Let’s be up front with some things at the beginning. Yes, Scalextric’s new 1:32 scale plastic buildings do look a bit toylike in out-of-the-box form. They remind me of something built from Legos. Not that that’s bad; I’ve seen Legos used to build amazing things, but glossy gray plastic needs some paint and detailing to take on the textures and colors of real buildings. This isn’t surprising in view of the fact that the Scalextric product line is sold primarily as toys in most of its markets around the world. And yes, they do bear more than a passing resemblance to Scalextric’s cardstock-model buildings of a few years ago. My guess is that the Scalextric designers did some prototyping in cardstock early in the project and realized that their cardstock models could be printed up and sold to the public while the development of the plastic buildings went on.
However, these buildings have some really good features and a lot of potential for detailing and kitbashing into structures that will look good even to a purist. Remember, they are plastic, which means the Evergreen styrene and Plastruct racks at your local hobby shop will supply you with all the detailing material you need. And, when painted with matte paint to take the shine off, these buildings can look the part quite nicely.
The three new buildings are a control tower (C8319), a pit garage with a second-floor VIP suite (C8320) and a control tower (C8321). The garage retails for $24.99 and the other two are $29.99 each. Scalextric USA reports rapid sales of all three.
All three buildings assemble in minutes without tools. All the parts press fit together easily but snugly to form a tight, solid model you can pick up and move around without worrying that it will fall to pieces in your hands. However, if you need to store them away along with your track layout they disassemble just as easily and quickly. Children will enjoy putting them together and taking them apart. When the fit between the parts starts to loosen up you can make it tight again by coating the mating surfaces with CA glue. Just be sure the glue sets completely before you assemble the building again unless you want it to stay together permanently.
These models provide added play value for children by providing exterior surfaces where scale figures can be placed. The tower has a working door at the rear and the garage has a rollup door at the front that opens and closes.
All three buildings come with peel-and-stick signs to apply as desired. Each comes with a clear, step-by-step pictorial instruction sheet.
The grandstand is somewhat underscale in order to keep it to a manageable size. It will look best along the back side of your layout where it can provide something of a forced perspective effect. Even though they are underscale a row of these grandstands along a straightaway will look impressive. Unfortunately, they don’t come with any figures to populate them, something I think could have been included in a $30 kit. So, your races will play to sellout crowds dressed as empty seats until Scalextric comes out with sets of spectator figures.
Whether used as toys or detailed into realistic models, these building kits are quality products that will stand up to the rigors of being hit by cars, bumped by turn marshals, and moved across the country, and will survive to be passed along for a new generation to enjoy.