The Slot.it white kits have always had a certain appeal to me, and not just because I save some money! You do get some satisfaction out of creating a car in your preferred colour scheme, and hopefully some fun out of putting together the kit as well. Slot.it have released both the Ford GT40 and the Ford MkII (note: it was never called the GT40 MkII at the time, as Ford USA were distancing themselves from the hitherto unsuccessful British-built GT40, and history has been rewritten somewhat to make the GT40 look better than it was) and lacking a GT40 in my collection I went for that one.
I based my model on the Scuderia Filipinetti GT40 which ended its 1966 race in a crash at the Esses. Fuel from a loose filler cap spilled onto the rear tyres (the car had just made a pit stop), which rather surprised Dieter Spoerry, so he hit the bank and wrecked the rear suspension. Slot.it are good enough to supply two ‘bonnets’ with different radiator outlet configurations: the deep single outlet as used by the later Wyer GT40s and one with a twin outlet pattern. Unfortunately, neither of these was the one I really wanted (the earlier, smaller twin outlet design) so my car instantly became more of a ‘lookalike’ than an accurate model. Oh well…
The kit itself is very nicely presented, with the usual completed chassis and bare body moulding in the display box, with a host of little plastic bags holding all the body parts underneath the plinth. And, as half-expected, no instructions. Is it just me, or do other people end up with bits left over? I built a couple of Chaparral 2Es a while back and still have no idea where some of the bits were meant to go! At least they could put an exploded diagram on the website, couldn’t they? I took the body off my Slot.it Ford MkII for some help and inspiration, but it was no help at all, so I just had to feel my way carefully through the build. Of course, it might be some incredibly clever marketing ploy, which means that you have to buy an RTR GT40 just to see how to put your kit together…
Constructing The Body
Those who are familiar with the Slot.it GT40 and MkII offerings will know that the body sills are moulded separately and simply clip into place on the body. My example had a rather large gap ‘twixt sills and doors, so some filing was in order to get things a little tighter in that department. The body was then sprayed before I went any further, not forgetting part of the rear panel/exhaust assembly which needed to be in the same colour as the rest of the body. Decal application was then undertaken, mostly home-made jobs (the Filipinetti badge is there on Google Images, which surprised me) with a few from the spares box, and this proved very laborious with having to cut the stripes, roundels and numbers to match all the shut lines. Ultimately the effect was probably worth it – at least I hope it was!
With the paintwork done, the rest of the construction could be attempted, with reference books to hand. The windows were a tight fit but went in ok, except that I left out the small window between the cockpit and the engine as it was in a different packet. By the time I discovered it, everything was stuck firmly in place, so if anyone needs a spare, I’m your man! (Grrr!) For the engine detail I referred to a test on the ‘net of the Alan Mann ’66 car, which had a ‘body off’ shot showing what went where, and that was a great help. Incidentally, do the rear bracing and exhaust system after you have installed the cockpit and engine stuff. The lights were straightforward, the radiators were ok too – just remember to get the right one for your particular bonnet. Apart from that confounded window, I only had one bit left over, and I suspect it is a bar that goes across the radiator at the front of the car somehow. Luckily, it seems that ‘my’ car didn’t have one anyway. A final gripe concerns the door handles, which come as self-adhesive items on the RTR cars - actually, in the case of my Mark II, they weren’t quite adhesive enough and I quickly found one adorning my thumb. With the white kits you don’t get anything in the handle department at all, so you’ll either have to make some decals, get some sticky shiny stuff or have a go with a paintbrush or marker pen.
The usual Slot.it setup for these cars means that there shouldn’t be any performance worries. The lightweight construction and Hi-torque ‘S’ can motor in a sidewinder configuration will give great acceleration and excellent handling. However, there are a few things to check before you take to the track. Firstly, the full-length shaft has been left on the motor, which means it runs very close to the rear tyres. If the tyres aren’t glued to the rims they might possibly touch the shaft as they expand at speed, or if you rev the car whilst holding the rear end clear of the track. Just to make absolutely sure this didn’t happen, I cut the shaft accordingly, and glued the tyres to the rims anyway. Secondly, just check that there isn’t an excess amount of braid sticking up from the guide where it is held in by Allen screws. If there is a lot of braid above the guide, adjust or trim it so there isn’t a risk of a ‘short’. We now get an adjustable front axle system, a very handy feature, so front ride height can be adjusted to suit the rail height on your particular track, and at the same you can make sure that the front tyres don’t come into contact with the body. As is usual with these cars, some weight up front is essential if you’re running without a magnet.
On the track the GT40 was, as expected, an extremely able performer. Once the tyres had a few miles on them (and some 3-in-1 oil) the grip was good, the gears were as smooth as we’ve come to expect from Slot.it and the handling and punch from the motor were first class. It is good when a chassis has been so well designed that the car handles beautifully from the word go; you can then have the fun of trying to make small set-up improvements rather than having much less fun trying to prove that it’s not a complete dog. As a matter of fact, my MkII now holds the lap record at the test track – that’s how good it is.
So there we have it. The Slot.it GT40 is a great slot car and the white kit was ultimately a rewarding build - but it was one which could have been a bit easier!
SlotCarMAG came about as the result of a post on www.slotforum.com by Wayne Tooke in February 2011. In his post, Wayne wondered why nobody in the U.K. was producing a general slot car magazine. Amongst the large number of replies from slot car racers pointing out how difficult it would be to do, Wayne received a response from Marc Abbott – an experienced (“don’t say veteran”) racer with a great deal of expertise in layout, design and printing - which described how it could be done, and at that moment SlotCarMAG was born. As they discussed the format, Ric Woods, a former music writer and long-time racing adversary of Marc’s, went on record as saying that in order to be successful, any new magazine needs to be properly edited and proof-read. The others somehow took this as a job application, and SlotCarMAG had its editor!
From the first issue, the team have endeavoured to produce a magazine which not only looks great but also covers the myriad aspects of the hobby in an entertaining and informative manner. The concept of a ‘paper’ magazine seems to go against the modern technological flow, but has been welcomed with open arms by many enthusiasts – even to the point where it did exceptionally well in the SlotForum poll of new innovations for 2011! Given that a ten-year-old computer will struggle to give any service at all, it would appear that there is a lot of life left in the ‘future proof’ format of old-fashioned paper, and magazines which can build into an easily-accessible reference library for years to come. A magazine is only as good as its writers, and the SlotCarMAG team are quick to acknowledge how fortunate they are to receive high-quality contributions from slot racers and enthusiasts from around the world; they are also extremely grateful for the support they have received from SlotForum.
The magazine is published bi-monthly, and is available in three ways. A limited number of paper copies are available from the UK’s largest dedicated slot racing shop, Pendle Slot Racing (though these tend to sell out quite quickly), or alternatively paper copies can be purchased online from the self-publishers www.lulu.com. For those who really can’t bear to be parted from a screen, downloadable PDFs are available from the magazine’s own website, www.slotcarmag.co.uk.
Tags: Slot Cars