I bought this set for my son for his second birthday. If you have read my previous review of the Plan Toys Parking Garage, then you will already know that my son is vehicle mad! I was struggling to think of something to get him for his birthday because his main love is vehicles.....but we already have so many!! Then I noticed that the Parking Garage (kindly handed down to us by a friend a few weeks before his birthday) could obviously be attached to something else, there was a little notch cut out and one side and a sticky out bit at the other side. I grabbed my laptop, did a quick search and hey presto.....present dilemma solved! The perfect gift for a vehicle mad boy who has more vehicles than our little house can cope with.....a road!
I bought the set for £34.99 from Amazon. The set is beautifully made from non-chemically treated rubberwood and comprises of 27 track pieces, 1 bridge, 2 wooden cars, 2 street lights and 4 trees. The pieces fit together using the same system as is often used in toy wooden train tracks (such as Brio). One end of the piece has a notch taken out of it, the other end has a bit sticking out which fits into a notch! Unlike the train track though my son is already able to fit these pieces together by himself as the fit is not quite as tight.
One thing I like about the set is the attention to detail. Some pieces have a pedestrian crossing on (if you follow the layout in the image shown above then these pieces go at all four points of the crossroads, then there is a further crossing just after you pass under the bridge). The bridge itself has a centre pole that is attached with elastic and clicks into an indentation in the surface of the bridge. The bridge has raised red sides which match the red edges of the Parking Garage and is supported by two 'T' shaped struts. These also have raised edges so the bridge cannot slide off and are chunky enough to support the bridge and the road leading up to the bridge. That said, at the moment my son knocks the bridge over nearly every time he 'brums' a car up it, but this is because he pushes onto it too hard up the ramp, thus flattening the 'T' supports, I certainly feel the bridge is sturdier than similar bridges he has in his wooden train set, and his 4 year old sister seems to be able to get a car over it without it collapsing so I am hoping he will soon learn what he is doing wrong!
The accessories you get with the set are made to the same high standard as the road. The painted detail on the two little cars is fantastic, there are 6 silver windows - each of which is a lovely curvy shape, two little round white headlights, a front and back bumper and a front grill. The tyres are rubber and (I can't believe I am saying this about any car, let alone one that is less than 5cm long!) it moves like a dream! I have no idea what makes a toy car so good, but at a guess I would say that they have got the weight/wheels/size ratio absolutely spot on, on a smooth surface - such as the Road System Deluxe (or a marble hearth!) just one little nudge and these little wonders really do go! Similarly, the four trees that come with the set (two of each design) have nice chunky trunks and the street lights have a wooden base with a metal curve on top that end in a painted yellow 'light'.
Quite possibly the thing that excited me most about this set is that one of the track pieces is a level crossing (all be it without safety barriers) so you can attach a wooden train set to the layout. In keeping with the thoughtful design, this is a piece that can easily be left out, but as we already had the trainset we are using it and my son now has a wonderful layout of a road, a train track and a parking garage that he absolutely loves and that encourages his imaginative play without the use of buttons/sounds/lights that seem to acompany so many toys these days!
I think that for £34.99 this is a great buy. Plan Toys are an amazing company who actually think! Not just about our children's minds, but also about the environment.....and about bringing the two together!
Road layout with cars, bridge and multi-storey car park, with lift.