Takara Micro Slot Car Basic Set Review

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When I was in the 2nd grade (back in the 70’s),  my Dad would race miniature slot cars at a local hobby shop. I remember wanting to play with these cars and not being allowed to do so. My Dad kept his collection of track and cars in a spare bedroom in the house and of course I went in there whenever they weren’t home played with the cars :) Ah, but that isn’t the worst of it. I actually swiped a few of them, took them to school and traded them with the boys for other toys. A teacher saw a boy with one of the cars and was sure it wasn’t something he shouldn’t have at school. The kid ratted me out and I got called to the principals office. The principal did not threaten to call my parents, but I was terrified for weeks after that whenever the phone would ring in the evenings. These memories all came flooding back as I was testing out the Micro Slot Car Basic Set that was sent to me by Brando.

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The set is made by Takara Tomy and comes with almost everything you need for some desktop racing adventures.

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Package Contents

Micro Slot Car TOYOTA 2000GT with collection case
Micro Slot Car FAIRLADY Z (Z33) (Limited Edition)
Tracks: straight-5, small corners-6, large corners-2
Battery Box
2 Controllers
Instruction pamphlet

The only things not included are 6 AA batteries. I tested this set using rechargeables.

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The tracks are hard plastic pieces that can fit together in a variety of ways.

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Each end of has two slots and two posts that allow you to snap the pieces together to form a race track.

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Each section of track has two slots with a metal wire on each side. This is where the name slot car comes from.

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The set comes with two cars and two controllers, so that you can either race by yourself or with a friend.

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On the bottom of the car is a plastic post, with metal contacts on either side. The post rests in the slot in the track, while the metal contacts touch the metal wires on either side of the slot. When power is applied to the track, juice flows through the wires in the track and cause the tiny motor in the car to spin the tires.

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After you setup the track, you plug the battery box into the track using the USB cable. Yes, I said USB. I was surprised too. The battery box holds 6 AA batteries and has two separate switches on the front.

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One for each wired controller.

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Racing the cars is simple and fun. Just place the cars in the slots, flip the switches on the battery box, squeeze the trigger on the controller and away you go! Sometimes you have to adjust the position of the car on the track, so that the metal contacts on the bottom are resting on the metal wires next to the slot.

The little cars can really fly around the track… sometimes they even fly off or jump tracks. I had more trouble keeping the smaller / lighter White car on the track. The Grey car worked a lot better.

Let’s see it in action!

The video isn’t very good (I was holding the camera in one hand and racing with the other), but I think that you get the idea… :)

The Takara Tomy Micro Slot Car Basic Set is kind of expensive at $80, but it’s a lot of fun to play with. I know if I would take it up my my day job, that the guys would probably go crazy over it. But I think I’m going to box it up and give it to my Dad and finally come clean about  swiping a few of his cars all those years ago. They say that confession is good for the soul. :)

 

Product Information

Price:$79.90
Manufacturer:Takara / Tomy
Retailer:Brando
Pros:
  • Lots of ways to configure the track
  • Fun office toy
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Cars can fly off the track
Posted in: Geek Toys

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • James Branch June 24, 2009, 7:30 am

    Awww, cool !! :)

    I went mad on ‘Scalextric’ (Along with Hornby trains!) when i was a kid, collecting quite a few sets and cars. However, I reached the age (18 I think!) when I thought girls and beer were more important than car racing tracks and I sold them all !! Only to revive my need for one when my son was born, so I used that as an excuse to buy a new track!

    I’d buy one of these and leave it at work to play with during lunch! :) The worst thing about Scalextric tracks esepcially is that they’re rather large and cumbersome to put together. I recall one day setting up a track that was so large it literally took hours and I simply wasn’t in the mood to play when I was done!

    This looks great though, nice and easy to put up and you can pop it to one side when you’re not playing with it!

    Great stuff! :)

  • Dave June 24, 2009, 7:32 am

    I never knew my fave site was run by a car thief!! :P Perhaps you could look on auction sites and try to obtain the same models that you traded? :) Nice review.

  • Julie June 24, 2009, 7:51 am

    @James I’ve never heard of Scalextric. I’ll have to look it up. I’m a sucker for retro toys :)

    @Dave Yes, it’s true that I’m a recovering car thief. I’m still going through a 12 step program. I can’t even recall the models that I took. I was only 8yrs old :)

  • James Branch June 24, 2009, 8:07 am

    @Julie Yeah, Scalextric are produced the UK (As far as I’m aware) and are ‘The Best’ for slot car racing in the world. You can even design your own track on their website (http://www.scalextric.com) and get it delivered to your door, in pieces of course!

    Retro = cool :)

  • Marc June 24, 2009, 10:07 am

    As a Brit living in the US, I can tell you that Scalextric, as long as the Spanish “clone” SCX, slightly higher scale Spanish company Ninco are readily available in the US. There is/was a wonderful hobby store in Tacoma, Washington (Fantasy World Hobbies) that carried a LARGE inventory. 1/32 scale is the “real” scale.. though historically america has been 1/64 (Tyco/AFX “stuck to the rail blah) or the banked wooden tracks with glue on the tracks for grip and these unrealistic plastic wings for cars. As you can tell, not my thing ;)

    I personally prefer Ninco track as it’s wider and has a bit more grip than scalextric track, though Scalextric is definitely nothing to complain about. The digital sets that have come out in recent years add built in functions we used to have to hack up, like forced pit stops (in a pit lane) and lane changing. Having 8 and sometimes more cars on a 2 or 4 lane track is also absurdly addictive.

    For those interested in slot cars, I highly recommend slotforum.com and for a more american view on the european “toys” at homeracingworld.com

    The degree the “diehards” take their tracks with full scenery may remind one of model railroading.

    Back to this set:
    My question about this set, Julie, that I didn’t see is if the battery pack plugs in via usb.. did you try to power it from a computer? Thereby skipping the battery pack and plugging directly into a powered usb hub or similar.

  • Julie June 24, 2009, 10:24 am

    @Marc No, I didn’t try powering the track via a USB cable from my computer. It’s possible that it might work, but then there’s the issue with the controllers, which plug into the battery pack. :)

  • Marc June 24, 2009, 10:38 am

    Yeah that would make it difficult. The search for a cube desk slot set powered by USB carries on…….

  • Jeff June 24, 2009, 1:12 pm

    “but then there’s the issue with the controllers, which plug into the battery pack”
    So, can you hack it to have your computer run the cars (think of the time you’ll save!)? Better yet, have your cell phone run it and clean up as a slot-car shark on the playground?

    Jeff

  • iggyst00ge June 24, 2009, 2:50 pm

    $80 is pretty steep for a novelty set like this. If you have a slot-car interest, you’ll do better with the real thing.

    A mid-range AFX slot car set (Hotwheels-sized cars) will run ~$60.00, and the enormous four-lane International Super Challenge (as much track as any normal person would ever need) can be had for $150.00.

    Scalextric and Ninco both sell entry level 1/32 scale sets (ovals or figure eights) in the $100 range. The cars that run on these sets are often incredibly detailed and historically accurate reproductions of actual race cars. They’re also both less toylike than the AFX cars, and easier to “drive” or slide around the track. 1/32 can get pretty expensive, but the cars are my favorite to maintain and drive.

    The 1/43 scale Carrera GO! and SCX sets split the difference in car size, quality, and drivability. Target is selling 1/43 SCX sets for $50 to $100, which is competitive with the AFX sets. The cars are MUCH nicer, however, and often less expensive than their AFX counterparts.

    Check Youtube for videos of Scalextric, SCX, Ninco, Carrera Go, AFX, or 1/32 slot cars if you want to see how the cars operate.

  • Marc June 24, 2009, 3:31 pm

    @iggyst00ge: Like James in Comment #1, I sold off an 80ft 4lane Ninco set a few years back not having the room or the time for it. When SCX debuted the 1/43 set at Target 2 years ago, I was all over it… for my 5 year old son.. of course… cough. I’ve since bought him 5 complete sets, a pile of spare track, and we.. errr he now has all but 2 of the car sets. Soon a we move later this summer I’ll build it out on a nice big board or three. They’re great stuff, pretty durable, and a lot of fun. And you can fit a longer track in a smaller space, so to speak. In another 5 years, if he’s into it, we’ll move him up to 1/32 and then the trouble will really start… for my wallet.

  • Alex April 1, 2010, 11:49 am

    It’s really just a USB cable but is has nothing to do with USB in terms of what is transferred through the cable. The four pins of the cable of this set are two grounds and the two voltages for each track. The controllers itself are very basic, analog types. You’d better NOT connect your computer’s USB port to it.

    The only thing a normal USB cable would be useful for is as an extention to get the battery box and the controllers further away from the track which is what I still have to do.

    I’ve wanted the set since it fits nicely on my desk and still leaves space for work. You can’t really do that with the slightly larger Carrera GO and similar sets.

    BTW: you can improve the handling of the white car significantly by a small weight behind the rear axle. Because of the shorter whellbase but same drivetrain the motor of the white car is far more at the front of the car than in the silver one, shifting the center of gravity forward and reducing grip on the driven rear axle. With the weight at the back it accelerates as fast as the white one but it’s still worse in the corners because it is narrower so the rear wheel sometimes gets trapped in the slot.

    I still have to make a video of my experiments :)

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