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Test Track - behind-the-scenes at Scalextric

Test Track - behind-the-scenes at Scalextric

 

Welcome to Test Track, an exciting new monthly blog which takes you behind-the-scenes with the Scalextric Development team.

Every month we’ll be showcasing and discussing brand new products, often several months before they're available, while taking a look at some of the important processes we use when creating Scalextric slot cars. We may even have important announcements between installments which we’ll share as soon as we can!

While you’ll be amongst the first to see new models announced, you’ll also be able get a better understanding of exactly what goes into producing Scalextric. Is there something that you'd like to see in future editions of Test Track? Let us know on the new Test Track Forum.

 


 

New for 2016 - Touring Car Legends - Ford Sierra RS500 and BMW E30

To kick off the first edition of Test Track, let’s talk about a brand new, never before seen 2016 release - the Touring Car Legends Twinpack - Ford Sierra RS500 and BMW E30 (C3693a). Both the Sierra RS500 and BMW M3 (E30) are new tooling models that are expected in the first quarter of next year. Development is ongoing but the team have been hard at work for almost eight months and we’re excited to show off these brand new models for the first time.

 

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TT-Sierra-BMW-Front3D CAD renders of the Sierra RS500 and BMW M3 (E30)

 


 

The development process - in a nutshell

Before we look into each new car in a bit more detail, it’s important that we explain the whole process each new tooling car has to go through. While this process will become clearer as Test Track develops, it’s important to have an overall grasp of the development journey. To help explain the journey each and every new tooling project has to go through we’ve separated the process into the following simple stages:

1. Research
Every project starts with research, assessing the commercial and engineering viability of the new model. Once this has begun, we organise site visits to view the actual car and obtain measurements, photographs, technical drawings and CAD data (if it's available) from the relevant licensor or manufacturer.

2. Product Design
With all the information compiled, the Scalextric designers can now get to work. Using the information gathered from site visits, plus any existing CAD data, the designer starts to create a “patchwork quilt” that makes up the different areas of the body. These sections can then be knitted together with CAD software, creating the basic 3D shell of the car.

 

Z4-CAD

 

3. Rapid Prototype
When the newly designed CAD data has been approved, a prototype can be created for the new project. Making use of a process called Stereolithography (or SLA prototyping), essentially 3D printing, a basic 3D shape is created which allows us to check the features of the model, and to make any corrections to the CAD model. As pictured below, the rapid prototype can even be fitted to a chassis to check its performance on the track.

4. Tooling
Work can now begin on the production of the tooling, the metal moulds which are used to manufacture all of the separate component parts of the car. This is a highly complex process, but essentially involves technology such as Electrical Discharge Machining which can directly reproduce a 3D CAD image as a metal mould.

5. First Shots
The first shots from the mouldings are then produced. Each component is checked for any moulding issues and compared to the original CAD data. The individual components are then painstakingly assembled into the final model, giving us our first look at the new car!

 

Z4-Stereo-First-ShotA first shots sample (black, left) next to a rapid prototype (grey, right) 

 

6. First Engineering Prototype (EP)
Once any issues have been resolved with the first shots, the first engineering prototype is sent through. This is again checked, and sent round our test track again and again and again.

7. Final EP
Once everything has been signed off, a final engineering prototype is sent through. This is the designers' last chance to ensure everything is correct, ensuring special attention is given to quality control. This final engineering prototype is really put through its paces on the test track, with varying voltage used to monitor the tipping point.

8. Artwork
Once the EP has been approved, work can start on the artwork. Both the product artwork and pack artwork are created by our in-house design team, checked and approved before being signed off.

 

Z4-ArtworkProduct artwork for the forthcoming BMW Z4 GT3 2012 Hatsune Miku - C3625

 

There are actually numerous other stages here but it’s probably enough for a whole edition of Test Track by itself!

It’s incredibly important to remember that licensor approval is necessary at almost every stage listed above. Almost 90% of the Scalextric range is a licensed product and each model has to pass through a rigorous evaluation and approvals process. We work incredibly closely with our licensors and pride ourselves on creating fantastic and accurate representations of the cars we model.

 


 

Ford Sierra RS500

The Ford Sierra RS500 is currently at the end of stage 3 of development - rapid prototype. Once this has been fully tested we'll proceed to the next stage, the first shots sample.

 

TT-Sierra-Research The Scalextric team on a site visit to research the Ford Sierra RS500

 

TT-Sierra-DrawingsLine drawings of the Ford Sierra RS500

 

TT-Sierra-CutawayCutaway CAD render of the Ford Sierra RS500

 

TT-Sierra-StereoRapid prototype on the test track

 

While the model is still a work in progress, don’t forget that we’d love to hear your thoughts via the Forum, Facebook or Twitter.

The Sierra Cosworth will be modelled in the British Touring Car Championship 1990 livery as driven by Andy Rouse. Rouse was one of the most successful drivers ever to appear in the BSCC and in 1990, driving this vehicle, he was able to finish third overall and second in class.

Features: High Detail, Easy Change Pick Ups, Magnatraction, DPR, Xenon Effect Headlights, Working Rear Lights, PCR

 

TT-Sierra-Stereo-Development

 


 

BMW M3 (E30)

 

TT-BMW-CutawayCutaway CAD render of the BMW M3 (E30)

 

Like the RS500, the BMW E30 is right at the end of stage 3, soon to move into stage 4 with its first engineering sample not too far away.

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TT-BMW-Research-1

TT-BMW-Research-2

 

In keeping with the 1990 BTCC, the BMW E30 will be released as driven by Frank Sytner. Sytner’s career had started eight years prior to the 1990 BTCC, first competing with a Rover 3500S. It wasn’t long before Sytner moved to BMW, after which he never drove anything else. Sytner won the title in 1990, in the <2000cc division, where the BMW M3s enjoyed a 27 race/class winning streak. Sytner also took the class honours, with five wins in the division.

 

TT-BMW-StereoThe BMW M3 (E30) rapid prototype on the test track

 

Features: High Detail, Easy Change Pick Ups, Magnatraction, DPR, Xenon Effect Headlights, Working Rear Lights, PCR

 

TT-BMW-Stereo-Development

 

TT-Sierra-BMW-Twinpack

 

These two historic cars are brought together in the limited edition Touring Car Legends Twinpack, due for delivery in April 2016 and available to pre-order from next week.

 


 

Other highlights

With the exciting news of the Ford Sierra RS500 and BMW M3 (E30) to look forward to next year, we wanted to shine the light on a couple of new releases that are available now, or very soon - Super Karts and Racing Trucks - both significant departures from what many consider “standard” Scalextric cars but both exceedingly good fun to race.

With the launch of Test Track, we can now give you more background on these two very different toolings.

 

Super Karts

Just released, the new tooling Super Karts are somewhat of a return to the past for Scalextric, albeit with our modern development techniques.

Available separately in two different colours (C3667 and C3668), in a Super Karts set (C1334) and soon to be available Micro Scalextric set (G1120), the Scalextric Super Karts are bound to be a popular Scalextric model.

 

TT-Kart-CAD

TT-Karts-Stereo-First-Shot

 

Here you can see the journey through the developmental stages for the Super Karts, starting with the necessary research, through to design, prototyping, first and final EPs and lastly artwork.

The Super Karts are DPR and Super Resistant, as well as having Easy Change Pick-ups and Magnatraction.

TT-Karts-Artwork

We’re incredibly happy with the Super Karts, both from a design and user point of view. They run incredibly smoothly and we hope you agree they look pretty good too!

 

Racing Trucks

Expected any day now, the Racing Trucks (C3609 and C3610) are possibly some of the largest models we’ve ever released. Coming in at a whopping 170mm (L) x 80mm (H) x 72mm (W), these trucks might require some changes to your layout to get the most out of them!

Designed for hard, full impact racing, we hope you have as much fun racing them as we did creating them.

 

TT-Racing-Trucks

 

Both Racing Trucks are DPR, Super Resistant, have Easy Change Pick-ups and Magnatraction

 

TT-Racing-Truck-CAD-to-Stereo

 

We definitely recommend giving these trucks a go. They race quite differently to other slot cars and soon put a smile on your face. There’s nothing quite like passing another truck on a tight curve!

 

 


 

We hope you have enjoyed the first ever Test Track blog and we’ll see you back here shortly. Please let us know what you think of Test Track on the Forum, or via Facebook or Twitter using the #ScalextricTestTrack, as we’re very keen to have your feedback. Also, remember to let us know your suggestions for future installments, whether that’s on a particular car or topic.

Thanks for reading and happy racing!

The Test Track Team

 

© Hornby Hobbies Ltd. All rights reserved.

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