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ISSUE 8 • VOLUME 2 •JUNE 2012

FOR RACERS, COLLECTORS AND BUILDERS

A Betta Classic: Charlie Fitzpatrick; a name you can only associate with a Classic shell PLUS: March 701 build

Scalex Aston Martin:

Rob Smith delves into the history of Scalextric’s representation of this most famous marque

To Paint?:

Lynne Haines reveals how the track should be part of the scenic equation

The Italian Job:

Part three, where Rui blows the doors off his Ferraris

George Turner Models: Lancia-Ferrari D50 and Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta

! N I W REE

TH SSIC CL A ELLS 2 SHPAGE SEE


Mag SLOT CAR

Contents

FOR RACERS, COLLECTORS AND BUILDERS 2

Pit Board:

3

Betta & Classic:

In This Issue:

6 9 12 14

What a Classic! – if you’ll pardon the pun… Enter our competition to win three body shells kindly sent to us by none other than Charlie Fitzpatrick of Betta & Classic Shells. A slice of history There aren’t many companies that have been around as long as Betta & Classic. We were delighted to interview its founder, Charlie Fitzpatrick.

March 701: The Classic body assembly Andi Rowland shows that, with some care and patience, a basic Classic shell can be transformed into a masterpiece.

The Italian Job: Part three Rui is quite used to driving flat out on the “wrong side of the road”... especially when it comes to getting the most out of his Ferrari GTO and 275 P.

HO Dragsters!: Watch for the green light It’s all over in the blink of an eye, but Andy Player was pleased that dragsters at the UK Slot Festival really did light up the quarter-mile.

Resin models make us see red: Lancia-Ferrari D50 and Alfa Romeo 158 Alfetta A couple of highlights for us at the UK Festival were two new kits from George Turner. As usual, the attention to detail is superb with these lovely cars.

SlotCarMAG is an independent magazine for the Slot Car enthusiast. It is produced bi-monthly and available for purchase via our on-line store at www.lulu.com/uk and printed in hi- resolution digital format. Hard copies are also available from www.pendleslotracing.co.uk It is also available to purchase as a pdf download from the SlotCarMAG web site. For further information, please contact the publisher via email. Address opposite.

ISSUE 8 • VOLUME 2 • JUNE 2012

visit: www.slotcarmag.co.uk

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The Scalextric Aston Martin:

19

Absolutely Lacquering:

21 23 27 28

by Rob Smith Part one of a history close to Rob Smith’s heart. There have been many Astons made by Scalextric down the years, but Rob knows all the little subtleties too. Lacquering your car that is! The decals have been applied and the paint looks immaculate. However, don’t be tempted to use it – it’s still in a delicate state!

Formula 1 – ’70s style: Graham Pritchard talks to Ian Howard Even if you’re not old enough to remember the duels between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, you’ll still want to know more about this hotly-contested series.

To paint, or not to paint: That is the question You’ve probably thought about it. You’ve surely seen other people doing it. But have you the nerve to actually do it? Paint your track to realism, that is.

A Questionable Character: Sean Fothersgill No time to relax after his hard work at the UK Festival. Just when he thought we had forgotten, we turned on the lights and approached with our rubber hoses...

Dilworth: Meanwhile, at a guesthouse in France With the big race approaching, the West Hamley Team are relaxing rather than car prepping. Is this their demise, and is Lil really part of the team?

PUBLISHING / WEB: Wayne Tooke: info@slotcarmag.co.uk EDITORIAL: Ric Woods: ric-woods@slotcarmag.co.uk ART & DESIGN: Marc Abbott: marc-abbott@slotcarmag.co.uk

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to accurately compile the information contained herein, SlotCarMAG or any of its contributors or advertisers accepts no liability for any errors and omissions or any inadvertent disclosure of any information not meant for publication. SlotCarMAG neither endorses or accepts responsibility for the reproduction of material supplied that is of sub-standard quality, such as photocopies, laser prints, pre-printed photographs, low resolution digital images etc, and reserve the right to refuse the use of such material, products or services of advertisers in this publication. Opinions expressed shall not necessarily be that of the SlotCarMAG. All information should be verified before being acted upon. Copyright: Contents of this magazine or our web site, cannot be reproduced in any way, shape or form without the written permission of the publishers.

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1


C LASSIC Charlie Fitzpatrick The

life of

There aren’t many companies who have been in slot car racing as long as Betta and Classic, and I hope he won’t mind us saying that there aren’t many people who have been racing as long as the company’s founder, Charlie Fitzpatrick. SlotCarMAG asked Charlie to give us some of the background to this much-loved manufacturer.

Let’s go right back to the beginning. You made your first Classic body in 1956 – What was your involvement in modelling at that point? My involvement in model cars started in 1953. I was already a long-standing member of a model club in Southport called SMEC (Southport Model Engineering Club), and this club was involved in many aspects of modelling. In 1953 they started to race model cars on a rail circuit, which is now known as rail racing. The very first body I made for this type of racing was a 1954 Ferrari Super Squalo which was hand carved out of balsa wood. These were first used as rail racing cars, which was the first step for the racing of electric model cars in 1/32nd scale on a homemade scale racing realistic track. In the same year a breakaway club was formed, with a small

quantity of select members from the original SMEC club and a person, namely Walkden Fisher, who owned a large Victorian property which housed his very own rail track in the cellar. A club was formed called ARRA (Auto Rail Racing Association). It was in 1956 that a new form of racing was started here in Southport – slot car racing. Original bodies were still carved out of such materials as balsa wood, obechi and pine. People then began to ask me if I would make bodies for them, as my carved bodies were of superior quality to what most people could carve, with more detail and nearer to scale, and they were able to accept the electric motors of the time. This led me to produce a process where the bodies could be replicated in quantity, hence the evolvement of the Classic range of bodies manufactured from a fibreglass material. The first body

Very early photograph of rail race circuit. Note the realistic scenery prominent at the Southport Club.

Slot Car MAG – The magazine for racers, collectors and builders

3


Quick March! by Ric Woods

If you want to see just

what can be done with a

‘Classic’ shell, take a look at this issue’s

cover star, the March 701

A

ndi has modelled the car in which Chris Amon finished second to Jochen Rindt in the 1970 French Grand Prix at ClermontFerrand. 1970 was something of a watershed year in F1. Many cars were still essentially 'cigar' shaped, hanging over from the '60s but with various types of front aerofoils and rear wings, whilst some constructors were just starting to fool around with aerodynamics as a more complex and important medium. The March 701, the company’s first F1 car, was instantly recognisable by virtue of its inverted wing-shaped side pods. These were an attempt to gain some more downforce, and although the effect would have been somewhere between nonexistent and negligible, they at least were sowing the seeds for the amazingly complex and effective devices we see in F1 today. Some time ago Andi decided that he'd like to concentrate solely on 1970s F1 cars, since it seems to be a period very overlooked in slotting (compare the number of cars and bodies available from the 1950s, for instance) so he went round buying one of every existing body he could find, and obviously a lot of those were Betta and Classic bodies.

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by Andi Rowland.

The magazine for racers, collectors and builders – Slot Car MAG


“Just remember – in this country they drive on the wrong side of the road!”

The Italian Job

Part 3 – by Rui Costa

The challenge: In my last article in SlotCarMAG issue five, dating back to December 2011 (‘An answer to a Ferrari chassis problem’), I presented a viable solution for transforming the Sebring chassis found in numerous slot cars from several brands. I also stated that next time I would focus my attention on making some comparison tests between the Ferrari 275 P and the 250 GTO/64, both cars made by Monogram. Sometimes the most difficult challenges are those that we set ourselves, and so to comply with my promise I decided to conduct a series of controlled tests, as if I was doing a small science report, in order to reveal how different classic cars with different chassis configurations behave on the track.

The track: Three years ago I decided to replace my old Ninco set with a Carrera track, not only because the rails were getting too rusty and losing electrical contact, but also because the flexible plastic track sections were getting warped and deformed. This was probably due to great room temperature changes over the last ten years. I almost felt sorry to pay about £25 for a nearly brandnew F1 Carrera track on Ebay UK, which encouraged me to replace the whole track. The original design was kept basically the same, but the total length was increased from 9 metres to 12 metres. It is equipped with a DS 020 lap counter and infra-red sensor bridge, and a stabilized power source, set to deliver 13 volts and more than 15 amps if needed, which is more than enough to race cars with

Slot Car MAG – The magazine for racers, collectors and builders

very strong motors. I’m very happy with this track, not only because I prefer the smoother surface of Carrera, but I can also race 1/24th scale cars, like my classic Parmas. I’m still planning to extend it some day, by adding three or four more meters and a high banked curve.

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HO dragsters

by Andy Player

O

ne of the highlights of the HO Zone at the UK Slot Car Festival this year was the drag racing. Dozens of faces, young and old, lit up when the lights went green and those 1/64 scale Top Fuel and Funny Car dragsters zipped down the scale quarter- mile strips. In HO scale, a quarter mile is just over twenty feet – that’s sixteen standard HO straights and a nine incher, plus a few feet to slow down! If your home is a bit on the small size, just halve those dimensions for a perfectly respectable eighth-mile track. There are some serious HO pro drag strips in the US - tracks routed from plastic with dedicated PC timing and very expensive dragster controllers. There are some incredibly gifted HO dragster builders and tuners too. A budget alternative is the AutoWorld drag strip, released a couple of Christmases ago and aimed very much at the ‘fun’ end of the market. The strip is easy to set up and does what it does very well. There is no timing system, the finish line module simply uses light sensors to determine the winning lane. The start gate ‘christmas tree’ is very authentic, with two start sequences to choose from and another set of light sensors to penalise anyone jumping the gun. AutoWorld did the thing properly and got an NHRA licence, so there is an ever-expanding range of highly-detailed, authentic liveries on the Pro Stocks, Funny Cars and Top Fuel dragsters, and they have wheelie-bars too! These lovely bodies

Below left: Top Fuels at the start,

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Below Middle: 4-Gear or ‘Speciality’ chassis,

run on top of the AutoWorld ‘4-Gear’ chassis. Like most of AutoWorld’s products, this is a remake of an Aurora chassis from the late ’60s or early ’70s. In this case it is based on the Aurora ‘4-Gear’ or ‘Speciality’ chassis, one of the so-called ‘pancake’ types, named for the orientation of the motor. AutoWorld’s take on the ‘4-Gear’ includes two neodymium traction magnets which increase the stability of the car on acceleration and help stop the car on the dead section after the finish line. This basic package from AutoWorld, which retails at around $100, can be modified all you like. Firstly, you can run any kind of HO car on the strip. More amps are always handy for that initial power draw and, on mine, I use a seven-amp DC power supply. A controller upgrade is not a bad idea either. Take the start and finish modules apart and those light sensors are just begging to be rigged up to a simple timing setup. It would need some solid electronic skills, but nothing seriously advanced or expensive. The strips are huge fun just as they come, however, and the cars are perfectly suited, so at the Slot Car Festival, drag racing sceptics left the HO Zone as converts and asking where they could pick up a set. HO drag racing will definitely be back at Gaydon next May! Andy races at Worthing HO Racing (www.whoracing.org.uk) and in the EAHORC national series (www.eahorc.com).

Below Right: Getting ready for the start sequence

The magazine for racers, collectors and builders – Slot Car MAG


& Aston Martin Scalextric

Part 1 – by Rob Smith

Scalex DB2, C57 Type 1 Yellow, E5 Marshal’s car

These notes are based on models in the author’s collection with reference to Roger Gillham’s excellent Ultimate Scalextric Guide and help from a number of expert Scalextric dealers. The author would appreciate any additional information such as proof of an E2 Type 1 with big driver’s head and lights, or a yellow (or blue) DB4GT with sunroof.

The Minimodels DB2

he Aston Martin DB2 was introduced in 1950 and combined the 2.6L 6 cylinder engine from Lagonda with an attractive 2-seater sports body designed by Frank Feeley. With David Brown now firmly in control, Aston Martin got into its stride as a manufacturer of high-performance sports cars. The DB2 of 1950 produced 105bhp @ 5000rpm and had a top speed of 117mph with a 0-60mph of around 11 seconds.

Introduced in 1952, the Scalex range from Minimodels featured a keyless clockwork motor wound by a large fifth wheel beneath the car. Pressing the car down and pulling back turns this wheel and winds the clockwork motor which powers the car for 3 or 4 metres. Power is transmitted to the front wheels which pull the car along. The Scalex DB2 is crude compared with today’s highly detailed Scalextric cars but is actually quite a good shape and compares well with the real car. A one-piece body clips to a black painted chassis. Plain tin front and rear bumpers, side rubbing strips, grill and headlight bezels complete the outside. Inside there is a dashboard complete with steering wheel and a one-piece platform with rudimentary seats covering the clockwork mechanism. Strangely, only one front wing carries a racing numeral silhouetted within a white circle. This is usually the nearside wing but occasionally it has been seen on the offside. The Scalex cars came in attractive card boxes which cleverly fold into pit buildings. There are two versions of the box for the DB2. Early boxes have red and black printing on a buff background and later boxes are in yellow and blue. Disappointingly, the DB2 wasn’t modified to be one of the first electric Scalextric slot cars, although it is shown in the first Scalextric leaflets, priced at 22s 4d. In common with the cord-wound Startex range and many tinplate toys, many Scalex cars suffer from rust, especially on the inside where they weren’t painted. The bodies are fastened to the chassis with a number of small lugs and these soon break if repeatedly bent to separate the two halves. Wheels are frequently missing as is the tyre for the fifth wheel. The clockwork mechanism usually seems to work OK! The Scalex DB2 is seen in red, burgundy, cream, green, metallic green and metallic blue. The racing numbers vary on every car.

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The magazine for racers, collectors and builders – Slot Car MAG

T

he story of Scalextric and Aston Martin actually goes back before Scalextric was even invented. The 1950s tinplate Scalex range included the Aston Martin DB2 and all collections of Scalextric Aston Martins should start here. When the first tinplate Scalextric cars were replaced by injection-moulded plastic cars, the DBR1 was one of the very first models made. It wasn’t long before the DB4GT was added to the range and soon modified to create a James Bond DB5 complete with themed extras. There ensued a long wait before Aston Martin resurfaced in the Scalextric catalogue with the introduction of the DBR9. This was followed by the DBS, again with a Bond theme. The Bond theme continued and an action-packed DB5 was added to the range whilst Aston Martin enjoyed success on the tracks with the Le Mans prototype Lola-Aston Martin LMP1. Part 1 of the Scalextric and Aston Martin story covers the earliest Minimodels DB2 and Scalextric DBR1 and DB4GT models...

Aston Martin DB2

T


Lacquering Absolutely

Part 8 of car customisation

Y

ou should now have a car with all the decals applied and all secure, and you are happy with the placement. Before you do anything else, you really need to check that the car is clean and free from dust. The type of lacquer you use and the application method you use will dictate how much car assembly you do before you lacquer. I try to do as little assembly as possible. As with painting a car, there is more than one way to lacquer it, and more than one type of lacquer – one-pack, two-pack and Klear. Single-pack lacquers are supplied ready thinned, ready for use. Drying times are fast, which makes them ideal for modelling. Application is by three to five normal wet coats, with adequate flash-off times between each coat. A balance needs to be struck between enough applied lacquer to allow for protection and not too many coats, which leads to cracking and crazing with these products. You will also need a spray gun for this. Two-pack lacquers are much more resilient, but have their own application problems due to a) slower drying times and b) poisonous fumes. Even so, they are the preferred material for impact-resistant modelling. When activated and thinned as directed, application is by two or three normal wet coats with recommended flash-off times between each coat. Most types will be touch-dry within half an hour, and hard-dry overnight (16hrs) at temperatures around 20˚c. You will need a very well-ventilated area and a mask for this, as the product is really quite nasty; I can’t stress enough that you will need to keep safe when using these products, but the finish is almost bomb-proof. On the downside, it is expensive and normally comes in large quantities; you may find the waste and

Slot Car MAG – The magazine for racers, collectors and builders

by Richard Bennett

cost prohibitive if you only want to do one or two cars. You can also use automotive lacquer which comes in an aerosol can. These are around £6 and will do two or three cars. The technique to apply the lacquer is the same as when painting the cars using a spray can. The disadvantage here is that the lacquer can react with the decals and make them wrinkle, but this seems to happen very randomly and I have found no reason why it happens. The advantage of the automotive lacquer is that it is very hard wearing. My own preferred product is Klear made by Johnson (in the US it is known as Future), and you may also find it as Pledge. It is a floor polish and available in hardware shops and grocery stores and online at eBay etc. It is cheap at around £3 a bottle, it will last almost forever and do over 100 cars, depending on your application method. The whole point of running these articles was to give you a good shot at making your own car and not breaking the bank in the process… or upsetting the wife. If we assume you go with the Klear option, here is how to apply it. Again, there is more than one way to do this and it may be a case of you finding what works best for you. Klear is a clear liquid that has a milky consistency, so it is easily poured, brushed or sprayed. The newer version of Klear is called Pledge and comes in a white bottle. The stuff is actually a milky colour, but the good news is it dries clear.

19


Formula 1

’70s

with a

Twist!

Graham Pritchard talks to Ian Howard

“Stewart, Fittipaldi, Scheckter, Andretti, Hunt, Lauda, Villeneuve, Depailler, Siffert”

E

vocative names from an evocative era where tyres were big and the rule book was small - an era where the driver was more important than the designer and where vivid imaginations shaped the cars rather than the wind tunnel. Midlands-based slot racer Ian Howard has caused something of a stir at Bearwood Scalextric Club. Over the last 6 months Ian has restored some twenty-odd 1970s Formula 1 slot cars to amazing effect. Tyrrell, Lotus, BRM, Shadow, Brabham, McLaren, Ferrari and Wolf Grand Prix Cars have all been lovingly reworked and restored in his workshop. These were the cars that most “40 something” slot racers were brought up on, and in many ways it’s a shame that they are overlooked the way they are. Ian commented: “I grew up with these lovely cars and I suppose I am re-living my youth by restoring and improving these models… they do make a superb base for the scale modeller though, and I’ve had some really favourable comments about the results that I’ve come up with so far” There is a growing enthusiasm for these 1970s Grand Prix cars, and racers at Bearwood Scalextric Club have found that there's plenty of fast and exciting racing to be had with them. Ian says: “The lads at Bearwood have been really supportive and openminded about going retro with these great little Grand Prix cars, and the shared passion for this classic era of F1 has been truly immense within the club!” Ian has put together some competing car regulations known as “The Johnson Formula" for what looks likely to be a closely-

Slot Car MAG – The magazine for racers, collectors and builders

contested eight-round, 2012 Midlands-based Classic Grand Prix Championship for F1 cars built between 1970 and 1980. “The Johnson Formula” ethos sets out to revisit a golden age of motorsport to celebrate the diversity of design of the Grand Prix Cars of 1970 to 1980 and to keep the formula “low tech” and cheap to compete in, but still allowing some limited forms of modification to add interest and spice to the racing. Using the easy-to-find and cheap-to-buy Johnson E111 motor, the cars fall into the following categories, and although this is not an exhaustive list, it can include such classic cars as: • Open Pan Chassis: Scalextric: Brabham BT44, Ferrari 312T, Shadow DN1-5, BRM P160, McLaren M23. MRRC Lotus 79 etc. • Closed pan: Scalextric Williams FW07, Brabham BT49, Ferrari 312T3, Tyrrell 007/008, Lotus 72/77, Renault RS01. SCX Brabham BT46, Tyrrell 003, Tyrrell P34 (SCX motors are not permitted and must replaced by a Johnson Motor).

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Everyone who has a permanent track will face it at some stage. Those who have taken the wooden route can’t escape it. For those with plastic there is a choice to be made.

To paint or not to paint... That is the question. by Lynne Haines

I

t is a question that I avoided for as long as I could. There is a certain naïve charm in plastic track. Some have created truly lovely and joyous tracks using the pure ‘toyness’ of plastic track and accessories. But in a fullylandscaped slot car track the plastic does usually stand out as not quite right. Let me state at the outset that this is not intended as a stepby-step ‘how to paint a plastic slot car track.’ It is simply a record of how I went about the task. Any brand names that I mention are not recommendations, merely a statement of what I used. Apart from the wish to take a bit of the toylike nature of modular plastic track out of the scenic equation, the decision to paint the Tyers Targa allowed me to correct a bad decision that I made with the borders very early in the building process. The selection of gloss overlaminate for the printed vinyl borders had long been a reason for regret. Even so, the decision to go ahead

Slot Car MAG – The magazine for racers, collectors and builders

and paint the track was not an easy one to make. Concerns over durability of the painted surface and the overall affect on track usability were very high on the list. I spent a lot of time on the slot car fora researching what others had used for the process. Most seemed happy with the final outcome, although some took some very drastic steps in track preparation. Would you believe I found references to the Scalextric track requiring burning prior to painting? But I was unable to discover a formula with any kind of long-term guarantee. Discussions with my local paint retailer did not bear fruit. He’s becoming quite used to my tendency to ask strange questions and has, as yet, been quite unsuccessful in his attempts to hide from me. A passing remark on the Australian forum, Auslot, led me to the discovery of a paint expert who was also a fellow slot car addict. So, based upon his product recommendations, the Tyers

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SlotCarMAG issue 8  

SlotCarMAG is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the world of Slot Cars. Written and produced by enthusiasts from all over the world

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