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DT
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Allot of us have recently got back into the hobby after a decade or two break. When we were kids we had simple home sets and a few cars. Now as older people with high disposable incomes we are getting bigger tracks and more cars.

What about our kids? Are they into it as much as we are? Do we let them play with our toys? Do we let them touch our very expensive prize cars?

What will their future be? Imaging them as adult looking back on their childhood - will they remember playing with slot-cars or being kicked out of the attic by daddy and his mates?

What can we do to promote the hobby among younger people? Perhaps instead of buying up cheap sets at Argos and trying to make a fast buck on eBay, we could give these out to the kids in our families to get them interested. Cousins, nephews, nieces and grand kids - they could all get them.

I think that interest from the ground up (the basic set) is what is vital to get kids interested in the hobby and to perhaps get them club racing or collecting when they're older. That will surely grow the hobby and it is in our interest for it to grow.
 

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Some good points there that have made me think


In my experience with my lad (8) after buying a Scalextric Sport set at xmas for him ive noticed how although hes really into racing his cars its very much an "inbetween the playing out" sorta thing. He loves racing his cars and trying them out but bores with it very easily if hes on his own. He'll play happily for hours when his mates or im there but very rarely will he even think about it when theres a playstation for competition and far easier to play solo.

The point re "expensive prize cars!" is a very valid one and one in which altho he understands the value of the prized assets he finds it very hard to comprehend why buy them if we cant race them ? This also raises another point which has been talked to death here but still a valid one re just the general cost of cars which ultimately in our house anyway are raced to destruction with ample loads of two pack epoxy glue along the way. Although we have many cars his favourites are Scalextric and Fly (any models) because (his words) they stick better and your not forever replacing them on the track you can have a good go with them. The argument mag versus non mag doesnt even rear its head in our house its mag all the way!! Kids havent got the subtlety of trigger control its flat out to the line or nothing thus creating more smashes and more cost to repair / replace and at minimum £25 car its an expensive hobby.

Regarding clubs there just isnt enough of them to take kids without it being an all day job and a hell of a drive to a suitable club. Pro racing like the one we have in our town just isnt suitable and the cost is even more prohibitive with expensive purpose built cars like they race and to be frank my lad doesnt understand it nor are there any kids there. Kids like to play with kids. So for the time being until such a club where they race Scalextric cars basically std out the box the club he frequents will remain a football club where he can mix with kids his age and have fun which after all is what being a kids all about in my book.

I feel its up to the likes of the main suppliers/manufacturers along with the dads to promote the hobby if clubs are the way to go or it will stay a brought out now an again toy. The manufacturers for the obvious financial gain and the dads for the fun/enjoyment unless the club is not a club as such and is run for financial gain ie as a business.

Whats the future? Personally i havent a clue ! Yes its ridiculous and im guilty too of buying expensive collectors toys that my son cant play with but am re thinking that now. I too bought a couple of the "Argos sets" for gods know what reason but did give them away including the cars to 2 of my lads mates so they have sets now so they can play at each others houses. Promoting the hobby has to come from the manufacturers in the first instance as they have most to gain then its down to like minded folk to start clubs that kids WANT to use as they are the future as in any sport / hobby. As some of you may know we are actively trying to start a club in our area but its not as easy as you think with all the costs involved in set up/premises/etc etc wheres the help from all the interested parties when you need them ?? They take the profits when we buy why not put a bit back in aiding people to set up clubs that ultimately will benefit them ??

Great stimulating thread Nuro made me think long and hard anyway and not many things do that when your used to thinking on an empty head !!!
 

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Jim Moyes
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QUOTE (Nuro @ 9 Jun 2004, 09:49)What can we do to promote the hobby among younger people? Perhaps instead of buying up cheap sets at Argos and trying to make a fast buck on eBay, we could give these out to the kids in our families to get them interested. Cousins, nephews, nieces and grand kids - they could all get them.
Don't tar us all with the same brush, Nuro


One of my Argos sets went back to Humberside with my 16 year-old nephew after he had spent some of his Easter break with us. He's a model train fan but I always take him along to the clubs I race at when he's down visiting. I'll convert him yet!

Another nephew gets a subscription to Hornby Racer mag every year for his birthday, which coincidentally is today, and has a large layout in his garage loft at home.

The problem will be keeping their interest. When we were kids slot racing was probably the ultimate "fake" motor racing experience. Now it is an alternative to R/C and Console gaming, as well as other non motor sport activities all vying for their attention. Perhaps having an "eccentric uncle" is the catalyst that is needed!

Mr.M
 

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Our kids (a boy 4 1/2 and a girl 3) are both racing fanatics (probably because I work for a full size team) and both love playing with their Slotcars. Friday nights or Saturday mornings we usually get 'Daddy, can we get the slotcar tracks out?'

Our son got an IRL (Grand Prix) set for Xmas and we bought a DTM (Touring Car Challenge) set soon after in a sale which our daughter claimed as hers!! We combine the sets and make up different layouts on the lounge floor and they race their own cars (including a pair of 911's bought in a sale) and some of my collection. Their favourites seem to be the Scaley Sport Coopers, but a Scaley Subaru Impreza (its blue
!) and a Ninco Mclaren follow close then come a Fly Racing 911 GT1 Evo, a Carrera Bentley and Scaley Nascars...

Damage so far consists of wrecked braids on most cars, popped out Fly Porsche windscreen, broken Cooper wipers, broken Dallara rear wing (fixed with glue) and broken Dallara front suspension (caught him trying to change tyres in a pitstop whilst holding the suspension
!!!) For the amount of use and fun they've had, I don't mind fixing these few bits and pieces...

The most frustrating thing we find is the track itself... the non conducting part in the corner crossover is about an inch long but WHY do cars ALWAYS stop on it!!!! I think when funds allow, these will be replaced and some different radii corner pieces added... maybe we will try Digital later this year...
 

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There definitely need to be more "basic" cars.. and I'm not talking more Scalextric "Single Seaters" from years past.. but something the kids can play with that don't break too easy, something they can identify with from tv. Most kids I know love the police cars, and "Chase" becomes an awful popular game. I think the Crash'N'Bash sets are a good start towards aiming for the younger crowd.. but at the same time we elders are secretly worrying that the "crashing" will not be a phase that wears out should the interest evolve to bigger and better cars/tracks/etc.

I've gotten our 11 year old hooked on slot cars, but the best part is.. he saves up his money and buys his own cars. Before this, he had little concept of money and worth, other than the fact that a plate of nachos and a slurpee at the convenience store cost $2.50, easily found in mom's purse. Since buying his first car (Carrera Pontiac GTO 66) on his first trip to Fantasy World Hobbies in Tacoma, WA (about 5 hours north of us), he's gone from "look how many times it'll flip off of the corner" to getting a Ninco Mini he desperately wanted for Christmas, "if i go to fast i'll deslot and break the antenna". Now he understands that the cars aren't generally cheap, but will last very well if he takes care of them, and worries more about going fast IN the slot, rather than fast IN to the barrier. He saves his money and is constantly scouring eBay for more cars. His collection is at three (also has a Ninco Porsche 911 GT3) and will quickly grow. I can't get a table and semi-perm track up fast enough to make sure his interest stays with it.

Sure he would usually rather go outside and hang out with his friends, but more and more he's been bringing them over to show them his new car, or mine (*gloats!*).

I think sense of ownership, pride in something to show off to his friends, and the thrill of racing with me or his friends has started the fire. Now to keep it burning...

pupkick
 

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This topic made me reconsider my plans.
Later this summer some relatives are coming to visit along with their kids. Since I don't want the kids to wreck my precious cars I had planned on hiding them, only leaving a couple to use with the sets... Now I'll probably keep the majority of them out, and let them try most of them (under careful supervision, of course!).

At the local club we have a age limit of 16 years for members. It's possible for younger kids to race on "open days", but only when accompanied by an adult.
This age limit was enforced since some parents just dropped off their kids at the club, expecting club members to be babysitters
 

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DT
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Here's a shot of one of my kids rolling a GT-40 (don't worry, it's only one from the Goodwood economy pack):


I let my kids try out all the cars. We have fun playing with magnet-less cars after thundering around with Fly Vipers stuck down like glue. Our 'stock' cars are the Fly Vipers and we race them until they fall apart. The kids each have Scalextric NASCARs that they enjoy to look at and pamper, but unfortunately don't run that well so the kids go back to the Vipers. The Scalextric L-88's are good for kids too as they go fast, look good with their lights and stick to the track very well. I'll pull them out when we have 4 little tykes over to play together on the track. Poor me has to marshal then, but I turn down the voltage a little so there are no major fender-benders and the little plastic bits stay on the cars.
 

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Gary Skipp
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I think the basic sets should come without magnets (or very very weak ones) in the cars.

My first lemans set with the old scaley no-downforce-at-all bar mags certainly tought me not to go too fast round the corners. I didn't want my beloved sauber getting beaten up.

I reckon if youngsters started out having to take it slowly, rather than 'see how much i can floor it', it'd dial the right attitude into them.

Thats my opinion.
 

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If my first scaly GT40 set had been no mags, I would have saved sooooooo much money! Still cant drive non- mag for toffee
 

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I think a little patience wouldn't go amiss when teaching kids slot car racing.

For me, my father purchased my first slot car set when I was 7, and was only allowed to play with it under supervision and as a treat! Blimey in this molly coddled age it sounds rather strict, however once my dad taught me the basic principals of driving i.e. not flooring the throttle and bouncing the car off the skirting board, allowed to play with the set all the time.

A little while later, my dad would allow me to race some of his original cars, although preferring that I didn't insist on performing 'J' turns with a Scalextric Aston.

These ideas of plumping for magnet cars as an ideal starter car for kids isn't the best approach my book. I personally feel the best alternative is the slower non mag cars which as we all know, equals less damage. Okay more time consuming to teach (for the impatient) but ultimately more rewarding. Once the kids are taught the basic fundamentals, maintaining a magnet less car on the track, then the use of all cars shouldn't be an issue.

When helping out at the SCX Digital stand the other day, it was easy to notice which kids were taught the basic lesson of respecting people's property.

Cars designed for kids, erm if it means cars reverting back to models akin to the early nineties then no thanks, spend more time teaching the kids to drive.

James
 

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I've recently married & inherited an "Instant family" - 2 boys one 2 & the other 7. I dragged the old scaley out of the shed after about 20 years & have been buying some SCX stuff to replace controllers & the really butchered track.

Chris has really got into the idea of having something he can do with his Dad (often for hours on end) and it apparently gets really very very noisy (according to "She who must be obeyed". Me thinking I'm still the Graham Hill of the slot car world tends to lead to me wiping out & Chris sailing past since he's way more conservative (knowing they're mine mine mine ha ha ha ha!!
) & concentrating on building up his speed a little at a time.

I would be interested to know how many people got into slots 'cause it's something their Dad or his mates or other relatives had & you got to play with the "Grown ups"? I know that's what happened to me!

Actually on the price thing I saw a sat of two cheap "formula" cars at a hobby shop the other day ($40 Australian) & later in the day Chris came out with the idea that "You should have bought those Dad 'cause then when my mates come over they won't wreck the good cars"
the only problem with the plan is I was totally lost when I found the shop & can't find the bugger again
.

Actually he's a pest too 'cause when I have an armful of stuff he reminds me that "Mum won't be happy if you take that many home" or simply drags me out of the shop by the ears (he did that when I was lining up on the Goodwood GT40's - $250 where I saw them).

Another point in the favour of slots is that you can have a lot of fun on a relatively small layout. R/C cars take up a hell of a lot of room & while the playstation is fun for one with 2 or more a slot car track makes more fun & noise & kids being kids will always be social animals.

I guess what I really meant to say after all that was that as long as there's Dads to give the boys an opportunity to race & they can do it relatively unsupervised they'll look after the stuff & have a bloody good time doing it..
 

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yes all very well BUT some kids find crashing hilarious and taking others out just as funny (yes I do do nerf people but not in racing unless you have tried to get me) but yeah my point is the kids will just get bored and crash etc. If they have their magnets that hold their car to the track like a god given force it's easy and thats what mnost kids want, we have a lad at the club who didnt like the idea of no mag touring but then he tried it and thought it was brilliant, (yes! another convert!) my point is it's a damn good idea but it wont work if there is no one to teach um.

Inte
 
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