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Miniature Amusements “RollerCoaster Tycoon Roller Coaster Construction Set”

The motorized “O” Scale (1/48) RollerCoaster Tycoon Roller Coaster Construction Set, or RCCS, from Colorado USA based Miniature Amusements®, is a remarkably flexible and entertaining representation of real world steel roller coasters. Custom roller coaster layouts with the RCCS are simple and intuitive to build, virtually anywhere. Small tabletop designs, like the one pictured above, large rip-roaring floor standing designs (check out our Design Shop) and layouts running over, under, and around your living room furniture are all possible. Layouts typically take only an hour or two to construct and can be disassembled and back in the box in fifteen or twenty minutes.



The over three hundred included parts are high quality and brightly colored. A signature feature of the RCCS, the ingenious self titled “Child Safe” lift track mechanism contains no belts or pulleys and features an interesting ratcheting motion to carry the train to the top. Lifts over four feet tall are possible with the included parts though, by adding more lift track, even higher lifts are possible. The speedy four car train has machined brass wheels and eight colorful “O” Scale passengers. Bases for the Pylon supports have “hooked” Velcro® on the bottom which will adhere to any short pile carpet. Adhesive backed “fuzzy” Velcro® pads are provided for use on hard surfaces.

The Motorized Station module comes with a universal 12VAC/DC Power Supply. No batteries or additional tools are required for assembly and operation.

Though initial part tolerances are somewhat tight, the instruction manual is the only real drawback to the RCCS. More text than picture driven, the very detailed step by step instructions can appear intimidating at first glance and lead one to believe that assembly is much more complicated than it really is. Fear not. The manufacturer has provided us with a Manual Excerpt teaser from a future product, the “Loopy Monster”, which provides some great and far more accessible basic assembly hints. A contributor to our Design Shop has also included a document titled “Note to Assembly Crew ”, along with some terrific layout templates, which together, frankly, provide better and more concise information than the actual manual. All of these resources, including the RCCS Manual, are available in the Information section of our site.

 

Performance Test

image-ma_-test.jpg.jpgclick for video Though coming up with a test to evaluate and compare the overall performance of several model roller coaster construction sets, all of which employ vastly disparate engineering philosophies to achieve their own unique appeals, is too complex for our purposes, there is a simple and fun test which can be performed.


Real world steel roller coaster trains are extremely efficient and retain a very high percentage of the energy which they accumulate upon descent. Limited only by the height and slope of the lift hill, the degree of energy retention or “efficiency” is responsible for the incredible speed and breathtaking loops, twists and turns demanded by today’s roller coaster riding (and modeling) enthusiasts. All model roller coasters are also, to varying degrees, limited by the height of their lift hill. With this in mind, the “efficiency” of the model coaster trains will also contribute to the type, complexity, and length of the model coaster circuits which can be built.

Testing what we call the “inline efficiency” of the various coaster trains can provide some indication of just how well, and accurately, they do their job. To perform this simple test, we built (or you can build) a track with identical descending and ascending slopes. (See image above) By starting the train from a fixed point on the down slope and measuring how far it makes it toward the same point on the upslope we can determine how much energy is lost and, therefore, the inline efficiency of the train. In this case, the RCCS  achieved a best-in-class rating of 98%. This is a fun test and one which you can certainly perform at home or in the classroom.

This basic test measures only inline performance and there are many other factors which contribute to how well a model coaster train will perform. For example, the Coaster Dynamix® Scorpion (see review ) train is the only one tested which has wheels on the sides of the rails, as well as above and below, which will certainly provide superior performance around curves. Our intent is simply to suggest a testing benchmark common to all manufacturers.

 
Conclusion

If you want to build lots of fast and fun custom model roller coaster layouts, anywhere, without a major investment in time or money, you should certainly give the RCCS a good look. Though not as detailed or complex as some other model roller coaster construction sets, the simplicity and flexibility of design are unparalleled. With the parts included in the base set, your own imagination, and an available full line of inexpensive accessories (the Dual Bunny Hop Kit and extra Double Ball Joints are must haves) to expand your creative horizons, there is virtually no limit to the design possibilities offered by the RCCS.

Due to some fairly small parts and the hand strength required, at least initially, for assembly and disassembly, this terrific construction toy is rated for kids nine and above though, with adult supervision, could certainly be an appropriate family activity involving younger children as well. Be sure and check it out.

We are interested in hearing about building experiences with this model and would like to share your impressions with other visitors to our site.

*Categories are rated on a scale of from one to ten where applicable and reflect only the opinions and experiences of our staff. We provide these ratings only as a guideline to aid you in your product choices. Your building experience may vary.

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