Apples to Pears look like a fun company for unusual postable gifts in a tin. I was lucky enough to find my Train in a TIN in a charity shop (thrift or op shop) for about £4 , an unwanted gift but in full working order, even the AA battery still charged.
“We know you love gifts that move and catch attention which is why our original Train Set in a Tin continues to be a firm favourite.
This autumn sees the launch of a new design called “The Great Railway Express”. Presented in the new “big” Gift in a Tin size, the product is packed with a classic green train, carriages, plus extra track and accessories …” Available end of August 2017, Apples to Pears trade website 2017
Train in a TIN usually sells for about £10 to £12 and is not to be confused with other “Gifts in A Tin” companies like the variations on the “Tank in a TIN and not enough toy soldiers” set http://www.theoriginalgift.co.uk/ogc/tank-in-a-tin and other suppliers, the battery powered tank being “a tiny replica of the American M41 Walker Bulldog light tank, in operation from 1953 to the present day”.
And now Train in a BOX …
Slightly cheaper without the TIN at around £7, the Click-a- Track Miniature Train Set from dotcomgiftshop / Rex international has more track and a switching point. They have a ‘dotcomgiftshop’ seller site on Ebay and their own website at https://www.dotcomgiftshop.com/traditional-miniature-battery-operated-train-set
I bought this one from hobby craft and modelling mail order store Fred Aldous.
I like the vintage or retro look of the packaging, the railwayana look of the station board titles and vintage looking font. This is continued in the small details such as the railway tickets.
“Relive the Great Era of Passenger and Goods Rail Conveyance” – tickets to travel to the zoo – and all for well under a tenner!
The way click a track works there are only limited flexible options for the layout.
The manual track point switch is robust and simple.
Two of the larger ‘train in a box’ sets would give you point circles at either end, three a point midway along etc.
What happens if you combine tracks from the tin and the box sets?
The battery train and rolling stock have an engaging waddle and easy coupling. Fresh batteries make the engine rather too enthusiastic and coltish at times.
I unscrewed and added a small stone to inside the caboose (painted black, not red) to add some weight at the back. The coal tender in the Train in a Box set has already a chunky addition of bolt or washer inside to add weight and stability.
Whilst unscrewing the rest of the rolling stock out of curiousity to see where a liitle weight could be added, I noticed some interesting tinkering possibilities.
Taking the engines apart suggests that you could adapt the engine to something more British or European. With its body off, the engine looks very functional and narrow gauge.
Train in a TIN comes with simple building instructions and some handy operating tips.
More deconstructed trains
The narrow gauge look to the deconstructed wagons reminded me of another cheap plastic toy, an old Greendale Rocket loco, spotted as the cover toy on the front of a Children’s BBC Postman Pat comic. It is a child’s wheeled push-along toy train that fortuitously fits the track (albeit with wheels astride or outside the track).
The whole delightful Greendale Rocket vintage episode – a mini Titfield Thunderbolt for the tinies – can be found on Postman Pat Official channel on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or1g6RBJc38
Playing with a mix of trucks and cheap plastics, here goes nothing:
Coffee stirrer and matchstick carpentry could be used to make rough waggon sides and floors to fit these waggon bodies.
This train would also go well with Pound Store Plastic Transport –
Lots of interesting cheap plastic inspiration.
So that’s all for now, being
- Two ‘train in a TIN’ and ‘train in a box’ sets compared
- Track layouts played around with.
- Rolling stock deconstructed leading to
- a complete sidetracked tangent to Postman Pat and Pound Store Plastics.
I am busy working on an unusual new history inspired, railway linked Man of TIN / Sidetracked gaming scenario c. 1840s over the next week or two. All requiring a bit of research, some scrounging around for suitable figures, some quick painting and a simple new terrain on the 192 Hexes of Joy game board.
Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 10 August 2017