Mattel or Life Like News?

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Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby red73mustang » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:44 pm

Its been a long while since I came down to H.O/1/64th land. Does anyone know if there are plans to bring back the Mattel or Life Like slot car lines?

Chet
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby BRS Hobbies » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:39 pm

Chet,

Good question. Mattel hasn't released anything as far HO scale slot cars in quite a few years. They do have a few 1/43 scale race sets on the market. Harden Creek slot cars purchased the Life Like HO slot car line in late 2015 and have plans to release products but it seems to be taking longer than expected. Hard to say if it will actually happen or not. Currently, the most active brands in HO scale slot cars are AFX and Auto World.

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Brian
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby aviva7 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:11 am

I don't think it is taking longer than expected by Terry (Harden Creek) himself. He knows it will be a slow process, and has said so.

JAG are in the game now, with their 2 chassis, and Hornby just announced their first Micro set in quite a while too.

HO is hanging on.....
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby RichD » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:46 am

As of a year ago the plan for LifeLike was to sell some sets that included "T" chassis cars. New track sections were under development at that time. A new chassis was also in development, that looks like a regular inline car with ceramic grade motor and traction magnets. As far as the cars go, if it was me and I actually had the "M" car tooling, I would use that with the only change being to use ceramic grade polymer magnets. I believe that what the hobby needs is inexpensive entry level cars that run well right out of the box. There are plenty of aftermarket high performance HO cars already on the market. If the price of the cars could be kept to around $20 that would be nice. There are complications to selling cars in sets that might not apply to cars that are sold as separate items. A set car might have to conform to regulations concerning RFI emissions and can't have small parts that a child might swallow. The latter issue led to a redesign of the AFX Mega G car, which caused problems with the pickup shoes making contact with the brush barrels. You don't want to have a beginner buy a set and have cars that need to be tinkered with.
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby BRS Hobbies » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:03 pm

If Life Like does indeed comeback I feel they would need to make some changes to the product line.

1) Lower the Life Like track rail height. As it is now, feel it has too much down-force and some other brand HO slot cars bottom out on the rails.

2) Change the track color to gray which would help to distinguish the new track and is also something different than the black track that has been produced for years.

3) Release 2 different radius 30 degree curves for better 4 lane options. It could be 9" & 12" or 12" and 15" curves. The 30 degree curves might bring in more interest to the Life Like track system since some may find 45 degree curves that are available from the other brands somewhat limiting. A bare bones track system should at least support a 4 lane track even if it is just one radius option for the 4 lanes.

4) Kill the T chassis and either bring back the M chassis or release the new LL kick starter chassis.

5) Bring out something other than NASCAR. I think the modern Trans Am cars would be a big hit with Chevy, Ford and Dodge. The modern muscle cars are popular both with newer and older generations so these cars would appeal to a large customer base.

5) Bring back the plug in transformer and hand controller terminal track rather than the pre-wired terminal track with the short controller wires.

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Brian
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby RichD » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:03 am

Since new track sections were in the works they could possibly have the same rail height as the Tomy/AFX track that has become the defacto standard. If you run cars with slip-on tires Super Tires now has those in incremental sizes, so rail height is not a deal breaker.
I like the idea of gray track and greater variety of radii would certainly be welcome.
A problem for me has been the lack of new bodies. Today coming out with new bodies is partly complicated by high tooling costs, but even more by licensing costs. The diecast makers do not seem to have a problem with the latter issue, but they probably sell at least a thousand cars for every slot car. For a start a Corvette C7R VS Ford GT set should be very popular.
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby BRS Hobbies » Sat Jan 20, 2018 5:52 pm

Over the years, we have had quite a few customers that were having problems with Auto World X-Traction and 4Gear slot cars bottoming out on the rails due to the Life Like rail height. I feel that the LL rail height can be problematic. I understand you can use a larger diameter rear tire but the front end could still be too low.

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Brian
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby RichD » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:47 pm

My MaxTrax has 0.018 inch high rails, how high are LifeLike rails?
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby BRS Hobbies » Sun Jan 21, 2018 8:15 am

The rail height is around .025" but can vary from track to track since it is mass produced.

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Re: my one-off LL rail height

Postby SpeedyNH » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:32 pm

curiosity killing cat, I checked one of mine.
my relatively recent, 'Laugh-Like' yellow-on-black 90°crossovers and mating adapter pieces all have a pretty consistent rail height of .0185".
it seemed much higher, but that's what they measured.
admittedly a very small sample.
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby BRS Hobbies » Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:41 pm

Watch on youtube.com
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby RV Racing » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:47 am

Excellent information on track rails in that video, Brian.

Thanks,
Rick V.
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Re: Mattel or Life Like News?

Postby BRS Hobbies » Mon Jan 22, 2018 10:05 am

Rick,

Thank you but it's not my video. The video is from Terry of Harden Creek slot cars (I was just sharing it). Harden Creek seem to be a really good outfit and they own Life Like.

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Brian
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