They are very usefull to create soft curves, corners and transitions in technic models, specially in the bodywork, but as probably most of you know, the soft axles have a big availability problem.
In BL the prices are completely crazy(specially in red), and quantity available are not enough (who can not remmenber the 19L in black...or the 14L in red)
When I designed the GT500 in 2012(yes 2012, there is a long story behind this car...), the cost of the soft axles were very low, the 11L in red cost was around 0.30€ each in high availability.
In my new car(it is finished, I will show it comming soon) I have used many red soft axles. I have many red parts in home from some years ago, so I have not had to buy red parts to build it.
Like the mustang and the Land-Rover I will make instructions for this new car. But if any of you want to built a copy probably you will can not do it buying all parts from bricklink.
I am very purist with non-Lego parts, and I will continue using they as time as I can.
But I am trying to find a good(and cheap) alternative for the soft axles for all of you.
The pneumatic tubes can be a solution: they are flexible and have the same diameter as the soft axle. But they are only available in black, light gray and blue, nothing about red, yellow, green, white...
The rigidity, strength, and touch feel are not the same, but they are cheap and relatively common.
Also to connect the pneumatic tubes like a normal soft axle you only need a short hose rigid or a bar.
Searching differents colors out of LEGO original parts I have found a online store where you can buy pneumatic tube 100% Lego compatible in many colors: black, blue, brown, dark blue, dark gray, green, light gray, red, tan, teal, trans clear, white and yellow. And with very good price: you can build the complete GT500 in red with less price than only one 14L red soft axle purchased in bricklink.
I don't want to make direct publicity, but you can find it in the internet easily searching "lego pneumatic red tube".
I have purchased some of them to take a closer look, and these are the results.
In all of them the feel is almost exactly than the Lego pneumatic hoses
I will check one by one:
Very close color. The silicone is slightly transparent, so if there are many light in the room you can see a light tone difference.
Same case as the red. It is very close to the Lego color. The silicone is slightly transparent, so if there are many light in the room you can see a light tone difference.
This is the less precise hose color. It is not too bad, but the hose color is clearly lighter than the Lego white
Light Bluish Gray (LBG)
I bougth it thinking that this color will be the same as the Lego pneumatic tube LBG, but it is not exactly the same
It is really well done and more accurate than the Lego official
Here a comparison with official Lego hose from 8110 set (top) and this aftermarket hose(bottom). The Lego official is slightly lighter
Dark Bluish Gray (DBG)
This is my favourite color of all these hoses. For me it is just perfect. Exactly the same color and solid(not slightly transparent like red or yellow)
I hope this can be usefull for all of you.