September 11, 2008

FLY - Flyers Riley MK XI 'Gainsco'
Daytona Prototype Review
By Shawn Smith


Being a Daytona Prototype fan I've been waiting for this car ever since word of its possible release and I was chomping at the bit to get one after seeing posts from other readers saying how they already had theirs and sharing some of their impressions. Getting a chance to finally see the car in person I was very pleased with what I saw and admit I had to scratch my head at some of the comments I had read so far claiming this car lacked something in detail.

Sadly for me I grabbed my car from Bruce of CincySlots just in time for me to pack it up and take an eight hour drive to Dixon Missouri and I didn't get a chance to run the car on my home test track. Even after making it to the infamous HRW Corporate Headquarters I didn't get the car out right away to run it but I did spend quite a bit of time staring at it.

While my pictures make it look a little orange'ish I can assure you the car is a very nice shade of red and it represents it's 1:1 inspiration very well. Sure there are some things to be questioned but overall I already knew I liked what I saw.

Getting down to the 'nit-picking' the first thing I looked at was the tampo-printed front headlights and even though I had already read about and knew these were painted on I admit a little part of my sighed when I got a good look at them.

The lights being what they are I was still pleasantly surprised by the effort of the model overall. The front of the car is covered in louvers and vents with the vent work over each of the front wheels being painted in glossy black. I dont know if you can make them out however very small silver painted latches were decorated just to the inside of each mirror and there are more on the sides, roof and tail of the car's body-work.

Taking a look at the back of the car I laughed a little when I saw that FLY took the time to make separate tail light lenses after painting on the front. Part of me began to actually wonder if the race the car was modeled after they actually ran them with decals in place of actual lights but sadly I haven't found good photo-graphic evidence of that.

Besides the tail lights I liked the exhaust tips sticking out from the back of the car as some manufacturers would have skipped this and made the exhaust a molded in part of the chassis. A lot more louvers back here and check out those tall and skinny wing supports... already causing some users some fits and we'll talk more about that in a minute.

Other nice notable details are the stalk-mounted mirrors and the small antenae as well as some engine bay details and a driver figure wearing a red racing suit and some small roll bar details inside of the cabin.

My favorite detail of the Flyer Riley has to be the amazing wheels and Hoosier decorated rubber. What you 'should' get are different depth rims on the front of the car than you should find on the back although I've seen and heard of some users getting front wheels on the back in error. Obvioulsy a silly manufacturing mistake but thankfully mine were correct on all four corners of the car.

Here are my words of caution... First, when ordering your car from your favorite retailer I would suggest calling and asking them to check it out to make sure the wheels are the right ones. When you get your Riley also check to make certain that the rear wheels clear the body as rubbing issues due to off center axles have been reported. If you do have some rub be VERY careful when trying to remove a wheel from the axle as the axles are splined and damage can occur if you aren't careful. They make such great looking wheels for this car then use them with axles that might do them harm... makes no sense to me at all.

Touching quickly again on the interior I figured now might be a good time to point out the shallow tray-style interior of this car. Most FLY racers are used to FLY taking sometimes painful steps to create full cabins packed with details but many have argued they would take less detail for a slight price break and guess what... someone has gotten what they have asked for and quite honestly a full interior would be a waste in this car as quite frankly you wouldn't even see it. Its also a racing weight savings... for what that's worth.

I mentioned those skinny wing supports earlier and here is one detail I really would have liked to see FLY beef up a little. Obviously they were going for scale look here but the end result is a dangerously vulnerable wing mounted on top of two very thin and rigid pieces of plastic and some on the message forums are already sharing methods they have had to use to fix broken wing mounts. I'm happy to report that my wing still stands proud off the back, even after the car ended up on its roof a handfull of times, so no fixes for mine... just yet anyway.


Ok... down and dirty time here is a shot of the Riley Prototype on it's side to give us a look of the bottom of the chassis. Couple of things caught my eye here, the guide opening design, the labled motor that says 'spare parts' and two magnets?? Let's pop the top on this bad boy and see what's the story.

Chassis now exposed my attention quickly turned to the magnets. Being someone who prefers to the majority of my cars magnetically box stock as they come from the manufacturers I raised an eyebrow when looking at the magnet set up in this car. First off... what the heck are these magnets? Nothing from FLY I've seen before:

'Good grief' I thought to myself... 'Like they couldn't have used a single standard bar in this thing' was my next thought. Perplexed as I was I made sure the magnet in back was just as skinny and of course it was. Shaking my head I kept on looking at the other parts of the chassis.

'Spare Parts'. Hmmm... So are they telling me they just happened to have these laying around as spares or are they trying to market a new sepraratly availble product line of theirs? I actually hopes its the later... I think spare wings will be needed for this car long before a new motor will but we'll see what spare parts they offer.

Lot's of drab gray. Gray pinion, gray crown and gray bushings. I guess that's ok though... gears felt like they had a good mesh, no slop in the axle so I can take some gray.

Something I prefer not to see however is wires that are too short. In the case of my test car it had just that problem. You can see in this image above when the wires are in their chassis holders the wire on the left is a little tight over the axle. Just took the slightest amount of presure on the guide and...

At least free from the chassis pins the guide was more free moving and with a very shallow interior its not like the wire is going to get in the way of anything else.

Here is something else that's a little new for FLY. A ready to run car that comes with tinned braids. I know some feel that copper braids are the way to go but I actually liked these braids. The guide has just a small amount of slop to it but it was nothing that was going to inhibit performance so I left it be.

All four tires came with this nifty little mold line down the center although they sanded off real nice in the rear. What troubled me next however was what I found below which was a different mold line running up the sidewall and across the contact patch. So.. two mold lines it seems. Very interesting. I'm guessing as the tires age and harden these sidewall areas might split. Sooner or later I expect to replace these with something aftermarket. I hope its no time soon though.

Why do I hope not to replace the tires too soon? Well, for no other reason than I really liked their traction. Being at the HRW Headquarters I just had to run this on a routed wood track, as two of the three tracks at Harry's are routed, but upon doing so I was both surprised and pleased with how well the tires hooked up. I first drove a Riley belonging to Kurt Moser on the three lane routed road course and it was hard to believe the car was box stock. Getting mine out of the case, adjusting the braids and slapping it on the oval mine was just as smooth and predicatble and really a joy to pilot.

I then wanted to know what it ran like on plastic and I have to tell you... I liked it on wood a lot better. On plastic the magnets kicked in and it just felt... tempermental. It was odd in the way it would brake and it was a bit spiteful how it would get upset and kick out often resulting in a deslot. I thought maybe it was just the characteristics of Artin track so when I brought it home after my trip was over I gave it a run on my Carrera track and my result was similar. While I haven't done it yet I'm going to take out the front magnet and try it with just the back one, then do the reverse and see which I like best.

The Final Verdict:

So for me this was a highly anticipated car from FLY and I'm happy to report that it really did end up being what I had hoped it would be... which is a great looking slot car that ran well right out of the box. It does cause some concern knowing others have had issues so again let me remind you that calling guys like Bruce of CincySlots and asking them if they wouuldn't mind checking the car out for you might be beneficial. Disclaimer complete I really do like looks of this car, I like the reduced retail price tag of this car and I really liked the power, traction and handling of the car on routed wood tracks. It's going to need some tweaking to get it more to my liking on plastic track but that's just based on the way I personally like my cars to handle. All in all it's certainly a car I would buy more of and I'm looking forward to the next liveries.

Thanks to CincySlots for providing the FLY - Flyers Riley MK XI for review. Please stop by the Message Board to talk about this and all other models of slot cars. Feel free to email me at the address below if you have any questions or want to share your thoughts. As always happy slotting!

Shawn Smith - SJSlots

Thanks Go To CincySlots for Sponsoring This Review!

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