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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Well, we're under an ice warning today. My runs at work were cancelled, so I'm just hanging around the house today. I came back Friday from my last road trip to find a Hot Wheels Battle slam set sitting by my computer. My wife picked it up from a garage sale for $5. I poured it out to inventory the contents last night. She had already pulled the cars out & set them on my desk. They appear to be your run of the mill, narrow chassis 440x2s, with battlebot-looking bodies.

I was pleasantly surprised to find some different pieces, the likes of which I've never seen before (not that I've really been looking). It appears that Mattel has made a few little improvements on the track. One thing I noticed is that the tab-lock system is a little different than the older Tyco pieces. It is a little thicker and they have eliminated the weak little strip that can break off and create a hole in the middle of the track if you're not careful when disconnecting the pieces from each other. The joints are more solid and the rail ends are bent at a 90 degree angle, which seems to make for a little smoother track union. On some pieces, the slot is deeper. The plastic that houses the slot on some pieces is square & a little thicker than the comparable Tyco track, which is rounded & thinner looking. Track rigidness has never been a concern for me in past layouts. The slot depth has been a problem with some cars though. Another interesting thing is that there are some single lane track pieces, as opposed to the normal 2 lane variety that is common with most tracks. I don't know if these will prove practical for new layout variations, but they definitely open up a few more options. There isn't enough of the single lane curved sections to really do much with at this time, but it has rekindled my interest just a little bit. I would like to acquire some more of the single lane curves for experimentation. Some kind of a shoulder might be needed to keep the cars from falling overboard in the turns. There's an adapter piece that connects it to the 2 lane pices.

The 2 lane curves have a double rail like the old Cliff Hangers sets. This might be OK for some of you, but maybe not if you don't like the cars with traction magnets. I don't have much use for the 4 way intersections or the Battle Cage/single lane loops. One thing that I don't like is the addition of raised letters moulded onto the surface of the track near the outer edges of each piece. I suppose that if this was an issue, it could be smoothed out with a dremmel and a grindstone or sanding drum.

I've been kinda sitting out of the slotcar hobby for a while now. I have been lurking and trying to keep my finger on the pulse of things though. I thought about selling out and persuing other interests a while back. I did let most of my diecast go. I've been kept busy with my new job over the last year. I just can't bring myself to getting rid of a significant portion of my slotcars. There are a few of the new AW cars, as well as a few of the last of the JL line that I would like to have. I've considered selling some of my shelf queens and replacing them with some Bowties & AWs, but I guess I'm getting off topic here. I just thought I would check in and share a few observations for those of you like myself who run on Tyco track.
 

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Mattel made a few nice improvements to the Tyco design. If they had left out that stupid letter on the track surface, the new Mattel would be as good and versatile as Tomy, especially with the addition of the after market 6" and 15" curves (which do not have the letter). Even with the letter, the Mattel track is now pretty good stuff.
The Battle Slam set did have a lot of nice pieces in it. I picked up a whole bunch of sets a few years back and except for the jump assembly and the single lane loops (which I sold for next to nothing), even the 9" 1/4 curves may be useful since as you point out, they are double steel rails.

Joe
 
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