Scalextric M23 late to early conversion

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Scalextric M23 late to early conversion

Postby wixwacing » Mon 09 Aug, 2010 10:21 pm

Scalextric M23 Late to Early Conversion

by
Deslotted

In 1973 McLaren was still recovering from the loss of Bruce McLaren who was killed testing a Can Am car in the UK. The team had been taken over by Teddy Mayer and its head designer was Gordon Coppuck who had been designing Indy cars with some success.


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Several rounds into the 1973 season they released the M23 and its drivers were New Zealander Denny Hulme and American Peter Revson, with occasional appearances by F1 new boy Jody Scheckter and a one off run at the old ‘Ring by Jacky Ickx on loan from a temporarily withdrawn Ferrari. The 1973 car was sponsored by Yardley cosmetics.
The new car immediately made an Impact with both Hulme and Revson taking wins with the car and Scheckter and Ickx making impressive runs at various times. The original M23 had a high air box with relatively short sidepods.


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The car was so good that it continued to run all through to 1976 and occasional forays into 1977 with guest drivers such as Gilles Villeneuve. The M23 won their drivers titles in 1974 with Emmerson Fittipaldi and in 1976 with James Hunt. By the time the car was finally retired in 1977 the car ran a low airbox and lengthened sidepods. Other than this the car remained relatively unchanged, and several private teams also ran them.

Several slotcar manufacturers have knocked out models of the M23 over the years; however the most recent incarnation from Scalextric is the best having die cast quality detail and excellent handling.
This most recent slot car is based on the 1976/77 Marlboro car with low airbox and long sidepods but a conversion to the Yardley 1973 version is done relatively easily.



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The Initial step is obviously to acquire a Scaley McLaren and strip it. There are 4 main body screws to remove and also the screw that holds in the rear wing. If you remove the front suspension and rear suspension / Cosworth from the chassis there are very tiny lugs that are easily broken also 2 more tiny screws holding the cosworth to the chassis. So have a good look first.

The original airbox is carefully lifted and pried off the main shell and the rear wing once unscrewed is also removed. The front wing will drop straight out once the front 2 chassis screws are removed. Care must be taken when removing the body from the chassis due to the driver being a tight fit to the lug on the chassis where his backside goes and him having a firm grip on the steering wheel. The wing mirrors on the cockpit will pop off with a pointy nose pair of pliers (use a little rag too so as not to damage the mirrors).



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Once stripped You must take your dremel and cut off disc to remove the extra length on the sidepods that the later cars had, there is an embossed line on the body for a guide but cut off a little less than required and dress it up with a small file or sandpaper. Then using 20 thou plasticard cut 2 small sections as per the picture to fill in the back of the sidepod. And attach them with glue (use superglue as model cement does not bond well with the body shell plastic). When you remove the rear part of the sidepods you will also remove the 2 rear body posts so new ones will need constructing later.


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The tampo will require sanding at this point, get as much as you can with 800 wet and dry because the primer that comes later doesn’t like the Day-Glo orange much and my usual method of dropping into drain cleaner won’t touch it (I haven’t tried Metho or any of the other methods but the 800 does the trick).

Next up is the rear wing, the later car had a v shaped wing, but we require a squarer wing, so it’s just a matter of filing and sanding until it’s the required shape. Again remove as much of the tampo and orange as you can.


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With the engine cover you need to remove the roll bar, these will generally pop straight off but if it’s a little stubborn you can heat the plastic weld with a low wattage soldering iron and they will come away. Then you take a file and file the side inlets of the air box until they are gone ( you will break through the sides of the hollow engine cover in parts but that’s ok, then mix up some milliput and mould it to the shape you roughly require it. Leave it a little bigger than you require. Also place a little milliput inside the engine cover where you broke through with the file. When set, take a couple of grades of file rough down and then finish the shape of the engine cover until it looks about right and finish with wet and dry, make the top flat and square so you can add your air box later.



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I made the air box by using 20 thou plasticard and putty, size isn’t critical because during the course 1973 the team used a multitude of different sizes, some quite small and others big enough to swallow a head, helmet and all. Just do what looks right to you. Once completed attach the air box to the engine cover, I just super glued mine.



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Once everything is set you can prime and paint the body, air box and wings. If there’s any Day-Glo orange anywhere some primers will react with it I ended up using a cheap primer from Bunning’s which wasn’t so aggressive but I’m a bit cheap so try any of the usual primers first, perhaps on the underside of the rear wing, if it fries then sand it back and try again with something different. My theory is although the white paint on the original car is an acrylic, the orange is enamel but I can’t be sure. Don’t forget to mask off the clear part of the screen.



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The chassis must be trimmed to suit the new shaped body shell; again I used the dremel leaving a little extra which I finished off with a file. Once again as per the side body mount posts, you will lose the mounting screw holes and this will necessitate the drilling of new holes.



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You then drill 2 new screw holes in the part of the chassis as shown in the picture. Offer the chassis up to the body and when it all sits nicely and the front screw holes line up with the front posts. Take a small drill bit and mark the inside of the body through your newly drilled side mount holes. Remove the chassis again and glue 2 short lengths of styrene tube to where you have marked the inside of the body (cut the tube to a little longer than you think you require). Offer the chassis to the body again and ensure the holes and the tubes line up.



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Once set, again offer the chassis to the body and trim the lengths of tube until the body sits on the chassis nicely, you can reinforce the tube with a sleeve of the next size up and araldite at the area that the tube attaches to the body.



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When everything has dried you can dry assemble the car to ensure everything fits well also you can paint the part of the chassis that form part of the side of the body orange. (This was a bit of a nod to the original orange of Bruce McLaren’s cars pre-sponsorship, even today McLarens cars are painted orange in pre season testing and there is always a small bit of orange somewhere on the cars bodywork).
You can also detail the exhausts and suspension at this point if you wish.

Final step was obviously decals and clear. I am still using future / pledge because it was cheap and easy to use; also you can remove it with Windex if you make a mistake.



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As far as I am aware no one does a decal set for the Yardley McLaren so I had to make a set up on the wife’s office program. If anyone wants a set and has Microsoft Office Word I am happy to email them as an attachment, I can do them for any or all of the 4 drivers’ names and numbers mentioned Earlier. All you need is a printer and decal paper and obviously some clear to seal the print on the decal paper. If you don’t have all of this stuff, then PM me anyway and I can knock a set up for the price of the consumables and postage.
Anyway that’s the 1976 to 1973 M23 conversion done.
So what to chop up next is the big question.
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