Other model reviews and posts you might like
Review: Nanoblock NAN-NBM001 Steam Locomotive
Review of the Nanoblock NAN-NBM001 Steam Locomotive
Although less well known than their competitors in the children’s building block market, Nanoblock manufacture traditional children’s model making kits using the ‘raised dot’ blocks which any child or parent will know well.
This kit allows children to create a model of a tank locomotive – a steam engine without a tender, to you and me – and includes over 800 individual building blocks for just this purpose. Don’t worry though, it comes with instructions and a picture to follow too.
Just as with all building block toys, this kit isn’t suitable for children aged under 3 years as they may choke on the pieces. The manufacturer recommended age group is from 12 years and older, with adult supervision. With that aside, however, it is sure to be enjoyed by young and old alike.
Once built, the model depicts a black steam locomotive, pausing at a signal as it journeys along a railway line through pleasant green countryside. Youngsters will be enthralled by the romance and magic of steam, while the older generation will become equally fascinated by the details contained in the model and in reminiscing of times past.
The 800 blocks included in this model kit are manufactured from the highest quality materials and are compatible with other kits in the Advanced Hobbies Collection from Nanoblock. You may also find that they fit with building blocks from a certain other well-known company.
Playing with Nanoblock helps children develop their planning and organisational skills as well as encouraging creative play and building imagination. Children can use the included blocks to build anything that their imagination can create, and by extending the kit with other Nanoblocks, can stretch the limits even further.
Unlike some cheaper makes and models of building block, Nanoblocks are carefully designed, precision manufactured and constructed from high-quality materials to ensure that you never experience the frustration of blocks sticking or not fitting. All Nanoblock products work together seamlessly and fit each other with perfection and precision to give the best possible experience when building.
The steam locomotive model is easy to build following the included instructions and the picture on the box. You will be fascinated to see it develop, layer by layer, as you construct it and will end up with a model reminiscent of something from a Ghibli movie. The locomotive itself is in the Japanese style, with plenty of extra ‘knobbly bits’ and details such as coal in the bunker.
Once the Nanoblock Steam Locomotive is completed, the finished item will look fantastic adorning any child’s bedroom (or an older child’s den) or can be taken apart and the blocks used to construct anything else that your heart desires.
Over 800 building blocks included
Full building instructions included in four languages
Minimal and easy use packaging
Manufactured from high-quality, long-lasting materials
Combines with other kits from the Nanoblock Advanced Hobbies Collection
Develops children’s imagination, creativity, organisation, and planning skills.
Review: Mamod TE1a Green Traction Engine
Review of the Mamod TE1a Green Traction Engine
When is a toy not actually a toy? When it is an actual steam engine in full working order, powered by its own boiler. This is the 1313 Steam traction engine from Mamod (model number TE1a Green), a replica model of a Victorian era English tractor engine that comes in black, with a British racing green boiler, and cheerful red wheels. There is also a version in brass with black wheels. This engine is modelled on the traction engines made by the iconic Doncaster Works, which also produced the famous Mallard and Flying Scotsman steam engines.
Traction engines powered their way along the roads, such as they were in the late 1800s, earning them the name of road locomotives, to differentiate them from railway locomotives. They pulled heavy loads and were a crucial cog in the industrialisation of nations. Their demise came in the early 20th century as the internal combustion engine replaced steam.
The 1313 is Mamod’s standard model traction engine in its range. It’s hugely popular and for good reason – this working model is affordable and perfect for beginner collectors, or as a gift to a youngster keen on Victorian engineering. It’s been made by Mamod in England for 50 years now, using the exact same design, although early models used methylated spirits for fuel. It isn’t unusual for owners to still have, and use, engines that had been brought 30, 40 or 50 years ago. These have become almost heirloom toys, with parents handing them down to their children, who also pass them on.
The Steam traction engine comes fully assembled and ready to go. Because it gets very hot, and has lots of sharp bits, not to mention the potential dangers of the steam and boiler, this toy is recommended for children aged 14 years and upwards.
The boiler is stoked through the solid fuel blocks provided with the engine, and once it gets sufficiently hot, the little engine will power along quite quickly. It also comes with Mamod oil for lubrication. You only need to add water to the boiler. However, you really need to put water in that is already boiling. Otherwise, you’re in for a bit of a wait for the steam to get up.
The engine is really robust, being made of heavy gauge steel and brass and a reasonable size at 10 inches long. For the metric minded, its full dimensions are 178mm x 137mm x 270mm. It’s also reasonably hefty at four pounds, or 200 grammes, but not as weighty as you might expect from such a little powerhouse.
This is simply a fun toy to play with. There is a sense of excitement from the steam coupled with the smell of the fuel burning, and the power of the traction engine as it moves along. It is also educational, helping youngsters understand the power and engineering of the great steam engines of our past.
Exact replica of a Victorian road locomotive
Steel and brass
Working steam engine with boiler
Moves at speed along the ground
1 x packet of solid fuel tablets
1 x bottle of lubrication oil
Weighs 200 grammes
Measures 178mm x 137mm x 270mm
For ages 14 up
Review: Mamod SP4 Stationary Live Steam Engine
Review: Mamod SP4 Stationary Live Steam Engine
This beautiful model is the Mamod SP4 steam engine. You would expect an engine of any kind to not be too aesthetically pleasing, they are designed to be the power unit, not the focal unit everyone lusts after. However, second best is never good enough for Mamod and their live steam engine units always look and play the part.
This steam engine is engineered in England using the highest quality metals. Not straying far from the classic Mamod use of colours, the SP4 is made up of bold red, silver and black colours. These colours create a glossy and tasteful finish to the model. Each model is:
260 x 208 x 185mm
heavy duty brass boiler and piston & cylinder unit
a water gauge connected to the boiler
a chrome plated fire box
solid fuel, oil and filler funnel (for hours of fun running the unit)
The SP4 resembles an old fashioned steam engine that would have typically been used in the past to run a range of things: pumps, mills, machinery and more. Stationary engines had no purpose without the other pieces of equipment and Mamod knows this very well. Never missing an opportunity to allow their models the ability to mimic the real world from times gone by, Mamod has created the SP4 steam engine with the opportunity to connect with other models. This live steam engine can be used to power pieces from the 1336 WS1 workshop and running them has never been easier. The SP4 is already assembled, so you don’t need to be an engineer to work out how to run this engine. Simply add water, light the fuel and the engine will work. This would be great to connect to other pieces – you could be running your own mini mill in no time.
This engine is suitable for a huge range of people due to its versatility. If using alone to just appreciate the power unit, it’s a fantastic educational tool for little ones and adults alike. It is worth noting, however, that children under 14 years old should not be left unsupervised with this product. That’s nothing to worry about, though, because adults will have a great time teaching their children and grandchildren all about the times of the past! Your kids are going to come top of their history class with their new model. The unit is also a fantastic gift for hobbyists who already have units from the 1336 WS1 series. Once they acquire the Mamod SP4, they’ll be able to fit all the pieces together and they’ll help each other work! Even if the hobbyist in your life does not have any other Mamod models, this is most certainly still one to think about for them. It’s a given that engines of the past were only used to power other units, but Mamod have made that a thing of the past by creating an engine one can appreciate by itself and will look perfect amongst any model collector’s pieces.
If you’ve already got a collection of live models, but not a stationary engine, the SP4 should most certainly be at the top of your list!
Review: The Hornby Santa’s Express Train
Review: The Hornby Santa’s Express Train
The Hornby Santa’s Express Train Set perfect for beginners as it includes a power transformer and a mat. It also has an oval track as well as the Santa’s festive train attached to it. Its spectacular decorations make it the best set for Christmas occasion.
Who’s this for?
Interestingly, the Hornby Santa’s Express Train is a perfect fit for beginners and is also suitable for users of all ages; young and old. Then again, it is ideal for seasoned modellers. The fact that it fascinates people of all ages makes it perfect for the festive season. Building the set around the base of your Christmas tree ensures an outstanding decoration that you may need for the festive season.
You can also gift this locomotive to anyone for the Santa festive season. The included additional track packs can be used to provide a larger layout. Its steam engine works to ensure that the locomotive serves you well.
How do other customers feel about the Hornby Santa’s Express Train?
Customers who have used this locomotive applaud its fascinating appearance from the Christmas tree which delights both children and grown-ups. Its durability has also been commended since it can be used all year round after Christmas celebrations are over, for decorations. Consumers have also been excited over the ease of assembly that is associated with the Hornby Santa’s Express Train Set.
Moreover, its provision of value for the money spent is said to be excellent. Its smooth and quiet operation is another factor that has pleased the customers on Amazon.
Let’s look at the key features of this outstanding piece of locomotive
This locomotive occupies less storage space with minimum storage requirements set at 1600mm*1180mm. It weighs 921g which makes it slightly lightweight and therefore easily portable. The locomotive has everything that will help you to start using it immediately. This includes an oval track, power transformer as well as a mat.
Moving on, the Hornby Santa’s Express Train Set includes its steam engine that is used to power it up. Additionally, there is a wagon that is full of presents. Moreover, the reindeer box van-3rd Radius starter oval power track is available. It has an engine that is charged with the responsibility of starting the train. These features ensure that you get a spectacular decoration during and after the Christmas season.
In a nutshell
The Hornby Santa’s Express Train Set presents to you a colourful and fascinating decoration for your Christmas tree. The wagon that is usually full of presents makes it more interesting. Its spritely little engine has enough power to start up the train. This locomotive provides room for acquiring additional trackpads which are used to construct a larger layout.
Astoundingly, the Hornby MidiMat has included therein so you can view how the train set can continuously grow into a sensational railway model. These, therefore, make this train set a perfect present that you would gift to a friend or family member. The decorations that accompany it cannot be overlooked as well as its power and capability to give you an exciting Christmas period.