Teamslot Toyota Celica GT4

Teamslot Toyota Celica GT4

Postby wixwacing » Thu 31 Jul, 2008 12:16 am

Team Slot Toyota Celica GT4

By Phil Wicks


Never let it be said I wasn’t adventurous, willing to try out something new. Well, as far as slot cars go I have adopted the principal to ‘Boldly go where no hand has set foot!’. This takes me smartly along to the Teamslot stable. I have tried several resin Teamslot offerings as owned by fellow slotters in the past but have only driven their setups! So when the opportunity came along to buy a new car at a knock down price, for the benefit of the wider slotracing public I took the plunge.

The car chosen was the newly released Toyota Celica GT4 as rallied by the once all conquering Kankunnen/Grist (later of C.McRae fame) team of the early nineties. This model has already been covered by Ninco who’s replica powered by an NC1 makes a Celica that is a delight to drive an now only available at a premium, and SCX who produced this model as one of their earlier attempts at 4WD. ( There has probably been others but they don’t spring to mind at this moment in time).

The model took five days to arrive from the UK importer Classic Slot, free of 17.5% vat making it potentially worth while. Out of the box it was unmistakably the Celica. The green and red livery saw to that! The green and red livery also saw to drawing my attention to some rather glaring paint defects!! On closer inspection the paintwork was flawed and the tampo too! Firstly, without any concealment, the white basecoat had been sprayed over chipped areas with the chipping showing through quite distinctly. To top this off, the tampo had been applied very poorly with some colours under sprayed and fading before they reached the edges. The black area around the headlight covers must have been masked quite poorly and things like door and panel seams had been partly missed to give a shoddy appearance.


Overspray and poor coverage are common!

With the body removed, there was indication that a lot of heat welding of plastic parts had been well overdone. The driver’s tray was adrift at the rear and the black grille in the centre of the bonnet was loose too! On top of this, the whole body creaked ominously when being handled! Front and rear lamp lenses looked as if they would part company at the slightest provocation! An immediate measure was to put drops of superglue on all the internal heat weld points. This might well bide time and reduce general body noise too.

Team slot have slung the motor very low and built a full drivers tray over it. This has caused the interior detail to be set very high. Both the driver and the navigator sit with heads well into the roof turret. The motor spindle is set a little below the axle centre too! There is reasonable dash and interior detail and a full sized spare wheel slung on a frame in the tonneau area. No roll cage in evidence but I’m not sure if they had one anyway?


Rear wing area has missed tampo and protruding spoiler!

The body is held on by two screws at the front and one at the rear. One of my favourite configurations as this allows for unrestricted body tuning. None of the mounting posts interlock and there is no rebate in the body for the chassis to rest in so once the screws are loosened the body can have more play than expected. A problem here too! The screws are barely long enough to fit into the posts. Slackening any screw by as much as one turn will leave the body hanging on by one or two threads. The rear screw too is different to the fronts and it all gets very confusing. In the end I plumped for three new screws from the spares tray.


Drive belt and pulleys visible at bottom

Once the body is removed the set up is not dissimilar to a number of other models. This model is four wheel drive, drive being taken to the front wheels by a combination of pulleys and a square section rubber band. Problems here too!! The pulleys are poorly moulded or have been damaged on installation and a consequence is a variation in the turning diameter of the pulley. At one point the band sits high in the groove and at another sits low. More of this later! Strangely, the chassis has a cut out for a front gear but is unused?

Front and rear axles are snug in their bushes but all four brass axle bushes are loose in the chassis!? More treatment needed there. I placed the chassis on an acrylic test slot to check some of the clearances and to my surprise the guide was half way out of the slot. Further inspection found it to have a lot of end float. The guide was pulled out to reveal a rather bedraggled spring which was supposed to be tensioning the guide in its mount. Not so, it wasn’t until I induced some extra length to the spring by stretching it that it actually functioned as a spring loaded guide. The guide itself was a very snug fit in its mount, probably being the best out of box fitting I’ve come across. There is virtually no front to back or side to side play. Some other leading manufacturers could learn a lesson from this!


The motor is the Team Slot Titan TS7 !!! What does this mean? It means it has a lot of grunt for an RTR model. The motor is rated at 20,000 rpm at 12v and 24,000 rpm at 14.5v. On the track it is a projectile which needs a lot of fine engineering around it to keep it there but will this be so? The motor is firmly fixed in the chassis and gluing may well not be needed for non magnet use. Final drive is via a 9z brass pinion and a 27z black contrate.

The wheels and tyres look ominous too! Tyres are very familiar of the Cartrix tyres that sweat and go rock hard in six months and the wheel/tyre set up runs very eccentrically. I’ve decided to leave further wheel/tyre evaluation ‘til after its track test as I can see there are going to be a lot of short comings on this model!

Finally, there are two diminutive round magnets placed in the chassis either side of the pinion. These are rare earth types and they exert a reasonable amount of downforce but I’m wondering if they are man enough for the TS7. Time will tell.


Track Test.

With final inspection over, it’s time to put it through its paces. First drive was green lane on my local magnetic plastic track. Quite expectedly, the model was more than a handful, any violent acceleration saw the model leap from the slot after a metre or so and go the next two metres in free fall. Driving carefully still saw the model execute an understeer deslot at the exit from the most modest of corners. Driving in all but the most careful manner would see the model deslot. At this stage the test was aborted as it was blatantly obvious that in SOOB condition this model wasn’t going to meet its requirements! A best lap of 9.895 was eventually achieved on one of the few ‘clear rounds’ I managed!

So, what to do? The model in question is far behind current offerings from the majors. Even the like of Artin make a more user friendly model out of the box for far less money. The options are to fix it or forget it! This model has a lot of potential. It comes with a good motor. Axles and wheels are ok. Chassis is fine, guide is potentially one of the best. But the whole has been put together badly and there is obviously very little QC involved in the manufacturing process.


Lets get started, first and most important problem is the wheel/tyre headache. Tyres removed. The wheels are actually quite concentric. The first fault is the amount of flash and extraneous plastic still attached to the wheels unnecessarily! All wheels were placed on a dummy axle one by one and the flash and other rubbish was filed off with a small hobby file. I also sanded a slight radius on the edges of the tyre retaining ridge. The wheels ended up very true and again amongst some of the best I’ve seen. The tyres, though, were a different story.

The first option is to replace them but in this case I reversed the tyres on a Dremel sanding drum and removed all the excess rubber moulding flash from the inner rims of the tyre. These are the bits that sit on the outer radius of the wheels. Heaps of excess rubber was causing the tyres to sit unevenly and give the impression the wheels were out of true. While I was at it I used a small round hobby file to re profile the groove in the 4WD pulleys. Although badly out of shape, the business parts were able to be restored to a useable state.

Next, the axle bearings were cleaned and reinstalled. A small drop of superglue was applied to the top of the bearings with the point of a modelling knife and the whole left to set on a level surface. The guide was removed and as the spring extending was only partly successful, I decided to make a small 2mm. shim to fit over the guide pin and remove most of the slack. Adjustment was checked with the clear test board and the chassis sitting on all four wheels.

A 5 gram lead weight was epoxied between the motor and the front axle. This was to discourage the model lifting on hard acceleration and might have to be added to after further testing. Lastly, the gears were coated with Tamiya ‘Fine” rubbing compound and the chassis run for fifteen minutes to bed them in. The compound was topped up every two to three minutes and finally the gears were washed off and lubed with Vaseline. The motor end bearing was washed too.

The body had already had all its loose bits glued and with new longer screws was refixed to the chassis. A few more test laps on my home figure of eight and the car was put in the box for Friday night at the local board track.

As usual the track was sponged down and given a good run. A few laps with other Rally cars, some small Johnson F1 action and a trip out for the Scaley BMW M1s saw plenty of grip laid down. During a mechanical break where we were test running some Scaley contrates that had the pinion spigot slot widened for RX use, I got the Celica out for its timber debut. Taking it easy to start with and wedging the second finger of my controller hand under the Parma trigger to reduce top end, I set off. The model was considerably quieter and wasn’t showing too many bad signs. I lapped faster and faster until I experienced an understeer deslot. Not too worried as I had been pushing it fairly hard. Back in the slot I ran another thirty or so laps and checked the lap times. I was now down to a 7.415 sec lap!

The only problem I was experiencing was leaving the slot on the dreaded ‘yump’ in the middle of the back straight. This was also a problem with the Ninco F1 Ferrari as I recall, the only solution was to back off slightly before the apex and then a short burst to the end of the straight. As with the Ferrari I estimated this to be costing between 0.2 and 0.3 of a second but there was nothing to be done about it. So, 7.415 it was with a potential 7.1sec lap to get.


The tyres were sanded but untreated and there was a bit of drift in the corners. I consider that the band driven 4WD was next to useless and a gimmick at best. The band is quite loose and the rear wheels cannot be driven by turning the fronts like some of the band drives. The Scaley Pug 307 to note. But the motor is similar to the Ninco NC2/3/5’s and it may be asking a lot to do this. Next test day will see it running minus the band and possibly a ‘Wixle” front end conversion.


Wheelbase 79.0 mm
Front axle width 58.0 mm
Rear axle width 60.5 mm
Overall weight 90.0 grams
Front axle load 34.0 grams
Rear axle load 56.0 grams
Pinion 9z
Crown wheel 27z
Final Drive Ratio 3 : 1
Rear tyre size 19.5 mm
Motor revs 20.000 @ 12.0 V
24.000 @ 14.5 V
Axle diameter 2.50 mm.


My anticipation soon turned to disappointment with this model because when its racing days are finished it will not be made of the right stuff to be a shelf queen. That was one reason to press ahead with its mods. The paintwork really is poor by today’s standards. The setup out of the box too was desperate and to the average racer this model will fall well short of the mark. Having spent some time and acquired local knowledge on it I’m sure it will be a very quick car. The traction magnet will need an upgrade for plastic track racing and the best tyre solution would be to try out some of the Ninco tyres or even substitute the wheels with Ninco or other types. Teamslot have some major rethinking to do if they expect to cut it in the RTR market place, this product is doing them no favours. The Outhouse jury is still out on this one and a few more test runs will be needed to convince me or otherwise.

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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