Track Building and BuyingNew orange track packs at Target

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Stopped by Target the other day and saw they are now selling their own orange track packs, similar to the ones that Walmart used to sell. Target has them for $2.99. However, this track does not have the cut-out arrows and has a "improved" track connector...but I don't think it's that great.

For what it's worth, there's a little plastic foot the set. I'm not sure if it really helps but is just a little something extra that I noticed.

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The track itself is pretty standard, nothing new there. Low walls. However, you'll notice that there is a notch at the end...this is where the connector goes.

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The connector has a "button" in the middle along with the two nips that go into the holes on the track, just like the Walmart arrow tracks. My only complaint here is that the button can create quite the extra bump in the road. It's not always flush and any time you create a seam on the track is not the best. Plus cars that have low clearance with the track would most certainly catch on the circle bump.

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

Diecast Cars, Hot Wheels, Matchbox

To get the track apart, you have to push the button down and then slide them apart. I get that they did this to keep the track together under rough play conditions...that's fine, I'm sure it works great...but for racing I'm not sure it is the best choice. However, having a cheap pack of short track is a great utility. These are great for cutting down to odd sizes you may need for certain projects...and since this pack doesn't have the cut-outs, it'll look a little better.

One thought is that if this is the future of orange track - with the buttons - now is the time to start grabbing the un-notched segments at Toys R Us and elsewhere. I can see Mattel pushing this out to all their playsets and packs before too long if they hold up better for your average kid.

to me it appears that the disc also is a way of aligning the two track ends side to side...

I got a few pieces of this track for my birthday. They were in car launching set someone gave me. The track seems much better designed and will not separate......

Hard to tell from the picture but are the ends of each piece slightly different?

Would be ideal to avoid snags!

Looks like the did chamfer the incoming side of the nipples.

each of the "drag tracks" 20" sections are slightly narrower at the lower end than at the upper end...
always set the track up with the connector ends pointing toward the start...
is that why the newer orange track has arrows ?

31 March 14 update - I did some more fit tuning of my current orange "arrow" track pieces.

6 Apr 14 - after additional test fitting with the new "button" type of HW orange track pieces I have some more updates to this post.

The HW orange "arrow" track pictured above on the left is now the older version.

The track with the two semi circles at the ends is the newest track design available (on the right above).

The "arrow" track is intended to always point away from the starting gate/power launchers for the direction of travel. The one connector tab and joiner locking tab being on the end away from the starting gate/launcher. You could of course remove a the interlocking type of joiner and reverse the track direction to use it in other sets and older Hot Wheels accessories using other flat joiners.

The "button" track can be joined together from either end and used in any direction with any set. Making it a little bit more versatile with other new and older sets.

I don't think either type of track is deliberately designed to be narrower at one end than the other, but some of my track pieces appear to be narrower at the exit end than at the entry end. It is not consistent though. Most fit perfectly end to end. I am surmising that each production lot run (I bought my "arrow" track over a 3 month period) was made by different molds or dies that wore down over time.

There is another thread on "help with orange track" that maybe useful to you if you want to improve your orange track performance. http://www.redlinederby.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1617

Today I also picked up a pack of new "button" track (from Walmart for $1.97) to evaluate for use with the Smittsburg International Dragway (a used and modified) Drag Track set I recently obtained.

In general I also agree with Brian that this track looks better than the orange "arrow" track and should stay cleaner without the cut outs in the bottom to allow dirt in. The visual thing I didn't like though, is that the joiner plastic in this packs are blue and shows as a series of blue dots in the track surface. ( I am a fan of the Gulf Racing team orange and blue colors, so I am warming to it a bit already. (20140407 update: I have decided to take the unopened packs of blue joiner track back and exchange it for a Speedo!)

Each of the 4 joiners looks and fits the same. They each have a different #s embossed onto the bottom of "1" "21" "22" "24". The only improvement I can see to make on them - is that there are four uneven "posts" on their bottom side. Most likely, the four mold injection points or keys. They each are random in length, but some do stick out a little farther down than the track support rails do and may cause a miniscule of a bump in the track surface. Being that they are random in length and placement at the four corners a potential side to side motion on the track may be induced. They can though - be easily trimmed with an Xacto knife or a box cutter (which I did) to be even with the designed square support molded into the joiner piece!

Of the four pieces of track - only one has any markings on them. Stamped on the bottom is "CC X 79" and "3373 DP". There does not seem to be a preferred direction indicated, but their is a visible "flow pattern" on the top and bottom of each piece. Look for a ") ) ) ) )" shaped pattern - it is easiest to see on the bottom side. For reasons described below, I choose to use that pattern as the track direction!

The track ends and the walls are uniform in size for the most part, but there is an apparent side to side "crown/camber" built into each of these 4 track pieces. Meaning one side of the track is slightly higher than the other. I can not visually see if it is track base thickness or joiner rail height difference - it is that slight. It does though create a bit of an uneven joint with one side of the track surface being a speed bump and the other a drop off. If the flow pattern is connected as )))) to (((( or (((( to )))))

I aligned the )))) pattern to all point the same direction and this gave the best seam joints - although the track is canted to one side now! This is most evident without the joiners in place.

If you are familiar with trains (both real and models) the term is called super elevation. Usually it is only done in curves. This is where the outside track rail is higher than the inside track rail - causing a slight lean into the curve direction. This allows for safer and faster speeds. You can also visualize this as a banked race track in NASCAR, with the same effect. But since these are straight pieces, it probably will cause cars to drift to the lower side or weave back and forth - if the differing heights are alternated. Some of you may like these elements as they would add a "natural" visual appearance to your racing. And if you primarily run closed tracks set ups (ovals) you can align your track pieces so that the outside wall is always super elevated like a banked track.

The only other physical design problem I did notice with the track pieces is that the interlocking post and button tab do not allow for a fully closed seam gap. There is a slight gap at all the seams. (Previously you could push the old track designs together to eliminate any seam gap and they would (mostly) stay that way or be readjusted. You can still do this manually, but when you take the pressure off - it separates again.

The positive physical design element of the "button" are that they allow the track to be easily taken apart for storage or portability. And best of all you can now suspend the track in the air without it separating. The chamfered edges of the joiner pieces and their locking tabs (nips) also allow for easier and faster assembly.

Overall I think it is a better track design and product and will get more of it for the Drag Track set up instead of using the "arrow" track pieces I already have available.

We were at Target today and I decided to pick up some more new Hot Wheels "button" track. Their price here was $1.99 a pack.

I picked up 4 packs and again in each pack only one piece was numbered. They all had the same codes of CC x 79 and 3133 DP molded into the bottom. This is the same codes as the the track pieces I found at Walmart earlier this week.

These Target packs though had the orange joiners that match the track color! The joiners also are numbered individually from 1 to 24, except for the number 1 joiner - which also had the number 13 embossed on it as well(?). The mold posts on the bottom were mostly level with the square joiner piece, but I did shave an almost transparent amount off of a few posts to make them all level with the molded in support box. None were as tall as those found on the blue joiners referenced above.

Of the four packs (16 total track pieces) - all the seams were the same on the track bed and side walls. There also wasn't the 'track cant' noted above for the blue joiner track pack pieces found at Walmart. I was able to see the same flow pattern on the back of the track pieces - though one pack was more of a / / / pattern - rather than a ) ) ) pattern. I aligned each piece to point the same direction and used the joiner number to order the pieces.

The seam gap when assembled with these packs was completely closed - leaving no gaps around the button or track bottom nor the side walls.

I plan to pick up some more of these orange joiner track packs to finish out a 1/4 scale mile length set up with the modified Smittsburg Dragway layout!

I spent some time yesterday setting up a test configuration of the table top "low and slow" version of the modified Smittsburg International Dragway - a set using Dragtrack and Hot Wheels track for the overall layout. In doing so, I ran into an assemble issue with the button joiners and locking tabs being on both ends of the new HW orange track pieces.

Since the 2 lanes of the Dragtrack track pieces have fixed and equal ends - I needed two equal lengths of Hot Wheels orange track as well. You may have noticed already that when using Hot Wheels track your individual lanes and maybe even oval tracks may not always come out even in length! I have seen this all the way back to my original orange track piece day from the late '60s. Back then you could space out your seams to even up the lanes or cut them to fit. With both ends being "locked" in place now - you cant do either fix anymore! So of course I ended up with two uneven lane lengths (more than a 1/4 inch difference) using the Target track pack button pieces!

You can of course cut the longer end to match the shorter and never take your layout apart and be done with the build.. but who does that! If you do decide to make it permanent an easy solution you can do - is to number and order you track pieces. The the next time you disassemble and reassemble your layout or have to move it - you can then set it back up with the order and even lanes!

Since all of these track pieces had matching seams already a quick sort by length was made and I ended up with 7 different length sizes of track and an even number of pieces in each stack. I laid out the two track lengths at the same time and ended up with two even track lengths - which I still plan to number and order as above for portability.

Will the old style connector work with the new track sections?

If you are talking about the new track sections with the half moon cut outs at both ends - yes any of the older style joiners will work with them.

[model40fan]Yes. Yes they will!{/model40fan]

Will the old style connector work with the new track sections?

The are very, very tight. I would not use them. I show several examples in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac5FD47rS_Q

If you're busy, jump to the 1:35 minute mark.

Tested fitted a new double ended button connector to some older HW track. As the button is designed to be depressed under pressure - the track bed actual pushes the nib/post down and doesnt cause to much of a bump in the track seam! Mark's video on track connectors is really worth watching and re-enforces almost all of the posts that others have made in this thread so far!

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I M O... the yellow low wall with red and blue racing stripes, 23.75 "track is the best to work with ... curves, loops, jumps. transfers, etc. ...

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