Some thoughts on making a satisfying racing teapot

CubaDupa 2018 is now just two months away and we’ll be opening registrations for Splendid Teapot Racing very soon.  If you haven’t got your racing teapot together yet, here are a few observations you might find useful:

  • The basics: get a radio-controlled car or truck, remove the body, attach a teapot, decorate the vehicle according to your taste then race against the clock through an obstacle course. This clip of Lord Edmund from 2017’s CubaDupa will give you the general idea
  • Read the rules. Most rules can be got around with a suitable bribe to the judges on the day (small bars of chocolate, cups of tea or small bags of shiny objects are often appreciated), but don’t ignore the one about the recommended maximum size. The main reason for this rule is not to stop you making a megapot if you want to, but so your teapot has some chance of getting through/over/round the obstacles without damaging itself or them. If you’re buying a vehicle, somewhere between 1:24 and 1:16 size is about right
  • It’s more about control than speed or power. Spend the right amount on your base vehicle.  You can pay $1000 or more on a radio-controlled car, but don’t – it’s unlikely it will get round the obstacle course any better than something much cheaper.  But don’t spend too little, either. Some of our friends and acquaintances have been delighted with a bargain from an op shop, only to find the vehicle either doesn’t steer at all, or only turns left.  If possible, try to see the vehicle in action before you buy it – make sure it has enough power to get up a slope (and remember it’s going to be heavier by the time you attached a teapot to it)
  • And on the subject of the teapot – keep it light. Your vehicle should be able to both climb ramps and go round corners without tipping over.  Ceramic teapots are far too heavy.  Aluminium or stainless are generally fine; you might even find small plastic ones at a toyshop. The teapot doesn’t have to remain functional as a teapot once you’ve finished, so don’t worry about drilling holes in it
  • Attach things firmly.  It’s hilarious for the audience but embarrassing for you if some major component of your racing teapot (like, say, the teapot!) falls off partway through the course.  Glue doesn’t seem to be what it was back in Queen Victoria’s time, bless her, although some of us still swear by hot glue. The Colonel, with several racing teapots under his belt, is a firm believer in small bolts or screws for hooking things together. And don’t ignore the mounting points the original body came off – they can be very useful if you can manage to put matching holes in the bottom of your teapot (some of us struggle with the degree of accuracy required …)
  • On teapot racing day, don’t run out of steam.  Use fresh batteries, or if your vehicle uses rechargeables, make sure they’re fully charged the night before.  And don’t forget about the batteries in the controller as well.

That should get you going in the right direction.  Watch here or on Capital! Steampunk’s Facebook page for registrations to open and we’ll see you at CubaDupa.

Racing teapots

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