Most helpful critical review
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Was hoping it would be awesome....
on January 9, 2012
I scrapped together enough money at the last minute to get this for my 3 year old son for Christmas. I know, he's a bit young but he played with a friend's at a Christmas Party and did very well with it. He's only allowed to play with it when "Mommy or Daddy" are around. Aside from that, we put it together very easily and quickly on Christmas Eve night, and ran it with success to test it out. On Christmas morning, my son and I went to play with it and it wouldn't even budge. The engine and lights all worked, but nothing happened. After fidgeting with it, then placing it in reverse it broke free and would go in both directions. Throughout Christmas day my son and nephew played with it but had difficulty getting the smoke to come out. The directions are not very clear. It also bound up several other times throughout the day. Cleaning up that night, I found a screw on the floor obviously from the train. Upon closer inspection I found it held an "arm" onto one of the wheels. In coming out, it would get lodged against other "arms" and jammed the engine up. In doing so, it caused damage to two other "arms" and bent them. Kind of hard to explain why you have to send a toy back to the North Pole to a three year old. To Lionel's credit, they did fix it at no expense, and so "courteously" shipped it back to me at their expense (insert sarcasm). Their letter and associate on the phone made me feel like they were doing me a favor to pay for the shipping to send it back, because their warranty didn't state they had to. Anyway, we've had it back for a couple of days now and the smoker is working the way it should, it appears they replaced the "arm" and the screw, they may have replaced the entire engine for all I know, but it's working much better now. We did have to replace a "tire" on one of the drive wheels as it was somehow off and stretched too much to work properly when the train arrived back. All in all, I'm a big fan of nostalgia and quality made products. While I feel that this is a quality product, Lionel's quality control process needs to be refined to catch this stuff before it goes out the door. After my experience, I've read of several other issues on websites and been told of their slide from a local hobbyist club with a Christmas display in the mall. Middle of the road C from me.