Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mini Mosquito Build Part 2, Gluing It All Together

The nose cone shoulder seemed long so I checked it with a "T" engine in place.
The engine extended out the back by about 1/4" so the shoulder length is probably right. The front end of the engine butts right up against the open nose cone shoulder.

The vague multi-lingual instructions say "Glue all parts together".

No mention is made of plastic cement. I wouldn't use white glue on a plastic nose cone. It would probably pop off at ejection.

The instructions don't mention any fin shaping.
I rounded the leading and trailing edges.

The first Mini Brute Mosquito instructions said to air foil the fins.
That's what you want in a model this small - better performance!
The fin grain was filled before gluing them on the body.

Following the directions -
I glued it all the parts together.

New Larger Falcon 9 Flying Model

On YORF, Bernard Cawley posted a link to the new Space X
Falcon and Fairing kit HERE 


  • Molded plastic nose cone, reducer, tail and engine nozzles
  • Molded transparent fins
  • Full color pre-printed body
  • No painting required
  • Parachute recovery
  • Finished model stands 82 cm, or 32" tall
  • Uses powerful D and E engines
  • Made in the USA

The retail price is $29.00
Add $1.89 tax and $8.75 for shipping
and the total is $39.64

Friday, May 30, 2014

Launch Schoolyard Soccer Field, May 30, 2014

Tomorrow I leave for Mexico - I wanted to sneak in one last launch!

The FlisKits HONEST JOHN had it's 19th flight this morning.
Lonnie B. gave me some MicroMaxx engines. These were the older style with the plastic casing and smaller nozzle. They have slightly less thrust but a "longer" one second delay.
The launch button was held down for an extra second to ignite.
The streamer ejected and no damage at recovery. Altitude? Maybe a fast 90 feet.
Great first flight of the morning.

I used a 5/20 adapter to fit a 13mm A10-3t engine in the Red River Rocketry STARLINER. 
There was some coning during boost, I hadn't noticed that before.
Altitude was an estimated 200 feet.
The 12" Mylar chute fully opened with no damage on landing.

A reliable rocket is the modified Quest VIPER with a Quest A6-4.
I like how much louder the Quest engines are.
Estimated altitude would be 275 feet.
The Odd'l Rockets 'chute opened and brought it down 100 feet from the launcher.

Today saw the third successful test flight of the Odd'l Rockets LITTLE GREEN MAN prototype with an Estes B6-4.
There was no slow turn during boost this time.
Altitude was near 300'. Full parachute deploy and no damage.

The best flight of the morning was the Quest X-15 with an Estes B6-4 engine.
Straight and stable thanks to a slightly longer body tube and some clay weight in the nose cone. Altitude estimate - 325'.
The Odd'l Rockets 15" parachute has a spill hole cut in the center, a good thing as the wind was just starting to pick up.

Five up, five recovered with no damage. A good day.

Mini Mosquito Build Part 1, Parts

Before starting on the build, check back to this older post about the Mini Mosquito instructions HERE

This one will be quick!
This is the Mini Mosquito packed as a bonus kit with the Mega Mosquito model.
It's a repro of the original smallest rocket in the Estes 1972 catalog.
There is really only six parts in the Mini Mosquito.
Three fins, one nose cone, a BT-5 body tube and launch lug.
This new version has a small Mosquito decal.

The parts of interest:
The small decal sheet. The production copy is larger than the 'bug" and the very tiny Estes logo. The logo is unreadable.
Again, the embossed production date stamp is too close to the decal image.

The plastic nose cone with a long shoulder.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mosquitos, Anyone?

The Estes BT-5 Mosquito could be considered a downscale of the Estes STREAK
The Streak was BT-10 based. The BT-10 was a clear Mylar tube, close to a BT-20 size.

The face card says "Ideal for small field and demonstration flying."
Demonstration flying? The Big Bertha is a demonstration bird.
This one is too small and fast for spectators to follow.

I always thought the Mosquito fins were based on the "B" pattern from the Streak kit. The rounded ends were considered the competition shape.
The Mosquito fins are more of a teardrop shape.

This is the Leading Edge Rocketry SKEETER.
It's 11" tall, BT-60 based and uses 18mm engines.
The rounded fins are closer to the Streak competition shape.

Balsa Machining Service brought out the IMP.
They were giveaway kits at a NARAM a few years ago.

Another BT-80 based Mosquito is the Madcow MOZZIE.
This one stands 19.5" high, a little taller than the Estes Mega Mosquito at 18.6".
Engine choices range from D12-3 to G38J-7.

There's more like the Mosquito, sort of - 
The Centuri Lil' Herc, Estes Swift, Estes Quark and Semroc Triton.
I'm sure there are more.
Any guess as to what the next blog build will be?

Estes Python 4 Finished

This design reminds me of a Launch Pad kit with the forward fins and fin plate details
I couldn't figure out how to mask around the die-cut fin plates to paint the lower body light gray, so I took the easy way out and simply left the lower body white.
A good looking design and a change from a standard 3FNC.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Estes Python 4 Build, Part 14, More Stickers and Decals

As in some recent kits, the decal placement falls right where the launch lug was glued on.
I cut out a piece of copy paper to better judge the notch that will be cut in the stick on band.

The notch cut was transferred onto the sticker before it was removed from the backing sheet.

Here's the gray band set behind and around the rear lug.
A tracing of the fin was made on card stock.
Both sides of all fins get two black rectangular blocks.
The outside edges were cut into the card stock template.

Set the template against the root edge and set the sticker into the cutout area.
Flip the template to do the right side fin face.

Some decals are very small, like the "NO LIFT" decals on the upper fins.
Tweezers came in handy during placement.

Second, Better SR-71 Blackbird

I've built two of the Estes SR-71 Blackbird kits, this is the second one.

You know what to expect and what to avoid in a second build.
Again, I had more decal problems. The fine white grate lines broke up when they were placed on the outside engine tubes. I ended up leaving them off. I thought about using the kit stickers but decided against that.

On this one the overall gloss black is much better.
The shroud is smooth with no creases.
Right below the stars and bars on the body, the shroud joints are clean

This finished model could be sold on Ebay. The earlier build was not as good and will become part of my flying fleet.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Estes Python 4 Build, Part 13, Stickers!

I drew up home print decals for the worded blocks.
I'll use the stickers for the bands and squares. Because they are thicker they will add some more dimension to the model.

The face card shows the body was painted a very light gray, the reinforcement (card stock plates) are white. I couldn't see any way to mask these, the entire lower section was left white.

White bands and dark gray bands go between the strake fins.
A strip of masking tape was wrapped around the body for a guide when setting down the upper edges.

Center the stickers as best you can. They were slightly wider than the space between the fins.
After they were straight and burnished down, a sharp blade cut off the excess.

Decal Soaking Questions

From the Odd'l Rockets Email box, a question - 

"Waiting to finish an Estes Mini-Max, with waterslide decals. You use the drop of liquid detergent in the water, which has worked for me. 
The Apogee site recommends using white glue in the soaking. 
Your thoughts?"

My response:
I've never heard of using white glue in the soak water! 
This might work, but I've never tried it.
Decals from different vendors are so inconsistent, sometimes you can't move them once they are set down. 
I wouldn't want a tough to position decal to be any more sticky!

TIP: The inconsistency is sometimes the thickness of the clear topcoat. Too thin and the printer ink dissolves. Too thick and the decal ends up looking like a peel and stick. 
While I hate Krylon color paints, their clear acrylic spray still seems to be the best for clear coating a home printed decal sheet. Three coats (not too heavy) seems to be about right. It seals the printer ink and gives you the right thickness.
Home print decals are good, but never as great as a kit decal. Face it, you are not printing decals on a large press or silk screening. 
As Gus (Steve) on TRF once wrote: "They are a different animal." 

Most every source recommends using a very small drop of detergent soap in the soak water. 
It helps break up the surface tension in the soak water. Others say it helps the decal slide on the model surface.
On response on TRF tells you: "The decals are ruined because the drop of soap breaks down the adhesive on the decal."
I've never had a problem with the small drop of dish soap in the soak water. 
(Judging by the forum responses, many others haven't had a problem either.)
Wet the surface on the model with a drop of water where the decal is to go. Set the decal on the wet surface.
That water under the decal helps lubricate the surface for easier positioning.
TIP: If the decal can't be easily moved, use a wet brush to work some water into the edges. The soft brush will get some water under the decal without tearing the edges.

After the decal is in in position, don't rub over it with a paper towel. A thin decal could tear.
Roll a wet Q-tip over the decal to work out any air bubbles or water drops.

I don't brush Future acrylic all over a model to seal the decals. I've never had great results with brushing or spraying Future.
Now I dip a Q-tip in the Future and wipe off the excess. You won't need much of the Future to apply a thin, protective coat.
The wet (with Future) Q-tip is rolled over the decal and the edges.
I've never had decals peel or lift after this light sealing. 

Good Luck!
Chris Michielssen
Odd'l Rockets

Monday, May 26, 2014

Launch! Schoolyard, May 25, 2014

This was my last chance to launch before a two month contract in Cancun, Mexico. I leave on Saturday.
The heat has arrived in Florida and I worked up a sweat chasing these down, even at 7:00 a.m.

I like to fly something small first up to test the controller and check for any wind.
The Quest Cobalt ORANGE works well with a Quest A6-4 engine.
This one got higher than I thought, maybe 300'. A 12" Odd'l Rockets parachute easily pulled out of the hollow nose cone base.
The inset shows how close it landed to the basketball court.

For some reason I have trouble following the boost phase of the Estes GYROC clone with an A8-3. I picked it up right at apogee.
Launch was probably about 300' with the typical fast spin after the engine popped out.
There is a reason for the blunt nose cone on the Gyroc. It hit the ground and bounced!

This was my first flight of the Estes SR-71 BLACKBIRD with an Estes B6-4. I should have used a B6-2! Altitude was estimated at 250'.
The model was nose down when the ejection went off.

At ejection it was a tangled mess, the 18" red parachute never had the chance to fully open. A shroud line was under a rear nozzle, another line under the launch lug. No damage though.

This model never really got a name, built from a free kit from Semroc. The original Squire kit had many fin possibilites.
It was featured on the old "How To Build Model Rockets" site now on the NAR website.

The H.T.B.M.R. flew to 300' with an Estes A8-3.
Full Odd'l Rockets parachute deploy and no damage on recovery.

Here's what I really wanted to flight test, a new prototype Odd'l Rockets design called the LITTLE GREEN MAN. 
It flew twice, once with an Estes A8-3 then a B6-4.
The A8-3 ejected at a low apogee. This model is better suited to a B6-4  and C6-5 engine, like the Pigasus.
It's stable, showing with a slow turn on the B6-4 engine. The B6-4 probably got it to 325'.
There's drag from the upturned feet. New prototypes will have less of a down angle on the toes.

Six up, six down with two stable flights on the new Little Green Man. A successful morning.

Estes Python 4 Build, Part 12, Upper Section Mask

The top section is actually an easy mask. Gray paint goes from the middle body separation up to the nose cone. The upper fins are left white.
The rear of the fins are square, the tops are even with the top of the body tube.

A long strip of Scotch tape was set around the root edges of all four upper fins.

Masking a (somewhat) wide fillet of Titebond M&TG takes a few extra moments.
I try to set the tape line down the center of the fillet.

After the gray paint was sprayed the tape was lifted.
This was one of the better recent masks. The lines are clean and sharp.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Estes Python 4 Build, Part 11, Dry Fit, Lug Gluing and White

Here's the dry fit -
This is a TALL BT-55 model, about two feet tall.
It should be a good model for the small field with a B6-4.

The two 5/8" long lugs were glued in line with a launch rod for alignment.

White coats followed.
After the first coats were set I could see the forward strakes didn't get a good enough seal against the cardstock plates.
A thin fillets of Titebond M&TG was set down and the fillet smoothed with a Q-tip.

New Tool - Lap Desk

I found this Lap Desk on sale during a school supplies sale. I bought it for half price, at $10.00
Here's the Lap Desk web page HERE

It measures 14.5 X 18.5 inches.
I slip a piece of cardboard under the clip on the left for cutting. You could also use one of the self-healing plastic mats.

There are two recessed troughs at the top for small pieces.
The backside has two beaded pillow sides with a "cooling channel" in the middle.
It has turned out to be a handy work surface when I don't want to sit at the work table. Sometimes it's easier to build on the sofa closer to the TV.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Estes Python 4 Build, Part 10, Conduit Fix and Strake Gluing

As careful as I tried to be, there was still some glue stick on the outside surface of the conduit.
The card stock is glossy so I was able to wipe off the glue with a barely damp paper towel.

There was only one conduit corner lifting.
When using a glue stick try to get an glue overall coat, especially on the sides and corners.

A small amount of glue was scraped off the top of the glue stick.
The glue was applied under the conduit.
The lifted corner was burnished down.

The middle strake fins were dry fitted.
The trailing edge wasn't parallel with the large fin leading edge (inset).

The trailing edges of all four strake fins was sanded until it was square with the large fin.

The sanding took the edge down to the balsa and had to be refilled.

For a spacing guide, two pieces of 3/32" balsa were glued together.
This helped keep the space between the two fins consistent.