Bigjigs Rail 957 'Ironclad'
When I was on my family holiday to my hometown in Yorkshire I made an effort to visit the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. After taking a trip behind S160 5280 (that can be found here) I visited the railway store at Haworth station and this is where I first came across the Bigjigs Heritage range. I bought the L&YR Class 25 ‘Ironclad’ 957 toy train straight away because I liked the idea of my sons first train being a Yorkshire liveried locomotive bought in Yorkshire.
Class: Class 25 Use: Goods Region: Midlands Era: 1887-1959 Preserved examples: 957 – 12044 – Haworth – Awaiting overhaul – Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.
In terms of overall appearance compared to the real life locomotive this toy train is near perfect. The wooden version features all the correct shapes that is on the real life locomotive and is the most accurate Bigjigs model I have reviewed so far. The locomotive has all the correct lines and the cab especially has been designed to mimic preserved 957. The models wheel arrangement on the tender and locomotive are both correct and even appear to be the right scale relative to the model.
In terms of capturing the details of 957, Bigjigs does well again, which is partly down to the fact that real life locomotive is very clean with only handrails on the outside of the cladding which the model features. The numberplate on the cab is crisp, the livery is well applied, the numbers and windows on the cab stand out. The locomotive also features smokebox detailing and buffers on both the locomotive and the tender. The only real downside is the L&YR logos printing is slightly out of sync which is a real shame. The first part of this review was looking at the model from a railway enthusiast’s viewpoint and a good percentage of people buying these trains will be granddads or dads (like myself) who are enthusiasts and want something a bit more special than the typical generic wooden trains you usually find on the market. The next part of this review is a bit tricky because as a 27-year-old man I felt I wasn’t the best judge when it came to play quality and durability. This meant I had to call in not only my 5 and 1-year-old kids, but also my 8 and 3-year-old nephews to test the locomotive.
In order to get a fair overall assessment of the play quality I gave the locomotive to my kids and nephews for a week and then asked what they thought. The biggest thing the kids picked up on compared to the other Bigjigs trains I have reviewed was the fact that the front of the locomotive had a magnet which allowed for more flexible play compared to the other Bigjig trains. Seeing L&YR class 25 locomotives double heading, shunting and running backwards was common place when the real life locomotives were in service, so it is good that Bigjigs have factored this into the model. A front magnet on the Black 5 and the Bulleid wouldn’t have been suitable as it was a lot less likely they would be seen double heading, shunting or running backwards and so makes those toys rather more prototypical.