What It Is
The Lionel Thomas & Friends Set comes with Lionel O-Gauge cars Thomas and his faithful coaches Annie and Clarabel. The 10 large pieces of track can be assembled to form a large oval. Once it's assembled, plug in the wall pack, and you're ready to run. The set features a child-friendly handheld remote control that connects wirelessly to the set. The remote runs Thomas forward or backward. You can also use it to control bell whistles and announcements from the conductor. As the train runs, you'll also see Thomas's eyes move, and there are three interchangeable faces to reflect Thomas' moods. Additional engines are sold separately, each with a color-coded dedicated remote.
Is It Fun?
The remote is easy to use, and even for younger children, turning the dial quickly, the train runs smoothly, is easily controlled, and stays securely on the track. While this is somewhat pricey, it is great to play with, and it will last for multiple generations. It's ideal for hobbyists as well as a nice complement to other O-Gauge layouts.
Who It’s For
Lionel grades this set for ages 8 and up, but most Thomas fans are significantly younger than that. Younger kids should have no trouble operating the train, but since it's electrical, adult supervision may be necessary for certain kids.
What To Be Aware Of
The set-up is easy, though it should be done by an adult to ensure that all the connections are made securely.
The remote takes three AAA batteries that are not included.
We found that it's easier to get the train situated correctly on the track on the straight pieces, and it's also easier to couple the cars when the train is sitting on the straight part.