Tuesday, 29 October 2013

GALLERY: Slot Car Scenery - Adding the detail

Slot Car Scenery
Adding the detail, Fryar Mountain

I have been inspired of late to add some more detail to my slot car track layout, thank you Slot Mods!  In my experience, the more detail and realism you add to your layout, the more enjoyable your slotting experience will be.  Creating scenery is just another part of this great hobby we love and it's a creative and rewarding outlet so give it a go, you'll be surprised at what you can create.

I've always wanted to have a couple of mountaineers climbing  the various hills and mountains I have created on my layout.  An endless search for 1/32 scale figures of mountaineers during the last few years has unfortunately been fruitless.  I decided to convert 2 of my pit lane crew (Carrera figures) into adventures!

Firstly, I switched their heads for Carrera spectator heads and gave them some backpacks, (cut pieces of black foam) walking sticks and a coat of paint as they were originally white.  I then dry-brushed them as the Carrera figures have a nice level of mould detail.  I'm pretty happy with how they turned out in the end and my son loves them on our track.

The next thing I wanted to create was a second crash scene somewhere on my track.  The thing that's great about this type of scenery addition is you take a slot car that's seen better days and up cycle it into a great bit of detail for your layout.
In my case I had this old Scalextric Mercedes DTM that hadn't been used in years, using a pair of needle-nose pliers I 'smashed' up the front of the slot.  I was trying to create the illusion that the DTM had smashed through the track barrier.

I removed the body and bent the front axle to create the illusion that the front right-hand wheel has been damaged in the crash.  The next step is for adults only please, to create the burn affect on the bonnet and roof, I burnt the slot until I achieved the desired look.  Obviously do this in a well ventilated area like outside.

Using a sharp knife I cut the crash barriers till I created the look I was after, add a few figures with yellow flags are you have yourself a nice little piece of layout detail
If you have been reading the various ManicSlots' how-to articles you may have seen this helicopter landing pad in the past.  To make room for a new grandstand it had to be relocated, I think it works pretty well in it's new position.  The pad is made from MDF (particle board) and I simply printed a 'H' symbol I created in MS Paint, I'm sure you could find a design on the web if you don't want to muck around creating your own.

The helicopter is 1/28 scale so a little on the small side but it works, add a few fuel drums, safety cones, some steps (made from balsa wood) and a 1/32 figure of 2 and you're in business.
The final new addition to my layout is a Michelin Man figure.  Believe it or not this is actually an air freshener made my Michelin for your car.  The figure is approximately 10 centimetres high so it's a good size.  Apparently they used to sell these in Kmart but I found one on ebay of course.  If you search for 'Michelin', you'll find all kinds of suitable items you could incorporate into your track scenery.

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Sunday, 27 October 2013

GALLERY: Slot.it Audi R8C Decennial

Slot.it Audi R8C 
CA01-10th, 2002 - 2012 Decennial Edition

Over the last 12 months or so the slot car industry has celebrated some significant milestones, Slot.it's 10th, NSR's 15th, Ninco's 20th and Carrera's 50th anniversary.  Well Slot.it might be the younger brother in the above timeline, but their bigger brothers are looking over their sholders.

Personally I love anniversary slot releases and think it's a great way for us, as the customer, to be part of the celebration.  I especially like when the manufacture takes the first slot they released and uses it as the special release and this is what Slot.it have done.  Given that Slot.it 'Reloaded' the original R8C release you might think they would use the newer moulds but they have used the original R8C mould which is great (note the serial number, 'CA01-10th').

The Audi R8C was my very first Slot.it and I still remember being completely blown away by what an amazing slot car it was on the track - not to mention how bloody good it looked!  I'm happy to say I still own my original Slot.it Audi 'Presentation' and still runs like a champion on the track!

From Slot.it: 'The Audi R8C was a racing car designed by Audi engineer Tony Southgate. It raced only at the Le Mans 24h competition in 1999. The car featured a monocoque carbon fibre chassis, a carbon fibre body and a 3595cc twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It had a maximum speed of 349 km/h.

Slot.it have chosen to reissue this special model, from the original chassis and bodywork moulds, to celebrate the decennial of its first complete model car, which marked a before and after in slot racing and, through various revisions and evolutions, has been at the forefront for 10 years.

James Weaver said that at a certain point during race, the under- developed R8C had turned into one of the best cars he ever drove. Neither of the two engaged R8C finished the race. In the years which followed, Audi devoted its energies to the open cockpit version of the R8. In turn, the R8C became the design base for the Bentley Exp Speed 8, who won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2003.'

I'm moving to a more 'track' orientated type of photography for the gallery as apposed to the white 'high-key' background you might be used to viewing here at ManicSlots.  Let me know what you think? 

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NEWS: Scalextric (Hornby) Sale

Scalextric (Hornby) Sale
Hornby Archive Auction

Hornby has decided to reduce the total number of items they have in there archive holding and that's great news for us all.  Hornby stores several of everything they release including; Scalextric slot cars, Hornby trains, Airfix kits and even Corgi die cast models.  Items to be sold off will typically be from the last 5-10 years so if you'r after a mint in box slot from the 70's keep searching.  Still it's a great opportunity to grab a few of the slots you might have missed out on over the last decade.

If you're interested go to ebay and search for the user id: 'hornbyhobbiesltd'.

This from the Hornby: 'Every time we release a new model we keep a small number of samples for the archive here in Margate. We often need to make space in the archive for our brand new releases and so we are delighted to give you the chance to bid for some very special items here on eBay. Many of the models we will be able to offer are rare and hard to find and we will also be including lots of limited edition items – many with very low limited edition certificate numbers.'
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Friday, 25 October 2013

NEWS: Anki Drive AI Robotic cars

Anki Drive - AI Robotics
Is this the end of slot cars as we know it?

Anki in association with Apple have just released a very, very cool new toy, the AnkiDrive system featuring AI Robotic cars.  Not only will the cars drive themselves but their CPU's adjust behaviour 500 times per second!  What makes them even more fun to drive against is that they have weapon systems; pulse cannons, shields and even tractor and gravity beams.

I know what you're thinking, they don't look like real cars but this is the first release purposely designed to look 'futuristic', just think Tron...So the system is more like a video game you physically play than a replacement for our beloved slot cars and that's exactly how Anki are pitching it.

What makes these cool toys even cooler is that each vehicle has unique characterises such as; agility, speed, acceleration, energy and recharge rate.  You can even upgrade your vehicle's weapons and defences.  Cost?  Approximately $US200 for the start-up kit and an additional $US75 for extra cars so not exactly cheap.

A replacement for slot cars, I think not but a very cool toy regardless.  Watch some of the below videos to get a feel for how clever these car's AI actually is. 

So what would you need to get started?  A Starter Kit which includes; 2 cars, track, chargers and tire cleaner.  For each player, an iPhone® 4s or newer, iPod touch® (5th generation or newer), iPad® 3 or newer or iPad mini with the Anki DRIVE app installed and an area to roll out a 3½' x 8 ½' track.  

From FastCompany.com: 'Anki made its debut in June at Apple's WWDC, where the San Francisco-based startup unveiled its first product, Anki Drive, futuristic toy cars that can race around autonomously and be played with via iPhone. On stage, Apple CEO Tim Cook praised the company for "creating an entirely new set of experiences," and predicted it was "going to be super successful," a high blessing that all but positioned Anki as the Hot Wheels for the modern age.' 


The below video is the official launch at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2013, pretty cool.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

NEWS: Slot.it SCP-2 Controller

Slot.it SCP-2 Controller
SCP-2 means SeCaPelo-2 (Secapelo=Hairdryer)

The Slot.it team have released something a little bit exciting and special.   As you can see it's not a slot car, it's a new version of their popular slot car controller and it looks fantastic!

The below photos are from Slot.it and Italia Slot.  

From the Slot.it Team: 'The SCP-2 is contactless, friction free, with linear magnetic trigger position readout, and features an interchangeable cartridge system, to connect to either analog or digital systems. The digital cartridge is universal for all the available commercial brands (Ninco, Carrera, Hornby and Tecnitoys). It is also the standard controller for the Slot.it oXigen digital system.'

I particularly like the following: 'No animals have been used for testing this controller, and almost no slot cars flew off the track during the development phase. The name SCP-2 means SeCaPelo-2 (Secapelo=Hairdryer).'
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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

NEWS: Slot.it Lancia LC2/85 Nürburgring

Slot.it Lancia LC2/85 #29
CA21c, World Sportscar Championship Nürburgring 1989

The Slot.it team have just sent through some great photos of the latest Lancia LC2/85 livery release, the WSC Nürburgring 1989 entry.  I'm not a massive fan of the livery but it's nice enough (gold wheels and red livery look great but the turquoise?) but the LC2/85 is a great Slot.it on the track that's for sure.

The new livery will be released on November the 4th, the original car was driven by B.Giacomelli and M.Monti.  Starting 20th on the grid but unfortunately the entry did not classify for a finish position.

From the Slot.it Team: 'The LC2 was created by Lancia to race in the Sport-Prototype category, according to the Group C regulations. It was engaged for the first time in 1983. Designed by Dallara, it was powered by a Ferrari engine, with head derived from 288 GTO; electronics was highly advanced for that time.

The engine was a 3 liters V8 90°, liquid-cooled, with two turbochargers, that could work at a maximum pressure of 3 bars; the four valves per cylinder were driven by double over head camshaft. The maximum power was 840 hp at 7000 rpm. Hewland gearbox, 5 gears. The wheels diameter was 15 inches at the front and 17 at the rear.

Chassis was made of aluminum and magnesium; body material was carbon fibre composite. The overall weight was 850 kg.

Often, Lancias were as competitive as Porsches, in pure speed, but then suffered troubles at longer distances. The last version of LC2 was raced as a factory car in the late '85 and in the early '86; then, the car was raced by private teams until 1991.

The most representative of them was Mussato Action Car, that carried on the car development despite a limited budget. In 1989, the car of the team form Turin was engaged in the World Sportscar Championship with the number 29. In the Nürburgring race, the car was driven by Bruno Giacomelli and Massimo Monti.'
  From Wikipedia: 'The Lancia LC2 (sometimes referred to as a Lancia-Ferrari) was a series of racing cars built by Italian automobile manufacturer Lancia and powered by engines built by their sister company Ferrari. They were part of Lancia's official factory-backed effort in the World Sportscar Championship from 1983 to 1986, although they continued to be used by privateer teams until 1991. They were also the company's first car meeting the FIA's new Group C regulations for sports prototypes.

More powerful than its primary competitor, the Porsche 956, the LC2s were able to secure multiple pole positions during their three and a half seasons with the factory Martini Racing squad. However, reliability and more notably fuel consumption hampered the LC2's efforts for race wins against Porsche. LC2s earned three race victories over their lifetime in the hands of Italian drivers Teo Fabi, Riccardo Patrese, Alessandro Nannini, and Mauro Baldi, as well as German Hans Heyer and Frenchman Bob Wollek.'

Fantastic footage of some epically beautiful historic racers including a few Lancia LC2/85s, enjoy.
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