Monday, 11 August 2014

Race reports

I had a couple of race sessions with both Stuart and Andy in recent days.  The bad news is that the new start-finish gantry isn't Stuart-proof...

...but it was easily re-erected and fixed again.  These spectators were not so lucky:

After all the effort of building them and then tweaking them, the good news is that the BMW Isettas race fantastically although their shape does give them a tendency to role - synchronised in some cases:

With a bit of practice, they race really well although I think a little bit of lead over the front axles will set them up just right.

Andy and I also raced some of our pre-war cars, the Stutz, Bentleys and MG K3s.  A 1950s/1960s British sports car race series is in the wings.

My Dad dropped off some tools last week and a variable voltage power supply has now been adapted to act as a rolling road for tuning the cars on the workbench.

MGA Mille Miglia

The predecessor to my latest real car, the MGA was produced from 1955 to 1962, and it's a lovely looking car.  I bought a resin body shell off eBay a few months back and married it with a PCS chassis.

The casting was good but needed a lot of cleaning up around the base and the wheel arches, so after 30 minutes with the Dremel it looked like this:

I sprayed the body in crimson red, painted up the driver and built the chassis.

Another addition to my growing collection of 1950s and 60s British classics.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Louise's Roadster

Louise's first sports car was a Eunos Roadster V-Spec, a luxury specification model in Racing Green imported from Japan - otherwise known as a Mazda MX-5 in the UK and Europe, or the Mazda Miata in the US.

Louise's parents got me a slot car model kit from Pendle Slot Racing for Christmas.

The very nicely cast resin body was easy to prime and spray in British Racing Green.  The chassis was a PCS-32 version from Pendle, and the interior was painted to match the tan leather interior of Louise's car.

Everything went together smoothly...

And the model was finished off with the correct number plates...

So the only real difference is that the hood is staying up on the model!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Double, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

After many months (working on and off), I've finally finished the BMW Isetta bubble cars I bought from Lagartija last year.

The cars came as a resin kit with interior and windows, and I had to source the running gear, choosing a particularly slow 10,000 rpm motor to ensure the cars didn't drive too quickly.

The bodies needed a lot of preparation to ensure everything went together without the wheels fouling the bodywork - a lot of time with the Dremel thinning out the body and checking and re-checking the fit.  Then the bodies could be finally primed, and then painted.  One car was modelled after the Isetta I saw at the Malta Classic Car Collection.  This involved a lot of tricky masking and this car had to be painted and repainted to get it as good as possible.

The other car was painted in the classic BMW Motorsport colours - white with dark blue / mid blue / red stripe across the car.

Here's all the completed elements before it was put together...

The kit came with a set of decals and front lights...

...and rear lights.

One of the resin chassis cracked during fitting but I managed to repair it, and both chassis had to be installed carefully to ensure the wheels were square against the body.  But after a lot of work, the final cars do race well together.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Andy got me an MG K3 kit from George Turner for Christmas.  Andy has a few of these cars but this variant attracted me as it had a male driver and female passenger.

I found inspiration from some photos of a similar MG K3 at Brooklands:

I sprayed the resin chassis black, and the primed the body with grey.

The body and mudguards then had a few coats of midnight blue.  The car was detailed in silver and transfers added, and the driver and passenger (inevitably) painted up to match coats that I and Louise own.

Once put together, the car is a pretty good representation of the photos I found, and also runs very well on the track.  Click on images below to see in more detail.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

New Start Finish gantry

The existing start finish gantry was a vintage Scalextric item with start lights fitted underneath.

The problem was its fragility.  It would regularly get knocked by a car and the start-finish banner would fall out, or the start lights would slide down the metal poles.

At the recent Slot Car Festival, I found a more sturdy laser cut gantry from MHS Model Products.  This comes flat packed and needs a knife to cut away the places where it is connected before being pressed out.

I constructed the gantry, sprayed it white, and fixed the chequered flags and START / FINISH signs, once I'd painted them also.  Before glueing the side structures, I cut a couple of slots so that the LED lighting panel could be inserted and removed.

Installed on the track, this should hopefully be more robust and resist the inevitable crashes when racers are going for that fastest lap.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

UK Slot Car Festival 2014

Last Saturday, Andy and I conducted our annual pilgrimage to the UK Slot Car Festival at the Heritage Motor Centre.  Beautiful weather for the first long journey in my new MGB on some fabulous A-roads.  The show was a little bigger and is now spread over two days.  As well as a large number of traders and manufacturers, there were lots of tracks to try out and appreciate.  Our favourite amongst these was the Targa Floria track and we chatted to the creator about the design and techniques used.

Another highlight was one chap's Italian Job project.  This had started with the minis and a wonderful scratchbuilt coach (which had powered braid inside so the minis could be driven up the ramp!) but grew to encompass all the main vehicles in the film - police cars, jeep, digger, the Lamborghini Miura that gets trashed at the beginning of the film (in both perfect and trashed versions!).  A really great job.

Another new product from Steve Ward of Penelope Pitlane caught my eye - genuine 1:32 scale go-karts.  There have been a couple of models of go-karts produced by Scalextric and Ninco.  The Ninco in particular are great (Andy probably has the largest collection in the country!) but at 1:18 scale, they are over-sized for my layout.  The new ones really are tiny but the scale is perfect.  They come as a kit but here's the couple painted up that were on display at the show.

In my continuing search for unusual pairs of cars to race against each other, I bought a couple manufactured by Carrera modeled on streamlined German cars from 1937 - the Auto Union Typ C Stromlinie and Mercedes-Benz W25 Avus Stromlinie (it says W125 on the packaging but it's definitely the W25).

They are huge cars with removable covers for the large but very skinny wheels.

They run very fast and have magnets fitted in the centre of the chassis and ahead of the rear axle.  I took the rear magnets out to slow them down, help get the rear end out and make them more interesting to drive.