Building an X-Wing Derby Car – Cause That is What a Dad Is For

One of the most exciting times in a young Cub Scout’s life is getting to participate in the Pine Wood Derby. This year will be a little different due to COVID, making the racing virtual. However, last year was a show. There were a lot of awesome cars, both fast and creative in their builds. Our older son’s was no exception.

If you have not yet had the privilege to build a Pinewood Derby car with/for your child, it comes as a single block of pine wood with 4 nails for axles and 4 plastic wheels. It is up to your on how you build your car (provided you stay in the requirements for size/weight/etc), and there are a LOT of videos online that show you the physics and mechanics to make your car one of the fastest. This post will NOT be covering that. Polishing axles and using graphite is all well and good, but let’s make something fun.

When I asked my son what type of car he wanted last year, he went back and forth with his decision and finally settled on an X-wing themed car. Okay…..this would be interesting. I quickly did a search online, trying to find examples of this. Sadly, the options were both difficult to determine how they built it and quite honestly, I didn’t like the look. DIY to the rescue!

Starting with the wood block, I had to sketch out the top and side profiles to have a rough idea of how I was going to cut it on the band saw

After the rough cut, I used a mix of the band saw and a Dremel multitool to cut out the back angled sides for the wings as will as for the shape of the front of the ship. I also trimmed down the area that would cover the axles to make it more sleek looking. this part took some time, but was worth it.

After sanding it down I moved on to the wing and engine installation. The wings were made with thin scrap wood pieces I had laying around cut at an angle. I also included to small wings on the bottom. The cars have a width limit on the size, so wings had to stay micro. I used 2 sizes of wooden dowels for the engines on top and smaller dowels for the laser cannons.

After initial construction I pressed my son on how he wanted to paint it.

“Well, dad. I want to win the most patriotic award.”

Most patriotic, huh? Ok. Red, white and blue it is. We painted the whole ship a base white, and used strips of painters tape to cover parts of the front of the ship to make the red stripes. My son did all the painting. After this we painted the wings blue, glued on a small white circular 2×2 lego piece to give R2-D2’s head a place to sit, and attached white glow-in-the-dark wheels.

We were both really excited how it turned out. Last year there were A LOT of cars going for most patriotic. But in the end, how could you NOT vote for an X-wing named Space Force 1? We are still waiting on government contracts for the first prototypes.

This year the race will be different, but no less fun in the creative process. I assumed this year he wanted another ship similar to last year. But no.

“Dad, I want a milkshake laying on the beach in a chair with sunglasses and drinking a lemonade.”

At least the gave me a blueprint this time around…

Imperfect Dad, MD

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