This project picks up from the 1/64 scale Revell conversion where we now need a place to race!
Of course any old place will do but when you have on-board FPV video then something special is super. So I had an old pasteboard table not in use at all which I decided could be the new race track / course. It's ideal as when open it has a 200cm span but when closed is easily stored and can fit in a car no problem to be taken anywhere. Further more if multiple people build their own tracks then you can link them up to feature a big track with different driving styles based on each drivers own preference.
The pro's go on and on but instead lets "get on" with the project!
Note: On-board video was recorded directly from FPV stream from the nano camera. On FPV to drive its excellent but quality wise for Youtube etc.. not so much. Sorry but that's how it is lol.
This pasteboard table is 200cm long by 60cm wide. It folds in half in the middle upwards.
Using a pre-designed course I marked out the track to scale. The track is primarily based on the Top Gear track with lots of alternative set-ups changeable by gates to make up about 16 different courses not including running courses in reverse.
2mm thick fabric padding was laid to help reduce the noise when in use.
The actual road surface is a fake type of leather which is very flat but waterproof and durable.
I used book binding glue to bond the material to the wood as it's designed for material on paper.
Part of the track includes a tunnel and requires a cambered corner. I used cardboard to make a frame and raise the side.
The corner was just taped down in place with lots of ducktape.
The tunnel itself does not need to be so strong so I used cardboard again to make the shape exactly how I wanted it.
Inside the tunnel must be dark for the effect to work so I used black ducktape in the masses.
I checked out proper hobby grass but after almost having a heart attack at the price I choose to go buy some stupid cheap green short weave towels and cut them up for my grass which worked perfect and cost pretty much nothing.
A lower angle view to see how the grass contrasts against the road surface.
The tunnel is to have a mountain and to make this all transport safe I used very cheap expandable building foam in layers overlapping quickly so it settled together.
The foam takes about 20 minutes to aquire a tough skin but below is still very soft. Taking advantage of this I sliced the top off and let it all sink as it was far too high and it hides the look of the layers I made making it look more random.
Speed racer influenced tunnel enterence with a nice skull shape front!
I have been asked dozens of times how I got the spotted black fade look. Simple when it rains next - go spray paint outside lol. Simple black spray paint and 10 minutes exposed in rain on purpose before bringing inside to dry.
Next is the street course section building which I used simple foam sheets to make a basic block with some overhangs here and there.
I used RC Oracover film to cover the block in a nice red.
..and added lots of RC stickers lol.
The building has to go in now has it will house all wiring for LEDs and batteries.
Next are road barriers but how on this scale? I used 15mm L shape PVC plastic from the hardware shop. When you cut just one side of the L shape you can then bend it to make angles.
From the FPV camera point of view it looks to scale.
To complete the looks of the tunnel for night racing I wanted the skull face to light up red on the eyes mainly, it is not called the "Tunnel of Doom" for no reason!
Road lines are a must so I masked out the shapes I wanted on the track. Using Tippex (correction fluid) I applied all the road lines, however after I had thought about correction tape.. oh well.
Now the race track is looking like one with all the different track configurations coming together.
The track is not designed to be fully lite for night racing, as it would take all the fun out of it. Instead the light covers tricky corners and otherwise forces the driver to focus more.
A view from the back end of the track and you can also see I used marker pen to add red detailing into the marker lines.
Need to keep check of how well it folds away during each step.
I wanted adverts for the track so I took a pair of sissors to a car magazine and cut out lots of random adverts.
I picked up some stupid cheap road sign posts on eBay designed for train set decorations on landscapes they build. In this case it's all for racing lol.
Same applied to the 25 assorted trees I got.
Now with trees and everything else it is really looking nice.
I used some red glitter in Z-poxy (5 minute thick) and let big drops fall on the top and flow down. From this photo point of view it's pretty shiny but on FPV camera it reflects all sorts of colours.
An overdose of road signs? Never!
All these fragile parts on the track need protection and I also need a way to block out light for night racing - during daytime hours. So I used very cheap 3mm ply-board wood to create a frame 15cm tall each side. This has a lid which is on hinges which come out once past a certain point meaning I can remove the lids all together.
Can see here how the tops would open. Also makes working a specific part of the track easier without opening the whole table.
I used what paint I had left to seal the wood, I don't care at all how it looks on the outside.
Looks like something out of the movie "Inception" lol
Next to really make all these colours contrast and pop out I used black fabric that reflects very little light. I applied it on all the inside walls and the lids.
The legs of the table kept rattling each time I moved it which was annoying. So I used some of the green towel remains to pad the bottom and added Velcro retainers for when not in use to help stop them freely moving about.
The lids already used magnet locks which also doubled to stop the lids going too far inside. But for storage they will keep opening so I used long 30cm straps twice on each lid which totally pins them in place solid.
What is a race track without a spectator stand?!
Using some scrap balsa I had lying about I made a very simple stand with 5mm steps.
Quick lick of paint later and a few lines to resemble walk ways in between and it's all good.
The stand overlooks the start /finish and last corner. So drivers see it as they come around the last bend.
A different view point.
Back to abusing model railway accessories for my own purposes. This time with 200 9mm tall people in various positions.
All the sitting people with an assortment of various other types of people now all glued in.. one by one.
Other spectators fell victim to my lack of space and therefore placed in the lava flow for all time.
A nice long shot over the track from the back end of the track next to Hammerhead.
This project is still not complete with light shades to add and who knows what. But I felt I had to wrap it up sometime to get the table in use. Some corners like Hammerhead at the far end of the track are SUPER tricky and often cannot make it in a single turn, however that is due to the maximum turning radius of the wheels on this car which I have plans to fix (in a project still too come!).
Most common questions I've been asked about this project:
Q) Is the track not too narrow?
A) Every segment of the track with 3 exceptions are all 8cm wide minimum. Each vehicle is 3cm wide meaning over-taking is possible. Skill required!
Q) Can the vehicles get stuck in the "Tunnel of Doom"?
A) If you hit the gradient wrong then yes, however I can put a hand in each side of the tunnel and reach my own fingers in the middle easy so it's not a problem either.
Q) How many cars can race at once?
A) At the moment I have over 6 people interested in racing, also people who followed this project on RCgroups have children they want to make the track for (although I suspect for themselves also lol). At 8cm wide and over-taking only possible 1 at a time I worked out that 4 vehicles at once is just a nice amount. It forces competitive late braking and to really learn the track for best racing lines / apex points. More cars would be possible but I think if you where in last position you'd have an impossible time making it to pole over-taking more than 3 cars to do it.
Q) Why not just a child's play-mat with road markings on?
A) I looked into them and the level of detail is somewhat lacking and the decent ones are not flat but woven fabric that these cars just sit and spin their wheels on. I.E: no good.
Q) Are the corners not to tight?!
A) Yes and No! Most corners are fairly easy with a 14cm cross section from corner point to corner point making over taking on the inside and out possible and if you hit the apex right then you can also do at speed. Tighter corners and chicane areas require more skill and are possible after much*many practice. Then again the track would be boring if it was easy.
Q) Why night racing?
A) The people who drive on this track are for the most part experienced RC enthusiasts alike myself for literately.. decades. The track must be challenging to learn, practise and still even when mastered allow for things to go wrong. Take this mix of complicated driving and turn off the lights and you have an epic race on your hands!
Q) Why padding? Why not just paint the track black?
A) The chassis conversation on the car is not quiet at all. It's fun but after 10-20 minutes you want to stop from the noise because the original gearbox was never designed to handle what I've done too it. Being a paste board table the wood isn't exactly high quality and it carries vibrations something crazy. Because of all this isolating noise from the vehicles from transferring to the track as much as possible was basically essential.