Top critical review
32 people found this helpful
It says it on the box, "Not recommended for children under 14 years of age"
on December 25, 2011
My train was not at all ready to run "out of the box". I am happy now, but I was ready to return it after about 1 hour of troubled use. I eventually settled down and troubleshot a few problems with the set and it is now running very reliably. The controller has fine control and locomotive runs very smoothly. It took me about three hours to fix the problems I found. 1 hour tearing my hair out, 2 hours fixing the problems.
1) The cars would always decouple and/or derail when backing up. Some times they would decouple while running forward.
2) The train would "stick" on certain portions of the track at low speed, but not at high speed. Once it got stuck I had to use full throttle to get it moving again.
3) The couplers do not line up. You have to push them into alignment. They are difficult to decouple.
4) The train is difficult to line up on the track.
1) Every metal rail has sharp burrs sticking up on the ends where it was cut from the stock used to make it. I filed them smooth with a fine file, but level with the rest of the track face.
2) The caboose had 3 wheels that were not rotating freely, the hopper had two. I had to gently spread open the trucks until the wheels rolled freely. I used a tiny spot of light gun oil on each pivot point. 3 in 1 oil would probably work well.
3) The couplers appear to need a straight piece of track in order to self-couple. There is no straight track included in this set. I used my fingertip, or a pencil eraser to push from the "outside of the curve" side to keep them aligned. I have been lifting the cars in order to decouple them. A pencil tip, or straightened paperclip can be used to decouple them.
4) The train set comes with a "rerailer" section of track that is designed to realign the wheels back on the track if there is a minor misalignment. I set the locomotive on it as close as I can get and then gently roll it back and forth over this section then once it rolls free, I use the controller to drive it around the track a couple of times to make sure it is running smoothly. I then stop it beyond the rerailer and set the next car I want on the rerailer and run it back an forth across it. I couple it to the locomotive. Repeat.
My train set was securely packed and undamaged. The packaging is a little daunting as the locomotive and rolling stock have some very fragile details on them. They are held in-place within a vacuum molded plastic that took a few minutes to figure out. Just push up or down on the cavity that holds the piece and then gently lift them out one at a time.
The rails are tied in very securely with something I find annoying, twisted plastic-wrapped stiff wire. Pliers are very useful in order to untwist it, or cut it if you don't plan on repackaging them.