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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, all. I've been looking at the Carrera gear at a local hobby/toy store and am thinking about getting into slot cars. I have a few questions, but I'll list my preferences first:

  • I've collected 1/64 die cast, so I'm hoping that scale will fit the bill. I'll go with another scale if 1/64 isn't right for me, but 1/64 is where I'm looking first.
  • I like reasonable detail. If I were to go with 1/64, I'd want the cars to have the detail of Greenlight or nicer Johnny Lightning die cast.
  • I like working headlights and brake lights. If I build a dedicated home setup, I'd like to be able to turn down the lights and run it "at night."
  • I'd certainly have some racing cars, but most of my cars would be daily drivers like Mustangs, Corvettes, older muscle cars, and exotics. Depending on availability, I could see collecting the cars becoming more of a passion than racing them.
What are the pros and cons of analog and digital? Is the hobby in general moving away from analog? What about the operating experience? Is the operating experience for each technology different for the larger scales than it is the smaller scales?

I'm weighing my options for a home set and using commercial tracks. I live in an apartment now, so I'd need something I can set up on the family room carpet once a week. I assume this is another reason to go with a smaller scale. I'd prefer a scale that is also well represented at commercial tracks (assuming there are good commercial tracks in my area).

For a home set, which brand(s) should I consider?

If I were to skip the home set and use only commercial tracks, which scale(s) should I focus on? Are commercial tracks typically in operation and well maintained for long periods of time? Looking at the state of the B&M hobby industry, I'm wondering if it'll be a matter of new commercial tracks seldom opening, then being mobbed until they soon go out of business or fall into disrepair.

Anything else I should consider? Thanks!
 

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Welcome Lou! There's a lot of questions there, so I'll try to hit as many as I can. First off, let's talk scale. 1/64 is in the ballpark of the die cast you're familiar with. Advantages of 1/64 ( HO) is the amount of track you can fit, especially if you're lacking room. The cars range from well detailed to plain, so you have a variety to consider. Working head lights and tail lights are kind of hard to find in this scale. There are very few of us who go through the extremes of lighting, myself being one of them. It is a labor intensive job, and it's a process I would love to find a way to streamline to something simple, cheap and quick, but so far it's been a lot of work with very small parts and a very steady hand. The bad points of HO is the speed is much higher than scale. For this reason, I try to stick with the old standard T jet (the 60's kind, not so much the newer JL/AW version) which comes in a tad closer to 1/72 scale than 1/64. Night driving was my favorite time to run, and up until a couple years ago I had a good sized table done up with buildings, street lights, etc. My thing is running them with HO trains so I integrated the two together (another reason I chose T Jets, which are closer to true HO scale 1:87)

As far as the larger scales, I can't help much, as I've never ventured into that realm. The digital does intrigue me, and the thought of running 4 cars on two lanes and being able to change lanes to pass are cool concepts. Sadly, the technology hasn't gotten small enough to make it happen in HO. From what I've seen the larger scales are better proportioned, well detailed, and more expensive, but you're getting more car. The caveat is the track takes up more room. My suggestion to you would be to scope out what outside venues are close to you, and work from there. With the economy in the tank, a lot of hobby stores are having a hard time staying open. It would help to let us know where you are... There might be someone close by who can help you locate shops, home tracks. etc.
 

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Lou3,
post in the 1/32 scale forum for more answers.
the Carrera cars you saw are 1/32 and all of the cars in that scale currently being manufactured are full of detail and many have both the headlights and taillights.
there are other brands of 1/32, Scalextrics, Monogram, possibly Revell and others.
again, there are real knowledgeable folks on the 1/32 scale forum that are just dying to include you in their interests.
HO scale (1/64, 1/72, 1/76, 1/87) are not currently available in digital format.
if you have any raceways in your area, chances are they are 1/32 scale.
I am in southeastern PA and there is a good place to find more information at the Quakertown Farmers Market, open Fri nights, Sat and half a day Sun.
welcome to slot car mania.
 

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If you like diecast-like realism and detail out of the box 1:32 is something to consider. I know Carrera makes 1:24 scale track and both scale cars to run on it. as will different manufacturer's cars. The detail available is fantastic, and chassis can be made to scale wheelbase, ride height, etc. The Scaley F1 cars even look great! Disadvantage, more space and higher cost.

Most "HO" is molded to accommodate chassis size, not to scale. If you look at out-of-the-box stuff, the wheels and generic tires are identical depending on chassis. not on the body. There are a LOT of nice bodies and wheels available, more variety available from specialty makers like Road Race Replicas, DASH or MEV than anywhere on hobby shop shelves. The bonus is that a lot of folks make their own bodies and sell/swap here or on ebay.... Advantage: lower cost, lots of variety especially if you don't mind painting, detailing etc, and a lot of can be put into a small package. As with most stuff, a lot comes down to personal preference.
 

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Lou,
You asked a number of questions, and maybe I can give you a little bit of info.

You mention HO and 1/32, but left out 1/43. Don't discount going into the 1/43 scale if you are just starting out. I think this scale is the least expensive out there with new cars that can be purchased for less than $15. Another advantage is these cars can also be run on 1/32 track.

Some HO cars have gotten quite expensive over the past few years and new cars are at least $18, with the new Tomy cars going for over $30. Even Lifelike has a retail price of somewhere around $28. The upside is HO takes up the least amount of space - but the speeds on some cars make a small track obsolete.

Digital is not available in HO, so analog is not going to disappear in this scale. I don't know about the analog/digital scenerio in the larger scales.

Working brake lights in HO scale were available only in a very few cars and nothing within the past 10-12 years as far as I know. I'm guessing a lot of the lighted cars are now done by customization.

I believe you will find most commercial raceways are set up for 1/32.

The 1/32 cars can be very detailed. The downside is they can also have fragile body parts, so they look nice to start but probably won't survive intact after the first crash. I only have four 1/32 cars, two of which have this little side mirror that I know will break off if I even pick up the car the wrong way.

I would try 1/43 and see how you like it. Go to a Toys-R-Us and pick up a cheap Fast Lane set or two (you can get the figure 8 sets for $15). See if the cars (Fast Lane cars will be pretty bland) are a size you like. The downside here is they are battery operated, but you can get an electric power source later on.

Joe
 

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1/43 has become a real 'player' thanks mostly to the recent release of cars like this:

hi Chop....
PLEASE!!! what brands r these!!!! (insert drooling here :thumbsup:)
i'm HO & 1/32 BUT dabbling into 1/43 now as well

links 2 mfg's/distributers 2 "Pretty-Please" :wave:

Bubba 123 (Gt-Freak) :wave:
 

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do the 1/43 cars have headlights and tail lights as requested?
I know some Carrera 1/43 cars have what they call "Ground Effect Lights" which are lights under the car. There are also police cars with working lights (Carrera makes a lot of different police cars). However, I don't know how many have headlights and I don't believe any of them have tail lights.

The downside of 1/43 is that many cars are not available in the US. A good portion of the Carrera cars I have purchased were found in Germany and Austria. And of the cars I still need, all are only available overseas.

I am not familiar with the other brands, although I don't believe SCX cars have any lights.

Joe
 

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Those are Kyosho D-slots, heavily based on their Dnano RC cars.

They have just tied up with Spark who make hundreds of race cars in resin at the same scale so the future is bright.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thank you all for the advice so far. The hobby shop did have 1/43 Carrera cars, but it looked like a lot of race cars and cartoon cars. I do like the size, but the greater selection in the 1/32 lineup gave me the impression that 1/43 wasn't as serious as 1/32 (again, this was just from seeing one brand at one hobby shop). I didn't notice any 1/64 at the hobby shop.

Speaking of 1/64, I was thinking that HO would be strictly 1/87 and that 1/64 would be distinct from HO. I understand now. I removed the comment about HO vs. 1/64 from my post.

I don't mind doing some basic plug-in modifications, but I don't have the time to create custom bodies or stuff like that. So off-the-shelf availability is another preference.

Chop1965, do those 1/43 cars have working headlights and brake lights? If the 1/43 car selection and detail gets to the point of 1/32, 1/43 will probably be my scale (at least for a home set).
 

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If you wanted to straddle 1/43 and 1/32 scale, you could buy 1/32 track and start by buying some inexpensive 1/43 cars. This gives you the option to go to 1/32 cars any time you'd like. Or run both scales.

Is 1/43 as popular or as "serious" as 1/32? Others can answer that better than I can, but my impression is that 1/32 is a much more established platform. 1/43rd is kinda like the new kid on the block, although I understand some 1/43rd has been around a long time. It seems in the last 10 years a couple manufacturers have gotten into the 1/43 line - Carrera, SCX and Kyosho.

Joe
 

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Questions about getting into slot cars
you have to srink yourself!
otherwise it will be real hard!:jest:

I just really like how much track I can get into a small area! with the bigger scales, I got bored running on the basic track designs
 

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If you wanted to straddle 1/43 and 1/32 scale, you could buy 1/32 track and start by buying some inexpensive 1/43 cars. This gives you the option to go to 1/32 cars any time you'd like. Or run both scales.

Is 1/43 as popular or as "serious" as 1/32? Others can answer that better than I can, but my impression is that 1/32 is a much more established platform. 1/43rd is kinda like the new kid on the block, although I understand some 1/43rd has been around a long time. It seems in the last 10 years a couple manufacturers have gotten into the 1/43 line - Carrera, SCX and Kyosho.

Joe
as in any scale.."SERRIOUS" = MORE $$$$$$$$$$$ (not a joke..)

i've seen MSRP$ 4 HO, MORE than good 1/32's...
& 1/32's MSRP$$$ going OVER $500 !!! :freak:

just get into w/ appeals 2 U, in detailing, other personal-interrests yadda..

It's ALL about having "FUNN"!!!! :thumbsup: :wave:
some of us even restore "Old-Slots" 4 fun & run as well :thumbsup:

1/32, will offer U best in detail & options (lights, breaklights, ect..)
go analog... digital requires u 2 devote yourself to 1 mfg 2 work...
or be handy w/ electronics 2 change/convert other mfg's car chips (PIA)

ALL digital cars w/ work on an analog track as well, instructions 4 CORRECTLY dis-arming the digital chips come w/ all cars :thumbsup:

not 2 mention 1/43's w/ work on 1/32 tracks, with more track room 4 cars :thumbsup:

Bubba 123
 

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Old HOs are so cheap and either setup is so small when broken down I'd say get them both.

Go for an old Tyco or AFX track set. Either one big one or two medium size sets. For under a hundred bucks you ought to be able to get a real decent amount of track and a half dozen useable cars to explore the scale. They'll always be resellable if it doesn't work out. Tyco from the 80s and 90s offers a lot of value compared to AFX pricing.

Then pick whatever digital, larger scale set catches your eye. It'll have a lot more of the specific details you seek but you'll be paying for those features too.

good luck!
 
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