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Falcon Slot Porsche 908 Turbo

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Whether or not you are excited about the first offering from Falcon Slot depends on two things: 1) do you love Porsches and 2) do you have good memories of the original range of Fly Classics? If the answer to either of those questions is 'yes' then read on.

There has been much buzz about Falcon Slot because it will soon be producing the Porsche 924 Carrera GT, a car that has been longed-for by many since I first got back into slots 15 years ago. Front-engined Porsches are thin on the ground for slot racers, and they seem to be all the more hankered-for as a result.

So as a means to introduce itself before sating all of those front-engined desires, Falcon went with the earlier and less high profile 908/3 Turbo - one of the few white cars from Zuffenhausen that was yet to appear in slot form.

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The original car​

Now, if you think that there is a familiar look to this 'all-new' manufacturer then you're right. The packaging looks very much like the SRC Capris, Porsche 907s and Alfa 33TT12s and what's inside looks like a Fly model and driver figure.

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The presentation has a familiar look to it for fans of Fly/SRC/Vulcan etc...​

Falcon states that it has no relationship with Fly. If that is the case, then it is a very high quality tribute act. It's like going to see The Jed Thomas Band and rocking out to Voodoo Chile just as hard as if Hendrix was on stage himself. (By the way, if you have time to kill in Harrogate look Jed up - the man's a genius).

Taking the little Porsche out of the box reveals another familiar Fly treatment - the old 'semi-pod' chassis, as seen on the original Porsche 917 and 908 releases. It has a button magnet mounted amidships and five screws hold the whole assembly to the body. It's like stepping back in time about 15 years.

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Forgot to take a chassis pic! You'll see that it's quite light (fresh from the box with magnet inside)​

The level of detail is right up there with the best. A little red towing eye is perfectly in proportion on the front of the chassis. The mirrors are good, too. The driver figure actually looks like a reasonably-proportioned human being - important in a cockpit that is so exposed and something that one or two manufacturers have overlooked.

Look at the doors - they're taped down. I've not seen a manufacturer be brave enough to do that before and it's the thing I like most about the car's looks. That and the fact that it's advertising the sort of gentleman's reading material that only the French could get away with. Think 'Playboy' with a zillion times more class.

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Attention to detail - the taped-down doors were a feature on the 1:1 car​

On appearances, then, it's hard to find fault. So how is it as a slot car?

It's very like a Fly Classic.

To start with it wouldn't run at all because the motor had popped loose in the post. When it did run straight from the box with the magnet in it made noises that no slot car should ever make, as the traction magnet's strength sought to drive a wedge between the relationship 'twixt crown and pinion.

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The guide was often overwhelmed in completely standard trim, resulting in a little barrier moment or ten​

Removing the magnet helped with the gear mesh but revealed that the tyres are a little too hard for most people's preferences and that the front wheels, perfectly scale replicas of the real car, were fouling the guide a little and causing gentle front-end deslots.

To get it running to most people's satisfaction it's therefore necessary to do a bit of fettling. I fitted undersize zero-grips on the front wheels, NSR Classic tyres on the rear and changed the pick-up braid from the inflexible copper baguettes that are fitted at the factory for some skinny tinned SCX Pro material. The result was a transformation.

The car that I would most liken it to is the old Fly Porsche 908/3 - the little short wheelbase rocketship with the very similar motor and mount arrangement that was really one of the best of the breed.

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Running the Porsche with some other Group 6 cars of the same period in 1:1 racing was revealing​

I put the Falcon on track with some of the finest Group 6 spyders to have been produced in recent years: the equally Fly-like SRC Alfa Romeo, the Slot.It Matra MS670B and the Avant Slot Mirage GR8. All are bewitchingly pretty cars, all have plenty of lovely scale detail which will snap off in the first big impact and all of them have needed some work to get running properly.

The Alfa came fitted with braids that could be used as draft excluders, the Matra simply refused to go through a corner until its front tyres were like rubber bands and the Mirage is so low, and its magnetic motor pulls it so strongly to the rails, that the bodywork became wedged on the track. Once sorted, each one has become a firm favourite.

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Not all Group 6s are born equal, but a measure of parity can be achieved​

Lap times in slot car reviews are often misleading. Unless you want to race on the same track I do, with the same controller that I have and you are unfortunate enough to have the same ability that I do then the times won't matter. These are just a record of the times that I achieved:

Lap Times (non-magnet)

Avant Mirage - 9.116 (standard from the box, shims raising the body off the track, body screws loosened)

Slot.It Matra - 10.841 (zero grip front tyres, 5g weight, body screws loosened)

Falcon Porsche - 11.181 (zero grip front tyres, 5g weight, Slot.It rear tyres, body screws loosened)

SRC Alfa - 12.002 (SCX Pro braids, 5g weight, body screws loosened)

Falcon Porsche - 17.047 (box stock with 5g weight only)

So there we are: the Falcon Porsche 908 is competitive in lap times once the issues are sorted out. Just like those earlier slot cars from which it's clearly taken much inspiration, it takes a little more work than some cars... but is perfectly adequate once it's going. Does this matter? Yes. We buy slot cars to put them on the track and drive them. If that is not possible to achieve then it's tiresome - but not the end of the world.

Doubtless somebody will produce a 3D printed chassis to accept a long can motor in anglewinder configuration. We have become obsessed with the aftermarket: with 3D printing and manufacturers' own 'upgrade paths'. On one hand we complain about the increased purchase price of the cars, then cheerfully spend at least as much again on go-faster bits. If that's your bag then the Falcon 908 offers a potentially rewarding experience.

As it is, the Falcon Porsche 908 Turbo does its job. It's a history lesson for those slotters who missed out on the excitement of Fly Classics back at the dawn of our century and it's a rewarding car to drive once you iron out the niggles.

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It's not robust and the bits that stick out are not flexible - same as those of Fly, SRC, Slot.It etc...​

Approach it looking for Carrera-like reliability or NSR-like performance and you'll be disappointed in both cases - but fans of Group 6 spyders should love it.

Pros

  • It's a unique car in Porsche history and the only slot car variant
  • It's beautifully modelled
  • It can be made to run nicely without expensive upgrades

Cons

  • RRP is steep for a lo-fi slot car
  • Not exactly ready-to-run to most expectations: more of a work-in-progress
  • Delicate detailing (it's a Group 6 not a NASCAR)
 

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Thanks for the report....you have confirmed my initial suspicions.

What was that about Playboy?
 

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Hasn't the hobby evolved past Fly Classic style cars? Thunderslot seems to have figured it out...did Falcon just buy a bunch of old Fly molds thinking people wouldn't notice?
 

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Thank you very much for your test, I like especially the comparison with the other cars.
Personally I am not completely happy with the high position of the driver, the slightly high rear wing and the visible joint around the cabin. Shouldn't be there and is difficult to fix.
Best regards,
Thomas
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, chaps. Glad you enjoyed it.

Hasn't the hobby evolved past Fly Classic style cars? Thunderslot seems to have figured it out...did Falcon just buy a bunch of old Fly molds thinking people wouldn't notice?
Depends who you ask, Doug. Thunderslot has figured out how to make a high performance slot car but as a scale replica it's a D-

Fly's Lola T70 was over-scale but at least proportionally so.

Don't get me wrong, Thunderbolt and NSR produce lovely, sweet-handling slot cars. But they shouldn't be run in the company of scale models.
 

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It's an interesting car and always nice to see a different Porsche being produced, but at around £55 it's very overpriced, if it was around the current price of Carrera or Scalextric then I may be tempted.
 

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"Don't get me wrong, Thunderbolt and NSR produce lovely, sweet-handling slot cars. But they shouldn't be run in the company of scale models."

I understand what you are saying, but a new manufacturer at the higher end of the price scale should be able to come out with a car that is both scale accurate, AND with a competitive chassis that will allow racing with other manufacturers who may not be to scale! Wouldn't THAT give them a competitive advantage over non-scale? I look at my slot cars compared to 1:1 cars and think slot cars are too top heavy, narrow, and the wheels never seem to fit the wheel wells like real cars. Maybe that's just me, but when I stand next to a real Ford GT, my slot car seems kind of pathetic...regardless of who made it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
There's no way that a scale-accurate sports car could compete with an NSR or a Thunder Slot. Ditto a scale-accurate rally car and an MSC or even a Ninco.

In every type of slot racing, in every representation of a real car, there is an inaccurate faster slot racing model that has been built to the limits of what is permitted for open competition - and it will win. Every time.

And that's fine - there's clearly a market for cars like that. But there needs to be a differentiation between a 1/32 representation of a real car and an on-the-limit '1/32' slot car. And my personal preference is to have a Falcon or a Fly that runs just fine with better tyres and braids but represents the 1:1 car properly than spend the same money on a 'scale' model designed to win slot races at all costs.
 

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Driver#8, first, thanks for the comprehensive review! I've spent my entire professional life in advertising...I know that there isn't much money in slot cars. I don't think we are far apart on this topic...I think if Thunderslot can come up with a car that is competitive, but is 20% out of scale, why can't Falcon come up with a scale accurate, 20% better chassis car? If I can take a Scalextric Ferrari, chop up the chassis, lower it so the wheels fit in the wheel-wells properly, and NOT change anything else...........and get 50% better performance, surely a manufacturer can do the same or better!
 

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Bob Chapman
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Fantastic write Up N.
A very thorough and impartial look at cars it would compete with.
The pics and the words tell a great story for racers and collectors alike. I have been known to buy a car that isnt impressive to compete with hut wonderful to take out on the track and run some laps while enjoying the looks .
Great Job N and thanks again
Bob
 

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ParrotGod
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I see where Doug is going and I agree with.

Falcon seems to have produced a nice looking car but with a chassis that has too many issues.

Sure enough you can work around those problems but with the price they are asking surely they could come up with something a bit more modern as chassis design.

This is the same problem with any Fly cars/trucks.

We are not talking about winning-at-all-cost compromises: just some basic features like adjustable front axle, proper pod for the motor that would allow you to screw the motor in.
 

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Interesting test but!!!! car not for me i do wonder who it,s aimed at as regards sales looking at it,s pricing range, agree with the comment we have moved on from this, but wish Falcon well.
 

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Great review - thanks a lot. Sounds like everything is retro apart from the price which is almost futuristic!

Personally, I love old Fly Porsches - they are gorgeous and their handling with the magnet is fine (if you like magnet racing). We've had a whole series at our Club for them and it was a blast, once we changed the rear tyres.

Andy
 

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Alan Wilkinson
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Great review,
This kind of car is not use to me at all.
If I want a bodyshell to put a performance kit on it ( suspension chassis etc etc) there are far cheaper options that this for sure.
Shame because it looks so good, double shame that the mechanics in this are so retro (and not in a cool way, just "old")
AlanW
 

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Personally, I want to thank Driver#8 for doing this review. It got lot's of discussion going on where the hobby is going, and what customers expect from companies vying for our money. NSR and Thunderslot have proven (IMHO) that we will spend top money for a competitive car, but have missed the scale accurate market pretty much completely! Again IMHO, there is room for a scale accurate car with a great motor/chassis combo at a slightly higher price than NSR to offset the cost of the mold, and chassis R&D. Unfortunately, Falcon seems to have missed the mark on the motor/chassis, but hit on the price and the body.
 

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ParrotGod
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I do not see why we need to pay more than NSR and Thunderslot. These two makers are in the top bracket price-wise in 1/32 cars market.

Scaleauto and Sideways have shown that you can still have a competitive chassis without compromising scale accuracy.

Both make their own mechanical components and run great out of the box. But they can also accept slot.it parts, which makes it easier to upgrade/mods for different racing specs.

Price wise they are still way below what you need to pay for a NSR/Thunderslot.

Falcon here could have followed the same route.
 

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Not a car I'm particularly interested in however the brand I am as I want to get the 924's.

Not sure how to take the review from a collectors and home racers perspective but hope that the 924 is to scale and can at least perform side by side with Scalextric etc.
 
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