12 September 2009

F1 Slot Car Madness - My SCX Arrows F1

F1 is still the motorsport category that I pay more attention, despite the ever-growing lack of interest that this series has suffered from the mid 90's forth. For me, we're talking about the fastest ever circuit-going pieces of machinery that one can lay eyes on... how about bringing them to slot cars as the fastest pieces of machinery too? Complicated? Maybe...

SCX has a regular line of F1 models. I found a 2002 Arrows F1 with discount, so I grabbed it. Why this Arrows? Well, since the team has ceased F1 activity in years, it's a way of driving a kind of "neutral" F1 team (neutral to me - neither disliked or favorite). This model features the wide F1 chassis type from SCX, which was in accordance to that year set of rules.

My first impressions from the car were not that positive. It was fun to drive in Ninco tracks, but for the longer Carrera, this car was painfully underpowered - the 15.000 rpm standard SCX F1 motor simply is out of place on a F1 model! It had to go! But this originated another problem: I browsed the SCX motor choices and the best was the Pro Turbo, but the electric contacts won't fit here - so, if one has to change them, why not changing everything, starting from the blade guide? This way, the options were in larger number...

So, starting from setting the blade guide, my choice was the Scaleauto "Universal Club Racing". I had to cut the end of the metal linings that used to contact with the standard guide, but I left some metal bits behind that point, so that the chassis wouldn't lose rigidity. Here's how it ended up:

Now, it's time to fit a motor. Looking at the options, RX-type motors performances were not very appealing to me, so I decided to fit short-can Mabuchi type motors, with the RX-fit accessories from Slot.It. I had a spare 25.000 rpm motor (yellow can) from the same producer, so I decided that it was a big enough "revver" for a F1 (well, some day I will upgrade it to the 29.000 rpm cousin - this is a F1, right?)

Fitting it was very easy, the Mabuchi-to-RX parts from Slot.It fit very well indeed. Now, it was the time to set the rear axle. I replaced all the parts for Slot.It material, as usual: hollow 54 mm axle, F1 rims and 24 teeth crown. The latest had to be trimmed on the back side, to fit under the bodywork - or the other option would be the 23 "sister". The motor axle is not long enough to reach the inside section of the crown, so I had to place a stopper for anglewinder cars. Here is the looks of the rear powertrain:

Grip is provided by the very trimmed Ninco F1 tires. So far they seem hard, but some more running (and oiling) will make them more able to withstand the grunt from this motor.

All this underside section fitted nicely to the bodywork, apart from the electric cables - there was simply no hole or space that allowed them to pass through the inside! The only option was cutting some plastic from the radiators and fitting them through the outside... This is how the chassis was trimmed:

Notice that not only the radiators were trimmed. The front triangular section suffered some cuts. Fitting this section to the chassis subframe and the bodywork, results in this:

And I admit, the visible wires make this a very odd-looking F1 - I used to joke about this: it's a special KERS system that needs wide section cabling! Here's another view:

I removed the front tires so that I could replace them with smaller diameter ones - but the fitting on the front rims is complicated, they use some strange dimensions, and most aftermarket front tires won't fit here. I am still looking for some that fit, but for the time being I run this car without tires - as it is so low, the rims already touch the track!

Taking it to the track, one can stop noticing some heads turning to see this orange rocket - while not the fastest thing around, it is amazing to see the incredible straight line speed one can extract from this motor! Acceleration is not that poor too, but cornering is still an issue to solve, as this car bottoms out quite a bit. I had to trim the underside of the chassis, since the screw hole for screwing this car to the display case was constantly hitting the track!

Even with that "plastic-on-plastic" noise from the front rims and the constant bumping on the track, it's a quite enjoyable ride if we consider it a F1 car - they never feel smooth to F1 drivers, do they?


  1. Very hard work

    Congratulation Hugo

  2. "Hard" is precisely the best word to describe this car... :)