Truck Update

In my last post about the new Scalextric Trucks, I said that they weren’t happy on tighter radius curves than Radius 2. Since then, I set up track for the kids in the loft room and had the trucks piling around it very nicely including one radius 1 curve.

For those interested in what the track looked like here it is:

Scalextric Track 18E

Scalextric Track 18E

You’ll notice that it doesn’t quite match up at the right hand end of the start/finish straight. The Scalextric Track Designer doesn’t include the long straights included in the APC set reviewed here. They’re slightly shorter than a 1 Straight + 1/2 Straight and by using them made the track work.

Continuing on the topic of trucks though, you may or may not recall that C302Scalextric have previously had a couple of trucks, or Juggernauts as they were referred to back then. The major difference is that these both came with their own trailers. They were sold by Scalextric in the early and mid eighties. The Juggernaut Lowloader (C302) has a red cabin with a flat-bed trailer on to which you can put a car – it has a slot specifically in theC301
flat bed area to cope with the car’s guide blade. The other, C301, The Juggernaut Roadtrain is a container lorry with the picture of a F1 car on it along with Leyland and Mobil writing.

I recently managed to get hold of C302 from ebay. It included the original cardboard box, albeit in a tatty state, but the chromed parts and decals were still in their plastic bags and there was little evidence of use. As a consequence I’ve wanted to pair it up with C301 and I’ve been looking for it on ebay for a while now.  Just the other day, I managed to bag one that looks like it’s hardly been run and it too has the chrome parts and decals still in their plastic bags.

I’m looking forward to be able to have both of them going round the track and I’ll report back on what I think of them, particularly in comparison with the new trucks.

Scalextric Racing Trucks

C3609/C3610 – The new Scalextric Lorries (Trucks)

I’ve been interested in getting some lorries for Scalextric for some time now and when I saw some new ones were coming out, I knew I’d have to buy them.

Scalextric Truck Boxes

The Scalextric Trucks Boxes

They appeared on the Scalextric website earlier this year at the £24.99 price point and I bought them in mid August. Of course, it was no good just having the one- truck because racing vs a car wouldn’t be so much fun so I had to buy both.

When they arrived, I was a bit disappointed that they were in cardboard boxes rather than in a plastic display case. However, having taken them out of their boxes and had a good look at them it wasn’t surprising – they are a lot taller than any other Scalextric models I’ve ever seen. I suspect special display cases would have been needed which would have bumped up the price probably to unacceptable levels. I did try to fit the trucks in to the standard display case and also the Peugeot 205 T16 case which has a much lower floor to it’s display case (to enable that rear roof tall wing to fit in). Neither worked as can be seen from the two photos below.

Truck in Low Floor Display Case

Truck shown in low-floor display case

Truck in Standard Display Case

Truck shown in standard display case

 

Truck C3610 in cardboard surround

Truck C3610 in cardboard surround

 

 

 

 

The Trucks are mounted on a cardboard surround and they’re held on to that surround by the normal screw and washer. Both trucks arrived with some protective plastic attached to the sides of the cabin which I can only imagine is there to avoid scratching/rubbing against the cardboard surround whilst in transit. Also included (as normal) are some free guide-blades in a sealed plastic bag with instructions on how to change the guide. The cardboard did seem a bit flimsy and I worry about it’s longevity given that they’re going to be in and out of their boxes and it’s a very snug fit, I’ve already managed to tear the front lip off one of the  surrounds due to the amount of force that is required to pull the truck out of the box.

Rear of Truck

Rear of Truck Detail

Both trucks have blacked out windows which I guess reflects the fact they’re classed as “Super Resistant” on the website. It’d be great to see a version of these in High Detail, I can imagine the inside of the cab with a driver would look great. Regardless, there’s no skimping of detail on the rear of the truck, I was quite impressed.

Somewhat out of focus in the picture on the left, you can see the rear wheel mudguards. The rear tyres are a pair on each side directly attached to the motor which sits in the rear as well. There is also a mounting point for a trailer and the mounting plate comes off if pulled on gently. I wonder if there are plans to produce a trailer that can be added to the trucks at some point in the future?

Rear Wheels Detail

Rear Wheels Detail

You can see this more clearly in the rear wheels detail picture on the right. The tyres are quite the biggest I’ve seen on a Scalextric model so far. In the early eighties, Scalextric produced some other trucks. There was C301, Leyland Roadtrain and C302, Juggernaut Lowloader. I’ve recently managed to get hold of C302 and I compared the new Trucks with C302. Everything is larger, but the tyres on the new Trucks are much bigger.

The Trucks come as analogue, but a quick look at the underside of the model shows that they are digital plug ready and it should be just the normal few minutes to convert them to digital. This is good news and I do think that all models should now come DPR unless there really isn’t the space.

Truck Underside showing DPR and Twin Tyres

Truck Underside showing DPR and Twin Tyres

Notice in the photo above where the motor and the magnet are placed. They feel a long way to the rear and I think this does change the handling characteristics somewhat.

So, the all important bit – how do they perform? Well, I’m happy to say that I and my sons thoroughly enjoyed our session with them. They were great to run round the track and had different performance characteristics to the cars so took some getting used to, but were no problem.

Trucks on the track

Trucks on the track

Given the height of the Trucks and therefore the higher centre of gravity, you’d have thought they would de-slot frequently, but that wasn’t the case. They were quite “tail-happy”, but in a reasonably controlled way in that you could catch them and get back on line if you were quick. If you missed them and the tail went all the way out, then it was a fairly graceful exit from the track. Although more often than not once out of the slot, the back-end stopped turning and the Truck would then go back across the track. The vast majority of cars I have will continue away from the track once they’ve spun out, but not the trucks and for one reason or another, it actually felt realistic. Not sure why.

There are some limitations when running these trucks and on the website it states that the Trucks are incompatible with the Elevated Cross Over (C8295), but given that they’re easily double, if not triple the height of most cars and wider than most, this isn’t surprising. A Radius 2 curve worked fine, but even then rear tyres were hanging off the inside of the curve for the inside lane and they weren’t happy on anything tighter. If you had the space, I think a track made using Radius 3 curves would be superb for them.

The limitations were not a drawback on enjoyment though, the layout just has to accommodate the size of the trucks and that should be seen as as challenge rather than a problem – it’s clear that a good truck-racing circuit will be different from a good car-racing circuit. A great buy, but you do really have to buy both of them to get the most out of the experience of Truck racing.

ARC Box Front

C1329 ARC One System Review

I was one of the lucky ones to get hold of one of the first Scalextric ARC sets. It comes with a decent amount of track and a couple of cars. It’s all analogue for the time being, but I believe the digital version of ARC is promised later this year (2015).

ARC - Inside the Box

ARC – Inside the Box

Out of the box, there is one change that comes to me straight away. There’s none of the polystyrene storage system inside the box, it’s all cardboard and shaped boxes to store everything securely. Very eco-friendly.

There are also some interesting things that should be noted straight away. There are two pieces of track in this set that I’ve not seen anywhere else.

Extra Long Straight

Extra Long Straight

The first one is the extra-long straight, slightly longer than 1.5 normal straights.

 

 

 

 

90 degree Curve

90 degree Curve

Then there’s the 90degree Radius 2 curve. Whilst we’ve seen 90degree Radius curves before, they were reserved for the cross over, these bits of track are just a standard 90degree radius 2 track.

I haven’t seen them separately available on the Scalextric website and nor do they have a normal Cxxxx reference. On the ARC app, they are called SSA00138 584mm Straight and SSA00139 90deg Racing Curve. It’s going to be interesting to see if these appear in other sets or separately.

Then there’s the control base, this is attached to a printed piece of standard straight track with a PIT box printed on it. There’s one central light on the base and new shaped sockets for power and controllers. The PIT straight has a couple of holes in the track (exactly like the ones you get for digital lane-changing tracks) that must be used to spot the car going over the top.

Power and Pit Straight

Power and Pit Straight

The controllers themselves look different too with a sculpted grip and red and green triggers and the tops are a bit more angular than we’re used to.

Power Block and Hand Controls

Power Block and Hand Controls

Track Supports

Track Supports

Next to be noticed are the track supports. Nothing like I’ve ever seen before. There are two plastic full height supports and then a series of cardboard ones with printing on one side. I like the plastic full height supports, but can’t help feel that the cardboard ones are going to short-lived. There are a number of circular plastic bases that are used to hold the cardboard supports upright. Each of the cardboard supports has a different number printed on it, I’m not sure whether these are to indicate the order in which they should be placed or their respective height relative to the others. Given that the ones labelled “1” and “4” are almost the same height, I suspect the numbers refer to the order in which they should be placed either side of the plastic full height supports.

Phone/Tablet Holder

Phone/Tablet Holder

The other new pieces is the wedge shaped tablet/phone holder. This has a slot in to which you can put your tablet or phone (with Bluetooth) and then use it to show updates going on during the race. In practice with phones it’s not that stable when you’re trying to choose various options – I found it easier to pick up my phone to choose the options before putting it back on to the stand in order to race.

What of the cars? Well, they’re two low-detail cars, one predominantly silver, the other mostly blue/grey and they come with a set of decals for you to stick on.

Undecorated Cars

Undecorated Cars

I wasn’t able to find a diagram that showed me what to put where, so I had to use the pictures on the side and front of the box to work out where the stickers should go.

Decals Sheet

Decals Sheet

I did realise half way through that the stickers are placed on the decal sheet to indicate where they go, but it’s not clear. It’s also a pretty delicate operation to get all the stickers in place and not too wonky. Some of the stickers are hard to remove and I thought I’d torn the white star that goes on the rear quarter of the car until I realised that one of the star points was not supposed to come off the decal sheet because that was where the wheel arch was. The front light stickers were quite tricky as well given that they were having to be stuck to a surface that curved in two directions – not ideal for a flat sticker. Anyway, once decaled up, they looked good.

ARC22 ARC21 ARC20

I opted for the figure of eight track with bridge and it took very little time to put it all together helped by the 90degree radius 2 curves and the extra long straights. Once set up, on powering up, the power light on the control base flashed. I switched on Bluetooth on my phone and fired up the ARC app on my Android phone. Very quickly the two systems synchronised and the control base light went steady. I was ready to race.

The ARC app is a little bit confusing and the interface leaves a bit to be desired. There is also quite a limited list of devices on which the app will run. On Android it has to be OS 4.4 Kitkat or above, iPhone 4S & up iPad3 & up and must also have Bluetooth 4.0 which does limit the number of devices that can be used. My kids have got the original Hudls so they won’t work.ARC01 I think my new Android phone is the only one that will work. Eager to start racing I decided just to try the quick race option. There are various racing options within the quick race menu, but the real additional piece is that of the compulsory pit requirement. As you race the cars around the track, your phone/tablet records the race order and also tells you how much fuel you have left and the state of the tyres. Once they both show as read you need to stop in the PIT box and refuel and get the tyres changed which involves sitting stationary whilst the tank fills up on the screen. Then it’s off to race again. The cars have very generous magnets in and it’s possible to wiz around the track and a high rate of knots without the cars coming off. I guess these may be aimed at beginners who can be a little heavy handed with the controllers.

So, the racing works, the pit-stop works and adds an extra element to the on-going racing. This is all good. Looking at the app in a bit more detail, it enables you to add in all the cars, sets and track you’ve got and you can choose to race on a specific track although I’m not sure how much difference this makes to anything, that’s for me to work out on another day. It feels like it might be quite hard work to enter all my Scalextric cars and track in to the app, it’s a shame that there isn’t a way in which you can go on line and add the details via a website and for it to talk to the app and pick up that detail. In addition, the list of available cars you can add is definitely not comprehensive, for instance it has some starting C1xxx and C3xxx but doesn’t have any in the C2xxx range.

ARC19Using it is fun, it’s a step up from what we’re used to with the analogue systems and also a lot clearer to use than the somewhat arcane display and control process associated with the Advanced Car Powerbase and display – I’ve never really got the hang of that. Will I take it out and use it instead of my digital kit? Probably not, but I’m sure the kids will enjoy it, once they have a compatible device. I am looking forward to the digital version of this – that will be a must-buy.

C3514 Bentley Continental GT3

C3514 – Bentley Continental GT3

The new Bentley Continental GT3 is a recent acquisition that I’d been looking forward to Scalextric releasing the moment I saw the picture on the website much earlier in the year. I know I had to have one. C3514 is the High Detail version. There is another car, C3515 which is a Super Resistant version and has slightly different decals with blacked out windows.

Looked at on the website, the white bodywork looks, well, just white. But under closer, physical inspection, it’s clear that there is a pearlescence about it. I’m not sure whether this is paint or actually embedded in the plastic of the bodywork itself. Nevertheless, I like it.

Front Wing of Bentley Continental GT3

Front Wing of Bentley Continental GT3 – Click to enlarge

There’s a good deal of detail going on with the car as well. The massive rear wing might be of concern to some, Scalextric rear wings don’t have a great reputation for being that hardy to knocks. Nevertheless, it looks very much at home on this very muscly car. The chassis feels very low to the ground with very little clearance between the wheels and the wheel arches. I particularly like the look of the front wings and headlight detail.

Underneath the Bentley Continental GT3

Underneath the Bentley Continental GT3 – Click to enlarge

Looking at the underneath of the car, the magnet is placed just to the rear of the centre of the car and there’s a digital plug cover there making it easy to go digital with this car. It’s interesting to note how the guide blade is “countersunk” in to the underside of the car. I’ve not seen this on any other cars that I have. Clearly the intention is for this car to run very low on the track. It looks great, but here are two concerns around this. Firstly, does that mean the front lip will be so low that it will snag on small imperfections in the track joins? And secondly, does that mean that it will be de-slot easily because the guide isn’t actually going very deep in to the slot? We’ll have to see, I’ve not run this on a circuit yet – I’m a bit concerned about running it up to full speed really with that huge wing at risk.

So, there you have it, the new C3514 Bentley Continental GT3 High Detail from Scalextric.

When I get up the courage, I’ll give it a run and come back and add further to this post about its track performance.

C3514 Bentley Continental GT3

C3514 Bentley Continental GT3

A Scalextric Blog? Why not…

I just thought I’d try my hand at this blogging lark. I have quite a bit of Scalextric and end up buying quite a bit on line either new from various sources or second hand from Ebay and similar. I’ve previously tried to find places where I could go for reviews of cars, sets or other items along with track designs and ideas, but have struggled to find anywhere. Perhaps that’s because there’s really no call for it, but this is the way we find out.

Cheers.

Steve.