 'Salty' is one of Thomas' friends, a diesel engine, but one of the nice ones, not one of the naughty ones.
His back-story is that he used to work on a coastal railway. When he came to Sodor, he was a bit homesick but due to his kindly and hard-working ways was rewarded by being sent to work by the sea at the docks. He's full of shaggy dog sea stories and lives up to the Old Salt reference of his name.
Here, Salty is realised in loving detail in the finest plastic. He is part of the Thomas & Friends Trackmaster range from Tomy. They produce play-sets, tracks and the engines and we have ended up with a large wooden toy-box filled to busting with this stuff, ever since the Boy evinced an interest in Thomas as a toddler.
The Trackmaster engines are battery-powered and run on blue plastic track, which you buy as sets or expansion packs. The playsets can include road as well as rail, and come in at around £30. You can buy the engines separately, although usually accompanied by a couple of trucks or carriages. Salty comes with a truck (not one of the troublesome ones with faces) and costs about £10.
Salty is about 12 cm long and inside his plastic casing, there is the mechanical gubbins that turns his wheels, safely kept away from small fingers. You access the battery compartment with a cross-head screw-driver, making sure you pick the correct one (happily well-marked with the word 'open') otherwise the mechanical gubbins will fall out or his wheels will come off. He takes an AA battery. He has a lever-like switch on the top to turn him on and off.
Salty is rear-wheel drive and his back wheels have grips for traction. He actually only has four functional wheels, the middle ones are just for show. He also has a link on his bottom for trucks and carriages from the range to attach to. He comes in the attractive deep red colour with diagonal striping as per the books, and has hazard-type yellow & black markings around his goofy face and rear-end. He also has the number 2991 inscribed along his sides.
He's a cheerful fellow and a jolly addition to the Boy's collection. He seems more powerful than some of the others in the range, although it may just be the stage his battery is at compared to the others. Currently he laps Spencer, nudges Thomas rudely up the hill and pushes Arthur off at corners. I should really replace all the batteries and see who wins a race! He can pull along a line of trucks and carriages with ease, slowly decreasing speed as his battery wears out. Today he chugged across the floor carrying a large soft toy on his back.
The trains rattle round with hypnotic power, eventually filling the room with dazed people staring at them. It's a good toy, which offers challenge for the child learning to assemble the track in ways that link up, and is excellent for imaginative and 'small world' play.
The Boy(6) has been acquiring these sets for birthdays and Christmas since he was about 3 and just when I think he's finished with them and has out-grown them, they come out of the box again! So maybe a year or two left in them.
The only problem with these sets is to make sure the engines are used on the track rather than the floor, as their wheels easily pick up fluff and hair which gets wound round and can ruin them. (I do have long-haired cats and children in defence of my housekeeping!)
Salty and the Trackmaster range of Thomas & Friends are recommended for children of 3 and over, which sounds right to me. He's to be found at Toys R Us and other toy sellers online and in store.