Category:James Mays Toy Stories

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James May's Toy Stories is a 2009 TV series and book, celebrating classic British toys and reexamining their possibilities. The series is credited with generating a fresh wave of public interest in the six toys originally featured. The success of the series prompted a string of four one-off television specials in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Main episodes

1: Airfix

The team created and built a scaled-up version of one of Airfix's most famous models, the Supermarine Spitfire. The real-size (1:1) model was made of fibreglass, and assembled and painted, complete with a pilot figure created from a life-cast of James May.

2: Plasticine

A team of 2000 volunteers created a mass of Plasticine plants and flowers which were used to create a Plasticine garden display for the 2009 Chelsea Flower Show. The garden won a People's Choice award.

3: Meccano

This episode's challenge involved students from the University of Liverpool designing and building a full-size working half-bridge out of standard Meccano parts.

4: Scalextric

For this episode, the team and ~400 volunteers laid out a circuit of Scalextric slot-car track around the original route of the Brooklands Grand Prix circuit. Since some of the original route had been built on, this involved running the track through the occasional building.

5: Lego

This involved building a full-size house out of 3.3 million Lego bricks. This was the only toy out of the "classic six" that was not technically a British brand (although the original Lego bricks were "borrowed" from a design by Hilary Page and Kiddicraft).

6: Hornby

Building a 16 km 00-gauge model railway track from Barnstaple to Bideford, along the old path of a real railway line (now the Tarka Trail cycle path). None of the 00-gauge trains tried out on the track managed to complete the full distance (which amounted to a scale distance of over twelve hundred kilometres). This is more than the round-trip rail distance from London to Edinburgh and back again (listed as 534 km each way).

Further programmes

  • "The Great Train Race" – revisiting the Barnstaple to Bideford challenge, with German and British teams competing to get their trains to finish the entire route.
  • "Flight Club" – launching a balsawood model glider, scaled-up to 1:1 scale, and getting to to travel a distance equal to the width of the English Channel at its narrowest point. The glider was dropped from a helicopter at altitude.
  • "The Motorcycle Diary" – building a working electrically-powered motorcycle and sidecar out of Meccano, and driving it along the route of the Isle of Man TT circuit. This challenge was complicated by the route being public road.
  • "Action Man at the Speed of Sound" – a more self-explanatory title than the other three followup challenges, this involved using rocketry to try to get an Action Man figure to travel at more than the speed of sound, and be recovered intact afterwards.

External links


This category has the following 6 subcategories, out of 6 total.


  • Airfix(12 C, 10 P, 164 F)






Media in category ‘James Mays Toy Stories’

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