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SNew Micro Scalextric track system

woodcote

1138 posts

I was very lucky to visit Margate last month for a preview of the new Micro Scalextric sets that were announced as part of the 2019 Scalextric range. What I saw were pre-production samples and prototypes - the first new set will be available in May.

 

The sets have a brand new track system that has been designed and developed over the past two years to make Micro Scalextric easier to use and more robust. The aim is to give first-time Micro racers a much better experience. Further sets, cars, track and accessories are also planned for 2020 and beyond so that Micro is supported as a long-term hobby alternative to 1/32 Scalextric - recognising that not all families have the space or the funds for full-size Scalextric.

 

First, let's look at the track. The dimensions are pretty much the same, but gone are the vertical rails - we now have a proper 'micro' Scalextric track with flat power rails and sprung connectors...

 

 

The track in the first sets will include 75mm and 150mm straights, 150mm powerbase, loop-the-loop and 45-degree 223mm (9-inch) radius corners.

 

Now for the cars. Compared to the current Micro cars, the new chassis look like this...

 

 

The new chassis is a little smaller, narrower and lower. The bodies are attached by a screw at the front, which also holds the much-improved braid plate...

 

 

The motor is a modern N20 can motor, which runs very strongly at 9 volts - the maxiumum track voltage of the new sets. The gears are the same, with the very smooth mesh that we know and love. The axles can no longer 'pop out' of the chassis.

 

Now for the sets... The new range features three standard track lengths - a 2.5 metre figure-of-eight in the two My First Scalextric sets; a medium sized set with 4 metres of track and 9 alternative layouts; and a big set with 5.7 metres of track and 12 alternative layouts. Wacky Races will be the first 'medium' set...

 

On the track, the cars are quick and nimble. The new adjustable controllers have 4 speed settings and are the same design as those released in sets at the end of 2018. I could run cars at full throttle on the first two settings and they would get round the track and loop-the-loops without de-slotting. On the biggest track (Justice League set), a little throttle control was needed on the highest setting. On all the set layouts, the top speed setting required good throttle control in the corners.

 

I made a video with more information and some footage of the cars on the Wacky Races set track. The video is here: https://youtu.be/38UaPHFyfck

 

I'll leave it there for now, but will add another post with some pictures of the new Warner Brothers cars from Looney Tunes, Wacky Races and Justice League - including the non-set cars. I'm also very happy to answer any questions and look at some ways of running current Micro Scalextric cars (and other brands of 1/64 scale cars) on the new track system.

Andy Player

woodcote

1138 posts

Three of the first four sets are Warner Brothers tie-ins. That has certainly caught retailers' attention and should give the new system that initial boost it deserves. Alongside the sets, there are five extra Warner Brothers cars due for release this year.

Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny are included in the Looney Tunes set. Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner are the two individual cars. I didn't see Road Runner, but he arrived in time to appear at the London Toy Fair - and looks great. These are pre-production samples, so are pretty close to the final production versions. The figures are in a soft flexible material, which looks durable and keeps most of the weight in the bottom of the car.

 

The Wacky Races cars are based on the 2017 reboot of the TV program. These are 3D printed and painted prototypes of the two set cars - The Mean Machine of Dastardly & Mutley and Peter Perfect's Turbo Terrific. The one individual car out this year is Penelope Pitstop's Compact Pussycat. I suspect there are more cars in the pipeline - the Gruesome Twosome at least.

 

The Justice League cars I saw were also 3D printed and painted prototypes. These are representations of four super heroes as cars, rather than vehicles they drove. Batman and Superman come with the big Justice League set, with Wonder Woman and The Flash released separately.

 

Some of the body shells from the 2018 set releases have been adapted to fit the new chassis, so expect to see some of those reappear in new sets in the future. However, there is also serious consideration to go beyond the Warner Brothers and 'fantasy' cars and produce some of the street and racing cars that can be found in the 1/32 range. There's a lot to choose from!

 

I really liked the new cars - I knew I was going to love the Wacky Racers cars, but the Looney Tunes cars stunned me by their excellence. The Justice League cars are different, but are certainly growing on me. What excited me too is the prospect of the designers of these new cars getting let loose on some 'real' street and race cars - those might well surpass the Aston Martin DBR9 and Peugeot 206 which are my favourite Micro Scalextric cars so far...

Andy Player

woodcote

1138 posts

The third part of my review is looking at compatibility. And I'll start by saying that the new track system is 100% not compatible with the old track. The new sets also run on half the voltage of the old sets - 9V compared to 18V. However, there is some cross-over potential between the two systems. What I've written below is partly theoretical, but mostly based on a few things I tested last month.

 

Without any modifications, the differences mean that the old cars will run slowly on the new sets and the new cars will be ridiculously fast and twitchy on the old track at anything beyond half throttle (and the motors may well burn out). For other brands of HO car, their solid shoes do not work with the flat rails of the new track. I did run an AutoWorld car that I'd soldered braid to the bottom of the shoes - it ran fine, but slow (due to the 9 volts).

 

I did think that plugging in an old Micro Scalextric power supply to the track (to give 18V) would mean old Micro cars and other brands (with braids soldered on) would run - that seemed a simple fix. However, Hornby have very sensibly altered the power plug so that this can't be done - only the 9V power supply fits the new powerbase.

 

So here are a few fixes that have come up in discussions with US HO enthusiasts. However, I must stress that all these are options for dedicated slot car enthusiasts who have some electronics and car-building skills. And we can't test them until those first sets arrive in May...

 

1. Multi-voltage layout. The simplest option is to use a variable voltage power supply that gives settings at 9V, 12V and 18V or a fully-adjustable bench-top power supply that gives options everywhere from around 0 to 20V. The easy option is to connect the new 9V lead and plug to the adjustable power supply. An advanced-enthusiast system would be to build a custom power track and driver stations that would allow controller upgrades, a brake circuit, relays controlling track power etc etc. That would be the ultimate HO system and I think the new track is ideal for that.

 

2. Adding braid to other brands of HO cars. With adjustable voltage, the old Micro cars will work fine. Other brands would need either braids soldered to their solid shoes or an HORacePro Slide Guide installed. The Slide Guide acts as a miniature Scalextric guide and is designed for HO cars running on 1/32 scale track. There is also a 'Standard Track' Slide Guide that is designed for the narrower slot in HO track - I think this would be ideal for the new Micro track. I shall be getting some Slide Guides from the US to test them in May.

 

3. Using a replacement chassis. Using adjustable voltage doesn't solve the issue of racing 9V cars against 18V cars. However, there is a perfect solution to running other cars on 9V on the new track - the SL2 3D-printed chassis available from Shapeways. This isn't an out-of-the-box option, it has to be built and components (braid, axles, wheels, tyres, motor, gears, traction magnets) have to be sourced. So neither is it cheap. However, using the motor (and axles, gears, wheels and tyres) from the new Micro Scalextric chassis, you will have a car with almost identical performance at 9V to the new Micro Scalextric cars. Available for the SL2 chassis are body clips to fit numerous brands of HO bodies - Micro Scalextric (1994-2018); most AFX/AutoWorld/Tomy standard wheelbase cars (1970s-2019); Tyco/Mattel wide and narrow (1970s-2019); AutoWorld Super III; Tomy Mega-G and Mega-G+ longwheelbase. Plus more to come... What I will aim to do is build two (and eventually four) SL2 chassis so I can race any of my HO bodies against each other on the new track and also against new Micro Scalextric cars.

 

4. Using new cars on existing HO track. This would mean dialing down the power to 9V or swapping out the motor for a new one that works at 18V. The Tomy Mega-G+ cars have a similar N20 motor that was custom-made to work at 18V - unfortunately these are not readily available. Some of us would very much like to run the new cars as a school holiday race series at our club - we'd continue to use our four-lane AFX track set-up, but reduce the track voltage to 9V.

 

I hope that gives people food for thought. If you have any other ideas, do share them here.

Andy Player

Hark

1 post

Have a question and a possible motor availability solution.   Is there a possibility of the manufacture of an adapter track between new and old tracks.

I've been buying and racing the N20 motors for sometime now.  Not only are they in AFX Mega G+ cars but some hobbyists have found they fit nicely into the SL2  chassis printed by Shapeways.  They inturn pointed hobbyists to a sourse in HongKong for the N20 motor at very reasonable prices.

Looking  forward to the release of this new system and hope that it has much better support than the old system.

Thank you for your report.

Regards

Hark

woodcote

1138 posts

Hi Hark - welcome to the forum!

 

Although anything is possible... I don’t think it will be easy to create an adapter piece between the new systems. Scalextric certainly won’t produce one. The old and new tracks are really very different. A DIY attempt would be possible if the slots line up and a transition between the new flat rails and the old vertical ones could be attempted with copper tape.

 

The new system is a 9 volts system, so that is worth remembering regarding N20 motors. Most N20s will work perfectly at 9 volts, the problem arises with finding them that will run at the 18 volts that power most traditional HO systems. I believe AFX had their N20s specially made to run at higher voltages. The N20s I have in my SL chassis run best between 9 and 12 volts.

Andy Player

woodcote

1138 posts

The first set containing the new Micro Scalextric system is due in the UK this month! Here it is: https://www.scalextric.com/uk-en/shop/coming-soon/my-first-scalextric-2f5373.html

 

More sets are expected over the summer, with the individual cars due in the autumn.

 

A pre-production layout starred at the UK Slot Car Festival a couple of weeks ago, getting plenty of use from the festival goers. It looked great and was a lot of fun...

 

Andy Player

woodcote

1138 posts

The new sets with the new track system are arriving thick and fast here in the UK! I've picked up the two My First Scalextric sets (I like the grey track) and they are fabulous. Here's the full list...

 

G1150M - My First Scalextric

G1140M - My First Scalextric Looney Tunes (Daffy Duck vs Bugs Bunny)

G1143M - Micro Scalextric Justice League (Superman vs Batman)

G1142M - Micro Scalextric Wacky Races (Mean Machine vs Turbo Terrific)

G1149M - Micro Scalextric Law Enforcer

 

These sets are all available from the Scalextric website now. Individual cars - Penelope Pitstop, Roadrunner, Wile E Coyote, Wonder Woman and The Flash - will be arriving in the autumn.

Andy Player

StephenR

1 post

Good Afternoon, I'm new here and new to the new micro system and I wondered if anyone could help regarding the new micro system. I have just purchased the Justice League pack for my son and Daddy being Daddy wants to purchase more track to make the circuits longer (secretly I bought it for me for my sons birthday) My question is: If I add more track will there be a voltage drop if I make it too long IE doubling the length from 5m to 10m, I have found some box sets on a well known auction sight minus the cars and before I purchase I would hope someone can answer my question. All the best S

woodcote

1138 posts

Hi Stephen - welcome to the forum!

 

The new new track system is certainly more robust and has better connections that the old track. There will always be a small voltage drop when you make a very long track, but the question is whether you notice it... I’ve added two of the new My First Scalextric sets and the Wacky Races set together and didn’t notice any issues - although two Justice League layouts will be a bit longer than that.

 

My suggestion is to try it and see. Perhaps make sure that any loop-the-loops aren’t too far away from the powerbase - those sections are when the cars would really suffer from a significant power drop! 

 

If you build a 10 or 20 metre layout and the power does seem to drop too much, you could buy or make power taps (also known as jumpers) like these: https://www.jadlamracingmodels.com/scalextric-c8248-sport-track-power-booster-cable-2x/

 

It looks like they should clip onto the bottom of the new Micro Scalextric track pieces.

 

One last thing - and I am sure you have figured this out... If you add new track to your Justice League set, it must be from one of the new sets (listed above). Track in the older sets will not be compatible.

 

Have fun and enjoy your new track!

Andy Player

woodcote

1138 posts

The updated list of the new version 9-Volt Micro and My First Scalextric sets is:

 

G1150M - My First Scalextric

G1140M - My First Scalextric Looney Tunes (Daffy Duck vs Bugs Bunny)

G1143M - Micro Scalextric Justice League (Superman vs Batman)

G1142M - Micro Scalextric Wacky Races (Mean Machine vs Turbo Terrific)

G1149M - Micro Scalextric Law Enforcer

Aldi exclusive - Micro Scalextric City Collision

Lidl exclusive - Micro Scalextric Rocket Raiders

Lidl exclusive - Micro Scalextric Arctic Assault

 

The Aldi set is priced at £34.99 and has two supercar-style cars (similar to the My First set). It is available online and in store. The track contents is the same as the Wacky Races and Law Enforcer sets.

 

The two Lidl sets are available in store only and are priced at £39.99. The Arctic Assault comes with two chunky SUV-style cars and the Rocket Raiders with two futuristic military vehicles with big guns on the front. Both have the same track contents as the Wacky Races and Law Enforcer sets.

 

Five individual cars - Penelope Pitstop, Roadrunner, Wile E Coyote, Wonder Woman and The Flash - are available now.

 

Those are your only choices of sets and cars at the moment. When the new system was announced in January of this year, the plan was to expand the range - sets, cars, track packs, accessories, spares etc - over the next few years. The 2020 Scalextric catalogue will be unveiled on Monday 6 January - so we'll see what's coming in the next twelve months...

Andy Player

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