The User: A boy who is 2.25 years old and just received his first wooden train set from Santa. His 3.5 year old sister also plays with it.
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The Train Set:
Vitals: 29 pieces — figure 8 with bridge and underpass/tunnel, a 3 piece train, track, 3 bushes a railroad sign and a 2 piece building — tracks compatible with most other brands.
Cost: $40.00 on amazon.com (at the time of this post)
- Reversible Track – The track flips over from one side that features more of a track tie design to a side that is a flat roadbed to be used for other vehicles (trains work here too).
- Plastic Car Connectors – PlanToys uses plastic connectors for train cars. They indicate that this is for safety reasons and when I researched it, it has to do with emergency situations where kids swallowed magnets and the magnets reconnect inside their bodies potentially sealing intestines and other horrible things – ugh! The connectors are VERY secure and since train cars coming apart frustrate my son, we like this feature. Although plastic, they seem to be very sturdy and of high quality.
- Adequate Tunnel Size – The train fits through the tunnel under the bridge with no problems – I have noticed that reviews of other sets sometimes note this as a drawback.
- Modern Appeal – The design of this toy as well as most of the PlanToys offerings is very simple, sleek and modern looking. It is personal preference, be we really like it. The train that comes with this set is very sleek and looks more like a modern passenger train.
- Planwood – PlanToys uses an environmentally friendly product to make these ‘wooden’ trains. They utilize sawdust remaining from production of their other toys and a formaldahyde-free glue to create the material for the tracks and train. Personally we like the textured look and feel of this material and the green concept behind it, but it is a personal preference and is definitely a bit different from the solid wood you may be used to in other tracks.
- Durable – The Planwood seems to actually be colored itself rather than painted on the exterior, which appears to make it less susceptible to paint chipping and wear over time. The pieces are sturdy feeling. Wheels are plastic with metal axles. As with the plastic train connectors, the plastic seems to be of higher quality than what you find in some plastic toys.
- Plastic Car Connectors – While the plastic car connectors are good for addressing safety concerns and frustration from cars coming apart, they are VERY stubborn to get apart even for adult hands although I have noticed them loosening a little with time. There is NO way a 2 or 3 year old could get them apart on their own. There is also the issue of the cars not connecting to other magnetic cars in your collection if that is what you want to do. This is our first set, so not an issue yet and I think these 3 car trains will stand alone among magnetic cars we might add in the future. We also purchased another 3 car train from Plan Toys (Plan City Classic Train) that is more classic in design than the one that comes with the set, and the cars from the 2 trains can be interchanged since both have the same connectors.
- Layout – The tracks must be put together exactly as shown to form the figure 8 – there don’t seem to be any variations like you might find with some other sets, although you could certainly do more if you added on to the tracks. The tracks fit together on the looser side, which is good for kids to put them together, but also makes them very easy to take apart for more destructive little people. When little ones take tracks apart as much as my guy, you start considering gluing them together, which I know isn’t the idea behind collecting these toys.
- Limited Accessories – The only accessories besides the train are a railroad sign, 3 bushes and a house with a removeable roof. They are all very simplistic and my son doesn’t seem to care about them. This would be an area where I would consider adding to the set in the future.
Overall: A — Weighty feel, quality materials and feel all around. Appealing modern design with fun reversible track for other vehicle play. We would buy this again although caution to those whose main focus to mixing trains between brands due to non-compatible connectors. Additional track and accessories would also be in order for many collectors but great for a first set.
3 Piece Train that comes with set:
Train set with add-on cars on our homemade train table board:
Close-up of PlanToys train car plastic connectors:
Accessories that come with the set:
Train side of tracks:
Reverse road side of track:
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