I hate ‘bog standard reviews’, you know the kind:

I love [insert product name] I think everything about it is [great/fantastic/an income stream*], my kids loved it (even though they didn’t bother take it out of the box/refused to be photographed with it). You can spot them from a mile off, generic ‘one review fits all’ type write-ups for all kinds of crap; a couple of photos, a few backlinks …..sorted. Everyone (bar the proposed reader) is a winner. 

Don’t get me wrong Daddy Poppins does reviews (in fact, you’re reading one now). I apply for products to review on a regular basis. My criteria;

  • Will my kids enjoy it?
  • Is it a product this family needs?
  • Is it something I can honestly say we love?
  • Is it funny?
  • Can I make it funny?
  • Will it fit in with my site?

So when Mr. Postman arrives to my door with a big box I know 1 of 2 things has happened

  1. The Bear(that’s my wife) has been splurging on clothes online (again), or
  2. Another suitable product has arrived ready for review.

I can usually tell which of the above options it is by the bemused look on my Postman’s face as re-reads the name ‘Daddy Poppins’ on the address label on the way up the drive. A year in and delivering to Daddy Poppins still freaks him out a bit. It gets even weirder every time as he watches me sign ‘Daddy Poppins’ and give a cheeky wink with every delivery.

So today a ‘mystery box’ arrived by post, it was big and heavy (and I gave the obligatory cheeky/*’potentially creepy’ wink). I better compensate him with a good tip at Christmas.

‘Ooooh what’s in this?’, I thought as I placed it on the floor, ‘I’ll have to open it later’. You see, the Bear had given me another ‘list’ and I was up to my eyeballs. I’ve found if I open the mystery boxes as they arrive that I forget the list and Ladies and Gentlemen, that doesn’t end well.

The Bear upon arriving home to find me playing with the latest kids toy amongst the filth

So later in the day with the list ‘almost’ complete, the Boo in crèche and the little man settled in front of the TV I decided to see what had arrived…

WAHOO!!! I’m 9 again!!*

(*Well actually, I’m 37 and have ‘Peter Pan syndrome’ so I always act like a child) but today upon opening the latest Daddy Poppins delivery I was EXTRA CHILDLIKE.

Ladies and Gentlemen, today I received a Scalextric Touring Car Battle set.

I always wanted one of these bad boys but never had one before. Don’t get me wrong, I had cheap knock offs (sorry Scalextric) as a child but that’s all they were, they were poorly made of cheap materials and fell apart and ran out of batteries and ended up in pieces under a bed somewhere.

Now at this point, I’ll draw your attention back to my review rules.

  • Will my kids love it? I don’t care, I will.
  • Is it something my family needs? Hell no, but I wanted it and they sent it to me. Also, don’t we all need one of these? (Even if it arrives a full 28 years after the ideal age).
  • Is it honestly something I can say my family will love? Well, I don’t know. That’s kind of the purpose of a review 😉 I hope so. 
  • Is it funny? No, it’s bloody cool. (Note to self: from now on the question should be is it ‘funny or cool’?)
  • Can I make it funny? Well, I’ll do my best, like. *adjusts collar.
  • Will it fit in with my site? No, it’ll make it much cooler. 

So as you can see when asked to review this product I wanted it so much that I tore up my own review rulebook.

Was it all I’d hoped it would be? Well, ‘Yes and No’.

My first impression was that it was much stronger and better built than the generic ones I remember having as a child; the cars were bigger and clips that held the track together were sturdier. The track itself was less flimsy and felt like it would last. The connectors on the cars (a BMW 1 Series and Honda Civic) could turn independently of the car so they held the track better and drifted around corners. The cars were so real looking, I thought the detail was insane.

I told the little man that I had to finish cleaning upstairs (which I did, the Bear is a hard taskmaster). Once the cleaning was finished I proceeded to set up the track so I could surprise him. ‘I hope he loves it’, I thought to myself as I put it together.

It was simple to set up, the diagrams and instructions were easy to follow and it was ready to go in no time. It came with a power adapter so it worked from the mains!! this to me is great, no searching for batteries on Christmas morning or running out of juice in the middle of play time. The connections weren’t fiddly either, 3 slots and 3 plugs to go into them, handy.

The little man isn’t necessarily a typical ‘car fan’, he loves; Minecraft, gymnastics, dancing and all kinds of imaginary play.

Surely, he’ll Iove a Scalextric set though, everyone does, right?

So once the program he was watching finished and homework was done I told him I had a surprise for himOK, I bribed him with a surprise to complete his homework (this is an honest review after all)We both ran upstairs excitedly and I opened his bedroom door and was delighted with his response.

“WOW!!!”, he exclaimed.

“That’s how I feel too!!”, my inner Peter Pan screamed.

So we sat down to play and within seconds both cars had left the track and smashed into the nearby wall. It took a little bit of time to get to grips with the amount of pressure to be applied but we got there. Well I say ‘we’, he got there, I lagged behind (both on and off the track). The little man took to it like a duck to water. His car sped around the track and he reveled in the fact he was beating me (on the other hand, I wasn’t as keen on this situation).

This brings me to another great option: there is a adjustable speed limiter available on the controllers that you can set to prevent you applying too much pressure so younger (or in my case ‘less skilled adults’) don’t spend most of the time putting their car back on the track (or retrieving it from a nearby wall).

“If he keeps beating me I might have to secretly limit him”

— Daddy Poppins
There’s also a lap counter on this set which makes it easy to see who’s winning, I’ll tell the little man about it as soon as its in my favour, he’s already rubbing it in enough.

Until then I’ll be all…

We played it for ages that night and we loved it. I thought it was a great father son bonding experience. He even gave up time set aside to play his beloved tablet to have another go with me later that night. If that doesn’t say how much it was enjoyed nothing will.

So there has to be something you didn’t like about it.. (you did say ‘Yes and No’, after all)

Well, it comes with enough track pieces to build 4 different circuits (another big plus point) and the first circuit I set up was the figure of 8 with the bridge (who doesn’t love a bridge in something like this!). We found that with this configuragtion the cars sometimes got stuck because of the incline to the bridge. We had to prop certain sections of the bridge up to offer additional support and prevent this from happening. The cars are very precise and small details like this seem to affect them.

Although the set says its recommended for ages 5+ because of the constant small adjustments that need to be made younger children will always require adult supervision/help (the little man is 7). Unfortunately on day 2 of having the set we found out the above the hard way, when the little man and 2 younger friends tried to play it without me and through their roughhousing managed to jam the wheels on one of the cars and proceeded to keep trying to use it instead of calling me.  In doing so they damaged the internal cogs in the car and I’m going to have to order a new rear axle online to get it back working. Luckily there appears to be a huge Scalextric community out there and replacement parts are easy to find.

But hey, lesson learned, when a box says ‘adult supervision is required’ they mean it.

(So that ‘no’ is totally my fault but I feel I should tell you anyway).

Apart from that, could you recommend it?

Absolutely, we loved it. We can’t wait to have both cars back up and running and I’ll see if I can topple ‘the Champ’.

Right, Where can I buy one?

Why, Right here, Tell ’em Daddy Poppins sent ya’. 😜

So are you just going to wait for the replacement part waiting to get beaten by your kid again?

I think the below Insta post let’s you know my thoughts on that 😉