Friday, June 29, 2007

Slot.It Martini-review

The hits keep coming from Slot.It. The newest release is surely a slot car that needs little in the way of introduction, the Lancia Martini livery will be the "one to buy" for many slotters.

There are no breaks in the tampo printed stripes along the sides and top of the body. And none of this will come as a surprise to anyone familiar, as most are, with Slot It's products. There are no blemishes on the outside of the body of this car. Inside the body, near the front wheels, there is a bit of over spray, but you can't see this unless you remove the body. So it's another cosmetically wonderful slot car from Maurizio.

The Martini car has the black paint between the windows that the BP-Malardeau lacked. This detail isn't something that really took away from the first release of the Lancia, but it's nice to see this black tear drop shape around the greenhouse.

Thankfully for everyone out there who's a fan of Slot.It cars, Maurizio is never content to just release another car without trying to improve on his product. The Lancia body was supposed to have been lightened a bit, but both the Malardeau and the Martini weigh the same (22 grams), no big deal, since the real change can be seen when you flip the car over.

And there you have it. Not only the 21.5k "orange endbell" high torque motor, but the cut outs for an angle winder pod.

The changes aren't limited to the pod. The wires are routed under the front axle via the same channel design used on all recent releases. A great feature that is now a standard on new releases. The front wheels on this car didn't turn easily or touch the track on this car out of the box. Removal of the "cups" that are under front fix this with not too much trouble.

The car has the usual 28 tooth crown gear which now has a Slot.It logo on it. One of the very noticeable differences between the first Lancia release and this one is how much quieter this car is than the last car. Like the final black and red Nissan 390 and the McLaren this car is whisper quiet. I have a theory that in addition to a logo being added a slight change might have occurred in the gear mold yielding a gear that meshes just a bit better. One feature that the McLaren does have, however, is larger holes that the heads of the pod screws sit in. So, when you loosen the pod, the heads of the screws have plenty of room to move around. This small change was not incorporated into the new chassis made for the latest Lancia. The benefit of larger holes for the heads of the screws might be doubted by some, but personally, I'd like to see this small change made in future releases. When it comes to pod movement, every little bit helps.

On track performance at the East New York Raceway wood track yielded these times:

6.229 stock tires, tight pod - the car feels too tight and twitchy around the corners.

5.9 stock tires, loose pod - car feels much smoother, and even with the stock tires the car is much easier to drive.

5.5 with the provided S2 tires

5.4 with Technical Editor Robert Livingston driving, in a different lane on the track.

A note about times. Times on this day were slower than normal, cars that normally were sub-5 second racers barely cracked that barrier around the 61 foot track. We'd expect this car to be slightly slower than the 956 and Nissan, and much slower than the McLaren (which still stands alone as the fastest Slot.It out-of-the-box, in testing by Slot Car News).

The new orange endbell-driven car is much faster down the straights than the older 25k powered Malardeau Lancia. Also, the car can be driven much further into the corners, because of the better brakes on the 21.5k. Gear ratio and weight are the same.

You just can't go wrong with any of the Slot.It cars. It's nice that there aren't really any negative surprises with their cars. You put them on the track and they fly around as fast as your driving ability will allow. The Martini Lancia LC2-84 should sell briskly because it's "one of those" liveries that many slotters collect.

Dave Kennedy
Publisher, Slot Car News

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