"If Honda does not race, there is no Honda." - Soichiro Honda
This history from Wikipedia: 'On October 23, 2009, Honda officially announced the end of the mid-engine NSX Super GT's participation in Super GT racing due to new Super GT regulations that allowed the use of only front engine, rear drive cars. On November 15, 2009, Honda announced that, despite withdrawing the NSX from Super GT competition, it would campaign a car for the 2010 season.
Honda revealed that the car will be based on the cancelled 'New NSX' production vehicle. It is reported that although the Super GT normally requires racing vehicles to be based on production cars, the use of a production-ready car is also allowed. Then, on December 22, 2009, Honda announced the HSV-010 GT as the successor to the NSX Super GT in the Super GT series. Unlike typical Super GT cars, the vehicle is not based on any production vehicle that is made available to purchase by the general public.
'The Honda HSV-010 GT (an abbreviation for Honda Sports Velocity) is a race car manufactured by Honda and designed to compete in the Super GT racing series.'
This from Honda Racing: 'In Search of the Ultimate Cornering Machine: While its predecessor, the NSX-GT, made for easy cornering due to its mid-engine layout, it had a slight lack of stability. With the HSV-010 GT, Honda pursued both speed and stability to the limit. Many people think of the NSX as a “cornering machine,” and we were therefore determined to make the HSV-010 GT “the ultimate cornering machine” that would even surpass the NSX.'
One thing I do like about the packaging is that there is a raised platform in the centre of the base which keeps the slot's wheels from touching the packaging which is a great idea. The car comes with a spare front splitter (and 6 small screws) which can be used to attach the spare front slitter to the chassis if desired, a nice touch.
- RT3 Chassis (long wheel base)
- Motor mount: Side-winder
- Motor: SC-08b Short-Can (20K)
- Pinion/Gear ratio: 12/32 (aluminium and nylon)
- Floating motor-pod (4 point adjustment)
- Front Rims: 18x9mm plastic hub
- Rear Rims: 19x10.5mm aluminium hub
- Height adjustable front axle
- Magnet fitted (above rear axle)
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 the 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?’
From a straight comparison perspective, Scaleauto slots are a little more expensive than your average slot release, say a Scalextric, Flyslot, Slot.it, SRC or a standard Ninco but they are cheaper than Black Arrow, NSR or Le Mans Miniatures. Scaleauto are more comparable with a 'Lightening' Ninco, MR Slotcar or Cartrix and when compared with these manufactures, Scaleauto represents fair enough value for your slotting dollar.
While not the cheapest slot car on the market, they are far from the most expensive and as you can see from the below photo, Scaleauto engineering is very impressive. Another thing worth taking into account is the highly desirable models Scaleauto has been clever enough to release; Zonda, HSV, BMW Z4, Spyker, DeTomaso - epic slots you just NEED in your collection.
'The vehicle’s image is derived from predatory birds in nature, which we hope that people will associate power and strength with the machine. But even with its beauty, since this is a racing machine, it won’t mean anything unless it is fast. We intend to keep evolving this machine further so that victory will be the ‘game’ that our ‘bird’ captures.' (Honda Racing)
QUALITY AND DETAIL
The finish levels on the HSV are very high, paint finish and decal finish is nothing short of excellent. At this point I'd like to point out how well done the carbon finish on the slot is, it looks absolutely top-shelf and I cannot see any lines or joins in the finish. This car must have been a nightmare for the Scaleauto staff that assembled it but we benefit with a very unique and striking slot car.
Decal lettering is of a high standard, I particularly like the small blue dots Scaleauto has added to the front headlights to represent the LED lighting of the 1:1 race car, a nice touch. Judging from the above photos of the actual HSV, 'Honda Racing' branding is missing from above Raybrig on the side doors as is the red Honda emblem that should be on the front bonnet. I can live without the 'Honda Racing' on the doors but the missing emblem is disappointing - this is perhaps a branding rights issue although I note that the SC-6015 Autobacs HSV has this detail.
Other than these 2 small omissions, Scaleauto have done well accurately representing the 1:1 car's presentation livery.
In terms of capturing the overall aggressive (almost like a transformer in hiding) shape and body detail, Scaleauto have done an excellent job of making you feel like you really own a smaller version of the real car. I'm particularly impressed with the rear tail assembly which is a very important feature of the 1:1 car, (see above notes from Honda Racing). Scaleauto have captured the rear wing proportions and high-aggresive stance very well which is one of the things that attracted me to this slot in the first instance.
There are a few small omissions I have noticed, for one the front red tow hook is missing, the rear hook is present but so small it's hard to see. These are not huge issues but the front of the slot is missing the red hook and badge which is immediately obvious when you look at the 1:1 car.
Side rear vision mirror protrude from the slot 3-4mm and are made from hard plastic making them susceptible to damage in crashes. You can upgrade (with the 'performance kit') the plastic rear view mirrors to rubber but this is a feature I think should be included as standard on all slot cars. There is nothing worse than loosing a rear view mirror on the first running of your new slot. I made sure I completely photographed my HSV before running it or even thinking about letting my son have a turn! :)
You've probably been wondering about the rear wing as it's so prominent and being mounted at the base of the rear end. Would it survive a significant shunt? Well I'm happy to report that there is a good degree of play in the rear wing so it should survive all but a serious crash. The roof aerial is not rubber (again this item can be upgraded using the 'performance kit') but has a high degree of flexibility so should be fine.
Front end detail is high including lower grill mesh, intakes and cooling slots above the front wheels, you can see the before mentioned blue decal LED lighting dots on the front head-lights in the above photo. The rear splitter, intakes, lights and exhaust detail look great. I think perhaps the HSV looks the best from the rear, I love the way the rear lights span the entire slot and Scaleauto have done a great job capturing the look of the exhaust. Side detail such as door handles and refuelling ports have been reproduced well as have the lower side skirts.
Wheel detail and colour look great along discs and break callipers, I particularly like the effort Scaleauto have put into the wheels. I would have liked to have seen the small yellow branding present on the tyres in the top 1:1 race car photos. The carbon finish can be clearly seen in the below photo, beautiful work.
Driver and internal detail (dash, roll-bars, steering wheel, fire extinguisher, etc.) are all present as you would expect, I'm particularly impressed with the effort Scaleauto has put into making this interior light-weight. As with some other high-end manufactures, the bottom half of the driver figure is actually hollow reducing weight. A light weight interior is also available if you wish to reduce weight and COG even more. The driver's helmet is plain white though this isn't a big issue for me when it comes to roofed cars.
All in all, the Scalauto HSV is a very well presented slot car, you wont be disappointed with this slot car in the detail and accuracy department.
Starting from the front, the first thing you'll notice is the red guide, I'm not sure why it's red but I like it. The guide is 7mm deep which works well on my Carrera plastic track and the front guide moves very freely allowing the slot to corner well. From an aesthetic perspective the guide is set at a good height and the front of the slot sits naturally and realistically on the track.
Worth noting is how difficult the guide is to actually remove from the chassis - almost impossible and I strongly recommend you remove the body before trying as you may do some damage to the finer body detail as a slot friend of mine did to his Zonda.
The front axle is height adjustable via 2 small Allen screws which are accessible from underneath the chassis, a small thing but this means you don't have to remove the body to adjust the ride height. The front wheels sit nicely on the track, turning as the slot moves and there is plenty of vertical play in the front axle so that the front wheels don't interrupt the front guide causing potential deslotting.
The HSV-010 comes setup standard in a side-winder motor pod configuration with Scaleauto's SC-08b 'short-can' 20rpm motor, call me old school but I prefer this configuration. The standard motor is strong enough without being ridiculous for home track purposes. I had read that Scaleauto slot cars were not really suited to home track racing as they were just too powerful, I'm happy to report that this is not the case and that the HSV behaved perfectly and was suited to my home track.
The slot behaved responsively down the longer straights when I open up the throttle while not being too powerful to control through the more technical sections of my layout. My track has a good balance of technical elements like reverse curves while still having several long straights up to 4.5 metres allowing slots to stretch their legs.
For more specific information on the track used in this review please have a look at my track layout here.
In terms of gearing, the pinion is 12 tooth and the spur gear is 32 tooth. The short-can motor is well housed (fixed with a pair of small screws) in the motor pod resulting in zero motor rotation under power, very nice engineering.
The weight distribution of the slot is impressive, the upper body is light and although there are lighter offering out there, but probably not with this much detail and accuracy unless it's a Slot.it or NSR offering. It is only when you remove the body from the chassis that you realise just how light this body is and that means low centre of gravity and that's a good thing.
The body is held on with 2 long screws, an interesting feature of the body is that there are 2 brass knobs (see below photo) attached to the ends of the body mounting posts. These brass knows allow the body to freely pivot on the chassis, plastic tends to stick to other plastic preventing free movement so Scaleauto have addressed this issue in a clever way.
The good news is that the body mounting posts are long, meaning that the brass knobs (and weight) are low down in the slot's COG. I know some slotters will think I'm crazy when it comes to floating motor pods and loosening the body on the chassis but I find there are performance improvements achieved by doing so. Loosen the motor pod screws a full turn each but also loosen the body screws a half turn allowing a greater degree of body roll.
The standard rear rubber is soft enough and gives a good level of grip on my plastic track. If you're intending on casually racing with your mates then you'll be happy with this standard rubber. However, if you want the best from your new slot then you'll probably want to upgrade. The rear hubs are aluminium (19x10.5mm) and the standard rubber is pretty 'true' requiring very little attention.
So in terms on on-track performance, how does the KA3 chassis perform? I'm very happy to report that after a few small braid adjustments, (due to my wider Carrera electrical pickup rails) the HSV ran smoothly straight from the box.
As I have previously stated, the short-can 20K rpm motor is a solid performer, quick and brisk (due to the gearing) around my track. Perhaps if your going to run this slot in club events which 10 metre straights and huge sweeping corners then you might consider upgrading it.
Cornering is pretty smooth although the slot is a little noisy out-of-the-box, I have clocked up over a hundred laps with my HSV to date and the noise levels are coming down as the gearing beds in, etc. Don't be too alarmed, the noise levels aren't terrible, (i.e. not like some of the earlier Fly or Ninco releases) and this is far from a deal breaker.
The rear axle comes complete with brass spacers which is a nice touch but means adjusting wheel spacing can only be achieve with additional spacers. While removing the magnet I noticed that the rear axle is so close to the motor that it is actually touching the motor wrapper, this could be addressed by removing the wrapper.
While we are talking about the motor, it's worth pointing out that the non pinion end of the drive shaft protrudes (can be seen below) a long way, 10mm plus - more on that later.
The guide has almost 180 degree of rotation, the only problem with this is that when the rear end steps out, it can really step out with the slot getting stuck at 90 degrees to the direction of travel. One of the modifications I will be making to my HSV in the future will be to change the guide for a deeper guide, (maybe even a sprung guide) Scaleauto offer an extensive selection to suit your racing requirements.
This isn't the fastest slot car I have run on my track but it is capable of consistently lapping at the mid 6 seconds mark which is very respectable. I think a little weight up front would improve the slot on my track especially in non-magnetic trim.
For a more detailed lap time comparison, have a quick look at the 'lap times' page here.
Removing the magnet is not the quickest operation, you have to remove the body followed by removing the rear axle, the motor and finally 2 Allen screws that hold the magnet in position. The bar magnet has only 1 position, I would like to see the inclusion of a 2nd position for magnetic adjustment. I wouldn't describe the magnet as being heavy with respect to down-force and this is a good thing allowing the tail to slightly step out when pushed through the average corner.
In terms on non-magnetic performance, this slot is smooth on the track but does require a rubber upgrade. This is where the motor's drive shaft extending so far from the end-ball becomes an issue. I attempted to fit some high performance rubber to the hubs but the motor drive axle prevent this as the rubber profile was a little too high. This slot is clearly designed to extremely high tolerances and that causes issues when you want to modify.
Does ManicSlots recommend the Scaleauto HSV? Absolutely, what's really important to note here is that the slot is highly enjoyable to drive and has a huge amount of potential, you will be rewarded by this slot car. The HSV is a long-term investment that gives you that tactile feeling that you're actually driving a slot car, not a rocket ship on rails that requires little or no skill to navigate.
- Sex Appeal: 7th gear
- Collectability: 5th gear
- Build Quality: 6th gear
- Attention to Detail: 5th gear
- 'RTR' Performance: 6th gear
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