June 25, 2006

In Fact, We've Been Waiting For The Ikea Train For A Long Time


At Ikea last night [doesn't that sound about right for a Saturday night now? What a freakshow], my wife picked up this little train set--20 pieces, really basic, wood but with little plastic attachment nubs, but just $12.99.

That's a lot of pieces to chase down, I thought, does the kid really need that?

Then minute or two later, the kid spies the train and goes, "Mommy, where are the faces?"

Ikea train set Lillabo is only available in stores, $12.99 [ikea.com]


Crazy. As I was reading this entry in my RSS reader, I was waiting for iPhoto to finish importing this photo[1], which I was taking earlier, trying to get a shot of Fiona going all Godzilla on her ikea train set. She loves to disassemble it since she can't quite push the trains around without derailing them.

1. http://www.flickr.com/photos/mathowie/175046941/

[very cute pic, but what's even crazier is that right after posting this, I was checking out the one before it, of your new deck. -ed.]

The LILLABO track is a nice starter set... lets you know whether you need to graduate to name brand tracks at four times the price. A word of caution... competing brands of generic tracks "compatible with Thomas" are not necessarily compatible with each other.

Also, Ikea tracks are not necessarily compatible with Brio, etc track. They just don't fit together nicely. Luckily, the thomas trains drive just fine on the Ikea track. We have about 7 sets, and Monster makes some truly impressive structures

yeah, this is why editors will still have work in the coming blog-economy.

I'd hoped to show that, at the very moment my wife and I were weighing "a train that's not Thomas," against "20 more things to step on," the kid amply demonstrated the need for some brand deprogramming.

(I thought you showed exactly that, quite nicely.)

I slipped up to Canada a couple of weeks ago and stocked up on Lillabo for the boy. I bought one of every different box set they had.

I have a smattering of trains; Brio, Thomas, and Ikea.

I haven't seen the other brands of track, but I have to say that the quality of the Ikea track isn't that great. It doesn't fit nicely. It's ok for $12, though.

I would say that it's partly compatible with Brio and Thomas. First, the Ikea trains are shorter top to bottom. The Thomas trains don't fit under the Ikea bridges unless you go up and then go up again with another bridge piece. Second, the battery powered Thomas trains stay on the Ikea track just fine if its a simple track, but they don't do well if there's one of those V pieces where the track goes into two directions. It just plows straight ahead, off track, over the edge of the table, and onto the sleeping dog. Speaking of tables, Ikea doesn't have a train table bit craigs list is chock full of train tables.

The ikea is fine, and I'm not sorry I got it, but the Thomas/Brio is nicer. Just not 4x nicer in my opinion.

[i have to agree, it's kind of crappy track. I didn't notice and don't like that the connectors are inset plastic. But the tracks on the UWS trains don't fit together too well, either, so in a way, it's authentically crappy. The kid's already knocking down single-block bldgs and putting up towers, too. -ed.]

I'll have to grab these for my daughter's b-day coming up (2 yrs). She's fascinated by trains, especially now after we took her to Danbury this weekend to see/ride "The Little Engine That Could", who is blue, so my daughter always says, "Thomas!" when recounting the trip.

[heh, the Haumans vs Awdrys are the Hatfields and McCoys of the moralistic anthropomorphic train storybook industrial complex. If you're keeping score at home, though, remember that the Little Engine That Could is female, while the Thomas universe is almost all male. -ed.]

This reminds me -- my daughter picked out the most bizarre Thomas book from the library last week

The basic plot (I don't have it with me at work) is that there is this engine (not Thomas) who was afraid to leave his tunnel because it is raining, so the workers built a wall so he couldn't leave his tunnel. This made him sad. One of the other engines break down, so they remove the wall to see if he can pull the cars (sounds a little familiar). He does, and as a reward, he gets a new coat of paint.

Strangest plot I've ever read (after We Share Everything, featuring Jeremiah and Amanda, who learn to share in kindergarden by swapping shoes, then shirts, then pants).

[dude, you need your own blog, seriously. there's some gold here. -ed.]

For what its worth. The wooden tracks at Target fit Thomas just fine and the cost of extras like the roundhouse and water station are 1/3 of the price.

As a caution, the plastic Thomas trains sold at Target do not fit on the same wooden tracks as the wooden Thomas stuff.

I will say that this stuff has staying power. My seven year old still plays with the trains although now it is more about constructing intricate designs.

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