Sunday, September 30, 2012

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 13 Decal

The single checkerboard square got the clear edges trimmed off.

I saved the most difficult fin pieces for last.

Set one in place so you can mark the horizontal (here seen vertically) for measure and marking the other fins.

All the fin root edges were pencil marked at 9/16" from the trailing edge of the fins.

When setting down a large piece like this, try to burnish from the center to the edges. This will keep out any bubbles.

TIP:  All the decal pieces were set in place stuck to the tip of a clean X-Acto blade.
Try to place all the decals using the knife blade and not your fingers.

Don't let your finger prints get on the sticky side of the decals. Any oil on your fingers will show up under the clear surface.

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 12 Decal Centering

Even the Mk - 109 decals had some of the clear edges trimmed off.

Here I'm finding the center point of the decal to center it between the bands already in place.

You do want to plan ahead. The words NAVY and the MK-109 decals should be centered between the bands. Apply the bands first and then center the word decals.

From the rear you can see a faint pencil mark right above the rear band.

I'll center the dash after the lower case "k" on this line.
The decal isn't burnished down until it is centered and straight.

It's hard to see but there is another faint pencil line above and to the right of the dash, below the root edge of the upper fin.
This is the center mark between the two outside band decals.

The right side of the dash (the decal center) is below this line.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Next Two Days - Upcoming Blog Posts?

The cruise ship Amsterdam is getting closer to our first port in Japan.
I was told the satellite Internet connection will be cut off soon.

I may not have any build posts over the next few days, I'll find out when we dock tomorrow.
If there isn't any connection, build posts will resume when I get back to Orlando on October 3.

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 11 Decal Bands

When using stick on "decals" always apply the easiest ones first to get a feel for the thickness of the plastic and how sticky they are.

Some use water to allow repositioning, I prefer just to stick them down off the sheet.

The rear most band is too wide with the clear edges!
I was right, it is wide enough to cover the rough seam.

Note all the band decals will start and finish in line with one fin.

I returned it to the backing sheet to trim off the clear sides.

Use a sharp knife and straightedge and trim to the black borders.

There is one band above the fins without a black border.

A wrap of masking tape was placed above the red band location to give a straight edge for alignment.
If you can help it, you don't want to lift and re-apply self adhesive decals!

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 10 Paint Prep

The fin roots had quite a few gaps left from the plastic glue.

After going over the joint with 400 grit, some Titebond Molding and Trim Glue filled the open areas.

The back end had more gaps where the engine mount butted up against the body tube.

Looking ahead, the rear stick on decal wrap should cover this up.

After a light coat of white the entire model was lightly sanded with 400 grit.
A second light coat followed with more sanding.

Here's how the model looked after the heavy applied third coat.
To get a heavy final gloss coat, simply slow down the passes with the spray can.

You want to apply the final coat heavy enough to look wet but not so heavy as to get paint runs.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Onboard the Amsterdam with Ronn Lucas

Most of you know I entertain on the cruise ships.
One of the great job perks is working with and getting to know the other variety acts.

On board this week is Ventriloquist Ronn Lucas.
That's Ronn on the right, Buffalo Billy is between us.
Ronn is looked on a one of the best, if you've ever seen his television work you know why he is held in such high regard. He has done Command Performances for the Royal Family, live shows for three Presidents and had his own headline show in Las Vegas.

I wouldn't normally post about work but Ronn flew rockets in his teens and was interested in where the hobby is today.
We've had a few conversations about the old Estes and Centuri product line.

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 9 Paint Prep

There isn't much to say about gluing on the fins.
They are TTW and pretty much align by themselves.

Go light with the plastic glue. Any excess will be squeezed out along the root edge line.

The model design looks good, except for the lugs and external shock cord mount. The pictures on the box don't show them.

Before spraying with gloss white, I like to brush down the body  with a soft brush to remove any dust and crud.

Some people like to use tack cloths, but be careful. The sticky coating in the tack cloth can be transferred onto the body surface (especially with a new tack cloth) and may not be compatible with your spray paint.

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 8 Nose Cone Prep

As with most nose cones, you have to clear the eye of the nose cone.

Notice the direction of the X-Acto blade. The sharp side is facing away from the post.
Using just the tip, punch a small hole and cut away from the "L" shaped post.
Cut halfway along the thin plastic flash.

Reverse the blade and cut toward the cut you just made, finishing the cut line in two halves.

This protects the "leg" of the plastic eyelet.
If you tried to cut it all the way across you could cut into the leg post.
The hole in the shoulder base will have to be larger to get the clay "snake" in the hollow nose cone.

This clay snake weighed .25 oz. That seems typical for a "pat" of clay supplied with the Estes kits.

The instructions say to use a small phillips screwdriver to pack to clay in the nose cone tip. I used a squared off dowel end.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Estes Launcher Design in Starter Set - Coming Soon!

Estes has a new launcher shown in the "Coming Soon" tab on their website.

Check out the "Hunter’s Choice" Starter kit to see the new plastic launcher and controller.
It’s molded in the old Estes orange plastic. I had orange and yellow Porta Pads years ago.

The launcher looks to be a low center of gravity design with three interlocking legs. Missing are the "lightning bolts". The girder design is more reminiscent of the original Porta Pad.
Instead of a rectangular controller "box", the new controller is more like the Centuri designs from the 1970s.

The two rockets in the Starter Set are the "Magnum Load" and "Short Round" Both have clear fins units. The rockets resemble upscaled bullet casings.

Personally, I don’t know if this is a good image for the hobby. I grew up around model rockets and guns. (I am not anti NRA)
Someone who doesn’t know model rocketry may not view launching a large "bullet" as being safe. Estes recently produced a RTF model called the "Fuse" I question that name as well. As far back as I can remember, model rockery has tried to distance itself from fireworks. In my mind, the word "fuse" suggests lighting a firework with a match.
Just my opinion -

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 7 Shock Cord

This model uses an external shock cord cowling to hold the tied cord in place. Even though the cowling looks "aerodynamic" it still sticks out like a sore thumb.

This cowling fits into the upper, larger cut out square.

Notice the tab is deep, much thicker than the tube wall.

 In the Parts Layout drawing, it says the "U" shaped lock piece is not used.

I don't know why it isn't used, the thick tab might hang up a parachute shroud line or shock cord.

The lock piece is tapered so it wedge fits and holds the cowling on tight.
I decided to use it for a stronger hold.

This is a dry fit of the U lock over the inside of the cowling tab.

Even a dry fit (no glue) was very tight and difficult to remove!

I did finally get the two pieces free and both were glued and wedge fit together.

The supplied shock cord was too short so I substituted a much longer piece of elastic.

The elastic shock cord is double knotted and slipped through the cowling slot.

Don't leave much of a "tail" on the shock cord, it could overhang the cowling edge.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 6 Fin Prep

There is a mold line running around the outside of the fins.
This will show up when paint is applied so you should sand it down and re-round the edges.

Some of the TTW fin tab have rough edges from when the fins were broken off the molding trees.

These should also be sanded off. With that plastic nub on the root edge the fin won't seat all the way into the notch.

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 5 Mount and Lug Gluing

The body tube seams were filled with CWF and sprayed with grey primer.
This is the tube and nose cone after the grey primer was sanded down.

I tend to spray on the primer a little thick.
The bulk is removed with 220 grit followed by smoothing with 400 grit sandpaper.

 The engine mount was dry fitted to show the TTW launch lug mount locations.

The instructions show the engine mount simply slid in place with no glue. It is held in place by the glued in lugs and fins.

I slid the mount 3/4 the way in and added glue to the inside of the tube edge.
The mount was slid into the glue while the mount was rotated so the lug squares were lined up. (The picture shows the mount dry fitted, not quite all the way in.)

With the mount all the way in, the lugs are glued into the cut squares and into the plastic in the engine mount.

I made a small pool of plastic cement and used a toothpick to apply and spread out the glue in the hole.

The small molded "divot" will face the rear of the model and not be noticed.

The body tube holes were a little larger than the lug tabs.

The lugs were pressed forward so the small open slot would be to the rear and less noticeable.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Firefly Kit - Fin Alignment

Here's a "School Rocket" from a company I'd never heard of before:
You can check out the Aeroracers Firefly Rocket -  HERE
This listing was seen on EBAY.

From the Manufacturer's product description:
The FireFly comes with the patent-pending, laser-cut FinLoc that allows the students to glue the fins and launch lug to the rocket body straight every time.

You can see the "FinLoc" on the base of the completed rocket. I don't know if it stays on the rocket for flight or not.

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 4 Fin Prep

The engine mount is shown dry fitted into place.
The TTW fin slot is lined up with the engine mount slots.

You can clearly see the wide seam running around the body tube.
The package advertises "No Painting Required!" Yeah right -
A flat finish body tube with glossy self adhesive decal stickers.
How bad is that going to look?

I'll fill the seams and paint the model gloss white before adding the sticker decals.

That's a BT-50 scrap set into the front of the main body tube.
You can see how much smaller it is.

This tube would have to be called a BT-53, it is slightly larger than an Estes BT-52. I had some scrap BT-52 left from the Thor Agena B build.

This is the front end of a fin near the TTW forward slot.

There is a molding "circle" to the right of the tab on the flat surface of the fin.
These circles are easily sanded off with a sanding block with 400 grit.

Two of the three fins had raised circles.

One fin had a recessed molding circle.
This wil be filled with a "pool" of medium CA glue and sanded to surface.

That little pool of glue took 20 minutes to dry before I could sand it down.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 3 Engine Mount

With the centering rings glued and dried, the engine hook is set into the forward notch.
There is just enough room behind the forward tab for the hook front bend to slide in.

 This is the notched engine mount section wet over the engine hook.
It almost snaps down in place over the blue tube.

Down the middle you can see the square recesses for the TTW launch lugs.

Here's piece two of the engine mount section being dry fitted.
I'd recommend dry fitting so you can see where the plastic glue will go.

There is three small notches in the lower ring that fit inside ridges on the engine mount sections.

Rubber bands were wrapped to apply a little pressure while the plastic glue dried.
The long TTW fins slots would dry raised away from the tube without the rubber bands holding them down.

The finished mount reminds me of the complex "wood girder" style mount used in the Q Modeling kits.

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 2 Engine Mount

Check for any molding tabs or burrs.
I'd never get this ring against the tube if this tab were left on.

Notice how the raised tab fits into the upper notch in the blue tube.
 The instructions are a little vague about where to apply the plastic glue.
Plastic glue is typically messy and will leave long "strings" when you pull the tube away from the applied glue.

The instructions show the glue applied to the ring. If the ring were pressed into the tube, the glue would ooze out around the outside of the ring.
I decided to apply the glue inside the tube edge. With the ring pressed into the tube, the glue stays inside the tube.

Have some Q-tips handy to pick up any excess plastic glue. It'll get everywhere!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Estes Mk-109 Stingray Build Part 1 Parts

I bought this one from a sale on TRF.
It was a boxed E2X kit available from 1997 - 2003. Catalog number is EST 2131.

I like the looks of it and not knowing how many plastic parts were included, I bought the kit.

The box advertises:
"Unique Ship to Air Missile Styling!"
"Easy to Build, Fun to Fly Over and Over!"
"No Painting Required!" Made in the USA

I usually question a package with too many exclamation marks used in the descriptions.
No painting required? Wait 'till you see the body tube seams!

Parts looked clean, the plastic parts were very well molded.
The fins look very thin, under 1/16" thick.

The body tube isn't a BT-50 but slightly larger diameter. I checked it against some BT-52 I had, it's still larger, maybe a BT-53?
The tube walls are thick.
The blue engine mount tube is thicker than other blue tubes I've seen. I usually would swap out a thicker tube, but this one looks stronger than normal.

Fin slots look to be laser cut, (or maybe punch cut) all clean edges.

Some parts of interest:
The self adhesive decals - yuck!
That coupler was molded into the base of the nose cone but isn't used in the kit.
(I'd save it for a future build, but it won't fit any tubes I have.)

The white plastic centering rings (already on the blue engine tube) dry fit very well. The rings lock around notches cut into the blue tube.

The three pieces to the right glue around the centering rings, over the motor tube. They have through the wall fin slots that fit the root edge tabs. One of the pieces has recess squares for the small launch lug pieces.

At the bottom is the plastic tree.
Three small lugs are included, only two are used.
Above the lugs are the external shock cord cowling. The piece to the right of that is meant to be discarded but it locks the shock cord cowl tabs on the inside of the tube.

AVI Nike Tomahawk Build Part 15 Nose Cone and Fin Units

After getting the adapter close, time to prepare the plastic parts.

The top 20mm plastic nose cone is how it comes direct from Quest.

The bottom nose cone has had the seams sanded down and the tip tapered to a more scale profile.

The Tomahawk fin units are very clean, except for the outside edges.

The top unit shows a little molding flash on the right fin.

The bottom unit has been cleaned up with 220 then 400 grit on sanding blocks.
The yellow coupler joins the fin unit to the upper 20mm tube.

Finishing of the Nike Tomahawk will be continued when I return home.
I'm on a cruise until October 3!

The next build turned out to be more interesting than I had thought -
the Estes Mk109 Stingray.

Friday, September 21, 2012

AVI Nike Tomahawk Build Part 14 Internal Adapter Tubes

Two wraps of 110 lb. cardstock gave a good fit of the BT-19 into the 20 mm tube.

Here I'm spreading out the white glue with the back side of a razor blade. Any flat card could be used.
Over the years I've learned it takes very little glue to adhere cardstock whether it's a should or a build up wrap.

The two complete wraps are on and the ends almost meet.

A peeled engine casing was slid in the BT-19 tube for support when I rolled a clean dowel over the wraps.
This is all the parts dry fit before sliding and butting together the joints.

From the bottom up -
20mm tube slid into the Adapter centering rings.
The BT-19 tube with two wraps of cardstock slid into the Tomahawk plastic fin can.
Out the top is the yellow coupler to join up the long 20mm Tomahawk tube.