I ordered a copy of James May's Toy Stories from the UK because there wasn't any good copies of it on YouTube. There are 6 episodes of this 2009 BBC production.There were 4 more programs in the series, produced in 2011, but they aren't collected together in a set yet and I didn't buy the single discs. Too much money.
In each episode James looks at a different toy and builds something large with it.
Episode 1: James’s Spitfire Spectacular - May's was a plastic model maker when he was a child. He gets some school kids to build Airfix Models and then they build a full size Spitfire.
The kit was made from fiberglass with a bit of bracing for support. The kids paint it and it winds up in the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford for a while. It's still in their hanger.
I used to build plastic models when I was a kid. I had many types of kits; cars, superheroes, monsters, planes, boats and whatever I can't remember. A lot got wrecked over time and one summer I blew up everything left with fireworks. That was fun and the alley was covered with little bits of plastic for ages. I was never that good at painting models so many of them were unpainted.
Episode 2: James Builds a Plasticine Garden - James gets to build a 35 square yard garden of plasticine for the Chelsea Flower Show. It didn't get any official awards due to a lack of real flowers. The top picture shows the garden as it appeared at the flower show. The statue is of William Harbutt, the man who invented plasticine. The picture below was taken at the Mall that the garden wound up in for a time.
It did win the flower show's People's Choice award and a special Gold Award (made from Plasticine) for his efforts. Hundreds of people pitched in their help making flowers. It's really quite nice.
I built all sorts of things with plasticine but got out of the habit because I was a poor sculptor.
Episode 3: James Builds a Meccano Bridge - James builds a rolling bascule bridge and a swing bridge over a canal in Liverpool with the help of Engineering students and a Meccano club. I did learn that Meccano is now being built by a French company.
We had Meccano when were kids but only a couple of small sets. I didn't find much of interest in it.
Episode 4: James’s Great Scalextric Race - At the site of the long closed Brooklands Grand Prix track in Surrey James and the locals build a 2.95 mile long electric car race layout.
It follows the old tracks route and that takes the track through businesses, down streets, over fences, through sewers and across ponds. It's pretty amazing.
We got an electric car racing set when we were kids. We used it for a while. I don't remember if we wore it out or broke it someway or gave it away. I haven't really been interested in that sort of racing since I was a kid.
Episode 5: James’s Model Railway Madness - James recreates the 10 mile train trip from Barnstaple to Bideford with a little model railroad. Hundreds of people pitched in to set up the track and take it down in one day. They had more trouble with this than the other programs, people vandalized the track and stole batteries so the train ran slow.
Sadly the 5 trains they sent down the track all died over the route. May had hoped to send his 37 year old train along the route but it failed right away. It hadn't been used in many years so it's not surprising. The last one traveled 7 miles before it died. That's still pretty amazing.
We had a little train set when we were kids but it never stayed up much, same reason as the racing car set, just no room to leave it anywhere. I do like the hobby but not enough to actually get into it.
Episode 6: James Builds a Lego House - James uses 3.5 million bricks to have a 2 story house built. There's a wooden superstructure inside the walls and holding up the floor. That sort of superstructure is what LEGO does with it's large models. James has a cocktail party to celebrate the house and then stays over for the night. Sadly they tore it down and tossed it away. Not too surprising.
All in all a nice fun bunch of shows.