SCX Aston Martin DBR

SCX Aston Martin DBR

Postby wixwacing » Mon 14 Jul, 2008 11:49 pm

SCX Aston Martin

Donnington 2006


by Phil Wicks

The Aston Martin DBR9 is a shining example of international co-operation. Under the auspices of the Ford Motor Company, the Gaydon based company have produced yet another classic sports car and a great competitor too. The DBR series of cars dates back to the fifties when the parent company of Aston Martin (David Brown – a tractor manufacturer!) was prepared to pit their product against the world’s best purely for the prestige (and hopefully one or two sales). Admittedly, in those days, motor sport was by no means as relatively costly but it was still a large outlay for a low volume bespoke car company who would need to sell cars to pay for their racing exploits. No sponsors’ decals from stem to stern and no huge order books to show the banks!

Team Modena

This was a case of getting the right driver in the best machine and let fate do the rest. Even the technology involved was surpassed in the sixties by production line cars! Racing car designers of the forties and fifties swapped engine technology with their colleagues in the motor cycle industry. Lightweight chassis design was in its infancy and tyres and brakes were still an unknown quantity with tyres delaminating for a pass time and brakes packing in the job every whip and flip, leaving the driver to wrestle his mount to a standstill, hopefully without too much drama. Aston Martin was a part of this both pre and post war. Other manufacturers came and went and some great names stayed the distance, still racing today in their fiery red battle dress beneath a mantle of sponsors decals.

Aston Martin Racing

Aston Martin have had a chequered career but have stayed the distance. From sports cars to open wheelers and back to sports cars. As suppliers of engines and ‘customer’ cars to the privateers to a factory team as strong as any in the field.

To me the DBR9 is a watershed in the life of Aston Martin. For many years they have had mixed results because the chassis was good and the motor was wanting! Or the motor was fabulous but the chassis was off the pace! Now they have both together in the one package and racing teams are obviously confident in the product and the back up they have access to.

Team Modena racing are a fairly new team although the top people that make up the team have some glittering achievements to their credit. The professionalism in the team has helped them contest some serious international events based on the Le Mans GT1 class, as well as moderate success with a WTCC car and their Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 racer.


SCX have made some significant advances over the last six months. Apart from their core business which is obviously the home racing market they have continued to supply good models at a very competitive price. In the last twelve months we have seen them advance into the club racer market with the up grade of their chassis and motors and their recent addition of the ‘Pro’ series of models. So while they have taken note and acted upon feedback no doubt from several sources, among the shining examples of their art they continue to produce models which are less than good.

‘Throw backs’ if you like, to days gone by, and the unsuspecting public are the ones who, whilst looking forward to the new advanced models, get smacked in the face by poor and shoddy products that shouldn’t even pass QA!! What am I going on about? Some times I wonder myself but in the case of this model there is no mistake.

Le Mans Series

The draw card for this model was the livery, and the pleasant surprises found in a couple of recent SCX cars combined to prompt me into buying this model. Ah! But it’s oh so easy in these halcyon days of the twenty first century. Gone is the bicycle trip to the local hobby store and the perusal and procrastination of the choice of the next model. No more sticky nose marks on the toy shop window and trying to point out the model you wanted to your buddies. “No! No! the red one, just there! JUST THERE!”

Next was a period of intense saving and going without your favourite lollies, asking mum if there were chores which paid money! and three or four weeks later you were at the counter with the grand sum total plus a few pennies. No, those were the good days when you had weeks to deliberate the wisdom of your choice. Now it’s ‘spot it’ on the net. Go to the online order page. Tap in all the relevant details and type in your Paypal password and Bob, once again, is the brother on your mother’s side!


The SCX Aston Martin is a good model. Inasmuch that it drives well, hangs on well and generally looks good, so where’s the problem? Looking over the model was the first step. Tampo is pretty good. Accuracy in detail is good and general appearance has been captured well. It even has door mirrors made of a pliant material!! Not quite as flexible as the Scaley JGTC’s but bendy enough hopefully to reduce the risk of being torn off in all but the most devastating of deslots. So where’s the problem. Mmmmmmm.? For me the problem started on the outside.


Firstly, the decals on the tyres are obviously for a much smaller diameter tyre as the curve of the decal doesn’t match the tyre. The external paint defects were a bit surprising. There are marks to the paintwork created when the paint was still curing. It may have been dry to the touch but on the front guards there are marks consistent with the body resting against a hard edge or similar. There is also a black paint spot to the rear edge of the right front wheel arch. Worst of all, there are scuff marks on the centre roof, as if the painted body shell had been left on its roof at some time shortly after painting.


Not too clear in the picture but that's my photography!

I know what you are thinking. This model is second hand from the supplier. Firstly, I know and have every confidence in the supplier and secondly, the SCX seals at both ends of the display case were unmarked and intact and most of us know how hard it is to even get these off!! This model has definitely sustained damage before packing after production.


Another disappointment which I have come across before on SCX models is the presence of a large greasy finger print on the inside of the clear screen parts. This, along with fine scratch marks and bloom on the outer surface of the screen moulding shows someone has held the clear part and rubbed the outside of the part with a coarse or dirty cloth at some stage before final assembly. Sad, very sad Mr SCX just when everything was looking up. I suggest you get a QA rep over to China ‘TOOT SWEET’ to keep an eye on final assembly and packing!


Again, not too clear, but plainly there in daylight

Shoving these things to the back of my mind I move on to the mechanical aspects of the model. After all, this is the business end and it is these specifications which will determine if the model is going to work properly.

The model is the tried and tested SCX formula and from the outside all is calm. The motor pod is mounted in the chassis and the chassis is mounted in the body in the usual fashion. We still have a wheel rubbing the arch issue which was present in the Audi from day one of the new chassis two or more years ago! If you don’t want to hack the arches out then this has to be remedied by building up the axle stops in the body. This can be done as simply as applying couple of dabs of super glue to the stops to increase their effective length. The other problem is that I was expecting the ‘floating chassis’ like the Volvo and Sierra. This has the ‘pivoting chassis’ like the Audi and the Nascars and other earlier GT cars with a single pin front and rear, which puts it in the ‘don’t bother’ class. Tyres and wheels are good and are concentric. Removal of the tyres revealed the wheels to be true too and no excess sprue or flashing was in evidence. Nice!


The front axle is firmly mounted in a couple of plastic bushes up front and the guide is the familiar SCX twin braid system which I notice some other manufacturers have adopted!! So much for the detractors of this set up!! The last details to mention are the compact lighting boards on this model. I have had feedback on several SCX models where people have maligned the SCX lights for failing. Whereas I don’t dispute it, I have to say that I have lost more Scalextric lights than SCX!! Lastly, the SCX way of mounting the motor and picking up current can be a niggle. I don’t normally worry too much but on this model I noticed the model was sitting a bit lop sided. The cause was too much tension in one of the motor conductor springs causing the body to sit tilted on chassis. This was remedied fairly easily by retensioning the spring.


So, without going into great detail, the model is on a par with a lot of its recent SCX stable mates and rather put it onto the track SOOB and end up with a lot of predictable data and statistics, I decided to do a few tuning mods to this BEFORE I gave it it’s maiden run!

What to do, well there is plenty. First decision is what surface will it sport mostly on. Well, it will probably spend a lot of time on board track but I will tune it with plastic and traction magnet in mind. First up is the motor pod. Not happy at all with this. The simplest solution was the pre motor pod fix. To do this, the motor pod has to be eliminated. This was done quite simply by hot gluing the motor AND pod into place. As the pod is still moveable, I chocked the model with a couple of bits of 3mm MDF at the rear so the chassis and pod were level. I then applied the hot glue from a very hot gun, so the glue flowed easily into the crevasses. Once cooled, I put a couple of spots of solder on the motor contacts to reduce the risk of poor contact. Now the motor was fixed there would be no rocking motion to keep the contact surfaces clean and clear. The body would be reattached using only three of the five original screws. The two centre ones being left out. The body would be allowed about one to one and a half mm up and down movement at the rear with a little less at the front.


The lights are operated by another pair of sprung contacts which I normally bend up out of the way. This removes all body/chassis springiness. But because I am sometimes called upon to run a lemans style night section I am going to need lights!! In this particular case I still bent the contacts up but from my electronics spares box I sourced a miniature two pin plug. I then hard wired the lights to the chassis conductors via this plug ‘a la Autoart!’ I now have a model with working lights and no movement inhibiting contacts. The plug is simply disconnected when the body wants removing.

Next was the front axle. There was a bit of end float and a little up and down movement but I wanted the model to sit on its front wheels and take the front body weight. The guide then needed to still have some of it’s up and down movement. I modified the front axle into the ‘Wixle’ system (see in tech sections) to allow individual rotation of the front wheels. At the same time the centre tube was hot glued into place. Before doing this I placed a 0.5 mm plastic strip under each guide braid on the test block. This raised the guide 0.5mm above track surface and acted as a gauge so that when the axle was glued in and strips removed, the guide still had approximately a half mil up and down movement to compensate for irregular surfaces.

Next, the ‘pinch’ places on the body were scraped back with a modelling knife. These are at the back only where the chassis wings touch inside the body. A light scrape and things were fine. I still despair at the sloppy guides we have to put up with and this model is no exception. In this case I have decided to leave it till after a serious track test and if the model insists on deslotting I might revisit it. The braids though were changed for tinned braids. Lastly, the overall weight was checked. Weighing in at 85 grams puts it at the optimum for technical short track non magnet racing but in the case of this model, I might be running it at some faster more sweeping circuits so I opted to raise the weight to 105 grams in anticipation of the high speed sweepers which will require a bit more downforce at the rear axle.


First outing was at the technical Ninco track of local racer Bob Seeney and sticking it on one of the centre lanes I set off. The RX42b was immediately contributing to the feel of the model and although it was quick, under Ninco power supplies it lacked that little bit of punch the ‘S’ cans have. Once up to speed and rolling it was quite steady and a few adjustments to the traction magnet made it settle in. Corner acceleration was good but the model stepped out a couple of times which I attributed to the tyres. These are quite hard and may well be suited to board tracks. This model was going to need some MJK’s or other brand of urethane tyres. I have given up with silicones as they have absolutely no advantage on painted board and the urethane tyres have great grip on plastic (with traction magnet) and respectable grip on board too. Saving me the need to have to carry a whole bunch of tyres about with each model.

The lights on this model work fine but don’t throw that much of a beam in front of the model unlike some of their smaller models. I put this down to the rake on the headlight lenses diffusing the beam from the horizontally mounted leds. A good light all the same and once again, the lights are on all the time the model is driving, and if you choose to run ‘sans brakes!’ the lights stay on almost continuously, on acceleration AND overrun! Motor braking was good as with all SCX RX series motors and if anything, could have done with a little less, giving a bit more roll on onto the corners. This model was lapping in the high sixes which was a good result too and little more would need to be done to put it in the race. Oh, and the final drive was quiet! Yes SCX seem to have mastered ‘quiet’ when it comes to crown wheels and pinions, but it has taken a while!!

So there were two lessons learnt here. One was to check the exterior of individual models closely before buying from the local store and secondly, make sure the chassis configuration is the one we are expecting!! Enough said!

Statistics (SOOB)

Wheelbase 85.5 m.m.
Front Axle width 61.5 m.m.
Rear Axle width 62.5 m.m.
Overall weight 89 grams
Body weight 28 grams
Pinion 9z Brass
Contrate 27z nylon
Final drive 3 : 1
Rear wheel diameter 22.0 mm
Guide length 20.0 mm
Guide depth 5.7 m.m.
Motor RX42b


This is an unusually liveried model and although SCX have finished it in a semi matt paint, the real thing has a bit more gloss to it, almost a satin finish. It doesn’t depart too much from the other recent SCX GT models and its attraction, apart from the livery, would be the shape of the DBR9, instantly recognisable. With Urethane tyres this will be a good run on home tracks and in its class on board and short club tracks. I look forward to pitching it against the Scaley version on plastic and wood!
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Re: SCX Aston Martin DBR

Postby LanciaB » Fri 30 Jan, 2009 8:12 am

Hi Wixwacing, thank you for this review and your cool website.

I've just discovered if, and it will become one of my favorites !!

Could you show us a picture of your chassis modification to avoid the pod rocking ?

Thank you !
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Joined: Fri 30 Jan, 2009 7:54 am

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