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Scalextric TVR T400R Review
by mtucker666 (updated 27th September 2003)
There has been much UK hype about these cars. These are a Scalextric release firmly aimed at the UK market (after a glut of recent American aimed releases) and they also incorporate some new technical developments. These developments include a new guide system (much requested for) and for the first time, out of choice, Scalextric have put the engine in the front of the chassis.
These cars will be released by Scalextric in early October with the first two liveries being released as Sport Editions as well as standard editions. However I’m inpatient and after finding out that a UK chain-store were releasing an exclusive set based on these TVR T400R I had to get hold of them.
The TVR T400R race in the British GT and race against Moslers and the Phoenix Scalextric Club (our own John Swords slot club) sponsored Ultima. The two liveries in the set are the Xavex and the Harman Kardon which took part in the 2002 series. Firstly I commend the chain-store for putting two race liveried cars in the set – the first time they have done this. However as they won’t be on general Scalextric release you have to buy a set to get them!
My first impression was – these are stunning models. Comparing them with photos from the British GT 2002 I felt the proportions and details of both these models was first rate and very accurate. The paint on both models was beautiful – no bleeding, even clear coat with no dust and no ‘orange peel’ paint effect anywhere. All the tampo printings were extremely crisp allowing you to read the writing on even the smallest tampo. A nice job!
The details are high quality: 6 bonnet latches crisply painted; tow hook incorporated in to the rear end of the chassis; air intakes in the roof and bonnet (a separate piece) are structural; tampo printing on the Oz 5-spoked wheels (only on the Harman Kardon livery); nicely detailed and easily seen vented disk brakes; rivets structurally part of the body (not tampo printed) and side exhausts as separate structures.
The structural details on the body (rear wing, mirrors and wipers, lenses) are very securely attached and I could not remove them. They all survived a high speed impact with concrete, but they might break in a crash during competitive racing. The cars have front (yellow) and rear (red) LED lights that seemed brighter than previous models. They dim/go off when power is released – I think Scalextric should add a battery back-up (as per Fly) so the lights stay on.
In overall looks I’d give these cars a A* and in my opinion Scalextric have upped the ante in detail terms and given the other manufacturers something more to aim for, if they are up for it!
Internal detail is a little more sparse: knee length driver (Slik noted that the driver has a new head that we have hassled Scalextric about for so long – thank you Scalextric (RIP Mr Blobby, 2003)) with speedometer and a roll cage as visible details. I did not remove the cockpit so I only inspected it from the outside. However in my opinion this level of detail is more than adequate.
6 screws hold the chassis to the body – the two rear screws are longer than the others so don’t mix them up. We’ve asked for same size screws before but I think the body shape restricts the size – however this could cause problems for the uninitiated. The body needs a bit of prising off the chassis as the wheel arches envelope the wheels at the bottom.
The chassis hold the now standard flat bar magnet and has two positions available. There is also ‘whimps’ space behind the guide for a button magnet. Plastic bushings hold the axle and drive train tightly in line although a bit of glue is always recommended to keep this firmly in place. The motors bracket is very secure and the motor does not budge – however gluing is as ever advisable. I found the drive train very smooth, with a 9 tooth plastic pinion meshing with a pre-greased (nice touch) 28 tooth crownwheel (3.1:1 ratio). The rear axel had slight side to side movement that I will space out and a bit of play in the bushings that should not cause too many problems. The front axle again has some side to side movement that I will space out and minimal vertical play (I prefer it that way).
The hubs and tyres were very true (round) straight out of the box and were very firmly attached to the axles. The rear tyres are of softer compound and much wider (10mm) compared to the front (8mm). The hubs diameter for both front and rear is 9.5mm with 21mm tyres at the rear and 20mm in the front.
OK to the guide system. The guide sits all the way in the slot. The guide is a little deeper (5.1mm deep (from the braid holder)) than the previous blue ones (4.9mm). This results in a clicking as it goes over SCX/Classic track, so it needs a little trimming that does not noticeably affect performance.
The braid holder comes out easily without the need to remove the rest of the guide – slide it forward and flip backwards. The rest of the guide is attached to the chassis with a screw (resulting in minimal guide sloppiness).
I did not have much track time but out of the box I found the car quick but more importantly very smooth. The magnet (in its rear position) kept the car firmly in the slot but when really pushed the car gave nicely controllable tail out action in the corners. Even if pushed to far the car fish tails very controllably and lets you recover easily – a by-product of the new guide system? I did not do any timing nor tuning and the only issue I could foresee was the ability to get flex in the body. As stated before the body wheel arches wrap round the bottom of the wheels and have minimal clearance so if the body flexes the body will rub on the wheels. This is more of an issue if you intend to run without magnets (which I do so will need to be resolved). Overall I had a lot of fun driving the car with the time I had and it will be getting a lot more track time.
Easy – get one! Unless you want to collect all the race liveries (I will be!) I’d wait the short time until Scalextric releases their liveries (De Walt and Harman Kardon from the 2003 British GT series) in Sport and standard edition. It will be worth the wait.
Text and photos ©2003 mtucker66 - All rights reserved
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