11/07/2012

An all new set from Auto World is available this year with the ever popular Dukes of Hazzard theme. Auto World has numerous themes to appeal to a broad market but this one had my attention as soon as it was announced.

If you are new in our hobby you need to know that Auto World has become a major player in HO Scale. Over the years they have made a lot of sets and cars with many different themes. Taking a look at our HO Scale Reviews section will give you a good idea what I mean.

They do not hide the fact that they make collectibles, but the track systems they come up with make them very appealing to the first time buyer who intend to play with them.

The box art is well done but I need to caution the veteran enthusiasts. "Curvehuggers" does not mean what it used to. These are standard X-Traction models inside. I found this title a little misleading, but the average person will think nothing of it. It is more humorous for me but I can see where some veteran enthusiasts will not find it as amusing.


Fits is a 36 inch by 80 inch space.

Setup was easy enough and only took about 20 minutes. The track is a dark brown color which is rather interesting. They could have easily just used standard black track and no one would have cared. But you have to hand it to AW for style. The track does look great for a set like this.

Instead of an overpass you get a live crossover. This is a neat way to add a little more excitement but it will lead to some hard hits. Be honest though, you and I both know that we used to enjoy these. My son and I had fun on this part with some very close calls and a couple of really hard crashes. The cars are tough enough to take a beating but like with any toy, it will only take so much.

You cannot have a Dukes of Hazzard set without a jump in my opinion. This unique track section works very well too. The other side has enlarged slots and 9 out of 10 times we landed perfectly.

The cars are standard X-Traction and appear to be the same from release 6. They work just fine mechanically but I think they should have used a car with more magnet in them. The single button magnet is an improvement, but the cars still come off pretty easily. This might offend some purists but honest feedback from teenagers is priceless. We had several kids here testing it and they had a hard time controlling them. I replaced one of them with the new 4 Gear Batmobile and the difference was night and day. Much easier for them to control and that made it more fun.

The controllers in this set are part of the problem. For the Drag Racing Sets they are fine. But they do not give you a very wide range of control. Combine this with the chassis in these cars having only one magnet and you end up with cars that are difficult to keep in the slot. This has always been the complaint of consumers at every trade show I have been to over the years and to see it in a brand new set was not a positive.

It also makes the use of the Curvehugger name on the box bother me even more. That name would make the average newcomer think the cars would do just that, but in fact they do not.

This is an eye catching set that will appeal to many. I am afraid though that the responses from newcomers will not be what Auto World will enjoy. Making models for just the collector is fine, but sets are designed primarily to get newcomers started in our hobby. If the first experience is fun, then we might have new racers for years to come. If it isn't then we might lose them for good. Better cars that actually hugged those curves would have made this set an ideal start in this scale.

-Harry

As always feel free to contact me about this article or just the hobby in general at harry@homeracingworld.com.

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HRW Now On

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