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Banpro/Plafit beginner cars.

Here in Japan the slot car racing scene does not appear to be as big as in other countries.  A reason for this could be the real estate you need in your home to set up a track.  You need a lot of space!  Because the market is not so big, there are not a great deal of places to buy the track or the cars, and both have a price premium due to their limited imports.  Because of this I am always looking at alternatives...

Enter a Japanese company called Banpro.  They make wooden tracks on a large scale, some of which you can find in the Japanese toy store chain Hakuhinkan.  Recently in these stores besides the major brand names for slot cars, a cheaper version has appeared with the stores own name on them.

[Image: hakuhinkan1.jpg]

The cars come in a various colours, and at the time of writing, two body styles - Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper.

The cars have a metal adjustable chassis and a durable vacuum formed body.
[Image: hakuhinkan3.jpg]

Slot car racers may see a similarity here for this chassis and that of the Plafit range of chassis parts.  There is a good reason for that, Banpro and Plafit are one and the same company, with Banpro focus being custom built tracks and Plafit being high quality chassis parts.

Banpro Online Shop

This cheaper car does not offer all the bells and whistles of the main Plafit line, but it does give you some flexibility.

[Image: hakuhinkan7.jpg]

For racing the car can be made very easy to drive with the 4 round adjustable magnets.  You can change the height on these to adjust how strongly the car will hold to the track.  Be careful and ensure on plastic tracks with raised rails such as Scalextric and Carrera that these do not actually touch the track.

You can also adjust the wheelbase from around 60mm, right up to 80mm, giving you a good variety of body styles this can be adapted for.

[Image: hakuhinkan9.jpg]

This car comes with a fairly hefty guide blade to keep it in the slot - it is after all I believe aimed at beginners.  You may want to trim this down or even swap out for a more regular size guide.  Standard slat car guide on left compared with the one provided.

[Image: hakuhinkan4.jpg]

The cars themselves race pretty good out of the box and make a nice durable little car for younger racers.  Just a personal preference, they come mounted quite high for the body, and I just rather see them sitting a little lower.  The white car below sitting at the out of the box height, blue car is after moving the mounting plates.

[Image: hakuhinkan10.jpg]

These sell for under $30 and so I think a really good deal to get a quality adjustable chassis for some project cars and kit bashing.  Recycled a broken LaFerrari into a convertible and used one of these chassis for this.
[Image: laferrari.jpg]

If for some reason the content does no display properly here, you can see the original posting on my blog.

My DIY projects and failures at 
[+] 3 members Like dazee's post

Very interesting.

Decent grub screw front wheels are a surprise at that price point. Most seem to have press on plastic.

I wonder how much they will be in Europe, seems a good way of setting up some cheap cars. I assume they handle reasonably without magnets.

Have not been able to compare like for like really at the moment.  A lack or slot car shops and places to buy parts has meant I have kept in that rather large guide at the moment, and this seems an unfair advantage.  The one thing I did note when using on my big track with Race Coordinator software, was that I sometimes got false laps from running them.  Adding a capacitor onto the motor seems to fix this.  Am guessing the motors are electrically noisy and the arduino boards don't like it.

Will get some times and compare on my track.

My DIY projects and failures at 

The guides look about the same size as the SlotiT wooden track guides. A definite advantage for some, me included.

I did some quick comparisons for how they perform without magnets.  But first some disclaimers  Bigsmile  I am not a racer or tuner, just enjoying the hobby, so probably an awful lot that can be done to improve on these times.  The cars were raced as is, just minus the magnets from their normal state where I use them.  For the Slot-It and Carrera, these are normally raced with one magnet left in.

The Slot-It had stock tires on and clocked a best time of 23.571
The Carrera (Z4 GT3) had a set of Supertires on and had a best lap time of 24.486
The Plafit Beetle had the guide trimmed down to let the front tires hit the track, and a set of home made tires.  Best lap of 21.826

[Image: YCA8ARjymvgFMHS6vPQnmfaHdEVVmuJFMQbWMAzA...03-h977-no]

Clearly the bigger guide and the extra weight low down helps it perform well on my track.  The other cars would definitely benefit from adding weight and tuning, and a better racer!

My DIY projects and failures at 
[+] 1 member Likes dazee's post

            When in Tokyo! I visited the same store in August and bought two (as you do) to have a tinker with, with what I think were the last two at the time with 956/962 bodies. 

Interesting what you’ve done with the bodies attaching the side plates rather than leaving them on the car. I’m going to try the same, should be much kinder on the polycarbonate bodies that’s for sure. 

I’m not so sure about the gear and pinion but otherwise was impressed with the quality, another rainy day project amongst many others.....

I’ll apologise in advance if my photos don’t make it, this is my first post :-)

(24th-Nov-19, 01:50 AM)dazee Wrote:  Here in Japan the slot car racing scene does not appear to be as big as in other countries.  
Hello Dazee
Do not belittle yourself and the role Japan has played in (international) slot racing.
It was the companies Sakatsu and Plafit that rejuvenated 1/24 slotrcaing with hard bodies over her in Europe during the late 90's
(in combination with messrs Petry/ H+T and Basas sr/ Cric Crac)
And building (model) slot cars is still on a immensely high level in Japan.
With kind regards
[+] 1 member Likes Tamar's post

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