Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Sloter Rally Opel Manta's reviewed
I have to admit the arrival of a pair of Opel Manta rally cars from Sloter was a bit of a head scratcher for me. I'm not a huge rally kinda guy. I've done a lot of staring at them and I must admit they've grown on me. This is a pretty straight forward slot car, no lights, no crazy motor pod, and no "science experiment" type of chassis to tune. One slot racer described Sloter cars as "simple and elegant"... in this case I'd have to agree that the simplicity of these cars is nice.
There's something sort of charming about these cars they're maybe not the most racy looking car, forgive me if you're a huge fan of Opel's and you've grown up loving them, but as I said Opel's aren't exactly a household name in North America.
It's sort of sad really that rally is nearly impossible to see on TV in the US. There's something cool about rally racing and its rock spewing, power sliding around corners while trying to avoid the trees and, more often than not, overeager spectators lining the race course...heck, what's not to like?
Printing on these cars is well done, it's straightforward with no blemishes. Some area's, like over the rear wheels, the printing looked a bit thin but still sharp. But on most of the car the white printing is nice and opaque, which as any painter will tell you is a tricky thing to do.
The white plastic wheels are sort of blocky looking. They're decent models of the originals, if somewhat shallower in the rear than they should be.
Under that huge back window there's a fire extinguisher and you can see the roll cage and the half-pan interior. There is something sort of pleasing about the blocky, squareness of this car.
Given my ignorance of all things rally you might not find it surprising that I was very surprised to see an SCX motor mounted as an anglewinder. Not that the motor being there itself was all that much of a shock, but rather an anglewinder?
I'd heard while in Spain that SCX motors are favored due to their torque for rally racing. And since the open can SCX Pro Speed motor does seem to have a fair amount of torque I guess it makes it a good choice rather than the standard Sloter FC130 Mabuchi. And haven't I heard that if you mount an open can motor as an anglewinder you get more magnetic downforce for, um..."non magnetic" racing? So I guess I've talked myself in a circle...
The motor is not in a pod but rather is held tightly with a screw at the driven end which helps hold the motor in place firmly (seen two photos below). And there's a 10-tooth pinion on the end to drive the 27-tooth gear.
Here's a shot of the front of the chassis where you can see the arrangement that Sloter has done with the body mount and drop arm guide. The two screws (pointing up) and are threaded into the chassis from the bottom seem to be there for making the chassis more flatly set against the body. The small screw in the center (threaded down towards the guide) seems to be a guide stop (maybe) but it's not the whole way through the chassis and I'm honestly not sure of the function of this. The screw in the center of the chassis (pointing up) is the body mount screw. I know that Sloter had some issues with these chassis this car seems to work just fine, so I don't think this is one of the effected chassis that they replaced.
One thing worth noting is that for some reason this car, even with the same running gear as SCX cars, this car doesn't have that same sort of thumpy magnetic feel that SCX's do. The gears feel quite smooth and are really very quiet.Well how does the car do on the track? Well... um... let's say it needs weight. On my SCX test track the 79 gram car lacked grip and tended to be quite bouncy (maybe the sprung guide helped the lightweight body along with this too). Laps were inconsistent because of this lack of grip. The tires seemed quite sticky I just think out of the box the boxy Opel just needs to gain a few grams to stick it down.
On the smooth wood test track the story was a bit better. With the car sticking a bit better but still lacking in grip. Other Sloter's have pretty good stock tires but these feel a bit less sticky.
To get the most from this car I'd think it will take weight so I'd think this car would best be suited for an experienced slot racer who likes to tune.
If you'd like to see even more photos of this slot car (and far better one's I might add)...check out the entry on DemoSlot's blog.
Publisher, Slot Car News