The second problem was brittle plastic for the crossties and support joints. Those things could take very little abuse before snapping.
The lift hill, while ingenious, sucked. I think it worked for all of an hour.
I found that making looping designs was pretty fruitless because of the aforementioned issues with momentum and speed. I mostly stuck to making single-element designs or simple wooden twister designs.
Visually it looks like the new kits do not have any improvements. Hopefully they are using a different grade of plastic for the ties.
My first coaster toy that some of you may remember too was the Mickey Mouse Roller Coaster (mid/late '70's). That started it all for me...
I never had any maintenance issues, either, although I never used the lift hill because I thought it was stupid (a plastic corkscrew that spiraled marbles up to the top).
Next to colored pencils and paper, this was my favorite toy.
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