SCALEXTRIC TVR 400R
By tom Dandes
All right the story goes something like this. Gene sent me an e-mail a few days ago asking me to review a car. No problem right? But here’s the catch he wouldn’t tell me what it is. The only thing he will say is and I quote “ I know how excited you get when those blue boxes show up”.
So all week long I have been waiting for the box and wondering when the heck is it coming.
Well yesterday evening it finally hit the door. Ok what is it? Street Mustang, Lamborghini, New Audi or how about the Boxster Porsche. (Gene was right I was getting excited.) I opened the box and pulled out the car and my first words were,
“Ok what is it”?
My son says “Wow Dad it’s a TVR”.
Ok, son so what’s a TVR? (Shows you what I know).
Anyway on to the review!
Body and paint:
Looking at this car it is easy to see how far Scaley has come within the last few years. There is absolutely no sign of casting flash anywhere. The paint and clear coat on this car is perfect with no dust sealed to the body. But to appreciate it you really have to look close at the car to see all the small details that are easily missed. Don’t believe me, look across the hood and see the raised hood pins. And I have to admit the TVR’s do look good.
The wheels of the car are nice and match the cars body color. The tire lettering holds up extremely well and doesn’t rub off at the first touch. This car does come with chromed and drilled brake rotors that will not go unnoticed for you detail types and they do show nicely.
Rear tires come real close to touching the body but they haven’t as yet and I can’t get them to either.
Lights:This car came lighted and I do like lighted cars. I have always felt it adds a little more reality to the hobby and looking at the small pinhole taillights whizzing around the track really makes this car look good. The front lights are a different story though. There is something about that yellow glow. Scalextric could have installed the bright white colored lights just as easy.
The one thing that always concerns me on a new car is the side mirrors. I have a rather large and growing collection of these elusive gems and I was wondering how long these would last. On most cars I run they have a tendency to come up missing within the first 20 laps. Then I get to spend the rest of the day on crawling around looking for them! But as of this writing I am happy to report I have yet to break one off.
This is another one of those items that is in the same category as side mirrors. They break off. It is a fact of life I have come to realize.
This one is no exception. After a couple of hard barrel rolls I found one upright had broke off. Looking closer underneath the car shows that there was not enough material on the tab where it slides into the body. CA glue will repair it but it will just be a temporary fix.
Looks realistic and is nice and thin. It lays flat against the windshield and not stuck up in the air like someone shaking their fist in anger for being cut off on that last lap.
You can always tell how well a company puts together a car just by looking at the clear coat and the tampo’s. Look at the bottom corners of a cars tampo’s and clear coat. What you normally find is runs, dust or the tampo’s colors washed out. Here they show no signs of this. They are clear, sharp and easy to read. There is a nice even clear coat that covers and protects them.
These cars have a real low roofline just like the real thing. Trying to look inside of the car is almost impossible so don’t expect a picture. What can be seen from outside is the drivers head and helmet and roll bar. Now Scalextric heads and helmets are something that has been a problem with a lot of people with me included. They have always been way out of proportion. Yet here Scalextric has made a change for the better and the driver head does look realistic. Points for Scalextric!
What you can’t see in the interior is the nice gages and fire extinguisher. They are in there trust me.
Here the body was removed by 6 screws. Two forward of the front axle, two forward of the rear axle, and two in back of the rear axle.
(Warning: the two screws for the back are longer than the others. Make sure that they go into those rear holes only.)
(Warning: When removing the body lift the front off the front first and then the rear. When reinstalling the body install the rear first and then the front. Anytime you are installing or removing the body pay close attention to the rear lights as you could break the circuit board.)
Nice and stiff with little flex. This is important since inline front engine cars have a tendency to bow causing gear set misalignments.
9-tooth pinion and a 27-tooth crown. This will give you a 3.00 gear ratio, which is fine for most tracks. Gear set is nice and quite. And yes Scalextric did lube them from the factory.
Drive shaft bushing and axle bushings are plastic and snap into the chassis. Nowhere could I find one of these bushings that would spin in the mounts.
There is no side-to-side play in the rear axle but the front has a little more than I like. This can be taken care of by removing the front axle and installing a couple of shims.
Looking inside of the chassis you find that there are two bar magnet positions. One in front of the rear axle and one just behind the motor in the center of the car. The rear axle position is where the magnet comes when received. The magnet is held in place by two locking tabs. Removing the magnet you will find that it is extremely thick. Testing later will show how it performs.
Motor is front mounted drive shaft configuration. Motor mounts are tight and there is no side-to-side movement. The motor does have the standard resistors to make the FCC people happy. They are used to prevent interference in other electronic systems and can be removed.
All wiring is ran to where it is out of the way and laid out very neat. Leaving nothing to get tangled up anywhere.
Tires are slicks and out of the box had a slight cup in the center of them. Removing the tires and reinstalling them back on the rims removed this problem. Edges of these tires are nice and rounded so they won’t catch on the track. Tires are round and only need minor truing if any.
When the tire was removed it was interesting to see that the casting nubs normally left on the center of the rims had been remove and sanded flush. Again points for Scalextric.
This is my first Scalextric car with the new guide system. Looking at it you can see how this guide allows more of a turning radius and the screw and post setup has less play then most stock systems. Braid changes were a snap literally and the guide is spring-loaded for self-centering. Track test showed the guide system worked flawlessly. But there is still no deep guide to run with the sport track. Why?
When I had the body removed I happened to touch the front grill while playing with the guide. The grill easily broke off in my hand. Looking at the damage I could see where two really small plastic posts were used to keep it in place. Why the grill wasn’t just glued to the front of the body is beyond me. Just glued it back into the body and it is no longer an issue.
This car does come lighted and the circuit board shown here are pretty durable. But care needs to be taken when you remove the body or the rear board can be broken. It’s nice to see that all the wiring, lights and circuit boards are secured tightly to the chassis. If there is one thing that puts me off immediately on a new car is to open it up and find handfuls of parts going on the floor. Not so here.
Out of the box this car is quite and reasonably quick. As you run it you will notice that it does carry some topside weight. Because of the higher center of gravity it will never be as fast as their Lola or Lister. But when comparing apples to apples (Scalextric Camaro with Silicon tires) it becomes more realistic. Shown below are three cars that were run 20 laps each.
Best time is 4.1 seconds.
Best time is 3.9 seconds.
Best time 3.5 seconds.
Out of the box and running the car you will feel the magnet just like a Scalextric Mustang or Camaro. It has to be pushed pretty hard for a de-slot to happen.
On a whim I moved the magnet to the forward position and the laps times got slower and the tail did start to slide out some. But the trade off here is once the magnet came loose so did the car. The guide doesn’t de-slot the car but what does happen is the back of the car will break loose and tip. Once tipped the guide will lift out of the slot and the car rolls. If the car had a deeper guide it would help solve some of this. Best runs were made with the magnet in the stock back position.
Truing the tires does help lap times the same as adding silicones. I did find the tires had good grip and were not that affected by dirt.
This car can also be run magnet free by adding some lead to the chassis, which will lower the center of gravity. Doing this will produce a decent magnet free car.
The things I didn’t like were the short guide, the rear spoiler and grill breakage.
Now overall it is a good decent running car. It runs on line with the Scalextric Camaro’s and Mustang’s. It needs little if any work to it and is a good running car out of the box. It’s quite and looks especially good with those small rear taillights blazing into night. I just wish now I had bought that Tuscan TVR.