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New AMT slot car kit review


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#1 Jairus

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 11:22 AM

Received on my front step last night at 6:30 and I worked on it until 10:30 assembling the chassis and taking pictures. The following is my thoughts and a basic assembly review. That is part one. Part two will be later and involves mounting the body, paint, and detailing. Part three will be a road test and part four... the "hop-up"!

Initial look at the box art shows this to be beautiful! Vintage colors, no expense spared on printing and packaging.

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Parts under a blister just like the old days... and still hard to remove from same...

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Two types of window glass are provided: injection molded clear (including headlights) and vacuum-formed and tinted full glass. This is handy as there is no provided interior details whatsoever.

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Decal sheet seems complete and is extremely well printed. Appear thin enough to disappear under clear coat... that is if I plan to go shiny. Frankly, I plan to go period dirt track.... but that is later.

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Little baggies of parts...

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Two-piece guide? Some assembly required here...
In this day and age, why AMT engineers choose to re-invent the wheel I do not understand. But... it does go together with little fuss and seems like it'll work fairly well.

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The guide is after all, patterned after Parma almost to the dimension. Nice that the threads go all the way down though eliminating the need for a threading tool. Parma item will not fit the chassis without modifications to the chassis as we will see later.

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Wheels are plastic/nylon material. No set screws. They press fit onto the axle like some of the 1/32 kits do.
Inside dimension just about perfect for a set of inserts. Tire are soft rubber and will provide fairly good traction with this motor. Front and rears are the same material and all four wheels same size.

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Motor has little markings and the magnets are no where near as strong as those in a TSR motor. However, spinning up on the tester shows it to have plenty of torque. This explains why it comes with a 3.75 to 1 ratio. The aluminum adapter is there to convert the motor screws from vertical to horizontal. This is interesting to me. Why not simply make the chassis with horizontal holes in the first place?

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But... that means it fits this motor with no mods... :)

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This motor, BTW, is in my hop-up kit for part four!

Continued...
Jairus H Watson - Artist
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#2 Ace

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 11:45 AM

My local raceway has these kits in stock. Mark, the shop owner, built the kit and several people have tested the car. While the body is cool the rest of the kit is less than desirable from a "racing" standpoint. The car looks cool but I would put the body on an FCR chassis.

As you stated, why re-invent things? One great upgrade would be wheels with set screws and a re-think on the guide flag to chassis set up. Also the wheels and tires are not in scale to the body.
Darrell Fuller

#3 Jairus

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:08 PM

The chassis before:

jwa.jpg

And after:

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With the adjustments and the wheel spacers, this chassis can fit almost any 1/24th scale model kit body.
But the spacers are not easy to cut. I tried cutting them with an exacto blade...

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But a cutoff wheel in the Dremel seems to work more quickly. The '57 Chevy required .15 front and .45 rear spacers by the way.
Using the vintage white nylon spacers would have been easier and more precise though.

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I would say that it took me a good solid 2 hours to build as I took my time making sure everything went together well. The gears have me a bit worried. The set screw doesn't go deep enough so the gear rocks slightly. No way to set gear lash... a lot like Scalextric does with their 1:32 cars.

By the way... TSR motor will not fit.

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Clearance under the chassis is a hefty 5/32". Guide is positioned 1/4" behind the front axle. When it pivots the stops are unfortunately the lead wires. Don't think they will last long mounted there. Soldering them to the brass tabs sticking out seems more logical.

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Mounting and painting is next.
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#4 Jairus

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:00 PM

Okay, mounting this one is no more difficult than any other hard body car. I went the simple route as you will see since my build-up is to be an actual racer and not just a shelf queen. The kit instructions suggest and provide double sided tape to mount the body. This would work fairly well, but for a racer... just will not do! A racer is always pulling the body off to make adjustments and the tape is pretty permanent.

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The body is set up using brass tubing under the lower quarters until a correct stance is achieved.

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Then, move the light like so...

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... and you can see the chassis mounting bracket. Use the Sharpie NOW!

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Drill holes in the body on the marks and run those screws home. Yeah, as a modeler it's pretty crude, but is the strongest mounting option and provides the quickest way to remove the body. Screws can be painted to match the body BTW.

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At this point it's a good idea to check clearances like tires to fenders and the like. If anything rubs, make chassis or spacer adjustments.
The car as you see it here weighs in at a flyweight of 143 grams. In my opinion (And Gregg mentioned this as well) it could do with some careful placement of lead, available at your local slot shop or via mail order.

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Instructions suggest trimming away some of the engine compartment for chassis clearance. I agree with this if one is mounting the body lower than stock looking like I did. It would also help lower the center of gravity. But the option is also there to superdetail this project with an opening hood and fully detailed engine compartment. Also, while the kit does not provide any sort of interior... one could be sourced from a well supplied stash of '57 Chevrolet bits with clearance cut out of the rear seat area to provide room for the motor. Driver figure also will need to be sourced.

This is my last post today as paint and details take longer to accomplish. Shooting primer next!

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To be continued...
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#5 Biff

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 11:22 PM

I couldn't get the gear mesh on my car right and I ran it in with toothpaste for 40 minutes.
Gary Harris

#6 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 05:16 PM

Makes you wonder if an actual "engineer" or someone who actually has read anything in the history of slotcars in the past 60 years was involved with the frame and component design.

Great bodies for FCR and many other EXISTING frames, but a total "F" in standard slot car design.
Larry D. Kelley, MA
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#7 HarV Wallbanger III

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 05:35 PM

My thoughts as well Larry. Whoever designed it must have just came out of cryogenic storage after going into the tank in 1965. The body looks great like all AMT stuff but the chassis body mounting alone destroys the looks of it. Motor mount is another "Oh ...we can do this.... and it will work design."

It's a shame they did not spend some time with modern hardbody 1/32 slot cars to get ideas..... (Slot It HRS and HRS2 would have opened their eyes!) Or looked at Dennis Samson's hardbody mountings....

Barney Poynor
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#8 Lone Wolf

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 05:48 PM

"J", Thanks for the unbiased review and the great pics. Sorry, This thing is a piece of crap. Just too cheaply made for my taste. Those crummy wheels look bad too. I would expect more from AMT. I suppose with some vintage parts these could be kit bashed into a little nicer car. I am sure these things are going to wind up in the "Big Lot" stores and others like it by the thousands. Depends how many they produce. Probably will be blown out for $15 bucks or so. That's when I will pick some up. Let's see if my prediction is right,time will tell.
Joe Lupo

#9 Ramcatlarry

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 06:12 PM

...SO FAR my local Hobby Town has chosen NOT to stock them...and maybe the craft shop that does still have some
AMT product on the shelf may get some....have to stop by one day this winter.

Since they are NOT designed to turn corners, maybe the thought was as a drag racer.
Larry D. Kelley, MA
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#10 Jairus

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 07:17 PM

Well guys, really busy with artwork right now but hoping I can find an hour this evening to do some body work. This is the look I'm going for...
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The body currently has a coat of "Plastakote" primer, but earlier I removed all the engine compartment walls and glued the hood shut with JB Weld.
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Also need to cut a flat plate for the interior and make a roll bar.... etc, etc.
Onward!
:)
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#11 TSR

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:20 PM

Scott Bader and I tried to assemble one yesterday at the museum. This is what we found:

1/ The box is very nice and the components well packed. The kit was complete but we found 2 extra nuts. Never hurts because those 2mm little suckers have a tendency to escape and hide.

2/ The 2-piece nickel plated steel chassis is nicely stamped and quite strong, but the design has two major flaws:
- The guide flag cannot turn more than a few degrees without the lead wires interfering with the front of the chassis, with a high risk of severing them.
- The rear-axle mounts are far too narrow (for absolutely no reason), so the actual motor mount that folds up from between the mounts is also too narrow and could not be used for a standard FA, FC or FK motor, so the AMT folks devised a fully machined aluminum adapter (???!!!) for the motor, that had to be made with a very long shaft to clear it.
- The screws used to assemble the chassis and the side body mounts have tiny heads but need a fairly large Phillips screwdriver in relation to their size, and this must have a "flat" ground to its end so as to "fill" the screws heads, otherwise the screwdriver will turn inside the screws heads.
- Some of the nuts needed some work to even fit over the screws threads.

Now to the assembly:

- First, we found that the motor mount is not square with the chassis, so it is necessary to bend it more vertical to insure that the motor is flat on the chassis and that the gear mesh not be hypoid. You need a nice, flat pair of pliers to to the job.
- The 2-piece body mounts are not an intelligent design. A one-piece design would have been doing the same job with MUCH less of a hassle to assemble. The body mounts are also captured by the screws defining the wheelbase, so you must adjust that first before securing the fist part of the mounts.
- Once the two chassis parts plus the two body mounts are together, one can assemble the outer parts of the body mounts according to the body used. Thing is, the kit instructions recommends "double-sided tape" for the final assembly of the body to the mounts, and that IS a bad joke: one assembled, you cannot remove the body. Indeed, the retaining nuts for the mount are not captive, and there is no way to hold them so the screws would turn and turn, and one would be effectively stuck. IF you decide to use the tape, first solder the two nuts in place so that the body can be removed.

- After the basic chassis is assembled, the strange (and seemingly afterthought) adapter is bolted to the motor first. Be sure to use the two SHORTER screws provided (but not isolated) in the hardware baggie. Identify them first. The longer screws with interfere with the armature and lock the motor. By the way, there was no need to have the longer screws to begin with because they stick past the nuts by a good margin in the whole assembly, so having the same screws everywhere would have worked just fine. Never mind.

- Now time to push the plastic pinion in place. Observe the pinion, it has a very slight conical shape so that it can be expelled from the mold. Put the larger end on the shaft FIRST. Push all the way until flush with the shaft, then a little more, otherwise the crown gear will not reach the pinion.
Now, bolt the motor and its bizarre adapter in the chassis.
- And here is where the s*** hits the fan: as you install the plastic axle bushings in place, you will discover that there is not enough clearance for the crown gear to clear the offside bushing. Brilliant! Easiest way to resolve this is to shorten the axle bushing on the offside of the gear by about 1/16". Use your handy-dandy Dremel disc (as Lee Gilbert used to say) to perform this after you stick the axle bushing flange first onto one of the axles.

- More s***: after this is done, you need to assemble one wheel to the rear axle, the one with the "flat" in its center. And guess what: it will take some force to do so because the design is frankly, quite stupid. Indeed, taking a page from the 1959 Strombecker cars, the AMT design engineer (and he should remain nameless to avoid receiving a bag of hate mail from very unhappy customers) found it necessary to have the ends of the axles not only serrated, but also of greater diameter than the actual smooth surfaces on said axles. Yes, it is dumb. But where Strombecker (and later, those brilliant feats of engineering that were the Eldon cars) used an interrupted bearing surface allowing axles assemblies to simply snap in their location, the AMT folks wants you to push these oversize axles ends through the wheel holes and the axle bearings.
First, the wheels, unless you assemble them on an industrial drill press of similar fixture, will never be straight and will wobble. Trust me on this, how could it be otherwise in a piece of soft plastic?
Second, before you push the axles, you need to measure and cut the wheel spacers so that the body will clear the wheels and tires. Yes, cut the wheel spacers to size. Excuse me??? Indeed, AMT, unlike any of the 1960's kit makers that had more active cells in their brains, does not provide you with one of those injected tree with a dozen different size spacers, but with two lengths of plastic tubing, that YOU have to cut to length. WHAT???
In the nice kits they produced in 1964 and 1965, AMT did provide spacers in all sizes, but I guess 47 years have reduced their brains to mush.
Once you realize that there is no way around it, you have no choice but to use a Dremel disc to cut the necessary bits because trying the back-N-forth method with a # 11 X-Acto blade or an X-Acto saw will simply try your patience and may cause serious damage to your fingers. Better check your insurance policy first before attempting this at home.
Third, after slipping the spacer on the axle (and better make sure its size is right because I defy anyone of removing the wheels once in place), as you push the axle through the axle bearing using forcible entry (which is a crime in most states), you effectively damage the bearings.
Fourth, once the axle has (forcibly) cleared the first bushing and the gear (push straight, do not attempt to rotate the axle), you need to use the second wheel spacer against the offside bushing to allow the axle to once again, force its way through as the bushing will otherwise part company with the chassis in protest.
Once this is done, you need to FIRST fit the little black screw in the gear, only to find out that it is too short to lock the gear in place. Do not try to tighten the screw once its head reaches the gear's hub because it will simply turn inside the thread. If you try using a longer screw, the screw head must be tiny because otherwise it will hit the pinion shaft. Did I tell you that this thing was poorly engineered? Let me repeat this again in spades.
Now for the offside wheel, you must force it upon the axle, but before performing this metal to plastic violation, you must block the shaft from keeping its from more travel through the already installed inside wheel, so you need to find a blind circular object to block it. Is not this fun?

-OK, now to the front axle. Same thing, cut your spacers, push one wheel onto the axle (we used a lead mallet...) then force the axle through the mistreated bushings and same story for the second wheel, block the axle from going too far on the fist wheel or you might find yourself with a loose free wheel on the axle's center and no way to remove it.
- By now, you have discovered that not only does the gear turn 1/4 of a turn on the rear axle whatever you like it or not, but the gears have a terrible mesh, like if the pinion was a 48-1/2 pitch while the crown was more of the 47-1/2 persuasion. Lord!
- Last but not least, the guide assembly, and this is another source of screaming against the genius who figured this one out. Indeed, if the two-piece threaded guide actually works OK, its thread is a bit weak to retain the nut locking it in place, but this can be corrected with a bit of adhesive and is actually a good feature compared to the mickey-mouse push-on design of virtually all current "plastikars" in both 1/24 and 1/32 scale. But as previously mentioned, the guide simply cannot turn much because the lead wires block it from doing so. BRILLIANT!

But this is not the worst: the kit provides for "do it yourself" braided contacts, where one is supposed to use the supplied narrow braided wire and little stamped brass "T" shaped bits and bend them over the wire. Unfortunately the braided wire is too narrow to be retained by those clips, and even after one flattens the material to make it as wide as possible, bending of the clips over and retaining the braided material it is an exercise in frustration. The clip parts are too short to retain the material, unless the ends of the braided contacts are filled with solder, and of course most of these kits customers have all the equipment necessary to perform all the necessary fixes for this abomination of a design to be completed without one going ballistic as everyone knows.

Victory, we got our kit now assembled, it's ready to go. A drop of oil here and there and we place it on the track, and it actually runs! Very slow, and like a crab! For some reason, the thing sets itself in a 30 degree angle and tries to negotiate the whole track like if it had a wheel locked. We inspect it, find nothing of the kind, but if still runs sideways. Fortunately it is too slow to crash itself, so at least there is some redemption in the design, one will not have to go to every corner to retrieve the rolled-over pile.
I guess, this lack of performance in itself matches the whole car's engineering. On a scale of 1 to 10, we gave it a 3 for a nice effort regarding the packaging. This is after giving it a minus 15 for every mistake that every part of this kit appears to be.
Let's however mention one good point: two window styles are being offered, one separate injected plastic, the other option a one-piece vacuum formed "smoked" unit. Excellent.
More bad points: no interior of any kind, and no chromed wheel inserts to hide those awful wheels.

AMT had a great opportunity to simply copy what they had done 47 years earlier with great success, as their 1966 two-piece brass chassis was one of the simplest, best handling models that could be purchased over the counter. In 2012, they failed at even matching that, and terribly. Let's hope that for their next effort, they will actually listen to the people who can help them instead of listening to the people that gave them such bad advice.
And AMT, please fire your design engineer, NOW.
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#12 Jairus

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:35 PM

Ditto!
Jairus H Watson - Artist
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#13 Mark H

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:41 PM

saw a picture of one of these packages on here a a few days ago and i thought they were repoping cars from the 60s! but i got my hopes up.

i think how they designed it is like a model car? seems like they never looked at a slot car new or old and just did what ever.

but Jairus will make it look good :)
Mark Haas

#14 MSwiss

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 08:55 PM

What's incredible is that they made the rear end so narrow despite having all the room in
the world for those narrow rear tires.

Mike Swiss
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#15 Gator Bob

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:52 PM

Wow, they really messed this one up with all the simple things like the guide flag turning being overlooked. I don't see them being successful without a major design review and please add some kind of interior.


These "retro deluxe" kits aren't even as good as the retro car they replace. Take the guide flag off it and put a battery box on board.

Bob Isrealite

 

 

 


#16 Gator Bob

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:59 PM

If it takes Pro's hours to assemble and build ??? How about the 10 year old that talks his mom in to buying him one?

Bob Isrealite

 

 

 


#17 TSR

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:31 PM

He is SOL.
Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#18 endbelldrive

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 10:52 PM

The great irony is that the AMT adjustable chassis from the 1960s Can Am kits was one of the better designed production chassis of it's day.
Bob Suzuki

#19 mrprostreet

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:31 PM

I want to put on a suit and apply for a job at AMT and say "I"M HERE To *** **** UP" this is sure to get me hired.
Vinny Spina

#20 slotbaker

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:32 PM

What's incredible is that they made the rear end so narrow despite having all the room in
the world for those narrow rear tires.

Could it be, that they have just penny pinched the design to utilise it for both 1/24 and 1/32 scale cars?

Steve King


#21 TSR

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:55 PM

Vinny,
I had to delete your post because 4-letter epithets are not allowed on Slotblog.
Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#22 MSwiss

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:00 AM

Could it be, that they have just penny pinched the design to utilise it for both 1/24 and 1/32 scale cars?

Good point.
Does the wider part of the chassis look narrow enough for a 1/32nd?

Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman

Eight-time G7 King track single lap World Record holder
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990) 

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Westmont, IL 60559
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Make checks out to Chicagoland Woodworking, Inc.


#23 Gator Bob

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 12:01 AM

With an added real guide tongue, modern axles, bushings, gears and Pro-Tracks, PS-P/D, axle tubes and wire bracing, flip the body mounts...etc...then you might have something.

Bob Isrealite

 

 

 


#24 ravajack

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 02:43 AM

With an added real guide tongue, modern axles, bushings, gears and Pro-Tracks, PS-P/D, axle tubes and wire bracing, flip the body mounts...etc...then you might have something.

A bigger pile of crap? :laugh2:
Bertil Berggren
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#25 Steve Deiters

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 09:29 AM

This RTR and most of it's predecessers all fall into the same catagory. Interesting concept and idea, but very poorly executed.

I have often wondered where slot racing would be if we would have had cars like flexi-style chassis with a good aero body how many people would have stayed on rather than have left in frustration after dealing with kits like the one reviewed here?

#26 TSR

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 09:48 AM

Could it be, that they have just penny pinched the design to utilise it for both 1/24 and 1/32 scale cars?

The chassis is too wide for even the widest true 1/32 scale car. But even if that was the plan, the rear end could have been a full 1/4" wider and still fit very wide 1/32 scale tires. No, there is simply no excuse there. It is a dumb design by a dumb designer.
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#27 Jairus

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 10:26 AM

Calling people names and insults are not helpful. The design is naive at worst. It would have been nice if they had asked someone within the industry asked but they didn't. So we go on from here showing them how to modify the chassis to make it better. Hopefully someone will listen and the next generation of kits improve.

You have a copy there Philippe, I challenge you to modify it to handle better. Put your ideas where your mouth is!
(I plan to soon as I get these two drawings off the board.)
  • racie35 likes this
Jairus H Watson - Artist
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#28 TSR

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 10:49 AM

Jairus,
I am building one and will send it to them as an example of what the same money invested would have provided, something that a five-year old can put together in minutes with a single small screwdriver, and that once on the track runs smoothly, with gears that mesh perfectly, plastic wheels that are running true and a body mount allowing it to be actually removed.
No rocket science.
Philippe de Lespinay
 
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#29 MSwiss

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 10:55 AM

Any five year old?

Mike Swiss
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#30 Jairus

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 10:59 AM

Yes, even you Mike! :)
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