Monday, March 08, 2010

Toy Stories

The whole family has been sitting down to watch James May's Toy Stories on Friday nights, where James May, the mildly curmudgeonly Captain Slow of Top Gear, sets out to "prove why traditional, old fashioned toys are still relevant today when he pushes them to the limit in spectacular, super-size challenges". It's great fun. Episode 1 saw him focus on Airfix models, the end result of which was a life-size model of a Spitfire plane. The nicest thing in that episode was the appearance of May's father who was clearly very influential in May's early obsession with model building and who ended up becoming a kind of overseer for the final product. I also loved how all the the dads of the high school kids who were part of the Spitfire building crew became really involved. Some things you just never grow out of.

This week's episode was the plasticine garden, which became an exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show. It was gorgeous. We got about half way through it and Climber said I can't help it I just HAVE to get the plasticine out. So while they watched the show, the boys were also busy rolling and pinching the plasticine. Here's what they made.

Mouse and Cat by Cherub.

Plasticine Mouse and Cat

Flower by Climber.

Plasticine Blue Flower

Climber went on to make another 4 flowers for the mantelpiece and a strawberry.

Future episodes include a life-size house made from lego, a bridge over a river made from Meccano, a racetrack made from Scalectrix and a railway line. Weirdly, it's not only the males of the house who are loving it. I am completely hooked as well.


  1. I LOVE that show, it's totally brilliant and I'm so looking forward to the life-sized Lego house.
    Also, Mr May, he's nice to his mum and dad. I like that about him.

  2. You made me remember how my brother used to sit, absorbed, for hours at a time, building complicated Meccano thingamajigs! Sounds like a great show. So many shows put the viewer in such a passive role. It's great that your boys got their plasticene out and made stuff with it as they watched!

  3. I miss the old erector set toys. I used to love building with my brother's hand-me-downs.

    I could entertain myself for hours with plasticene. HOURS. Right now.

  4. There is something about the current batch of shows on tv.

    There is a Monster Moves show that details how houses, churches, planes etc are moved from point A to point B. These people who do this stuff are quite obviously brilliant at their jobs.

    I love Top Gear too. I'm not a petrol head by any stretch of the imagination, but I love that show.

    Mythbusters is another one.

    They all keep you entertained in a most unexpected way!

  5. There's a future in the plasticine stuff, over the pond at Aardman. (Assuming Aardman isn't doing Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep digitally these days.)

  6. James May is so my favourite! The James & Oz series (both the European & the USA ones) make me laugh outloud. I have yet to spy this series but it so sounds like something up my alley.

  7. Another big fan of Toy Stories (and Captain Slow!) over here. I can't wait for the Lego episode. I'm rather hoping that we'll see James as a giant Lego man!

  8. Sold! Mildly curmudgeonly and unlikely real-life building materials is impossible to ignore. Do we think they'll do Weetbix? I have theories it's a one-up on mudbrick.

  9. I'm desperate to see the life-sized lego house and I know a certain architect who will love it too.

    Your boys have very good fine-motor skills and wonderfully creative minds. Well done to them!

  10. I just know the males of our household would love this show. I'll look out for it.

  11. Hi Stomper, love the plasticine figures. My kids are way into making stuff with the Fimo or Sculpy stuff, polymer clay? Everyone needs some teensy choc chip cookies or cows!We had Mackie's b'day at the Altona Centre Grieve Pde.


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