Banbao Remote Control Cargo Plastic Train Set Review

It is difficult to not name Lego and Banbao in the same sentence. Banbao is a 3rd party brand that is compatible with the all known brick. And now they have their own remote controlled trainset. Let us take it out for a spin.

Contents

The box does not immediately tell you but this set has a whopping 1275 pieces in total. That is off course because you have to build a lot of stuff. So look out with using this set with little children. When all 1275 are used you should end up with a total of 28 track pieces, a radio controlled locomotive, a hopper car and a freight car. Six figures and a little car. Immediately when fondling with these pieces you notice the huge difference between Banbao and the other brand. More on that later.

Playtime

First of all Banbao is not a clear Lego copy. It is a brand on its own which is just compatible with the major brick company. But pretty quick you will realise that the Banbao bricks are indeed compatible but really different with Lego bricks. So if you mix these bricks up with the other brand you are in for a pickle.

We love how fun is sometimes in the small details. For example we loved the way the doors opened on the locomotive and the freight car. I know a stupid little detail but the way it produced smiles on our test team says enough. Another small detail is the fact that the remote control does not interfere with other remote control driven trains from another brand.

But not all was fun with this trainset. The reach from the transmitter is really short, just a couple of meters which makes it really necessary to be close to the train track to make the train ride. Another design flaw to us, is the fact that there is only 1 speed setting forward or backward and you need to put the button pressed in to make the train move. Also it was really troublesome to make a battery change and unfortunately the remote control eats a lot of batteries.

The freight train is a really cool looking train. The building process was entertaining and a lot of fun to do with the top testing team. The provided building instructions were easy to follow and really kid friendly. Still our feelings were a bit mixed by the end of the afternoon playing with it.

Verdict

The Banbao trainset is not the best one in the class. If you are looking for quality and reliability we suggest other brands. Still it is a fun trainset to play with and it is also a cheaper solution to other brands. If you like the design and don’t mind a lower quality, the Banbao trainset is a winner for you. You get a lot of train which looks fantastic and a lot of building fun for your value

3 Wagons out of 5

Melissa & Doug Wooden Train Set Review

Look and behold.  A whopping 130+ pieces wooden train set delivered to us by Melissa and Doug. We wonder how this multi piece trainset will fair against our judge(s).

Contents

We love big boxes and the box Melissa & Doug sends us is huge. You should’ve seen the eyes on our Blue Comet testing team when they put a gaze upon this big pieced trainset.

What does this huge box contain? Nearly one hundred wooden track sections and all its added supports. A 30 plus on added interactive opportunities such as turntables, cranes, junctions, a train shed, bridges, a freight train, a passenger train and many more. Oh boy we can’t wait to rip this box open.

Playtime

The materials used on this trainset are of real quality. You can’t deny that when holding all the different pieces in your hands. Melissa & Doug can really compete with higher quality trainsets. All pieces used will last and are definitely very durable.

As you’ve read in the contents section, with that many pieces you have the possibility to layout all kinds of track variations. It provides hours and hours of fun on a daily basis. There are a lot of roleplaying possibilities. Actually it is really difficult to describe that this set is truly bringing joy in the hearts of your little one(s).

Another major plus with this trainset is that it is compatible with other major brands in the wooden train set market. You could combine the tracks with sets from Brio, Thomas and even Ikea. Imagine what kind of track layout we had after a week of fun with this trainset.

But wait, not all is perfect. A major downside to us was the fact that the tracks could get loose very easily. Which resulted in frustration. Imagine laying out a layout with other brands with over 300 track pieces and at track piece 295 you unfortunately bump against a piece with your knee and there goes the track layout. Back to the drawing board. It provides frustration and that is a real bummer on all the playing fun. However this is an extreme example and with the standard set provided in the box, a real good time playing will take the upper hand.

The Melissa and Doug deluxe wooden trainset is a true winner for the Blue Comet judge(s). When I wasn’t playing with my grandkid(s). I could really enjoy just watching them playing with this trainset. The smiles, the laughter they warmed my heart and this trainset will do the same for you.

Verdict

The Melissa & Doug wooden trainset is really a deluxe wooden trainset for people who are looking for real value for their money. It is especially designed for children of three years and older and provides hours of playtime with a lot of possible combinations with the tracks. You get alot of track for your money! This is a true winner!

4.5 Wagons out of 5

Tidlo City of London Wooden Train Set Review

London has a mystique and so do little wooden train sets. With these two factors combined, Tidlo brings us their wooden train set on the market. Time for us to check it out.

Contents

In comparison with other brands, Tidlo loses some points here. Ok, everything is nicely packed and stored inside a box. But user friendliness, like a handle is not available. So if you tear up the box, you can’t reuse it and have to look for another storage alternative.

Luckily we didn’t tear the box and love what we see inside. It is pretty obvious that most features in this set are familiar with in real life London sights. Buckingham Palace, Guards, The Gurkin, Harrods, The Eye and many more are inside this little box. It is actually opening a box with mini London in it. In total it has 13 London landmarks, a London taxi, a London bus, a fire engine, 3 underground carriages, 4 Beefeaters, 8 Trees and a complete set of train tracks.

Playtime

This Tidlo set is really very solid and robust however the size of the different shapes and forms used are perfect for smaller hands. In comparison with other wooden train sets, this London set is actually very colourful which is actually thanks to all the London sights included. It is very easy to assemble and is off course a great way to introduce early geography to children. The time we spend with questions asked and answered about all these different sights in London was a great way to spend time with my grandchild(ren). This even tickled the interest to look abroad and check out other countries and their places of interest. What a blast we had there!

While the Tidlo set brought us hours of fun, we were a little bit disappointed that the track provided was just an oval or eight shape track. Luckily we could expand the track with pieces from other wooden train sets on the market like Thomas, Ikea, Brio and Melissa & Doug. The fun of making these combination and making a bigger track brought a lot of joy in our testing team. Unfortunately not everybody has all these pieces and besides the famous London sights there isn’t that much excitement in this set.

This Tidlo wooden train set is indeed unique in the little things it provides but it doesn’t have that much interactivity like other wooden train sets we reviewed. It is definitely not the worst in the class cause it tickled a lot of other interests that normal wooden train sets wouldn’t tickle.

Verdict

It really was fun to tell stories about all the different London sights to the kids. If you are able we recommend you to combine this with a visit to London and you can point to the different recognisable sights. Just to see your child(ren) with eyes of wonder and open mouth(s). The Tidlo city of London is great value for its money.

 3.5 Wagons out of 5

Bigjigs Wooden Train Set Review

The BigJigs Town and Country wooden train set has 101 pieces and provides hours of fun, exploration and learning. Let us see how it fares with our testing team.

Contents

Bigjigs are an established brand within the wooden train sets. They are a family operated company with the following mission statement : “Our mission is to deliver quality, safe and affordable products which are responsibly sourced an complement childhood through fun, exploration and learning” This is a real nice mission statement let us see if they strive to produce toys that will last for years in quality and enjoyment.

When looking at the box we are confronted with just a box. It looks neat and invites us to open it up really quick, with those 101 pieces. But we could’ve appreciated some kind of user friendliness through a handle or maybe the box being a sturdy storage device.

Let us take a look at what those one hundred and one pieces are. Two cars, a bus, an ambulance, a boat, a pond, a duck, seven houses, six people, thirteen trees, two farm animals, a crossing, a bridge, a three piece train, four road signs and off course a lot of track.

Playtime

Let us start with the fact that this trainset is also compatible with Thomas, Brio, Ikea and Melissa and Doug. Which off course makes this trainset very easy to expand. Within hours you could track the entire living room. Hours, days of fun provided for sure.

With this wooden set alone you have enough track to form an eight and a large loop. This makes for an interesting combination and does not make the set look dull. It has many accessories which provide a lot of roleplaying options. It has strong and sturdy built wooden rails. The level crossing is a huge winner at our home, our testing team was fascinated by it. He would block the train, let it through, etc.

A downside to the set is the bridge. Due to not being so well constructed it could get knocked over pretty easily which again provides a lot of frustration. So we advise looking for a replacement or a some compatible bridge from another set. Another thing we noticed was the use of lesser detail and refinement then the other brands on the market. Although this isn’t the issue with little children, some detail could be worked out a bit more which would provide more fun. Like for example the use of a crane or cargo. Also unfortunately some pieces like the trees could easily break. So keep an eye out for that because those things can be hazardous.

Verdict

The Bigjigs Town and Country Wooden Train set is a great starter pack. It has his flaws but it also has his positive sides. With a 101 pieces in the box you can’t go wrong and provide hours of fun at your home. The set is sturdy and has easy to assemble instructions.

 3 Wagons out of 5

Duplo My First Trainset Plastic Train Set Review

It is time to bring out a train set made by one of the well-known toy brands in the world. Let us have a thorough play test and see how it chugs down the tracks.

Contents

The box alone is pure eye candy. The colors look appealing and invite you to start ripping the box apart but then again you will feel guilty ripping this nice looking box to pieces. All the fine details that are in this train set have a place on the box. So you definitely know what is in it. Time to take a closer look.

You get a steam train with real sound effects and an awesome surprise (more on that later). There is a passenger wagon which you can connect to the train but also two Duplo figures. A train driver and a child. There is a station with a ticket window and a clock, a fueling pump and a signal but also some genuine Duplo bricks which are including some flowers and a goat. And off course 12 track pieces to lay out on any surface you like.

Playtime

Let us not keep you waiting and dive straight into the surprise. The Duplo steam train is interactive in its meaning that it makes real sound effects. For example if you add the hose from the fueling pump into a small hole the train makes “glug glug” sounds. But the biggest surprise is the little button on top of the train. With the right batteries this train is automated and chugs down the track automatically. The joy when you see your little ones chasing the train around the living room. Unfortunately we had to search for the batteries ourselves, so no batteries included in the box.

This trainset is for real train enthusiast kids and we all know the great quality that Lego provides, be it sometimes at a higher price. You do know that when you buy this train set it will last forever. However it comes with some disadvantages. At first there are the tracks. They are light and fickle and will come apart at any slight touch. The frustration of rebuilding the track several times when by accident it got knocked over, argh! Not to mention that with the track pieces included in the box you can only make a round track. Luckily there are a lot of expansion packs which will add loads and loads of enjoyment. So we can say that this trainset actually asks for an expansion to enjoy it at its full excitement. Still on its own, this trainset is a joy bringer.

Verdict

You cannot deny that Lego and his younger Lego brand Duplo deliver great quality. Duplo is a trustworthy toy that has been around for ages now and needs no argument whatsoever. This is one of the better brands and trainsets on the market. It is a bit unfortunate you have to buy expansions to enjoy the set even more.

4 Wagons out of 5

Thomas & Friends Plastic Train Set Review

You simply cannot deny the combination of a train set and the cartoon figure of Thomas the tank engine. How do my grandkids enjoy this cartoon and off course secretly I enjoy it myself. Time to rip open the box and send our little Thomas on an adventure.

Contents

Before we could enjoy the contents of this box, our little play tester enjoyed pushing the interactive Thomas tank engine to hear all its sounds and phrases. A great plus!

The box contains off course a track set, a motorised Thomas and a cargo car, Cranky the crane and a small station where Thomas his friends are stationed. It doesn’t look all that appealing if you consider the branding of Thomas making a trip around Sodor knowing that Sodor has a lot more to offer then this.

Playtime

Let us start with a huge advantage to this train set. The Thomas tank engine is motorised and thus means you can even let it run on the carpet or any other surface. So you actually don’t need the track supplied. Immediately our top testing team used Thomas in combination with other tracks and pieces around the living room to create a personal vision of the Island of Sodor. Being a plastic train set it can withstand a true bashing from a child. Thomas travelled and bumped and fell off like crazy but no scratch was to be found.

Like being a real engineer you can pick Thomas’ his next destination. Just a simple press on a button and Thomas will ride around even in interaction with his friends. This function made smiles appear. This trainset really promotes the development of your kid his fine motor skills as they play along and make the Island Sodor come to life.

We must admit that our own top testing team had the most fun when combining this trainset with other trainsets on the market. The variety of all types of fantasy play can bring a huge plus into your living room.

But the Thomas around Sodor set also has its flaws. While setting the destination with the tank engine, we noticed that Thomas tends to stop on the bends. An annoying bug. Another downside is, the set looks even smaller in real life then on picture. We were indeed a little bit disappointed with the contents of the box. However being small it does make it easier to handle in the hands of a younger child.

Verdict

Fan or not, this trainset is a must get. The huge interactivity of this playset thanks to the 50 sounds and the interaction with Thomas and his other friends makes this playset a little different than the others. It is easy to assemble and very robust. It can withstand some good tear and wear and it is even possible to use the Thomas tank engine somewhere else. The quality of this set is a higher standard and it provides hours of fun.

 3.5 Wagons out of 5

Vortigern Wooden Train Set Review

The Blue Comet top team takes a look at the Vortigern 51 (!) piece wooden trainset. Will we have an afternoon of fun?

Contents

What brings the most joy in the eyes of a child? Off course, you got it right, a huge box. The Vortigern wooden train set comes with a very handy box with a neat and handy lever. Which makes it very easy to carry or to storage anywhere in the house.

The box contains two trains and luckily for the Blue Comet team,  a blue train, a single car, three houses, a combination of trees and bushes five in total, four people figures, a cross over, a variety of four road signs, a bridge, two crossways, 4 straight tracks, one small track piece and fourteen bend tracks. This total of different pieces brings a good amount of possible combinations for your little one to create.

Playtime

Our own Blue Comet top tester has an older age so we brought in his little sister who is 18 months old to play with him. Immediately we noticed that our little one could easily assemble the tracks. So that is a major plus side on this trainset. Little fingers can easily adjust, dismantle and assemble the trainset. Immediately you feel that the wood is of a better grade quality.  There is totally no risk whatsoever to get a wooden splinter in your or the little ones their hands. Although all pieces are big enough we do advise you keep an eye on the younger children when they try to put the pieces into their mouths.

It clearly was a lot of fun to make all different kinds of track combinations with this playset. Older children will have hours of fun creating all kinds of accident scenarios with all the pieces included with this box. A major plus with this trainset is that it is fully compatible with Vortigern their own my first trainset. But surprise, surprise it is not only compatible with products from Vortigern. You can also combine this trainset with trainsets from Brio and Bigjigs. This is a major plus with this trainset. Imagine all the combinations you can make with all those different train sets. Heck you could even make a real railroad connection between your kitchen and living room. But now we are dreaming too much.

To be honest this grandfather had a lot of fun playing with this trainset together with his grandchildren. Although it is not a fully model train set, it is a great leap towards the hobby of model trains and it is just a guarantee for a really good time with the grandkids.

Verdict

If you want to encourage your child to develop its motor skills, if you want to encourage it to develop reasoning and have hours of fun in imaginative role play then the Vortigern wooden train set is the piece to get for your little ones. Also the fact that it is combinable with a lot of other wooden trainsets on the market makes it a clear winner!

4.5 Wagons out of 5

Brio World Wooden Train Set Review

Another train set arrived at the Blue Comet top team testing facility, aka Grandad’s living room. This Brio World Deluxe sets contains 87 pieces, time to lay out the tracks and have a closer look at this wooden train set.

Contents

This impressive 87 piece wooden train set comes with a large plastic bin. Instead of just a box to fill you get a free extra storage device, which is a huge plus.

The 87 pieces consists out of 36 tracks, 3 roads, 2 ramps, 2 level crossings, 5 figures which are 3 civilians and 2 train employees, 7 rock supports, 2 supports, 3 stations, 4 load, 3 suspension bridges, 2 road vehicles, 2 container wagons, 3 metro carriages, 3 travel carriages, a piece of luggage, a signal, a sign, a map and map base, a ticket machine, a metro tunnel, a freighter, a crane and last but definitely not least a freight train. So as you can read you get a lot of stuff to fiddle and play around with.

And we forgot to mention that it even has batteries included !

Playtime

At first we’ve noticed that this set has a lot of little intricacies. You can put the figures in the metro or train carriages. The cargo lift can actually lift cargo on and off, you can even change the signals and many more options. Even the fact that this set has some electronics added makes it a lot of fun. The batteries provided made our tube train even more fun with its flashing head lights.

This set is really solidly built, it is sturdy and can withstand any abuse a young child –or a grandad- would give it. Would I noticed and found the most appealing to this set was the level of detail into the different pieces of the product. The lorry for example has a cab that opens up to reveal the engine. Now we could even role play a lorry garage, oh the fun, oh the laughter it brought into our home.

However this trainset comes with some minor issues. At first there was the fact that some pieces could break very easily at the joints. Especially with grandad his clumsiness. So we advise you being careful with that.

Another issue was the well-known issue of ‘the tracks getting loose’ frustration. As mentioned in other reviews. There is nothing more a fun killer then building up a complete track and then it all collapsed by just one little touch by the toe or knee. Frustration we don’t want that in our train sets.

To end on a positive note, this playset luckily gave us more fun then frustration.

Verdict

The Brio World Deluxe train set is a very good trainset. We were amazed by its level of detail or the many cool little intricacies it has. It can be extended by lots of other Brio world stuff and is even compatible with other brands.

 4 Wagons out of 5

Lego City Cargo Train Plastic Train Set Review

If you’ve never heard of Lego you must be living under a rock. This brand has been around for ages and besides great building kits in all different subjects they also produce trainsets. We’ve picked one out of the many they produce. Time to take a closer look.

Contents

If there is one thing you can give Lego all credit for is the way they package their products. When you take a look at the box you instantly see and feel the quality of the product. You could even say it is almost a shame to tear the box apart and take all the little components out. Yes, little components. Instead of the other trainsets we reviewed, this train set isn’t suitable for the smaller children. So we advise to have an adult around at every time. But back to the contents.

The box contains 4 different Lego figures. A forklift driver, a train driver, a farmer and a truck driver. It also has a lot of other components with which you can build a fuel truck with fuel tank with chain, pallet with wheelbarrow and a forklift. And off course there is the train. A cargo train completely motorized with an 8 channel, 7 speed infrared remote control. A cattle wagon with cow, bales of straw, a bucket of milk and a strong fence with 2 gates. But let us not forget the cable drum wagon with 2 large cable drums, holders and lifting chains.  This train set has a lot of building components which brings us the fun of ‘building’.

Playtime

Like we already said in the contents part of the review. We advise you that this trainset is for six years old and up. It has really small components and they get easily lost inside the mouth of a toddler.

We can say that the building of this set brings a lot of time and fun to the family. Looking together on the building scheme, asking for the right components or searching for them. This cooperation with your child will bring joy and a smile to your face. After all the building fun was done, it was time to give this baby a test ride. And then it stopped ….

It seems that there is an issue with the battery box. It simply, doesn’t work. Hopefully by now Lego adjusted the problem. The issue is rather simple, you need 9 V output batteries to make it work. So when you buy this trainset, take a look at some batteries then the standard ones you normally buy.

Verdict

The Lego Trainset is off course a pure winner. However it has some minor flaws, like buying extra track to make it interesting. And the hopefully by now adjusted battery problem. Other than that, this trainset is pure gold and a joy to have at home. Hours and hours of fun provided and guaranteed. Take in account the expansions with other Lego sets and the fantasy world is built.

4 Wagons out of 5

Tomy Thomas at Echo Cave Plastic Train Set Review

Another great Thomas the Train and Friends plastic train set arrives in our living room. Tomy –a well-known toy company- brings out a Thomas at the Echo Cave plastic trainset. Time to hop on board.

Contents

Another great looking box full of toy train goodies arrives at the top testing team. We get a Thomas with a magic coal car, an Echo cave, a Maithwaite station, a bridge, water tower, signal and off course an oval track with inner circle & siding. Enough contents to start building and make the magic of toys create a smile on everybody in the family.

Playtime

It was hard to sustain the testing team to rip open this box full of joy but after all the different pieces were lain out on the living room. It was time to start building. This Tomy set was actually really easily constructed. Even without help from an adult it is really easy for a child to construct and lay out the oval track structure. Extra help was indeed needed when adding the bridge, station and other buildings. Holding all the different pieces you can really feel how robust this train set is. It really was made for children to use on a daily basis and to have loads and loads of fun with it. We even discovered you can make a big track layout or just a small layout. Depends if you are playing on the floor or on the table with this trainset.

You would not notice it on first glance but this set has some real interactivity going on. Each time Thomas passed by the Echo Cave he gets a refill or loads out all the coal out of the coal carriage. The amazement on the faces of our testing team. The quest for finding an answer on how this process works was another very pleasant moment to be a part of with your (grand)children. This is a good advantage to this Thomas set.

The only downside we’ve encountered was the fact that Tomy neglected to add batteries to this trainset while those are actually really needed. Imagine you have to run to the store to get the right batteries to finally start playing with this trainset. This might cause some aggravation within the household.

But all was quickly forgotten when we noticed that this trainset was compatible with other Trackmaster sets from Tomy. This is wat we call a true win-win situation which will provide even more joy to your household. You should’ve seen my living room by the end of the afternoon.

Verdict

The Tomy Thomas Track Master Thomas at the Echo Cave –phew that was a long name to pronounce- is a really good plastic toy train set for your children. It made smiles appear on the faces of our testing team and that is in the end the goal we aim for. Children’s laughter.

 4 Wagons out of 5