Pros / This is a special themed train that features a patriotic paint theme and six total cars.
Cons / The paint detail isn't as sharp as it is on some of the best model trains we reviewed.
Verdict / The all-American theme adds flair to this model train set. Its patriotic paint theme is enough to make model enthusiasts excited.
The Life-Like Salute To America Train is a fun train with a patriotic theme. This toy train set is designed entirely with red, white and blue paint that signifies all things American.
This Life-Like train set comes with an F7 diesel locomotive, a stock car, a gondola, a dome tank car, a steel boxcar and a caboose. The F7 diesel locomotive was one of the rare engines that served as both the freight-hauling engine and a passenger car. This is the only train set we reviewed that has six train cars including the locomotive.
This is an HO-scale train set. HO-scale sets are smaller than both G- and O-scale sets, but are the most popular size for model enthusiasts. This electric train set includes a track that is 47 inches long and 38 inches wide, the typical length for an HO-scale model. The track includes 12 curved pieces and two straight pieces, one of which is the terminal that connects to the power source. The track also has an attached roadbed, so there isn’t a need to nail or tack the track to your floor or carpet. If you want a longer track, you can expand on the track with another HO-scale track from Life-Like train sets.
The track is a Power-Loc snap-together track. Instead of pushing the ends together like all other tracks we reviewed, the track pieces snap together sideways. The little plastic pieces that snap into place can break off easily. We had several of the connections break when we were piecing the track together for the first time. Some of the copper conductor pieces also slid off right out of the box. Although the track seemed to snap together fairly easily, the track just doesn't seem durable.
The Life-Like Salute To America train does not offer the same quality of paint detail that you will find in the best model trains, like the Lionel Pennsylvania Flyer. The paint quality was most apparent in the red, white and blue tank car. The lines that divide the colors didn't have clean edges. Also, there was a red smudge on the top of the white portion of the tank car.
On the locomotive, there were paint chips on the ladder leading up to the main door. There were also some minor paint chips on the Salute To America writing. The locomotive on this model train has a working headlight but lacks many of the other features that we found in other train sets, such as an operating smoke stack and sound effects, like whistle and bell noises.
The stock car and boxcar both have sliding doors. The blue stock car has images of the American flag and a bald eagle pressed on the sides. They don't seem to be stickers, but they don't seem to be painted on either. The images are nice and glossy.
The Salute To America train might not have the paint detail quality that a model enthusiast is looking for in a model train, but it certainly promotes patriotism. This train lacks some of the features found in other trains, but if you are looking for a train with an American theme, this is the train for you.