If you're scratching your head wondering what to buy for a car-mad toddler for Christmas, you'll be pleased to know that Scalextric have launched My First Scalextric, dubbed "racing fun for the young driver" and targetting kids aged 3+. We received a set to review and it appealed to all three of the Madhouse kids, regardless of age and sex.
The cars are much bigger and chunkier than the usual die-cast cars so they are easier for little fingers to manipulate. (It's 1:64 scale.) The whole set has been designed with young children in mind so the controllers are also easy to use and colour coded with the cars for simplicity. You can adjust the speed using the controllers and also limit the power, if there is only one speed (the top one !) as far as your children are concerned ! That said, the cars seem to stay on the track even when they're racing round really fast, unlike the old-fashioned Scalextric I remember playing with in my youth. They did fly off a few times but that just had the Madhouse kids squealing with glee even more !
As I remember, Scalextric was always great fun to play with for kids but a total pain to put together for the parents, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that they've simplified the track too. It slots easily into place as a simple figure of eight with two bridges to elevate one section. I didn't even need to read the instructions - a glance at the picture on the box was all that I needed to work it out.
You can see the TV ad here to get a feel for the toy. It's an ideal introduction to Scalextric for young children of both sexes, before moving on to the proper "grown up" sets when they're a bit older.
As I went to link up to the product on amazon, I noticed that there are a lot of negative reviews, alongside the positive ones. I had a quick scan through and the problems mentioned are multiple - one car going quicker than the other, the controllers going wrong, the track coming apart ... I decided to play with the set for a bit longer before writing my review, in case the problems started appearing after a longer period of use, but even after a few weeks, I still haven't had any issues at all. Scalextric do also address the negative feedback on their websie and say : My First Scalextric, and the whole Micro range, has been designed with younger people in mind. The cars and track are actually very robust but the set does require maintenance. Care needs to be taken assembling and disassembling the track and the cars’ braids (small brushes on the underside) do need to be looked after. We also recommend using the power limiter on the hand controllers for smaller children who want to go as fast as they can all the time. However, with this small amount of care and attention the set should offer tonnes of fun for many play times."
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £34.99
for more information : http://www.scalextric.com/uk-en/shop/sets/micro-scalextric/my-first-scalextric-g1119.html
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.