“ Brand: Bigjigs / Type: Accessories / Subcategory: Buildings „
This engine shed was a present for our son last year from his grandma. He has always loved his wooden trains so was pleased to receive the engine shed as he didn't have one and had looked enviously at a friend of his engine shed when they were playing at his friend's house.
This is made by Big Jigs that do a lot of wooden train bits such as engines and tracks and accessories. They are also compatible with Brio bits which was essential for us as the majority of his train bits are Brio so it needed to work with them which it does brilliantly with no issues at all.
The shed is made from mainly from wood but the track element does appear to be made from a compressed wood material that reminds me of the wood some kitchen cupboards are made from. What I have noticed from this is that some elements to the side of the track section have chipped and got scuffed which is a bit disappointing as the rest of the shed is still in really good condition. The track itself is wearing well and the trains are able to go into the shed fairly smoothly. When driving the train into the central section it is very easy for children to do but slightly more awkward to do for the side elements of the shed. As my son was 4 when he got this he was able to figure it out fairly quickly how to steer the trains to the side but a younger child may actually need some help to do this at the beginning till they were more confident.
The shed itself seems fairly robust with no scuff marks on the wood work. It is all painted to look like a traditional engine shed with two clocks on the top on a triangular shaped wood. These don't move which I think would have been a nice touch if they could rather than them just being painted faces.
The doors are painted a light blue and open and close easily and have suffered no damage from being played with or in storage. However the handles for the door are actually quite small so I think that the younger children that this toy is aimed at may struggle as they are hard to hold but my son at 4 years old was able to manage. Strangely given the shed can accommodate 3 engines the shed just has the numbers 1 and 2 on it. However this doesn't bother my son at all.
The rear of the engine shed is all open bar some supporting dowels that go from the top to the base. What this means is it is nice and easy for little hands to get into the shed and move the engines or carriages around with ease. My son finds this really handy and is able to get into his trains and change them around or use some of the train people we have to go in and do repairs to the trains.
The main criticism that I have about this shed is that you can only store one engine in it in each section and this causes frustration for my son as he has to dismantle his train to get it in. I think that by having the ability to connect some track at the back or making the shed deeper would be better so to have the option to store one engine and one carriage at least would be less frustrating than the current arrangement. Also some trains that we have such as the Flying Scotsman are actually too long to fit in with its tender and close the doors which again my son finds frustrating.
The shed has proved a good addition to the train set and our son does use it frequently when he sets up his track and as the engines coming in and out of it. But I think he would play with it more if he didn't get frustrated by having to uncouple the train he has put together for it to fit in. He also likes making the shed a bit of a repair shed with some of them going in to be fixed by the figures we have. The engine shed is good for helping develop his imaginative play and his fine motor skills as he moves the bits around and in and out of the shed and puts his set together.
Keeping it clean is easy to do and if it gets things spilt on it the painted wood work wipes down easily with a cloth or baby wipe.
Overall it is a good shed but it does have a few flaws such as the cheaper wood for the track and the lack of space inside and because of this I can't really give it more than 3 stars as these issues cause my son at times become frustrated with the shed. However he does enjoy playing with it. I also think that this is one for the older children who play with wooden trains rather than the 3 years old that the toy is marketed as being from as the doors and track part are bit hard to function for small hands. The shed is available from Amazon for £16.99 which given some of the bits it is made from I think is slightly over priced.