Rubber Band Powered Boat Review

4 minutes, 36 seconds Read

Looking for a great way for your kids or grandkids to have some old-fashioned fun? No internet required, no batteries, LEDS, or fake sounds! Read our light-hearted review of this great little classic vintage toy which you can still buy today!

We’ll be “stretching things” to the limit in this all out test of speed, endurance, and distance. What we discovered is a whole lot o’ fun in an inexpensive, elegantly designed wooden toy. So strap on your life jacket and ride along with us as we test it out.

The Basics: Whats in the box?
A fully ready to go rubber-band powered boat
1 motor pre-installed
3 extra motors (Schylling high-stretch #30 “turbocharged”)
Weight: 2.5 oz.
Length 6.25 in.
Width: 3.0 in.
Thickness: 1 in. – solid wood uni-body construction
Seating Capacity: 0

We were skeptical at first that this boat would work at all because when we wound up the rubber band the first time and let it go, the paddles abruptly discharged within a milli-second so we figured this was not a suitable design. But we had failed to consider what happens when the paddles are in contact with the water. Water provides ample resistance to the paddle rotation and everything slows down quite a lot when it’s actually powering the boat. The little boat was christened with the name “Paddy” on her maiden voyage.

By the way, we heard an unconfirmed rumor that both Evinrude and Mercury rejected this design concept early on and went instead with gas powered engines. Who’s laughing now?

In the Box

Our newly acquired aquamarine testing site aquamarine test site

The Speed Tests
For our speed and distance testing, we decided to draw a small dot on one paddle to help us keep accurate track of how many full turns were being wound in to the power unit before each run. One of the best things about this toy in our opinion is that the user must figure out how to wind it, hold it, set it in the water, and then let go. We admit to winding this backwards at least twice. Not as much fun but it’s good to know it has a reverse gear. For young kids this is a really healthy, tactile type of play that they must be involved in. This is how we learn and stay engaged. Kids playing with this will enjoy hours of fun and imaginative play. You can’t get that on the Internet.

Test #1 – 10 Full Turns
“Paddy” sped off in straight line and headed for the other shore of the test site. After running low on fuel 3/4 of the way there, she coasted gently to the other side and docked herself. “Excellent !” And with only 10 turns deployed we knew there was plenty left in the tank for our next test. (We’ve posted the official test results video on YouTube. See link below)

Test #2 – 20 Full Turns
Paddy’s engine creates a massive rooster-tail as it bites the water and heads out at full speed. You can hear and see the dramatic difference just 10 more full turns on the motor has on the outcome. Paddy hit the other side with still more unwinding left to go. Clearly now, we need an even bigger testing site. So we were forced to move on to the “Motor Endurance Windup Failure Test” since the corner store did not carry any larger kiddie pools and we’re not asking the neighbors to use theirs. We actually don’t know them that well. We’re thinking why not get a few of these and paint them up like racing boats?

A very cool
vintage box design

Fantasy Racing Fleet
Only one of these boats is real, which explains why the other 3 cast no shadow. You probably noticed that didn’t you?

Motor Endurance Windup Failure Test
This is an important test to run so that the operator may know just how far to take it without blowing up a rubber band motor. We decided to sacrifice one of the included Schylling #30 Turbos in search of the winding limit so you know when to expect it to give out.
Surprisingly as we continued on beyond 20 full turns it became very noticeable that the band will begin warping and “double-knotting” over itself. This is normal and reminiscent of rubber-band powered airplanes. This has the effect of making the paddles go a little off-center so more hands-on adjustment is needed as you increase power settings. The first time we reached 50 turns everything seemed OK, but then it slipped and unwound. The second attempt ended before 50 turns with a sudden dramatic failure. Check out the 33 sec. “Test Results Video” link below on YouTube to see all the action.

We hope you enjoyed reading this and welcome any comments you may offer.

You can get this toy and hundreds of other amazing products including a vast selection of “Old Time Candy” that you can’t easily find anywhere else. Old Time Candy seriously knows how to do it and we guarantee you’ll have fun just looking at their product line-up. Follow their ad link below to visit Old Time Candy – you will be glad you did!

YouTube Video: Full Test Results(33 sec.)
See and hear the tests
HTML tutorial


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