Toby is an avid Thomas and Friends fan and, if we’re being honest, an all round train enthusiast so when we were asked to review the Thomas and Friends Minis Motorised Raceway I couldn’t wait to see his face when it arrived.
The set up was easier than I thought although we did have a couple of hiccups. The instructions were really easy to read and the pieces were easy to match up, apart from a small yellow piece which didn’t actually look anything like the picture and so I was convinced it wasn’t going to work. Luckily, it was the right piece, just the wrong drawing and it worked absolutely fine!
When we first got it out of the box Toby said ‘Cranky’ straight away and picked up the crane piece of the set and started pretending to pick things up with it, which is great as I love it when he recognises characters.
The Minis Motorised Raceway is exactly what it says on the box although I think it’s important to say that the whole track isn’t motorised, it’s one belt which lifts the mini trains up.
The Minis Motorised Raceway is one of those things you could just sit and watch for ages, and that’s exactly what we did for a while – Toby especially! It starts by sending Thomas and James (the included figures) up the steep vertical lift. They attach to a small black hook which draws them upwards. Once they’ve reached the top they can go in one of the three directions which is determined by an orange director that Toby could change himself.
The first option, to the far left, is a “water track” which sends Thomas and James straight down a waterfall and into a 360 degree loop. The second option, to the middle, is down a blue free-falling track which takes you through the middle of the water loop. Cranky the Crane is designed to swoop in and rescue your Mini. In true daredevil fashion it’s designed to give the illusion that the Mini is jumping over a gap and landing on the same track.
The third option, to the right, is a free-falling yellow track – very thrilling! It looks as though it’s going nowhere but the Minis roll off the edge and roll along the tack upside down before coming back round to being upright again.
The build of it in general is really good and sturdy, except the blue and yellow tracks which slide on and come off relatively easily. I did get a little bored of having to reattach them, I think it’d be better if they could click in and out so they’re not so easily detached.
You do have to put four stickers on yourself but they’re not fiddly, and not totally essential if you don’t fancy doing them, and they don’t really add anything to the overall design other than Cranky’s face.
This toy train set includes Thomas and James Minis engines and works with all Minis engines, although these are sold separately. It does need 3 AA batteries, which aren’t included either. Toby really loved it and played with it for absolutely ages. He was happy to play with it without it being switched on too, which is a bonus as if he tried to manually move the belt while it was switched on it’d make an awful noise.
It’s retailing at around £35.99 which seems a bit pricier than some of the toys he has but considering it comes with two figures and is motorised I think it seems reasonable! It’s not something you can store away easily, as you’d have to take it all apart again but other than that I honestly can’t fault it right now. Toby loves it and that’s what matters most!
*I was sent this product in exchange for this review. All views and opinions are my own.