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Product Lab - January 2006

Published: December 16, 2005
Get the drift with new Scalextric set
Reviewed by Andy Lilienthal

Product: In the hobby industry, what is popular in 1:1 often soon follows in small scale, and the sport of drifting is another shining example.

First there were the 1:1 drift cars putting on exhibitions of smoke, speed and control. Following that were the R/C car drifters that can now be found sliding through parking lots all across the U.S. Now comes 1:32 slot car drifting.

The drift set includes a figure-eight track with a center-located crossover; detachable borders around the track to compensate for the cars' rear ends sliding out; guard rails; two throttles; a bag of tires for building a tire wall and replacing worn tires; extra braids; a powerpack and two Nissan 350Z drift cars.

These cars employ a guide allowing the vehicle to spin 360 degrees without coming out of the slot, and the cars also have diodes and special braids allowing them to always move forward no matter which way you're going around the track.

Scalextric uses one-piece bodies with painted-on features, such as windows, taillights and headlights. Although there is a compromise in realism, the painted-on features more than make up for this in their durability.

Product: Powerslide drift slot-car track
Maker: Scalextric
Scale: 1:32
Stock number: C1158
MSRP: $167.99

• A new twist on slot cars
• Very durable vehicles
• Fun and challenging to drive

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Auto Art produces new Mustang for slot racing
Reviewed by Fred Jandt

Product: As a slot-car enthusiast sometimes I find it hard to get excited about a car beyond the way it handles and its top speed. Many (if not most) of the cars in my collection are ranked by these factors.

Part of this detachment comes from not being familiar with the cars I am racing. Fellow Model Retailer staffer Andy Lilienthal is a "motorhead" and knows pretty much everything about every car we race, but for me, a lot of cars are just that - cars. That's why the Ford Mustang GT 2005 from Auto Art is a new favorite of mine. Not only is it cool to have a "current" car in my stable, I also see a ton of them on the street. That's something you can rarely say with slot cars - something I wish there was more of.

Product: Ford Mustang GT 2005
Maker: Auto Art
Scale: 1:32
Stock number: 13051
MSRP: $39.95
Availability: Gateway Global

• Hot design of a current car
• Driver and passenger figures
• Good handling and speed

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Testor produces another powerful Hemi kit
Reviewed by Mike Soliday

Product: In 1951, Chrysler released its first hemispherically shaped combustion-chamber engine. Several variants were produced during the 1950s, but aside from the sparkplug location and valve-train arrangement, these early engines had nothing in common with the second-generation Hemi that shook the car world when it was unleashed in 1964.

Developed from the 426 Max Wedge and dubbed the "race Hemi," the new 426 Hemi took the competition by storm. Chrysler took the design one step farther the following year with the A-990, which featured aluminum heads and a magnesium intake.

A street version of the 426 Hemi wouldn't be available until 1966, but more than 300 A-990s were dropped into Super Stock Dodge and Plymouth sedans - to be sold for off-road use only (yeah, right!).

Product: A-990 engine kit
Maker: The Testor Corporation
Scale: 1:6
Stock number: 455
MSRP: $30

• Fun kit to build
• Easy-to-follow instructions
• High level of accuracy

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HPI's Nitro RS4 3 Evo a blast to drive
Reviewed by Hal Miller

Product: I continue to be impressed by the level of quality in ready-to-run radio-control cars these days. One model that's been out for a while is HPI's Nitro RS4 RTR 3 Evo. This shaft-driven, all-wheel drive 1:10 touring car packs a lot of punch right out of the box.

With the numerous hop-ups HPI offers, this is a great car to recommend to your customers just getting into the hobby. It's based on the proven Nitro 3 series of components and features a 2.5 mm anodized aluminum chassis, a two-speed transmission, the .15 Nitro Star T-15 engine, a fully decaled and painted body and the TX-2 transmitter. There's no pull-starting here either; the Evo is equipped with the Roto Start system.

HPI also supplies wrenches and copious spare parts with the Evo, which is a nice touch. Their instruction book is one of the best I've ever seen, featuring many illustrations and exploded-view diagrams.

All the customer has to do to get running is add nitro fuel and install four AA batteries in the car for the receiver and eight more in the transmitter. The driver must also supply a glowplug igniter and a 7.2-volt battery pack for the Roto Start.

Product: Nitro RS4 RTR 3 Evo
Maker: HPI Racing
Scale: 1:10
Stock numbers: HPI Racing Impreza, 10034; Stiletto V12, 10031; Toureza, 10032; Venom T-10, 10033; BMW M3 GT, 10001; Dodge Viper GTS-R, 10002.
MSRP: $559

• Great looks, fit and finish
• Good speed and handling
• Transmitter feels substantial

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Climb the walls with Life-Like NASCAR-themed set
Reviewed by Andy Lilienthal

Product: Life-Like's NASCAR-themed Turbo Blaster set offers small-scale slot racing at big-time speed. In fact, Life-Like claims speeds up to 1,000 scale miles per hour! If that isn't exciting enough, how about the ability to race on a vertical surface?

The HO-scale Turbo Blaster NASCAR set comes with a whopping 35 feet of track, including the aforementioned "wall-climb" section, two crossovers, a slippery-skid section, lap counter, two controllers, tune-up kit and Kellogg's- and Lowe's-themed stock cars.

Product: Turbo Blaster NASCAR slot car set
Maker: Life-Like
Scale: HO
Stock number: 433-9444
MSRP: $123.50
Availability: Walthers

• Fast racing action
• Durable cars
• Great track layout

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Revell-Monogram's Hummer H1 is a 'snap'
Reviewed by Andy Lilienthal

Product: This kit is a modified reissue of the Hummer H1 snap kit released a few years ago. The main difference is the addition of large chrome wheels/tires and the deletion of off-road tires. Like the previous iteration, the kit comes with stickers instead of decals. Paint and glue aren't required, either.

The kit's body is molded in orange; other parts are molded in black. The beautiful wheels and disc brakes are chrome-plated, and there's a clear windshield piece, too.

Product: Hummer H1 snap kit
Maker: Revell-Monogram
Scale: 1:25
Stock number: 85-1938
MSRP: $15.25

• Beautiful wheels and tires
• Easy assembly
• Popular subject

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Micro-Trains brings workhorse diesel to Z scale
Reviewed by Jeff Wilson

Product: The coming of a brand-new diesel model is always welcomed, especially when it doubles the number of North American-prototype diesel locomotives available in Z scale. Micro-Trains' new model is based the GP35, EMD's 2,500-hp road-switcher of the early 1960s. More than 1,200 real GP35s were built from 1963 to 1966, and many have been rebuilt and remain in service. The GP35 isn't flashy: It's just a plain-jane diesel that could be found on main lines across the country, making it an excellent choice for a model.

Product: EMD GP35 diesel locomotive
Maker: Micro-Trains Line
Scale: Z
Stock numbers: Pennsylvania Railroad (Nos. 98101010 Magne-Matic, $165.95; 98101011 Marklin, $164.15), Union Pacific (Nos. 98101020 Magne-Matic, $195.95; 98101021 Märklin, $194.15)
MSRP: See above

• Huge addition to Z scale
• Beautiful model
• Fits variety of layout eras

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Wits & Wagers good family or party fun
Reviewed by Jim faber

Product: Wits & Wagers, co-published by Eagle Games and North Star Games, is a trivia game merged with a betting game with a decent dose of strategy included. The point of Wits & Wagers is to earn the most chips by betting on the correct answers to number-based trivia questions.

The game includes a betting mat, poker chips, mini dry erase slates with markers, 100 question cards and a 30-second timer.

Product: Wits & Wagers game
Maker: Eagle Games and North Star Games
MSRP: $34.99

• Short game length
• Accommodates a lot of players
• Even playing field for all

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SCX's Alfa Romeo a short-track wonder
Reviewed by Fred Jandt

Product: Sporting the Team Alfa Romeo livery for driver Gabriele Tarquini, SCX's new 1:32 slot celebrates the European Touring Car Championship, now the inaugural World Touring Car Championship. Tarquini drove the 1:1 version of this car to victory in May's WTCC race in Silverstone (UK).

Product: Alfa Romeo 156 "ETCC"
Maker: SCX
Scale: 1:32
Stock number: 61870
MSRP: $43.99

• Eye-catching livery
• Excellent handling
• Solid performance

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Atlas continues HO GE string with B23-7
Reviewed by Jeff Wilson

Product: Atlas continues its excellent line of models following General Electric prototypes with this all-new B23-7 diesel locomotive. The smooth-running model, available either with or without sound, is based on GE's 2,250-horsepower locomotive built from 1977 through 1984. A total of 536 were built (including 125 that went to Mexico).

Product: GE B23-7 diesel locomotive, Conrail Gold Series model (No. 8110)
Maker: Atlas
Scale: HO
Road names: undecorated, Conrail, CSX Bright Future scheme, Missouri Pacific, Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, Union Pacific
MSRP: Silver series $139.95, Gold series $249.95

• Variety of options
• Great multiple-sale opportunity
• Sharp looking and running

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Be a robber-baron with Railroad Tycoon
Reviewed by Jim Faber

Product: The men who connected America with railroads in the 1800s were visionaries and, many times, incredibly ruthless and greedy businessmen. Eagle Games' Railroad Tycoon offers your customers the chance to test their own hands at dominating America's most important industry of that time.

Product: Railroad Tycoon: The Boardgame
Maker: Eagle Games
Stock number: ISBN 0-976824-90-6
MSRP: $59.99

• Great replay value
• Gorgeous components
• Strategy demanded

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Takara's tarantula is creepy, cheap fun
Reviewed by Jim Faber

Product: Certain natural creatures seem to tap into primitive fears we all seem to share. No matter how many times we've seen them before or how, rationally, we know they pose no real threat, catching a glimpse of a snake, scorpion or spider tends to make us jump a bit.

Now Takara has created a simple, cheap R/C tarantula so consumers can take turns springing a big, ugly spider on each other via radio waves.

Product: R/C Tarantula
Maker: Takara
Stock number: N/A
MSRP: $19.99

• Creepy leg movement
• Simple to operate
• Choice toy for young boys

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