Review & Photos by Astro (click on
photos to enlarge)
14th December - Moped: "Spotted on his stand with a big sign "new in
15th December - Astro: "OOOO!! Me local scalex shop phoned me up on the off chance I might want a challenger system they just got in! Did I?"
||Back from shop now, car looks gr8, though windows are blacked out. Doesn't come with a track piece, it clips on and has adaptors so you can use it with sport, classic, ninco carrera or scx track. Definitely looks like a digital system applying full voltage to the track all the time, as the lights on the car keep flashing even when the car is stopped. Ok, I'll get it out the box now, let you know more later!
Oh - pleased to say its the silver car (my prefered colour for it) - and am hoping I have a couple of AA batteries in!
||Right - got it working. Love it so far!
U get: a car jammed packed with stuff, don't think about movin the gubbins to another car unless the other car is at least as big as the mercedes, and you are prepared to do lots of work to swap it over. Its not just a slot car with a chip in it.
:4 adaptors, 1 for each of various track systems - you put these in the socket instead of your hand controller. I suspect these are a fixed resistor or just a shorting circuit to provide a constant voltage to the track. Could be wrong, there might be a chip inside too, but the current is never cut completely 'cos the lights on the car keep falshing when the car is still.
:1 tower thingy that takes 2 aa batteries, has start lights, and buttons for learn, slow and fast, and clips (to keep it in place, no electrical connection) to the side of the track. Can be put on either lane and moved easily. I suspect it would be fine controlling either lane, or middle lanes of a multi-track set up. It should be placed 30-35cm after the start lane.
: a magnet clip thing that clips to the underneath of the track just before the start line. This tells the car where the start line is, apparently.
Right: Line of sight. Nothing in the instructions about this. My track is fairly handicapped due to space - it weaves in and out of furniture, has a bridge, is on carpet except where it raises to go over cbles and all sorts :S. This system definitely works when there is no line of sight. I can't say whether it works at its best under these conditions, but it definitely works.
Set it all up and plonk the car on the track - the orange safety lights flash (apparently they flash double time to report errors of some sort. The car ambles up to the start line.
Putting the car on isn't completely straight forwards - the guide is sprung to be as if the car is turning hard right. Has to be like this cos the system learns ur track by sensing what angle the guide is at, and theres all sorts of mechanics and sensors inside for this.I think there are also sensors to tell how fast the front wheels are going.
||Press the learn button on the tower
The car does 2 slow laps to 'learn' where the curves and straights are.
Its ready - takes no time to set up.
After getting your normal car on the start line and ready, press Slow for a test race (by default it will race for 25 laps, but you can set it to do 50 if you prefer)
the tower thing has a heap of lights and they are used as start lights. they light 1, 2, 3, 4 go!
and it starts, slowing down for the curves, and speeding up for my only decent straight (and that aint much of one). After the last lap, it does a slow extra (victory or loss) lap of honour.
I am not sure if you should generalise from the pace or performance of my set, since as I said my track is a very difficult one due to an adverse environment. It is mainly standard curves with a few straights linkin them (scaley sport), and on carpet rather than a solid base. And lots of
obstacles if line of sight is an issue (still not sure).
On slow - the car deslotted on the second curve.
||So - extra magnet added. This will obviously tax the motor more, so if your track is more stable than mine, you wont need to do this. There is no obvious provisions for adding extra magnets, it comes with the bar one in front of the sidewinder motor. But there is space under the rear axle for another, albeit off centred.
Track length: 9.57 meters
Reference times: fasted lap with a scaley mustang, button magnet added at front, 2.9 seconds. More typical times of other cars eg fly classics, but with extra magnets is in the 3.6 second time.
on slow (with this extra magnet) - 4.7
on fast (as above) - 4.2...
it sometimes just stops
but i am glad i've got it - weeks of fun tinkerin to make it work properly, just like a normal slot car then!
||Scalex forgot an important feature: There is no stop button. You probably don't have ppl round to marshal for u if u are usin the challenger, so if your car de-slots, the challenger just keeps racing into/through it or whatever. Course you can pull the power lead out, or self marshall like lightning, or never de-slot, but a stop button would have been nice.
Trueing the tires is very easy. The car crawls to the start line whenever you put it on the track, but if you lift the rear up, the wheels spin faster (so i am pretty sure it senses the speed of the front wheels), which is perfect for
I can't try other systems cos i only got a sport set up, but the instructions say:
"...suitable for use with either the Sport or Classic version of the Scalextric
Powerbase, and is also compatible with other slot-racing brands (SCX - Carrera - Ninco)..."
||It comes with 4 stubby plugs to put in the socket where your controller normally goes, you use just 1 of them depending what sort of
powerbase/track system you have.
One is the mini-jack with breaks (sleave, ring tip), one a mini jack without brakes (classic?) sleave and tip, one is carrera (3 prongs) , one I dont recognise (2 holes). The tower bit is self powered and does not connect to the track in any way other than positioning, but would stand up even if not clipped on. The magnet clip does clip under the track at the start line, I can't say how well it filts on other track, but it has extra clippy lugs that are not used by the scalex sport track
There are 2 things I didn't mention so far:
1: On the bottom of the car there is a switch for sport or classic, don't
know what it does.
2: It keeps beating me! (admittedly I am racing my slower cars)
The car itself was a relief, from the promo shots the car looked a
bit plain, but as with a lot of recent scaley releases, it looks
great in real life compared to the pics!
The finish is good with nice printing that looks as if it is
authentic - safety cars aren't something I have studied, but it
looks 'right'. The vents above and around the wheels are all open,
not molded in, and the vents in front of the windscreen on the
bonnet are deep enough to look very convincing. There are various
etched metal parts, including printed number plates front and
rear, and under the front bumper radiator grill.
The 'alloy' wheels look great too, with the chromed discs visible
through the spokes.
The front lights are chrome covers. I presume this is authentic to
the safety cars, since i think there would have been room to put
clear lenses in if they had wanted, but it did surprise me.
Consequently it doesn't have front lights. At the rear are nicely
detailed rear light lenses, but again they are not lit.
The windows are blacked out - again I seem to remember safety cars
having smoked glass windows, so it looks fine to me. There is no
room for any sort of interior or driver, so scalex didn't have a
On top are two orange flashing lights - they look good and flash
quicker or one stops on if there is a problem with the car, to
warn you. In the clear section in between the lights is a black
sphere. its hard to see it, but its there. It looks like an
infra-red receiver/sender. It has a silver cross printed on it, so
maybe its something from the real cars, or if it is a receiver,
scaley have done a little extra to make it look like a car detail
rather than a sensor.
I get the impression that the tower only communicates with the car
at all when the car is at the start line, and when you are
starting a race or learn sequence, and most of the electronics and
memory is in the car. If the car deslots, if a race is stopped (as
opposed to finishes) or anything else unusual happens, the car
must learn the track again - but that doesn't take long.
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