Has any one raced one of these ?
Retro Review - Scalextric 'Protec' series
by wixwacing » Sun 02 Nov, 2008 11:41 pm
Scalextric C2116 & C2117 Protec
Vauhall Vectra & Audi A4
For those just starting out in slotcars, be they fifteen or fifty, there will be a huge void in their slotcar appreciation. A void which dates back to the mid fifties and has been widening year on year. This void is made up of the number of models which were either highly collectable or highly driveable. As for the collectable ones, these are mostly still readily available from establishments such as eBay or from on line purveyors of fine toys......at a price. but the highly drivable models which can bring many hours of driving pleasure are still available at relatively moderate prices especially on the former site. Mainstream slotcars retrospectively, spent many years in the doldrums as far as drivability was concerned and we unwittingly made do with models which were really not the best, or anywhere near it, come to that! Most of Scaleys product were fine raced against like but every now and then, along would come something that was unapproachable, humbling the rest as mere lounge room toys.
One of my first true slotcar experiences was the MRRC Mercedes W125 and Indy Novi Fergusson. These models had the double magnet open frame motor and incorporated steering with four wheel drive. A huge expense for a young lad and not a mean layout by a working person. But they were great. At the time they were every thing the club racer could wish for in a slotcar! A little while after, Revell and Monogram (then two independent companies) produced their sports car series and some very tasty F1 GP cars. The Monogram Lotus 33 and the Ferrari 158 were another two exceptional cars and they too were the prerequisite for local club racing on my local 110 feet four lane board track.
The number of models to be had was gathering pace and more US companies joined the rush to put the latest cars into 1/32 ABS and polypropylene for use by all and sundry who had the wherewithal. Cox, AMT, Revell, Monogram, MRRC, Strombecker, and Atlas where at the front of the kit racers choice and a whole host of spares and accessories were available to the more deft of hand. But then it almost died. Enthusiasm was lost, tracks closed, companies folded or sold out, and we were left with Mr Scalex and Co who inspite of all this, had been catering to their core business, the home racer. It was the likes of Mr Scaley and Mr Carrera and a couple of minor names which escape me at this moment to keep running. Both companies continued in one guise or another. Changing owners several times.
Scalextric produced their 'Power sledge' models in the form of open wheelers and an new motor and drop out guide system. Once again very drivable but a couple of models in a sea of mediocrity! Spain seemed to be a bastion of slotcars and Scalextric's Spanish subsidiary grew from strength to strength until by the close of the eighties there was once again a healthy slotcar scene in western Europe. Along with the resurgence came the specialist slotcars and once again it was possible to drive a truly pleasurable model. SCX (Spanish Scalextric) brought out their SRS range. Those vacuum formed F1's, touring and rally cars. Pure driving pleasure with their black RX motors, and quick too. A little while after this. Ninco was born and a host more drivable models took to the shops. A couple more years and Fly were to hit the stores and off we went once again.
About this time Scalextric where recently under the ownership of train modellers Hornby. They must have taken a long hard look at the wider slotcar scene because for the second time in Scalextric history, there was a genuine effort to make a model which appealed to the club racer. This was to be called the Protec series. This was to be a model which in reality was not recommended for home use. Warning labels told you how not to race and controller and transformer upgrades were strongly advised. So, unless you had a twenty five meter, plus, track at home there was little to encouraged you to buy them. But they were ahead of their time as far as home racing was concerned.
The models had a metallic chassis and a 'boxer' type motor which revved 'off the clock' so to speak. They came with a full isofulcrum chassis! Unheard of before for home racing! The guide and motor were on a drop out sledge and the whole was able to pivot in an outer chassis. This in turn was fixed into an injection moulded body which also came as a 1/32 boxed RTR and was fully transferable. The main difference was that the models, The Vauxhall Vectra and the Audi A4, came as kits. All the parts were bagged or tagged and come in a great Styrofoam box with impressive sleeve and a full set of peal off decals and instructions for the use of! Once properly assembled these models were very much a bit of a handful on the old plexitrack, but on board!!! watch out!!
Whilst indulging in a bit of retro slotcarring with the Red Team, it was a surprise when host Garry pulled out a couple of these little beauties and placed them on the grid for our delectation! It's not too long ago that these models in kit form where fetching a princely sum on local eBay. Scalextric couldn't have made that many of them and this was reflected in their resale price. So, an opportunity to drive one was a privilege let alone an opportunity to race one!! But race them we did, no punches pulled and they were spectacular.
Let me start by saying that they weigh in at 127 grams! Need I say more. On a good sweeping board track they are lethal. Heaps of grunt, a very respectable top end and corner performance as good as any Plafit I have driven (without all those screws!!!) The weight is all low down and it lets you know it. Lap after lap expecting a massive deslot and sickening crunch, but no, with their original rubber they admirably do the job. With a bit of fettling and a tyre change they could be hard to catch in their class.
So where do we start? The model comes with turned alloy grub screwed wheels, all the same size, and four soft rubber ribbed tyres. Surprisingly, it has 3.00 mm 'drill blank' axles too. The wheels are a plain flat disc outer, nothing fancy and an immediate sign that this isn't the 'S' can powered sibling! Axle bearings are quite elaborate with brass bushes being held in by exotic clips, front and rear. At the rear is a standard twenty eight tooth contrate. This can be offset with a choice of pinions. They range from eight to ten teeth and give a good cross section of gear reduction. The problem here is that you are unlikely to go changing pinions at the drop of a hat. Now had it been contrates!
The motor is a 'boxer' style and has plenty of grunt. There are no clues as to what it revs out at but it must be in the high twenty K's. It's held in place by two tiny screws at the can end, ensuring there isn't going to be any hop, skip or jump or motors 'popping out' just when you don't need it. Braking is a bit on the wanting side but not as bad as expected. Braking will be affected by the final drive ratio chosen. The lower, the less. The whole power sledge pivots at the rear wheel bearing but doesn't introduce any extra friction into the final drive like some models do. There is a vestigial traction magnet or should I say two! Vestigial because firstly, even thought their position is adjustable, they are too far forward, secondly they are too small and thirdly, this model weighs in at 127 grams and I can't see these magnets making too much of a contribution to keeping it in the slot during an over judgement exercise!!
At the front end is what must be a marshall's nightmare. It has one of the womp style 'leading' guides which, invariably, along with the drop arm, are a pain to relocate in the slot. Why they still exist in some models still bemuses me, but they do!!?? A model would be far better off with a trailing guide and a drop out arm restricted to a centimetre or two's movement. But that's another story! I built brass chassis as a schoolboy in the sixties and I was taught by some of the finest to restrict the drop arm movement to an essential minimum. The front axle is fixed and takes the weight of the model at the front and the whole metal chassis is fixed into a stock Scaley sub chassis by four screws, this in turn is mounted into the body by the original two screws from the RTR model.
The body is easy to decorate and care should be taken to start applying decals by their broad edge against some datum point like a window or a door seam or similar. There is a decal application chart with the instructions to show you where they go. Interior is stock Scaley and the body even has the clips to locate lighting as in the RTR model. If I had one of these I might be inclined top see if Patto had a decent set of waterslide decals to fit it and then do a full paint job. Finally, during assembly, Scalextric give you a sachet of grease to ensure you have the complete Protec experience!
Wheelbase 85.0 m.m.
Front axle width 57.0 m.m.
Rear axle width 55.0 m.m.
Guide to rear axle 92.00 m.m.
Overall weight 127.0grams
Rear axle load 75.0 grams
Front axle/guide load 52.0 grams
Front / rear weight dist 41% / 59.0%
Body (assembled) weight 31.0 grams
Pinion 1x8,2x9,1x10z nylon
Contrate 28z nylon
Final drive ratio 3.5 : 1 > 2.8 :1
Rear wheel diameter 19.5 m.m.
Progress 17.5 > 21.88 m.m. per motor rev.
Rear tyre tread width 9.53 m.m.
Guide length 17.4.0 m.m.
Guide depth 5.35m.m.
Guide thickness (median) 1.78 m.m.
Scalextric recommend the use of 30 ohm controllers for these models and as already mentioned, the power supply should be upgraded. But with a lot of current modern tracks they should be ready to race. I'm not sure that they actually sold a lot of these, and as a consequence, they are hard to find. If you do see one on eBay at the right price, it would be worth the experience to buy one and contest your local touring car events with it, if only for the sheer driving pleasure.