HSRR McLaren M8d

A forum for one offs or 'Bespoke' slotcars

HSRR McLaren M8d

Postby wixwacing » Sun 01 May, 2011 7:05 pm

HSRR
McLaren M8d




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by Phil Wicks


Historic Scale Racing Replicas is a slotcar model maker of some years standing now but they are very rarely seen amongst the offerings of the mainstream slotcar retailers. They turn out a very nice model which, to the average eye is good scale and accurate detail. Prices are from the high side of OK to a bit too much and with so few of them ‘out there’ they are a bit of an unknown quantity. So I decided to go looking for some......on the net!



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If you type in HSRR McLaren M8d into any search engine you get a wide variety of responses. The HSRR web site will be near the top of the results and if you are a little bit attracted by the mystique of these model, then the site is worth a second look. Among the remainder of the search results are three or four forum items where people discus their acquisitions sometimes at length. Discussion varies from things like ‘What Indygrips fit my M8d. to freaky slotcar conversions were the entire underside of the model is dumped in favour of some flat piece of stainless (316?) with a 100,000 rpm motor and round things barely recognisable as wheels and tyres!!! The remainder of the results are from shopping sites which round up any website with the remotest combination of words and phrases in the body of the text, giving you a pot pourri of the application of the letters H. S. R. R. M. c. L. a. r. e. n. M.8 d!



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So why such an enigmatic model from an even more enigmatic manufacturer? One story goes that the guy that makes these model did it as a challenge! Primarily he is / has been a model train enthusiast and specialises in the manufacture of all things railway in OO/HO? It was put to him that he couldn’t make a decent slotcar and so the challenge was accepted. True story???? Maybe this explains why only the four versions were made. Who knows, but the upshot is we have a ‘boutique’ slotcar manufacturer making a potentially desirable car. If this is a one off experiment, once they are all gone......they are all gone??



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The models themselves are made in China and inspite of this they are particularly well detailed. They also have a few innovative ideas about them, but the tuning section of the website:

Historic Scale Racing Replicas

tells me that this guy does not race slotcars competitively and has struggled a bit with some of the more vital functions of the model. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing which is terminal or incurable. In fact, I think this model not only is good out of the box (with a couple of minor adjustment) but also has a great deal of promise and I look forward to putting it amongst the opposition some time in the near future both on board AND plastic! So where do we start? Well lets look at the outside first.



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The mouldings are good, very good. With some models you can see the joins of the mould pieces in the form of accentuated ridges or seams, and even some times unsightly flashing. Care and attention with the mould has ensured that where all the mould parts come together, the body does not get littered with unsightly seams. All the bits fit well too. The intake ram tubes have been finished in a sort of gunmetal colour and again, no unsightly seams running up the sides like a few I could name. The rear view mirrors are good, vulnerable but good; and the transmission detail has had a lot of time spent on it along with the exhaust and suspension detail.



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It’s hard to tell if the ‘McLaren Yellow’ is just a clear coat on body colour or whether it is painted, it certainly looks painted and there are no bubbles or dirty spots or other blemishes which seem to disappoint on more expensive models (interesting to note, the colour was chosen so the cars would stand out on colour TV in the US). The driver is a peach too.



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Dan is reclining in true Can Am style and is painted well and convincingly, even down to the disputed Castrol badge he wore on his upper arm (McLaren were sponsored by Gulf Oils). The face and helmet are a pleasant relief from what we get from the majors and HSRR have gone to the lengths of fitting a separate visor as part of the helmet!!



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Radiators are depicted in the side air ducts and there is also a larger one visible from behind, in the front of the model. Dash detail is fair and other interior detail includes the obligatory passenger seat and the fuel tank with a fire extinguisher mounted for handy use!! Looking under the model we se that Mr HSRR has even gone to lengths to pick out the detail in the floor pan, right down to the rivets (or spot welds). Lastly, from a modelling perspective, the tampo is very good. Decals are well done and after consultation with online illustrations, faithfully reproduced. The only item which I could find as a ‘could do better’ job was that the clear coat on the sides of the model was probably a little bit ‘orange peely’ compared to the top.



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Moving down a bit the wheels and inserts are good. Tyre detail has been faithfully reproduced and tyres have been manufactured by ‘Hot Shoes’. With the tread on they can be a little slippy, and they’re not the roundest by modern standards, but I’m sure once they wear down they will work well. And the wheels are a novel approach for 1/32 RTR! They are good turned alloy wheels which are a ‘press fit‘ on the axles. There won’t be any quick wheel changes with this axle and indeed, on some forum articles I have glanced through, people have ended up butchering these items in an attempt to change them.



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The axle bushes look to be a smaller outer dimension than mainstream axle bushes, so if you want to mess with the axle, you’ll need to recover the axle bushes (by cutting through the axle!!??) or sourcing some replacements somehow. The front stubs look to be pushed through from the inside of the hubs and into the body of the wheels. Again, messing with these could be messing with fate. At this point in the review, the only thing that stands out is that the model sits high on the axles. We are all used to the real thing sitting two inches off the ground, but this ain’t gonna happen with this model. The guide and the steering arm above it determine the minimum height of the front, and to make the back lowered would give the model a ‘nose up’ attitude.... no thanks! Neither is there room or clearance internally to drop the body safely on the chassis.



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Underneath the model there is an un orthodox guide system, a little reminiscent of things SCX have done at one time or another. The system itself is fine but the parts used are a bit below minimum requirements. On turning the guide there was a harsh scraping sound from it. This turned out to be the brass contacts rubbing harshly against the braid material. Firstly, the guide is made of plastic. It doesn’t take too much handling and if you want to remove it you would be well advised to push it out from the inside. In the event of a disaster there is a spare guide in the box with the model!



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The braids are VERY stiff! In fact, replacing the braids with some softer tinned copper braids was the first thing I did to the model. The original braids were just going to be too much agro setting up, and then they would only be fit for the most level of tracks. Even fitting new braids needed a little mod. The slots in the guide which the braids slide into are quite short and I found it necessary to lengthen them to enable the braids to slide fully into position. Having fitted the new braids, I dobbed a spot of Vaseline on top of the braids where the brass strips make sliding contact.



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As for the steering, this is one thing I can relate to. There is nothing inherently wrong with the steering, and as for numerous tirades on web forums where people have despaired and substituted it with a solid axle, I feel there was no understanding of how steering needs to work and what its best features are. Good steering solves two problems. First, the drag caused by the lack of differential between the front wheels when cornering and secondly, drag generated by sideslip when the wheels can’t follow the direction of the model.



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For steering to be effective the model must of course rest on the front wheels, and being an exponent of ‘all four on the track’ and a detractor of the tripod theory, mine will be doing exactly that! HSRR have also managed to get the steering swivels close enough to the wheels to get the front wheels to rotate comfortably in their wells. The only improvement that should have been applied to the steering was to make the steering pins on the end of the tie rod a little longer. I can see these becoming uncoupled in a racing incident and a consequential pitstop to refit the errant joint.



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There are five screws holding the model together. All five need to be removed to separate the body from the chassis and a note made that there are three different lengths to the screws! Important, these need to go back in the holes they came from! Once inside we can see that the driver’s tray is a press fit to the floor pan. There is nothing holding the driver in except for the press fit of the steering wheel! Once this is removed the business end is exposed. The model conducts current from the guide to the motor via couple of SCX-esque conductor strips.



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These stop short of the motor where a couple of wires then take power to the motor terminals. I am happy with this idea too. A thing to note here is that when I initially powered up the model, there was no motor activity; and still not being able to get the motor working, and expecting the worst, I checked continuity from the guide to the motor. It turned out there was a dry soldered joint where one of the motor wires joined the brass strips. A spot of solder was applied and the problem was fixed, but for a moment there it was looking ominous!



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The motor sits tidily on a motor/axle pod, very similar to the early fly cars. Again, a good idea and one I would endorse, but even this is not without its pitfalls, but more of them later. A healthy 3 : 1 reduction ratio made from good quality materials and I suspect a hard steel axle, hence the pressed on wheels. I don’t know about anyone else, but on the rare occasions that I have used ‘drill blank’ axles in my models, I have had the devil’s own problem getting grub screwed wheels to stay on for long. The screws need to be firmly tightened for them to grip the shiny hard axle material, and once tightened hard enough, either the grubscrew in-hexes get turned out, or the Allen bit for tightening them rounds off!!



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The motor is a can end drive, this bodes well for those who like NC1 type motors and racing. It is firm in the pod and there is no extra work involved here. The traction magnet is in a regular spot in front of the motor but the height of the model off the ground plus the location of the magnet in the model dictates there will be only vestigial magnetic attraction. Barely enough to give the model any useful downforce on Scalextric track or similar.



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A final inspection and power up showed that the tight mesh of the gears was the last obstacle to overcome. There is absolutely no backlash between the pinion and the spur gear; and when run the gears are quite noisy. I tried some Tamiya fine polish in the gear and after a more than sufficient period of running, the tight gearing and the noise where still there. Mmmmmmmm? When the model was running (bare chassis only) and if the pod was bent slightly away from mesh, the engine speed picked up appreciably.



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The problem was the gear and pinion were too closely meshed and binding. The peaks of the gear teeth were bottoming out in the opposing valleys. The polish would take ages to wear this down so I decided to short cut the process. With the motor and axle running at about mid revs I lightly touched the top of the spur gear teeth with a flat modellers file. As the peaks of the spur gear became slightly worn, the motor speed picked up........ Mmmmm! Repeating the exercise on the pinion achieved the same result!



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Not wanting to file too much off I repeated the operation a couple more times. Bending the pod still showed the model to speed up lightly but I didn’t want to overdo the job and ruin the gears, so I repeated a treatment of Tamiya fine once again. This time with the paste on the gears, I lightly forced the gears together for several seconds until the motor slowed. This I did several times, refreshing the paste until I reached the position where the motor speed didn’t fluctuate when the gears were lightly forced apart.



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On assembling the model I couldn’t help noticing the single rear screw was tight in the chassis hole. On reassembly, with the rear screw in place, the motor once again laboured. With the rear screw removed it returned to its former speed ??Mmmmmm???. I took the body off again and ran the next size up drill through the rear screw hole, allowing the screw to float in the hole. This time, with the screws in place, the motor retained its peak revs!!! All the same, I have decided to run this model with the centre and rear screws backed off a half turn.....just to be sure!



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So that was about all that needed to be done to this model, and it is my view that the few fixes I carried out have addressed the litany of complaints that racers have made on other websites. The traction magnet lets it down for serious plastic track racing and there would be a problem overcoming this, but with a little accurate ballasting this model is a potential contender in its class in a non magnet situation, and this is where it will be working.



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This has to be one of the nicer models in my collection as models go. It might even be a great slotcar, but that has yet to be proved as I haven’t tried it yet. One thing is for sure, I will take this along to meetings and run it in the breaks. Between meetings I will fine tune it until eventually it will be running at the peak of performance. So you might just need to stay tuned!!


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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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Re: HSRR McLaren M8d

Postby paulthetexan » Mon 02 May, 2011 10:28 am

Hi Phil

I'm exited to see this model being reviewed . I have had one for quite some time now and have to say it is quite special to me and I always get a warm fuzzy feeling when I put it on the track . Hopefully it's the joy of this slot car and not a short in my controller !
My favourite part is the drivers helmet and visor . My visor actually moves up and down . I can't help myself and have to open and close it every time I get the car out the drive it . My car was suprisingly good to drive straight out of the box with pretty good stabuility and grip , however I found it quite difficult to squeeze that extra couple of tenths out of it to make it a competative racer . Eventually I came across a formular that worked wounders and has my car flying . It was still just a little too precious to me to race in the recent Can-Am series that Legends ran and I couldn't bring myself to risk damaging it . Anyway here's what I found ,

I experimented with braid and found the soft braid would snag on the tangs protruding from the body too easily and I settled on the hard copper braid that comes standard on many Fly/Ninco/SCX cars . Next I noticed that the front tyres don't rest on the track and it is impossible to adjust this with the steering left in tact . I quite like the steering feature of this car so didn't want to alter it at all . Evenually I found that Ninco Classic tyres fit straight on and have a higher profile required to have the tyres firmly on the track .

Now the last piece of the puzzle was the most difficult or frustrating to overcome . For a while now I have come to accept that cars with rear motor pods as seen in this car and many Fly porche 917's etc. seem to retain a certain amount of chatter or bounce through corners that you just can't tune out . I put this trait down to the motor pod being fixed directly to the body , meaning that it is impossible to decouple the chassis from the body . Eventually I ended up gluing the motor pod into the chassis and deleting the rear mounting screw all together . In effect this modification changed the chassis from a pod chassis to a standard pan chassis and also transformed the car into an absolute flyer . I will add that my mods are strictly for board track racing and will not work for magnet racing .

For me this car is an all time favourite and now I have it zipping around like a champion it just keeps getting better .

Regards
Paul
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