If there’s one word that is definitely NOT synonymous with 2020, it’s travel. With most of stuck in lockdowns and quarantines for most of the time, the idea of visiting foreign shores has been little more than a pipe dream. So why not bring an element of travel to your holiday season with the Eurostar set from Hornby?
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Model railway sets have been a staple of the holidays since the first railways, with Hornby sets, in particular, being a classic gift for youngsters. This Eurostar set brings the traditional toy train set into the modern age with a perfect scale replica of the sleek trains that can be seen crisscrossing Europe.
This starter set contains everything you need to set up your very own international Eurostar voyage including:
- Eurostar Power Driving Car
- Eurostar Dummy Driving Car
- 2x Eurostar Carriages
- 3rd Radius Starter Oval, with Track Pack A (includes point and buffer)
- Train Controller (R8250)
- Wall Plug Transformer (P9000W)
- Power Connecting Track (R8206)
- Hornby Track Mat (1600 x 1180mm)
The Eurostar set is very similar to the Hogwarts Express set I reviewed last year, but the inclusion of a track mat (branded as TrakMat) is hugely beneficial here as this allows the set to be used in any room including those with carpet. The one problem with a Hornby railway set is that it cannot be used on carpeted or other soft floorings, as the fibers and fluff will clog up the gears and motor of the locomotive, quickly damaging it. This isn’t a problem for hobbyists planning to build permanent track layouts affixed to a board, but for casual users and families, it can cause problems. The inclusion of a large (160cm x 118cm) TrakMat right in the box means that the set can be used anywhere without the need for additional purchases.
Unfortunately, we did have a problem with our Eurostar set in that the Power Connecting Track piece was faulty. This was initially hard to diagnose and could have led to some significant frustration had we not already owned another Hornby railway set of the same gauge which allowed me to switch out various pieces until I identified the culprit. This specific piece of the track can be purchased individually (as can any part of a Hornby track) should you not be able to obtain a straight replacement from your point of purchase or should a part wear out over time. However, that doesn’t help with the initial frustration and I would strongly advise getting your railway set out for a test prior to wrapping if it is being given as a gift to ensure it is fully working before the big day.
As I mentioned previously in my Hogwarts Express review, these railway sets are very much intended for older enthusiasts, not young children. They are finicky, easy to derail if mishandled or driven too fast (around 50% speed is ideal in my experience), and cannot be treated roughly. They also need regular maintenance in order to keep them running smoothly. This is no wooden train set for toddlers and to get the most out of it, it needs to be handled with a particular sort of reverence. However, train lovers and model railway enthusiasts will love the spectacular attention to detail and flexibility of Hornby, and these starter sets are perfect for anyone looking to take their first steps into model railway building.
The Eurostar Train Set brought back many happy memories for my family. We have traveled aboard the Eurostar several times now on trips to Disneyland Paris and always find it a fun and exciting way to travel. While future trips are currently on indefinite hiatus due to a depressing combination of COVID-19 and Brexit, watching this scale model zipping around the living room has helped take away some of that sting. I have set up one of our tracks around the base of the tree this year (not plugged in, as it has to rest directly on the fabric tree skirt and so the locomotive will not be running) and it adds an extra, traditional touch to the room with a modern twist from the sleek Eurostar engine.
GeekMom received a copy of this item for review purposes.