Monday, September 24, 2007

Scalextric 430 Ferrari-review

Scalextric has given slotters a worthy foe for the Porsche's currently circulating the world's tracks. A livery from the FIA GT Championship this time. The Ferrari 430 is the current GT car campaigned by Ferrari teams to counter the Porsche 911 (997) RSR. To see the real car click on this link to Racing Sports Cars archive.

As an aside:

The Ferrari's are getting the better of the Porsche's because of an under powered engine currently used by Porsche. The racing year started out with great promise with the Sebring American LeMans Series race coming down to the last few turns. The 430 of the driven by Jamie Melo and the RSR piloted by Jorg Bergmeister of the Flying Lizard Motorsports team were side-by-side until some aggresive driving by Melo gave the Ferrari the win.

The car's finish is excellent, my copy did come with a blemish on the hood. Next to the right side headlight (or on the left side as you look at it in the photo here) you can see a mark where something has hit the inside of the body and made a reverse dent in the hood. The blemish was caused by one long body screw that was threaded into the underside of the hood. The end of the screw is nearly flush with the surface of the hood...and odd bit of damage, which I would expect to be isolated.
Engine detail is well done, most of the parts appear to be painted on rather than separate parts.

The mirrors AND the wing are made of similar flexy black parts. I hadn't known that Scalextric was going to use this type of parts on their primary line of slot cars. A high impact line have these break-resistant parts, and it's probably a good idea that they be used on the "normal" slot cars that Scalextric makes. Especially since they don't really the mold quality you'd like to see in a hard plastic part. In this case the black parts are correct, I am concerned that flexy parts might not hold paint well and might flake easily.
Flip the car over and you can see the solid chassis and digital plug trap door. As well as the nice new guide design. I wasn't a huge fan of the old blue guides and this new screw in guide is a huge improvement in the design. I don't know if there's much of a change in performance because of this change. But the screw adds a bit of piece of mind to slotters I think because of the more secure connection of the guide to the chassis.
If you take off the body you can see the small photo etched grilles are attached to the chassis rather than the body. I think this is a super idea, since the older Scalex cars (like the GT40's) often shed these parts quickly when you started racing the cars. I think if these grilles are tucked inside they might have a chance to last a bit longer as an attached element of the car.
Inside the body you can see there is a rather large half-pan interior. I'm glad Scalextric has decided to use a half pan rather than a more bulky, and heavier full interior. I'm not a huge fan of a full interior and I think that a very well done half interior is quite enough detail (and weight) thanks.
On the track the 93 gram car feels quick and the initial lap times around 2.7 seconds back this up. It's fast but that's not the fastest lap time on my track, which is somewhere around 2.4 seconds. The wheels do wobble a bit and it appears the tires aren't flat on the wheels. After a bit of inspection, and some tugging to get the tires to seat a bit better, I see the tires are riding on the outside edges only.

I did a fair amount of trueing on the tires to get them flat. After the trueing the times drop now to around 2.5 seconds. The car feels a bit faster and certainly much smoother even with the strong magnet holding it in place on the Carrera test track.

Another side note, the yellow front lights (which are quite bright) throw so much light that the light leaks into the interior and casts an odd greenish glow inside the car which you can see when the car is driving around. The effect sure is sort of odd but doesn't really take away from the enjoyment of driving the car. The photo above was taken of the car with the lights dimmed and the car at full throttle. You can see the odd greenish-blue glow inside and you can also see the light leak extends to the track below and to the sides of the car. Many lighted cars have light leaks like this, but this one with its blue cast on the track and glow inside maybe seems more pronounced because of the light inside the cabin of the car.
The issues with the lights aside this car is a blast to drive and is a solidly fast car. You really can't go wrong with Scalextric cars, especially for a newbie racer. They perform wonderfully right out of the box and with only a drop of oil here and there you can go racing quickly. I place a high value on a slot car that needs nearly no tuning to enjoy, this car is certainly near the top of that list. A recommended buy.

Thanks to Fantasy World Hobbies for the car to review.

Dave Kennedy
Publisher, Slot Car News

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