Joe Marsh (Propwash@WHY.NET)
Thu, 31 Jul 1997 21:55:31 -0500
Our Pack has done both a two litter "Rocket" Derby and also a "Space Derby".
I assume you are asking about the "Space Derby", that you buy kits for at
the Scout Shop. The plans for the track are in the "How to Book" and work
great. My Pack has always been large, so we doubled the number of lanes
that the "How to Book" instructions called for. That way we could race by
dens, with the whole den racing at once. It takes about 10 hours to build
the track from scratch and about another 4 hours if you paint it. I would
suggest painting it before you start cutting any wood. Just paint all the
one by twos. You can touch up the bare ends latter with alot less trouble
than trying to paint the whole track. The most common problem was that the
propeller was put on back wards. It does not hurt to give a little more
instruction on building the Space Derby than would normally be given on say
a Pine Wood or a Raingutter Boat. The second most common probem would be
the rubber bands. They are only good for about four runs and then they tend
to break. The tip on soaking them in castor oil over night works great but
increases the mess. Castor oil gets kinda messy. The nose cone should not
be glued on so the rubber bands can more easily be replaced, and make
several home made tools, made from wire cloths hangers to reach through the
body of the Derby to replace the rubber bands with. Forget any mechanical
winder. It was much easier to get sixteen parents to wind the propellers.
That is eight at a time at the starting gate placing the Derbys on the line
with another eight transporting the next eight and winding them while the
first race is getting going. Tell the parents to wind each Derby 75 or 100
turns, but exactly the same for each Derby, that way each racer gets the
same chance. Lightly oil the line between each race and you will be
suprised how fast they cover the distance. Be sure and hang something like
ribbons on the line short of the end to keep the Space Derbys from crashing
into the end and destroying themselves. If balsa kits are available use
them. The high syrafoam kits are not as durable and after just a few races
the nose cone will start to pull through. The race itself can be run just
like the Pine Wood Derby. We make sure every Cub get to race at least
twice. We always put three colored dots on the racers at check in and then
each time they placed, first, second, or third, a dot came off. You can
keep track of either ranks or dens, and then have overall pack winners on
final races. We like to get Police officers to judge the races, that cuts
way down on disputes. If you cannot get cops to judge the race, choose
three judges. Tell one to be the one to spot the first place, another to
only spot the second place and a third person to pick the third place Derby.
If they know the one place is ALL they are judging, things go alot smoother.
Dont allow the judges to get into a discussion as to which was first, second
and third. One person is reponsable for each and only that one. I as
Cubmaster made plaster of paris awards from a mold that was available at the
Scout Shop. I hope it is still available. I was suprised when I tried to
buy a new Pine Wood Derby mold and found it had been deleted from stock. A
nice "B" plane is to glue a thin piece of leather on a board and draw and
write on the leather with paint pens. Good luck and dont hesitate to E-Mail
if you have a question or comment.
As for the issue of two races in one year; I say there is plenty of other
things to do. Give those non wood working, out of town traveling all the
time dads and those single moms a break. Just one race is my vote.
Troop 86 Committee Member
"Strickly for Cubmaster"
Former Cubmaster Pack 407
I use to be a Buffalo
Land of Texas
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City