Jiada: new 1/43 cars and track



Jiada is Chinese manufacturer of slot cars and is one of a long list (see here) that actually sells sets in the US. It is imported (exclusively?) by JWL (http://www.jwlslotcars.net/) and has both 1/32 and 1/43 cars and track in both 2-lane and 4-lane sets at very low prices.


• The entire offering from Jiada in the 1/43 scale can be found at
http://www.jwlslotcars.net/Jiada143preview.html and will be available in early 2008. However, JWL managed to get early prototype releases of a few of the cars and track.

• A fairly non-descript box showed up at our door a couple of weeks back from JWL

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• This box contained a well packaged set called “Start” with the Jiada brand name clearly visible at the top left of the box. The box is reminiscent of the Carrera Go!!! sets, but that is about as far as the similarities go.

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• The box actually has a handy-dandy handle for convenient carrying

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• Top and bottom of the box illustrate quite clearly the content of the box and offer good suggestions on the possible layouts

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• Opening the box shows a quite old fashioned Styrofoam container that holds all the cars, track, and accessories. This being a prerelease only had two cars (an F1 and a Sedan), but a regular set would have either 4 F1’s or four Sedans in it.

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• Looking in more details we see a pair of fairly traditional mechanical lap counter track pieces, and four thumb plunger type controllers

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• Guard rails, barriers, bridge holders and various other small accessories are also included in the set

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• The biggest surprise of this set is the fact that it is a 4-lane set (that will retail below $60) but it actually uses 4 lane wide track pieces. I like that fact for storage and esthetics reasons, however smaller hands will find it quite frustrating to try to assemble the track as four pairs of metal prongs need to be aligned and pushed up at each track junction. My seven year old could not get it done and thus adult supervision and help is mandatory during assembly. Another double edge sword feature in this set is that there are not only ½ straights but also 1/3 straights and it was not obvious from the small layout drawings where each of these was meant to go.

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• The track itself as opposed to most other 1/43 track system is made of a softer plastic that bends and moves easily, much like the Sclaextric track system. Personally, I like harder plastic track system (Artin or Carrera) better but this softer plastic should prove durable and is less likely to give and break when small feet actually pound it.

• Power is very traditional and comes in the form of a wallwart transformer that plugs in the dedicated power track piece, in which all four controllers also plug. The controllers could use somewhat longer leads as all four of us with my wife and kids could barely fit comfortably by the track.

• The cars are where there was some clear deviation from the traditional Chinese 1/43 toys. In particular the F1 cars sport a guide flag as opposed to the more traditional pin guide used in most 1/43 cars, just like in the new SCX compact 1/43 cars. The shape of the F1 is well rendered and both body and chassis are quite sturdy. Motors and magnets are very well done and gearing is clean and smooth. The only failure, in my opinion, is the rear wheels and tires that are both way out of round. Also too much play in the rear axle makes it very difficult to obtain a smooth ride. Finally, the tires themselves are not very grippy even on the soft plastic track. All of this can be remedied fairly easily by a knowledgeable hobbyist but would potentially prove very frustrating to a true young amateur.

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• The sedans are more traditional 1/43 cars. They are supposed to be Audi TT sport cars and use stickers as opposed to tampo printing and water transfer decals as has become the norm with Carrera Go!!! and SCX compact cars. Again the major failure of these cars is in the area of the rear axle, wheels and tires. Also, as has become the norm with Artin the cars are lighted with a grain of wheat light bulb connected to a plastic light guide to the front of the cars.

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• The performance of the cars is on par with Artin, Childford or other Chinese 1/43 manufacturers with the exception of the rear axle, wheels and tires. The F1 could use just a bit more magnet as they are a bit difficult to keep on the track for our younger drivers but should prove fun to drive for the more experienced drivers.

Jiada offers a nice alternative to the other 1/43 manufacturers and the low-cost sets available with both 2 and 4 lanes will enable large layouts to be constructed for very little money. In my opinion, the cars are not up to par in terms of quality and performance with either Artin or Carrera Go!!! and SCX Compact cars.