Sunday, June 25, 2017

Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 23, Engine Mount Gluing

If you have added the fin spar reinforcements you should do some dry fitting before gluing in the engine mount.
The lower centering ring will sit slightly higher and butt up against the bottom flat of the fin spars.
A dry fit also lets you visually set the spars looking through the nozzle holes.
The fin spars were glued to the engine mount tube and to the inside of the body tube cut outs.
When you get the mount in place, draw some pencil alignment lines on the inside tube wall and lower ring. Reference the rear view in the instructions for nozzle placement in relationship to the tunnels M and N.

I'm not gluing the lower ring on so it can be flown without the nozzles in place.
Two wraps of masking tape kept the loose ring at the 1/2" mark.

Glue the engine mount in place with the lower ring on the engine mount tube. You can remove the tape and lower ring after the glue dries on the upper ring.

The instructions say to apply glue at 2 1/2" from the end of the tube. I drew a pencil line at 2 1/2".
TIP: Gotcha - The upper ring ends up about 3/4" higher than the 2 1/2" glue ring. I would apply the glue higher at 3" in the tube.

A Q-tip taped to a dowel was used to smooth out the glue ring on both sides of the upper ring.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 22, Tower Assembly

Mentioned earlier, the top left strut of the "X" aren't in the holes. The plastic was a bit warped.
It's easier to take care of this after the tower was glued up.

Push in the pin, brush on the glue and hold until dry.

Set the top into the escape rocket bottom and check the alignment.

Here's a dry fit.
This is an impressive assembly, almost worth the 47 years it took for me to get the kit!

Delay in the Estes Starship Nova Release?

Estes has had the Starship Nova shown on the Coming Soon page since March.
It seems this kit release has taken longer than normal.

A thread on YORF (CLICK HERE) might explain the delay. Go to Page 4.
Bob Sanford received an early release of the Estes Starship Nova kit -

Bernard Cawley posted:
"But if you look in Bob's second picture there you can see that the main body tube looks a little odd. Apparently there was some kind of miscommunication with the supplier and the BT-50 in the kits that are in the warehouse in Penrose don't have a glassine layer. may be a bit yet before the kits get distributed."

John Boren (of Estes) added:
"The first production run of this kit will in fact have tubes without glassine on them. The cost and time needed to get new tubes to China would stretch the release of this kit into at least first quarter of next year."

My thoughts:
It's not a big deal to buy a replacement BT-50 tube. The old kit instructions (CLICK HERE) say it is a BT-50K at 15" long. 
If it were me, I'd buy a replacement BT-50H (heavier wall BT-50) before buying a kit with a no glassine layer tube. (See comment responses below - go with the BalsaMachining T50H-34 tube). BT-50 tubes are thin enough already and prone to buckles on a hard landing. Without that glassine layer, the tubes in the first run of the Starship Nova kits will be even thinner than normal. That thin plastic layer seals the tube and adds a lot of strength. Rough tubes can also suck up more paint.
I'm not complaining about a kit release taking some time. The Pigasus and F-16 kits took a year from initial drawings to the first kit sold. Stuff happens and you want it to be right!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Starship Excalibur Listed on EBAY

The Classic Estes (Semroc) 
is up for auction on Ebay!

This is a pretty one, I almost hate to see it go! (But I need room for other builds)
To see the auction - CLICK HERE

Also being auctioned:


This is the better of the two kits built on this blog. 
It's an original kit from 1991-1993, not the Classic Series reissue.

To see this auction - CLICK HERE
Stop by, make a bid and support the blog!

Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 21, Tower Assembly

The visible mold seams were sanded lightly before assembly on the two largest outside pieces.
I only sanded down the seams that were on the outside. Nobody will see the slight mold seams on the interior.

A dry fit showed the upper strut wouldn't fit into the tower side. I didn't seat it, it'll be pushed in and glued after all four of the tower sides are glued on.

After the first two sides are dried the center ring is set.
One of the "X" strut centers didn't have a hole for the pine on the ring. I carefully spin drilled a recess into the X.

The ring fit well. Two small drops of glue were set into the X brace holes and the ring pressed in place.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Model Profile - The Centuri F-104 Starfighter

The F-104 Starfighter was introduced in the 1977 Centuri catalog, the fourth model of the Fighter Fleet series. For variety, Centuri picked the West Germany motif
These jets had "fibre" fins, die-cut from a .050" thick card stock. While card stock made an easier assembly for a young modeler, older builders weren't too fond of the kits.
Many design compromises were made to the jets for vertical, stable flight.

This model isn't one of my builds. Lonnie Buchanon gave me some original Fighter Fleet rockets he found in Craig's list buy. An F-16 helped the design of my Odd'l Rockets kit.

The F-104 was 15" long and 1" in diameter. The tube was Centuri's heavier walled ST-10.

Here's some of the compromises -

For stability, the wings are set farther back. The intakes aren't round but long rectangle boxes formed from thinner card stock.
The bombs (or tanks depending on which model you were building) were the same used in all six of the Fighter Fleet series.
The missiles were also used on each model. They looked a little like a Sidewinder without the forward fins. The small nose and fin can were glued into a launch lug tube.

Notice the reinforcement pieces needed for the card stock wings and missile standoffs.

The model was 15" long, 5" of that was just the nose cone!
The cockpit decal is on but the clear canopy is missing. I don't know why the nose cone was never painted.

Why am I featuring this model? Stay tuned . . .

Estes Apollo Little Joe II Build, Part 20, RCS Housing and Nozzles

The RCS nozzles housings are small and slippery, no alignment pins!
Do your best to line up the sides and brush some glue on the outside joints.

On the left is before sanding the sides flat.
The inset shows the top seam is almost gone. The corners still need to be sanded.

On the sides stay away from the nozzle pins.

This is the RCS housing ready for the nozzles to be glued on.

There are 16 nozzles so set up an assembly line.
Glue on one nozzle, while that dries move on to the second RCS housing. By the time you've glued on the fourth nozzle on the last housing the glue should be dried on the first one.