Grand Prix Racing - How To Make A Fast Pinewood Car

Finish the Body

At this point in making your Grand Prix car, you have a chassis, perhaps some body parts, polished axles and cut wheels. Now it is time to place the weight on the chassis so the body can be finished.

If you will be using lead

Determine how much lead you will need, if you haven't already, do so now. Hammer your lead weight into simple shapes and glue the pieces into your lead well with a hot glue gun. This is easier and safer than melting lead. If you still want to melt and pour your lead, do so now.

If you will be anchoring your weight another way...

Heavy, short screws and washers can be screwed into the bottom of your car. To avoid cracking the wood, drill pilot holes first. Another drawback of screws is that they can stick out through the top of the car.

If these are not problems, screws work well as long they meet the lane median clearance regulation, usually 3/8ths of an inch. This may still not be enough clearance if your screws are placed too near the front or back of the car.

Remember, if there is any question about weight, the club should have an official reference weight. The weight can be measured on the scale to compare the reading with that of your car or used on a balance-type scale directly with your car. In any case, defer to the judge's final decision.

Now that you have placed your weight in your Grand Prix car, you are ready to finish its body.

To Finish Your Car's Body:

  1. Cover your lead well with a stick-on label cut to size. This allows you to finish over it and peal it back (and close it again) if you have to remove clay or lead.
  2. Attach all body parts to be finished to the chassis (this does not include axles and wheels). Use wood putty to smooth over cracks, gouges and places where pieces of wood come together. Wipe off excess putty. Put transparency film and other plastics on as late as possible. Sometimes the order in which you glue, nail or fasten parts can make a difference. Different materials need different glues.
  3. Sand the body with a medium grit sand paper (100 or so).
  4. Wipe the car body down with a damp cloth getting into all the crevices. Coat the car with sanding sealer and let it dry on wax paper standing on its rear end leaning against a support. The idea is to minimize its contact with its surroundings. If you are more patient, you can paint one side, dry then paint the other, but a small amount of foreign matter won't matter.
  5. Sand lightly with a medium grit sand paper (100 or so).
  6. Wipe with a damp cloth. Apply another coat of sanding sealer, dry and sand again with a fine sand paper (220 or so). This step can be repeated for an even smoother finish.
  7. Apply the first coat of paint. Model car enamel makes a good hard, smooth finish. Use a fine brush with bristles that won't fall out. For straight lines and boundaries between colors, use masking tape. Use an airbrush for color blending effects. Many light coats are better than a couple thick ones. Acrylic paint can also be used. It is cheaper, easier to work with and clean up. But because it is thicker, it may leave brush marks. Most of our cars in the photo album are painted with acrylic paint and a clear coat of shellac.
  8. Once the paint is dry, a coat of shellac, varathane or a polyurethane-type liquid plastic or clear coat can brighten up and harden your finish. When drying, lean your car against a support. If you move the car when a pool of resin collects at the base, you can use newspaper under it and it won't stick. Shellac dries in an hour, varathane or liquid plastic may require as much as two days to dry. Be wary touching it.
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Grand Prix Racing - How To Make A Fast Pinewood Car
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