30 November 2009

New aquisitions: Slot.It Mazda 787B

I finally got my hands on one of these! The long awaited Mazda 787B "Renown", limited edition from the "Le Mans Winners" Slot.It series.

Actually, it's the first one of this series that I purchased. I was never much into the other models, even the Rothmans Porsche 956. Somehow, I liked the unique nature of this Mazda: the only Japanese model to win the Le Mans 24 Hours and also the first time a rotary engine powered car did it. Also, one of my favorite cars to drive in "Gran Turismo 2" on my Playstation! :)

The orange box could mean I got another Jagermeister model for my collection, but this time it's a one of a kind car. It won't fit into any of the categories I have in display at my shelves - again, a unique model indeed. A numbered card with the certificate of being a limited edition is present with every model.

Opening the box, everyone gets that "WOW" feeling. It's a beauty in itself and although not 100% error-free, it's a slot car, so one can forgive that! Unlike the previous images that Slot.It issued prior to release, the colors are now faithful to the real car. The previous choice of the green color seemed too dark.

Rear detail is neat and nice, although those intending to run it will be crossing their fingers so that the wing won't hit anything, being so fragile. The box fits a replacement wing too, in case anyone will dare to roll this model. Interesting is the fact that Slot.It fitted the spare wing in the same orange color, but it's the same material seen on the spare wing of the previous "Effini" release.

The front section seems to be the dislike of the scale experts. To my humble opinion, it does good justice to the real model. The minor issues are the absence of an antenna and the fact that the rear rims detail sits too far outside on the model, the rear ones are more "deep" - but again, this is due to the intrinsic nature of slot cars.

Another model that will surely shine in my shelves...

26 November 2009

New aquisitions: 1:24 Porsche 962 "FromA", by BRM Models

My early races in the slot car world were quite varied, since I didn't have the material to race with, I was always borrowing stuff from others. One of the the categories I tried was 1:24 Plafit models, with a Porsche 962 from IMSA, fitted with the required chassis. I kind of liked the racing feel of these cars: they were heavy, very stable but lacking power, so I needed to be on the limits all the time. This is the model I raced with:

Since then, I moved away from 1:24 but the memory remained. I searched for some Plafit chassis but the assembly seemed a bit too complicated for my skills... even 1:32 HRS chassis are troublesome to me, so I put my 1:24 plans on hold. Until one day, I found this car on Cric-Crac, with 40% discount:
Actually, there were two liveries available for the same price, this one and the black & red "Kenwood" 962... but I had to grab the yellow one, for the reason I started this post with.

I knew about the existence of the BRM Models range for some time. Reading some American foruns, it seems they found a place there, which is not strange since BRM produces IMSA-spec models. After seeing some photos, my conclusion was that this is the same chassis and body philosophy I'm used to in 1:32 models, so I thought it as a good and easy to start way into 1:24 scale. I was not disappointed. This model is as easy to assemble as it can be. It features the always useful instructions, but looking at the parts, the assembly is quite intuitive. In a few minutes, you'll get this:
The model is nicely painted and really looks awesome. I left it lying about in the track, and it was an eye-catcher for everyone. As I said before, assembling it was no significant issue, although fitting the tires to the rims was quite a fight! BRM recommends heating up the rubber with a hairdryer before fitting it, but I managed to do it without heating (I only warmed up the tires on my hands for a while).

Opening the model, this is how it looks like:
As I told, it's the same look on a 1:32 plastic chassis, only bigger! Here's a closer look at the chassis:
The mechanical side brought some good news, as all the axles, gear and rims are scaled to the 3 mm range. The motor is a standard "boxer" type (FK-130), so one can already start imagining the possibilities... The guide blade and braids are Plafit type, so not a real issue to find replacement parts here.
The black sheep on this car: First, the almost 180g of total weight. It may be useful on the stability side, but for running this car on 15 Volt tracks, I won't be much happy with that. Secondly, the front wheels hit the underside of the bodywork and the track, so it acts as a permanent front brake (when it's locked...). So far I'm already considering some replacement parts all around (tires, axles, bushings), but that will be stuff for another post.

Until next time...

24 November 2009

Slot Series Review - Group C Championship 09

Some time ago I posted the paintwork on a Porsche 956 LH (here's the shortcut), which was prepared to contest the 4 rounds of the 2009 Group C Championship. Now that the season is finished, and since I got back to finishing on the podium (3rd place), I think it's time to honor one of my rare well-born slot cars.

Being a Ferrari fan, driving a Porsche may sound like sheer heresy. Maybe not. I'm a global motor sport fan, and even the most hardcore Tiffosi must recognize Porsche as a fierce rival - why? Because they DO know what racing is all about. No one can contest that the Porsche 956 has earned its place on the "all-time greatest sports cars of them all".

As I said in the painting article, this car was being prepared in two fronts (some dedication, huh?). While all the paintwork was being carried out, I was losing precious track time, so in order to make up for that, I fitted all the mechanical parts I was intending to use on the most comparable machinery I had at hand: a Slot.It Porsche 956 KH, "Warsteiner" livery.

The machinery testbed... much of the black and silver 956 LH success started here.

Since the 956 KH is a proven less efficient Porsche, I was more interested it getting to grips with the mandatory Slot.It silicone tires, which proved quite tricky in Carrera tracks. Still, I liked the "loose rear" feel. I spent many laps with low-grip tires in my learning days and even to my best efforts, I never managed to produce extra-grip "vintage" rubber tires as many of our local racers do. So, one point in my favour, I was hoping...

First race, at the CSB track:

With many of us in the dark about the real capacities of each car, I got a surprising 2nd place amongst 15 drivers! And the greatest surprise was seeing my car lapping the track 2 tenths fastest than my best times in practice. I had and still have no clues on that sudden performance increase, but I would like it to happen more regularly!
The "parc fermé" after the race, with the podium finishers standing out. Mine is the silver and black.

Second race, GT Team track:

The evolution of the car was not significant during the week, but I knew I had a reliable, easy to drive car. That was important for this track, but not critical. In a race where the Porsche "gang" were racing on a class of their own, I was a bit off pace to a couple 956 "cousins". This is the race where I first used my new electronic controller, a NSR clone. After turning 5 lanes without any incident of de-slot, it seems I saved them for the last one, when the car behaved absolutely unstable! Luckily I was able to keep 3rd place, but I only secured it by meters!
Here I am, pointing at my new electronic controller. It was the first time I raced with it...
Another podium finish, 2 out of 2 races. This time, a 3rd place...

Third race: CSB track

The return to the CSB track proved a more closer fight. My car was quite fast on the middle lanes, but lost some performance on the outside ones. With a couple of stability issues left to solve, I was hoping for the best, despite my motor proving to be one of the best around. With similar gear rations, I was leaving everybody behind on the main straight - but not seeming to lose acceleration on the narrower sections. To my best efforts, I had to concede a podium finish here but managed a 4th place, by a couple of meters to the 5th placed driver. Still, the odds of finishing 3rd in the Championship were good - unlike the odds of finishing 2nd or even 1st (the mathematical chances were there, though...)
My car, standing 4th on the starting grid. This was the only race this car failed to finish on the podium.

Fourth and final race, GT Team track

While attempting to solve the stability issues that marred my performance on last race, I opted for some bigger 16,5mm magnesium Slot.It rims at the front (I was fitting 15,9mm plastic Slot.It rims), and now I had a more stable "nose", which was a gladly welcome improvement. My rivals for 3rd place did not show up, so all I had to do was keeping my head cool to secure the last step on the championship podium. I did it securing 3rd place in the race, behind the guys that dominated this season.
Another 3rd place for my car's final race...

A proud owner (to the right). At the center, the young Luís was champion for the first time ever. Congratulations!

Pioneer "Bullitt" Mustang

I'm really looking forward to get my hands on one of this. According to Slot Car Illustrated, the first model from the Pioneer range should be out very soon.

A review with some interesting photos is already out.

Maybe a X-mas gift?

12 November 2009

The Jagermeister Files... Fly BMW M1 DRT

Next on the Jagermeister Files, one of the great "mean machines", the BMW M1!

This is a model brought by Fly. At the first look, it is another great looking reproduction that this supplier has already got us used to. This machine was driven by Kurt Konig in the 1982 DRT Championship under the Gr.4 rules ("Deutsche Rennsport Trophae").

The usual orange looks from the sponsor fits the great M1 nicely:

This time I found a picture from the real car, and even featuring the driver (who even signed the photo!):

From what is possible to compare, it seems that the front round air inlets seem small on the Fly model. Also, the rear wing's side supports seem to be out of proportion when compared to the photo. The top of the wheel arches seem rounder on the real car, opposed to the flat cut look on the model. The sponsor logos seem to be all in place, in good justice to the real car. Overall, a very good reproduction by Fly.

Although I never track-tested this model, I did some races with the "Fly Racing" version and it is a great car to race. Although this regular version lacks motor pod and all the remaining evolutions, the bodywork and chassis should make for a competent racer, specially since this car has a sidewinder configuration.

4 November 2009

The Paintshop - Slot.It Audi R8C "paintball"

Well, having been "slot-busy" for a while, I'll be trying to catch up with posting some articles, and for the time being, I'll show you another recent paintwork of mine.

The model is the Slot.It Audi R8C, which was allowed for a LMP championship that took place back in June. I could only contest 3 races of this championship and was intending to use 3 different Audis: this one, the Avant Slot R10 and the fabulous SCX Pro Audi R8. Well, in the end I could only take part on two races and I took the SCX model only (which was already commented on the "X-files" section here).

Still, the intentions of racing the Slot.It model forced me to paint the model hastily. I bought the orange hard-tuned version from Slot.It, with the Flat 6R motor in Anglewinder configuration. I had only applied the white primer by the time I decided I wanted to race this car, but was undecided on starting the series with the Slot.It or the SCX model. So, what happens when you have little time to paint the car and don't have a clue on what color scheme you want to apply? Well, you might get this:
This is what I named "Audi Paintball LMP", which actually never raced. But the hastily painted color scheme was enough for some good laughs from the chaps, and I wouldn't definitly say no to racing this car somewhere in the future...