In Newsletter Archive 2013

You knew somebody would do it…

And it looks like the somebody is Avant Slot.

Avant Slot Delta Wing

These photos of a 1/32 scale Delta Wing slot car under development by Avant have leaked out onto the Internet.  No information on price, release date, or technical specifications has surfaced, but this prototype looks like a very creditable effort.  It will be intriguing to see how it performs as a slot car.  If it doesn’t perform, the body and chassis can be used as a starting point for building a model of an exotic sci-fi spacecraft.  The bottom view reveals how much the shape of the car resembles that of the Space Shuttle.  We’ll pass on more information as it becomes available.

Carrera McLaren M20 project

Doing what (we think) we should have done to begin with…

Those of you who have been waiting breathlessly for the next installment in the Carrera M20 saga will recall that we got as far as testing the car with the inline Flat 6 motor and discovering that no matter what we did we couldn’t come up with a magnet installation that didn’t give us either not enough magnetic downforce or way too much.  We concluded that the solution might be to cut off the whole back of the chassis and make the car a sidewinder. So…we did it.

The first problem was, what chassis could we cut the entire sidewinder motor mount assembly off of to graft onto the M20 chassis?  We first considered the ubiquitous Fly rear pod, which has been around since shortly after the War of 1812, or so it seems.  We have used it successfully in several chassis projects, taking advantage of the ease with which it can be modified to accept a wide, long bar magnet that gives just about the right amount of downforce.  It has one significant drawback for this project, however,  It is made for the FC130 motor, which we don’t want to use because of the low clearance under the rear part of the M20 body.  The FC130, unfortunately, has that plastic endbell, part of which sticks up above the top of the can and just won’t clear the McLaren body. 

With a warehouse full of chassis and chassis parts we had no lack of alternatives to consider.  Finally we came up with a TSRF T3201 chassis center section, shown above.  Its virtues make it ideal for this project. First of all, it’s cheap at $4.49.  If we ruin one cutting it up it’s no big loss.  More important, it accepts an FK130 motor, which doesn’t have the plastic endbell.    We speculated that if we went to a sidewinder installation we’d have to raise the back of the body back up a bit, and we were right, but the TSRF mount lets us fit the FK130 in place and snap in a bar magnet in one of three positions directly under the motor, the optimum location for a traction magnet.

The first step in the car’s transformation from inline to sidewinder was to cut off everything on the chassis from the rear motor mount back. 

The next step was to cut the TSRF center section to the length of the rectangular area we had opened up in the Carrera chassis for the Flat 6 conversion. This created a sidewinder pod for the Carrera chassis. We also cut away some additional material at the left rear of the Carrera chassis, next to the left rear body mount, to fit the corner of the TSRF motor mount.   Test fitting revealed that we had cut the TSRF chassis a bit short, so we added a strip of sheet styrene at the end of the Carrera chassis cutout to space it back just enough to get the rear wheels in the proper location within the body’s wheel openings. We also added small bits of sheet styrene as shown above to locate the pod exactly as needed and to fill gaps between it and the chassis cutout, providing plenty of surface area for CA gluing the two parts together.  The result was a snug slide-in fit with everything  positioned accurately to fit the body.  With the fit between the two adjusted we set the chassis on a hard, flat surface with a piece of paper in between to soak up any excess glue. We then applied medium CA glue to the mating surfaces on the pod, and slid it into place in the chassis.

When the CA had set we test-fitted the FK130 motor, also a TSRF unit, at least for now.  We had to cut away some material from the vertical structures just forward of the rear wheels to provide clearance for the motor shaft and the pinion gear. 

And this is what the assembled chassis looks like with the motor and axle assemblies installed.  The wheels and tires are from a Monogram Greenwood Corvette.  The Corvette rear tires are just enough narrower than the original Carrera McLaren wheels to fit the slightly wider sidewinder installation within the car’s overall width. The Sterling mag wheels of the Greenwood Corvette look good on a CanAm car.  We used them previously on a McLaren M12 built on a Fly chassis.  The spur gear is a TSRF part. 

Here’s a bottom shot showing clearly where pieces of white sheet styrene were added to fill gaps.  Before the project is completed we will paint the chassis so the white styrene won’t show.

Next — remounting the body and more track testing.

If you have questions or comments about this article please send them to

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