Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Estes Little Joe II (Small) Build, Part 12, Tower Assembly

The long escape rocket is glued into the tower skirt.
The fit of the pin was very tight. I sanded down the bulb on the end slightly.

Here's the finished tower, ready for a coat of gloss white.
You probably don't have to paint it, but after sanding off the capsule details you'll want a smoother surface for the decals to stick.

A screw eye is set into the capsule base disk.
The hole is small and required a much smaller than standard screw eye. I picked up these size 8 screw eyes at Home Depot.

Paint Problems On Plastic Nose Cones? TIP

On the NAR Facebook page, Thomas VanBruggen posted:

"I am so frustrated right now… I know I have seen you guys post about the same issue but thought it was always because the clearcoat was a different brand then the paint underneath. Well I’ve learned my lesson, and I’ll never use clearcoat again. Rustoleum 2x paint and then Rustoleum 2x satin clear."
Some thoughts:
Plastic typically takes much longer to dry than body tubes and wood fins. Tubes and fins "breathe" and can dry from both tube surface sides, from the outside and inside. Plastic is "sealed" and and the paint only dries from the outside paint skin going in to the surface of the plastic.
So . . . You might want to wait a day or two longer before follow-up coats on that plastic nose cone. John Boren of Estes has posted that Estes will no longer include balsa nose cones in new kits. If you come across balsa nose cones in a recent Estes kit, they are probably using up old excess inventory.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Estes Little Joe II (Small) Build, Part 11, Tower Assembly

The instructions say to sand and even up the sides of the smaller tower sides. It takes very few passes with sandpaper before the sides get to be too small.
Sand a little and check, sand and check again.

Gluing in the sides is easier when there is a slight friction fit.

I pressed the sides in place and then brushed a little liquid cement over the joints.

On every Saturn V tower I've assembled, the internal "O" ring has been too small.

I build up the outside diameter by gluing and wrapping a thin strip of paper around it. Two complete wraps should help the fit.

Even with the wraps there wasn't contact on the one side.
Oh well - it's stronger than it would be otherwise.

Grey or Gray paint?

Anytime I type the word Gray (or Grey) I never know if I got it right.
From the website: http://www.greyorgray.com I found this:
When all else fails . . .
grAy is how it's spelled in America 
grEy is how it's spelled in England

What is the difference between grey and gray?

According to a very comprehensive color charted provided by Clorford.com (a trusted resource on color swatches) grey and gray are actually two different "color swatches".

According to a survey conducted both in the U.S. and England, many people believe grey is an actual color perceived as the hue of "silver", and gray is a sliding scale of values from black to white.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Estes Little Joe II (Small) Build, Part 10, Tower Assembly

You might be better off only cutting off the escape tower nozzles as you need them. Cut one off, glue in place. They are very small and easy to lose.

TIP: Liquid plastic cement should be used for the capsule and tower assembly. This is the liquid cement in a bottle with a screw cap and attached brush. Because of regulations, new formula plastic tube cement will not glue and hold the plastic pieces together.
This picture was from the first capsule I assembled. I cut all the nozzles free at the start.

I found it easier to use tweezers to hold the nozzles. These tweezers had notches cut into the inside ends for a better grip. Liquid plastic cement was used.
Pick up a nozzle, brush on a bit of cement and position the nozzle in the notch with the tweezers.

Here's a closeup showing the notch and nozzle fit.

Try to get the nozzles to follow the diagonal line of the skirt as shown on the right.

Some masking tape was rolled over sticky side out and set on the work table to hold the tower skirt steady.
The two longer tower sides are glued into the "V" notches in the tower skirt.

After this dries it is flipped over and set into the holes on the top of the capsule.

Hold the tower steady and brush liquid cement over the tower legs through the holes on the inside of the capsule.

Some Complaints

I was on the Estes Facebook page and saw these reviews. I did have to laugh. It seems some people complain just to complain or try to get something for free.
Most posts were positive, these gripes were of the minority - 

"My kit had the worst instructions for anything I have ever seen in my life. The kit had multiple items I had to go to the hobby store to buy. I have never been so disappointed in a product in my life."
The instructions are not what they once were, but it's not a deal breaker.

"Drove past the plant in Penrose, CO yesterday, looks like it's closed. Was just wondering where it is now?" 
Estes hasn't given plant tours for years.

"Why your company won't own up for your costly mistakes? I flighted major companies before and they owned up their mistakes. Other words you digging very deep hole for youself with major problem by doing sweaping this under a rug and forgoting about it. At least city of pueblo, county of pueblo, and state of colorado is behind me 100 percent. You need owned up with your mistake by giving the perks and that extra two week after my 90th day. I not will stop flighting over this costy and cruel mistakes."
Where is this guy coming from?

"I have a hard time of 90% failure. Enough said"
This guy needs to change hobbies - model trains maybe?

"Great little project to do with the kids but this would be a much better experience if the plastic cement was in the package. Having to make another trip to get what you need to put it together sucks."
Rocketry sucks sometimes, then again so does bowling.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Estes Little Joe II (Small) Build, Part 9, Capsule and Tower Prep

Some of the same prep and assembly shown here can be used if you are assembling the Estes Saturn V kit.
On the Saturn V, don't cut off the umbilical, smooth the capsule or remove the escape rocket tunnels. The Little Joe II test vehicle had smooth capsule surfaces.

Here's all the capsule and tower parts. Two tower sides were already broken off the plastic "tree".
Luckily the four small escape tower nozzles were all there. On the last Saturn V I built, one of the nozzles was free of the tree and loose in the bag. They are tiny and very easy to lose.

The umbilical connector and capsule details are removed. The original small Centuri Little Joe II had capsule surfaces that were smooth. This kit uses the Estes capsule version.

Use very small chip cuts, go slow.

After sanding the conical surface flat, a small bit of plastic still holds the umbilical overhang. This was cut off with a knife.

All the other surface details are sanded off. Don't go near the raised tower support holes.
Finish and polish with very fine sandpaper.

The small, long tunnel lines are also removed from the escape rocket. Carve almost to surface then sand smooth and polish.

There was some molding flash on the tower sides and the nozzle housing. Remove the flash before gluing the assembly together.