Monday, 14 December 2009

REVIEW: Ninco Gallardo

Ninco 50499 Lamborghini Gallardo GT3
‘s-berg’ Racing No. 215A

“Men who want to be someone drive a Ferrari. Men who are someone drive a Lamborghini”


Some basic background from Wikipedia: ‘The Gallardo is Lamborghini's most-produced model to date, with over 5000 built in its first three years of production. The car is named after a famous breed of fighting bull. The Spanish word gallardo translates into "gallant" and from Italian into "striking"’

The s-berg Racing Lamborghini Gallardo No.215A was driven by J.Cherouz and J.Jirik in the CdR class of the FIA GT Championship in 2007. The s-berg Racing Team ran 3 Lamborghinis (see the 216 Lamborghini below) in Round 6 of the FIA GT Championship at Spa-Francorchamps. The 215A Lamborghini didn’t finish the race retiring after 232 laps.

A little information about s-berg Racing Team: ‘s-berg Racing was established in Austria in 2006 and although relatively new, it brings together years of experience with a young, energetic and proficient team. The workshop is located on the outskirts of the famous Mozart city of Salzburg, close to the German border.'

'2007 produced some positive results, running three cars in the GT3 class where they consistently qualified well between pole positon and the first ten, whilst also having two podium finishes and several top 10 places in a field of 40+ entries. The Austrian-based team secured a credible 6th in the FIA European GT3 Team and Drivers' Championships that season, with their drivers filling the top four positions in the Lamborghini Manufacturers' Cup.’

You can read more from the s-berg Racing Team's Website Here


The s-berg Racing Lamborghini is well presented in Ninco’s standard plastic presentation box with removable crystal lid. The model is secured with a single plastic ‘T’ twist pin and is easy to remove via a 90 degree turn. For safety during transport, a piece of tape is used to prevent this pin from releasing the slot. It’s a pretty basic setup but seems to work well; my Gallardo came from half way across the world and was still well secured to its base.

An ‘Automobile Lamborghini’ official product hologram sticker is attached to the crystal lid of the box. A simple feature I really like about Ninco packaging is the ‘Ninco Warranty Seal’ stickers. From a collector’s perspective, when you receive a Ninco with warranty stickers in place you are assured that the slot is in mint condition. This one however is destined for the track!


Let’s face it; we will never have enough funds to buy all the slot cars we would like and unfortunately there are times we are forced to let one slip through our collection. So I thought I'd add a new section to my reviews regarding the value the slot car represents as a way of helping with the dilemma of, ‘Should I really get this slot?’

Well if we lived in a simpler world then the answer would be no, unfortunately it’s not that straight forward. From a straight comparison perspective, Ninco slots are more expensive that other more detailed and better engineered slot cars, for example. I would even say that Ninco slots are less detailed than your average modern Scalextric slot and Ninco slots don’t come with lights or rubber aerials.

Typically Ninco slot cars come with unfavourable performance traits when put on the track for the first time. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the term ‘Ninco Hop’ I could retire and don’t get me started on how noisy their gearing and loose front axles can be!

So aware of all these facts why do we continue to buy these slot cars and why did I purchase this one I hear you say? The answer is simple; once setup correctly Ninco slot cars are some of the best on-track performers available, especially from a non magnetic perspective. Another strong factor in the Ninco success equation is their ability to release highly desirable slot cars. Slot cars we all want to race like the Toyota Surpa, Ford GT, Mosler, Lotus Exige, Nissan NSX and the Lamborghini Gallardo.

So do I think the Ninco Lamborghini represent value for money? No I don’t, but if you can pick one up a little cheaper (even if it has a few laps on it) then these are great cars to race and you should get one.


  • Length: 141mm
  • Width: 61.5mm
  • Height: 31.5mm
  • Wheel Base: 75mm
  • Sprung Glide
  • Motor: NC-5 "Speeder" 20,000rpm
  • Chassis: Rear Mounted Angle-winder, Rear 2 wheel drive
  • Magnet: Standard Ninco round 5 mm (centre of chassis)
  • Weight: 88 grams
  • Country of Origin: Made in Spain


The paint finish is good, with no sign of runs or defects although it doesn’t reflect the 1:1 car in some places. Given the complexity of the s-berg multi-colour livery, I think this can be forgiven although I’ll mention a few of them. Firstly the green paint finishes along the top sides of the car where the green meets the white of the roof. The green clearly doesn’t meet the white cleanly where it should and this is very evident around the rear air intakes. There are also small amounts of white next to the windows which also should be green, (see the below photo). Another omission is the missing pink detail just behind the windows next to the engine bay.

I personally think it’s an attractive race livery which looks impressive on the track. As this is my first Ninco Lamborghini, perhaps I’m just smitten with the model itself which is also very impressive. I can however understand those who refer to the livery as the result of a small child eating a box of brightly coloured crayons and vomiting!

Ninco have done a good job with the decals, text is very legible and when compared to the 1:1 race car, there are only a few missing sponsorships decals. For example, the Michelin man logos on the lower front side vents and missing sponsorship on the tail which looks a bit plain and as a result too green. I personally find the silver and black Rhino’s Energy drink sponsorship on the side of the car excellent.

The model detail on this slot is of a ‘good’ standard but on closer inspection I think it should be a little better. Starting at the front of the slot the Gallardo’s head lights look impressive and accurate. There are side and front bumper intakes and wind screen wiper detail on the windscreen. Missing is the front tow hook and circular bonnet air intakes. I would have liked to have seen this detail shown, particularly the bonnet intakes. The front and rear meshing are decals although they look good enough.

As with all Ninco slot cars the front axel is too long resulting in the wheels unattractively protruding too far from the body. This loose axle is also a source of noise and can be fixed with 2 shims although I prefer to shorten the length of the axle by a few millimetres. This is an easy enough fix using your Dremel or a trusty metal file. Post adjustment, be sure the wheels are free to rotate and are not too tight on the body.

Moving down the sides of the Gallardo, detail is fair with brake and engine air intakes reproduce well. I would have liked to seen the refuelling and venting detail behind the side windows shown even if only as decals. Also missing are the side window slide panels which usually look fantastic when done well on a slot car, (the Fly or Ferrari F40s come to mind). Also missing is the roof aerial which would have added to the aggression of the slot if done correctly.

Moving on to the rear of the slot detail levels are good, there is venting detail over the rear wheels which is completely modelled through the slots body. Rear lights look good and the painted engine detail can bee seen through the outer engine compartment meshing; this meshing is a white decal but looks realistic enough. Rear grill detail is also in the form of decals. Exhaust detail is attached to the body which allows the body to roll if the rear chassis screw is loosened a little. The rear wing looks about right although as mentioned previously, missing some sponsorship detail. Rear splitter detail is very basic and the rear tow hook is missing.

Wheels are one of Nincos standard designs which suit this model well and close enough reflect the 1:1 car. The rear wing and side rear vision mirrors look fragile and I was quite concerned they wouldn’t see out testing. I’m happy to report that even after the hardest of ‘offs’ these parts held up and have proven to be very robust. Internal detail level is good; the slot comes complete with roll cage, dash dials (decals) and of course the obligatory red gas bottle. The driver figure looks realistic sitting in the slot; the scale of the Ninco driver’s helmet also looks good.

In isolation these omissions could be disregarded and perhaps would not be noticed under quick inspection. However given the large number of omissions to the model, the overall appearance and super aggressive feel of the Gallardo has suffered.

I would have really liked to see Ninco incorporate the front bonnet intakes, roof aerial, side window slide panels and refuelling detail at a minimum.


The Gallardo’s body is attached to the chassis via 3 screws, the body is very easy to remove and put back together. Like most Ninco slots, there is plenty of space within the body of the slot allowing you to add weight if desired.

My first impression upon picking up the Gallardo was how thin the body is, the sides of the slot actually flex inwards as you hold the slot. Ninco has obviously worked hard at keeping the weight of the body to a minimum and combined with Ninco’s NC5 ‘Speeder’ 20,000rpm motor (angle winder configuration) should make for a potent combination. Magnatraction is provided by Ninco’s faithful button magnet which is located centrally on the chassis in front of the motor.

As you would expect, the Gallardo’s acceleration is quick and the slot reaches its top speed quickly. Initially I had some electrical issues but once they were sorted I felt the car was being held back in the acceleration and top end speed departments. A closer inspection revealed that the gearing was too tight and minimal rear tire clearance to the body results in tire rubbing on the body work.

The Gallardo gearing had already been oiled so I decided to leave the gearing issue till the slot had been adequately run in. I also felt that after the rear tires were trued, the body rubbing issues might be resolved, this proved to be the case.

I’m happy to report that the rear axle lateral movement usually found in Ninco rear ends has been resolved with the Gallardo, (with my model anyway) so there is no longer the need to shim the rear axle.

One advantage of the button magnet (as apposed to a larger bar magnet) is that the slot is allowed to move more naturally through corners. If pushed a little through corners the Gallardo will drift through the entire length of the corner which looks just brilliant! Running too much speed through corners will result in the tail of the Gallardo coming around, deslotting and potentially ending up on one of its sides.

I had heard that the Gallardo (like most Nincos) was a noisy beast on the track; I was pleasantly surprised that mine wasn’t all that noisy. I ran the slot for approximately 250 laps and as you would expect, noise levels came down somewhat.

One of the first things I do with non independent motor pod slots (particularly Nincos) is to loosen the rear body screws a few turns allowing the body to roll a little on the chassis. In this case I even slightly enlarge the chassis screw holes (I used a 7/64” drill bit with a low speed drill) which allows the body to pivot more freely about the screw head.

This didn’t allow the body to pivot too well on the Gallardo as it turns out the motor wiring (see photo below) was touching the inside of the bodywork on my slot. I removed the body and slightly adjusted the wiring at the motor to allow for body roll.

The front wheels of the Gallardo touch the track completely but do not seem to interfere with the running of the slot. Some slotters raise the front axle thus creating a perfect tripod; this of course raises the wheels off the track which puts more weight on the glide. A good idea but it makes the slot look a little ‘fake’ when running as the front wheels don’t spin. In the case of the Gallardo, the front wheels don’t seem to interfere with running which I think this is greatly aided by the presence of Ninco’s sprung glide.

Out of interest I replaced this sprung glide with one of Nincos unsprung ProRace glides and added a little weight (just behind the front axle). The performance results were very similar which is testament to the excellent sprung glide system Ninco has developed. Additionally the small amount of weight I had added seemed to interfere with the smooth flowing action of the Gallardo in non magnetic configuration. I removed the weight and the original sprung glide was reinstalled.

An important thing to check for (especially with Fly and Ninco slots) is for excess mould flashing on rear plastic moulded wheels which can contribute to a slot ‘hopping’ as it runs along the track. Flashing can be removed through carefully sanding the wheels; I actually like to true my Ninco wheels completely using sandpaper.

The Ninco tire compound on my Gallardo is very sticky (difficult to true) and as a result grips very well on the track. I always clean tires post truing with a small amount of WD40 sprayed onto a few paper towels. You’ll be amazed at how much dirt and rubber ‘muck’ can be cleaned off what looks like a clean set of tires. After removing rear wheel flashing and some slight tire truing, the Gallardo really started to shine on the track.

Initial magnetic lap times were in the low 7 second range but after these simple modifications were made the Gallardo was consistently lapping in the 6.3 second range - Not bad at all and I know there is room for improvement. Now it was time to remove the magnet and see just how brightly the Gallardo shines.

What can I say? This car is a dream to drive in non magnetic configuration. At first I was wondering if the magnet had been working properly as the car was handled so well. Straight off the bat the Gallardo was running lap times in the 7.3 second range which is VERY impressive.

I gradually built speed as I became more confident and familiar with the slot’s handling. The Gallardo slides and drifts through corners like they represent little challenge resulting in a slot that is an absolute thrill to drive. After little more than 30 minutes running in non magnetic setup the Gallardo was knocking on the door of my tracks non magnetic lap record set by a Porsche 956 a year ago.

The Gallardo is only the second slot to ever run a lap time sub 7 seconds on my track! This is one quick slot in non magnetic form and isn’t exactly a slouch in magnetic trim either. Unfortunately what would have been a ‘Great’ slot has been let down in the detail and finish departments. If you’re after a quick slot with an acceptable level of detail then the Gallardo is for you.

Personally I prefer a slot car that accurately reflects the 1:1 car as closely as possible. Since Fly started the detail revolution in slot cars we have been spoilt with existing and new manufactures offering higher and higher standards in slot detail.

Ninco slot cars aren’t what I’d class as inexpensive slot cars and therefore should be able bring their detail and finish levels in line with other manufactures in the same price range. With improved levels of detail and finish, the Ninco Lamborghini Gallardo would be a great slot car instead of just a good one.

Manic Score Breakdown

  • Sex Appeal: 6th Gear
  • Collectability: 5th Gear
  • Build Quality: 5th Gear
  • Attention to Detail: 4th Gear
  • 'RTR' Performance: 6th Gear

Overall Manic Score: 5.2 Gears.

ManicSlots is currently doing a comprehensive review on Ninco's latest offer, the Lamborghini Murcielago 'ALL-INKL.COM'. I'm not going to spoil it but it looks like Ninco have gone a long way to correcting a lot of the issues raised in this review with the Gallardo.

Will the Ninco Murcielago shape up to be something special?

For more about Ninco slot cars, see the Ninco Website Here


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