Author

Aaron Turpen

Aaron gets cleaned up and talks about a Lexus NX and why the F Sport model is probably worth skipping. The NX is Lexus’ aim towards small families and single parents and it hits the mark very well. Most of the time. Find out what Aaron thinks and what’s up with this luxury crossover.

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Stuck at home? Got kids with you? Maybe a bored significant other or roommates? No sports to watch making your house unlivable? Here’s your solution: Diecast racing.

Yep, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, and Tomica cars in a race. Sound stupid? That’s because you haven’t seen it done the way 3Dbotmaker does it. It’s professional quality video, true racing based on vehicle classes, with cars made by both the producers of the show and fans who’ve sent in their special favorites. Plus fun twists, like a Pontiac Fiero sneaking into the Ferrari challenge. Complete with full landscapes and little models of spectators and announcers to boot.

The high level of production plus the excellent (and often very fun) announcements made by the commentators make this a show about personality as much as it is about which car might win. My family found ourselves rooting for the underdog Fiero in the Ferrari races and for the high-flying Ford off-roader in the rally challenge.

3Dbotmaker is a homegrown company started when the principal, known as “3D” (versus his friend “2D,” the other announcer) saw his new hobby with his then four-year-old son becoming complicated. A lack of access to track materials and specialized items led him to invest in a 3D printer which then became a business as he began selling specialized track parts such as launch pads and accessories. This became a full-time business as popularity for homemade tracks grew. Then he began filming races with his father-and-son vehicles and tracks. Which led to the 3Dbotmaker Diecast series on YouTube.

That series now boasts a 166,000-plus fan following, a large Facebook group surrounding it, and a busy website full of accessories and how-to videos for various track making and race-setting information.

With my three kids, we’re finding ourselves watching whole series in one sitting. For example, we watched the full 2020 rally challenge in about an hour. That hour included stops to make popcorn and runs to the bathroom, but it was a fun hour. The Ferrari challenge, which just finished last weekend, was the talk of the week as we waited for the final video to release showing the last four cars completing the series race. I won’t spoil it as to who won, but it was a fiery spectacular.

Like any real life, real car race series, the 3Dbotmaker series includes track timers, slow motion replays, grids set up to average scores so that no position has advantage for the series win, and more. Looking past the fun personalities being created and the action packed racing on the screen, it’s clear that a lot of production work goes into the building, maintaining, filming, and testing of the race tracks used. Each series, while having a similar underlayment, has completely different track setups to match the intended race. The Ferrari series, for example, is a straight-up track with hard curves and a fast lane finish cycle. The rally track, on the other hand, has jumps, “dirt,” and extra points for “high flying finishes” over the finish line.

Another popular series is the DiecastRacingSeries, which often pits specific vehicles from the past against one another to revisit old rivalries and even period-specific race legends. More suited for more die-hard fans of motorsport, that site and channel is another great way to lose yourself into YouTube for a while.

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Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes at an event like the RedlineIce2020, where we took cars into the snow and ice to test their capabilities and safety? One of the people behind the scenes at a lot of automotive events and on YouTube channels like ours is photographer Nathan Leach-Proffer. Find out what his job entails, how much work is involved, and how he built his master-level skillset and honed the tools he uses to get the job done.

Nathan is a quiet mannered, laid-back guy with little fanfare for himself. Yet he’s photographed thousands of cars and trucks and his work has appeared on television, in print, and online. He’s one of the most well-respected automotive photographers in the business. Check him out at http://www.speed-photos.com/

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At the #RedlineIce2020 event, we drove several vehicles from varied manufacturers on the snow and ice in Colorado to test safety systems. One of the people behind that event was Brian Peterson, a professional racer turned instructor who designed the courses we used to test those safety systems. And have a little fun. Because, well, sliding through the snow is a lot of fun when your sleigh has 300 horsepower.. Brian walks us through the process of planning the course, what they did to test their plans, and what kind of music he cranks while doing this sort of thing. Check it out! See our Redline Ice results here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBKIQy8SuU4&t=39s

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At the Chicago Auto Show, we got a sneak peek at the newest generation of FCA’s infotainment system. Called UConnect 5, this interface is far superior to the already excellent UConnect 4 in vehicles now. Chrysler’s Vince Galante walks us through the new system and how it operates five times faster than the current version, all with a simpler user experience for easier and safer use.

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