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My son at this point in time is a huge fan of Thomas the Tank, he has various Thomas Lego sets, engines, small die cast engines and so on and so when he was given a Tomy TrackTrackmaster set for Christmas with his Grandad he was extremely excited he had a train that went along on it's own as previously he had always had to push them by himself, obviously a very exhausting task for a three year old! This review will focus soley on the train itself as this is what we had a problem with.
As I hadn't purchased this I had to look around and discovered that this train is pretty expensive at the £10 to £15 range! I have to say I am glad I hadn't paid that but for a motorised train that is branded you expect to pay a little more. The train itself requires an AA battery which is easy enough to put it, you do have to have a star shaped screwdriver to take the cap off but as I say it's easy enough. All that requires the train to go is too flip the white almost top of a popsicle stick shape to the opposite side and off we go. The train runs at a decent enough speed, not too fast but neither as slow as a snail and fits well onto the available trackmaster track. The battery also seems to last an incredible amount of time, my son had it on almost constantly from the minute he got it until the unfortunate death it died around a month later and I didn't have to change the battery once.
I think that this would be suitable for children probably around the 2 year mark, maybe a little younger if they are interested in trains and are happy to sit and watch them going round, my three year old also got a lot of pleasure out of this so I do think that this is suitable for a very versatile range of ages. However there is a huge problem I have with this product and hopefully after you hear you will understand why my rating stands at 1 star mainly because I do have to rate it.
Around a month after my son had received this and had been playing with it a lot of the time which may be a factor but I do think that it shouldn't have been, my son was playing downstairs whilst I was busy getting little jobs done. A couple of minutes after I had nipped upstairs to put some washing away my son came upstairs and I noticed a very thick black smoke, on running downstairs I discovered that the whole house was filled with smoke and on my living room table lay the once trackmaster Thomas burning in a bubble of plastic. After the initial panic I doused the machine in water and the fire went out easily enough but getting rid of the smoke and ashes off of every little surface was a much bigger problem. For some unknown reason the train had caught fire and within literally a couple of minutes had melted into a flat pile of bubbling black mess.
I contacted Tomy about this and they offered to pay £30 Argos vouchers but since that email and requesting a box to send the product back from testing (at their request) I haven't heard a peep from them. I am just glad my son is ok and remained unharmed throughout the whole thing. Personally I thought the days of toys going up in flames were over but apparently not. As you can imagine although it may be just a one off unfortunate incident I am not happy with this at all and I won't be as trusting of a 'long established trusted brand' as I previously might have been.
After what has happened I can only give this 1 star, the toy itself I think is a great idea and my son was a big fan of this but I can't bring myself to purchase another one knowing what happened the first time.