Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Semroc (Estes) CONSTELLATION Ebay Auction

A finished Semroc
CONSTELLATION 
is up for bids on Ebay

To go to the auction, CLICK HERE

This is a Semroc clone of the Classic Estes K-35 kit.
It's a very clean build.

The fin tip teardrop pods were shaped from a dowel,   smoother and stronger than making them from balsa.
Clean masks and correct period decals.
The "1" decal has a hand cut white border outline added. This border was in the original Estes kit, not included in the Semroc kit.
Stop by, make a bid and support the blog!

Semroc (Estes) Starship Excalibur Build, Background

I wanted to build this one since seeing the Estes plan in the early 1970s.


The Starship Excalibur was a very elaborate design for the late 1960s. The only other sci-fi spaceship model to compare it to would have been the Mars Snooper.
The Starship Excalibur has just about as many nose cones are the Mars Snooper. The wing pods are about the same as on the Snooper.
This may have been the first design to use split body tubes and nose cones. There are some built up parts including the crew module and shuttle bay.

For the original Starship Excalibur plans: CLICK HERE

From the Semroc instructions:
"The original Starship Excalibur was released by Estes Industries in 1968 as free plan #55. Unlike many of the other free plans at the time, it was not published in the Model Rocket News. It became a popular model as many rocketeers ordered parts to build their own version. Estes released a kit by the same name and similar lines in 1984, but it was a simplified version of the original and only had a two-year run in production."

Here's the simpler Estes kit design from the 1984 catalog:


And the Estes kit instructions: CLICK HERE                  The build starts tomorrow!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Estes Gemini Titan #1978 Build, Part 11, Decal Wrap & Finished





A spray paint decal was made to wrap around the capsule base.
This was sealed with a coat of Future.

This was an interesting build.
Anybody that built the original big Estes Gemini Titan (OOP two engine cluster model) might be disappointed by this smaller, BT-60 based model.

The kit decals would be very hard to lay down over the tunnels on the body tube. There is no allowance or cutouts to form around the tunnel ends.

The nozzles are meant for display and like the clear fin unit, lock into the end with a twist.
Could Estes bring this one back? Maybe - If they fix the decal problems.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Estes Gemini Titan #1978 Build, Part 10, Wrap Around Roll Pattern Decals Part B



The bulk of the black fill was done with a larger permanent marker. I blackened the area wider than the tunnel so even if the cut open decal was too large I would still have black coverage.








Here's how the decal band was cut to fit over the tunnel.
First it was marked and triple checked before a hole made with a rotary punch. The sides were cut with a knife straight down from the circle.




The UNITED STATES and 12558 decals were home printed.
The kit supplied vertical UNITED STATES decals were too tall to fit the paint masked areas as shown in the instructions. My home print decals fit the area and better matched the decal placement shown in Alway's Rockets Of The World.

I see now why this kit did not last long in the Estes lineup. The mistakes in the masking  instructions and (even when new) unusable decals probably made some unhappy customers.

Estes Saturn V Fins Update


From the Estes website, added to the Saturn V kit description:

"One new feature worth mentioning are the fins. This version now has two-piece injection molded plastic fins for added durability during flight!"

I think they might mean - "Added durability upon landing!"
That's when the old style vacu-form fins would crack open.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Estes Gemini Titan #1978 Build, Part 9, Wrap Around Roll Pattern Decals, Part A

I had real trouble with the decals, they were over 30 years old! Even after a coat of Micro-Sol, the decals would not release from the backing paper no matter how long they soaked.
I had to make up my own roll patterns by spraying black paint onto blank, clear decal paper and cutting the bands to size.


The kit decals and placement instructions are vague. The decals supplied in the kit made no allowance for the tunnels running down the body tube.

I started with my vertical cut sprayed decal. The piece that went over the tunnel was cut a little wider to allow for the extra width going over the tunnel.
A wet paint brush pressed the decal into the inside corners of the tunnel.


The only decal that cooperated and released from the backing paper was the cut outs roll. Thank goodness for that, this would be a hard one to draw up to the right diameter. it was placed next.

Mentioned earlier, the kit decals are meant to go over the tunnels. No kit decal could fit over something like this without cutting.
I decided to "paint" the black at the top of the upper tunnel.

First the tunnel was outlined with a fine point Sharpie. Continued next post . . .

Past Apogee Peak Of Flight Articles


Sometime I don't go into a lot of detail when I repeat a building technique on the blog. That information has been printed before, sometimes in the Apogee Peak Of Flight newsletter.
The recent "TIPS 1 & 2" were my eleventh and twelfth articles published in the P.O.F.

Here's some links to past articles.
They are listed in what I think would be the order of importance.


REPLACEABLE KEVLAR LINES IN LARGER DIAMETER MODELS
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter338.pdf

REPLACEABLE KEVLAR LINES IN MINIMUM DIAMETER MODELS
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter343.pdf

SHAPING NIKE STYLE FIN TAPERS
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter357.pdf

MAKING A SUPER SHROUD
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter349.pdf

ACHIEVING A EVEN, GLOSSY PAINT FINISH WITH SPRAY PAINT
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter421.pdf

MAKE AN 18mm ENGINE RETAINER FROM A WATER BOTTLE
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter317.pdf

MASKING AND PAINTING A NOSE CONE TIP
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter306.pdf

ADVANCED FINISHING TIPS - Lexx Jet
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter281.pdf

BUILDING A ROCKET WITH JUST A TEXTBOOK
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter391.pdf

BUILDING THE SKY CONDOR BOOST GLIDER
https://www.apogeerockets.com/education/downloads/Newsletter269.pdf