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  • REVIEW: SCX Digital System Changeover Curve Track

    REVIEW: SCX Digital System Changeover Curve Track REF#:25050


    I've recently added a Changeover Curve Track to my SCX digital circuit, which was an item that had been on my wish list for quite some time.

    Why I didn't pick one up sooner and include it as part of my initial layout plans, I cannot say. If I should venture a guess it would probably point towards the fact my initial introduction to the SCX digital world pretty much left me wide-eyed and awed, and although I wanted everything at once, logic forced me to prioritize and I went about purchasing the items I deemed necessary and in descending order of importance: a track set, a second track set, pit box, additional straights, cars, inside curves, cars, lap counter, cars, lap counter expansion module, more cars... well, you get the point. The changeover curve somehow fell below the radar, and ultimately, left off my table top.

    Before long, my layout was complete and the scenic construction began in earnest (yes I know... impetuous, impulsive Len. Just ask my wife.)
    Anyone who is familiar with scenic construction understands how the process, once started, simply sucks you in and becomes an obsession. Overnight my layout was suddenly set amongst hills and gullies, boulders and riverbeds, paddocks and garages and hauler parking lots. Lights suddenly sprang up, as did a 1/32 change of seasons. And once again, that changeover curve track was left to linger in a forgotten heap of "what ifs".

    Set amongst hills and gullies... as well as thriving garages.


    And what had began as Summer... ended as Autumn.


    Well, I race my track and I race it often, and although not perfect as there are a few things I'd have done differently, I really enjoy its nuances. You must negotiate it carefully and choose your spots to initiate a pass, particularly when four or more are racing.
    I have a number of changeovers strewn throughout the circuit at various strategic points, and they work well as such. But it wasn't long before I recognized one glaring oversight - all of these "passing" points occurred on straights. I would've really enjoyed being able to slow an opponent's momentum by stealing his line upon entering a curve.

    And it was here the fabled "Changeover Curve" rose from the ashes within that heap of "what ifs", and soared like the mighty Phoenix. YES! That was exactly what my circuit had been lacking!
    Yet, my enthusiasm was curbed by one itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny problem: since I now owned a permanent layout, where could I introduce this much desired item with minimal collateral damage?

    Oh, boy... decision time.

    My options were severely limited. It was soon apparent that I could only utilize this unique track section in one of two locations if I wanted to avoid major reconstruction which would change my current layout's design.

    I felt I could replace the big, sweeping banked curve I had coming out of a straightaway, or perhaps, I could replace the curve in turn 2 which was just before a straight which led into a series of "ess" turns. Those were my only options and both had drawbacks.

    Placing it before the "ess" turns would probably have worked nicely, however, it would require a bit of shape alteration. Even more disturbing, there was a changeover straight immediately preceding and immediately proceeding the "ess" turns and over time, these both developed into two of the more "preferred" sections to illicit a passing move. Hence, I thought it unwise to diminish the effect these two points had on the flow of a race by introducing a curved crossover before such key features.

    There's a changeover straight both before
    and after the "ess" turns below:



    As far as replacing the sweeping banked curve coming off of a 16 ft. straight - well, that just broke my heart. But upon second thought - I had no crossovers within 10 feet of that turn, and in all truthfulness, it didn't sit well with me how inexperienced racers would work the course nicely, only to gun it on the straightaway and zip full speed through that banked turn, and subsequently, wrecking on the next turn. It was inevitable and happened over and over again, and really disrupted the flow of a 75-100 lap race. Coupled with the fact that this was the most convenient spot on the circuit to alter, it seemed a no-brainer.

    Facing the change...

    The conversion was not without its drawbacks however. Of course the new curve would be far sharper than the original, which was okay by me, but due to it's "single piece" rigidness, it would not conform to a concave sweep as did the original and that would be an element I'd sorely miss. Still, I really wanted to give it a shot.

    A far sharper curve than the original sweeping, banked turn.


    What lacked in a "sweep", I tried to compensate with "angle". I used foam-core board to create the elevation variances between inside and outside lanes, and managed nearly a 1-1/2" swing between both lines at their zenith. Pretty good for a "flat" plane pretending to be a "bank". When done, the test runs began.

    An 1-1/2" angle to act as a "banked" turn.


    At the outset, it took a little getting used to. You had to think about entering this turn; something you never had to do before. This was particularly relevant if you were considering "the pass".

    I also found, as with most my circuit (and I'm quite sure most circuits), different cars would find preferences in different lines:

    The #29 Monte Carlo outfitted with Tru-Grip Tyres preferred the high line, cutting to the bottom around the curve. The #9 Dodge with Supertires, the exact opposite.
    It seemed the Ferrari 550 Maranello and The Aston Martin DBR9 excelled in the top groove, whereas the Volvo S-60R and BMW 320, hugged the low groove.
    Still, all were not without their share of mishaps because there's a definate "feel thing" going on, and unlike before, you can't enter this turn full tilt.
    But you know what? I like that.


    Bear in mind, my circuit is not one of those gigantic basement layouts where the sheer length of its shortest straight will make you hyperventilate and green with track envy. On the other hand it's not of the ping-pong table size variety either.
    It is a modest 8' x 18' which in terms of 1:1 size, I refer to as my Dover International Speedway or my Monster Mile. And with that thought in mind, this one little change, or rather - one addition, has completed my vision of a "thinking man's track" which requires a bit of skill to negotiate successfully.
    Sure, I'd like a 30' straightaway, but we all would and since that ain't happening any time soon, this provided me with the one final element which seemed lacking in my track in terms of strategic scale racing - the ability to steal the line on a turn.

    In fact, I liked it so much after extensive testing, I immediately broke out the plaster cloth and created the hills which now line the rear of the curve (see last two photos above) before I could consider changing my mind!

    I know this has been a long-winded oration to merely offer my thoughts on a simple little item such as SCX Digital System's Changeover Curve Track, but I felt it necessary to not only review it, but also, describe how that simple little item has truly made a huge difference in the enjoyment level my track provides me.

    In closing, it's well-made, it's sturdy, it offers a unique addition to an already unique experience, and it works flawlessly. In short, if you are even mildly considering adding one to your layout, do it. This product's a winner.

    Len Boccassini

  • #2
    Just got mine today with the phase II expansion of my set-up. Very cool! I agree with all that was said, just in fewer words. Cool addition to the track.........

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    • #3
      My goodness Len, you should be in publishing! A really good review, and a really inspiring collection of photos.

      DaveK

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      • #4
        Good review and thanks. I was worried that G-Forces would not allow the cars to switch lanes properly. You say it is flawless? Wow.

        Keep up the good work Len.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Stoosh View Post
          I agree with all that was said, just in fewer words.
          I do tend to swing towards the "verbose" at times, don't I?



          Originally posted by DaveKennedy View Post
          My goodness Len, you should be in publishing!

          DaveK
          Yeah, my boss says that too, Dave... I wonder what he means by that?

          Originally posted by Danni O'Laisip View Post
          Good review and thanks. I was worried that G-Forces would not allow the cars to switch lanes properly. You say it is flawless? Wow.

          Keep up the good work Len.
          Thanks, Danni. Just remember: you can't take this turn with a wide open throttle and switch lanes, and not expect to deslot.
          This turn takes a "feel" as I said above, but the reason you can successfully steal that line is because your competition has to run with that "feel" as well and in essence, when the pass is made, you're out-racing him.

          If all-out, full-bore racing through a turn is desired, then I'd stick with the outer-outer banked curves that come with the Nascar Tri-Oval set. If you want to add another element of realism, which the system itself already provides in so many manners, then this curve is for you.
          Take care, buddy,

          Len

          (Oh, by the way... Danni, I did see that line about, "Len spilling beer on my track." in another post. The only reason I didn't comment on it is because if that ever really does occur, I don't want to hear you chanting, "I told you so!" across the forum.)

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          • #6
            lol

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            • #7
              This thread is now stuck to the top.

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              • #8
                Len,

                Nice job on the review! You mentioned some of your cars have different brands of aftermarket tires on them. Which brand of aftermarket tires hook up the best on your SCX Digital track?

                Best regards,
                Brian

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BRS View Post
                  Len,

                  Nice job on the review! You mentioned some of your cars have different brands of aftermarket tires on them. Which brand of aftermarket tires hook up the best on your SCX Digital track?

                  Best regards,
                  Brian
                  Without a doubt, Tru-Grip Tyres. The difference between Tru-Grips and any other brand on my digital track is unbelievable. Supertires would be great, however, they're sooo grippy that I can't keep them clean and after a few laps they're slip slidin' away from all sorts of particles they pick up.

                  Anyway, Brian, I meant to place an order with you yesterday, but got side-tracked, and am momentarily going to be side-tracked once again by my significant other & the "honey do" list, so I'll get with you later on.

                  thanks for the words of encouragement!

                  Len

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                  • #10
                    Which SCI supporter carries Tru-Grip Tires???

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                    • #11
                      Ortmann tires work well on many surfaces, especially dusty surfaces.

                      Alan sells them in his store I believe.
                      http://www.132slotcar.us/store/index.php?cPath=24_192

                      Ortmann's are sandable and tires for Slot It applications should work ok (with a bit of sanding) on many SCX modern GT applications.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DaveKennedy View Post
                        Ortmann tires work well on many surfaces, especially dusty surfaces.

                        Alan sells them in his store I believe.
                        http://www.132slotcar.us/store/index.php?cPath=24_192

                        Ortmann's are sandable and tires for Slot It applications should work ok (with a bit of sanding) on many SCX modern GT applications.
                        I'll give them a shot, Dave. I've actually been trying everything I can lay my hands on and noting which work best on various cars on my SCX digital circuit. I'll give Alan a shout & order some.
                        Thanks again!
                        Last edited by Len1775; 02-23-2008, 12:45 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Any one familiar with what the Heartland Nationals are? Len look out --- a right turn .... aarrrrggghhhh . Just kidding !!!

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                          • #14
                            Is Chuck here too ?

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                            • #15
                              Yes Adam, Chuck is here from time to time.

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