Playmobil’s new 2013 Radio Controlled Loco
In the 1980’s Playmobil had a complete catalogue of G scale railway items of both European and “Wild West” profiles running on LGB Track making them very suitable for Garden Railways. This range was withdrawn and the company started to produce a battery powered Radio Controlled range of passenger and freight sets which would run on any G scale track but also on their own low cost plastic track.. This was a bit of a downfall for garden rail enthusiasts as the track expanded and buckled in Summer and contracted and sprang apart in cold winter temperatures. Year on year Playmobil reduced the range of railway items until a couple of years ago trains disappeared completely from the catalogue.
New for 2013 a train is back, A City Action set contains a modern centre cab diesel locomotive, one container wagon, an oval of track and a radio hand controller. The box says ages from 4-10 but I think they mean 40-100. Priced around £150 I consider this to be good value for money!
Garden Rail enthusiasts could quite easily just make use of the locomotive and wagon and with creative painting or weathering could be a just as valuable an asset as a locomotive costing ten times the price. The locomotive is powered by six AA batteries which fit inside the engine compartment in a battery cassette which I believe is crying out for rechargeables. The remote handset requires a 9volt PP3 battery. Both the handset and the locomotive have on/off switches which should prevent battery drain when not in use.
The locomotive is a four wheeler with drive to both axles and one set of wheels either side have Playmobil’s perbunane anti slip rings for better traction. The locomotive has directional lighting, an american style chime horn and motor sounds. Fitted with standard Playmobil / LGB couplings it readily connects to either manufacturers rolling stock. In use on a garden railway the locomotive is very powerful and responds well to the most minimum of throttle settings.
The remote control has a power on/off button,a channel search button to align the remote with the locomotive which only needs setting up once and switches for horn, lights and motor sounds. The whole package is robustly constructed and very unlikely to be damaged easily making it suitable for Garden Rail enthusiasts of all ages. Traditionally Playmobil have had a wonderful spares department making the smallest repair item available as a replacement.