Wednesday, 14 January 2009

REVIEW: Slot.it Ferrari F40

Slot.it Ferrari F40
'totip' LeMans 1994

In December 2008, Slot.it released the second of its highly anticipated Ferrari F40 kits. The 'totip' LeMans 1994 F40 is the first of many expected and exciting race liveries. Each kit contains approximately 30 pieces and if you've ever played around with slot cars, you shouldn't have too many problems, in theory. As I'll detail, I found the reality to be quite different.

The picture below shows how the F40 kit is packaged, the body of the car comes separately well packed in the standard Slot.it clear crystal box. All additional pieces are also well packed in a individual sealed plastic bags.


Slot.it provide basic instructions on how to assemble the F40, you can find these on the packaging itself. Slot.it also provides some additional important notes (A4 page) regarding a few minor build problems. At first I just thought this was Slot.its usual attention to detail, but these additional notes need to be followed carefully if you are to get the most out the F40.

Firstly the cockpit tray has a tendency to flex towards the chassis which can cause it to interfere with the motor pod. You will need to hot glue the cockpit tray to the body roughly in the centre. See the photo below for exactly where. While the glue is drying, be sure to gently push the cockpit tray into the body to maximise motor clearance. Even after successfully increasing motor clearance, the motor pod does not have the same freedom of movement you will find in a typical Slot.it model. In the end I loosened the body mount screws a few turns to compensate for this.

The next problem is that the body mounting posts are too small for the standard Slot.it body mounting screws. Fortunately Slot.it have provided some smaller diameter screws which you will find in a clear plastic bag attached to the inside of the kit box, (these screws are not phillips head screws which I found a little annoying as the rest of the car uses phillips screws). Unfortunately I found these smaller diameter screws to be still too large so be very careful when screwing them in. If you have ever split a mounting post you will know what I mean.

The picture above shows the fully assembled chassis. When assembling the wheels, be sure to remove the excess plastic flashing with a sharp knife from the plastic wheel inserts. One thing I would add here is that Slot.it still seem to be having trouble with their wheel inserts being slightly too deep for their rims, (particulary the rears). In the above and below photo you can see how the insert sticks out a little which doesn't look very good. You could fix this by sanding down the depth of the insert but I didn't.

I was also unable to assemble the front axle on my F40. I had to drill the front plastic wheels in order to be able to insert the axle. Be very careful if you have to do this as if you increase the front wheel axle hole diameter by too much, the wheels will not attach well and will come off while racing. I used a 3/32 drill bit to slightly increase the diameter, this worked perfectly.

The last complaint I have with the model is that Slot.it still hasn't addressed the issue of the stiff guide post. I assembled my F40's guide and it was just to tight a fit. If you were to leave this, perhaps after several hundred laps the guide would loosen so what. I find it better just too slightly increase the diameter of the guide hole, I use a 5/32 drill bit to do this. Once done the guide will move very freely.

I found the finish and paint quality of my F40 to be excellent and up to Slot.its usual high standard. Detail levels on the car are fantastic with numerous vents and grills (see photo below) which help to make the slot look very realistic on the track.



A very nice touch is the open slide window for the driver which you can see in the below photo. Driver and dash detail are also very high.

One small body complaint I have is that Slot.it haven't used their usual rubber rear vision mirrors. The rear vision mirrors are very small and I can't see them lasting more than one serous 'off'. My mirrors were also attached at quite different angles which was very noticeable from above the model.

Rear window detail is some of the best I have seen in any slot and as you can see from the below photo, the rear detail (lights, exhaust, tow hook, vents, etc.) really look great.





I had numerous quality issues with my F40, something I've never experienced from Slot.it and I have almost twenty Slot.it cars. It's clear that the quality control on this release has suffered and Slot.it will have to do a lot of work on this model before releasing it again. If I know Slot.it, they will be working on these issues as I write this article and we can expect better F40s in the future.

That being said, once these issues were sorted out, the F40 is the fastest slot to have ever run on my track. This is one FAST slot so Slot.it are certainly doing something very well. Tires are very true on the rims and the F40 eats corners for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The slot is a pleasure to drive once set up properly and if you remove the magnet you will find the experience just as impressive. Lets hope Slot.it sort out their quality control issues with the F40 so getting one of these babies together and running well isn't such an ordeal.


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2 comments :

HenkG said...

Compliments for this elaborate, accurate and very legible article.

Fully agree about the accuracy of the details, the issue on the body screws and the issue on the mirrors. AND on my track this is also the fastest car straight out of the box - always driving it without the magnet.

JML said...

The problem with the inserts is not the depth of the whole insert. It's the hole in the back of the insert for the wheel hub and axle. The inside of that hole has a "stop" molded in. You can feel the protruding plastic if you push an axle into the hub hole. If you ream it out with a rotary tool burr, you can get the insert to go deeper into the wheel.