All together now..Chugginton, Chugger,Chugger, Chugger,Chugger, Chuggington!
Yes it’s still the top rated Cbeebies program here in the Toybuzz household, narrowly beating off tough new contenders Everything’s Rosie and the Zingzillas. So you can imagine how happy I was to receive this brand new All Around Chuugington Interactive train set to review this week.
Now before I get onto the review I have a confession to make, I haven’t actually showed this set to the boys yet. I’ve decided to give it to Jacob as a Christmas Present. That might sound really mean, but this set is absolutely huge, massive even, and way too big a toy to just give over for no reason. This set is definitely something of the big Christmas gift kind, so rather than the kids get too spoilt they’re going to have to wait for Santa to deliver it.
The All Around Chuggington set is totally interactive, the trains, the tracks, the Roundhouse..everything! Using Smart Talk technology all the trains know where they are on the set, and they also know which other trainees are nearby. So If you ride past Vee, Your Chugger will say “Hello Vee” and Vee will answer back “Hello Brewster” or whoever. The trains will also shout out as they go past the loading yard or the depot. By pressing the button on the top of the trains, they will all start having a conversation with each other.
It’s hard to explain how well the Smart Technology works. Your probably used to toys which speak a few words, well this set has over 300 different sounds and phrases. For the whole time that I was playing around with the set it constantly surprised me with the kind of things that the trains were saying and how they were interacting. Brewster was asking Koko to play hide and seek, Wilson was saying how he was afraid of the Dark, and Vee was telling everyone to be careful whilst loading the fireworks. I can really see how this would enhance your child’s play, by adding a totally new dimension to their playtime.
Being a covert and secret operation the first thing I had to do was to find somewhere to set it up and have a look at it without the kids seeing it, which was going to be no mean feat as the set is over 135cm wide when fully assembled! As they’re was no possible way I could hide a toy of that size in my tiny house, I had to wait until they both went to grannies for the night before I could get it out for a bit of a play.
After I had cut my way through yards of that metal wire they insist on wrapping around every toy and set the whole thing up, It had taken me just over an hour. 30 minutes of that it seemed had been spent trying to untangle aforementioned wire from in between Wilson’s wheels. I have to say though that it was worth it, as I was very pleased with myself when it was finished. It looks so substantial, and very much like the Chuggington from the TV show.
The main thing you initially notice is the sheer amount of track that you get. Your little chuggers will have no problem riding the rails with this set. I mention this because sometimes you only get one measly loop of track and that’s it. The All Around Chuggington set thankfully is not like that.
I also love that the set is not just flat on the ground, it’s nice to have a train set with a bit of height. You get to travel round the tracks, up the hill and then roll in a spiral down the other side. The best part about going up the hill is that all of the trains sing “Chuggington” as they pass underneath the sign.
Around the tracks there are three main places of interest where the Interactive aspect comes into it’s own, The Roundhouse where the chuggers go to sleep, The Loading Yard where you use a crane to load up the cargo car with goodies and the Platform with arch and parcel depot.
The All Around Chuggington set comes with Wilson and a Cargo Car complete with Cargo included, the other chuggers can be bought separately. You can also get some extras stops to add to your Chuggington World. The Chug Wash, Rock Quarry and Repair Shed all interact with the set exactly the same as the rest of the stops, the set and trains will all still automatically recognise each other.
To be honest I think that the set is big enough already, but I think it’s nice that you can add on extra pieces afterwards to prolong the life of your set. I’d probably buy the big set for Christmas and maybe get the other sets afterwards for a birthday, I think that’s what I’m going to do.
My only reservations are with the insane amount of batteries the set needs to operate, 11 AA’s in total! And thats just the train set, the trains also take 2 AA’s each as well. That is a whole lot of batteries. The worst thing is that it states in the instructions not to use rechargeable batteries, so that well and truly scuppered my plans. I understand that it obviously needs all the batteries as all the bits and pieces talk to each other and do different things, but it does seem like a lot.
Thankfully you do get batteries included for all the sets and trains that you buy, which is good as I doubt many people have 20 AA batteries lying around the home. The set also has a built in energy saver feature, so that after 5 minutes of no play each piece will individually turn off, and you will need to switch them off and on again. This is a really useful addition as kids are never going to switch all the pieces off after themselves.
I used the set continually for about 2 hours fiddling, playing and seeing exactly what every piece does, and the batteries were fine when I finished. So I don’t know what the battery life is, but I would suggest getting in a bumper pack when you see them on offer if you buy this set.
For a start this is a really lovely train set, it’s a very large set which looks great, the trains are lovely and chunky and perfect for toddlers little hands, and the interactive elements are a real bonus that actually add something to the play rather than just being tacked on at the end.
Although it’s big you can add on new elements if you want and build up your collection of chuggers as much as you wish. The good thing about all of the trains is that they speak in the original voices from the TV show, and it means that your collection will not only all look different, they will all talk to each other differently too.
This is the perfect Train set for any little boy or girl, Chuggington fan or not.