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Monday, 27 January 2014

Model Tips for Beginners - Part 2

Previously we did a Blog on  Basic Tips For Model Building for beginners that takes you step by step through some basic steps on building a model kit.  

The following are some questions that some of you, our customers, have asked either through email, social media or here at our store.  If we haven't answered your question, please send us an email or come down and see us here at Chinook & Hobby West!

Make sure to check out Part 1 from last week:

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What type of paint is best to use?
There are dozens of different paints sold in hobby and craft stores, hardware stores, and chain stores. We generally suggest that you try to stay with paint made specifically for plastic models. Most hobby paints will be either:
  • Enamel, which you will need to use paint thinner or turpentine to clean your brushes and equipment, or
  • Acrylic, which is water based so water will clean brushes and equipment.
You must clean the unpainted plastic parts prior to painting because paint may not adhere to the parts otherwise. This will remove the oily mold release spray that is added during manufacturing. To clean, put a few drops of a liquid dish or hand soap on an old toothbrush and give the parts a quick scrubbing. Let the parts air dry.
Many modelers like to use spray paints for the largest parts of their model, such as car bodies or aircraft fuselages because sprays will provide a better finish. Usually smaller detail parts are painted with a brush using bottled paints.
Some general guidelines when using sprays are:
  • Use a coat of primer before spraying on your paint. Some paints may "craze" or attack the plastic surface depending on the paint's ingredients.
  • Don't attempt to cover the part with one coat of paint. You want to spray several very light coats to build up the coverage. Paint coats that are too heavy cause runs and loss of engraved detail. Follow the directions on the can, but generally you'll want to wait 15-20 minutes between paint coats.
  • It's best to stick with the same manufacturer for the different types of paints you use on the same model (primer, color and clear, if you use a clear coat). Putting one manufacturer's paints over another may cause them to react with each other.
  • Let the paint dry completely before handling or trying to polish out the paint. Although it may seem dry on the surface, a good way to tell if the paint is fully cured is to hold the model up to your nose, if you can still smell the paint, it's probably not dry yet.
Why can't I find colors like fiery yellows and leafy greens in paints?
There are a variety of manufacturers that make an almost universal variety of paint colors that are compatible with plastic models. Testors, Tamiya, Humbrol, Floquil and Badger are just some of the companies you may want to check out. Rust-O-Leum is also safe because it is fish oil based, but always test first to be sure.
Don't be afraid to look in military, automotive, marine or any other category for paint. It's the color that counts, not the name on the bottle.
How can I fix a mistake in my paint job?
Your model should be quite salvageable. First thing, do NOT use sandpaper. There are a number of products that will remove most paints from styrene plastic safely. We recommend using products made specifically for this purpose, such as Scale Coat or Easy Lift Off by Floquil. Once you have stripped the paint from your model, wash and dry it thoroughly and re-prime. You should be good to go!

Why do I sometimes get bubbles in my paint?
There are a number of possibilities that could cause bubbles in your paint, but one of the most common is residual mold release left from the manufacturing process. Before painting any model, wash it with dish soap and dry thoroughly. Be sure to prime your model before painting so any imperfections may be resolved before applying your finish coat.
Is it better to paint the model before or after it's built?
Generally, you will have better results by painting your model before assembling it. An exception is to first glue together small parts of an assembly if they will all be the same color and painting it as a unit.


Decals: Types & Application

How do I apply decals?
Revell SnapTite® (Skill Level 1) kits contain "Peel 'n Stick" self-adhesive decals that are applied by simply peeling the image from the paper backing and applying to the model. Kits that require glue (Skill Levels 2 & 3) have traditional waterslide decals.
To apply a waterslide decal:
  • Cut apart the individual images from the sheet.
  • Dip the decal into lukewarm water for 1 or 2 minutes. Take the decal from the water and see if the image will move or slide on the paper backing. If not, return to the water for a few more seconds.
  • Once the decal will slide on the backing, put the decal and backing on a paper towel for a few seconds to remove the excess water.
  • Then bring the decal up to where on the model you want to apply it and slide the image from the paper backing onto the model. While wet, you can still move the image on the model a bit to position it just where you want it. If there are any air bubbles under the decal, gently push the bubble toward one of the edges of the decal with a wet Q-tip or edge of a paper towel to remove it.
  • When the decal is in position, simply leave it air dry and it will stay in place.
Many hobby shops will sell various decal setting solutions that will help the decal conform to sharply curved surfaces. We suggest trying out the specific solution you wish to use on an unused decal from the same sheet applied to a piece of scrap plastic to make sure the solution will not react with the decal. If you wish to spray a clear coat over your decals, the clear paint you intend on using should be tested first using the same method.



I am a first-time model maker and am having difficulty removing the decals from the page to apply to model. Do you have any suggestions for application?
Decals should be dipped in lukewarm water for only a moment and then set on a paper towel to let the water soak in and dissolve the adhesive that holds the decal on the paper. The decal will curl up, and then unroll after a short time. At this point the decals should be able to be moved around on the backing paper and slid into location on the model. Once in place they can be dabbed with the tip of a paper towel or tissue to soak up excessive water.

My model requires that I put the gas cap on before the decals. How are you supposed to fit the decals over the gas cap?
The best way to do it would be to apply the decals first, and then with a sharp hobby knife make an "X" pattern hole in the decal and then install the gas cap.
For a tutorial on putting on very small decals Click Here



Replacement Parts

I bought a very old kit from a garage sale, at a swap meet, or on Ebay. Do you still have parts and decals for it?
Although we do our best to fulfill requests for missing parts, many of the kits available through collectors or other independent sources were released many decades ago. These kits can make wonderful collector's items, but it is unlikely that we will still have parts for them.
If this is the case, you might want to contact another collector through an online forum. Collectors will sometimes seek out multiple copies of the same kit so they can combine them and have one complete kit with some extra parts. You may be able to arrange a swap or purchase that way.
We usually suggest that you try going directly to the manufacturer of the model kit.


Why do models sometimes look different on the box than what's in the kit?
Although manufacturers try to make sure that the box art represents the actual model kit, in some instances there may be small variations in what is shown. Sometimes, the hand-made master model is used for the box art photo because the actual kit production hasn't been completed. Or, the producer of the actual prototype may make changes after the model tooling is committed for production. In either case, the differences will be subtle and will not affect the overall model kit subject.

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We hope that we have been able to answer some of your questions.  Please let us know what you think of our blogs. We love to hear from you.


Thank you for checking out our Blog.  Please visit our WebsiteFacebook and Newsletters.

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Friday, 24 January 2014

Basic Slot Car Maintenance - Part 3

Make sure to check out Part 1 of our Basic Slot Car Maintenance to learn:
  • Fixing track to a Baseboard
  • Power drops and breaks
  • Testing Lane Change sections
and Part 2:
  • Cleaning
  • Lubricating the Chassis
  • Guide Braid/Blade replacement.




Welcome to the exciting hobby of Slot Cars.  At the beginning it is great fun, until everything starts to hesitate and slow down. That's when you need to look after your setup so you can continue with maximum enjoyment of your Slot Car experience.

You are here to learn abut how to maintain your Slot Car setup before it needs major maintenance (we hope we've caught you in time, lol)

Weather you have a small and simple setup or a 4+ lane for club racing, the proper cleaning routine is needed.


Tire Maintenance

Cleaning the tires gives the greatest amount of benefit to car performance.
Before using these tips, ensure that the track surface is clean and dust free.

For the novice:

  • Clean the rear tires with a slightly damp cloth.
  • Dry the rear tires.
  • Test the car on track.
A good tip is to visually check the colour of the rear tyres. If they are grey (the colour of dust) then they need cleaning. Repeat the process of cleaning and testing until the tires remain black after a track test. Then, the tires are ready to produce the best results.

For the experienced racer:

  • Clean the tires with tape (masking or gaffer tape or similar)
  • Test the car on track.

For the advanced racer:

  • Clean the tires with tape
  • Apply 3-in-1 oil (or similar) to the tire surface. Rub it in to the tire surface.
  • Gently remove any excess oil from the tire surface. Tires can be moist but not wet.
  • Test the car on track.
Tire truing is also recommended for the advanced racer and involves running the rear tyres on a flat surface of sand/glass paper to wear the tyres down to a smooth flat surface where 100% of the contact area touches the track surface.




Magnets & Downforce

What to race : A Super Resistant or Fully Detailed car?
Let's use the Audi R8 GT3 as a comparison. It comes in detailed and super-resistant form. With two cars of the same make,  in super-resistant and detailed build, the differing down-force between each car might influence your choice depedent upon what type of circuit you race on.

The magnets on both cars are the same so why the difference in down-force?
A super-resistant Audi R8 has a weight of 87 gm and a magnet force of 260 gm. This down-force is measured with the magnet fitted to the car. The overall downward weight on the track is, therefore, the force of the weight of the car and magnet together. E.g. 260gms. The magnet accounts for a force of (260-87) 173gms.
A detailed car has a higher weight of 93 gm and a magnet force of 277gms. The magnet added a force of (277-93) 184gms.

The 11gms difference between both cars is accounted for by no two magnets being alike in terms of their magnetic attraction (gauss value). Other factors such as flexibility of the chassis also come into play as does the condition of the track, thickness of the tyres, etc as the distance of magnet from rail is critical and exponential. The magnet being twice as close to the track doesn't mean it's effect is two-fold - it could be tens times stronger! So differences in all of these areas can make significant differences.

From a practical point of view, for racing both cars have good performance. This car does race well and feels sure-footed, even for those racers who prefer to race without a magnet (which is the best way to race in my opinion!).
Pros and cons are:
A light weight super-resistant car is superior on smooth track and/or long straights since it won’t be inclined to de-slot and can accelerate to top speed far quicker than a heavier fully detailed car. For circuits with bumps or only short straights a heavier car is recommended because the extra weight is required to keep the car in the slot and not so much is time is wasted accelerating along short straight lengths of the track.
If you have a car that sticks to the track too much check the underpan to see if the magnet can be moved to a different position. Usually, moving it foward lessens the downforce effect. When you are ready for more of a challenge, try removing the magnet completely. It's interesting to note that most Scalextric clubs ban the use of magnets!
---weights can also be used to increase downforce



Motors - An overview

An overview of Scalextric motors.

Scalextric motors are rigourously tested to help ensure that the Scalextric car is fitted with a motor that has good durability and will give many years of serviceable life without problems.

Is maintenance necessary?

Generally, a Scalextric motor needs no maintenance at all for the average home user. In fact, the car is built so that access to the motor is difficult. This is to comply with toy regulations and means that the motor has to be durable and maintenance free.

Maintenance for the enthusiast.

Enthusiasts may want to ensure that the motor is running at its optimum. Therefore, with chassis removed, it is possible to add a single drop of oil (3-in-1 light oil) to the ends of the motor shaft. Whilst this maintenance is carried out it is also good practice to clean all moving parts such as the pinion and axle gears and the axle bearings and lightly oil these components. Electrical contact cleaner can be used to clean the internal motor brushes but be sure to only carry out this maintenance on a cold motor.

Motor specifications

Scalextric motors are expected to be used at 12 to 15v. In practice they will work up to 18v without much problem. Above 20v seriously shortens the life of a motor.
In basic terms, current draw is 0.5 to 1Amp. However, strength or magnet, weight of car, grip of tyres are but just three factors that effect current draw.
Note that the current draw will only, and can only, be no more than the current available from the power source!
We recommend that only Scalexctric power supplies are used.
The standard Mabuchi S (SP) can motor or Mabuchi slimline motor (FF) fitted to most Scalextric cars are rated at 18,000 r.p.m. measured at 12v.

Performance Motor range

Motors can be changed for higher revving motors. See our Performance Motors range.
This range has 20,000, 25,000 and 30,000 rpm motors available.

Car Tuning

We do not recommend that any tuning is performed on an electric motor other than a spot of oil placed on the external motor shaft bearings - now and again. However, the components that act with a motor to deliver forward motion can be tuned. Adding a higher revving motor doesn't neccessarily mean quicker lap times or a better handling car! Different gear ratios can be used to effect the acceleration and braking of the car to improve the overall balance and performance. This is where tuning becomes more of an art. There are no strict guide lines to say what is best as so much depends upon such elements as driving technique, motor, car balance, tyre grip, track surface, hand controller, gear ratios and shape of track circuit - to name but a few variables - but making changes one step at a time and recording the differences is a steady logical way to go.

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Extras

Performance Tyres

The performance range of tyres will fit most Scalextric cars.
Here's a brief guide to indicate which tyres will fit your car for those extra fast lap times.

C8413-Le-Mans-TyresC8413 - set of 4

Porsche 997
BMW 318Si
Aston Martin DBS
Dodge Viper
Peugeot 908
Nissan 350Z
Ford GT 2004
Nissan Skyline JGTC
Ford Mustang FR500C
Lamborghini Gallardo
Porsche Spyder
Ferrari F430
Maserati MC12
Aston Martin DBR9

C8414-Single-Seaters-TyresC8414 - set of 4

F1, Indy, A1GP cars.

C8415-American-Classics-TyresC8415 - set of 4

Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Ford Mustang
Ford Torino
Ferrari 330 P3/P4

C8416-Rally-TyresC8416 - set of 4

Chaparral 2F
Subaru Impreza
Ford Focus
Peugeot 307
Alfa Romeo 159
Seat Leon
Porsche 911 GT3R


We here at Chinook & Hobby West, would like you to have the maximum fun with your Slot Car set.  Please feel free to come down and talk to us about showing you how to clean and maintain your cars and tracks or to upgrade your cars to Digital.


We carry Scalextric 1:32 scale Slot Cars. We are expanding our selection for the slot car season of 2014-2015 (November to March).


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Monday, 20 January 2014

Model Tips for Beginners - Part 1

Previously we did a Blog on  Basic Tips For Model Building for beginners that takes you step by step through some basic steps on building a model kit.  

The following are some questions that some of you, our customers, have asked either through email, social media or here at our store.  If we haven't answered your question, please send us an email or come down and see us here at Chinook & Hobby West!




How do I get the parts off the runners? 
It's best to remove the parts from the trees or sprue by cutting them off. Do this by cutting the part off as close as possible to the surface of the part so there is no excess plastic on the part from the tree. Most modelers use a hobby knife or sprue cutter (which you can find at most hobby shops). We do not recommend twisting the parts off because this can cause breakage, especially with thin or fragile parts.

Why do a few parts in my kit have rough edges?
Plastic injection molded model kit parts will sometimes have a rough edge or "mold line" on the part as a result of the manufacturing process. These can be removed by sanding the edge off the part with a small file, emery board, or sandpaper. Do this prior to painting your parts for a more realistic and professional appearance. Use a light touch as styrene plastic is soft and will easily sand.




I am a first-time model maker and am having difficulty removing the decals from the page to apply to model. Do you have any suggestions for application?
Decals should be dipped in lukewarm water for only a moment and then set on a paper towel to let the water soak in and dissolve the adhesive that holds the decal on the paper. The decal will curl up, and then unroll after a short time. At this point the decals should be able to be moved around on the backing paper and slid into location on the model. Once in place they can be dabbed with the tip of a paper towel or tissue to soak up excessive water.

We also would like to add that using a decal setting solution afterwards will help the decal 'snuggle' onto your project for your best look.





What type of glue or cement should I use?
Generally, most any glue or cement that is suitable for use on plastic can be used on your Revell model kit. Tube glues, such as Testors and Ambroid are the most commonly found and have a gel-like consistency. These are also made in a non-toxic formula to reduce some of the odors.
Use these sparingly in order to avoid the glue oozing out from the parts being joined. When using tube type glues you may want to squeeze out a small amount onto a scrap piece of paper or cardboard and apply a small amount to the kit part using a toothpick to control how much glue you are applying. Many builders like to use a liquid cement such as Testors, Tenax, or Pro-Weld, among others. Liquid cements can be applied using a small paint brush and can give you a nice, clean glue joint. Dip the brush in thinner from time to time to clean.
Other glue types frequently used are five minute epoxy, which is best used when you need a really strong bond for major structural parts of the kit, or "CA" glue, which is also commonly called super glue. CA is short for cyanoacrylate. Keep in mind that you do NOT want to use CA or super glues with clear or transparent parts as it will fog up the part.
Remember to always want to use any glue or cement in a well-ventilated area and to keep some nail polish remover nearby in case you glue your fingers together.

I accidentally got a finger print of paint or glue on my windshield. How can I get it off without ruining it?
If you only have a little bit of glue or paint on your glass, you may be able to get it off just by rubbing with a soft cloth. If you have any more, you may have to use more drastic measures like using a very fine rubbing compound ,such as white toothpaste. You can also use a superfine polishing kit. If you wind up with a slight fog on the glass, you can usually eliminate it by using model wax, clear enamel or liquid acrylic floor wax. If the glue is embedded too deeply, your only choice is to replace the glass.
Pro-Weld Liquid Glue

Testors Clear Parts Cement

Plastruct Liquid Glue

CA Glue, Debonder and Accelerator by Speed

Testors Model Cement and Liquid Glue


Watch for Part 2 next week:





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Friday, 17 January 2014

Basic Slot Car Maintenance - Part 2

Make sure to check out Part 1 of our Basic Slot Car Maintenance to learn:

  • Fixing track to a Baseboard
  • Power drops and breaks
  • Testing Lane Change sections





Welcome to the exciting hobby of Slot Cars.  At the beginning it is great fun, until everything starts to hesitate and slow down. That's when you need to look after your setup so you can continue with maximum enjoyment of your Slot Car experience.

You are here to learn abut how to maintain your Slot Car setup before it needs major maintenance (we hope we've caught you in time, lol)

Weather you have a small and simple setup or a 4+ lane for club racing, the proper cleaning routine is needed.


Cleaning

Scalextric track

Since the year 2000, Scalextric amended the track design to improve the rigidity of the track and the ease of assembly. It is now possible to simply push two track pieces together in order to connect them, no need for fiddly connectors.

Cleaning Scalextric track

Light cleaning of track surface for daily use: Use a damp cloth or very lightly oiled cloth. This removes light grime and dust from the track surface. Wipe surface dry after using a damp cloth. As matter of good practice, always do this before using the Scalextric layout as this will help ensure you get the best grip from the car tyres.

Older Scalextric track

Track produced before the year 2000 is known as Classic track. It can be identified by the round popper track connectors.

Cleaning Classic track

Light cleaning of track surface for daily use: Use a damp cloth or very lightly oiled cloth. This removes light grime and dust from the track surface. Wipe surface dry after using a damp cloth.

Track rails

Unless kept in perfect conditions, older track rails will acquire quite a dark tarnish to the pick-up rails and this will prevent the right amount of current getting through to the motor. To remove the tarnishing or oxidisation, try a Hornby Railways track rubber to see if some of the surface tarnish can be removed.

Corrosion and heavy tarnishing

Use a mild abrasive material to shine up the running surfaces of the pick-up rails, making sure that the male and female connections at the ends of the track sections are also bright and shiny. Be aware that sometimes no amount of cleaning of heavily corroded rails and connectors will return the track to a useable state and replacement of track in this condition is the only alternative.



Cleaning and Lubricating The Chassis

Scalextric cars do not require additional oiling when used, say, for racing for fun. However, if you wish to improve the performance of your car there are several things you can do.

Top Tip: Lubrication of moving parts.

Level: Beginner - use these instructions if you have basic hobby skills.

Tools required: Small philips screwdriver, small stiff brush, 3-in-1 oil.
  1. Remove the chassis from the car body.
  2. Use a small stiff brush to remove the dust and dirt from the interior of the chassis
  3. Use tweezers or similar to remove debris entangled in the axles and wheels
  4. Place one drop of light 3-in-1 oil to each of the axle bearings and to the motor shaft bearings
  5. Wipe off any excess oil
  6. Re-assemble the chassis to the car body
  7. Test the car on track

Level: Expert - Only carry out these steps if you are an experienced hobbyist

Tools required: Small philips screwdriver, small stiff brush, tweezers, 3-in-1 oil.
  1. Remove the chassis from the car body
  2. Remove dust and dirt from the interior of the chassis
  3. Remove impacted or loose debris at the axles, wheels, bearings, gears and, very importantly, between each tooth of the motor pinion gear and main axle gear wheel
Place one drop of light 3-in-1 oil to:
  1. each of the axle bearings
  2. the motor shaft bearings
  3. guide blade shaft (remove guide blade screw)
  4. thread of each chassis screw (during re-assembly)
  5. Wipe off any excess oil
  6. Re-assemble the chassis to the car body. Tighten the body screws fully (do not over-tighten) then back off the screw by one complete turn to leave the chassis slightly loose to the car body. This may not be appropriate for open wheel cars, but as a general rule this will improve performance. Test the car and adjust the screwn tightness accordingly.
  7. Test the car on track




Guide Braid/Blade Replacement

What is the guide and braid?

The guide is normally a small 'keel' (but can be a pin as used in Micro Scalextric) which runs in the track slot and guides the car around the track layout.
The braid is fitted to the slot guide blade assembly. It allows electrical power to pass from the track rails, up through the braids and into the car to power the lights, motor and, if fitted, a digital chip, etc.
With regular use, the braid will eventually wear out and will need to be replaced. Regular maintenance and care can see a braid last for the life of the car.

To keep the braid in good repair:

  • always clean them with a small stiff brush (an old toothpaste brush is ideal)
  • ensure that the braids are flat against the guide and not angled down
  • ensure that the braids are positioned so that they are in line with the track slot rails.

Replacing the braid

Since 1990, an easy-fit system has been used and most Scalextric cars have a very simple push-fit method of replacing the braid.

Replacing the guide blade:

Guide blades do not wear out and will only need replacing in the event of breakage. The easy-fit guide blade can be replaced from the exterior of the car without the need for tools. The recent C8329 round guide blade requires a screwdriver to gain access to the interior of the car to release the guide blade retaining screw.





We carry Scalextric 1:32 scale Slot Cars. We are expanding our selection for the slot car season of 2014-2015 (November to March).


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Monday, 13 January 2014

Basic Airbrush Maintenance and Cleaning- Q & A


Many different experience levels come and visit us here at Chinook & Hobby West to talk about Airbrushing. We also get many questions regarding Airbrushes through our social medias and by email.

We carry Paasche, Iwata and Badger currently and yes, we do promote these items. We also have general information to help all Airbrush users.

The following are some of your questions and answers we have researched for you.  If you still have questions, please email us at hobbywest@shaw.ca.



Q: Why should I use SuperLube?
A: When you’re using a substance to lubricate your airbrush needle (or trigger) you run the danger of some of that substance getting into the spray and onto your project (that’s why you only need a little bit). The question is what will happen when that greasy substance reacts with your paint. SuperLube doesn’t like to react with oil-based or water-based paints – that’s why we recommend it – we know what it will do. If you use an oil-based lube it might react with your acrylic paints (it’ll mix like oil and water).
Another suggestion is Woodland Scenic Light Gear Oil.  As with any Oil, please test your airbrush on a scrap paper or project just to ensure your oil doesn't interfere with your paint work.

Q: Why do I need to lubricate the needle?
A: The needle doesn’t really need the lube rather the needle in turn lubricates a little o-ring deep in the body of the brush that prevents blowback. It’s really rather small so it doesn’t need much lube and it only needs to be lubed every now and then.




Q: Are airbrushes hard to keep clean?
A: No, it’s quite a simple task, though it might be difficult at first. Develop a regular maintenance habit of rinsing the airbrush with the appropriate cleaning agent for the material being sprayed between color changes. Thoroughly clean your airbrush at the end of the workday. Check out the appropriate cleaning guide for your brush online or come down and see us to help you find a copy.

Q: How often should I thoroughly clean my airbrush?
A: It’s easy to say that you should clean your airbrush at the end of each workday; however, you should thoroughly clean the airbrush when the inevitable buildup of dried paint begins to interfere with normal operation. For some people this is once a week, for others, it’s once a day. It should be noted that regular and timely rinsing of wet paint with the appropriate cleaner will lengthen the amount of time between thorough cleanings. In short, rinsing more means cleaning less.

Q: How do I rinse my airbrush?
A: To rinse out the airbrush, simply flush it with the appropriate paint cleaning agent – Medea Airbrush Cleaner for water-based paints and paint thinner for oil-based paints. Never immerse or soak an entire airbrush. When using flammable cleaners never flush the airbrush near an open flame or lose electrical wiring and always flush the cleaner into an appropriate container to deal with these materials.
Q: How often should I rinse my airbrush?
A: You should rinse out the airbrush generally in-between color changes, before taking a break, and at the end of the day. Here’s why – wet materials clean up easier than dry materials. Rinse it while it’s wet and you won’t have to do a thorough cleaning as often when it’s dry. Rinsing between color changes is a maybe. If you’re blending colors and working from light to dark then chances are good that you won’t have to rinse. If you need a pure color then you will have to rinse out your airbrush.




Q: When I’m thoroughly cleaning out my airbrush why should I use a solvent?
A: Solvents quickly break up the molecular bonds paint forms when it dries. We recommend acetone or lacquer thinner as solvents, but stay away from paint thinner – paint thinner, in our experience, doesn’t seem to work well cleaning airbrushes. Do not soak your airbrush in a solvent. There are parts and greases in other areas of the airbrush that don’t take kindly to it. With that said, you should generally use only as much solvent as can be held in a cotton swab or in a pipe-cleaner. WARNING: DO NOT SPRAY SOLVENTS THROUGH THE AIRBRUSH. Bad idea, here’s why.
Q: What about Medea Airbrush Cleaner? Can I use it to clean out my airbrush instead of solvent?
A: There’s a saying-”the right tool for the right job”. Medea Airbrush Cleaner is great stuff and it works really well on wet paints and materials. Paint is a suspension of pigment in an adhesive substance. When the adhesive is wet you can wash it off with soapy water-when it is dry, you need something to dissolve the molecular bonds the adhesive creates. This is where solvents such as acetone or lacquer thinner come into play.



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Friday, 10 January 2014

Basic Slot Car Maintenance - Part 1

Welcome to the exciting hobby of Slot Cars.  At the beginning it is great fun, until everything starts to hesitate and slow down. That's when you need to look after your setup so you can continue with maximum enjoyment of your Slot Car experience.

You are here to learn abut how to maintain your Slot Car setup before it needs major maintenance (we hope we've caught you in time, lol)

Weather you have a small and simple setup or a 4+ lane for club racing, the proper cleaning routine is needed.



Fixing Track to a Baseboard

Ideally, it is best not to nail, screw or glue the track to a base board at all. The reason for this is that plastic and metal, the two ingredients of Scalextric track, expand and contract at different rates. So, on hot days the plastic will expand larger than the rail. Of course, the rail won't let the plastic expand evenly due to the rail gripping the plastic. This causes the track surface to warp.
When the track is laid loose the circuit can 'grow' and absorb any expansion due to heat. If the track is not allowed to move freely (ie nailed down) then any expansion will only lead to uneven surfaces.
If the layout is to lay flat, leave the track loose. Keep the layout in a dry and constant temperature room. This normally means that the loft, shed and garage are not good places.



Power Drops and Breaks

The most often asked question is 'My car has stopped on the track. What has broken?'

The most common (1 =most common) reasons that this might happen are:
  1. The track piece that the car is resting on has no electrical power due to bad track connections.
  2. The car motor has expired or their is a mechanical reason within the car that is stopping the motor from turning (e.g. tyre jammed against wheel arch).
  3. A guide braid has come out.
  4. The hand controller is not plugged in to the power base fully.
  5. The electrical power switch is turned off.
  6. The car has developed a fault.
  7. The hand controller has broken.
  8. A motor wire has broken.
  9. The power base has broken.
  10. The power base is not connected to the power supply.
  11. The power supply lead is broken.
  12. The power supply has broken.

Here's how to cure the most common problem of electrical power problems on the track - No 1 above.

When the following procedure has been completed you should be able to race cars at full speed on tracks of up to 200 feet or more without any practical electrical problems.
Power jumper cables can be used on 'analogue' or digital track circuits. Note, though, that a power jumper cable only hides a bad track connection and, ultimately, it is better to fix the track problem than add power jumper cables.
Question: There are power breaks or weak power sections on the Scalextric layout. How can this be repaired?
Answer:When a car stops on circuit this can indicate TWO breaks in electrical continuity since electricity travels in both directions around the track. If there was only one break then you would not notice it as electricity flows in both direction!

The way to correct this problem is to:

  • Disconnect the track behind the power base.
  • Then drive a car forward at a slow speed. When the car crosses from one piece of track to the next there should not be a drop in power/speed.
  • If there is a drop or loss in power, then fix the track connection. Disconnect both track pieces (the track piece immediately before and after the fault). Turn them over on a hard surface. Ensure that the metal rail tabs at the ends of the rails (there are 8 of them on every track piece) are fully pressed and clamped down to the plastic. Use a stout screwdriver or similar to push them tight.
  • Watch this video on how to do this Track tab maintenance.
  • Reconnect the repaired track pieces and retest by placing the car back at the power base and again drive the car slowly forward until you meet the next reduced or lost power section.
  • Continue the above repair process until you get to the last track piece before the power base.
  • Reconnect the last track piece to the power base.
  • Full power should now be restored.

Testing Lane Change Sections


In the event that a lane change track piece fails to operate follow this simple procedure:

  • Disconnect the lane change track piece and check that the rail connections are all good. See other Top Tips feature regarding track connections and loss of power.
  • Check that there are no obstructions in the slot preventing the flipper from physically moving. It should 'flip' freely.
  • Ensure that the track piece hasn't been bent (stood on, for instance) which will also cause the flipper to jam.
  • Reconnect the track piece and turn power on.
  • Manually move the flipper in to the position which would cause the car to change lane. Manually push a car over the track lane change sensor (this is a round hole about one car length before the flipper). The flipper should flip back to the 'straight ahead' position.
  • The lane change track piece should be usable if the above procedures have not identified any problems.




We carry Scalextric 1:32 scale Slot Cars. We are expanding our selection for the slot car season of 2014-2015 (November to March).


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