Fly BMW 3.5 CSL

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Re: Fly BMW 3.5 CSL

Postby yankfaraway » Fri 08 Aug, 2008 5:31 am

I have several liveries of this model, and the front stub axle play has varied from model to model so much that I now try to push the stubs in just a bit to see if they tighten up. I used to refit the stub axle Fly cars as soon as I got them home, regardless. With this particular model, I actually have three that I run without modifying the axles at all. They came with usable stubs that didn't "twitch" (caster), at all, while still rolling nicely. I run almost exclusively on wood tracks, no magnets. The secret to these things is in the lateral movement. Hold the front wheel in such a way as to imitate a left and right turn. If it will wiggle more than just a tiny bit, it will twitch something awful going down the track, and when it happens on a turn, it will deslot far too easily. There are many methods for dealing with the twitch if your car has one, and they all work well. The camber may look funny, but like the camber in an aircooled VW rear axle, they cornering actually benefits from it. Just sand the front tires at a complimentary angle to the max camber, and the car is instantly sure-footed as a mountain goat. But that caster has to be dealt with if you get one of the ones that has loose pins in the stub axle system.
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Joined: Wed 16 Jul, 2008 2:37 pm

Re: Fly BMW 3.5 CSL

Postby wixwacing » Mon 21 Jun, 2010 12:23 am

BMW 3.5CSL (Coca-Cola)

By Rob Wessling



Weight:		        		83g
Axle Width Front: 57.1mm
Axle Width Rear: 61.3mm
Wheelbase: 79.7mm
Gearing: 21.29 MMPR (9:27)

The FLY BMW 3.5CSL was one of those models that I had to have (I'm sure you know the feeling as well, right?). I've been a fan of the BMW marque for as long as I can remember, the cars from this prestigious German manufacturer have always held a certain fascination for me. The beauty, mechanical innovation, and performance are hallmarks of the BMW legend that really make these cars so special. A performance car that an ordinary knock about Aussie bloke can relate to, that’s what BMW is for me……

Going by the speed at which the first 3.5 CSL offering from FLY (the #59 car) was sold out at hobby dealers, I'd have to suspect that I'm not alone in my liking for these earlier model Bimmers! Not being quick enough off the mark, I had to wait patiently for the next re-livery that offered a red and blue stripes over white paint scheme, for this was the colour scheme that evokes memories of BMW's participation in world Motorsport. Nothing against the Green or Black liveries that were released during the interim, they just didn't "do it" for this BMW fan.


The wait was worth it though, my first impression of this model after laying eyes on it for the first time was that I was being overwhelmed by beautiful, intricate scale detail. FLY has really excelled here, we all know that this is FLY's game, but WOW, the 3.5CSL was a feast for my eyes!

Exterior detail is all absorbing in its complexity, starting with a four headlight grille (as per six cylinder models, four cylinders received only two headlights in this era) with the trademark BMW "kidney" shaped inserts. Neat looking front fender "wind-splits" (Aussies will be more familiar with these aerodynamic devices on production BROCK Group Three Holden Commodores from the 1982 VH series) are another interesting detail included along with sundry air vents on bonnet cowl and guards. Beefy rear guards (along with huge brake duct vents) enclose very wide and aggressive looking BBS style wheels, this thing looks absolutely WILD!

Other exterior detail features of note include, roof spoiler (with silver painted screw heads at the mounting points!), boot lid re-fuelling "locks", boot lid fasteners, tow strap hitches and a finely detailed rear tail light assembly.


The detail also continues underneath on this model as well, with twin side-pipes and fuel pump adding to the visual experience when viewing this model positioned "on-track".

Paint quality was very good on my sample, with base colour and clear coat being blemish free. Unfortunately the Tampo was not quite as good, exhibiting a certain degree of "roughness" around the BMW badge on the right-hand side C pillar. The UNION logo on the right hand side of the rear spoiler also had a washed out look about it as well, minor points indeed, but still detracting from an otherwise excellent paint scheme. As most of us would already be aware, the Tampo on most FLY models can be susceptible to minor marks incurred by general use, so if you want your models to keep that "factory fresh" look for the long term, TAKE PRECAUTIONS!

Interior detail in the FLY 3.5CSL is as breathtaking as the exterior, with many small detail touches being included to make this particular model stand out as one of the best detailed 1/32 models I've ever seen. A very neatly painted full-length driver figure resides in a competition bucket seat, "safely" secured in place by a blue racing harness. A full complement of dashboard gauges, steering column indicator stalk (yes, its there!), detailed centre console and gearstick fall close at hand for our "plastic pilot". Excellent work FLY, you really are a class act in the detail department!!!


OK, with the visual inspection out of the way it was time to put this most exquisite model through its paces on our home layout. The FLY BMW 3.5CSL posted a best lap time of 6.263 seconds and a 45-lap average of 6.47 seconds in SOOB form…..

Initial break-in laps and subsequent SOOB testing were a bit of a challenge with the BMW 3.5 CSL, as I found the model to be unstable when taking corners that offered a quick change of direction. The 3.5CSL was quite "snappy", offering a tail-out attitude almost at will, I found that a "straight" style of driving (easy into the corner and gently feeding the throttle on after the corner apex) made for more consistent lap times. The main culprit causing this handling trait appeared to be the rear tyres (lack of mechanical grip). I felt that the standard B73 bar magnet would offer more than sufficient magnetic traction once the tuning process was complete, being well positioned in the chassis of the 3.5 CSL.

Disassembly and tuning of the FLY BMW 3.5 CSL was a very straightforward matter, chassis layout is simple and uncluttered, just the ticket for the club racing enthusiast!


Mechanical components were checked for fit and concentricity. I must say that FLY also scores highly in this department with my sample 3.5 CSL, with axle, axle to bearing fit and bearing to chassis fit all being well above average. Wheels and tyres were also very true, with the latter only needing the slightest touch with the sandpaper and sanding block.

The front axle assembly though was another matter entirely! There was a huge amount of front wheel slop on my example of the BMW CSL, something not uncommon with this style of independent axle stub arrangement. I've got to wonder if some front axle movement (camber) isn't part of the "big Picture" from FLY. The loose chassis moulding in this area is quite out of character with the rest of the tolerances witnessed over the rest of the model. Say What? Yes, the hole in the chassis moulding on the outside face of the front suspension "block" is somewhat larger than the inner hole. I just can't see FLY would allow this to happen with a freshly designed chassis mould.

Regardless, there are solutions in removing unwanted wheel movement with this type of front axle arrangement. You can add metal washers over the axle stubs, replace the stock FLY items with Cartrix brand metal axle stubs (as mentioned in the Chevron review) or simply snip a little off the end of the stock plastic FLY axle stub and press it up very tightly (this is the option I chose on this model).


Finally the braids were "groomed", wheels re-attached, bearings and motor glued in and the whole lot given a final light oiling. We were all set to see if this FLY BMW 3.5 CSL really did fly!

The tuned 3.5 CSL ran a best lap of 5.454 seconds and a 45-lap average of 5.63 seconds

Handling was far more to my liking, with the tail only occasionally coming adrift when I got a little too enthusiastic on some of the faster corners of our layout. As expected, the buffed rear tyres and excellent positioning of the B73 bar magnet kept the "show on the road". If anything, I feel the stock Mabuchi motor in this model could quite easily be replaced with something offering a little bit more top-end performance (say a FLY blue-label race motor)…….


In conclusion, I'd have to confess that I love this offering from FLY. The level of detail on the BMW 3.5CSL is superb, it’s a class act by any measure. Combine excellent looks, class leading levels of detail, quality components with a chassis that is simple and easy to tune and you can't help but say the FLY BMW 3.5CSL is a WINNER!


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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