Fisher-Price Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway

Editor's rating:
9.5
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Reviewed by Meifang Qin
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We like

Very popular toy

Light and durable

Child appealing design

Good functionality

Many available accessories

Child safe construction/materials

Lots of fun

A historically tried and tested toy

We don’t like

Many available accessories can increase cost over time

How it works

For more than twenty years the Thomas wooden railway sets, accessories and a choice of twelve fun trains have engrossed children and certainly put smiles on the faces of millions of children. Over the decades, many accessories have been released to expand the adventures which Thomas can have with children. These toy engines have stood the test of time for popularity over the years.

In 1946 a Reverend would tell his sick son stories about adventurous train engines to keep the child amused and happy. Then he decided to write a child’s storybook about three friends and these friends were train engines. The book moved on to become an incredibly popular series of books and Thomas the Tank Engine was and still is the most popular character. Now, Thomas has his own online regular series on Youtube, video games, magazines and comics for children, TV series in many countries and a string of other hard working train engine characters with whom he plays, works and interacts. Children who own Thomas can refer to videos, children’s story magazines to pick up fun stories which they can re-create at home with Thomas.

Now, Thomas is at another new phase, a fresh make-over, a great design and lots of natural wood used in his construction. He has a built in engine and strategically fitted magnets to keep him from derailing. Visit online video stories about Thomas and his amazing fun filled adventures, plenty of fuel for a child’s imagination and the opportunity for endless hours of very enjoyable fun. As children grow they can expand their collection with more amazing toy engines characters to play and interact with Thomas, extend railway tracks, add a station, railway yard trucks, even a helicopter. It is true to say that adventures for children with Thomas are near to limitless.

Start your child off with a wonderful toy and friend called Thomas and watch her/him have so much fun, as time goes by your child can expand his collection and choices of games he can play. Thomas has an electric engine and can chug along on a floor or add train tracks to this toy and see him run on tracks, there is even a grand station available which can be added to this toy collection.

Materials Features

Materials Features

The targeted quality and detail of this engine is notable compared to the other toy producing brands purchased. It runs smoothly and is of high quality manufacture with great detail. The engine design features are impressive and are a blend of cartoon and reality which has been proven to be a hit with children all around the world because Thomas has been around for many years.

All materials are very child friendly, sturdy enough to easily work for young children, some parents report that even the occasional throwing of Thomas by a young child does not do any damage. Thomas has all the appealing visual features of a steam engine and he is battery operated. There is an extensive range of named Engine friends for Thomas and they are all featured in unique colors and with their own names, Thomas is blue and has a very child appealing combination of design features.

Materials include light strong wood and a combination of child safe plastics/fittings. This toy offers child friendly appealing features and there is an amazing range of accessories available to add for even more choices of play for children.
Durability

Durability

Thomas functions as a battery powered steam engine, he can move easily over flat surfaces and happily rolls along on available tracks which utilize magnets to ensure that he stays safe on his tracks.

There are many interactive accessories which can be collected and used for playing with Thomas, all of these accessories have unique functions which further extend the potential range of playing activities for children.

A robust and study toy built from a design combination of wood and strong plastics, though Thomas is light weight for children, he is very durable. The know how for designing durability into this toy is a result of decades of tried, tested and very popular releases of Thomas for young children.
Safety

Safety

Safety with this toy is good, when played with in the context for which it has been designed it is a safe toy and this is supported by it been a constant popular and safe products for decades. Magnets are designed into this toy engine but they cannot be easily removed due to the safe way in which they are built into the product. The makers have gone for a switch in materials used in the construction, wood is now favored because it is safe and certainly child friendly, the type of wood is durable along with any plastic parts which are solid and very well fitted.

Years of producing toys for children do show that this brand have a good eye for creating child safe toys. All edges on the engine are contoured to a smooth effect and will not pinch or cut young fingers during play. Any paints used on the toy are toxin free and safe for children, the engine has electrical working parts and these are built deep inside the engine and not accessible to inquisitive children. A closed battery compartment provides power for the engine. All accessories which can be added to further enhance playing options for the children have also subjected to the same level of design to ensure safe child friendly products.
Design

Design

The design work put into building Thomas is classic and a first for these types of toys, the detailing in the design is far ahead of copies or other types of train toys for young children. This engine is all about fun and this is clear from the moment a child see’s him. Many other toy makers have tried to copy or recreate the style of Thomas, none of them have achieved the instant appeal Thomas has for children. His design is a classic first and further design is taken to a high standard through the near limitless choice of accessories which are available and affordable for children to expand this toy set into a fantastic collection.

The ingenuity in design is the fact that Thomas, his other engine friends and the amazing choice of accessories have a design which sits midway between cartoon appeal and realistic designing and this has proven to be a successful design concept for many decades. This toy engine, is very well balanced and further stability for staying on track is achieved through incorporating into the design strategically placed magnets so when Thomas chugs on his track he will stay safe. With the new predominately wooden versions we are looking at classic structure and design using very child friendly materials.
Ease of Use

Ease of Use

Lovely ease of use for children, setting up Thomas for use is very easy, switch on the power and he becomes controllable while active. Adding accessories, extending tracks, extending the collection with a very impressive train station, a station master character figure, other popular named Engine friends for Thomas, a helicopter, a crane, truck and many more options are all designed for exceptional ease of use for children. Setting up Thomas for play fun is easy and after playing he is equally easy to safely stow away ready for his next adventures with a happy child. Very good for fine sensory and motor skills.
Portability

Portability

2.4 ounces means Thomas is well constructed and at a weight which is perfect for your children to carry or move around during play. Thomas himself is portable and children will be delighted to see him chugging along on his tracks. All accessories are designed to complement playtime with Thomas, light, sturdy and portable.
Versatility

Versatility

Top marks for versatility, the majority of children from 24 months upwards are drawn to train sets in a positive way, there are so many ways to stimulate a child's creativity for playing with Thomas, you can let them watch videos online of the adventures which Thomas has with and without his many other friends and this will give children their own ideas for adventure games they will choose or make up for playing games with Thomas. The available accessories bring versatile and increased options for playing up to a very high standard, imagine your child with Thomas on the track and a huge toy crane loading Thomas, or Thomas interacting in adventures with one of the other named and popular engines.

Children can follow Thomas the Engines videos, storybooks, magazine adventures and this will give them countless ideas for new versatile games and stories which they can act out with Thomas.
Age Range

Age Range

24 months up through to 6 years or older for those inspired to collect toy engines created by this brand.
Creativity

Creativity

A very appealing outward design based upon the features seen for old style steam engines which is recognizable by most children because Thomas has been around since the late 1940s.

The engine features an electrically operated engine which is securely built into this toy. When Thomas is put on a track (available accessory) built in magnets assist in keeping him secure on the track. Thomas features a smooth wood frame integrated with child safe strong plastics for strength and durability. Thomas has had slight design changes in terms of materials used for constructing him and recently the makers have returned to include environmentally friendly wood for this toy.
Price Range

Price Range

Retailing at a standard medium price, reasonable pricing for a good quality product has been a mainstay of this toys popularity through the 1950 up to present date. This is a product which is very popular among children and set at a nice price tag. Thomas is part of a family of trains and other impressive accessories so adding to your child's collection can be spaced out over time which further promotes affordability.

Bottom Line

There are certain fun toys on the market which we parents can remember playing with when we were children. Thomas the Tank Engine is one of those products, he and his available collectible friends have stood up to the test of time and stayed the course as being very popular. Thomas has been introduced to millions of children over the years in many countries and has proven to be a huge success. Children see Thomas in TV shows, online videos, online games, magazines, an endless choice of young learners reading books and stories. This means that there is a wealth of inspiration available through which children can play and interact with Thomas, reliving many of his many adventures.

Many of the stories involving Thomas have a moral message which serves to gently educate children while at the same time allowing children to creatively play. He is designed in a way which instantly appeals to young children, proven to be a very safe toy and very inspiring for a child's imagination.

Children are creative, they know about Thomas, they know of his adventure stories and if they have their own toy Thomas they are certain to spend many happy hours recreating his adventures. Over the last 60+ years Thomas has brought into his adventures many other toys, for example other different colored steam engines all with variable designs, duties and functions and this gives a good chance for children to collect more and gain even more options for creative games. Accessories for Thomas are not limited to other friends which are trains engines, they include figures such as a station master, a huge crane for loading up Thomas and his friendly, there is even an impressive helicopter and more.

Though Thomas looks like a steam engine, his power comes from batteries which are safely housed into this toy, the electric engine is strong and can easily power Thomas over flat surfaces or train tracks.
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