LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express

Amazon Product Name (APN): LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express 75955 Building Kit

A Model Train Review by Papa

If you love LEGOS, trains, and Harry Potter, then this is the set for you. At 801 pieces, this model train set includes a train station with pedestrian overpass and clock, the Hogwarts Express, tender, a passenger car, and a handful of mini figs.

The LEGO minifigs include Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Remus Lupin, the Trolley Witch, the Dementor and Scabbers figures.  The Trolley Witch even has the chocolate toads that Ron is always eating!

The LEGO Hogwarts Express model train set is not motorized, but it does roll by hand on LEGO City track.  Another difference between this set and other LEGO train sets are the train’s couplers.  The Hogwarts Express uses connectors and pins, instead of the magnetic couplers used in the motorized sets.  They work best if the train is moving in the forward direction.

The best feature of this set is the custom Hogwarts Express art details on the engine. These are very nice and colorful.  The engine is pretty detailed with three set of “drive” wheels on each side and has the appropriate sets of smaller wheel before the “drive” wheels. It is a bold engine showing shiny red and black.

Now, this set is not motorized, but I wanted to make it motorized.  I bough an extra Hogwarts Express kit and a second LEGO City Passenger Train 60197 motorized kit and “kit-bashed” a solution I found on a YouTube video.

There were actually quite a number of videos for the different methods used.  I took the Bluetooth receiver/battery pack and built a slightly longer engine tender which I then mounted the LEGO drive motor/wheel set to. The weight of the battery pack is sufficient to give the drive wheels good traction.

With my upgraded train set, the tender now pushes the engine down the track.  This works ok as long as you keep the layout simple with gentle curves and straight track. It will not negotiate wiggle track at all.  I took the extra parts from the second kit and made an extra passenger car, and added a “caboose”. This motorized train looks very nice as it runs around the track. The Bluetooth control, using your tablet or smartphone, gets you some added sounds to liven up the operation.

My updated Hogwarts Express on display.

I am a fan of Harry Potter and have purchased most of the sets that are currently offered.  My future model train layout will combine my love of Lionel O scale trains with LEGOS and LEGO City trains.  Of course it will have the secret wall at the station and a rail line to the city “by the lake” for a boat ride to Hogwarts Castle.

Here are just some of the Harry Potter kits you can add to your Hogwarts Express layout:

LEGO Harry Potter Quidditch Match


LEGO Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall

Aragog’s Lair 75950 Building Kit

LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts (The BIG Castle)

I have added several of these sets to my collection already, but I haven’t yet bought the six thousand piece castle set.  The sets I have are all colorful, and form an interesting feature in my layout. I haven’t decided yet how I will use Aragog’s Lair, since it really needs a deep dark forest located beyond the castle.  Guess I need more space!

Get started building your own Hogwarts fantasy. Start with the Hogwarts Express by finding it on Amazon here.

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LEGO City Cargo Train 60052

Amazon Product Name (APN): LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 Train Toy

Our Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Toy Review by Robby

I saved my own money for a long time to buy the Lego City Cargo Train 60052 train set. I built it with Dad the first time. It’s L Scale, which is close to O Scale model train size, but it’s L for LEGO! I like to crash my trains a lot, and I like to take my LEGO kits apart and build new things. Mom has helped me rebuild this set a couple of times, too.

The LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 set reminds me of a real-life CSX Freight Train. I like that it’s blue like Amtrak. I love crashing this train set. When I first got it, I would crash the train into the truck, and crash the forklift into the crane.

I don’t like that when I crash it, the headlights on the bottom fall off. It’s pretty hard to build, and I have a hard time building it without help because it’s such a big set and I just want to play. Although the LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 model train set is for kids 6 and up, it’s very difficult to build without a grownup helping. If you want to build this set with your kids, you can find the LEGO City Cargo Train 60052 on Amazon here.

Make sure you build it together, and you decide if you’re okay with crashing it or not. It’s more fun when everyone agrees on how to play trains!

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Best road trip games

Getting ready to plan a road trip?

It can be hard to get into a board game in the car, even though that’s exactly where you need to be entertained the most. We put on our travelling caps and headed into the world of road trip games to see what is available to keep travelers of all ages engaged.

Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game

We love a good scavenger hunt, but coming up with a list of things to find can be downright difficult. That’s where the Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game comes in so handy. With 54 scavenger cards, there’s always something new to find. We did find that this game is more suited for travel through urban areas, so if your road trip involves a lot of flat-land interstate driving, you may find it to be challenging. Find the Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game on Amazon Here.

Shelburne County Store I Spy License Plates

Where there are cars, there are license plates. Playing road trip games to see what state plates you can find is a great way to pass the time in the car. But once you get beyond five or six states, it can be hard to remember which ones you’ve seen before. This simple dry-erase board fits in the glove compartment and helps you keep track of all fifty State plates, as well as District of Columbia and some Canadian province plates. Get one for a cooperative game of “find that plate”, or buy several and see who can find the most license plates on your next trip. Find the
Shelburne Country Store I Spy License Plates on Amazon Here.

Family Talk 2

There aren’t many road trip games where the driver gets to play, too. It’s hard to handle game boards and a deck of cards when you’ve got both hands on the wheel. That’s what makes Family Talk 2 so much fun. It’s more about driving an engaging conversation than it is about keeping track of a scorecard. Simply have one of the passengers pick a card, ask a question and see who has the most interesting answer. It’s important to note that the questions range in topic across a variety of life experiences and feelings, so if you have young travelers with you, there may be cards you elect to skip over. Find Family Talk 2 on Amazon Here.

Regal Games Original Travel Bingo 4 Packs

There’s nothing like a good game of travel Bingo to pass the time. When we found these durable game cards with sliding markers, we couldn’t believe our luck! Easy to identify pictures and words make it simple for even young kids to enjoy looking out the window. Play it by classic Bingo rules on long car rides, or mix it up by marking the boards “I Spy” style. Find the Regal Games Original Travel Bingo 4 Packs on Amazon Here.


Another variation of “look out the window” road trip games, Rubberneckers has colorful cards that suggest things to look for during your road trip. While a 4 or 5 year old may need help reading the cards, once they know what to look for they’ll enjoy playing with the whole family. Just like some of the other games on this list, it may help to go through the deck and pull cards that you think are worth skipping over, unless you want to keep items like “Telephone Booth” in for an extra challenge. Find Rubberneckers on Amazon Here.

Dr. Biscuits’ Radical Road Trip

One of the most exciting games on our road trip list is Dr. Biscuit’s Radical Road Trip. It’s a little more involved than most of the other games we’ve mentioned, but the variety of tasks enclosed makes the bulk of carrying a game box around in the car worth it. Packed with 60 different games and activities, this game box will keep you on your toes during your next drive, whether you’re in the car for a half hour or half a day. Find Dr. Biscuit’s Radical Road Trip on Amazon Here.

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Family Room Ideas: Kid’s Play Area Rugs

When you’re setting up your family room and gaming area, it can be hard to find the right rug or playmat to help your littlest gamers feel at home. Adding the right playmat can make your game space the most popular room in the house. We’ve scoured the seemingly endless supply of family room play mats and living room rugs to help find the perfect accessory to keep little ones busy.

Extra Large Kids Rug City Life

What kid doesn’t want the perfect carpet for driving cars and trucks on? If you’re looking for a playmat with a city layout for your toddler or elementary aged kids, this play area rug may be just what you need. With clearly defined buildings, roads and crosswalks, the City Life carpet lends itself to playing with cars, dolls, action figures and toy boats. At 79” x 40”, it delivers on size, leaving plenty of room for kids to play with friends and siblings without arguing about space. Find the Extra Large Kids Rug City Life on Amazon Here.

KC CUBS Playtime Collection

Educational family room accessories are so important to us, but it can be hard to find a playmat that is suitable beyond learning to crawl on. It’s especially difficult to find rugs with more than just one or two learning prints on them. We were so excited when we found this area rug with vibrant prints of the alphabet, seasons, months and days of the week. The carpet can be ordered in a variety of different sizes to make sure that it fits your play space, and the illustrations are clear and hold up to foot traffic. Find the KC CUBS Playtime Collection Playmat on Amazon Here.

Learning Carpets Chalk Walk

Don’t worry about having to bundle up on a winter day to get the kids moving. Instead, consider bringing playground style fun indoors with the Learning Carpets Chalk Walk. Durable enough to be used as a family room playmat, this rug has a fun hopscotch game printed on it to inspire jumping and active indoor play. Find the Learning Carpets Chalk Walk on Amazon Here.

Melissa & Doug Round The Barnyard Farm Activity Play Rug

We’ve purchased may Melissa & Doug products over the years, and I was so excited to find one of their family room accessories to add to this list.

For those of you looking for a smaller area rug to use as a playmat, Melissa & Doug has created a beautiful activity rug with a country theme. Small enough to be machine washable, this durable barnyard carpet will keep little cowboys and cowgirls busy with tending the fields and driving the included tractor along the dirt drive. The playmat also comes with a cow, pig, horse and a trailer, which will inspire your toddler to start playing as soon as you open the box. Find the Melissa & Doug Round The Barnyard Farm Activity Play Rug on Amazon Here.

Smithsonian Rug World Map Learning Carpet

If you didn’t catch what we said earlier, we really love adding learning accessories to our game room. We and fell in love with this World Map learning carpet. Not only is it a fun play mat for a classroom, but the Smithsonian map of the world looks smart as little gamers navigate their way around the game room. Find the Smithsonian Rug World Map Learning Carpet on Amazon Here.

Cusphorn Kids Carpet

If you are looking for family room playmats that are a bit more stylish, we understand. Bold colors and crazy designs aren’t for everyone. If you’d rather have muted tones that are pleasing to the eye (and easier to match to your living room furniture), then Cusphorn’s Village Life carpet is the way to go. With simple, neutral colors, and a plush velvety feel, this uncluttered play mat is pleasing to adult fashion sensibilities as well as little hands and feet. Find the Cusphorn Kids Carpet on Amazon Here.

Baby Play Mat With Fence

You know those bold colored foam puzzle floor tiles that have been interlocked on the floors of every preschool since the mid-90’s? Well, they’ve gotten a face-lift. If you have infants at toddlers underfoot, then this foam playmat may help to keep them in their own space. Once you’re done with tummy time and ready for rambunctious toddlers, lay the fence down as a nice curved border, creating a sophisticated and stylish foam playmat that will be the envy of moms stuck with primary-color family room accessories. Find the Baby Play Mat With Fence on Amazon Here.

No matter which direction your home decorating leads you, we hope this list helps you to find the perfect kid’s playmat for your game room.

Want more? Check out some of our other lists and reviews below.

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