Kids love to build stuff. With electronic gaming and YouTube viewing all the rage, how does a toy manufacturer peak their interest? A child’s introduction to trains starts at an early age, often receiving their first train set on Christmas morning. A large number of toddlers and preschoolers receive a wooden train table or something with the name “Thomas & Friends” on it. But what about older kids who have outgrown such toys, yet still love trains. How do they get a more hands-on interaction? Priced at under $60, the OWI Magnetic Levitation Express is an affordable train set unlike anything most of you or your children have ever seen. So without further delay, let’s take a closer look in this RobotoKits maglev train toy set review.
• Creative, modern design
• Solid track construction
• No glue required
• No electrical cords needed
• Possibility of parts breaking apart during a derailment
• Would prefer a darker color with a matte finish in lieu of the yellow track
RobotoKits MagLev Train Toy Set Review
When an adult or parent purchases this product for their child, they’re trying to spark some level of thought and creativity. You see, the Magnetic Levitation Express is so much more than a mere train set. It’s a toy, a train set, an engineering project, and an educational kit all-in-one.
Upon opening the packaging, you’ll notice this train kit is very similar to the model car or plane you built as a child. But this is not an open the box and ready to operate train set. You have to assemble the track, and build the three trains as well. With 155 well-labeled parts plus ten stickers, building the trains and the track is a time-consuming affair. When I tell you it could take 3-4 hours to completion, it’s no exaggeration. But when you’re finished with the project, provided you built it correctly, there’s that feeling of accomplishment.
The assembly and instruction manual is over 40 pages in length. It’s a good thing too as you’re going to pay attention to every page. It’s easily one of the best manuals I’ve ever seen. And if you encounter an issue, you’ve got video tips at your disposal. Full disclosure–I used two such video tips. Here’s a tip of my own–keep a nail clipper handy. You’ll use it over a hundred times to clip of the burrs.
I highly suggest you do everything in the order as it appears in the manual. It will make the experience go more smoothly. Within the box, you’ve got 18 yellow tracks and clear guide rails and twice as many magnetic strips to install in the tracks. These magnetic strips are numbered as are the undersides of the tracks, so it’s difficult to mess up the placement. There is one thing to be mindful of here. Pay close attention to the surface colors of the magnetic strips. It’s an easy mistake to install one upside down, one which I made. What happens here is every time the first train passes over the incorrectly installed strip, it derails. That’s how you know you’ve made said mistake.
Installation of the track and magnetic strips is the most time-consuming part of the build. Once this is done, take a short break. You’ll have earned it.
The completed track measures no more than 29 x 18 inches and is less than 2 inches in height.
The Three Train Cars
The trains are propelled by wait for it, magnetic levitation. This mode of transport has been around for over a hundred years but is rarely utilized for a variety of reasons. Rather than explaining how magnets suspend and propel a train forward, I’ll refer you to Wikipedia. Everything you would want to know about maglev can be found in this link. I for one would prefer to ride on this type of train or Elon Musk’s anticipated Hyperloop rather than a conventional one. You don’t have to look any further than the near-daily bad news stories on New York’s MTA.
Of the three trains, the two outer ones are mirror copies of each other. There’s no front or rear train car. It all depends on which direction you direct the train in. The building of the train’s cars shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes to an hour. And because everything is well-labeled, it’s difficult to make a mistake.
The trains operate via a 3-position switch. There’s an off position and one of two on positions. P1 will operate the train in either direction for 90 seconds. Call it an appetizer. P2 will operate the train in either direction until the two installed AAA batteries run out of charge, or in my case until your cat knocks it off track. According to the manual, if you started with fresh batteries, the operation of the train should last approximately two hours. You may want to invest in a 4-pack of rechargeable AAA batteries.
The color pattern of the train is an attractive one with its solid white and transparent blue features. It measures no more than 11 inches in length. As no glue is involved, parts can become undone should the train derail. Be mindful of the surface which you place the train tracks upon. It should be large enough to contain a derailment.
While the RobotoKits Magnetic Levitation Express train set was a challenge to build, and a time-consuming one, it was a rewarding build. With all the science involved, your child should find this an educational experience. Maybe a university degree in physics or engineering is in their future.
The finished product turned out great. It delighted not only the 6-year old who assisted in this project, but it also intrigued my cat to a point where she kept derailing the train with every whack.
If you put this train kit in front of someone in their pre- or early teens, I believe they’re going to love it. Plus, it’s a conversation piece among adults.
At $58, which I believe to be fair, the RobotoKits Magnetic Levitation Express is among the best-rated toy kits of 2017. For you kids you love to tinker and build stuff, we highly recommend you try this maglev train set out.
What do you think of this RobotoKits Maglev Train Toy Set review? Do you agree or disagree with our verdict? Let us know in the comment section below or via social media. We’re eager to hear your thoughts.
FTC Disclosure: OWI provided Beantown LLC with one (1) Magnetic Levitation Express train kit sample for review purposes. This writer’s opinion is 100% his own and not a paid product ambassador.
All photographs are the copyrighted property of OWI/RobotKits and Beantown LLC © 2017.