Everyone needs Scalextric under the tree this Christmas…
There’s a lot of talk online and on TV saying that Christmas 2021 will be a tricky one to shop for. It’s true there are ‘supply chain’ problems and shipping delays for pretty much everything – plus a microchip shortage for anything with a computer in it. However, with a little bit of planning, there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be some perfect Scalextric presents under the tree on Christmas morning.
In this blog post, I’ll look at seven of my favourite Scalextric and slot car products of 2021. All of them are ready and waiting in the Jadlam warehouse – so there’s no worry about shipping delays spoiling your festive fun. I’ll also link to some blog posts I’ve written over the past year, which I hope will help you get the most out of Scalextric this Christmas.
#1 Ideal Set for a Young Family
I really like the My First and Micro Scalextric sets – they are a perfect introduction to Scalextric. The small 1:64 system was completely re-designed in 2019 and Scalextric should be applauded for a job well done. The track and cars are now much higher quality, making everything more user-friendly – so it’s not surprising Scalextric have won awards for their new product. The My First and Micro Scalextric sets are suitable for children as young as three – and possibly a bit younger – whereas the standard 1:32 scale sets are best for five or six-year-olds. There are some nice themed sets to choose from – such as Batman vs Joker and Ryan’s World – but my pick for 2021 is the James Bond ‘No Time to Die’ set…
The film has been released this autumn, so there’s a real buzz around all the movie tie-ins – and a Scalextric set means you can create your own exciting car chases between the classic Aston Martin DB5 and the Jaguar XF. The cars are fitted with strong traction magnets to help them grip to the track as they zoom around the corners and round the loop. The hand controllers are perfect for small hands and are fitted with a speed-limiting switch that has four settings – 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% – to help younger and beginner drivers learn how to race. On the lowest two settings, the cars will stay on all the time – giving maximum excitement straight away. The top two settings require you to slow down a little on the corners.
Jadlam sell two versions of this set, one with battery power (requires 6 x AA batteries) here: https://www.jadlamracingmodels.com/micro-scalextric-set-g1161-g1161m-james-bond-no-time-to-die-1-64-battery-powered/ and the second powered by a UK mains transformer: https://www.jadlamracingmodels.com/micro-scalextric-set-g1161-g1161m-james-bond-no-time-to-die-1-64-mains-powered/. Both have exactly the same 4.08 metre track length and exactly the same cars – the only difference is the power. The cars themselves are Hot Wheels-size models and really zip round the track, keeping the whole family entertained…
If you’re tempted, I’ve written a whole other blog post about getting started with Micro Scalextric: blog.jadlamracingmodels.com/2020/10/12/getting-started-with-micro-my-first-scalextric/. This walks you through what’s in the box and how to get everything ready for Christmas morning. And do keep an eye out for the exciting new Micro Scalextric lap counter (www.jadlamracingmodels.com/micro-scalextric-g8048-micro-scalextric-ejector-lap-counter-accessory-pack/), which might be available before Christmas – but would also make a perfect upgrade in the new year.
#2 Best Full-Size Starter Set
There are lots of reasons to buy a Scalextric starter set. Maybe you’re introducing younger members of the family to Scalextric – or maybe you’re looking for a new hobby to get your teeth into. Whatever the reason, you want your first taste of Scalextric to be a perfect and absorbing experience. Although the Scalextric sets are great, the tracks are a bit short – and extra track will be required almost straight away. That’s why I’m recommending this version of the best-selling Jadlam SL5 set…
You can buy it here.
It’s worth noting that the cars included in all of the SL bundles change from time to time based on availability.
This set ticks absolutely all the boxes for me:
- A really enjoyable 35-foot long track layout that fits in an 8 by 4 foot space and features a wide-radius bend
- Two GT4 cars that look sensational and are great fun to drive
- The ARC Air powerbase, which connects to wireless controllers and to a tablet or phone
- The ARC app runs on your phone or tablet, featuring lap timing and pit stops in various different race modes
- A full manufacturer’s warranty and excellent customer support from Jadlam
I have recently taken a close look at the various SL5 sets for the blog, so keep an eye out for that post. It’s always sensible to put in some preparation before Christmas day, so you might find my blog post on getting started with a new set helpful: blog.jadlamracingmodels.com/2020/09/28/getting-started-with-a-new-scalextric-set/
If you’ve read the Jadlam blog before, you’ll know that I do love those Mustangs – and I have written a ten-part Scalextric Tuning Series using a Mustang to help understand how a Scalextric car works and what you can do to improve the performance. You can find all the posts here: blog.jadlamracingmodels.com/tag/scalextric-tuning/. I’ve also spoken to the boss of Academy Motorsport, whose #61 Mustang is included in the set: blog.jadlamracingmodels.com/2021/10/06/interview-academy-motorsport-mustang-gt4/.
If you order this set, don’t forget to buy four AA alkaline batteries for the wireless controllers. And if there’s one thing I’d add to this excellent set, it’s a couple of packets of C8228 Radius 2 Outer Borders: https://www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-c8228-4x-radius-2-outer-borders-barriers/
#3 Best Scalextric Digital Starter Set
The ARC Air SL5 layout I recommended above is the same traditional one-car-per-lane ‘analogue’ racing as the Micro Scalextric James Bond set. Scalextric Digital is ‘multi-car’ racing, where up to six cars can race at the same time – overtaking, changing lanes, entering the pits and so on. The Scalextric ARC Pro powerbase is a complex piece of kit, but if you enjoy gadgets, it’s easy to get used to. ARC Pro uses similar wireless controllers to the ARC Air set and uses the same ARC app to control the racing. Having grown up with traditional Scalextric racing, I have been blown away with the amazingly realistic racing that digital provides. Because I think you need a pit lane to get the most out of the ARC app and digital racing, I recommend the best-selling Jadlam SL7 set as the perfect digital set…
It’s worth noting that the cars included in all of the SL bundles change from time to time based on availability.
Like the SL5, the SL7 fits in a sensible 8 x 4 foot space, but still gives you an exciting and challenging circuit to race on. To race more than the cars included in the set, you’ll need to buy extras that are described as Scalextric digital (see here: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric/scalextric-cars-digital) – or fit a Scalextric digital plug to a standard car. Each car being raced will also need a C8438 ARC wireless controller (www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-arc-c8438-arc-pro-wireless-hand-throttle/) – up to a maximum of six in total. And if you are racing more than four cars, you’ll need a second P9300 power pack (www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-hornby-digital-c7024-p9300-power-supply-for-r8213-c7042/).
With Scalextric digital, there is more to buy and plenty to get your head round – but it is worth it. I’ve written some blog posts to help you get the most out of ARC Pro, starting with this one: blog.jadlamracingmodels.com/2020/10/19/getting-started-with-scalextric-arc-pro/
Don’t forget two AA batteries for each ARC wireless controller!
#4 The Must-Have for Supercar Fans
The mid-price Super-Resistant range of Scalextric cars are perfect for younger drivers and for digital racing – plus they look utterly fantastic. Undoubtedly the best of bunch and one of my favourite new releases of 2021 is the Pagani Huayra Roadster BC…
You can buy the standard car here: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-c4212-pagani-huayra-roadster-bc-yellow/ and the digital version here: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-digital-slot-car-c4212-pagani-huayra-roadster-bc-yellow/
When I reviewed Huayra at the end of August (blog.jadlamracingmodels.com/2021/08/31/preview-scalextric-pagani-huayra-roadster-bc-yellow), I was very excited by both its amazing looks and stunning performance on my Jadlam SL test track – the roadster set new records for a Scalextric car…
While we’re waiting for more Huayras in different colours, a good stable-mate would be Scalextric’s unique Rasio C20 – another car in the Super-Resistant range. There are Rasios in red (www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-c4170-scalextric-rasio-c20-red/), metallic blue (www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-c4141-scalextric-rasio-c20-metallic-blue/) and a Joker-inspired livery (www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-joker-inspired-car/). These are also available as digital versions: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric/scalextric-cars-digital.
#5 The Top Choice for Classic and Ford Fans
One of the most enjoyable things I did this year was to chat to Andy Pipe about the wonderful Ford Escort that he races in the UK Modified Ford Series. I also reckon this was my favourite new livery on a Scalextric car…
You can buy the model of Andy Pipe’s Mk1 here: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-c4237-ford-escort-mk1-andy-pipe-racing/ and the digital version here: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-digital-slot-car-c4237-ford-escort-mk1-andy-pipe-racing/
The Scalextric Escorts are a lot of fun to drive with their quirky ‘slim-can’ motors. Anyone who loves classic cars – and especially a classic Ford – is going to want to add this to their Scalextric garage. I do like to know the backstory of the cars I buy – and if you’re the same, you can read an interview with Andy Pipe, a track test report of the Scalextric model, plus an ARC Modified Ford race format here: blog.jadlamracingmodels.com/tag/modified-ford-series/
If you already have the Escort – or fancy something different – then the Dan Gurney Plymouth Barracuda, is another fabulous car and has just arrived in stock: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot-car-c4219-plymouth-barracuda-trans-am-1970-dan-gurney/. I previewed the ‘Cuda on the Jadlam blog here: blog.jadlamracingmodels.com/2021/10/01/preview-scalextric-plymouth-barracuda-trans-am-1970-dan-gurney/
#6 If You Want Performance This Christmas
Over the summer, I wrote five blog posts that looked closely at the performance brands NSR, Slot.it and Policar – all of which are sold by Jadlam. You can read the posts here: blog.jadlamracingmodels.com/tag/performance-slot-cars/. If you visit the ‘all slot cars’ page of the Jadlam store (www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot/cars), you’ll also find performance brand Racer Sideways alongside them. It’s an incredibly difficult task to pick one performance car to recommend for this Christmas guide, but I’m choosing this awesome Slot.it Alfa Romeo 155 V6 Ti…
You can buy it here: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/slot-it-alfa-romeo-155-v6-ti-dtm-itc-1996-no-18-mugello-1996-1-32-ca45b/ and it is possible to convert it to Scalextric digital by fitting one of these: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/slot-it-universal-hornby-ssd-chip-sisp15b/
I am a big fan of Slot.it – I think they are probably the best-value slot cars available at the moment. What you get from Slot.it is a beautiful scale model and high-quality racing components underneath. Although the cars are fitted with a weak traction magnet, they are designed to be driven ‘non-mag’ – and Slot.it cars like the Alfa are the perfect way to try out this different way of driving.
I’ve chosen the Alfa because Slot.it are as enthusiastic about Alfa Romeos as I am. The 155 V6 Ti remains the only non-German car to win the DTM championship – and in three of the four years it raced, the 155 won more races than any other car. This 1996 car driven by Gabriele Tarquini also has one of the nicest liveries of the 155s. You can see that the body is slightly different to the 1995 car behind. This is because Slot.it have produced three different mouldings – one for the 1993-4 car and one each for the 1995 and 1996 Alfas. It’s that obsession and attention to detail I love about Slot.it.
I will be featuring the red Martini Alfa on the blog next year, so keep an eye out for that. Slot.it produce a number of 1990s saloon cars – and you can find more Alfas, plus the Mercedes 190E, Nissan Skyline R32 and Opel Calibra here: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-slot/cars
#7 Scalextric Formula-E Cars & Spark Plug App
It’s a last-minute addition to the list – but I am so excited that the Scalextric Formula-E cars have arrived in time for Christmas. Announced in the 2021 catalogue, you can watch the backstory of the range in the Hornby TV documentary on Yesterday. Electric motor racing and Scalextric are a perfect match, so the official link-up with the FIA Formula-E Championship makes sense for both parties.
Although I haven’t got my hands on them yet, the cars look to be a good compromise between high-detail and robustness – so they could be ideal single-seater models for digital racing. The two individual cars are the red and white Mahindra of Alexander Sims and the gold DS Techeetah of 2019-20 champion António Félix da Costa. However – for me – it’s the new Formula E Spark Plug app that’s the star of the show…
Scalextric have a new version of their Spark Plug app (Scalextric Spark Plug Formula E – available now at GooglePlay and the App Store) which allows two teams – of up to six people each – to participate in the race via phones or tablets. Each team has a driver, who chooses the driver option in the app to drive their car. Team members choose the team option – and they have their own collective and individual tasks to perform in the race, including pit stops, strategy, fan boost and attack mode. An average race lasts eight to nine minutes and is controlled by the app.
There an official How-To video on YouTube here – and fans of Formula-E will see how some familiar features have been changed or tweaked to add to the Scalextric gameplay. Also, pit stops aren’t routine in a Formula-E race any more, but in the Scalextric app, they play an exciting, collaborative part of the action.
Keep an eye out for the Formula-E set at Jadlams – it includes the the gold DS Techeetah of two-time champion Jean-Éric Vergne plus the Jaguar of Kiwi Mitch Evans. However, you can use the app now by simply buying the Spark Plug dongles (www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-c8333-spark-plug-wireless-dongle-twin-pack/) to use in a basic C8545 powerbase. If you don’t already have that powerbase, Jadlam sell the whole Spark Plug, powerbase and power supply kit here: www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-c8333-spark-plug-wireless-dongle-twin-pack-with-power-supply-base/
Spark Plug is certainly a different way of driving a slot car, but it is fun and gives a lot of scope for gameplay, which Scalextric have developed superbly for the Formula-E version. This could be a very special addition to family Scalextric fun.
I hope you found my Christmas guide useful. For more info, take a look first at the Jadlam FAQs (www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-faqs) or browse the Scalextric and slot car posts here on the blog. Have a fabulous Scalextric Christmas!