Slot Car Track Landscaping Advice

Slot Car Track Landscaping Advice

Many slot car players are content with having to race indoors on the living room floor but this can become somewhat stale over time especially if you have already maxed out everything you could possibly do within the 4 corners of your living space. One way to add flair and originality to your slot car setup is to put up a dedicated place for your track and slot cars other than the living room floor.  Here are some cool digital slot car tracks landscaping advice.

Add Grass Mats

Assuming you already have a dedicated table to put your Carrera slot car sets in, one of the most dramatic items you can add would have to be grass mats. These are available in rolls and can be as large as 50 inches wide by 50 inches long.  The size really depends on how big your table is. For this to work you will require a hobby knife, sharp blade, glue and some large flat weights like old encyclopedias.

Process

Begin with ensuring your slot car tabletop is clean and clear of track and debris because you do not want any of that gunk to become attached to the mat. Begin by unrolling the map on top of the table and letting it relax by laying it down with the grass mat facing up. The backing material can be made out of heavy paper or vinyl so it is able to adjust to room temperature. Spread glue onto the table surface only in a space as big as your first piece of grass mat. For bigger layouts you might need a wide paintbrush to spread the glue equally over the tabletop.  Lay the corner of the grass mat down with at least an inch of overlap over the table edge, working the grass mat down to the tabletop firmly. The objective is to get the grass as flat and even as possible. If you happen to have a rolling pin in the house, this can greatly help it as flat as possible.  When you have covered the entire table, get your old books and encyclopedias and use them as weights while the glue dries overnight.  The following morning, use your hobby knife to trim the edges and then lay your track plan.

 

Tips When Starting Out In Slot Car Racing

The three most popular brand of slot cars are Carrera, Ninco and Scalextric.  These companies have built a reputation over the years for providing hobbyists with high quality and innovative slot cars that have given hours upon hours of endless fun.  When it comes to scale, most beginners will enjoy the 1/32 model as this already contains all the bells and whistles needed for anyone to fully enjoy the world of slot car racing. 

To begin with, all slot car sets regardless of brand come complete with everything you need to enjoy this wonderful hobby.  Starter kits contain the slot car, track, controller and power supply.  When it comes to selecting which brand can provide you the best fun you need to know their similarities and differences with regard to track width, slot depth, surface texture and ease of assembly.

Carrera

Carrera is by far the industry leader among the other brands of slot cars in the market today.  They offer very flexible and durable slot cars that can hold their own in almost any track or condition. The Carrera slot car tracks are also less vulnerable to temperature extremes as these are made from styrene material known to be quite durable against warping during hot weather conditions.  The rails of Carrera slot cars  contain more nickel than other slot car brands, which make them less likely to suffer from the effects of corrosion. People that love wide tracks will love Carrera as they offer the widest among the different brands.  People with lots of room will appreciate the track size but if you are constrained for space you may want to look at some of the smaller variants available as well.

Ninco Slot Car Track Sets and  Scalextric

Ninco is known to have the second widest tack size available. The Scalextric track however has become a favorite for people interested in the 1/32 scale. They have replaced their earlier black classic track, which was known to be less flexible and rougher to the new version, which is grey and offers a smoother surface. This made it popular with 1/32 home track enthusiasts who prefer a smooth tight fitting-racing surface.

 Slot Cars Anyone?

Many new hobbyists pose the question which slot car is better analog or digital? The answer is it really depends on what kind of play or build you prefer. If you really want to know whether or not digital or analog is for you the best way is to race two similar cars of the same brand. Today we shall discuss the different brand of slot cars for you to consider.

Carrera

Among the different brands in the market today, Carrera is by far the industry leader both in innovation and number of slot car models and tracks available.  Carrera slot cars are known to be quite durable and sturdy than most other car brands out there. They are a bit heavier and the motors run up to 1800 rpm.  They were originally from Germany but are now based in Austria. Racing Carrera slot car is fun and easy and there are many variants to choose from. Their most popular is the 1/32 scale model.

Ninco

This slot car brand is based in Spain. They specialize in building slot cars that provide good detail and modifiability. Their classic line features low rpm motors while some are magnet-less. Ninco currently has 4 lines of analog slot cars for beginners. The motors run up to 16000 rpms but are not meant to be hopped up with faster engines. Due to a design flaw in the front axle, Ninco cars are a bit noisier compared to others.

Scalextric

Known as the company that produced the very 1st slot car, they feature superb out of the box performance values. They come with a standard 18000 rpm, strong magnets and are relatively lighter. The problem with Scalextric slot cars is they often derail from the tracks if the one operating them gets a bit too excited at the controls.

SCX

Known for the excellent detail on their slot cars, they perform very well on the track but draws out a bit more power compared to the other brands.

NSR

This slot car brand is based in Italy. Hand made and can be hopped up by hobbyists, they can be quite gorgeous to look at but the price can be a bit steep for the average user.

A Beginner’s Buying Guide to Model Trains

Whether you are 8 or 70, trains are a great hobby to have at almost any age level.  Kids who played model trains carry the hobby until adulthood and pass it down to their kids at some point. Kids love the fast allure and bright colors of model trains while adults are into the details, history and layouts model trains offer be it from Harry Potter or Grand Central Station.  Here is a beginner’s guide to buying model trains.

Model Trains Versus Toy Trains

It is important to note the difference between model trains with that of toy trains. Model trains are all about accuracy just look at your basic LGB starter sets and you will know what we mean.  Model trains are also constructed to scale and look eerily familiar with their real-life counterparts.  On the other hand, toy trains are less realistic, cheaper and generally are built to last longer than their model train counterparts. Examples include the simple wooden trains acting as pull toys and even some models of electric trains.

Model Train Layouts

The layout of model trains can range from tiny setups that run through indoor layouts to garden trains complete with garden railroad stock cars Technically speaking, trains that are big enough to ferry people are call miniature trains.  However, backyard railroads should not be mistaken for garden trains, as there are special design considerations that are applicable to outdoor layouts such as being weatherproof and resistant to animal tampering.

Sizes

When we talk of size in train speak we are almost always referring to scale which is the relationship of the model train to the size of a real train.  For instance, a 1:22.5 scale model means that there is an inch of the model that corresponds to 22.5 inches on its real life counterpart.  Gauge on the other hand refers to the width of the track where the train runs. The fact that scale and gauge come standardized, meaning trains of the same scale utilize the same gauge, there is really no need to keep track of which gauges to go with scales.

Carrera versus Scalextric Digital Slot Car Track Set

2016 marked the year where many slot car companies were in a transition phase. For instance, a new company bought SCX digital. Scalextric is also in transition because they have been trying to develop a new system, which they hope will be available to the public in 2017.  So far only the Carrera brand had gotten their act together and is ready for the 2016 Christmas season. 

Scalextric Digital

This company’s philosophy is to come out with digital slot car sets along with digital chips that you can easily install in any slot car brand. Pick out any Scalextric analog car, change the chip and it is now digital for all intents and purposes. The problem is they do not have a good variety of analog slot cars that you can experiment with to go digital.  Along with the small range of cars available, there is also a need to solder the chip into the slot car for it to work.  Scalextric released the C7005 digital chip, which was designed to race using a different brand like say, Carrera analog cars on the Scalextric track. Again, this would require a bit of soldering ability.  If you were the kind of hobbyist that likes to tinker and solder stuff onto different cars then this would be like manna from heaven.  However, if you were most people that prefer a plug and play approach you would be in for a lot of hurt.

Carrera analog cars

One of the most popular is the Carrera digital 1/32 track set designed to run digital Carrera slot car systems.  You can also opt to buy a digital chip for just about any Carrera analog car and then race it on the digital slot car track.  The basic set comes with wired controllers that can race up to 4 cars at a time. You can race up to 6 wired controllers by purchasing a digital controller extension. Moreover, you can also opt for wireless controllers, which will allow you to spread out more.  Great if you have kids around the house who want to race and run after cars around the track set while holding controllers.

Top Model Train Recommendations

Kids of all ages love collecting model trains. That is a known fact. Model trains are not only fun and enjoyable but they also stimulate a child’s imagination and helps give them a sense of history.  Model trains are available in an array of forms and can come as locomotives, garden railroad streetcars and the like.  Model trains come in a number of specific gauges, which for the untrained can be quite daunting.  If you are keen on collecting model trains or any other type as a hobby here are some top model train recommendations to consider.

Lionel Harry Potter Hogwarts Express O-Gauge Set

This model train comes as a five-piece set and is constructed with all the bells and whistles to assist Harry Potter and his friends to travel from Hogwarts School of Magic and Wizardry and back.  It comes with a lot of cool features and is very easy to operate.  Even kids can assemble the train set with ease.  It is recommended not just for Harry Potter fans but for all collectors.

Life Like Trains HO Scale Freight Runner Electric Train Set

Whether you are collecting sets for garden trains or just starting out on this wonderful hobby, you will definitely enjoy the Life-Like Trains Freight Runner set. It comes with an array of features that make it a complete delight anytime you get on the railroad. The train features a powerful GP38-2 diesel with a lot of real-life features including a boxcar that can be slid open and headlights that power up immediately when the engine is fired up.

HO Scale Roadwork Essentials

This train set is considered one of the most affordable model trains that are available in the market today. It comes with a huge array of accessories unlike other model train sets in the market today. The best thing about it is that it already comes assembled and ready for use.  You get to enjoy an array of features like vehicles and other structures that have been meticulously hand-painted.  Enjoy accessories like a dump truck and road grader as well as compressor trailer and barricade set.

 

How To Select the Best Slot Car Track Set

It was only in 2005 that digital technology began to be applied to our fave hobby of slot car racing  Many old school slot car veterans did not like the shift from analog to digital mainly for nostalgic reasons. If you are thinking of going into this hobby but feel a bit conflicted whether or not to go old school or new, here are some tips to guide your choice.

What Space Issues?

Lack of space has often hounded analog slot car racers for as far as one can remember.  However, Carrera digital slot car tracks has removed this issue altogether. With digital you can race up to 6 cars easy on a two-lane track set which can be achieved using something as small as a 4 foot by 8 foot sheet of plywood.  If you want to go lone wolf most of the time go with analog, but if playing with your friends is your thing you can set it up easier without having to give up lots of space if you go digital.

Tinker Tailor

If you are the kind of hobbyist that likes to tinker with their slot cars then analog is the right fit for you due to the simple fact that digital slot cars cannot be hopped up so to speak. You may ask is it an absolute truth that digital slot cars are unmodifiable? Not so, they can still undergo customization but will require more technical know-how than your average beginner hobbyist.

Who will use it?

If you have younger kids that want to enjoy slot car racing, it is best that an adult is also around to guide the youngster in setting up a digital slot car system. Digital is also more expensive while analog is cheaper. If kids are going to just collide the cars for play all the time, you might be better off with analog until such time they get a feel for the hobby and treat it right.

Why You Should Buy Standard Scale Model Trains

Toymakers in Germany, England and France were the first ones to make model trains using tin in the 1830s.  The age of American tin trains did not begin until the 1860s. American toymakers designed their trains using a heavy tin-plate because they discovered European trains were not that durable.

Standard Scale Model

The standard scale was trademarked by Lionel and introduced in the United States in 1906. The fact that the term Standard Gauge was not available to other train makers, competitors at the time used the term Wide Gauge to describe their standard Scale model trains. Hobbyists that collect G scale starter sets and standard scale train sets often use the terms interchangeably.

More Fun with Standard Scale

Standard scale when compared to HO scale requires more space to use. To some this may be a disadvantage but if you are already putting together the motors for garden railroads you definitely have the space for this type of train.  Bigger trains means better detail which means a higher level of authenticity.

Collecting Purposes

It is a known fact that many model-railroading collectors are either operators, collectors or a combination of both.  There is simply a lot of enjoyment that emanates from owning a standard scale model train. Choose from an almost endless array of available locomotives, track sections, cars and cabooses available.  Moreover, vintage Lionel train sets from the 1930s are prized and considered one of the most collectible ever in the genre.

Creative Outlet

Collecting model trains establish a creative outlet for you and your son to enjoy. There is an almost endless array of track layouts and detailed model landscapes to choose from ranging from a rural old west setup to a bustling Victorian era train stop.

Custom Market

There is also a subset of the market that deals with customized train sets. As a matter of fact collector and operators pay top dollar in order to get their hands on these one-of-a-kind custom sets. What makes these trains so special in the standard scale? Rarity.