So my original post went missing - not a good sign!
My wife has decided that my son (4) should get his first big Scalextric set this Christmas so I started doing some research to determine how best to get into this hobby so that it doesn't just become a 24 hour fad AND I actually enjoy it with friends when he is tucked up in bed. To hold interest I think the two factors of layout and 'digital' are important as the latter will allow some flexibility in how we play and even at this young age he is into his 'gadgets'.
The problem I have is budget, in terms of layout I like something like jadlam's SL2 or similar, but can't decide whether to buy a digital set new and add bits or a digital set used (from eBay) and add more bits or an analogue set which I convert and try to stretch to the 6 APB. My approved budget is £150 for a set and then £100 for extras.
While I want to get the 6APB long term I just think it is out of my budget at the moment as it retails circa £120 which is half by budget. The cheapest digital set new is £160 which gives me 4 car capability so my remaining budget is then spent on track to achieve something similar to SL2, lap counter, plus an extra car and controller but I'm then left with the 4 PB and lap counter when I upgrade to the 6 APB but I guess I could just use eBay.
I could get a used Digital set for circa £95 on eBay (same issue with redundant parts after I upgraded) and then spend remaining budget on other bits but still not enough cash left for 6 APB - hence I wondering whether an older analogue set could be a good buy which I then convert? (need to add a crossover bit) some chips to cars and buy the aforementioned 6 APB.
Does anyone have any advice / suggestions? I think I need to establish how much it would be in terms of track to achieve the layout which then leaves me a figure for the 'set' and any additional items (lap counter) cars etc.
So a quick calculation from eBay (and assuming that the changeover track comes from a set) I'm looking at about £70 for additional track plus £40 for a lap counter so looks like I need to source a digital set for £100 so leaving me with £40 for an extra car and controller.
Out of interest I've seen a 6 car power base that is not the APB but has race modes and a laptop counter (for around £40) - is this a good unit or a bit unreliable?
If you fancy seeing a Digital Track in action and fancy a drive to Essex Saturday come to The Falcon Raceways Digital Extravaganza see link in bottom of my post
Onto your dilemma
Sets are by far and away the cheapest way to get stuff
I know the other week Cosco had the Platinum set on sale at a silly price
Still over your total budget but if they still have it it was worth it if you could stretch to it
Plus it has the APB as standard in it
Re Track the standard SPORT Track is pretty cheap at moment on eBay but you will see it rise in the run up to and after Christmas
Will this be a permanent setup or a put up take down ?
The APB is worth the money as the 4 car base you get is only any good for 3 magnet cars running at a time
If you let us know what size you have a if it is a permanent setup will help a lot
For the winter it will be temporary thing - will look to make it permanent in the summer but it does depend how much interest it will hold. I have spotted a three car digital set on eBay for around £100 which means I could stretch to the APB and then buy little bits of track over time. I do worry that if I don't have enough track to start with then it will become boring pretty quickly hence the idea of something like SL2 but likewise the APB I feel (without actually using it) will add another dimension of 'fun'
8ft by 4ft is my starting size.
I assume that used 'set' prices go up nearer Christmas? I've seen one in Leeds which is too far for me to travel to test so I'm not sure what would happen if it is a load of junk.
Just been watching some videos of the APB, looks like loads of fun, Pacer cars and yellow flags looks really good. Think I might need to find a set on eBay for £100 quid work out a new layout and then buy the APB.
Does anyone have a recommended place for buying the APB?
If your total budget is £250, I would suggest to stretch just a bit more and start with these:
Scalextric C1275 Digital Race Line 1:32 Scale Race Set (£159.99)
Scalextric C7042 Digital 6 Car Powerbase (£96.90)
Prices are from amazon.co.uk, I guess you could find cheaper options. Then, ebay is nice place to buy some additional straights and R1/R2 curves cheap, but don't buy to many, R3 and R4 curves will become more attractive in time.
Didn't the Platinum set turn up last year for £300 from Amazon ? Might be worth keeping an eye out for again this year. Comes with the APB, 6 cars and 6 controllers. Sure, it's £50 more than your budget, but it sounds like it has everything you want brand new and out of the box. *If* it can be had for the same £300 this year.
If I spot it for £300 in the run up to Christmas, I am sorely tempted to get it myself. I usually have a four lane analogue track, but having tried digital earlier in the year, it really is very cool.
The APB should be your primary goal, even if the track you can get is an oval. There's just too much added by the functions in the base to let it take a back seat to anything else.
Then again, I guess it depends on how competitive your boy is. For kids that take losing badly, adding in a way to determine the winner can be counter productive. For boys that love competition and strive for the win until they get it, lap counting/timing is priceless.
I suggest getting the cheapest DIGITAL set you can find. The 3 car one on ebay sounds like the best deal. The only thing you won't use when you get the APB is the 4 car base itself. You'll still need all the controllers, cars/chips, and power supply for the APB, which comes with nothing at all. If you get an analog set, you'll have to add/replace EVERYTHING but the track, which is the cheapest bit. Though with the APB you can still run the analog cars two at a time, you'll still need the digital power supply, and digital controllers.
I realise that's a fair bit over your budget, but sooner or later you're going to start spendng more than you intended on the hobby, smuggling stuff in the house, and lying to the other half about how much stuff costs, so you might as well start now. Tell your lovely wife it was £250, and we'll all back you up!
Seriously though, do consider it as you will have the 6 car apb AND both power adapters required & 6 digital throttles included, along with 6 digitalcars.
Maybe you could have it for Christmas and Birthday present combined?
I think it is MrFlippant's fault that I'm now convinced that I need the APB as I found some videos on YouTube which showed all the modes etc and that sold it to me and I believe he was the author!
While my son is a little young to be really good at racing (although he is pretty good at Micro) the 'yellow flag' modes will really make him happy as he sees the cars stop when he comes off and therefore won't feel like he is losing too much!
So my plan is to buy the APB and then target a reasonable digital set on eBay and spend the remaining cash on track.
You can tell your wife it's all my fault. Feel free to have her contact me directly for the chewing out that I deserve.
That Platinum set is a great deal, but I understand the budget thing. Hopefully you can source a good set off ebay or elsewhere that fits the remainder of the budget. What's nice about the APB is that, even with the SAME power supply the set uses, you'll get BETTER power than with the 4 car base using it. When you're running more than 3 cars, or want to add some pace cars for traffic, getting some cheap Toshiba laptop power supplies will be much easier on the wallet. I believe you'll find links to the threads about APB power in the Scalextric Digital forum. There's a pinned thread with links to all the APB related threads of note.
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