releases by Pioneer are hitting the shelves and this time around I
thought it was time to take a closer look. It has been quite some time
since a new release by this brand has been added to my stable, but some
recent changes to the models had me curious.
28 FEB 20151/32nd Scale Pioneer 1967 Camaros
Pioneer has went through some changes over the
couple years and I have read many articles focusing on that. If that is
what you are looking for here, you are in the wrong place. Although
getting to know our manufacturer's is always fun and interesting, it is
THE CARS that the enthusiasts acquire that really matter to me. Many
newcomers and even some veteran's
are really only concerned with the models that they have in their
hands, and that is just what we are going to focus on here.
These latest efforts are
interesting as they represent an
actual car that raced in the 1:1 world and 1 that is purely fictional.
Fictional or "fantasy" based liveries have become popular in our hobby
and for good reason: They simply look the part. Adding to it is the
slot car collector. Pure collectors of the series do not care much
about 1:1 authenticity. It is just another car in the series and
usually that is enough. And the collector is where this brand has
plenty of appeal. Given the lower production numbers and the constant
"factory specials" they release from time to time, Pioneer has quite a
following in this regard.
For the pure Trans-Am aficionado's
however, these fantasy based models are meaningless. And although I
respect and appreciate scale authenticity, I still enjoy seeing a
fictional paint scheme as long as it looks "right". How can it be right
if it's made up? Only the eyes of the classic race fan can answer that
for you. For my eyes it comes down to styling. Are the numbers
similar to the actual ones? Do the sponsors and smaller contingency
logos appear to be placed realistically? Does the paint color and theme
seem to follow those used during the time period?
first model we will look at is such a model. Defined as a "Club Sport"
model this livery is basically a reversal of the famous Alan Green
model. Although the scheme will not appeal to everyone, overall I think
it looks the part well enough.
The paint work here is very
well done and I could not find any glaring issues. Pioneer has had some
challenges in this area in the past but as I look around the car it
appears they have addressed them. Of course how well this finish will
stand up over time remains to be seen.
Earlier release of the
Alan Green model (far left) shown for reference.
second model represents an actual car that was originally driven by
Warren Fairbanks and is still doing battle today in the Historic
Trans-Am Series with Ron Tribble behind the wheel.
The packaging is nicely done and should appeal to
most of you. I liked the new vehicle data card placement at the bottom
as a pull out.
Underneath the bottom is a bag that contains a 13 tooth pinion, extra
braid, and a guide keel that is a little deeper for tracks with deeper
the paintwork seems very well done. Lettering and
color appear very crisp and opaque with no bleed through that my eyes
or camera can see.
I am pleased with both cars thus far. They look very good and looked
forward to looking closer.
asked Pioneer directly if there were any mechanical changes to these
models and this is the report I received:
implemented since the Fall of 2014
Pinion and Spur gear plastic is now a special blend of polymer. Self
lubricating, no oil required.
2. Wiring loom is
improved with better contacts, this is our ‘PurePower’ loom. Better
joints, better power.
3. The size of the axle
carrier bearing internal diameter is relaxed by a thousandths or so to
prevent any binding.
4. Braids are now a
little thinner and softer to help the guide sit down better in the slot.
5. Guide post/blade is
made from same polymer as gears – a more ‘slippy’ material.
6. Magnets are now nickel
plated to prevent ‘flaking’.
7. Axle shims are
improved. Cut from flat sheet nylon material.
8. VDC (Vehicle Data
Card) where supplied, now a new size that is easily pulled out and
replaced under base.
So there are no real dramatic changes that sets
them apart from prior releases. The chassis is identical to previous
models as well as identical to the early Mustang releases. You can
actually mount a Mustang chassis under a Camaro in case you were
But we will give you a closer look anyway. One item I liked to see is
that the 2 smaller screws that secured the chassis to the bottom of the
interior were not installed. Notice I did not say missing. I always
felt they were a hindrance anyway and most enthusiasts remove them to
allow much improved body float.
Pioneer started omitting them long ago and glad they still do.
Wheelbase - 83.75 MM
Width - 55 MM (At rear
Weight - 92 Grams
Height - 40 MM
the rear you notice the brass bushings. The fit of these bushings on
the axle are very precise and there is basically no excess free-play.
Pioneer can use these higher quality bushings because they do not knurl
the axle ends. But this is an area that leads to some issues and you
must decide if it is a good thing, or bad. One one hand, the smooth
axle ends allows for these bushings, but on the other hand it does
allow the wheels to pop loose under operation.
From my own view, I prefer the bushings and smooth axle. It only takes
a small drop of glue on the end of the axle to secure the wheel and you
are good to go. I would rather do this than have the loose fitting
bushings that allow the axle excess free-play. Over size bushings cause
excess chatter, hop, and even poor gear mesh.
I also prefer them because upgrading to better quality wheels is
easier. If I decide to keep the stock gearing, I can just slip on
after-market wheels and get back to racing.
does seem a little smoother than my earlier Mustangs and I am sure some
break-in time will make them even better.
4x16 - 3 Lane Routed MDF - Satin/Flat Latex Surface
Slot Car Corner Braid - Pyramid 26KX Power Supply @ 12 Volts
Professor Motor 2110 & Diflaco Control
models ran as I expected. There is some chatter in the corners and
noticeable wheel hop on acceleration. But that can be said for 99% of
the models we test on our track. On plastic track with the magnets
doing what they do best, the models run pretty well.
times were not that impressive due to chatter and hop, but I saw
potential. I knew I could get them to run much smoother just as we have
done in the past with the Mustangs.
are a few simple things you can do to make these models run better on a
wood track, and the work here will help for any track system. I feel
these models do need some attention for my own personal use, so I will
just share a few quick techniques that my models receive.
thing that I personally do not like is the body to chassis fit.
The body is basically clamping itself to the chassis sides and
the front is also a tight fit. This negates any float you want to
try and have by loosening the screws. Although it is not a modification
many of you will want to do, I sand (radius) the entire chassis to
allow the body to rest on the chassis cleanly, with no pressure on any
item is the lead wires that sometimes get in the way between the
interior bottom and chassis. This is a long reported issue and does
cause binding in some cases. My solution is to sand the bottom of the
interior down flush with the rest of the interior bottom. I do this as
there are side ribs that come down and can also cause unwanted contact
between the 2 parts.
you need to check your wheels and tires. I have seen some reports of
badly mounted wheels but my models seem to be fine in this area. As
with any brand, you get good and bad.
main thing I see is flash molding on the inner rib of the wheel that
causes the tires to mount unevenly. This in turn causes that hop we
talked about. You can clean this off easily with sandpaper and then
remount your tires.
Those enthusiasts with a tire truing machine
will make good use of it with these models. I trued both front and rear
wheels and then mounted and sanded the fronts as well. Makes a big
difference as the guide is mounted a little too high into the chassis,
allowing too much weight on the front tires. So if these front tires
are out of round, we have even more hop.
My preferred tire is Paul Gage XPG and I
installed the standard size made for these models. The fit of the
22103XD is very good and will only need slight sanding to get a full
With these simple
changes the model runs much better. Most of the chatter and hop is
eliminated and the car is just more fun to drive overall. Lap times
tell the tale as I went from a dismal 4.89 to a 4.11 average. On our
smaller track that is a big difference come race day.
race them is just what we do. When I hear people ask how they
compare to other brands, both in performance and value, it's not that
difficult to answer: They are just as good as any other offering.
Behind these new cars in the above photo are models that vary in tuning
modifications. Some have needed full rebuilds using every
after-market part there is, while others have little more than a tire
change. The difference in quality control is as varied as the
decorations. In other words Pioneer isn't any better...or any worse
than any other brand.
Pioneer have had some troubles in the past
and today their releases are viewed by many as a collector brand. Given
the low production numbers and higher price tag will usually earn you
that title in our hobby. Is that really a bad thing? I suppose not. The
same can be said for other brands like SRC & Flyslot that need as
much or even more in the tuning department and they cost as much or
more. It all boils down to just how much you want a particular model
and what you are willing to do to make it run to suit your own needs.
I am pleased with these models as they did not require a lot of
additional investment to get them to run the way I like. They fit right
into our existing Trans-Am series nicely and look forward in racing
them. Having more classic American race cars is usually a good thing
for my hobby and if you enjoy this era then you should certainly think
about trying one yourself.
Review Sponsored by Pioneer
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