If, like me you’re a 30-something who had a Scalextric as a kid, then your relationship with them might be pretty complex. I remember creating tunnels out of cereal boxes and building up LEGO chicanes. Running the track in between the legs of chairs and around tables to add a bit more excitement to the route. I think I put more hours into the creation of Scalextric routes than a lot of model railway enthusiasts put into artificial grass and tiny commuters.
The piece that really ramped up the drama though was the crossroads piece. Once you got the crossroads piece you’d upgraded from what was essentially miniature Nascar to a destruction derby! Now, if the cars were driven at just the right pace you could see them collide with each other! If you were really lucky then your car would survive whilst taking out your opponent.
It was certainly a memorable toy that I was keen to re-experience as an adult so I was really excited to get sent a set to review as part of my British Touring Car Championship giveaway.
The first thing I noticed is that, on the whole, nothing’s changed! That’s not entirely true. There are myriad tweaks and features that have been added over the years but that key concept of interlocking track and whizzy cars with brushes under them is relatively unchanged. You get a huge sense of familiarity straight away.
Once I’d set it all up and had a go sending the cars around the track, I let the kids loose on it. At this point, a word of warning to parents; young kids love Scalextric, girls and boys alike, but they can not keep the cars on the track! They really can’t. Spectating a 4 and 6 yr old playing Scalextric is hugely active. Every time the car is placed back on the track it will have come whizzing off a few seconds later. *Whirr-scuff-bonk* then “Daaaaaaad” can you put it back?” No amount of training could get them to ease up on the throttle and getting the car back in the groove can be tricky for the uninitiated.
Here’s a brief video of our lot playing with our set today…
As you can see they all really enjoyed it, although I think our eldest may have lost patience with the younger kids’ enthusiastic squealing.
This particular set contains 2 cars; a Honda Civic and a BMW 1 Series, both common to the touring car circuit. They are amazingly detailed and pretty robust except for a spoiler that kept popping off but then they were frequently going for a tumble. The track that comes with the set is ample (no cross-piece though, booo) and lets you do a number of different shaped circuits although creating bridges and slopes did seem to affect the cars’ willingness to stay on the track. Obviously, if you were to buy other Scalextric sets, the modular nature of the product means you would be able to combine and swap track pieces out to create new configurations.
We really liked the set and I’m now keeping an eye out for additional cars and sets to add to our collection. The kids really liked it too and it was really heartening to see how quickly they’d fling down their iPads and other devices to get their hands on some real racing!