Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quest Aerospace One Part 13 Step 22 Wing Mask

This is the top of the wing mask ready for the blue paint.

I wanted the blue paint to wrap over the leading edge of the wing.
The bottom surface of the wing is white overall.

Look close and you can see the Scotch tape lip going across the bottom of the leading edge.
A small amount of the tape overhangs the length of the leading edge.

With the tape removed here's the final result.
A little touch up is needed around the dowels.

The paper was left on the back for handling until the blue thoroughly dried.

Kopter Rotor Recovery Rockets

According to a post on YORF,
Walt Senoski of Kopter Rockets is coming back with some classic kits.

Check out the older catalog HERE
and the Kopter history HERE
From the Newsletter of the Pittsburgh Space Command NAR Section #473 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Quest Aerospace One Part 12 Step 22 Rudder Masking

As mentioned before, I decided to paint the blue on rather than use the stick on pieces.
I used my standard Scotch tape masks hit with a black marker.
The tape was set on glass and a wide marker line is drawn down the middle. The tape is cut down the middle of the line with a strait edge.
This gives me a sharp clean line. The marked edge lets me see where the tape is set down.

The intersection of the two lines comes to a sharp point. It was marked with a pencil and the tape cut.
This is the completed mask ready for the blue paint.

The Scotch tape goes down first followed by regular copy paper held down on the Scotch tape with cheap masking tape.

After spraying here's the finished mask.

The upper rudder shows the outside.
The lower rudder goes on the opposite side of the body tube. This is the inside mask. I should have masked the blue near the glue area!

NAR $5.00 Referral!

After being gone for a week long cruise, I picked up my mail. There was a letter from the N.A.R. (National Association of Rocketry). I thought it was a newsletter or announcement.

I was surprised to find a $5.00 bill!
If asked about membership, I'll recommend the N.A.R. at launches.
Someone used my name and the N.A.R. sent me a $5.00 referral!

Finally, something other than a bill or junk mail!
I've been a member of the N.A.R. (off and on) since 1970.
My N.A.R. number is considered a low one - 19086 SR.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quest Aerospace One Part 11 Masking for Glue Joints

The wing was dry fitted down the pencil line to mark for masking tape to go on the body tube. In the picture the wing was slid down from the end tic mark to show the tape pencil marks.
The body tube tape will be a little inside the areas that will be seen when the model is painted and glued together.
The inset shows the tape end forward of the wing and end of the spine.

This is the body tube mask for the rudders.
The rudders don't glue on their root edges. Instead the are glued to the body tube on their inside flat surfaces near the normal root edge.
More on this later.
The center of the wing was masked so no paint would get into the wood surface. The tape is down and to the sides of the spine.

The inset picture shows the side mask at the base of the rudder.
(On the tape is some CWF. Out of habit, I left the root edge without filler. I had to go back and add some CWF to fill the end grain. On this rocket, the root edge is exposed on the underside of the model.)

Frog Tape?

There was a recent post on TRF asking about Frog Tape for masking model rockets.
Consumer Reports just gave it high marks in it's March 2013 issue.
It scored better than the 3M blue tapes.

Some have had good success with the green Frog tape.
Remember, this yellow Frog Tape is made for use with latex house paints but might work on rockets.
Enlarge the picture at the right to read the entire article.
Consumer Reports tests everything from phones to tires. This article is from the Consumer Reports magazine. There is no advertising so testing shows no favoritism.

Don't confuse Consumer Reports with the smaller Consumers Digest monthly. It seems everything in Consumers Digest gets a great review.
Consumers Digest contains many ads that often show up the same month that product is reviewed!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quest Aerospace One Part 10 Step 20 Lug Position

Before gluing the lug on, I wanted to test fit the pieces to make sure the location would work.
First, the intake tube is split down it's length. I used my aluminum angle to help guide the knife.

On models near to or larger than 24" tall, I'll usually switch out a provided 1/8" diameter lug for a 3/16" lug.
I wanted to hide the lug under the large intake tube but was concerned that it should be closer to the center of gravity position.
I ended up gluing the lug so the top front was even with the leading edge of the intake fin.

Here's how it all dry fits together.
Right now, the only parts glued to the body tube are the intake fin, launch lug and forward canards.
Those parts and the main body tube will be painted white.

New? MPC Rockets

Bob Sanford (Initiator001 on TRF) is the first to post about the new MPC rockets.
Here's his TRF post after assembling the Star Trek USS Reliant (shown here) - 

"The models are packaged in full color boxes with hang tabs which can be pulled out if the model is to be displayed on peg hooks. The 'traditional' MPC logo is found on the front of the box at the top.
These models are not RTF but rather like and Estes E2X or Quest Quick-Kit. Assembly time is listed as "Less Than One Hour".
The kits are pretty much all plastic. The body tubes are rolled sheets of plastic much like the 'Sky' models sold by Apogee. Body tube diameters are listed as 22mm, 35mm and 40mm.
I opened the 'Enterprise' model to look at the parts. The kit uses a twist ring like the Quest Quick-Kits to hold the motor in place. I was unable to get the ring to 'twist' after I inserted it into the fin can. I guess a little modification will be in order.
I will post more about these kits as I have time to build and fly them."

I checked the Apogee website and the MPC USS Reliant does look like the (Chinese imported) Sky East Wind kit. The plastic nose cone and fins are identical except for the colors.
The MPC Klingon is made from parts from the Sky Eagle kit.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Quest Aerospace One Part 9 Stick On Trim Check

This model will be painted in sub assemblies then glued together.
Meaning, the wings and rudders will be painted white, masked then the blue trim is sprayed. After that, all will be glued together.
I'll have to mask off the areas that will be glued together for a better bond.

You could certainly build the model by the directions and use the stick on trim.
I preferred to spray paint all the blue trim instead of trying to match the painted nose cone to the blue color of the stickers.

The front wrap around decal was left on it's backing for test fitting.
With the sticker edge flush with the front end of the body tube, this is how it fit against the leading edges of the wing.
Not a good match and tough to touch up.

With the same stick on wrap in place, the black line shows the locations of the canards.
I wanted to double check the canard position to be sure I had room to mask around them. The face card illustration shows the canard right up against the blue.

Model Profile - MX-774 Kitbash


Semroc has just released a new MX-774 kit.
If you have a Estes Bullpup kit sitting around -

The plans for a sport scale MX-774 by A. Roger Wilfong are at:

It's a kit-bash of the Estes Bull Pup 12D kit using the engine mount, nose cone and tail cone. You supply a longer BT-55 and some additional balsa.

TIP: The picture on the left shows how the electrical tape trim has shrunk up over time.
Always overlap vinyl trim tape wraps!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Quest Aerospace One Part 8 Step 18 - 19 Dowels

Jumping ahead:
I glued the dowels onto the wing and rudder pieces.

The instructions simply say to glued the dowel to the top edge.
I glued it on so the back end overhangs a slight amount. (Top rudder)
This way I could sand the dowel end to fit the trailing edge of the rudder.
(Lower rudder)

The joint was filled with thinned CWF. (Top rudder)
The CWF was sanded with sandpaper wrapped around a dowel. (Lower rudder)

Note: The dowels on the rudders sit forward on the outside edge.
The dowels on the wing are reversed, the ends hang over the trailing edge. 

Decal Fix on the Cobalt Orange Part 3

The nose cone decal is harder, you don't have the black lined border to hide the white decal edge under.
Cut an extra decal to size right on the edge of the yellow color.
(This decal is one that got wet and is wrinkled. I was going to toss it, but kept it for a template.)
Trace this onto the white (paint) decal sheet.

Take the width of the pencil line into consideration and cut out the white piece just inside the pencil line.

The two layer decal layed down well on the curved surface. Three raised folds were lightly sliced with a razor blade. The folds were rolled over with a pointed dowel until they held to the surface.

The white underlay cut was close, there is a sliver of white showing on one side, not enough to worry about.

The inset picture shows the model before the white underlay was added.
It's a big improvement.

This white decal technique won't work in every situation. Simple shapes you can cut to size work well. I wouldn't even try to cut out lettering from a painted white decal sheet.

Enlarge the picture to see the wrinkles on the blue Cobalt nose cone sticker. I hate the stickons especially when used on a nose cone. When you think you've got them smooth, come back in an hour and check the raised edges.
The home printed water slide decal on the Orange nose cone has adhered well on all sides of the nose cone. It took some coaxing to get it to lay flat but the end result is much better.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Quest Aerospace One Part 7 Step 14 Wing and Spine Fit

It looks like this model will be masked and painted in sub assemblies and glued to the main body tube afterwards. In the instructions, the intake tube is already painted before gluing on. This is the only way I can see to do the blue masks.
The areas to be glued will be masked with thin strips of masking tape for better adhesion. Strong joints shouldn't be a problem. The underside of the wing makes a wide contact with the top of the body tube. The rudders are glued on their side surfaces, not just the root edge.

The spine was carefully cut off with a sharp knife.
The extended ends were taped to the pencil line running down the body tube.

The wings were glued onto the sides of the spine without gluing any parts to the body tube.

The wing sides and spine were lifted from the tube.
This is the underside of the wing assembly. That spine joint won't be seen, it faces down on the body tube.
The area all the way down the spine will be masked so the wood surface will be exposed for gluing.
This is the back of the wing and the side that will be seen.
The root edge joints were filled with CWF and sanded.

It would have been easier to glue the antenna pieces on after the the wings were fitted and glued to the spine.

Decal Fix on the Cobalt Orange Part 2

Start with the easiest decals to back up with the white - the black outlined triangles that go on the fins.
That black edge will cover up the edges of the white triangle set down underneath.
I'm cutting one of the extras inside the thick black outline to make a template for the white decal.

Take your template and set it on the dried, white decal sheet.

Cut around the outside of the template. Make four white triangles.

You can discard the template decal, it's to small to be used now.

Cut out the small triangles outside of the border. This gives you a clear edge around the decal which helps hold down the raised decal.
This outside decal will be slightly raised above the surface with the white layer underneath.

The white (paint) decal triangle is applied to the fin. Be sure it is straight, you won't be able to move the background when the printed decal is on top of it.

The inset picture shows the yellow and black ink jet decal over the white.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quest Aerospace One Part 6 Step 13 - 14 Gluing The Spine

This model is a complex build and because I decided to paint the blue trim, a difficult mask.
Again, I should have thought ahead before gluing the spine in place.
The spine was lightly glued on and the fin edges sanded to better fit the angle of the joint.
After fitting the root edges I ended up cutting the spine off the body tube and glued the wings onto the spine without gluing the spine onto the body tube.

From the rear you can see the gap between the root edge of the left wing piece and the vertical spine.
Using a sanding block with 220 grit sandpaper the angle was sanded to fit the root edge against the spine.

This shows the fit of the left wing piece after sanding the root edge.
The wing piece on the right hasn't been sanded yet.

Both sides of the wing root edges have been sanded and have a good fit.

Get it a close as you can. I could have sanded more and tried to get a better fit, but I've learned to get it close and leave it be.
Sometimes you can sand off too much trying to get it just right.

Decal Fix on the Cobalt Orange Part 1

I wasn't happy with the way the yellow colors showed up on the water slide decals I made for the "Orange" model. The yellow ink was too transparent and when placed over the orange paint the yellow color disappeared!
I read about this technique on one of the forums. I wish I could give credit where credit is due.
If you don't have an Alps printer, here's one way to get a white undercoat on homemade water slide decals.

On the left is the yellow and black ink decal applied to the nose cone of the "Orange" rocket.
To the right is a decal half slid off it's white backing paper. At the top you can see how transparent the light yellow ink is
First, the old decals had to be lifted.
These decals were done about a week ago so they shouldn't be hard to remove. If you haven't done a clear overcoat, sometimes you can lift them with masking tape.
I just wet the decals and lifted a corner with a razor blade. It was pulled up easily in one piece.
For the white background, gloss white paint was sprayed on a new water slide decal sheet. Two coats were applied with full coverage to the edges. A clear coat is not needed, just the white coats.

All you are really doing is making a transferable layer of white paint.
You'll be able to cut the white sheet to most any small shape to go under the yellow and black decals already printed up.
I sprayed white over an entire sheet. Even after this project is done, I'll have some white background material for another build down the road.

I always print up extra decals. I had plenty to make this correction.
Home printed water slide decals can be harder to apply than a silk screened decal from a kit.
Extra prints are handy to have, you might screw up the first tries.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Quest Cobalt Evil Twin - ORANGE!

I built a second Cobalt based model at the same time the stock kit was built.

This one is ORANGE.
I had an extra Quest nose cone and some 40mm body tube.
All is the same except for the body tube length. The Orange tube is 5" long, the Cobalt kit tube is 4".
That extra inch gave me the room for a small parachute. The extra length will also help with stability.

The kit decals were scanned and cleaned up a bit.
A font was picked that worked with the decor.

Notice the yellow areas on the decals.
When these were transferred onto the orange paint, the yellow was invisible!
Not a big deal, It all still works in just the black.

Originally it was going to be called "CORAL" but I didn't have the right color on the shelf. I did have a new can of orange.

Side by side you can see the Orange is slightly taller than the Cobalt.
It's only an inch, but that does give me the room for wadding and a small parachute.

Quest Aerospace One Part 5 Decal Prep

I thought this kit had water slide decals, but it's got the "peel and stick".
I would have preferred the water slide.

Right out of the bag these decals had wrinkles and lifted areas on the sheet.
Even though Quest recommends Testors 1210 Bright Blue paint, I didn't want to risk the paint not matching the blue on the stick on sheet.

While other parts were drying, I decided to do a scan and redraw if needed.
The backing paper was a light yellow. I needed a bright white background for a clean scan.

The decals were transferred onto some 110 lb. card stock.
I was careful not to touch the sticky backs and get dirty fingerprints on them. I used the tip of a knife to lift and stick them down to the card stock.
Here's all the decals stuck on the card stock.
I shouldn't say "all" of the decals. After reading JeffyJeep's comments on TRF (after he finished an Aerospace One Build) I've decided to mask and spray all the blue trim.
The decals on the left are everything except the larger blue trim pieces and the white "Aerospace One" name decals. I can't print white on my ink jet printer.

The scan was loaded into Corel Draw. I ended up redrawing everything.
A presidential seal was found online and adjustments were made to the closest font I could find. On the launcher, no one will notice the difference.

January 17, 2013
I just got an email from Bill Stine.
I asked his permission to make the Aerospace One decal sheet available. He gave the okay to send it out!
If you'd like a PDF of the Aerospace One "print it yourself" decal sheet, email me at:
Please note: The available decal art is the property of Quest Aerospace and used by permission.
The decal art is not of the larger blue trim pieces. As mentioned earlier, I masked and spray painted the blue areas.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Quest Aerospace One Part 4 Steps 11 - 12 Wood Prep

We'll skip over Steps 8 through 10 for the moment.

Step 11 has you glue the wing parts together.
Like the instruction illustration shows, Waxed paper was taped down. The two pieces were glued together, lined up on a straightedge.
Weights were set over the joint so both pieces would glue flush and flat.

Step 12 has you fill the balsa grain. This is a good move now, it'd be very hard to get in all the nooks and crannies after the wings and rudders are glued onto the body tube.

I used thinned CWF. After brushing it on one side, the balsa was warping. Don't panic if this happens. Simply brush on the filler on the other side and it should counteract the warp.
Just to be sure, I set the wing back on the waxed paper and set on the weights to keep it flat while the CWF dried.

Be sure to check the root edge and sand flat if needed.
Check out the size of the wing, it's bigger than it looks.

This is a LOT of balsa to glue up!