Top positive review
113 people found this helpful
Wonderful but annoying
on 18 May 2010
My 3-year old son is a Thomas addict. For the past 18 months we've been amassing a collection of the Thomas Wooden Railway. Suddenly, the existing wooden range has been discontinued and replaced with a larger, more babyish train collection. My son doesn't like it, so we've switched lines to this, the Thomas Take-n-Play series, which is itself a new version of Thomas Take Along, another series that has also been discontinued. I is all very confusing and easy to buy the wrong series. If you ask me, with so many different versions of Thomas, the brand licensing is a mess. HIT Entertainment, which owns the rights to the Thomas name, has given anyone with cash the right to produce toys and games with the TV / film series characters.
If you own wooden tracks, you'll need the new track, which is now made of plastic. What is annoying is that none of the Take-n-Play trains work with the old wooden track. Made by the US toy company, Fisher-Price / Mattel, the Thomas Take-n-play series is very well made, with wonderful detailing that gives enormous play value to the under 5s. The die-cast engines are attractive and durable with magnetised couplings that hold well. They have a charm that's missing from the more basic wooden models. So, all in all, this is a step in the right direction. Both individual engines as well as the sets are much cheaper. Even the new plastic track is good and provides a more stable and easier to assemble line for the trains to run on. My only complaint is the lack of commonality with the wooden series, which means we'll need to buy every engine all over again - which is exactly what Fisher-price wanted to achieve, that's what makes me somewhat cynical and annoyed.
However, if you're a first-time Thomas buyer or just stuck wondering which version of Thomas to get, I'd say that Take-n-Play is the one to go for. This particular item, Tidmouth Sheds, is great. Not only does it have excellent play value, it is also a useful carrying case for the various engines. There is an increasing number of new engines, including a talking Thomas. Wonderful stuff, but so far no battery-operated engine that chuffs along under its own steam. (Please produce one Fisher-Price). I expect this range to get better. In the meantime, I just hope it will have greater longevity than previous Thomas versions.