MOTA Holiday Train Set

  • You can put this train to run around anything, but most people use it around their Holiday Tree
  • JK we mean “Christmas Tree” but wanted to see how many people we could upset
  • It’s a good way to test whether you kid would enjoy a train set without buying a big expensive one
  • The train itself is bigger than you might imagine, if you’re imagining a small train
  • Model: CLASSICTRAIN (Whether this string of characters meets our Minimum Model Number Qualification Criteria sparked a great deal of debate in our model number review writers’ room. Like a split editorial board, we have decided to officially support neither side)
see more product specs

Fail Fast

Our own overlord @dave bought this selfsame train on Amazon back in 2014 and says, “It’s pretty much a train that goes around your Christmas tree.” Sage words, @dave.

Some Amazon reviewers claim that this train will occasionally fall off the tracks, and @dave agrees — he’s seen it happen before. But he disagrees with these reviewers who see this as a negative. To him, half the fun of any toy, especially a model train, is making it malfunction.

It’s true — who wants a train that never falls off its tracks? That’s like wanting to watch a soap opera where the couples seek counseling and work through their problems in a calm, productive manner. To wit, boring.

We’re not saying toy trains should immediately malfunction (this one doesn’t). But they should be capable of malfunction in a way that satisfies our inner anarchistic Buster Keatons.

With the Yin of a toy’s proper function must come the Yang of destruction and malfunction. We all want our Flutterbye Fairy to live long, happy lives. But we also enjoy a deeply rooted pleasure when she is cast into the proverbial barbie:

And however satisfying it is to watch an expertly executed domino demonstration, we enjoy domino fail videos with equal (or greater) relish.

Indeed, there’s a reason that “fail” videos are an enormously popular YouTube genre unto themselves, while “succeed” video are, to our knowledge, not.

This reason lies somewhere deep in the human psyche. A place that watches figure skating and roots for them to fall. A place that finds itself navigating to /r/holdmybeer in the wee hours. A place that sets up a train track around the Christmas tree and immediately imagines ways to derail it.

Yes, this train my not run with shinkansen-like precision. But, to paraphrase @dave, we wouldn’t want it if it did.

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