Renovating the Scaley Lotus 38 Indy powersledge

Renovating the Scaley Lotus 38 Indy powersledge

Postby wixwacing » Fri 06 Nov, 2009 10:50 pm

Scalextric Lotus 38 Indy renovation



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Some little while back now, or should I say, a good long while back, a good friend of mine asked me to complete a project for him. He is a retiree and although a skilful modeller himself, he wasn’t confident enough, due to health reasons, to create some fine detail for a model he had. The model was the Scalextric ‘Indy’ Lotus 38 power sledge model.

Most of the model is there and intact but there were some distinctive features missing. Firstly, the windscreen was missing. Not a big deal in itself but unless you can get a replacement for this forty year old model it was going to be a case of making one. Next up the driver was missing. Same problem. But the biggest problem was the lack of exhaust detail. The model comes with a rather bland and ineffectual yellow plastic exhaust, far from adequate for the model and frankly quite appalling considering what could have been made.



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So the main challenge was to be the exhaust manifolds and seeing as this was to be a scratch built item, it stood to reason that we might need to have a half decent attempt at them. Mmmmmm? Easier said than done?? As it turned out, after several attempts and several false starts I was almost at a loss as to how to go about it? One thing was for sure, the starting point was going to be a mock ‘V’ representing the inside top of the engine and cylinder heads.



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I started off on the right foot and soon had a ‘v’ fabricated from some thin brass. Next up were the distinctive megaphones for the model. This was easy too. On several occasions I have made these by cutting short lengths of brass tube, gently tapping it over a miniature tapered mandrill and with a ‘toffee hammer’ I tapped the sides til the brass worked loose. I then tapped the tube on further and plennished the outside again. Tapping on and plennishing, tapping and plennishing until I had two symmetrical megaphones made from brass tube.



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So how do we fix these to the ‘V’ and reproduce the ‘bed of snakes’ extraction system? The first attempt was with household wiring wire. It was very messy and the plastic coating tended to flex out of shape on the tight bends. Next up was just the wire insulation. A better idea, but impossible to get the neat curves required were the pipes come to the ‘phones. Running out of ideas I let the model go for a bit. Sometimes better ideas come along when you least expect it and stop you messing up what could have been a nice model. A year or so down the track, and several confabs with the owner later, it was mentioned that his wife indulged in the honourable Japanese craft of Bonsai. It was also observed that the branches of the you dwarf trees are trained by wrapping wire around them and bending them to shape?? This wire comes as copper or aluminium and also comes in several gauges? Mmmmmm?



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Several days later I received a letter with some useful lengths of alloy wire in a couple of gauges!! The thicker was two millimetres and as it happens proved to be ideal for the task. Next up was to devise a way of assembling all the bits!!! Unfortunately, I have misfiled the pictures I took of the manifold in its early stages, having been some many months in the process.



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Needless to say, the wire was bent into tiny ‘hockey stick’ shapes and alternately fed through a small plate I had made to fill the ‘V’ area. The others went through a vertical plate soldered to the rear of the ‘V’ in two groups of four. All the pipes were shaped and put into tight formation and some extra strength epoxy was applied to the ends of the wires were they poked through the ‘V’ plate and upright. Once dry, the wires were trimmed back almost to the plates. The rear facing plate was then bored down the centre of the two groups of four wires and a short piece of 1/16th wire was inserted into each. The megaphones would be glued to these two. Once it was all dry and cured the excess glue and brass plate was ground off.

AS for the rest of the model, the body was primed and painted. Care was taken to mask the model for its yellow stripe. I did this with flat yellow as it covers better and it was due to get several coats of clear anyway. Decals were from Patto’s and because the model scale is in a limbo between 1/32 and 1/24 I decided to use predominantly 1/24 scale decals and the 1/32 scale numbers. The rear crash bar was made from brass and has a fine megaphone support bracket soldered in place. The screen was constructed from a template and that was clipped in place after gluing with epoxy clear. The driver was from the scrap box and because the motor sits directly under the driver I decided not to cut too much off him and just be left with a head? I don’t think it shows too much to the untrained eye though.



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Finally the manifold had a couple of coats of flat yellow and the body was finished in a couple of coats of clear and left for a week or so. The driver and the extractors were fixed in the same way. They were ‘tacked’ in place with a couple of strategically placed spots of superglue. This held them in seconds flat. A liberal application of extra strength epoxy was then applied to the joints on the underside and the model was left overnight in the upright position to prevent any glue movement dripping out of the top of the model.

With all the vital parts in place it was a simple job to fit the pre painted suspension detail and the remaining parts. After all the effort I certainly wouldn’t expect the model to be raced but it should certainly be robust enough to run a few laps with some like minded colleagues! It has certainly transformed the old Scaley model and I think it looks 500% better for it. As for the making of the extractors! Mmmmmm, I’m glad I did it but I won’t be rushing into the next one!!


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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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