Friday, May 22, 2015

FlisKits Honest John Finished

On the left is my older Fliskit Honest John, it has 21 flights.

On the right is the new replacement.

Since the first Honest John build in 2010, my decals are turning out better.
The ink is darker and more dense.
I was hoping the nose cone decals would fit the diameter but they still had to be cut apart and set down individually. The spin rockets look better now.
In this kit, FlisKits doesn't include decals anymore.

MRN Idea Box TIP- From March 1965

Mojo 1986 was selling some older Estes Model Rocket News (MRNs) on Ebay.
For me, one of the most valuable pages was "The Idea Box".
I did some screen grabs and will feature some older ideas that still have some value today.

The original Estes Copy:

"Get the right engine block position for sure with one of these gauges.
A few layers of 1/2" masking tape wrapper around one end of an engine casing makes engine block installation a deft one-move operation without fear of freezing out of place.
The 1/2" unit give proper positioning for upper stages, the 1/4" unit allows the engine to be taped to the engine tube for easy installation and removal.

Here's my engine block "gauge":

In LPR, most all engines extend 1/4" out the back of the engine mount tube.
Instead of just pencil marking the engine spacing guide tube at 1/4", wrap tape around and engine casing 7 or 8 times at 1/4" from the low end for a positive "stop". Cut off the tape that extends over the end of the casing.

Apply glue far up inside the engine mount tube. Set the engine block in the tube end then push it in place with the casing until the tape wraps butt up against the tube edge. Remove the casing tool - Done!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

FlisKits Honest John Build, Part 7, Decal Re-Draw

I drew up some decals the first time I made the MMX Honest John.
These were a downsize of the old Estes kit decals
I didn't space them accurately, there was a lot of cutting apart and moving separate pieces.

This time I did a paper wrap around the widest point of the older HoJo nose cone. This was divided into six sections for the roll pattern.
On the last build I used the spin rockets on the included decal sheet. This run of kits didn't include decals. I had to make some up.

On the left is a copy of the spin rockets from the Estes instructions.
This was traced and drawn to make it look a little more "3D".
It was reduced to the size of the decal on my old, finished HoJo.

Here's the redrawn decal sheet.
This was drawn up to look like the old Estes kit decals.
The flat side of the spin rockets got some grey shading.

EDIT: (Even doing the redraw I didn't get the nose cone roll pattern spacing right! I still had to cut them up and place the six squares separately.)

I Booked A Cruise!

I'll be on the Holland America Zaandam from June 16 - June 25.
I'll meet the ship in Juneau, Alaska and go to Seward, then back down to Juneau again.

Just for fun I looked up a bad Zaandam review on

"HAL seems to be a generation behind in the areas of on-board entertainment, restaurant d├ęcor, and mid-ship sculpture. The comedy and dance presentations could compete for the Lawrence Welk audience. The fancy restaurants looked like 19th century brothels, complete with servers sporting costumes and a level of fake formality calculated to encourage heavy drinking. A hideous, organ-shaped sculpture consumes the middle of the ship, unavoidable on decks three through five. HAL would make more friends if it traded the artificial opulence for brighter, more contemporary furnishings and service." 
Oh boy, wait until they get a load of me!

I'm glad to get the work. The job promised at Disney World should have started the middle of March. Now they tell us it'll be after July 4!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Textbook Rocket, Peak Of Flight Article

The build story of my Textbook Rocket is featured in the latest issue of the Apogee Peak Of Flight Newsletter - "A Scratch Build With A Deadline" -

The article explains the ups and downs of building a rocket against the clock. All construction parts were fashioned from discarded college textbooks.
The rocket was demonstration model for the Space Center Houston Earth Day Celebration.

An interesting finish to the project, I got this in the mail today.
It's a certificate acknowledging my participation and flight of the "Speed Reader" rocket.

FlisKits Honest John Build, Part 6, Primer, Fin Gluing and Paint

The fins and lugs were stuck down on their root edges for a shot of primer.
The body tube was set on a dowel end for a primer coat.

The kit supplied marking guide ends didn't quite match up.

I made my own marking guide out of a wrap of paper, folded in quarters.

The body tube was sanded and roughed up where the fin root edges would glue.

I waited to glue the lower lug and standoff after doing the fin fillets. The lower lug would be in the way and make the fin fillets hard to do.

The first white coat showed some grain in the basswood fins.
This will take some fine sanding with 400 grit before the next white coat.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

FlisKits Honest John Build, Part 5, Fin Shaping

Use a sanding block to shape these diamond shaped fins.

This the top edges first.
Don't thin it to a "razor edge", leave a little of the squared top.

With the edge black you can see how thick the edge is and make adjustments when sanding.

When sanding down the front edges you will automatically sand off and over the pencil line at the outside edge. This makes the outside edge thinner than the root edge which is how the actual fin taper is. On real rockets the diamond taper is thicker at the root edge and gets thinner towards the outside edge.

Sand some on one side, flip the fin over and sand the other side. Try to keep the tapered edge centered.

Sand the other side. In the picture, the bottom edge is now facing up.

On the left, notice how the center ridge ends up back on the center line.

Sand down the raised area on both sides of the fins connecting it all together.

Watch the diamond shape at the root edge trying to make it all flat up to the center raised ridge.
On the left there is still some ink on the edges.
On the right the ink was gently sanded off with some 400 grit.

Each fin takes about 10 minutes to shape.

Fin shaping takes practice and you probably won't get it right the first time. Practice on scrap wood, not on the fins supplied in the kit.
These HoJo kit fins are 1/16" basswood. Practice on thicker fins.