Friday June 23, 2006

New Scalextric JGTC NISSAN

If there has been a series in our hobby that has really caught the eye of both veteran and beginner enthusiasts, it is the recent releases of the (JGTC) Super GT line of cars. The popularity of this series in the 1:1 world has grown dramatically over the past couple of years and now Scalextric is offering their own versions for us to enjoy at scale.


Until now, NINCO has been pretty much the only choice of this series with a selection of models that has pleased many in our hobby. When Scalextric announced they too would offer a line, I was very eager to try one. Scalextric has been really accomplishing some fantastic work in the scale detail/fit and finish departments lately and I was hoping this would continue with these models.


My NISSAN Xanavi livery model arrived safe and sound from SlotCarPlace.Com and before it came out of the box I could easily tell that Scalextric had answered the call. When I removed the car I have to say I was very impressed with the accuracy and detail levels they have managed to bring to us in our scale.

Photos should do most of the talking for me here as pretty much everywhere you look, you see a very attractive model. Overall body shape seems a little more accurate than the NINCO versions and the small details added here increase the scale appeal. I brought this model with me to my place of employment and set it directly on my desk so that my co-workers could easily see it. All of the comments I heard were positive with many of them thinking it was a die-cast car. We have certainly gone along way in our hobby in the past 10 years and this car deserved the praise.

The deeper interior and driver figure really draws your attention and then you begin to find other small touches that give the model this finished look. Front and rear tow hooks along with fine screen mesh up front are signs they do attempt to please the fine scale crowd, but it was one small touch that really impressed me.

The small side mirrors on this car are made of soft, flexible rubber. I cannot comment enough on how I think this is a great change to a slot car detail part. Over the many years I have been in this hobby, the subject of mirrors and their durability (or lack thereof) has been a heated debate. Scale purists already did not like the heavy moldings on some to make them stronger, while heavy magnet racers still managed to break them. Scale detail seemed to begin to win over the car makers, and sadly many a fragile hard plastic mirror was lost. This new mirror is about as durable as you could ask for in a small side mirror and so far they have held up to some very heavy crashes and handling. The top antenna is the same way of course, and they all should last most of you for a very long time.

Wheels and tires looked very well and they were very round and true out of the box. One thing I noticed is that Scalextric has made the brake rotor detail a solid fixture, and it does not rotate with the wheel. I am not sure why they did this, aside from giving the car more scale appeal at speed with the caliper staying in place. In reality, you can not even notice this effort once you pull the trigger and some enthusiasts have already reported that the mounts for these rotors have been known to rub the inside of the wheels. My sample did not rub and all was well, but perhaps the time and effort for this molding is a little too much for some enthusiasts. However, I have to give them credit for trying to again raise the level of scale authenticity. It is efforts such as this that have brought us to the levels we have today, so by all means they can continue to try anything they want:)

Out of the box this model ran and functioned as intended. This is perhaps one of the strongest points of the Scalextric line and this model did not disappoint. If you are looking for a slot car that seems to ride on rails, you should be happy. This car is very stuck down with a strong magnet so if you like your models this way, you should be very pleased with your choice.

Turning the model over we see that are 4 screws that mount the body to the chassis. We also see up front a plate that is in place for the latest digital chip designed for these cars. This is different from other cars and Scalextric has releases a how-to guide on why it is made this way and how to install the module. I have published this guide HERE for those interested in the digital functions.

2 more screws remove the interior and we begin to see some familiar ground. Be careful when you remove these screws as they are slightly shorter than the chassis mount screws, so do not mix them up. You will also have to peel the tape away from the sides if the interior tray to remove it completely.

Once item you might notice right away is that there is only 2 areas in the chassis for the magnet. The second spot is directly behind the motor. Given these space restrictions, Scalextric has added a fine cardboard strip on top of the magnet. This will allow those who desire less magnetic down-force more options in tuning. We also see the standard Mabuchi motor sitting in the sidewinder configuration equipped with an 11 tooth pinion that drives a 36 tooth spur gear.

After re-assembly it was back to the track for testing. I enjoy when I have fellow racers at my home during the review process, and this car was fortunate to be driven by two of our fellow HRW members. Mark Thomas of Derby City Speedway was on hand as well as Tom Terriah the weekend of testing and each one pushed this model to the limit. We tested the model with my Pyramid power supply set right at 12 volts and used PARMA 35 ohm controllers on Artin track.

The more they raced it, the more the liked it. This car was taken over to the workbench where the tires were sanded and cleaned several times to get them just right. With about a few hundred laps on this car, it was clear that it was a great 1/32nd scale model that delivered plenty of fun out of the box.

Lap times very low with averages in the 3.8 second range. I want the reader to understand that this car is very fast and stuck down, and although it will give you quick lap times, the window of opportunity to correct a spin is very short. The heavy magnet in this car, like others like it work very well, but once they do break loose that is pretty much describing what happen to the car: It breaks away. Some enthusiasts enjoy their slot cars like this, and for that do you should be happy. However, I am just not a fan of my larger 1/32nd scale cars acting like oversized HO scale magnet missiles, so I reversed the magnet in the original front pocket and went back to the track. To remove the magnet, just use a small flat tip screwdriver and push it forward. The cardboard strip is held in place with adhesive, so do not try and press against it thinking it is a separate piece.

Fellow racers, this is where my NISSAN found that "sweet spot" so many us look for. I didn't think the difference would be as much as it was, but this car was a blast to drive. My lap times came up to the 4.3 second range but the overall control was much better for my driving style. The car would slide out much easier and I had the time to correct myself. It simply made the car more fun to drive, and my future models will get the same treatment.

I have to say that although I am not a fan of some of the efforts Scalextric has put forth, this car impresses me. They stayed with the original Mabuchi motor and standard flat bar magnet which I feel is more than enough. They also improved the durability factor with the flexible rubber side mirrors and came through with a very highly detailed model to top it off.

I will have another one of these machines in my collection, and soon. I do not take for granted a model like this that can deliver this level of fun. If you are just starting out or even a long time enthusiasts, you owe yourself and your fellow racers a closer look at what this hot rod has to offer.

- Harry

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Thanks Go To For This Model!