Malibu350 certainly hasn’t based his entire MTM 2 career on making 4X4 Evo 2 to MTM 2 conversions, but I’ll tell you what, when it comes time for his induction into the “Track Maker’s Hall of Fame”, his efforts in that area will undoubtedly be highlighted, and rightfully so. What I’m about to say may be cause a few readers to cringe, but consider it for what it is, which is one man’s humble opinion, so like…don’t start sending me hate mail. It’s simply this: I’m kind of relieved no one else is attempting to do conversions. I consider conversions as a Malibu350 exclusive since it was his innovation. Moreover, the work he’s done has been nothing short of exceptional, and in my opinion he’s probably THE main player in a handful of track makers responsible for the huge comeback in the production of racetracks, simultaneously raising the standard as well. Fortunate for us, Mal says he’ll keep making tracks once he’s done with conversions. He’s not real clear on his direction as of yet, but hey – does it really matter? I was just glad to hear he wasn’t going to call it a wrap and step down. Side-stepping here for just a minute, myself, Phineus, Mal, and RobbyH14 were exchanging e-mails discussing a few particulars about the track page here at MTMG (check it out!), when I jokingly made the following remark: “If it says Malibu350 on the label...just say no” Hehe well, the fact of the matter is, if you see this guy’s name on a track, it’s as good as money in the bank, so click away!
According to Mal, and I confirmed this (cause I don’t really trust him--eyes set too close together for my liking), Kodiak Island is <u>based</u> on 4X4 Evo 2’s “Yukon”. I’m guessing he altered the layout to make it more conducive to MTM 2 racing. Furthermore, I think his decision to make those changes accounts for the name change since this particular conversion isn’t an exact replica of Yukon. Oh, and I do believe he threw in a few homegrown models as well. That right, Mal? Surely he’ll step in and correct me if I’m off the mark, but I’m willing to bet Phin’s paycheck I’m dead on. I’d make the wager with my own cash…but I’m not much of a risk taker, so I’d just as soon use Phin’s. Heck, he doesn’t care. Hehe
The City of Kodiak is situated on the second largest island in the United States, approximately 250 air miles southwest of Anchorage in the Gulf of Alaska. Now, I’m not sure if this track was patterned after any particular part of Kodiak Island (let alone Alaska), but if it looks anything like this track, Copey will be relocating, and soon! Briefly stated, Kodiak Island has a rich green look (good fertilizer no doubt) with plenty of trees and assorted shrubs. Mountains are lightly capped with snow, with small traces of the slippery white stuff in the lower levels of the track. Holding true to conversion tradition, the roadway is narrow, however Kodiak Island, like “Deadman’s Gulch²”, and to some extent, “Fila’s Holiday” allow racers space to improvise. The trees are plentiful and scattered throughout in such a way that racers can navigate between them, creating different pathways if necessary, which I found very enjoyable and challenging as well. The winding roads and elevation changes, coupled with spectacular scenery will undoubtedly make Kodiak Island a popular track in the months to come. The more I ran it in preparation for this review, the more I liked it…and the more I started thinking about where I could fit it in on one of our track lists!
It’s unusual to run a track and literally have nothing to cite objectively, but that’s been status quo as far as the conversions are concerned. Again, this track is not 4X4 Evo 2’s “Yukon”. Yes, they are visually similar, and in many ways comparable with respect to the course layout, but Mal made several subtle changes that netted a track with an awesome flow and superb layout. If after three or four laps you don’t agree with my assessment, fire up Evo 2’s “Yukon” and take a spin on it. That should do it for ya. Like all of Mal’s conversions, this one won’t come easy to racers the first few times out. Trees will seemingly jump out in front of you, rocks will take on a life of their own, and you’ll swear bodies of water expand to twice their normal size for the sole purpose of drawing you in. Adding to the physical obstacles is the complexity of the course itself, which will undoubtedly produce its fair share of driving errors. But believe you me, once you start pulling lap times around the 2:04 – 2:05 range, you’ll want to run it that much more!! After each lap I could hear the “Copey Rating” registering in my head like a cash register (ch-ching!), and I kept seeing the same number pop up in my head, time and time again, in a big, bold font: 10, 10, 10, 10 (breath, breath) 10, 10, 10!!!!
You have to take your hat off to the guy…I mean, if you wear a hat, that is. If it’s a scarf, wig, toupee, dew rag, etc., well…I suppose you could tip it or take it off as well out of respect and admiration for Mal here. This is The Conversion King’s 11th outing, and his work hasn’t faltered one iota. In fact, he’s getting better! What more do you need to know? I could’ve easily wrote this review like this: Hey all you race fans out there, Mal’s back with another conversion. Yeah, it’s a “10”. See ya next time! It wouldn’t change much; he’d still be swamped with doing commercials, overrun with endorsement offers of every kind, and hounded by fans from all over the world. Ah the things one must endure as an MTM 2 celebrity, huh? Hey, while I’m on the subject, I’ve been doing some thinking, and I believe it’s high time you had a promotional gimmick, Mal. How’s this grab ya: I’ll start a thread entitled “Make Your Best Guess”, and whoever can guess which Evo 2 track you’ll convert next, Phin will give them a $1,000.00. Oh, and I’ll throw in an autographed picture of yours truly. Whadda ya think – is that a deal or what?
Hehe. Mal, another incredible effort on your part, guy – great, great, stuff! By the way, if you don’t see me around after this review…it means Phin fired me.
[This message has been edited by SLO_COPE (edited 21-07-2002).]