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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I'd like to buy my son his first slot car track for his sixth birthday soon. I'm a complete novice and had only heard of Scalextric, which is what the lucky kids had when I was young. My partner grew up with Carrera.

I found this forum while browsing on the web, but obviously most of the people posting here are experts with quite elaborate tracks and I'm a bit baffled.

Can anyone recommend a good starter set for our son, which will need to be packed up and stored somewhere in our not enormous house when not in use. Would be good if it was durable and easy to assemble too.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks very much, I will look at Carrera 1/43. do you think that is better than Scalextric?

(some of the threads on the forum you linked to were a bit detailed for me - sorry, I know most people on here aren't novices but very grateful for any tips...)
 

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Hi Henry's Mum,

If your house is not that large, have you thought about HO scale? The cars are much smaller as is the track which is ideal for smaller houses. Plus the cars do work out much cheaper than 1/32nd (such as Scalextric).

You could look at Micro Scalextric, Tomy AFX and Lifelike as some of the current manufacturers.

Your profile says London. Whereabouts? There are several HO slot clubs around the South of England. I race at Worthing HO racing for instance and also have a track at home. Worthing HO has plenty of Junior and Adult racers every month and is great fun. Have a look at their website and see if that is a possible option for you. www.whoracing.org.uk.
 

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Hi Henry's mum
First Wekcome to HobbyTalk and the Slot Car Section.
And granted not everybody on here is a novice, but most will try and help.
okay now for which track manafcature to pick. HHHHMMM they are both really good, I have had both and raced on both and would have to say either one would be a good choice. The choice would be which ever one you can get the easiest and has more option's for you (More track, more cars). I would check the local Toy/hobby store's around your area to see which one they carry. How easy it is to get what ever kind you get and to get parts for it should be a major part of the decision. Nothing is worse than not being able to use a track set because something isn't working and you are either waiting for a part or can't find that part.
 

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If you stick with 1/32nd scale, I like scalextric as a beginner car because it has easy to add magnet spots under the chassis, so if your little guy has a hard time keeping the car on the track you can adjust it by moving magnets or adding more.
Carrera 1/43nd is much much cheaper and holds up well to kids beatings. As with all slots adding magnets will help make the car more controllable, I don't know how easy it is to do with the 1/43 cars.
I know my brother bought a Carrera go Super Mario track for his daughter (shes 10) and she loves it, we added alot of extra cars for it too. Cars aways cost about $10-$15. Hobby Lobby just blew out the last of this seasons cars, I got Mater from the Cars movie for 9.99.
 

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First and foremost, you have to pick the size (scale) you wish to buy. With limited room, eliminate 1/32 as an option. That leaves HO and 1/43.

1/43 is very inexpensive and would be my suggestion for a starter set. Just make sure you start with an electric set and not a set run off batteries. HO requires less room but the cars are (usually) more expensive and have very small parts which require maintenance.

In 1/43, your only real choice is Carrera, although here in the US there are VERY inexpensive Fast Lane (or Artin) 1/43rd sets. SCX made some cars and track a few years back but seem to have stopped over the last year or two. Scalextric and SCX are not the same company and Scalextric does not make 1/43 cars/track.

My choice for 1/43 would be Carrera. They are based out of Austria making it easier for you to get cars in Europe than it is for us here in the US. Not all Carrera Go cars are released in the US.

I grew up with HO but didn't get my first set until I was about 10-11. That's probably around the age an unsupervised kid can understand how to maintain an HO car.

So my suggestion is start with a 1/43 Carrera Go set and see where that leads you. You can get started fairly inexpensively and then monitor his interest level.

Two things you don't want to do: (1) Spend a lot of money for something he won't like and (2) Buy a starter set which is above his skill level and kills his interest before it ever gets started.

Joe
 

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Good recommendations there Joe.

I know my brother in Germany has just bought his son a Carrera Go set but I've just been looking on the Modelzone website (which is a chain of stores across the UK) and the only non-Scalextric product they have is the Carrera Mario Kart set. Which doesn't leave much room for expansion if Henry really likes slot cars and wants more. Then Henry's Mum will have to really on internet shopping for more cars.

The definite advantage of 1/32 is that you can walk into any Modelzone and several other toy stores and pick up individual cars. The downside is that they cost as much as a complete HO set!

Micro Scalextric has a growing number of sets available but currently you cannot buy individual cars. Hopefully individual cars will be returning to the market soon. But you can pick up pairs of cars from that auction site for less than £10.

So I would probably still plump for a Micro set. Especially as the outlay will be £30 - £40 as opposed to £100 and upwards for a basic 1/32nd set.

Cheers

Gareth
 

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Six is too young for unsupervised use of slot cars/tracks. Parents should assume that they will spend MORE time with the cars/track than the child. If they're not up for that, they shouldn't make the purchase.
 

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I was around six or seven when I got my first AFX set. Shared with my brother who is two years younger than me. We were completely unsupervised in setting it up, getting it running and keeping it maintained. I find that kind of weird now!
 

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That was then....I was around six or seven when I got my first AFX set. Shared with my brother who is two years younger than me. We were completely unsupervised in setting it up, getting it running and keeping it maintained. I find that kind of weird now!
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This is now....Six is too young for unsupervised use of slot cars/tracks. Parents should assume that they will spend MORE time with the cars/track than the child. If they're not up for that, they shouldn't make the purchase.
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You'll have to decide where you fall between these two quotes and proceed from there. Quite honestly, at six years old, I'd consider the first set a throw away unless your willing to assume complete responsibility for care and maintenence.

I've gifted "Artin 1/43" sets to both younger relatives and children of friends. They experienced good success due to Artins remarkable durability.

Consider that a solid used set might be in order.
 

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Here's another important (maybe THE MOST important) consideration...

When most of us guys here on HT were young, slot cars were a very big thing and all the kids in the neighborhood seemed to have them. So there was a lot of knowledge sharing and plenty of racing pals. You were not isolated on an island.

Now is a very different time. Slots are not nearly as popular among kids as when we were young, so the number of other kids he can interact with will be quite limited. In fact, the sole interaction some guys on this board have with others in the hobby is limited to this and other boards.

So for us, HO was not as great a challenge to handle as it would be today. This is why you want to start with the type of race set which is pretty much set up and go. It will be a few years before he might show enough mechanical interest and dexterity to graduate to more complex cars.

This is not meant to discourage, but rather to encourage you to make the right choice at the beginning.

And let me add a third thing you don't want to do - buy a set which is too simplistic or gimicky. Don't buy a small figure 8 set, or a set with loops and other silly track pieces.

Joe
 
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