In the endless search for the perfect weight to get my men up to the 3.3 or 4.0 gram weight limits that most leagues operate under, I have tried many things from bb’s, nuts, washers to lead tape and even pieces of solder. It often takes many strips of lead products plus the added problem of knowing you are using a potentially unsafe product. Nuts and washers can work, but they must be glued and don’t allow you to remove that 100th of a gram that may put you over the weight limit. Plus, when glue dries, it loses moisture and changes the final weight. My answer came, thanks to my 6 year old sons involvement in his first Pine Wood Derby. These events are very competitive (for the adults at least) and you will see guys employing all kinds of methods to achieve the fastest car with the least amount of bulk. In Pine Wood Derby, weight is speed! Aerodynamics play a role as well, but weight is the king and many races are determined in micro seconds. This is where I discovered Tungsten Putty!
Tungsten is the world’s 4th heaviest metal. It weighs up to 1.8x as much as lead and over 3x the weight of the Zinc/Pewter weights available through the Boy Scout Shops and Hobby Shops. Tungsten Putty is made from Tungsten Powder. It is blended with a putty type compound and a few other ingredients to create a Tungsten Putty that is very malleable, easy to apply and will not dry out even after several weeks exposed to air and sunlight. Tungsten Putty is Child Safe. It does not contain any hazardous chemicals. I purchased my putty from an online Pine Wood Derby store http://www.pinewoodextreme.com/detail.asp?item_number=418081 but there are many outlets from fishing stores to hobby shops that carry it. Mine cost $4.95 for 1 ounce (1 ounce = 28.349 grams). Easily enough putty to get a team of 3.3 figure/bases up to competitive weight. The thing I like best is how clean, un-bulky and quick it is to use.
Balance is a key ingredient to getting your figures to run properly and is a good subject for another post. Weight can be used to get an unruly figure in balance by properly positioning the weight. Tungsten putty may be very useful for fine tuning a figure. My purpose, however, with this article is to show how to get an already balanced figure quickly up to competitive weight. The entire process, shown below, took under a minute to get this Buzzball QB up to weight.