Monday, May 22, 2006

talbot's toyland

Paul’s note: As a father of four, Bill is well qualified to discuss children’s toys. However, he brings more than shopping expertise to the subject as Bill loves playing as much as giving. He has a wonderfully youthful spirit and a great appreciation of fun, and I am delighted to introduce him as today’s guest contributor. His subject is Talbot’s, one of the finest toy stores in the area and one of Bill's favorite places. Bill writes:

It's always an adventure when we take our 4 kids (ages 8, 5,4 and 3) to the toy store. This weekend we headed over to my favorite place for adventure, Talbot's Toyland, because my daughter needed a new bicycle. Located on B Street in downtown San Mateo, Talbot's has been in business for over 50 years.

Talbot's bike-evatorWith a huge collection of toys, an excellent hobby and train shop, a special doll section, toddler playsets and even a full service bike shop for adults and children, Talbot's has something to keep all the kids happy (including me).

The cyclery has a great selection, and they even stock tandem bikes and unicycles. With help from the friendly and knowledgeable staff, we quickly found a bike for my daughter. We were especially impressed by the mini-elevator that sends the bikes upstairs for a quick tune-up before you leave the store.

As we were waiting, I took the kids over to my favorite part of the store, the glass display cases full of die-cast metal cars, tanks, planes and figurines. The W. Britain hand-painted metal soldiers are always fun to look at, although too pricey and delicate to let my boys get them yet. The Light Dragoons are pictured above.

I was thrilled to see they still carry the big 1:16 scale, remote control Sherman and King Tiger tank models by Tamiya with authentic engine sounds, flashing muzzles, and infrared battle system. They each cost about $1,000 and take several months to put together, so I won't be buying one for a while, but it gives me something to look forward to when I grow up. The German King Tiger with Production Turret and Zimmerit coating is pictured below.

We took a quick detour through the model section. No self-respecting hobby store is complete without a display case to show off assembled model kits and dioramas. I haven't made models since I was a kid, but I still love to see the how realistic some of the paint jobs can be (assuming a Star Wars TIE fighter is real, that is). I picked up a couple extra boxes of 1:72 scale plastic 4th century B.C. Macedonian cavalry and 12th century A.D. Mongol warriors. (You can never have enough Mongols; that's why they were called the Golden Horde.)

By that time my daughter's new bike had descended on the bike-evator, and we wrangled it into the minivan and left Talbot's satisfied, as usual.

Talbot's Toyland: 445 S B St, San Mateo, CA (650) 931-8100