After building, and then blasting away with, the K'Nex K-Force Flash Fire Blaster, we were keen to try something else from the construction toy company's range. As many of you might know, K'Nex are known for their Ferris wheel and roller coaster sets, so we delved into the thrills and spills world of miniature rides with the K'Nex Electric Inferno Roller Coaster.
This set, which is targeted at kids (and y'know, big people too) aged nine years and over, features 639 pieces. However, some of those parts are pretty big, as when constructed this coaster is almost three feet tall and includes 14 feet of track coiled around it's whacky structure.
The build took us about three hours all together, split over a couple of evenings. Unlike the Flash Fire Blaster, which had lots of very small parts to clip together, the Electric Inferno features mostly long rods, especially during the first half of the build when you create the base. In fact, when starting to put it all together we were left a little perplexed as to what all the small clips and weirdly-angled rods were actually for... but then all became clear later.
It was a fun build to be sure, and thanks to the easy-to-follow instructions we're quite sure kids younger than nine could give it a go too. The only tedious part of the whole thing was clipping together the dozens and dozens of chain pieces which are used to hoist the small-wheeled car up to the top of the tower. It's really worth it though!
The K'Nex Electric Inferno Roller Coaster is so called because of the inclusion of a small green electric motor, powered by two AA batteries. This drives the aforementioned chain to pull the car up, then pushes it over the edge to quickly zoom along all that track, looping loops and even inverting. Such is the momentum that the car then automatically reattaches itself to the chain, to be pulled up again and start all over. So you can leave this thing going all day, with a new ride every ten seconds or so. As in this clip:
Although it looks quite flimsy, with the track section held in place with simple small-scale clips (we had no idea that K'Nex parts came in standard and also half-size pieces), it is surprising robust. You're able to pick the whole thing up and move it with two hands; so long as you make sure you're holding that central tower, which is the strongest and most engineered section.
And, just like the blaster, the fun doesn't end there. Even if you leave the tower and electric motor parts in place, the track assembly can be reconfigured into whatever your heart desires. Changing it all about is a very simple job, and we had fun discovering what works and what doesn't, to get the car to return to the start and latch onto the chain. Even if it doesn't, it's a tonne of fun to try!
We loved the K-Force blaster, but we think we definitely enjoyed building and playing with the Electric Inferno Roller Coaster set more. Granted, once built it's hard for kids to 'play' with it, as it sort of just does it's thing without intervention, but as a project, and as an on-going construction toy, it's great.