Sunday, 29 November 2015

Goodwood Pits

Andy has added a routed pit complex to his 1930s digital layout and I offered to make him some buildings for Christmas.  The first of these is inspired by the early Goodwood pit structures, as in this image of Jack Dunfee and Woolf Barnato at Brooklands in 1929:

Raw materials were lengths of 5mm square spruce, some corrugated plastic sheets and a piece of metal wire sheet.

I made up frames for the pit structure and an accompanying paddock:

The frames were sprayed white and then fitted with roofs painted a mid-green.  I made up some vintage adverts to fix to the metal fencing.

They made it on to Andy's layout in time for a big digital race meeting yesterday.

Saturday, 19 September 2015


Andy and I were messing around with the Nissan 350Z drift cars a couple of weeks ago.  The cars have 360 degree rotation in the guides so they can spin round and drive in the opposite direction.  We were enjoying the challenge of approaching familiar corners from an unfamiliar direction, when we had a light bulb moment - why not wire up the track so we can switch direction and race the other way?

It's six years (to the week) since I started this project, and I don't know why that hadn't occurred to me earlier.  So I ordered a couple of heavy duty double pole switches and wired them so I could select the polarity of the power going to each track.  I fitted them to the wiring board under the table.

The various electrical projects have grown over time and this is now looking rather unkempt.  But then again, it's behind the curtain so can't usually be seen, so it's a low priority.  However, I have done some rewiring where a connection was a bit dodgy - I spliced the wires from the start lights into an Ethernet socket, and then wired a plug from the Phidget board, so that connection is now reliable.

I've set up a Highwood Reverse circuit in Ultimate Racer, my race management software, so we'll start creating a new set of lap times and data separate from the original clockwise circuit.  This will give a new lease of life to the layout.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Italian Job Alfa

Another kit from Pendle, this time the Alfa Romeo Guilia Ti Super used by the police in the original Italian Job film.

I wanted the car to run on Andy's digital layout so as well as the chip, I had to wire up a bridge rectifier (four diodes in a particular configuration) to get the correct power to the flashing blue LED I bought for the roof.

I painted the interior to match the film, including the shades on the passenger.

And the body was primed in grey before a test fitting.

I sprayed the body a pretty good match for the green and painted up the lights, grille and bumper, as well as a tiny Alfa Romeo badge.

Final additions were the number plates.

Ready to chase some Minis...

Monday, 14 September 2015

Outside Broadcast Vehicle

I wanted to do something special with this Land Rover kit from Pendle.

I'd seen a resin mould of a TV outside broadcast vehicle based on a Land Rover and thought I'd scratchbuild something similar.  I built a box for the rear from plasticard, and found an old Scalextric cameraman and camera, which were mounted to a disc cut out of the roof (thanks Phil!) so they could be rotated to face any direction.

The Land Rover and box were sprayed in a dark blue and I added BBC Sport livery.

The finished article:

It all comes apart so that the Land Rover can be raced on the track.

And then put back together to record the action...

Friday, 24 July 2015

Crowd sourcing

I haven't posted for a bit so thought I'd share this colourful photo from Andy's painting table.  A collection of figures bought at the Slot Car Festival and repainted by Andy.  More to come...

Friday, 12 June 2015


I checked my Facebook feed when I got home tonight and spotted a posting by Scalextric of a layout they were excited about.  I started watching the video and it was immediately familiar!

It was my design but not my track, and watching it was quite a strange feeling.  All was revealed in the comments where the owner of the track (another James) had credited Highwood Circuit as his inspiration.

James had found my track design on Google which had led him to this blog.  I'm really pleased to discover that Highwood has a twin on the other side of the country, and I hope to follow its development.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

UK Slot Car Festival 2015

Andy and I drove up to the Heritage Motor Centre on Saturday for the UK Slot Car Festival.  Loads of traders and tracks, including the one designed by Martin Brundle to promote Sky's F1 coverage.

One of our highlights from last year was a collection of all the key vehicles in The Italian Job.  This time they did a demonstration of the Minis driving up into the coach with gold from the heist:


I bought a selection of drivers for my scratch built cars (including a couple of broken cars that cost less than a driver would on its own).  I also got a Morgan resin kit and the ready to run car from Fly that I'd had my eye on for a while - a Porsche from Fly as part of their Racing Films set.

The box set comes with the car, a leaflet and a copy of the film with which the car has a connection.

Like the Steve McQueen car I had for Christmas a few years back, this is a filming car, and so features movie cameras mounted front and rear.