Electric Disco Hovertank Racing wants YOU!

One of the finest traditions of roller derby is goofy halftime activities. Goofy halftime activities? This stuff is what I was born to do. Here’s what I’m trying to get organized, and I want your participation!

Start with leaf-blower hovercrafts, like the one pictured here. It’s made of some plywood, some 6-mil plastic, lots of duct tape, and a hardware-store leaf blower:

The audio has been disabled on that video. If you’d like to see a version with a soundtrack, I’ve created a YouTube Doubler version here!

Make a couple of those hovercrafts (here’s some sample plans), then add painted cardboard superstructures, just like Box Wars does for their halftime battles at Toronto Roller Derby:

Okay, so far we have hovercars. Really cool-looking ones if we paint them bright colors, maybe even fluorescent colors with the black-lights at the rink. I’ve ordered a case of Mr. McGroovy’s Cardboard Box Rivets to help with the body construction. I’m imagining small perforated flanges screwed to the cardboard that will allow the superstructure to be securely attached. Hey, it works great in my head!

Next ingredient: Laser-tag. Roller rinks do this as a birthday-party activity. Caln Skating Center has a number of heavy, solid Tippman 98 paintball guns that have been converted to laser guns with bolt-on electronics packages. The rink also has a number of inflatable five-foot bollards that look like giant Weebles. They’ve lent me two guns to experiment with. The electronics are a far cry from the lazer-tag guns when I was a kid; they know WHO shot WHOM, and a gun will disable itself after its health is depleted. If you add CO2 bottles, they even have recoil(!)

Okay, enough talking. Hovercrafts, plus cardboard superstructures, plus fixed-mount laser guns, plus Brandywine Roller Girls halftime equals HOVERTANK RACING. Since we’re inside, we’ll use electric leaf blowers, so that makes it ELECTRIC hovertank racing. With the loud music, black lights, and fog machine, it’s electric DISCO hovertank racing!

The rules? Hell, I don’t even know yet:

  • Maybe the hovertanks will have their power cut for five seconds when a hit is scored.
  • Maybe if the tank has some momentum when being hit, the pilot will come tumbling out through the cardboard wall of the tank. That’s good show-biz right there.
  • Maybe we’ll vote on the best-looking tank.
  • Maybe the tanks will race around the track, or maybe they’ll race from end to end of the rink, capture the flag style, THROUGH the audience.
  • Maybe we’ll fix the laser-tag guns in a locked position on the tanks, so the entire tank must be aimed, like wooden ships fighting naval engagements!

The guns are configurable with infinite or limited ammunition, infinite or limited health, so we have lots of flexibility. We can figure out what’s the most fun to do, and what’s the most fun to watch.

Brandywine Roller Girls SOLSTICE SMACKDOWN poster

Right now, I have simple hovertank plans, and I have two 48″ rounds of 1/2 plywood, and plenty of 6-mil plastic. There’s a leaf blower at the rink. I’ll be there for scrimmage tonight, June 15th, from 7-9 PM to watch BRG scrimmage. We may do some hovertank racing at this Saturday night’s bout, depending on if enough makers come out and say “YES! I will be a part of this nebulous box-of-ingredients project!”


If that’s you — if you’d like to be one of the charter members of Chester County’s very first ELECTRIC DISCO HOVERTANK RACING LEAGUE, leave a comment below! I’m thinking we need hovertank designers, hovertank captains, and hovertank pilots (people to shove these floating hockey-pucks around.) You don’t have to do anything this week — just leave a comment below, and I’ll add you to a group!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: