HO Slot Cars with your HO Trains?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by George, Jan 25, 2001.

  1. George

    George Member

    I've asked before, it's fallen on deaf ears. I'll try asking here.

    Have any of you out there integrated your old "HO" Aurora or Faller AMS slot cars into your present layouts as was popular in the 60's?

    There are two outfits, one in Pennsylvania, the other in Missouri who have revived production of Aurora Thunderjet 500 sets, cars and PARTS. Take a look;



    If you don't remember them, the pictures will give you a jolt. I had mine in the 70's with one car running in either direction at a scale speed (slow). It looked pretty sharp with the room lights out and the layout lights on to occasionally see a single car pass between the buildings.

    I've been getting parts from a local hobby shop who orders from these two firms and I'm going to resuscitate my old Thunderjets into the layout I'm presently building. I've been able to purchase some track at shows and I was told that Faller AMS items that show up at shows disappear mighty fast.

    Let's hear from you!

  2. Railery

    Railery Member

    i did the same in the 60's with my Aurora set. Today i have 4 sets, the Aurora and 3 Tyco. i have the track adapter to join the Aurora. The kids liked the roadrace set more than the train, the speed [​IMG] i didn't incorporate the race set in the 90s because of the scale. Race set is 1:72 maybe a little bigger. But it is neat to see the two running together. Also years ago (60s) there was an aurora piece that was made for a train crossing in HO. It was a 90 degree crossing. I wished i bought it [​IMG] Well George u should enjoy your slots and trains. i do have a pic of another modeler who combined the two, i will post it when i find it [​IMG]
  3. grandmesa

    grandmesa New Member

    Not on my layout
    Not in my house
    Not in my lifetime.........

    Railroadin' on the Western Slope!
  4. George

    George Member

    Finally a nibble!

    Railery, you might be thrilled to find out that you CAN purchase that 90 degree railroad crossing you missed out on in the 60's! [​IMG]

    I contacted the Model Motoring site I listed above and suggested they bring back that crossing, yet change it to a DOUBLE track crossing with nickel silver track. They responded by telling me it was already in development! I remember nit pickers used to ask about the metal rails and the guide-pin groove, and we used to tell them it was for a cable car. That always shut them up in a hurry!

    The track is being produced again, both Thunderjet and AFX, including longer lengths previously unavailable. The turnouts to single lanes are back, as well as pieces of various degrees of curvature. Regretfully, they will not reissue the cobblestone sections I wish I had purchased more of. There's even replacement pins and clips for track assembly. It's all NEW, NEW, NEW! [​IMG]

    The Aurora AFX and Tyco are undeniably "S" scale. However if you still have your old Thunderjets, don't give up. Even if you want to revive your AFX equipment to peak performance for the kids, now you can without great expense. A neighbour of mine has just done that and he's thrilled to the gills, and he doesn't even hae any kids! Now, if I could only get him hooked on trains.....:p

    Grandmesa, why don't you like slot cars? [​IMG] They weren't always "S" scale NASCAR racers or silly looking hot rods with flames on the fenders. We're not talking about that dumb thing that runs up the side of the wall either. Granted, if you're modeling anything before 1960 it would be inappropriate. However if you take a look at shows and find some Aurora Thunderjet 500 sets or accessories, most of the vehicles were street stock like your father's car (or perhaps in your case your grandfather's?), including various kinds of well detailed trucks.

    The drawback is not being able to run more than one car in a direction at a time. [​IMG]

    This brings to mind the desire to increase the level of animation to a layout. Yes it looks strange to see a train creeping through a scene with figures frozen as if posing for an unseen photographer, so why not add more movement? The industry has taken a blind eye toward this facet of our dioramas for too long.

    Cars aren't always parked at the side. So what do you think?

  5. grandmesa

    grandmesa New Member

    Slot cars I like, and trains I like. But I prefer them mutually exclusive. And yes, I've had slot cars since the 1960s. I just think a combination railroad/slotcar set is too much Tyco-like.
    However, to each his own........ [​IMG]

    Railroadin' on the Western Slope!
  6. Railery

    Railery Member

    George thats great news. i'ld love to build up my race set again. But for me its trains in one room and slots in the other. i like to race the slots. Maybe what i might do is run the slots on the out side of the layout. This way it won't affect the scenery of the layout and it would add to the recreation of the room. Going to ponder this idea [​IMG]
  7. George

    George Member

    Hi Railery!

    That's an interesting thought, and also a way to exercise the concept of "forced perspective". Depending on the type of slots you have, just about everything made since the early 70's is closer to "S" scale, so put the larger scale object in front.

    On this subject, I feel a bit misunderstood. The types of slots I'm talking about are "HO" scale, and even have broken, and solid white lines down the centre of the roadway. The guardrails aren't very realistic, however the piers were. With a little Plastruct molding on the edge, a raised expressway would be easily simulated.

    I'm not planning on using the set as originally intended for racing, but rather to add animation to the layout with slow moving vehicles. At this stage of history, I don't want to melt the mechanisms down! [​IMG]

    If you have Aurora Thunderjet 500 cars, you will be thrilled to learn that Johnny Lightning is making pull-back cars with Aurora bodies for a mere US$4.00! The bodies include hardtop and convertible Mustangs and the Pontiac GTO, to name a few. These cars look like something in your driveway, not Hot Wheels. I was told that this is the best way purchase bodies, as if you buy separate chrome bumpers and glass (which is available through the sites I've previously mentioned) to rehabilitate your old inventory, it can cost a fortune. Cannibalization is more economical and it works! Even if you have no interest in the slots, these cars are commonly found North American 60's and 70's vehicles in "HO" scale plastic for considerably less than the overpriced plastic ROCO and Wiking vehicles from Europe.

    Aren't you sick of the high prices of these plastic vehicles? [​IMG]

    I'm trying to make a go of it with what I have, and by a miracle, what is suddenly available again. Faller briefly made an "N" scale roadway where multiple vehicles were pulled along by a moving chain in the roadway that looped back along itself at the ends. The effect was two way traffic with many vehicles moving at one speed. I don't know about you guys, but that's the best solution to this I've seen over the years. It must have been a bust, or too expensive as I haven't seen it anywhere since the early 80's. If they'd made it in "HO", I would have snagged one.

    How about some ideas? [​IMG]

  8. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    George, you've stirred up some old memories for me.
    Though I haven't owned any slot cars for the past 35 yrs. or so, & don't really have any interest in incorporating them into any of my current modeling, I sure do have great memories of them as a kid.
    When I was a little kid in the early 60's, every Christmas, the Sears & Roebuck's (honest - that's what today's Sears used to be called) in the city where we lived would turn the entire basement of the store into this toy wonderland. Right in the middle of all of it, was a huge Christmas tree, & under it, was a display layout with everything offered by whatever mfg. it was. (Probably Tyco)
    It was probably about an 8x8 ft. area, but to my 6 year old eyes, it looked like acres & acres of HO trains, race cars, & all kinds of structures & accesories.
    You have to understand, this was my first exposure to HO. What I had at the time was a big 3-rail Marx set, so seeing all those (close anyway) to scale trains & cars running around under that tree was the most fantastic thing this kid had ever seen!
    I have to say, that's what lit the model railroading spark, & it's that level of wonderment that I've been pursuing ever since. It's part of a therory I have that model railroading keeps you young.
    Thanks for rekindeling those memories George!
  9. George

    George Member

    Hello Charlie!

    Glad I revived the neurons of happy days! I remember what you do, but the bug for HO bit me at the NY World's Fair in 1964. My Lionel and my sister's Marx sets were never the same in my eyes again.

    Perhaps it's time to consider the right kind of slots to add animation to your layout? Think about it.

  10. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Sorry George, but the only kind of "slots" I could use right now would be some horse-drawn log wagons, & buckboards, & maybe a couple of model T's, & maybe one of those 1924 Mack trucks.
    You know something though? You may be on to some new product development there! [​IMG]

    [This message has been edited by Charlie (edited 02-12-2001).]
  11. George

    George Member

    Hi Charlie!

    You STILL COULD use a slot set!

    The Model Motoring mechanisms are small enough you could fashion wagon wheels to the rims and scratchbuild or adapt an existing wagon over the mechanism. You'd would have to have the horses hooves raised above the painted track though. [​IMG]

  12. DetroitTerminal

    DetroitTerminal New Member

    I recall in the October and November 1969 issues of Model Railroader a layout based on the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo which had slot cars. From the photos the cars appeared to be Aurora's Model Motoring. I suppose this could be an example of what could be done, I haven't seen anything like it since.
  13. George

    George Member

    Greetings, Detroit Terminal!

    We have not seen the likes since the early 70's when slot cars went 1/64th scale. Even though the Thunderjet "HO" slot cars are available again as either new, or just parts for rehabilitation, the track is less than desireable. The twin metal runners look like trolly track, but the guide slot for the pins underneath the front of the cars are harder to explain away to the nit pickers.

    It's funny how certain elements that used to make us go "OOOOOOH!" are now almost unacceptable in the hobby. Most people are not great artisans, and sometimes you need other elements to attract new people to the hobby/industry.

    I plan on rehabing my Thunderjets. I already have some new track and pins and auto bodies that look like regular street vehicles. If it's too "far out", I'll just take it up and put it away.....but not for a while! [​IMG]

  14. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    Yep. Seems like we all did it in the 60's. I had a set as a kid that intergrated with the Triang/Hornby trains with crossings and stuff, however I don't even know where the kit is now. It was very proprietary, with the cars and track, and of course,not very realistic because of the straight track and only one curve ratio (very sharp).However it could be adapted to a cityscape. Even though the track itself was unrealistic, the power pickup was quite concealed as the power strips were vertical in the car slots, and the cars did not need quide pins, and the guide was the pickup. Cant even remember the brand nane now. It may have been Aurora. If I could hand build the road, then it may be effective on a cityscape layout. Keep us informed of your progress?

  15. George

    George Member

    Woodie, I'd sure like to know who made that set! Keep digging and you may be able to find it. Don't you howl when you hear these guys telling you about how their mothers tossed the Matchbox collection into the garbage? Somewhere at my mother's, I still have one of their cardboard roadways, which if scanned, probably wouldn't look too bad! Now I have to take a look!

    The revitalizing party selling T-Jet equipment has also come out with 18 inch straight sections to reduce joints, as well as 1/3 sections of the common 90 degree curve.

    It's a help, but there will be nothing better until some outfit takes mercy on us and produces a good looking system for multiple vehicles to reliably operate at scale speed. All vehicles would have to operate at the same speed, but that doesn't bother me. Spaced out, I doubt if anyone would think much about it.

    Hey, anything at this point would help.

  16. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Hi, just getting started but have been dreaming of a train/slot setup for years, just never had a place for them before. RE the multiple cars running at the same time, if you either uses a larger power supply or use two or more wired in parallel it should handle multiple cars. If you wire a separate set of supplies for each direction you could run even more. As far as rear end collisions, if you remove one or two windings from the motors of the slower cars, by trial and error you would be able to match cars to run at pretty much the same speed. With enough track and enough spacing this should at least reduce rear-enders.
  17. George

    George Member

    Hello Pitchwife!

    Already answered this for you, but for our gallery here, I don't think there's really anything you can do to prevent one car from catching up and bumping the one in front. Even if you increase the power to the track for more cars, you probably run the risk of melting down the track! Let's keep at it though, there has to be a solution.

  18. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    George T and I have been emailing each other and I have come up with a number of circuits that would be useful in making a slot set more lifelike on a layout. Some of them are a "trap" that would allow multiple cars to run in one direction without running into each other, a control track that would slow cars down over certain portions of the course ie: curves, towns, etc., and a stoplight setup to control an intersection. Is any of this interesting to anyone out there?
  19. George

    George Member

  20. George

    George Member

    Here's another link Pitchwife found.


    Some of the lines seem a bit overpriced. A new T-Jet should run about US$20.

    We've been bantering a circuit back and forth and have encountered a problem with the "C" word again, clearance. The thought was to hide detectors in a traffic island, but there isn't enought space for even one of those. the latest idea is a vertically mounted detector in a street lamp, with the other side being in the street facing upwards.

    All ideas welcome, jump in!

    George [​IMG]

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