28th December 2020
It is a great treat to open a trainset on Christmas Morning and it is about 60 years since I first did.
I had noted this set when Hornby first announced it. It is a joint collaboration with Lionel and only the Hornby version was meant to be in the UK but somehow my daughter got me the Lionel version.
The sent is beautifully boxed in a plastic tray. It is described as a 37 piece set. Within that there are
32 bits of track – 24 curved and 8 straight
1 Castle class Loco in Harry Potter livery plus tender
1 remote control.
Firstly the track. It is 50 mm gauge so it cannot exactly be extended with track from Peco. However Lionel do sell other sets using this track and I understand that additional track is also available. The circuit provided is more that sufficient for a lounge or dining room.
What you will need is 6 C Cell batteries, 3 AAA batteries and a cross head screwdriver. The 6 C Cells go into a battery container that then slides into the boiler of the Castle providing significant ballast in the process. The 3 AAA batteries fit in the remote, which provides limited control. There is only 1 speed in each direction.
Having set up the track, added the batteries and placed the train on the track I turned the remote control on. Nothing happened. Removing the loco I found a very small switch on top of the firebox. I Moved this and suddenly the loco was simmering in my hand. Because this is a train with sound. Press the button on the remote and Hagred is giving Harry advice. Once you start the loco the train is heard to pull away whilst the trolley comes round serving Chocolate frogs.
Now the set is not for the purist. The coaches are not to the same scale as the loco and the coupling gap is enormous. However whilst 100% plastic the moulding is clean and crisp and accurately represents the train currently on static display at Leavesden Watford.
So who will this appeal to? Any young Harry Potter fan and anybody who would like something to run either around their Christmas tree or on their patio. It is well made, easy to put together and also to put away.
It is currently back in its boxes awaiting the summer days in 2021, when the family can come and play.
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