Reviving the Scaley Formula Juniors

Squeezing out those last few tenths

Reviving the Scaley Formula Juniors

Postby wixwacing » Sun 21 Apr, 2013 6:47 pm

The Scalextric Formula Junior cars have for many years been out in the wilderness. A nice if somewhat limited range of sixties F1 cars fitted with what can only be described as a desperate motor. The little open frame motor combined with a rather unique guide and braid system leaves the model in 'later' category when it come to getting them running. The motors for some reason loose their magnetism over the years and soon overheat and throw a wire off the comm. Getting the braids to function on these super lightweights is also an ordeal. Scaley themselves tried a couple of different types of braids but eventually , after a few short unhappy years , dropped the idea.



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The steering too was Heath Robinson and the cars wiggled vigorously down the straights much like manic tadpoles looking for the next puddle or the last salmon to the spawning ground. So that is why you see so many on eBay and unless they are mint and boxed, they are usually going for a song, or are part of a 'scrapyard' lot. So what can be done with these otherwise fascinating little creatures? I don't say I have the full solution, but as from this week I have found a tearless way of restoring them to competitive trim.

First up was how to create a new 'transaxle', the Scaley cars are unit construction and leave little behind in the way of mounting points in the body. I had been given a little low revving FF motor for another task a couple of years back and had never used it. I kept bumping into it time after time in the motors draw and thought it was a waste just sitting there. But the space available and a decent chassis eluded me for a while. One day thinking outside the square I was wondering if I could attach bits to the motor which would aid its fitting in the diminutive Junior bodies. Eventually, quite by accident, I was playing around with a burnt out Junior motor and had removed the 'gearbox' from the end of the motor. It's dimensions were a little less that the FF motor and the pinion was an almost exact fit on the 1.5 m.m. motor shaft.



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I trimmed the brush lugs off the bracket and sanded it flat. The armature hole was taken out to four m.m. and the bracket slipped easily over the end of the motor. To mount the original axle and crown gear I had to trim back the motor shaft as it was too long. Once done, the Scaley transaxle slipped over the end of the FF motor a treat a treat. The pinion was then glued to the motor shaft.

The assembly sat rather comfortably in the original motor recess and with the lower body in place the motor needed just a little help to hold it firmly in place. Not wanting to make the process complex I laid a short strip of blue-tack across the inside of the upper body half and pressed the motor into it. The lower body then clipped back on and presto, one functioning rear end!



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Next up was the dysfunctional front end. First job was to create a guide 'flag' instead of the puny little pin Scaley had endowed it with. I cut the guide pin off and with a 1/16th drill opened up a slot in the front end of the guide arm. A new flag was created from some 1.5 m.m. plastic sheet. This guide had a tongue that fitted neatly through the newly created slot. Some soft copper braids were fitted and placed in the original braid holders and a couple of wedges were made from some hobby brass. Once the lead wires were soldered to the wedges and the wedges fitted to the guide arm, all that was needed was a track test.

There was almost instant success, the exceptions being that the motor did choose to move a little in its place and the copper braids were just a little too stiff. The complete model weighs in at 37 grams and there isn't enough body weight to keep the braids in contact with both conductor rails in all conditions. The temporary solutions were firstly to relocate the motor in its spot and apply a couple of spots of superglue where it touches the old motor mount. With the braids, I swapped over to desoldering wick. This is a very lightweight copper braid material primarily used for what its name suggests, but it is thin enough to allow the braids to move independently of each other and therefore prevent one braid lifting off the track when the other is under load.



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Et Voila! No doubt I will refine some of the fixes and get the whole more permanent. On the track it has a fair turn of speed and once the braids were changed it went well round corners too. What would I do next Mmmm? One thing that bugs me is the steering. I still want to retain it but I will probably get rid of its rocking motion. This isn't needed on modern slotcars and I suspect it contributes to some remaining bad cornering habits. I will also devise a more permanent motor mount.

What to watch out for: Some FJ's have braids which clip in the side of the guide arm (Porsche 804), these are to be avoided and can be swapped out with the more common guide/steering type. The front of the model is quite high and the steering unit could be lowered into the body further to lower the front. Lead wire needs to be the thinnest of material. The standard wiring is too thick believe it or not! it has a tendency to hold the steering out of the straight ahead position if not set up well and prevents the steering working in corners; the FF doesn't use much current so this shouldn't be detrimental. Tyres are the next issue. Ninco classic grooved go straight to the rear, or better still the MJK alternative MJK4214. Front tyres can be any smaller tyre that fits; I use Airfix GP tyres from the sixties!, but one of the easier ones to find are the Cortina tyres.

The models available as Formula Juniors are as follows: Cooper Austin, Lotus XXI, BRM P57, Lotus 25, Cooper T73, Porsche 804

So, maybe a revival of the (not so good) 'ole Scaley FJ! If their prices soar on eBay, I know some of you will have been reading this topic. Keep me updated of your conversions....Enjoy
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
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