Ninco Corvette class C 'Sebring 56'

Ninco Corvette class C 'Sebring 56'

Postby wixwacing » Wed 23 Jul, 2008 12:07 am

Ninco ‘CORVETTE’

Class ‘C’ SEBRING ‘56



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By Phil Wicks



Ever since being a small boy (yes, I was once!) I have had a fascination with early Chevrolet Corvettes. Starting with this model and through the twin headlight series and on to the ‘Stingrays’ One of my earliest scratchbuilds was a ’58 Corvette. I remember having bits of wood glued in the sides to hold a precarious hotch potch of brass, plastic, countersunk wood screws and other strange materials. Not having any engineering background (my dad was a bricklayer!), my imagination had to be the mother of invention and through my experiences as a young child I had to use all those things known to me to get a guide, a motor and a rear axle to stick to a body and entertain me for hours! Once on the track it was then an endless task to get it to drive well. Then one day an older cousin of mine explained ‘centres of gravity’ and the physics of ‘ballast’ and a pack of “Plasticine” later, the ‘Vette was flying!!



Hub cap Cafe



This is a great Corvette website with many pictures (click the ‘next’ button at the top right for more pics).



Well, the model and the experience left its mark. Even though I am a European classic sports car-o-phile I have still retained my love of the old Corvette. Ninco models usually fall a little short of my expectations from a slot car for various reasons but being spurred on by the overwhelming success of the Team Slot Renault Alpine experience I threw caution to the wind and at an amazingly low price (which also spurred me on), I secured this great little model for my own delectation. I was prepared to do what was necessary to this model to suit my style of racing, on board or plastic.

First task is to check out the model generally and give it a few laps to see how it’s going to behave and what needs to be done but before that, lets have a look over the model for the sake of the collector!

The model is moulded in white plastic and I suspect the body has only a coat of clear on it to finish it. I draw that conclusion because there isn’t any sign of over spray inside the model which would certainly be evident. Ninco’s (and other) red cars seem to bleed light through the body when they don’t have a colour coat, making them look cheap. On the other hand, Hornby will give a red moulded model a coat of red! The white though is a good solid colour and shows no ‘see through’ signs. The blue ‘GT’ stripes are well applied but there is lack of continuity where it passes over body seams, especially at the rear bonnet and heater air vent grille.




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Chrome parts are well done and bumpers , grille lights and mirrors are all well depicted. One of my first tasks though will be to put a spot of epoxy on the heat welds at the back of these parts. A precaution to reduce the likelihood of them not being there one day at the end of a race! The tonneau cover is a separate part and the sporty little fly screen looks the part. The driver is a good depiction. My one has the head posed at a slight angle and the head looks relaxed and facing forward unlike earlier models with semi reclining drivers heads looking up at the stars! Paint, though is not the best and the driver has had a 1970’s paint job and is below par. The dash is also well detailed but the plain white steering wheel looks a little stark in the cockpit.


Underneath the body things are neat and tidy. The heat welds are neat and not overdone. Only two mounting posts (which is my preference) but they are quite spindly. I currently have a Carrera Maserati classic sports car in for repair to its posts. These ones may well get a brass tube sleeve over them to pre-empt any racing incidents. All in all it is a nice model, well moulded and very clean lines. No sign of jig joins on the exterior.



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Now to the business side of things, the chassis is standard Ninco fare. Uncluttered, straightforward. Just a fairly rigid platform to hold all the important parts together. At the rear, the axle is a good fit in its mounts, the mounts look robust and the gear is the tried and tested Ninco 27 black contrate. Axle slop in the bushes is minimal. The ‘NC5 Speeder’ motor is the power for this model. This, and the magnet position will cause it to be a handful on plastic tracks for those who like the Fly, Scalextric set ups. It will give unpredictable breakaway on the notoriously varying grip on SCX and Scalextric classic track curves. Shock horror and NO surprise. The motor is LOOSE in its mounts. This manifests itself as axle ‘tramp’ on hard acceleration and take off. Fortunately this is curable with a good HOT! hot glue gun. Traction magnet is the standard 8x5mm button and is in one of my least liked positions. It will pull down too heavily on the guide and front axle with the resulting drag causing unwanted handling characteristics on plastic.

The front end is an anomaly! A floating ‘clonker’ axle and a sprung loaded guide. One or the other Mr Ninco!! PLEASE! If it’s to be a sprung loaded guide then the axle needs to be fixed. If it’s to be a clonker axle then the guide needs to be fixed! My choice will be to leave the sprung guide in place and mount the axle through a piece of brass tube the width of the inner chassis and HOT! glue the tube in place while the model is sitting on its guide on a test block. One thing I do like is the fact that Ninco haven’t done what Hornby and other makes do with their mounting posts, that is, to give the chassis screw holes a rebate so the body posts mount INSIDE the chassis hole. This is a source of body roll restriction. Non more evident than the Scaley V8’s. Slice the lip off the holes and the body moves more freely on the chassis and the handling and noise improve correspondingly.


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Finally, there is a little body pinch front to back. The front and rear ends of the chassis will require some fettling with the side of a modelling knife blade to reduce the pinch effect of the body and in turn allow the body free movement when the screws are backed off a half turn or more. Why do I like the body loose you may well ask. On flat track like board or ply and some commercial plastic tracks like Carrera it is not so important, these surface have no major undulations and during cornering, the model will be stable and there won’t be any major unwanted weight transference due to ripples and bumps to the track surface. On tracks that are more uneven like Scalextric classic, SCX, Ninco etc, the corners (and straights) can have a lot of undulations that cause the ‘unsprung’ parts of a model to act on its stability and add to the factors trying to deslot it, ie. speed and ‘G’ sideforce. If you’re hitting bumps too then the magnet is more likely let go unannounced. On non magnet cars the model is more likely to deslot more readily. Who can forget the Scalextric cars of the seventies and eighties tearing down the long back straight only to deslot two thirds of the way down because the straight sections are rippled and bent where marshalls lean on them to retrieve errant models!

Slackening body screws allow a bit of body movement detached from the chassis and reduces the chance of a deslot on uneven surfaces. On most models it also allows the chassis to flex and in doing so, the traction magnet is attracted closer to the conductor rails with the resulting increase in adhesion. Next time you are faffing with a model, place it on a piece of spare track with tight screws and check the air gap between the chassis and rails at the magnet. Then back off the screws ‘til the chassis floats and put it back on the track piece. In all but the most rigid chassis the gap will have closed slightly and with magnetism, 0.1mm or more is a useful increase in useable flux density!




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Finally, the wheels are slightly eccentric and have a bit of runout. They also need to be checked for remnants of sprue as this was apparent on a couple on this model. Tyres are the classic Ninco 7mm tyres. Heaps of grip and quite round.


Board track testing

As far as the home / small track user is concerned, out of the box the model is very much a Ninco. It judders on uptake but not nearly so bad as some I have tested and the motor seems to be too wild for the car. But with the whole package set up properly the motor shouldn’t be a problem. Straight line speed is very good but there can be a few heart stopping moment when cornering and especially exiting corners. The tyres are very effective and a deslot will usually be a roll over type. The C of G is too high for the tyre grip. Snapping the throttle open will see the hopping return and only patient and smooth throttle operation will see it behave.

A quick light sand of the tyres and a copious quantity of hot glue down each side of the motor has two effects. The tramping has stopped and, as even hot glue has some mass to it, it has helped to keep everything level on corner exits even though when hard pushed it will still roll over. The model was tested on the Four Seasons board slot car track and with a 6.6 second fastest lap, times were 0.5 sec below what might be considered to be competitive. Corners and corner exits being its weak point. I’m almost sure it would have lapped faster with an NC1! It will be a couple of weeks before I can run it on a big Scalextric sport track but I will update the review after I have. Lastly, I have included a spec web page on one of the links. Ninco are notorious for exaggerating dimensions and it would be interesting to see how this model’s dimensions check out in scale against the real thing!?


Corvette specs



Statistics

Wheelbase 80.5 m.m.
Front axle width 54.0 m.m.
Rear axle width 54.0 m.m.
Weight 76.0 grams
Front axle/guide weight 32.0 grams
Rear axle weight 44.0 grams
Front/Rear weight distribution 42% / 58%
Pinion 9z
Contrate 27z
Final drive ratio 3 : 1
Rear wheel diameter. 21. 2 m.m.


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Out of the box on all but the largest of tracks, the model will need some attention to be competitive. But, as with other classic models from leading manufacturers, its root design does not lend itself to being a great slot car, The footprint is good but the rest of the model needs work. C of G too high for tyres, sloppy front end and a wayward motor mount but after having tamed the Team Slot Alpine (6.0 secs on the Four Seasons board track with standard tyres), I think this model will be a cakewalk and I’m looking forward to making it work well.
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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