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My three-year-old and one-year-old sons are mad fans of everything related to Thomas and have had the Trackmaster trains for a long while - this Dieselworks set was the first "take-n-play" toy that we bought for them. Following on from the Day of the Diesels film, this set contains a few references to the film and therefore the kids were able to connect with it straight away. The picture of diesel 10, the happy hook crane and the look and feel of the diesel works are all direct links to the film and the kids quickly related to these and were even asking to play with it while watching the film.
The quality of the build is quite sturdy, which is quite an achievement given how small it folds up, and how the kids try to rip it open to play with it. We have been using it for over 6 months and haven't managed to break anything yet despite some very vigorous play - even the stickers are holding up fine. The kit unfolds in about 4 or 5 steps and requires a grown-up to put the struts underneath the bridge. These are the only part (besides the train character - Diesel) that are not connected to the main toy. The struts are actually quite annoying - being fiddly to attach (even for an adult) while at the same time being extremely easy to lose because there is nowhere to store them. Often the kids grab the dieselworks to play with it but end up frustrated because the struts are missing or they cant put them on. Without them in place, the toy is basically unusable because the track will not connect properly.
Once you have it set up, it is quite nice to use - kids should enjoy pushing the Diesel, and any other small take n play engines, around the short track. Note that the other sizes of Thomas (e.g. Trackmaster) will not fit nicely on this small track. It is quite limited but has to be in order to pack up this small. The best part is probably the rotating and lifting red track and barrier, which is still spinning nicely after all this time and sends the trains shooting out on to the upper platform. It is possible to extend the track using some fittings on one side of the set, although the track is very flat so this connection might not be great and we have never done this because we have so much trackmaster track.
All-in-all this toy feels a little ungainly in the way that it folds and unfolds, and the way it secures together seems vulnerable to a child trying to force it open and breaking it - although my two have so far failed to do this. For such a compact set it does seem to hold the attention for a long time and I would have to rate it as good value for money overall. My advice would be to keep a close eye on the supports for the bridge and keep the whole thing together - making sure a grown-up is around at the start and end of play time to make sure it is collapsed properly.
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