Racing at Enfilade

Gee Bee Z leads Gee Bee Y in the early stages of Golden Age Air Racing on Saturday night

Gee Bee Z leads Gee Bee Y in the early stages of Golden Age Air Racing on Saturday night

I ran a pair of racing games at Enfilade. Friday night I pulled out the inaugural race for my Shapeways planes.  Saturday night I hauled out the hydros for a Thunderboats! game. Both were quite fun, and I have lots to share about both.

I run Golden Age Air Racing at the Museum of Flight each year, so my planes are often out where the public sees them.  However, I don’t often bring them to Enfilade.  It requires three large tubs to hault the 1/48th planes around, and I often have a carful of other stuff to bring to the convention, so they’re easily left at home.  Not so much the 1/144th planes.  Just a single tub for the pylons, and a smallish plastic box for the planes.

I made space for seven racers and with 12 planes let everyone make their choices.  Some were veterans, like Doug, Arthur, and John, while others were noobs, like Jeff and Owen. For some the race started off with a bang, as racers went full throttle at every opportunity, while others pushed every corner.  Others took a little time to get oriented.  By the end, however, everyone was madly screaming for the finish line.  Jeff Condon won the race on the final turn, and I doubt he’ll ever miss any race ever again.  Odd fact–Bruce Harborne suffered an engine stall on the second turn in all three laps.  That’s a tough way to win.

With the race over on Friday night, I decided to enter the three Gee Bees in the painting competition, and they won in the aircraft category.  That they had no competition means little to me.

Saturday was the Thunderboats! night.  There was some buzz about the boat race.  I’d run into Sean the night before and he told me he had some new boat miniatures he’d brought to the convention.  Picklefork hulls from the 70’s and 80’s, but still pre-turbines. He showed them to me, and they were absolutely beautiful miniatures.  I promised to buy six of the boats on race night.  I made sure Sean got into the event.

Chris's Tahoe Miss passes Jeff's Miss Wahoo, while John's Miss Bardahl follows closely.

Chris’s Tahoe Miss passes Jeff’s Miss Wahoo, while Nick’s Miss Madison follows closely.

When the event arrived, it was filled mostly with those who hadn’t raced before, including Jeff, Nick and Darcy.  But there were some cunning veterans like Chris, Sean and John too.  I had a feeling it could get wild.  And it did as Henry Sr. and Henry Jr. burst into the lead.  Both Henrys lit up their nitrous bottles early and took an early lead as Junior promptly set himself on fire. He put it out quickly, but both busted quill shafts early and fell out of the race.  John was driven out with a bad hull bounce.  After a rocky start, Chris eventually took a lead he would not relinquish, but barely edged out Nick who had a stupendous finish.  A late stalled engine put Jeff out of the running and Sean and Darcy battled to finish.  All agreed the game was a lot of fun, and that’s all we can ask.

I’ve pledged more games for the near future.

4 comments on “Racing at Enfilade

  1. Dean says:

    Awesome games as always, Kevin. Ah, I now notice the planes were smaller scale than the ones you run at MoF. Great in any case. Best, Dean

  2. Love the air racing game. I am the Aerospace Education officer for the local Civil Air Patrol squadron and use a lot of games to teaching various subjects. I have the Golden Age Air Racing rules and I’m planning on using it to teach about the history of air racing. With the 1/144 scale planes what size hexes and aircraft bases do you use? Do us use telescoping rods to allow for altitude changes? Thanks for the inspiration.

    • kgsmyth55 says:

      Great questions. We use pretty big hexes for air racing because we began with 1/48 scale racers. Mostly the old Hawk kits from the 60’s. Our hexes are 7″, so pretty big. You would be able to go much smaller with 1/144 and could probably use something like 4″ available commercially. We don’t use the telescoping rods. We had different stands for each altitude, but telescoping rods would be a clear option. Hope that helps. I’ve since gone to smaller racers available on Shapeways.

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