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Home  >>  Reviews  >>  Track Sets

Ninco Karting Race Set

Published: January 1, 2002

Ninco Karting Set
By Mark McClellan

A long time ago, on a continent far, far away, I got my first slot car set. I have had many, still have a couple, but the first I really remember was a James Bond 007 race car set. I don't know what scale it was, but I think it probably was between 1/32 and 1/48. It seemed an odd size, and I was probably only 8 or so years old. I'm sure it was at least 1965 because our family had moved into a bigger house. James (Bond, that is) had the Austin Martin DB5 complete with bullet proof shield behind the back window. I don't know what the bad guy car was, but I think it was red.
The track was fully molded and there was only one way that it could be set up. Scenery and everything was molded into these big pieces, and one piece even had an oil slick that was supposed to make the cars lose control or something like that. It was really neat even considering the fact that you had no options as to how the track could be set up.

I also think this was the first of the "pre play tested" Christmas presents that I got, because I remember that the tires were already worn in and there were marks around the track from the tires. ("Oh no, Mark, Santa must have checked it at the North Pole before he brought it to you!" Yeah, right...)

The next really neat slot car set I got that I distinctly remember was an Aurora Thunderjet (HO Scale) set with motorcycles! Real, two wheeled motorcycles. The pickup shoes were out the side acting like outriggers to keep the bikes upright. The back wheel was split down the middle with the spur gear in the middle. This was a great set and the cool factor was off the scale!
36 years on and cool is back with the Ninco Go-Kart set. I bought this for my sons 17th birthday and at $210.00 Australian dollars it is well worth the price. [Editor's Note: this set is available in the U.S. at about $140 U.S.] The track is an extended oval that will fit nicely on a 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood. The running length of the track is a bit over 15 feet. Now, while this is a comfortable set, the small size really never lets these cars get up to speed, and I tell you they are quick!
The two standard cars are in 1/18th scale and are powerful enough to lift the pick up out of the slot. My first impression was that Ninco should modify the kart to have a drop arm on the pick up shoe. This would allow the karts to do wheelies (which real karts can't do).
Along came Christmas and I was obliged to purchase (for my son of course) some more straight track and an extra car. The extra car was a Ninco Super kart and it is also high in cool factor. All the cars are well detailed, but Ninco seem to have fixed the problem of lifting the front end on the super kart with the addition of two small magnets that provide 25 grams (roughly 1 ounce) of down force which keeps the pick up nicely in the slot. Both the regular and the super kart are evenly matched for top speed, but the super kart accelerates quicker because the front end doesn't "hop" off the line.