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Toys of the rich — better than yours

21 May 2015 [17:45] - TODAY.AZ
Toyland for the wealthy

The things we dreamed of as children — the desire to explore the undersea world of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea or the longing to have the powers of a superhero — are often fascinations that stay with us our whole lives.

It’s no wonder, then, that no one really outgrows toys. The difference is that the toys get bigger, better, more expensive and more high-tech as people get older and richer. And no one needs mum’s permission.

Scroll through the images above to see some of the most extravagant, unexpected and just plain fun toys for those with deep pockets.

Submarine: the deep blue sea

The world of deep-sea exploration enchants many people as children. And when they can play it out on their own as adults, many do. Famous submarine owners include entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, who once had plans to take tourists down to the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench and keeps his Necker Nymph on his private island. And film director James Cameron donated his sub the Deepsea Challenger to science.

Triton Submarines based in Florida specialises in small personal luxury submarines, which run on high-tech batteries and are custom built for each client. The Triton 3300/3 is the company's most popular model, according to Harley O'Neill, Triton's manager of sales and marketing, and is used for recreational diving, exploration, research endeavours and filming. It fits three people and can travel to a depth of 1,006m (3,300ft, hence the name).

"It used to be helicopters and now it's submarines," O'Neill said. "Now everyone is asking if you have one."

One prerequisite for owning the sub? A superyacht for the docking station, says O'Neill.

A Hydro Powered Jetovator

Blame Peter Pan but even as grown-ups, many of us still wish we could fly. As kids, we ran down the garden flapping our arms or leapt from a low tree branch in a bid to take off, sometimes even bruising or breaking a limb in the process. In adulthood, achieving that free-flying feeling is a must for some adrenaline-seekers, whether through means like skydiving or base jumping.

But take heart. You don't need a plane or bridge to fly. Hammacher Schlemmer's Hydro Powered Jetovator, a flying jet-ski like water craft, lets riders shoot 7.6m (25ft) into the air and corkscrew, back flip and barrel roll mid-air, while hovering above the water. Riders can even plunge a little over 3m (10ft) below the water, while still seated on the craft, for a quick undersea view.

Off to the races

These aren't the matchbox cars and electric toy racetracks most kids play with. The custom raceways from Slot Mods USA are painstakingly handcrafted to a client's specifications, including sections that precisely replicate real-life tracks whether that be the Le Mans circuit or the Monaco Grand Prix, said David Beattie, the company's founder and president.

The tracks he builds often are anywhere between 3.7m to 9m (12ft to 30ft) long and 3m to 6m (10ft to 20ft) wide and can include structures such as grandstands and features including skid marks airbrushed on the tracks. Depending on the size, scope and detail of the track, they can take anywhere between three to six months to build.

Slot Mods track owners include auto enthusiasts with garages full of collector and luxury cars, and famous names in the racing world like driver Bobby Rahal. Beattie currently has a track in the works for US TV personality Jay Leno, as well. One thing all the clients have in common is a longstanding love for car racing. "They're all like kids on Christmas morning when we show up to deliver the track," Beattie said. "It's like buying them back their childhood."

Track pricing starts at $50,000 from Slot Mods USA, but usually range between $125,000 to $150,000, according to Beattie. Twelve cars are included, as well as white glove installation. 

The golf cart hovercraft

Showing off on the golf course has hit a new extreme with the Golf Cart Hovercraft, which can fly over sandpits and water. Zoom between holes with the craft, which floats up to almost 23cm (9 inches) off the ground and can move at speeds up to about 72km per hour (45mph).

The cart fits up to four passengers and two golf bags and is steered with handlebars instead of a wheel. It also meets US Coast Guard standards for reliable hovering over water. Note: Special permission is required to get the cart onto courses, but the vessel is quiet and lands and takes off without wrecking the grass, its manufacturer, Hammacher Schlemmer, says. No issue here for those with their own private courses.

A drone of their own

Drones seem to be everywhere these days and they aren't the remote-controlled helicopters that puttered out after a few wheezy loops, either. High-tech drones can do more than ever before, now allowing controllers to record high-flying adventures and survey their surroundings.

"They are fun to fly, now easier to navigate and flight stability has improved," said Brookstone chief executive officer Tom Via in an email. The Brookstone Parrot BeBop Drone Quadricopter is one of the company's bestsellers.

Brookstone's drone comes with a high-definition fisheye camera, which the pilot can control from the ground. The camera records video in 1080 pixels and takes 14-megapixel still shots to capture the surrounding action. The drone is protected for extreme adventure, too, with features like an internal GPS system allows it to be tracked down in case of a crash.

/By BBC/


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