Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ninco's Porsche 997 Super Cup Car-review

Ninco's release of the Porsche 911 (997) gives Porsche fans a second slot company who produce the currently raced Porsche GT3 body.

I was concerned to see that Ninco had chosen a yellow paint scheme to reproduce, yellow seems to be a color that's often done very poorly. Many yellow slot cars have a toy like look because the company doesn't apply a thick-enough coat of paint. On my car the front of the car has a very thick coat of paint, however the back end of the car has a very thin application of paint. In fact, it appears the body was painted with the wing on the car because under the wing the paint is quite thin, and there's "orange peel'" evident in the finish. Further the square "meatballs" where the numbers are on the sides of the car are pretty thinly painted and the yellow finish shows through the white field quite well. All of these issues with the paint are evident with even a quick look at the car, but obviously wouldn't be seen "at speed". One further area of paint issues is the rear of the car on the bottom edge of the body. The black paint has run down the back of the body and collected at the bottom edge where it bubbled. On the edges of the bumper there are thin spots in the paint where you can see through to the yellow underpainting.
Inside the Ninco

The NC5 powers the car and really pushes it along well, but more about that later.

997's compared: Ninco vs. AutoArt

A trip to the scales and we see this car weighs 85 grams, the body 24 grams and the chassis 61 grams. This happens to be the exact weight of the AutoArt Porsche 911 (997) Cup Car oddly. A few things, aside from the differences in the body lines, are that the Ninco car is about 3mm wider from sidewall to sidewall. The body is about 2 7/16 inches wide. The guide lead on this car is longer than the AutoArt 997 Cup Car as well, with a guide lead of 9.7cm's to the AutoArt's 9.3 cm's.

Both the 911's couldn't feel more different to drive. The AutoArt feels very light, it's very quiet, and especially compared with the Ninco, the AutoArt is almost totally lacking in brakes. The Ninco has a solid, heavy feel when lapping the track and you can drive right up to the corner and put the brakes on. The Ninco does have a bit of gear noise but not even close to other Ninco's I've driven.

Image used from Porsche

On the track the Ninco turned a fastest lap of 2.6 seconds on this night with an average of about 2.7 seconds. It sure felt much faster than the AutoArt but the times tonight didn't back that up. The AutoArt still outpaced the Ninco with a fastest lap of 2.5 seconds and 2.6 average lap.

Because of the brakes on the Ninco it seemed to inspire more confidence when you drive it and because of the torque of the motor you can quickly bring on the power when you need it, the AutoArt felt like you had to almost floor it and let the power build a bit before you really felt the surge.

The Ninco is lower, much lower, than the AutoArt. I've looked at lots of photos of the Cup Cars from 2005/06/07 and the Ninco seems to be as low as it should be. The tops of the tires should disappear inside the fenders on a correct model and on the Ninco the tires certainly do. Where the Ninco seems to lose it's way from the lines of the real Cup Cars is the headlights are much too large (and set inside the body too much and at the wrong angle) and the wheels are too far inside the body. While the AutoArt car sits too high on the chassis the body proportions are much closer to the lines of the real car.

When I was contemplating what the Ninco 997 reminded me of the old ProSlot Porsche GT3's came to mind. The body's proportions are almost squashed a bit...but just a bit. If you have both cars in front of you the difference is quiet stark.

Detail differences on the cars is stark as well. The Ninco has much less fine detail than the AutoArt. There are no hood pins modeled, no trio of vents in the side windows behind the "b" pillar on the Ninco (the inset photo shows the vents in the AutoArt car). But as any racer will tell you details really aren't visible when you're racing.

One difference that does seem to stand out if you're racing these cars together is the lack of lights on the Ninco. You have blindly bright lights on the AutoArt and no lights on the Ninco.

I like the livery Ninco has chosed to reproduce here. It's the car driven by Christian Menzel in the 2005 Porsche Super Cup. I've done a bit of research about this car and the livery is reproduced pretty accurately. The ample body lines on the Ninco would seem to allow for a lot of modifications, and on a personal note I think I may have found my next Proxy Race entry.

Dave Kennedy
Publisher, Slot Car News

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