Category Archives: Slot Car Overview

Scalextric ARC ONE

There is nothing quite like the fun of opening a new slot car set. This is how most of us got started and choosing the right one can be the beginning of a very rewarding hobby. As we all know, that FIRST impression is a lasting one and this set from Scalextric delivered a positive one to say the least.

And sometimes the technology advancements this hobby has seen in the past few years can turn a once simple starter set into an impressive slot car experience.  That new technology was my reason for choosing this set.

The criteria I followed was short and simple:

  1. Low Cost.  A set that was under the $200 limit.

Set purchased HERE at LEB Hobbies

  1. Featured the ARC ONE system for quick race management/timing.

Please watch the videos as they tell it all.

I like to base my opinions just as a newcomer would when opening a new set. Imagine Christmas morning and this is the set you chose for that lucky racer.

  1. How easy is it to set up? That is a big deal isn’t it parents?
  2. How much fun is it? Isn’t that the goal? Can your new racers have some fun discovering this hobby with it?

My main reason for choosing this set was because it included the ARC ONE system or App Race Control. This is a simple race/lap timing system that works on your smart phone or tablet. I felt it could add some interesting aspects to  standard analog racing and although I was skeptical, it proved to accomplish that and more than I expected.

We will begin with looking at the ARC ONE system.

Here is a link to the Scalextric site which shows the 3 different ARC systems and shows you the differences. 

I just wanted the basic system. Something that added a little more to the standard analog racing without the added expense. So remember this is NOT DIGITAL. It is simple 2 car racing, but the ARC ONE has enough features to make it interesting.

The first thing we did was download the ARC ONE app. We were using our Apple iPad and iPhone but it also works with Android based devices.

Installation was easy enough. The instruction booklet included is simple to follow. My grandson had it ready to go in just a few seconds.

Tire wear and fuel strategy are not the only stars here. The lap timing is a major item of interest for me. We do a great deal of fast lap challenges around here and it was this feature I looked forward to the most.

Well, that was BEFORE we raced using the other options and having to pit. I must say this added a great deal of fun for simple analog racing. The ARC ONE version does not have all the full bells and whistles that the ARC AIR and of course the ARC PRO has, but the basic functions included are more than enough in my opinion, especially for just starting out.

My only concern was how easy would it be to connect? Nothing can frustrate you more than a system that needs advanced settings just to connect. Thankfully this one is as simple as it gets. Load the app on your device and the light on the powerbase will turn green. That let’s you know you are connected. Green means GO right?

Now to set up the track. Scalextric track is very easy to connect/disconnect.

We chose a track plan that would fit our table and in just a few minutes we were ready to race.

The power base is simple enough to connect as well. The connections are clearly molded to only fit the correct way. I left connecting the controllers and power to my 8 year old granddaughter. So I am sure that anyone reading this can do it as well.

You do not need the App to run the cars, although that is the main reason to choose this set. The transformer in this set is a new one as well. It is 15VDC with 1.2 AMPS output. This larger amp output was nice to see as it helps prevent that major increase of speed in one car when another crashes. With the speed limiter controllers, dialing down the speed is easily enough accomplished as well.

Now veterans might find this next opinion a little odd, but I have to say I am VERY impressed with the new controllers. The reason I am is the built in “governor” or speed limiter. These WORK GREAT and proved it the first time we set them up.

You can adjust the amount of control by turning the knob as shown in the video.

This has been a long time coming. It is just what our hobby needed to help the first time young racers. We can all say things such as “Just teach them”. But the real truth is that it’s nice to have an option built in to help us do that.

THE CARS!

Ah the highlight of any set. And for me there isn’t a better pair of cars than classic American Iron!

These cars have been in the Scalextric line up a long time. They have strong enough magnets to help keep the cars pinned to the track and they run VERY well right out of the box like they should.

Plus they just look great. Ford vs Chevy. It doesn’t get much better than this in a slot car set.

This video of my grandchildren and I racing says it all really.

Needless to say, I am VERY pleased with this set. It was easy to set up and in minutes we were all having a great time racing slot cars. The ARC ONE App adds so much to the racing that it is EASILY worth the extra investment over a standard set. From the tire wear and fuel strategy, to reaction times and overall lap timing. This is the one thing that most sets lack and what most enthusiasts look for. I have spent hundreds of dollars for timing systems on our wood tracks and although they are a bit more advanced for holding race events, this simple app does what most newcomers will want.

So if you are looking to get started in this hobby, I have to HIGHLY recommend this set. You should have a fun first impression and that is exactly what a good set should deliver.

-Harry

Set purchased HERE at LEB Hobbies

King of the Mountain!

Ford, Bobby Unser, Smokey Yunick, Holman & Moody.  These legendary names came together in 1969 for a record-setting effort at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. If there was a truly unique car for Carrera to choose to model, this one certainly qualified.

For those that enjoy the history of our models, take the time to watch this priceless interview.

It just doesn’t get much more classic than this. No, it’s not a car that flew around the high banks of Daytona but it seemed to have wings on that famous mountain in 1969.

Carrera has done a good job in giving us this car in our scale. Nothing is perfect but I feel the effort represents the car well enough.

No matter how many years this mold from Carrera has been with us, it just never gets old to me. I just do not take for granted classic American cars in our hobby.  Then they produce a car with this kind of history behind it and I can’t help but appreciate it even more.

And although it was not an oval racer, you can bet that is exactly where I will race it. We already race completely fictional schemes alongside scale efforts, why stop now? In our scale world anything is possible.

Great job Carrera. I truly appreciate this classic Ford.

-Harry

Model acquired from:

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Scalextric Ford Daytona Prototype

The Daytona Prototype series seemed like an odd choice for Scalextric to choose. This series is not the most popular, but there are those that follow it with a passion and having a new player in scale is a welcome sight.

One reason for the lack of a large fan club is most people simply do not like the look of the cars. And I cannot argue that because they certainly have a very unique shape. Just one of those types of cars that either you like or you don’t with no middle ground.

If you are not up to speed (ahem) on this series, here is an interesting overview. With the series going through a dramatic change for 2017, this mold by Scalextric will have limited liveries to produce, but with some creativity I can see it lasting for quite awhile.

This car represents the “Gen3” series of DP cars and the last of the series as we know it. As it is Scalextric did a fair job in 1/32nd scale. Nothing is ever perfect of course, but a clean and acceptable job all around for my eyes.

Quick Data
Height – 34 MM (36 MM @ Rear Wing)
Length – 145.5 MM
Width – 61.75 MM
Wheel Base – 87 MM
Weight – 74.8 Grams

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Scalextric Javelin

Scalextric 1/32nd Scale Javelin – 1971 Mark Donohue #C3731

Slot Car of The Year? In March? This could be true given all the buzz about this release. It’s easily the car of the year for Scalextric on this side of the pond and it is finally time to take a closer look.

How many years have we been waiting for this one? Since the day the first Mustang arrived in my shop back in early 2002, the pleas for this Javelin were heard. There have been many molds done over this time period but very few match the popularity of this one.

I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. Overall I think Scalextric did a decent job of producing this in 1/32nd scale.

Quick Data
Height – 39.50 MM
Length – 151.5 MM
Width – 58 MM
Wheel Base – 87 MM
Weight – 72.2 Grams

By the numbers this car is VERY close to scale. It is slightly narrow but not enough to bother me.

This car is historic in so many ways. The dominance it had in the 1971 Trans-Am series was impressive to say the least. That year was called a “steamroller” with Mark Donohue at the wheel. He won seven races, including six straight, in this AMC Javelin. Donohue easily won the Drivers’ Championship along with AMC claiming the hands-down winner among the manufacturers.

Here is my video review.

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Carrera Slot Car Track Sets: Finding Your Groove

So you want to buy a slot car set, but aren’t sure which one to buy? Which brand is good, better, or best? Which one is best for kids (even though we know it’s for the parents)? Well, perhaps this article will help you to make that decision. We’ll discuss the things to look for in general that will help you get the most out of your new hobby as well as some detailed things to look for.

While there are many brands out there, the top brands are Carrera, Scalextric, and Ninco. And, of course, everyone has their opinion to which brand is best. I would like to suggest that you take a hard look at Carrera. My first and foremost reason for recommending Carrera is that their customer service is top notch. Though their quality and craftsmanship is impeccable, on that rare occasion when you do have a problem with a product, they are there to help you out. Not only do they work well with you, the consumer, they also support their dealers. Upon making your purchase, knowing that you can get help when you need it speaks volumes in my book.

Now you’re thinking, “Customer service is all good and well, but what about the product? Why should I choose Carrera?” As much as we do not like to admit it, we all shop with our wallets. Meaning that we buy products at the lowest price possible. Usually when you do this, you sacrifice quality. Not so with Carrera. The items in their track sets are extremely well made and durable. When you make a product for the entire family, it better stand up to some rough handling and Carrera has that figured out.

Aside from customer service, quality, and value, what makes Carrera stand out? Here are some things to note and keep in mind while you are shopping.

No Tools Required! You will get everything you need to start racing as soon as you get your new set home. Each set comes complete with the power supply, track, controllers, border, guardrail, and cars. Some sets also come with bridges, banked turns and supports where required. While I won’t cover them here, it’s also worth mentioning that Carrera offers both digital racing sets and wireless controllers. More on that in future articles, so stay tuned. The track pieces go together using a tab-and-slot system as well as clips. The clips help to hold everything in place to ensure that the track gets full power by the way of tight connections between track sections.

Carrera offers the widest track on the market. At 198mm (7.79”), it gives you the width needed to run both 1/32 scale cars and 1/24 scale cars as well. And yes, Carrera makes cars in both scales, something no other home set manufacturer currently does. The downside to this larger track is that the track layouts, or designs, sometimes require more space than other brands. This isn’t and shouldn’t be a deal breaker for you though. With an endless possibility of track designs, you’ll be able to create a track to fit the space you have available. Of course, another positive about plastic track sets, is that you can take them apart and store them away when not in use. Though once you see how much fun it is, you won’t want to put it away!

Carrera also offers track and cars in 1/43 scale, which are larger than HO, but smaller than 1/32. The track uses a smaller footprint allowing a larger race course to be created. Carrera 1/43 is a great way to get started into slot cars as well. All of the great features of the larger track and cars is also made into the 1/43 system and cars. So if space is a real issue or a smaller track is what you are after, look into the 1/43 sets as well. They are just as much fun as the 1/32 and 1/24 race sets and cars, and there are lots of cars to choose from in this scale as well.

A couple of things to note about what makes up each piece of Carrera track; the rails are stainless steel alloy and the track is made from durable ABS plastic, not vinyl. ABS will hold its shape under hot and cold conditions, whereas vinyl based track will warp and twist. The stainless steel rails that help deliver power to the slot cars will not corrode due to its stainless steel content, and while the amount of magnetism is less than other manufacturers because of this, it’s a small sacrifice that should be welcomed knowing you will not have heavy oxidation or rust on your track, which will occur at some point. Also, the less magnetic rail will afford you the opportunity to see more realistic movements and racing from the cars. To see a car slink through the curves and have a challenging yet fun time making it happen is well worth it. The plastic is rigid and provides a nice surface for the cars to race on. It won’t warp and there is no fear of twisting the track and bending the rails that carry the power. The track is yet another check mark in the ‘Yes to Carrera’ column of your shopping list!

The controllers that Carrera makes are called ‘thumb controllers’, meaning that you use your thumb to actuate a ‘button’ on the controller to make the car go. For me, this type of controller is much more comfortable to use than a pistol grip type of controller where you use your index finger to pull a trigger to make the car go. The controller from Carrera fits in your hand comfortably and is light weight so you won’t get tired of holding it.

With each Carrera set, you get two cars that are ready to run. Once your track is setup, look over the guide that comes in the set on preparing the car to run on the track. This guide offers simple tips to allow you to get the most fun out of your racing experience. Part of that fun is that no tools are required for preparing the cars so racing can happen quickly. Speaking of cars, there is what seems like an endless selection. From street cars, to classic and current race cars, there is something that everyone will like. Each car comes with some spare parts that can include braids, mirrors, or guides. Just a nicety that Carrera does to add more value to your purchase. So, add yet another check mark in the ‘Yes to Carrera’ column of your shopping list!

Your final selection, should you choose to make it, should have the name ‘Carrera’ on the package. There is no doubt that the products from Carrera are unrivaled. That’s why they are now the #1 race set brand worldwide! They must be doing something right, and that something is found in the smiles and fun that you’ll have with their products! So pick up a set today, you’ll be glad you did.

Jeremy ‘bibbster’ Bibbee