on 29 December 2008
There's nothing like the excitement of Thomas lover when they unwrap a new Thomas toy. And this one hasn't disappointed.
The key feature is the tower which provides a venue for Thomas or another member of the gang to hurl down the tracks. The blue segment that you see in the picture is a tunnel that has a release mechanism. On top of one of the central pillars is a button which releases the engine to roll ahead and initiates the Thomas theme. (Yes, this makes noise... um, I mean music!)
There are a couple of barriers that can be toyed with, as well as a track shunt to whisk Thomas off one way or another. (Morgan's Mine comes with enough track to make a small oval loop. If you have additional track there are two "Y" connects you can build off of.)
Putting the Morgan's Mine together is something really little kids are NOT going to be able to do. BUT once you have read the instructions and popped it together there shouldn't be much of a problem since the tower is sturdy and isn't likely to come apart unless they put some effort into it. [All the 'orange' pieces are thankfully labeled.]
Overall, this is an okay toy that your Steamie lover should enjoy. I do suggest, however, that you shop around. And personally, I think it would be better if it were possible for 2 engines to race one another down the tracks.
mom and reviewer at BooksForKids-Reviews
Thankfully this already comes half assembled (though the instructions assume you are building it all from scratch), and the rest of the pieces are simply clicked into place and the various barriers inserted as directed. This is all done within a few minutes and then you're good to go.
Once complete you put an train at the top where it is held by little restraints on the floor, when you press the red button the blocks lower the train is released to a fanfare of Thomas related sounds. As the train spirals downwards it crashes through barriers and a barrels which can then be angled back into place for the next go.
A set of track pieces provides quite a large track which starts at the front and ends at the back - connecting to the mine at both ends. When you release a train down the mine it ends up at the front or back depending on how you have the yellow diverting piece set up - it simply pushes to either side to divert trains to the front or back. My Thomas mad daughter (who turned three today and received this as a birthday present) absolutely loves this and has spent a good chunk of the day sending trains down the mine - thankfully the sounds can be turned off if they prove to be a bit annoying!
This set comes with a Thomas engine (we now have three Thomas trains!) and a Stanley, both are welcome additions to our growing train collection and whizz down this mine at speed. Other Take Along Thomas sets can be connected to this - and yes it comes with adaptors for connecting to the old style track).
The only snag with this set is that the included cardboard friezes which are meant to attach to the track and provide views of Sodor are very tricky to get on and a pain in the rear-end to be re-assembling each time so I don't bother with those.
In a nutshell: A funky little Thomas set which has made my little girl giggle all day as she sends various trains hurtling through barriers and into something of a train pile up at the bottom! It comes with a tray to put trains in, but unlike some other Take Along sets, you can't store all the pieces in it, but that's understandable as there is a fair bit of track and the mine isn't a traditional building. The top of the mine is also a handle so that your young ones can easily lift and move the set without pulling it apart.