SCX Compact Cars
Since September 2006, SCX has been teasing the 1/43 community with news and hopes of their upcoming SCX Compact line, i.e. the SCX version of 1/43 cars. Well, they have arrived: as of July 2007, cars and sets are available along with their larger 1/32 brethren. All the details of the SCX offering can be found at http://www.scxcompact.es/. These sets and cars are available exclusively (for now) at Target stores in the US.
SCX has now released two sets and several pairs of cars in their SCX compact product line.One thing to be aware of is that not all Target stores seem to have the products, and if they have them, they seem to have preferentially the sets. The items are also nowhere to be found on the Target web site, while the SCX 1/32 as well as the Carrera Go!!! sets are easily found there in preparation for the Christmas season.
SCX addresses the same market segment as Artin and Carrera Go!!! and is positioning itself right along (and arguably above) Carrera go!!! in terms of quality and pricing. See the SCX press release in PDF format.The two sets include an F1 set and a Tuner set: the simple figure 8 tuner set can be had for $49.99 while the more elaborate F1 set goes for $89.99.
The cars include two F1, two Nascar, and four tuner cars. The cars are available in 2 car packs, but currently only the NASCAR (ref. 31040) and Tuner cars (ref. 31050) can be had. At $19.99 for a two car pack, this is a great buy !!! These cars will work well on all tracks (1/32 or 1/43) at any voltage between 10 and 15V.
Additional track pieces are also available, see the SCX web site for details at http://www.scxcompact.es/:
The first impression from the SCX sets and cars is that they are “greatly inspired” from Carrera Go!!! cars and not from Artin 1/43 cars that have both been available for several years now. The track pieces have the same red striping on the curves as Carrera Go!!! while the controllers sport the “turbo” button which provides full throttle (voltage) to the cars. Track dimensions are very similar to Carrera Go!!! with 60 mm slot spacing (full length track pieces are 342 mm long and 114 mm wide) but nonetheless are incompatible with all other 1/43 systems out there ….
Let’s look at the cars now in more details. We’ll focus on the NASCAR cars and take a quick look at the Tuner cars (thanks to Barfly101 from the Home Racing World 1/43 forum). Picture of the F1 cars as well as more details on the SCX compact cars can be found in these other great web sites and blogs:
The 2 car packs come in a surprisingly sturdy plastic housing. The housing seems to be designed for an additional feature (at the bottom) but that is currently empty … On the back, a card shows some of the available track pieces and cars, surprisingly not the sets, and the usual legal and marketing verbiage.
The 2 cars that are currently available are 2006 Ford Fusion models: Matt Kenseth #17 and Carl Edwards #99. I think SCX did a fantastic job on these cars.
For comparison; the following picture is the #29 Monte Carlo, Carrera Go!!! model. Comparatively, the front is squished and higher (so the car can take the track loop-the-loop) and the wheels are a bit big for the scale.
At $10 each, the scale and proportions of the SCX cars (specially the wheels) are much better than the Artin or Carrera Go!!! cars. The quality of the painting and decals is really very good, the only missing piece being a good clear coat finish.
More pictures of the two cars:
As can be seen in the next two shots, the cars sit nice and low to the tracks. One reason is that these cars are not designed to be able to handle loop-de-loop thingies on the track. Another is the thin and soft braid at the bottom of the guide and the guide positioning (recessed guide mounting) which also enable the front wheels to touch the track while keeping the braids in good contact with the rails.
Looking at the bottom of the car, one can see a level of detail unusual for 1/43 cars. In-line configuration for the motor and small magnet in a pocket located between the motor and the rear axle, just like Carrera Go!!! cars. Surprisingly for a 1/43 a guide flag with double braids can be found instead of the usual pin guide on 1/43 cars from Artin or Carrera Go!!! Wheels and tires sit nice and flush under the body.
Accessing the inside of the body is performed by removing two screws. One is located at the back of the car, the other is hidden underneath the guide flag which must first be removed (simply grab and pull the guide, slipping a flat screwdriver underneath might help if needed). The recessed guide housing enables the guide to actually sit flush with the rest of the chassis. The front pin on the guide fits in a circular slit and limits the guide motion to about 160 degrees total rotation. Two copper contacts, no guide wires is pretty standard with SCX, transmit the voltage from the braids to the motor.
The guide is really good, but is relatively deep and just touches at the bottom of Artin 1/43 slots, so these users might want to trim it for their track. Carrera Go!!! or 1/32 track users should have no problem whatsoever.
After removing the screws, simply pull the body away from the chassis. The inside of the body is empty other than the two mounting posts.
Taking a closer look at the chassis:
Copper contacts from the guide to about midway through the car where wires connect to the motor through an inductor (choke) and three small ceramic capacitors. The capacitor and inductor form an electrical filter for Electro-Magnetic-Interference that is required for CE marking.No bushings in this car, axles go straight through the plastic side tabs. However, the mechanical tolerances seem very good and there is very little play of the axles. Axles and axle assemblies can only be removed by removing the wheels from the axles first, which can be quite challenging as the wheels are press fit very well on the knurled axles (much better actually than in many 1/32 cars J).
Front side-to-side play was a little much for my taste, maybe about 1 mm (about 40 mils), but nothing that can be quickly fixed with a spacer.A small magnet is mounted between the motor and the rear axle. Don’t be fooled by the small size of that magnet, it is quite strong and keeps the car on the track nicely, although it is not as strong as the magnet that can be found in the Carrera Go!!! cars. This is great for older drivers and hobbyists but might be tough on the younger users like my son who just likes to pull the trigger and go …
All axles and pinion-gear come with a small amount of grease/lube already applied.The motor is mounted through 2 side tabs and a bracket in front of the rear axle. It is pretty tight already and should not require gluing.
Motor is an FF style Mabuchi can, just like Carrera go!!! cars, however no markings or identifiers could be found on that motor. Pinion is 8 tooth for a 32 tooth crown (once again the same as Carrera Go!!!) for a gear ratio of 4. This is not great for torque but with the very light weight of these cars (~ 40 grams) and the relatively strong magnet the braking and acceleration performance is still very good. The underside of the motor has two ventilation holes, which is different than the Carrera Go!!! motors. The meshing on all cars feels very good and that gets proven by how smoothly and quietly the cars actually run on the track.
Wheels and tires are incredibly detailed and good for this scale:
Tire markings look very good and seem pretty durable (a solid minute of rubbing with my fingers did not take anything away from the side wall markings).The rubber feels very sticky to the touch, almost too much for the front tires, which should be clear coated for maximum performance.
The wheels and tires are very round with very little flashing or other problems usually found on other models/brands. Very minimal sanding of one wheel was required to get it flat and not crowned.The tires fit the wheels very snuggly and probably do not need to be glued on.
What about the other cars?
Tuner cars are built very similarly to the NASCARs. A key additional feature of the tuner cars is the lights. A green LED in the green car, a red LED in the red car (one can only hope that the LED is blue in the blue car and orange in the orange car) are used to illuminate the bottom and sides of the car. A single LED is used in combination with plastic light guides that guide the light to the side pods of the car. (photos courtesy of Barfly101 on the Home Racing World 1/43 forum)
The F1 look great, better than any of the other 1/43 F1 made to date. Photos courtesy of SCX Magazine
What about track performance ?
These little cars are FAST. I like the good balance between magnet and drifting that is possible with the guide flag.The front of the cars is a little light and when running no magnet or above 12V, you might want to consider up to 7 g of lead weight upfront to keep that guide firmly planted in the slot.
The relatively poor grip (despite the stickiness feel of the rubber) is not an issue when running with magnets, however, when running no magnets the car has a hard time gripping the track and a wheel/tire upgrade (Ranch-Design) should be considered in that case.The cars run very well from about 9V to 15V almost becoming too fast and slippery to handle above that
think SCX has hit it out of the park with these little cars!!!
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