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  • woodcote
    started a topic New Micro Scalextric system announced

    New Micro Scalextric system announced

    I haven't dropped in here for a while, but thought you'd all want to know about the latest exciting news from Micro Scalextric.

    I was lucky enough to be shown the 2019 range this week, which includes a completely new track system, a new chassis and some fabulous Warner Brothers licensed sets and individual cars.

    I have put most of my pictures and video clips, plus some text commentary in this short film, which gets its premiere here on SCI

    https://youtu.be/38UaPHFyfck

    The new system is very different - the track is more like 1/43 plastic track, but HO size - and the chassis is designed 100% for the new track. The old Micro system wasn't working for Scalextric - they made a decision to stick with 1/64, but then built from the ground up. It's a brave move - it's extremely rare to see any 1/64 track systems that aren't based on Derek Brand's sixty-year-old Model Motoring design.

    The power for the new sets and cars is 9 volts - another shift away from the HO norm. But with the little N20 can motors in the cars, it's a logical move. Of course, using a different power supply alters the voltage to whatever you want it to be.

    If the new system delivers a reliable product, that can only be good for the HO side of the hobby - Scalextric want Micro to be a solid alternative to their main 1/32 system for those who don't have much space or want something more economical. The sets will be sold around the world, including North America.

    All Scalextric are focused on is their target audience, but I'd like to think enthusiasts will be intrigued. The pre-production bodies looked great and the production bodies will look even better - with a 1.7 inch wheelbase, those may end up on Tyco or Mega-G chassis before too long... The track system may interest some people, although braids or Slide Guides (or a lot of shoe tweaking) will be necessary to get standard HO cars running. As has been mentioned by RichD elsewhere, the smooth, flat rails might interest Gravity racers, perhaps?

    The sets come out in Britain during June/July and the individual cars in August/September. North American dates shouldn't be too different. 2020 will see more sets, cars, track expansion packs and accessories. In keeping with wanting to offer Micro as a long-term hobby option, racing sets with 'real' racing cars are being seriously considered for 2021-22. Which is great news - although I do like the Wacky Races and Looney Tunes cars very much
    Last edited by woodcote; 01-18-2019, 09:19 AM.

  • woodcote
    replied
    I think the 9 volts is good - especially for the N20 motor. And it is an added bonus that all the new cars will work on both the battery and mains-powered sets. The battery sets are obviously compatible anywhere in the world where batteries are sold - from Kansas City through Cairo to Kathmandu - extending the potential reach of HO slot car racing. I understood the UK sets would be mains-powered.

    The patterned tracks were on show at the recent grand re-opening of the Hornby HQ in Margate and Micro again to centre-stage in the Scalextric display. The grey track in the My First Scalextric sets looks especially nice.

    The only other updates I have is that the sets will be going into production this month, so everything is on schedule. A few post-testing tweaks have been made to the chassis. The first set is due at UK retailers in May and I plan to be ready with Slide Guides, SL2 chassis and my soldering iron to see what I can do. Not long to wait until playtime begins...

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  • DaveKennedy
    replied
    We are doing 9 volts so the system works with both electric and battery powered. We are doing the sets in both those power source types to have a lower priced option to sell to the mass market.

    Leave a comment:


  • Wet Coast Racer
    replied
    Originally posted by woodcote View Post
    It's all General Franco's fault, apparently.
    Well yeah, and that's why they invented the EU, right?

    Danm it's good to see you posting again here, you are a fountain of information.

    Leave a comment:


  • fastlap
    replied
    Originally posted by woodcote View Post



    Scalextric do also have current licenses with the likes of Ford, General Motors, Porsche, Ginetta, Aston Martin, Le Mans (ACO) and the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) amongst others. They have used similar licenses to produce some nice 1/64-ish scale racing cars in the past (SpeedHoppy's pics include some of the best), so fingers-crossed there are more to come.

    That would be cool. I have a few bodies, courtesy of a cool guy across the pond (wink-wink) that I would love to turn into some resin bodies. Just haven't gotten that far yet.


    .

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  • woodcote
    replied
    The SCX / Scalextric thing is confusing. What we know as SCX is called Scalextric in Spain, whereas Scalextric is sold in Spain as SuperSlot... It's all General Franco's fault, apparently.



    The important things is that it was SCX who produced two 1/43 scale systems - the off-road Super Track System (STS) between 1985-1990 and the more recently SCX Compact, which was available quite widely in the US (places like Target, Walmart etc). I don't know the current state of SCX, but if they turn up at the Nuremberg Toy Fair this week, that means they are still in business. I do prefer SCX Compact over Carrera Go!!! - but the Carrera system is the one that has succeeded.



    Scalextric (Hornby, UK) have produced 1/32, 1/24 and 1/64 track systems. Micro is 25 years old on Friday, so I might post up a potted history of that in another thread. When Micro was launched in 1994, Tyco and AFX were still selling HO sets and cars in the UK - although it wasn't long until Micro was the only 1/64 scale show in town on these shores.


    Jim mentioned that Micro is a gateway to the larger scale. That's mostly been true, although there are a bunch of Micro enthusiasts that I've come across, mostly on facebook. There are collectors, scenic modellers (there's a stunning Star Wars Death Star layout I particularly like) and home racers who want something smaller than 1/32. Micro cars have been raced at most of the UK HO clubs at some point. Worthing, South Cambridgeshire and Chesterfield have run them as IROC club car classes.



    The reason for the choice of sets is that Hornby signed a licensing deal with Warner Brothers last September. That means they can use characters, themes and branding from all the DC comics, Looney Tunes, Wacky Races, Harry Potter etc etc. Sadly not Danger Mouse & Penfold...



    Scalextric do also have current licenses with the likes of Ford, General Motors, Porsche, Ginetta, Aston Martin, Le Mans (ACO) and the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) amongst others. They have used similar licenses to produce some nice 1/64-ish scale racing cars in the past (SpeedHoppy's pics include some of the best), so fingers-crossed there are more to come.

    Leave a comment:


  • DVD3500
    replied
    So THAT's why we have Brexit...

    Leave a comment:


  • Wet Coast Racer
    replied
    Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post
    I am not clear on what SCX means to Scalextric. I have seen both 1/43rd and 1/32nd scale cars and sets called out as SCX. Could it be that SCX is some kind of sub-division of Hornby, or another company making "Scalextric" products under license? Dunno.
    I don't recall all the details, but some years back the two companies split. In Spain, SCX were allowed to continue marketing their product under the Scalextric name; but in the rest of the world, Scalextric held the necessary copyright, so the products from the Spanish company had to branded as something else - i.e. SCX. I have no idea whether Scalextric UK markets their products in Spain, or whether they're actually branded as SCX there.

    Appreciated your other inputs on your 1/43 experiences, and find myself in agreement.

    Note to Woodcote - let me know if you want the 1/43 stuff in this thread moved to a new thread.

    Leave a comment:


  • HO RacePro
    replied
    I bought a Scalextric SCX 1/43rd set back around 2007 or 2008, just to see what it was about. The US retailer "Target" had sets for sale at the time. I eventually sold the track, but kept the cars.

    Apparently they are still available for purchase. "Electric Dreams" and Amazon have sets for sale -- possibly remaindered.

    The cars that came with my set were F1 replicas, with traction magnets. The track looked a lot like the new Micro Scalextric track, definitely sized for 1/43rd scale, but with slots similar in width to 1/32nd scale track.

    After I pulled the traction magnets I found the pickup braids were far too stiff -- holding the front wheels off the track. I installed Slide Guides (because, well, you know) and that fixed the problem. The cars run very well now. I still have them, and they see track time every so often. They run just fine on my routed HO tracks, and actually can be run side-by-side on all four lanes. My slot spacing of 1-3/4" (44.5mm) is wide enough for all the 1/43rd cars I own.

    FYI, I have sold quite a few Slide Guides to customers, especially in Europe, who use them on their 1/43rd scale cars. The Carrera cars benefit most, because their oblong guide pins tend to jam in the slot if the cars drift a bit.

    Mounting Slide Guides to 1/43rd scale cars is a bit more challenging than to HO cars. Some cutting, drilling and shimming is often required, but the end result is usually worth the effort. Frankly, it is the guide/pickup system those cars should have been born with.

    I wouldn't have complained if Hornby or Carrera had pirated the design. The 3D printing crowd has shamelessly done so, and I'm not miffed. It's not like I'm making a fortune selling Slide Guides. As much as anything I keep the business going to help improve the hobby. I like it that at least a few people think Slide Guides make their slotting more enjoyable.

    I am not clear on what SCX means to Scalextric. I have seen both 1/43rd and 1/32nd scale cars and sets called out as SCX. Could it be that SCX is some kind of sub-division of Hornby, or another company making "Scalextric" products under license? Dunno.

    I think there is real potential for 1/43rd down the road. More realistic than HO, better power conductors and pickups, but not much more space-intensive. It has been having trouble finding its market, but give it time...

    Ed Bianchi

    PS - HO conventional hard pickups really do not work on wide metal rails or copper tape. They just don't, and never have. They can work well on raised braid (braid that is slightly proud of the track surface). They'll often need some fussing and tweaking, but if you find the magic they'll work just fine.
    Last edited by HO RacePro; 01-27-2019, 02:21 PM.

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  • Wet Coast Racer
    replied
    Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post
    Scalectrix did make 1/43rd scale sets for a while. Now extinct I guess. That scale deserves much more love than it gets.
    I believe that's the STS system that you're referring to, as referenced here. No doubt Woodcote will be able to provide more detailed info.

    Originally posted by JimDouglasJr View Post
    Still, it's a gutsy move and I'm all for kids having a pleasant experience. Yes, I do believe they're using this new system as a gateway to larger. I'm betting these sets will come with colorful brochures with larger cars/scales, giving kids something to dream about.
    Well put.

    Leave a comment:


  • JimDouglasJr
    replied
    Still, it's a gutsy move and I'm all for kids having a pleasant experience. Yes, I do believe they're using this new system as a gateway to larger. I'm betting these sets will come with colorful brochures with larger cars/scales, giving kids something to dream about.

    I think improvements and evolution are great.

    However, I can't help but think that if the rails on this new track were also other-brand friendly, like being 1 mm tall instead of flush, it would have been cool.
    I mean at least with common track standard, all brands can be run on them in friendly competition, and for decades, it encouraged chassis evolution.


    The Tyco Magnum 440/440 X2 are fairly bulletproof cars with steel guide pins, ditto Tomy Turbo, so the argument for ease of use is up for debate. Younger kids will still step on cars, push them down when re-slotting, bending their axles, etc. The braided pickups definitely allow for fewer fiddly parts, though, and simpler power systems.
    I think there's room for the new system and I wish them good luck with it. We've discussed the future of the hobby elsewhere and anything that will peak a child's interest is a bonus, especially in a touchscreen, on-demand world.



    I bought Scalextric James Bond cars a few years ago just to try them out and they are delightfully different.

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  • HO RacePro
    replied
    Scalectrix did make 1/43rd scale sets for a while. Now extinct I guess. That scale deserves much more love than it gets.

    A slightly wider lane spacing and track width would make Micro racing without traction magnets more feasible. It would allow more sliding/drifting without tangling with a car in the adjacent lane, or falling off the edge of the track sections. It would help make it easier to 'mature' into more conventional slot racing in 1/64th scale. (I wonder how easily the traction magnets can be removed?)

    But I suspect Hornby is more interested in having the wee ones grow up and graduate to their 1/32nd scale offerings. That scale seems to be dominant in the UK and Europe.

    Still, the Micro cars should be well suited to migrating onto routed tracks. With their braid pickups they could run on either copper tape or braid -- copper tape being the cheaper and easier to apply alternative.

    And the slots could be routed 3mm wide instead of 2.25mm -- no issues there.

    Upgrading to a better guide would probably be a common mod. Fit a Slide Guide? Um, maybe. Might not be that simple. Dang it.

    Ed Bianchi
    Last edited by HO RacePro; 01-26-2019, 05:06 PM.

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  • NicoRosberg.
    replied
    Originally posted by woodcote View Post
    I agree that even a couple of millimetres more would have been an improvement
    I'm not sure.

    Other than making it possible to run 1/43rds, which would not interest Hornby, or the vast majority of buyers. It might tempt Scalex to go wider with their cars (especially as the chassis is still quite wide), which they have already done with the proto for the new chassis, making the cars less proportional despite the 1.7'' wheelbase.

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  • woodcote
    replied
    'Hoppy - I've not been a big fan of cartoon characters on slot cars either, but the Looney Tunes cars certainly surprised me! The Wacky Races cars were also promising and I did love the original series as a kid. However, what I'm more excited by is the prospect of the same designers taking the same care and attention on any future 'real' racing cars. My mouth waters just at the thought...

    Ed - most of the overall track dimensions I measured were approximately the same as 'traditional' HO track, including the lane spacing which does work out at 1.5-inches. I agree that even a couple of millimetres more would have been an improvement.

    This is what the digital calipers said:

    Track width: 74.5mm
    Rail width: 4.0mm
    Lane spacing: 37.6mm
    Slot width: 2.25mm
    Slot depth: 5.75mm
    Curve radius: 223mm (approx 9-inches)
    Straights come as 75mm (approx 3-inches) and 150cms (approx 6-inches)
    Curve pieces are 45-degree (1/8 of a circle)


    The sets appeared at the London Toy Fair last week and reaction from retailers and the press was positive, by all accounts. The sets were a main feature on the Hornby display.


    The new Micro offerings are also featured in the latest Scalextric Test Track video blog: https://youtu.be/_CAz5zDabiI

    Leave a comment:


  • Speedhoppy
    replied
    Hey, Woodcote, I am not against cartoon characters! Growing up, I watched Saturday morning Warner Bros. cartoons (followed by cooking shows; go figure).....

    But when I discovered auto racing in 1964 at age 11 (specifically endurance racing like the Ford GT40 & Ferrari "P" cars, and open cockpit sports cars like the Chaparral 2 & Lola T70, I was hooked!

    My first Aurora set had Mustangs, but when I could get the Ford GT, Ferrari Dino & GTO, I raced THEM. Never wanted "cartoon cars"; but that is just me. I STILL prefer the racers of the 60's & 70's if I can get them........
    Last edited by Speedhoppy; 01-24-2019, 10:19 PM. Reason: Sentencs addition

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