Monday, April 21, 2014

MPC USS Enterprise Build, Part 2, Interesting Parts

Here's the fin can with the engine cap lock ring in place.
Look at the inset picture. There is no internal engine mount tube.
The engine sits centered between four plastic ribs. No engine block, the top of the ribs wrap over the top of the engine.

The locking engine cap is much like the Quest and Estes style.
Two tabs fit in notches. The cap is turned to lock it.
Look inside the fin can on the left. For a more secure fit, you'll want to turn the cap to the left so there is more locking area to the next rib. Turning to the right might lead to an ejected engine.

The model is designed with an upper and lower body tube joined by the light blue connector. It's a LONG model with a lot of area to pressurize at ejection. A Quest engine (Chinese Sky engine) might not eject the parachute.
I'll make it a mid break using a split BT-60 coupler.

The inside of the tube shows the rolled thin wall plastic.

The print seam on the lower section overlaps the illustration.

Ebay Hits and Misses

I buy and sell stuff on Ebay. I only bid if the price is low and reasonable.
We've all been there - a seller sends body tubes in a padded envelope. The tubes arrive bent. Their response: "Gee, it's never been a problem before!"
A few days back I received a Estes Mega Mosquito and Space Eagle. It was so well packaged it was hard  to get the box open!

Here's one that was the other extreme.
I put a $1.00 bid in a a Quest Pip Squeak.
I upped my maximum automatic bid to $3.50. I wouldn't pay more for one of these.
Shipping was free.

Over the next few days the seller added a note: "The nose cone is missing."
Then a day later: "The shock cord is missing."
I forgot about the item. Somebody else made a bid and my auto bid went to $3.50! I won the Pip Squeak!
The seller apologized and refunded $2.00 to my PayPal account. So in essence, I got a small opened bag of parts for a dollar-fifty.

Here's what arrived . . .
Three fins broken off the die-cut sheet,
a streamer, engine hook and engine block,
the yellow engine mount tube, stickers and instructions.
The 20mm main air frame tube is also missing!

He sold it to me for $1.50 but it cost $2.86 to mail it!

Then on the other hand, some Ebay purchases work out.
(This has nothing to do with rocketry, but it's my blog.
The Pip Squeak is purple, the boots and vest are too. )

I wear tacky exotic boots in my stage act.
Trying to find size 13 boots and matching vests is a challenge.
These boots and vest are a very close match and should raise some eyebrows when I walk on stage. Yep, purple lizard skin boots.
Years ago, Comedian David Brenner gave me some great advice at a comedy workshop.
He said: "You don't look funny, so you'd better do something funny."
This is my attempt at looking funny.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

MPC USS Enterprise Build, Part 1, Parts

I'd been curious about the Chinese made MPC licensed kits.
This one looks nothing like the Star Trek enterprise except for the parachute and logo.
I made a Ebay bid of $.99 and won it!
I feel like I only paid for shipping.

Opening the box I was surprised by the BT-60 size diameter of the body tubes.
The 18" parachute looks like the round body of the T.V Enterprise. The plastic is thick, maybe 2mm.
Stick on fin decor and a nose cone wrap that goes on right above the shoulder.
The plastic fins are very flexible and shouldn't crack.
Below the fins is the fin can and engine cap locking ring.
The tubes are convolutely wound. They look and feel like rolled thin sheet plastic! Not spiral wound but wrapped like you would roll a body tube on a card stock model. 
The nose cone is blow-molded, 7 7/8" long! Directly below the nose cone is the tube connector. 

The box copy describes it a a "two-tiered design". I think of two-tiered as a larger lower section and smaller upper section. Upper and lower section diameters are the same.
The parts illustration on the back of the box looks like the old MPC line drawings.

The diameter is 1.58 or 40mm. When the fins are slid on and the tubes joined with the plastic connector, the model is almost 28.75" tall!

The recommended engine is a C6-5 - the package says the model weighs 3.67 oz. Maybe it'll only get 260 feet as advertised!
Estes or Quest C6-5? I wouldn't use a Quest engine in this heavy model.
It'll be interesting and require a lot of plastic cutting - it'll be converted for D12 engines.

EDIT: I should have added - 
These models are not the old MPC designs from the 1970s.
These models are based on the Chinese made SKY brand model rockets but in a trademarked wrapper.
The MPC / Round 2 models use licensed images of the Warner Brothers cartoon characters, the rock band KISS and Star Trek.
They also have some "generic" designs: Red Giant, Lunar Shuttle and G.T.S. 1.
MPC / Round 2 have also brought back the old plastic MPC Vostok and Titan IIIC.
Go HERE to see some of them.

Mega Mosquito and Mini-Brute Mosquito Questions

On TRF, Kirk G had a question about the recovery of the small Mosquito model (bonus kit) included with the large Mega Mosquito: 

Quote Originally Posted by Kirk G View Post
So, I picked up a Mega Mosquito combo package from Estes during their December sale, and now that Easter is here, I'm breaking it out to do some family crafting....

As I look at the contents, it becomes clear that there is a smaller mini-mosquito in the package.
It appears that there are five parts... three mini balsa fins, a short two inch body tube, a mini nose cone, and a launch lug (soda straw).

As I sand the balsa fins, and treat them with a little sealant, I am also gluing the launch lug onto the side of the body. Then it hits me.... THERE IS NO PARACHUTE.

I read the "instructions" and find there is no mention of a chute, streamer, nor breaking system of any kind! Now I'm getting worried.

But if these small motors have a time delay, they'll have an ejection charge, and that is going to blow the capsule/nose cone off. There's no room for a parachute in the tube once the motor is inserted....(and there's no motor mount nor retension bar or clip either!)
So, how do you keep the nose cone from coming off and being lost???? And why shouldn't I roll-up a n orange streamer to try to pack into the nose cone and upper body tube, separated by some dog barf?
Anyone with experience on this mini-mite, please advise!
Click image for larger version. 

Name: Mos Instruct.jpg 
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ID: 169443My response:
I just looked at the instructions for the small Mosquito included in the Mega Mosquito kit.

They are vague, you get just an exploded drawing with the line "Glue all the parts together"
Under "Prepare Engine" it basically says wrap with masking tape for a "Snug Fit". (I don't know if I'd want a snug fit on this one) 
On the other side in the flight instructions no mention is made of featherweight or tumble recovery.
On the right side of the wrap around face card it does say "Tumble Recovery".

I would guess that Estes assumes you have built simple models before tackling the Mega Mosquito.
Take a look at the older, more descriptive Estes instructions on the JimZ website:

With more kits instructions prepared in three languages there is less room for descriptive copy.
This complaint has come up before. Pictures and arrows don't always answer every question.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quest X-15 Finished

Quest did a good job capturing the feel of the X-15.
Even with the longer body tube its a good looking sport scale model.
Adding .25 oz. of nose weight it should be stable even with a C6-5 engine.
I've had this one on my build list for a while.
For now Quest has X-15 parts packs available, the decals were the hardest to find.
The gloss black paint sure shows fingerprints!

The Quest face card states the finished model weighs 1.69 oz.
My finished model weighs 2.45 oz. I did add .25 oz. of clay to the nose, the body tube is 2" longer and there is a card stock wrap inside the end of the body tube for a better fit of the nose cone. I tend to lay on the filler and paint heavier than most.
Unless it's a RTF, most finished models always seem to weigh more than the face card or catalog pages say.

EDIT: The Quest X-15 (stretched and with clay weight as shown) has flown twice now with a Estes B6-4 and C6-5. Both great, stable flights.

Quest X-15 Build, Before Part 8, Fin Gluing - Warning!

From a question on TRF:
Originally Posted by Bill
I bought this kit soon after it came out. There was discussion about a problem with the fin marking template or something. Anybody remember any details?
My response:
I remember reading something about this.
When I did the blog build, I didn't use the kit marking guide.
I just made one out of folded paper.
I just tried the kit marking guide to see what was in question.

It fits the tube circumference very well, but -
If you look at the picture, the fin guide is actually split into five fin positions.
Four are marked with arrows, the fifth position would be where the edges of the marking guide meet.

The two rudder fins and two strakes should be glued at a standard 90 degree cruciform.
If you marked the tube with the kit guide the fins would be off.

So - 
Don't use the fin marking guide supplied with the X-15 kit or the X-15 parts pack!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Quest X-15 Build, Part 13, Decals

The NASA decal wouldn't reach all the way across the top of the rudder. All the online pictures show the NASA decal set down from the top edge.
Instead of centering the decal I pushed it towards the leading edge.

There are many small decals to place on the model.
Hold onto them with tweezers while soaking, then set on a paper towel until needed. You can soak two decals at the same time.

Even after looking at dozens of online pictures I still couldn't figure out where some of the smallest decals went.
Two of the six "Beware of Blast" decals go at the rear of the tube. Two others go in front of the "X-15" at the nose cone tip.
Two "Beware of Blast" decals were left over.

EDIT: I've seen now where the two remaining "Beware of Blast" decals go on the outside leading edge of the wings. Why a Beware of Blast warning is on the wings or nose cone tip is beyond me. At the rear nozzle end yes. But a blast warning on the nose cone?

Compared to the rest of the model, the nose cone is very busy.
These two views should help with placement.

The #66671 X-15 didn't have the "X-15" on the nose.
I put it on anyway.