February 12, 2012

All Aboard! (Pinewood Derby 2012)

As soon as the last cars crossed the finish line at the 2011 Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, Brevin was already excited to make plans for his next year's car.  The Wii remote was quite a hit, and we knew it would be a hard act to follow.  Brevin was determined that night, though, that his next car would be of the sleek, aerodynamic variety.  He was set on building a fast car that would win.  I figured he'd have a full year to change his mind.  And he did.

When we began discussing design plans, Jason and I encouraged Brevin to go for creative aesthetics over speed.  It's easier to control the variables of the outcome.  Plus I figured the reigning champ, Carson, and his dad would likely produce another winner.  (I heard his father elaborate on all the techniques he applied to his winning car.  It was a very methodical approach, and he had it down to a science.)  They would be hard to beat.

Brevin seemed to agree and began to give suggestions that related to his current obsession, Harry Potter.  He imagined his car as a broomstick or lightening bolt.  I threw out the idea of the Hogwarts Express, and it was the idea that stuck.  At first, Jason was skeptical about the idea.  He thought it would be too difficult.  Once I showed him a picture of the Lego version of the train, he realized that it was actually a very simple train design and quite doable.

After a trip to Hobby Lobby for detail pieces, it was time to begin construction on the train.  The garage was converted into a wood shop where cutting, sanding, drilling, and painting took place.  As it turned out, the the most difficult task was getting the train to make weight.  The cylinder of the engine and back compartment had to be completely hollowed out with the drill. It was a little tricky, but it worked. 

The entire family worked on the project over the course of a month, and by the end, Brevin had a derby car worthy of display...but could it race?  Well, we would see.

On the night of the Pinewood Derby, Brevin was really excited to show off his creation.  He had also been adequately prepared beforehand to be a gracious loser.  Jason and I made him aware that his was not built for speed.  It was built for looks.  It looked pretty slick.  We just hoped that it would make it across the finish line and not derail.

His car actually did better than expected.  It placed second in one heat and third in most others.  That was a pleasant surprise.  Another surprise was when Karson's car just barely edged out Carson's car for the overall win. 

Grandpa Park used to work on repairing railroad trains.  We're relieved
he didn't have to "come out of retirement" to fix Brevin's tonight.

It turned out to be a wonerfully fun family evening.  On the way home, Brevin and Spencer both talked about how they wanted their next year's car to be be of the sleek, aerodynamic variety. They are both set on building a fast car that will win. I guess they have a full year to change their mind.

This post authored by Amber


CJ said...

This year for the girl's Diva Derby, we have a Bugatti Veyron, and a Bunny-gatti in the making. My kids watch Top Gear on BBC with their Dad. Google it. It is the most expensive production car EVER! And the fastest!

Christina said...

I love the Hogwart's Express! My Bear Scout is also very into Harry Potter! Was the main part of the train a dowel? What size did you use?

Parkside View said...

Yes, Christina, the main part was a dowel that was an inch and a half in diameter (I think). We had to use a drill press to hollow it out, though, because it was much heavier than the pinewood. We also drilled holes and hollowed out the cab portion of the train.