Trains: A Complete History With 50 Easy-to-make Models review

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Trains a complete history plus 50 easy to make models

The book Trains: A Complete History With 50 Easy-to-make Models has proven to be a massive hit with our railway-loving five-year old, Zachary.

This unique book combines a brief history of trains with simple but accurate templates to make paper models of the engines. I found our copy in a National Trust shop, with the below front cover really jumping out at me along with the price tag of just £6.99. However, it is also available at John Lewis (click here) at the same price and via Amazon (click here) but it is nearly twice the price presently.

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The book is aimed at children of eight or older, which I think is fair if you want them to do all the models themselves, but getting the book home Zachary was able to help and do much himself. We first of all read the 200 words or so and bullet points of history of the engine in question that run throughout the top third of the book. This is well pitched to give some easy to remember details and facts for a child of five and upwards.

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In the bottom two thirds are the pieces of each model, which pop out easily. The detail and colours on each piece are excellent and the paper nice and thick to make sturdy models.


When it comes to making the models, there are instructions at the back of the book for each. What struck me was the wide variety of techniques and pieces needed to build trains from Trevithick’s Peny Darren and Stephenson’s Rocket through to modern trains like Shinkansen or a Maglev.

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Zachary decided that we should build the Shinkansen first and it proved a good starting model. The pieces are matched together by lining up numbers. The pre-creased folds make folding and shaping easy. We used sticky tape to fix the pieces together but glue in some cases would be better.

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Our resulting models of Shinkansen and then the Siemens Electric Tram were sturdy, accurate representations of the originals. Zachary has decided that as there are few carriages, he will build the Orient Express next and all the engines can take turns pulling it.


There are 50 paper model trains for us to build and I expect Trains A Complete History With 50 Easy to make Models to keep Zachary entertained for a long while yet. Overall, the book is especially good value at under £7 from John Lewis but still very worth it from Amazon if you don’t have one near you.

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Links above take you to or other retailers should you wish to buy one of the products. I earn a small commission without any cost to you for my work if you use these links – which will be used to take two train-loving boys to Japan.

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