MSC De Tomaso Pantera

MSC De Tomaso Pantera

Postby wixwacing » Tue 20 May, 2014 6:33 pm

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MSC
De Tomaso “Pantera”


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by Phil Wicks

There was a degree of excitement when I opened the front door one morning to let the cat out and there, on the doorstep, was a model I had ordered from Headley Hobbies (UK) some time ago as a pre order. Needless to say I had forgotten all about it some ten weeks later, and it wasn’t ‘til I opened the box that my internet purchase memory came flooding back, and now here it was!


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So, after a precursory inspection of the model I decided I would give the unsuspecting slotcar fraternity a glimpse of this models and all it beholds in expectation and reality, so to do that, there will need to be some searching of the net so that I can pad an erstwhile short review to the lengthy summaries I have grown to know and love; so, hitting the power button on the computer, I wandered off for a black tea, no sugar, to hydrate me during my search.


Jägermeister Racing


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De Tomaso have always had the reputation of being the poor mans Ferrari, Fancy Italian design and an exotic Italian name (from Argentina) powered by a cast iron lump of Ford (from Windsor?). The one time owner of such names as Maserati and Moto Guzzi produced near the home of the prancing horse; the vast majority of Panteras (6,000+) were sold via the Lincoln and Mercury outlets in North America

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My first concern was when an initial Google revealed only the MSC model, no other collateral results regarding the real car......or driver, so the next search was for the driver, Dieter Bohnhorst, and one step closer to a result. Dieter Bohnhorst was an also-ran racing driver whose track presence spanned the sixties to the early eighties, some of the latter years spent driving Jägermeister liveried cars.

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A search of his site for pictures did not reveal a DeTomaso..... and the only picture for the years 1974/75 was a rather nice Porsche 914 in said livery. So another blank and one more lead. The box declares that the real car was raced at Bergrennen in 1975....but again, another search did not reveal a race track called Bergrennen???? But it did reveal a few other events covering minor motor sport, always with bergrennen in combination with another place name.

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The last search was a Google picture search and once again the vast number of results were the MSC model. Mmmmmmm???? Curiouser and curiouser! Not even a plough through the 1975 DRM results could enlighten me. But there was one other similarly liveried model, this was made by ‘Scala’ 1/43, and their model was exactly the same as the MSC model. They also had a similar model with a different race number. Both these models were attributed to our friend Dieter as the driver!

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Slowly, one and one was no longer making three. A search of German place names reveal there is no place in Germany (or Austria) called Bergrennen; but interestingly, Bergrennen broken down into two constituents was revealing. Berg in German means mountain, and in general speech can often mean a large hill! Mmmmmm? Rennen means to run or to race !!!! Hill-race, does this mean hill climb? This tied in with the sites containing the word bergrennen.


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DeTomaso site


The upshot is that it looks more and more like the model could be a fantasy livery or one known only to Scala models and Dieter Bohnhorst; either way, it looks suspiciously like Scala models may have been creative with the model based on some tenuous links, and MSC have, with or without Scala’s permission, created an obscure model with a universally recognised livery. Failing that, this model did/does exist as a 1 to 1 but may have spent its latter days as a hillclimb car, please correct me where I am wrong! So, no fabulous revelation of a real car, but I will try to find Youtube footage for your delectation!





So this model has to please on the track to make up for its lack of provenance. No basking in the light of former real car glories, and all to do to create its own kudos; and having had this model on the track already there are some bouquets, but also some brick bats.

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Firstly, MSC have shared a lot of technology with Scaleauto as the motor and other internal parts plus tyres are all marked as Scaleauto; secondly, the car is light, very light, and has more screws holding it together than the average RTR slotista cares about or can even cope with. My suggestion is, don’t panic, and only touch the front and rear body screws if you are not sure what the rest do. So let’s set off and see what you are getting for your Au$70.00.

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The livery will guarantee quite a few sales for this very average body shape. DeTomaso conjures up images of exotic Italian hardware, but it doesn’t quite deliver. Body colour is good and there is plenty of detail. Things like quarter bumpers and grilles are vulnerable and the front and rear photo etched grills look good but are tentatively attached. Some nice detail is the screen wipers, finely detailed by photo etching, and the door mirrors are silvered realistically.

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Inside, MSC have gone to lengths to produce a realistic interior including good dash detail and nice touches like a full roll cage; and other driver controls including rear view mirror contribute to a tidy display. Front wheels are plastic and moderately concentric while the rear wheels are alloy with very effective inserts. The tyres are also mostly but not completely concentric, being low profile; and they carry the Scaleauto marking and the tyre size on the sidewalls; the fronts being slightly smaller than the rears.

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Underneath, the chassis is busy as mentioned before; more screws than a Meccano kit with most of them having no ongoing function. The chassis is obviously part of a modular system which allows MSC to chop and change parts depending on what model the chassis was intended for. The chassis also has a pod carrying the drive train ‘a la’ Slot it, NSR, Sideways and a host of others. In the pod the traction magnet is a good strong one mounted under the rear axle, but strangely, held in place by a couple of grub screws? Not my first choice of magnet positions for this type of model.

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The current magnet position allows the front of the model to hop on hard acceleration on magnet tracks but there is a recess for an 8 m.m. button magnet in the front centre of the pod, and as there are some pretty powerful button magnets now on the market, I would opt for this as the primary magnet position myself. The chassis is also shaped to accept an anglewinder pod for those who may prefer that setup.

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The guide is ‘waisted’, it is narrower in the middle than it is at the ends, which allows it to navigate the tighter bends without jamming in the slot and without having to compromise the guide’s effective depth and length. The guide is a good fit in its mount too, there’s no floppy guide here; it is also spring mounted which I am not a lover of, and this spring is stronger than the Nincos. Braids are fairly stiff and coarse; they work well on large sweeping circuits but can take a bit of setting up on technical tracks with braided conductors and track level changes, and a bit of playing with the lead wires will help the guide self centre.

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Two screws hold the body on, and it is noticeable that the front mounting post is damaged; not the first time I have come across this on lightweight slot models. Also, and probably tied in with the modular assembly, there are brass spacers on the body mounting posts. These are not secured so they fall out every time the body is removed. I have put a spot of superglue on mine just to eliminate the frustration!! Also note, the front and rear body screws are different length and pitch and the brass spacers are also different.

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Looking around the inside of the model there is not too much to worry about, although the driver’s tray on my model had broken away at the front and had to be resecured. The motor is a Scaleauto and is rated at 20,000 rpm. Combined wit a high gear reduction the model was always going to be quick. The rear axle bushes are the self centering round type but they are held firmly in place in the pod and do present a bit of drag to the axle until they can be eased.

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Up the front the axle sits atop a couple of grub screws in the front axle slots. This allows the axle to move upwards into the wings (guards) which again I am not happy with. There is a hole in the top of each front axle mount and this is where I relocated the screws, turning them down until the tyres just made light contact with the track surface. Screwing the body back together again and putting a bit of ‘float’ in the pod I placed the model in the race box for an outing on the Birkdale Raceway megatrack.

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At the track the model showed its capabilities. Needless to say its straight line speed was impressive and the untrued tyres hooked up quite well on the painted surface. It was quite easy to cycle the track at consistent times providing other lane users kept their distance; and in the corners there was little if no sign of instability. Hard acceleration out of bends saw the front of the model hop a little, but I attribute this to the guide spring and the position of the traction magnet and again, the round button magnet position further forward seems more attractive after this happens.

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Eventually the inevitable happened and at speed a model deslots in front of me and a coming together was inevitable; surprisingly but almost half expected, the model shed several pieces of secondary bodywork, including the front valance! How one of the exhausts came off I still haven’t quite figured out considering it was a ‘front ender’. No matter, a day or so later the parts were epoxied back on and strengthened and maybe they will come off again, but not quite as easily as the first time!

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So what do I think of it. It hasn’t had a non magnet outing yet but it can certainly get moving on a magnet track. With a total body weight of 18 grams including the drivers tray it has to be said that it will inevitably have a limited existence. Maybe this is why the chassis is adjustable, once the body is past it, fix the chassis under something else!
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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Re: MSC De Tomaso Pantera

Postby wixwacing » Sat 24 May, 2014 1:11 pm

Since its eventfull debut on the Birkdale mega trackI have kept the model in the race box with the intention of trying it on other circuits. As it happened, the next track was the new technical track at Logan City Raceway. I decided on a few laps just to get the feel of it, but as expected the model is too fast for it to be a pleasurable drive . A few laps into the test the model emitted a light scraping sound accompanied by some unusual antics both in the corners and on the straights which alarmed me a little.

I brought the model full circuit and picked it up off the track and turned it over. Stuck to the traction magnet was a very small countersunk black screw; it didn't take long to find out where it came from. It was one of the chassis front end screws which hold the front axle mounts on! On closer inspection a second screw was almost out of the model. Using a small Philips screwdriver I decided to check it out, and the findings weren't the best. The two loose screws were loose because the thread in the front axle mounts had stripped and further inspection showed a third screw to be hanging on precariously and was not able to be tightened further! Only one screw was actually tight.



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Now, I'm not sure if this was a result of the front-ender at Birkdale, or the result of a poorly assembled model or poor model design? Whatever the cause it isn't expected that this type of fault should manifest itself after very little use. In the end I superglued the three loose screws back in place, but I suspect they will no longer be able to be undone! The story is that if you are buying this type of model for serious racing then you ought to consider what can very quickly befall them and have counter measures in place. I never check tightened the screws when the model first came out of its box, maybe that would have highlighted the fault, but I'm not sure it would have changed much!


Caveat Emptor!
Image

When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
User avatar
wixwacing
Marshal!!!
 
Posts: 1892
Joined: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 8:22 pm


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