How They Should Have Made It – Recent Scalextric TransAm Cars – Part 4, AMC Javelin, the Build

by Bob Ward

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So… How should they have made it?  We’ll tell you up front.  Scalextric should have made the Javelin a sidewinder even if only to keep it consistent with all the other 1/32 scale classic TransAm cars on the market.  That by itself is more than reason enough but there’s more to it – quite a bit more.  To cut all that as short as possible so we can get on with building the car, it has to do with where the magnets need to be placed.

If you want ultimate grip for a totally stuck-down car the magnet goes right under or just forward of the rear axle.  You can have that with any of the common chassis layouts: inline, anglewinder, or sidewinder.  But, contrary to the stereotype that has prevailed for decades on the Internet, most magnet racers don’t want a car so stuck down you barely have to drive it.  They actually want what most non-magnet racers say they want, a car that drives “realistically”, however they may define that.  They just want it with higher limits.

For these magnet racers the essential magnet position lies jut forward of a sidewinder motor.  And, in our experience, it can’t be just any magnet configuration.  It needs to be a bar magnet that delivers a healthy amount of downforce over as much of the car’s width as possible in order to make the car drivable and capable of cornering tail-out to a significant degree without abruptly losing downforce and snap-spinning, as occurs when the back end of the car slides out enough for a cylindrical or small rectangular magnet no longer to be over the track’s steel contact strips.  You can’t get a bar magnet of the size, shape, and strength you need in the right place on an inline or an anglewinder because the motor sits right where the magnet needs to be.

Why, then, do we have inline and anglewinder cars?  Some cars, of course, simply are not wide enough for a sidewinder setup to fit.  For other cars it’s mostly to provide the weight distribution needed for non-magnet cars to drift through the corners.  You can either have the weight distribution you need for non-magnet racing or the magnet positions you need to provide desirable options for magnet racers.  You can’t have both on the same chassis, at least not without interchangeable motor pods. And that means, contrary to another popular myth, that, except in the limited sense of putting higher-end, more precision (and expensive) parts on the car, what makes the best non-magnet car does not make the best magnet car.

And if it’s true that the overwhelming majority of the world slot car market, actual and potential, is magnet racers, you know which side of the question Scalextric, which makes one-piece-chassis slot cars for the masses, needs to come down on with every car they produce that’s wide enough for a sidewinder installation. Hence, a sidewinder Javelin.  (If you want more information on all this, see our 3-part article series “Musings About Magnets”)  Now, on to the car build…

We had been casting about for a sidewinder chassis the Javelin body would fit without major alteration.  Our first candidate for this kind of thing is one of the CRSes (complete running chassis), Mustang/Camaro or Dodge Charger, from Pioneer.  Alas, one was too short and the other was too long.  Of course, it’s no big deal to lengthen or shorten a chassis but we wanted to keep this as simple as possible.  Then we discovered a semi-junk Scalextric Dodge Challenger we picked up somewhere along the way and found that the wheelbase was a perfect fit.  We also found that if we put the Javelin’s wheels and tires on the Challenger’s axles the tires filled the fenders perfectly with just enough clearance.

The Challenger chassis did need a few modifications to fit the Javelin body and delver the level of performance needed to make it competitive with our other Scalextric and Pioneer classic TransAm cars.  The photo below shows what we did (not necessarily in order).

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  1.  Front and rear valences cut off at body mounts.
  2. Sloting Plus 101003 universal plastic track guide installed and cut to desired length.
  3. Javelin wheels and tires installed on Scalextric axles.
  4. Stock magnet moved to forward magnet position and booster magnet added.
  5. Chassis sides narrowed to fit Javelin body.
  6. Styrene strips added to body sides to stiffen chassis and fill body-chassis gap.
  7. Javelin exhausts shortened and glued to chassis sides.
  8. Piece of sheet styrene cut to rear contour of Javelin body and glued in place.
  9. Rear body mount cut from junk chassis and glued into place.

The car uses the Javelin rear body post in its original location and the front body mounting points of the Challenger chassis with the Javelin front body posts relocated accordingly.  The booster magnet is held in place entirely by magnetism and bumps up the magnetic downforce, as measured on our Magnet Marshal, to just the level needed to meet the specs we have established for our classic T/A cars.  We also glued the DPR trapdoor in place, as we don’t ever intend to convert the car to digital, and we replaced the entire DPR wiring assembly with simple silicone-insulated lead wire.  We did all the gluing on this project with Plasti-Zap except for the rear body mount and the front body posts, which we did with Gorilla Glue.

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This image shows the relocated front body posts.   Since we had to relocate them we couldn’t use the lugs built into the front grille/bumper/valence/spoiler piece so we cut the lugs off and glued it to the body, adding a few pieces of styrene for extra strength.

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We found the Javelin’s original tray interior to be a step in the right direction for weight saving and for accommodating different motor installation, but for this conversion we decided to adapt a Pioneer full-depth interior for two main reasons.

  1. We know many hobbyists like full-depth interiors and we wanted to show how it can be done.
  2. The fit of the Scalex interior’s roll cage was terrible, while the Pioneer cage looked like it was made for the Javelin body.  In addition, it was a very easy installation, much easier than fabricating a new roll cage.

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Here you can see what we did to adapt the Pioneer interior for the Javelin conversion.  First, we took the sides off to save weight.  Even back then most race cars had stripped interiors, so the absence of the tub sides will not really be an issue for most people.  The interior had to sit quite far forward on the chassis to position it properly, so we had to cut a notch in each of the tub’s lower front corners, indicated by the arrows, to clear the front tires.

The interior isn’t attached to the body.  Instead, we glued a piece of a body post from a junk body (the round blue shape in the right-hand photo) into the transmission tunnel, positioned just above the hole in the chassis for the case screw.  We could then attach the interior tub to the chassis with a body screw.    The rectangular white piece is a length of styrene strip placed to sit on top of the motor and hold the rear part of the interior clear of the lead wires.

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Here’s a nose-to-nose comparison  of our modified Javelin (left) and a stock one.  The patterned rectangle in between our car’s rear wheels is a piece of carbon fiber sheet to reinforce a repaired area where an epoxied-in magnet had been removed from the rear magnet position, tearing out part of the chassis with it.  It really was a semi-junk chassis when we started with it.  Now, our “Javellenger” is fully legal for classic TransAm racing and ready to take on the competition.

We should mention that we’re aware that it’s not likely that lot of people will do this particular kitbash.  For one thing, most of our readers probably don’t have a Challenger  they want to use as a donor car.  For another, we have no doubt that the 3D-printed chassis people are producing a sidewinder chassis for the Javelin or soon will be, and that will be an easier project for most people.  Our main purpose here is to build a car that comes as close as possible to showing “How They Should Have Made It”.  And maybe, just maybe, we’ve given you a bit of a glimpse into how somebody else is going to make it.

Have questions or comments on this article?  Post them below or e-mail them to bob@victorylaphobbies.com

 

 

How They Should Have Made It – Recent Scalextric TransAm Cars – Part 3, AMC Javelin, the Problems

by Bob Ward

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Scalextric’s 1971 TransAm Javelin has been controversial, to say the least, ever since the release of the first livery, the Penske Racing 1971 series champion.  The principal issue is, of course, the switch from a sidewinder chassis layout to an inline. We here at VLH think that was, shall we say, an ill-advised decision.  Before we get to that, however, let’s look at what Scalextric did right – and there are several real improvements.

The first, and it’s a big one, is making the front and rear valences part of the body, not the chassis.  I’ve been campaigning for this for, literally, decades now.  It makes giving the car body float much easier and more effective.  It also simplifies chassis transplants -fortunately, as we will see.

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Another is a sturdier inline motor mount that grips the endbell around the bushing housing rather than with two prongs engaging the notches for the can tabs on the sides of the endbell.  This improvement is not really new; they have been doing it on all their inline cars lately, but it’s worthy of recognition.  We’ve found the old mount to be the second most common failure point on Scalextric inline cars, after the guide socket, which is the most common chassis failure on all Scalextric cars.  If they just have to make inline cars this, at least, is the way to design the motor mount.  We do think, however, that the front (can end) mount should have been thicker.

The third step forward is the newly tooled Minilite wheels, a big improvement over the ones they have been using for the last 20 years or so.  These  wheels are supposed to be early examples of Scalextric’s new initiative to have all their wheels match the dimensions of commonly available aluminum wheels and thereby accept a variety of existing aftermarket tires.

We do have to say also that the OEM tires fitted to the Javelin, as well as other Scalextric cars over the past year, are a big improvement in grip over earlier OEM tires.  They look like they were trued at the factory, though the company says that’s not the case.

The designers get an attaboy for all of these.

The wheel upgrade is not without its problems, however.  One is that the rear wheels and tires are now significantly wider than those of the other TA cars, and that exacerbates the balance of performance problems created by the switch to an inline chassis.  Another is that Scalextric stopped offering spare parts a while back, so these wheels are not readily available for updating the older cars.  It also appears that these wheels and tires will not fit under the body on at least some, if not all of the other TA cars.  Another complication is that there are aftermarket tires to fit these wheels that are even wider than the stock ones and still fit inside the body, further increasing the effect of the wider wheels.

One other change may be either an improvement or a step backwards, depending on your point of view.  That’s the switch from a full-depth interior tub to a semi-flat tray interior.  More about that will be coming, also.

And so, on to the big issue, the chassis layout.

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Scalextric’s switch to inline chassis was hailed as a move to bring the performance of its  cars closer to the level of higher-end cars such as Slot It.  Their PR material said this change was made on the basis of expert advice.

Really?  Here’s a quote from the Test Track section of the Scalextric web site from February 26, 2016:  “While already present on a select few Scalextric cars, all new cars will have an inline motor fitted as standard. This configuration not only gives better weight distribution for the car but also means that both back wheels receive the power from the motor, with the gear on the rear axle.” (Emphasis mine.)  Seriously? They can’t possibly think a sidewinder drives only one of the rear wheels, can they?

All right, maybe that was written by someone in the PR department who was neither a racer nor an engineer, but the company hasn’t corrected it in the over two years since it was published.  As of April 25, 2018 it was still there for the whole world to see.

Here’s another quote from the same article:  “More detailed feedback was sought from a number of different sources to get specific details on what racers would change to get a better slot racing car. The collectors and experts who offered their feedback were fantastic in guiding our Developers, confirming a number of their suspicions, but also raising new ideas. While not everything suggested was possible, there were a large number of changes that almost everyone agreed upon and so our Development team set about making the changes a reality.”

The key phrase here is “collectors and experts”.  And that, in my view, is exactly the problem.  I have no way of knowing who these collectors and experts were, but I strongly suspect that they were the last people the designers should be listening to.  Why?

Well, to begin with, collectors mostly are just that.  To be sure, some are also racers to one extent or another, but most of them are more concerned with how the cars look than how they perform.  What collectors most often want is more and finer detail.  Performance is a secondary consideration, if it’s one at all.  And that’s fine – some of our best customers are collectors and we value their concerns and preferences.  But how relevant is their input where performance issues are concerned?

But the real problem, I suspect, is with the “experts” the designers sought input from.  The question here is what kind of experts?  I think the car itself provides the answer.  It looks to me very much like a car optimized for non-magnet wood track racing.  Unfortunately, I’ve come to the conclusion, based on 20 years of slot car industry experience and a lifetime as a slot car racer, that in this present day around 95% of slot car racing worldwide is done on plastic track with magnets.  This car is designed primarily for 5% or less of the people who actually race 1/32 scale slot cars.

The reason for that, I believe, is that the 95-plus percent have no voice with which to influence the manufacturers.  Who are the 95 percent?  They are the people who buy a race set for their kids or as a family activity.  They are the less “serious” hobbyists who just want to race and have fun at reasonable cost and probably will never participate in organized competition beyond having a few friends (theirs or their children’s) from the neighborhood over to race.  They just want cars they think are cool that are easy to make equal in performance so they can be raced with similar cars on an even basis.  They want any performance upgrades they make to be simple and inexpensive, most often just tires – and magnets.  For the 95% these two things represent all the “tuning” they will ever need or want to do.  They will likely never run without magnets.  And very few of them will ever  build a wood track.

They will probably never read, much less post on, an online slot car forum or enter a proxy race or go to one of the big slot car swap meets or big race events.  That makes them anonymous and unheard and their needs and preferences really never enter the thinking of the slot car designers who are aware, on some level, that they exist but  just assume that whatever the 5% want will serve the 95% also.  And that’s unfortunate because the 95% are the people Scalextric has to address to stay in business.

And that brings us to the inline vs. sidewinder issue and the related magnet vs. non-magnet issue as played out in the design of Scalextric TransAm cars.  There are three main questions here:

  1. Is it true that whatever makes a good wood track/ on-magnet car will make a good plastic track/magnet car?
  2. Which chassis layout is better for the 95 percent?
  3. How does one anomalous car affect the balance of performance for organized racing?  In other words, can the Javelin really fit in with the other Scalextric (and Pioneer, by the way) TA cars?

However, this article is getting up into the TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) range, so we’ll take up the answers to these questions as we go through our How They Should Have Made It car build in the next part of this article, coming soon.  Here’s a sneak peek:

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Next: The Javelin Car Build.

Have questions or comments on this article?  Post them below or e-mail them to bob@victorylaphobbies.com

 

 

 

 

 

How They Should Have Made It – Recent Scalextric TransAm Cars – Part 2, Dodge Challenger

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What’s wrong with the above picture?  Well, to begin with, as you might have guessed after reading about our work on the Cougars, it’s mainly the body sitting way too high on the chassis.  This is supposed to be a model of a race car but it has the stance of a road car.  For comparison, here’s a photo of the real thing…

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And here it is from another angle…

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Quite a difference, isn’t there?  Check this out…

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The one on the right is how Scalextric modeled the car.  The one on the left is how they SHOULD have done it.  And the frustrating thing is that, as on many other cars they have produced, there’s no reason why they couldn’t have.  So, since they didn’t we did.

If you have a keen eye you’ll note that we made more changes to the car than just getting the body down out of the stratosphere.  We’ll get to those as we go along.

We started with a used car that had been raced hard and was somewhat the worse for wear as a result.  We prefer to start our modification projects with preowned, even junk cars, mostly because they can often be acquired quite cheaply and we then aren’t out the price of a new one if the project goes south on us and we end up scrapping the car.  There’s also the challenge of taking a wreck and making a winner out of it.  This one wasn’t that bad, but the project did include some necessary repairs as well as the upgrades.

As with our two Cougars, the project began with cutting the front valence off the chassis and CA gluing it to the body.  On this project we also had to do it with the rear valence.  We cut it off just aft of the rear body posts.  This left part of the chassis still painted green, so we sanded the paint of that part of the chassis leaving it all black and looking much more like it came that way from the factory as, we emphasize, it totally could have.  We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it – THE FRONT AND REAR VALENCES AND THE BUMPERS NEED TO BE PART OF THE BODY, NOT THE CHASSIS!

The rear bumper appeared to have been broken off and rather hamfistedly glued back on.  We couldn’t get it back off so we never did get it back on right, but we did get the front and rear valences securely attached to the body. Then it was on to the next step.  That was shortening all four body posts by 1/8″.

The next part of the car requiring attention was the interior tub.

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The first step was to cut 1/8″ off the two pegs that hold the rear axle bushings in place, followed by removing the driver figure and the steering wheel and column  Then we applied CA glue to all parts of the roll cage that touch any part of the tub.  When the glue set we marked off  and cut 1/4″ from around the bottom of the tub.  The gluing of the roll cage allowed it to stay solidly in place even with most of its original mounting points gone with the tub floor.  We cut out a new floor for the interior from .020″ sheet styrene and glued it in place.  We painted the entire tub assembly gray (not brown, as it looks in the photo above).  We now had what might be described as a 2/3 depth interior.

Of course, the original driver figure now sat too tall to fit.  Searching the junk box for a replacement we found a complete driver from a modern GT car.  Because he sat in a much more reclining position he actually fit the cut-down interior with his head below the roll cage.  However, he created a bit of a period-correctness problem, as he wore a very modern-looking full face helmet.  So, we decided to exercise a bit of creative license.  We decided that our Challenger would now be a model of the car as it might looks today in vintage racing.  To add to the modern-day vibe we added a window net cut from a sheet of plastic mesh sold in craft stores.  The window net is not strictly period-correct even for the 21st century.  The life-sized car races in Historic TransAm where, as far as we are aware, window nets are not required.  However, we like window nets so we’re modeling the car as it would have to look if it ever turned up on an SVRA Group 6 grid where all the modern safety gear is required.  So, with authenticity suitably bent we had an interior ready for our lowriding TransAm car.

Then there’s the front air dam.

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The problem isn’t with the way it looks.  It’s more or less period-authentic, and if that is the most important thing to you, you won’t want to change it.  However, if you’re going to race the car seriously, you’ll find out it won’t last long.  It’s just stuck out way too far and there’s no real way to make it less vulnerable.  The one on our car had already been broken and glued back together at least once before we got it. Of course, you can just take it off before you run the car and save it to put back on after the car earns an honorable retirement.  We, however, think a 1970 TA car just doesn’t look right without something in the way of a front air dam, but we’d prefer one a lot less vulnerable.  So, once again a bit of creative license, again related to present-day vintage racing.  Some vintage racing groups are much less picky about aero enhancements than others, so we were pretty much free to design our own.  What we came up with is simplicity itself.

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You can’t get much more basic than a piece of .020″ sheet styrene, CA glued to two pieces of  1/4×3/32″ styrene strip.  A little bit of drilling and two self-tapping screws and we have a simple, but strong air dam.  Most important, it’s tucked back under the nose,  out of harm’s way.  This mod is only possible because we cut the front valence off the chassis and in the process left a gap just wide enough for the air dam to fit down through.

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This photo shows the completed chassis with the valences removed and the new front air dam in place.  It also shows the other mods the car has.  It came with the aftermarket guide and lead wires installed, along with a pair of Maxxtrac silicones.  You can also see the small “junk” magnet we stacked onto the stock one to top off the magnetic downforce to the desired level as well as the axle spacers on slightly longer axles to get the tires out to the full width that will fit under the body.

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Here you see a box-stock #77 Challenger (top) and our modified car below.  This shot really shows the mess the previous owner made with the rear bumper. All you’re supposed to be able to see of it from the bottom is the license plate housing.  Oh, well, some things you just can’t fix.

Check these views of the finished car.

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Time to go racing.

Next – Javelin.

Have questions or comments on this article?  Post them below or e-mail them to bob@victorylaphobbies.com

 

 

 

 

 

How They Should Have Made It – Recent Scalextric TransAm Cars – Part 1, Mercury Cougar

We here at VLH have long been fans of Scalextric’s classic TransAm cars ever since the first two, the 1969/70 Mustang and the 1969 Camaro.  These popular cars, produced in a huge number of colorful liveries, have made up an excellent racing class.  They have, for the most part, been easy to drive, easy to tune to almost any reasonable performance level using simple and inexpensive techniques, and easy to equalize for a level playing field.  The addition to the classic TA mix of Pioneer’s very similar 67/68 Mustang and Camaro has only added to the fun.

However, the three most recent Scalextric TA cars, while they are welcome additions to the field, have emerged with issues that need to be corrected.  This article, the first of three, will cover the Mercury Cougar.

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Our main disappointment with the Cougar is the way the front end of the body, in stock form, rides too high, making the car look as if it’s constantly experiencing a huge amount of aerodynamic lift at the front.  It has the nose-high stance of a drag race car with a gap between the tires and the body, not a proper attitude for a road racer.  A separate but related issue is that, in a departure from their previous TA cars, they put the same size tires on the front as on the rear. It just cries out to have the front end lowered.   So… we did.  Here’s the result, nose-to-nose with an unmodified car.

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We actually did the revision on two Cougars, a red #98 and a green #41.  You can see above how much better the green car on the left looks than the yellow unmodified car on the right.  Getting the most out of the project required backfitting the Cougars with the smaller diameter front tires used on previous Scalextric TA cars.  If you don’t have a supply of the smaller front tires lying around you can turn down the stock front tires to the required diameter or just shorten the front body posts a little less to get the front end as low as possible while retaining the original front tires..

The first step in this upgrade, after disassembling the car, was cutting the front valence off the chassis and CA gluing it securely to the body where it belongs.  We suspect the reason for this irritating quirk in Scalextric’s design philosophy has to do with simplifying the tooling and reducing its cost, but it adds complication to projects like this as well as to simple tuning techniques such as running the car with loosened body screws to let the body float.

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We might add that a too-high stance and body elements as part of the chassis have been recurring flaws with many different Scalextric cars over the years.  Google photos of any of their Mustang FR500C’s for one of the more egregious examples.

The second step was to shorten the front body posts by about 3/32″.  You might decide to shorten them more or less, depending on what front height looks right to you and whether you use the front tires that came on the car or switch to the smaller ones.

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The next step is to cut off the two round structures sticking down from the bottom of the interior tub, as indicated by the red arrows above.  You may also need to take a little off the ends of the two pegs on the flat area at the rear of the interior tub.  These press down on the top of the motor to keep it firmly in its mounting on the chassis but we have never found anything like this to be necessary on Scalextric sidewinder cars, so you could just cut them off completely if you prefer.

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The Cougar body has a piece glued into the inner body on each side just forward of the interior tub.  These need to be cut away to allow the body to be lowered over the chassis.

With these changes made you can re-mount the body on the chassis and go race.  Our Cougars, however, have a few additional improvements, seen in the photo below of our red #98.

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Two of the upgrades were on the cars when we acquired them, gently used, from another shop that went out of business.  One is the replacement of the stock guide and lead wire assembly with a Slot It guide and silicone-insulated lead wires, eliminating the DPR-related components.  This is fine with us because we don’t plan to convert these particular cars to digital.  The other is a pair of Maxxtrac silicone rear tires for a major grip improvement on clean plastic track surfaces.

As you can see in the photo, we added a smaller additional magnet atop the car’s stock magnet to bring the total downforce up to the same level we have maintained on all our classic TransAm “runners” for quite some time.  The extra magnet came from our junk box.  It’s a Professor Motor 1063 with part of it broken off, and it just happened to be the right size and strength for the task.  Never discard used or even broken magnets.  You never know when they might come in handy.  When stacking magnets like this nothing but magnetism is usually needed to hold the stacked magnets together.

Also visible is the front air dam, from a Scalextric 69 Camaro, that we added.  This, of course, isn’t “period-correct” for a 1967 TA car and it doesn’t affect performance, but it does give the car a more aggressive look we really like.

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This bottom view of the chassis shows how we fitted the air dam in place and mounted it securely.  We used a Dremel tool with a sanding drum to remove material from the air dam so it would fit around the Cougar’s guide housing.  When we got the fit we wanted we tacked it in place with CA glue and drilled holes into the chassis at the mounting points so we could secure the part with two self-tapping body screws.  We have also done this mod on Pioneer Mustang/Camaro chassis where it can be mounted via the front body screws just as on the Scalextric Camaro.  The green car has an air dam from a Scalextric TA Mustang.

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So, here are our two modified Cougars.  Both are impressive performers on the track and now look the way proper TransAm cars should. Here are a few more shots…

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Not totally period-correct but easy to do and we love the way they now look.  And, as it happens, we ran across this photo, taken at a recent vintage race…

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So, it looks like our Cougars are period-correct – if you pick the right period.

NEXT – Dodge Challenger

Have questions or comments on this article?  Post them below or e-mail them to bob@victorylaphobbies.com

 

Work in Progress 7-20-17

Toyota Supra GT1

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The decal work is finished!  All the decals on this car, except the racing numbers, are my own creations.  I downloaded the various logos from the Internet, sized and edited them in Photoshop, and printed them on an HP inkjet printer at 4000 pixels per inch.  The numbers, as on my C6 Corvette GT1, are from an Ultracals peel-and-stick 1/43 scale sheet.

The orange paint, by the way, is the same Krylon spray can color as on the Corvette, and the Scalextric TA Jaguar wheels and tires are the same. also.  The match between the wheel centers and the body color is not quite perfect but it’s very close, and the paint color is a perfect match for the Gorilla Glue logo’s orange.  The wide stripe around the back end of the car is made up entirely of decals.

I picked Gorilla Glue as the car’s primary sponsor because I really like their gorilla graphics and also because I have been impressed with how the glue has performed in recent projects. The product also seems like one that might logically be promoted via a racing sponsorship.  And, of course, one can easily imagine Toyota getting on board with a GT1/TransAm car powered by one of its Toyota Racing development NASCAR pushrod V8s.

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I might add a few more small decals but beyond that what remains to be done is to clearcoat the body and get it all nice and shiny, install the headlight and taillight pieces, complete the interior, install the motor and electrics in the chassis, and complete final assembly.  That shouldn’t be too long from now.

Work In Progress 7-7-17

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It’s finished!

I finally got the Corvette C6 GT1/TransAm car completed.  You’ll recall that his is a conversion of the Scalextric Corvette C6R.

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This isn’t really a perfect GT1 conversion. That would involve much more body and detail work, most of which would not be evident to any but the most expert observer.  I do think, however, that his car does a good job of capturing the aggressive character of a GT1 Corvette.  It looks the part quite well and wasn’t really all that hard to do.  The chassis remains unchanged except for trimming off the rear diffuser and adding a deeper airdam at the front.  It doesn’t look like it in the photos but the airdam does clear the track.

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The wider but smaller-diameter wheels and tires, from a Scalextric TransAm Jaguar, fit under the body without the fenders having to be widened.  The wheel arches were reduced in size by adding sheet styrene, snugging them in nicely around the tires. Performance upgrades include a Professor Motor guide and magnet, a 21.5k Piranha motor and silicone tires.  The Piranha is really just for testing.  It will eventually be replaced with a motor delivering around 30,000 rpm.  1:1 scale TransAm cars typically run NASCAR 358 engines that crank out around 850 horsepower, and I want my 1/32 scale version to have power to match.

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Added details such as the hood hump. made of sheet styrene, and the rear wing, an NSR part that looks more like the GT1-spec wing than the original C6R wing does, help complete the GT1 bad boy look.  The car retains the C6R interior and windows, though I cut out the driver’s side window and added a window net CA glued to the roll cage.  A more complete kitbash would involve scratchbuilding a different interior and roll cage, but for my purposes the original looks more than good enough on the track.

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All the graphics, with the exception of the numbers (from an Ultracal peel-and-stick sheet), and the logos tampo-printed on the window assembly, are waterslide decals I made in Photoshop and printed on an HP inkjet printer using Bare Metal decal paper.  The paint is from Krylon spray cans purchased at Walmart.  You can get big cans of Krylon there for around $4.00 each and the selection of colors is quite extensive.

Like most of my kitbashes I made no attempt with this one to create a museum-quality model exact in every dimension, contour, and detail.  My goal with these projects is to turn out a car that captures the character and overall look of the type of car I’m building and looks good on the track, all without putting so much time and effort into it that I wouldn’t put it on the track and race it if the opportunity came along.  The rivet counter will find endless nits to pick but I don’t think anybody will have trouble figuring out what kind of car it’s supposed to be.  And that’s good enough for me.

Work In Progress March 30, 2017

Corvette C6 GT1 conversion

In the last WIP post I showed you images of the Corvette C6R-C6 GT1/TransAm conversion I’m woeking on and also the sheet of decals I made for it.  Now I have all my homemade decals on the car and it looks like this…

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Here’s a shot of the other side that also shows the GT1-style single large exhaust installed.

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All of these decals, except for the racing numbers, are waterslides that were printed on my HP inkjet printer.  The numbers came from an Ultracals peel-and-stick sheet for 1/43 scale cars.  Now that race cars all carry timing and scoring transponders the numbers don’t have to be as big, leaving more room on the body for sponsor logos.  The numbers on the 1/43 scale decal sheets turn out to be just the right size for a contemporary GT1 car.

There are still some decals I need to make, including the TransAm series logo, and others to be added from various decal sheets in my decal box.  When all these are in place the body will receive several coats of Krylon clear and then be polished out to a smooth, glossy finish.

The original C6R windows, taillights, and interior will be used unchanged in this project.  When the body is completed I will install the magnet, motor, and lead wire/guide assembly into the chassis, mate up the chassis and body, and the car will be ready for the track.

More posts on this car to come.

Toyota Supra GT1

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I’m always starting new projects even before the ones in process are completed.  I recently acquired a Ninco Toyota Supra Japanese GT Championship (JGTC) car for not too outrageous a price and I was able to begin a conversion I have wanted to do for a long time – A Supra GT1/TransAm car.  There never has been a supra in TransAm or GT1, though a US car builder built a Supra somewhat like a GT1 to be raced in a GT championship in Central America.  All present-day GT1 cars are a carbon-fiber body on a tube frame chassis with a pushrod V8 engine.  Most GT1 cars use NASCAR 358 engines, very often bought from the NASCAR teams.  Toyota has a NASCAR engine and any number of companies could produce the body and the chassis, so there’s no doubt that a Supra GT1 could have been built and raced.

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These photos show the Ninco body sitting on a modified Scalextric TransAm Jaguar chassis, wheels and tires.  The chassis has been modified by moving the front axle mounting aft a bit to line up with the body’s wheel openings.  With a bit of trimming, which I’ll show you in the next post, the Jag chassis looks like it was made to fit the Supra body.

The car will get a few body mods, and a complete repaint as well as the same wing installation I’m going to use on the Corvette, mounting an NSR Corvette C6R wing into two vertical tubes.  I’m making that wing the spec wing for all my GT1 conversions, for now at least.  Later, I will have a 3D printed wing made especially for these projects.

More to come on this one, too.

V8 Stock Car Project.  

Here’s something I’ve been working on for a while now.

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Back on the East Coast there is a racing series  know as the V8 Road Racing Series.  It’s sanctioned by the SCCA and mostly runs as part of SCCA race weekends.  Most of the cars in the series are some form of tube frame V8-powered stock car, ranging from all-out TransAm/GT1 cars to cars resembling and often converted from short-track late models.  Some classes run wings, some not.  Some use wide, GT1-style wheels and tires, others use the common NASCAR-style steel wheels.  Most of them more or less resemble some kind of tube frame stock car but each class offers racing at a different level of cost and technical sophistication.  Some classes also accommodate cars built from actual road cars, including Corvettes and other sports and GT cars.

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What you see here is a prototype for a 1/32 scale winged V8 Stock Car.  It uses a sort of generic pre-COT NASCAR body on a complete, readily available running chassis.  VLH has several hundred of these bodies in a few different colors and access to an unlimited supply of the chassis.  We’re in the process of getting the wing mass-produced along with a couple of other parts that will allow us to put these cars together quickly and economically on a simple assembly line.  The wing on the car is a rough prototype I made to prove the concept and show the company that will be making them the general idea of what we want.

There will be several variants of the car in addition to the one shown above.  There will be one with NASCAR wheels and tires and no wing, and one with GT1 wheels and tires similar to the ones on the Corvette and Supra shown above, offered with or without the wing.

There will also be this one…

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This will be a very basic version with completely stock RTR chassis and mechanicals and the lowest price we can offer (pricing is yet to be determined).  This will be perfect for a club “spec” stock car class and a good, durable car for beginners and children.  It will also be comparable in performance to Scalextric and Pioneer classic TransAm cars.

Watch future blog posts for more information.

Your comments and questions are welcome.  You can post them below or e-mail them to bob@victorylaphobbies.com.