Sunday, December 17, 2017

True Modeler's Rocket Kits NASA Scout Build, Part 5, Nozzle and Engine Mount

On the left is the instructions for setting the nozzle on the low end of the engine mount. There's no reason to do an upper glue bead on the BT-20 tube. Just do a line of glue on the upper edge of the 20/50 ring.
When the 20/50 ring is slid in place it will get glue onto the top shroud joint.

A 20/50 ring is glued on top of the small end of the shroud.
Apply glue around the top -

and slide the flat 20/60 centering ring down on top of the brown 20/50 ring.
Before applying glue fillets, CA glue was applied to the outside of the lower exposed 20/50 ring. It can be lightly sanded and will look like plastic when the model is painted.

The upper ring is glued in place and fillets are applied to all joints.
I used  Q-tip to remove the excess glue from the tight joints.

Some 150 lb. Kevlar was tied into a notch in the engine block.
Here it is fed through the back of the engine mount tube to keep it out of the way.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

True Modeler's Rocket Kits NASA Scout Build, Part 4, Nozzle Forming

I like using a glue stick on shrouds. It's not as wet as liquid glue and can make for a cleaner joint.

I don't apply glue to the glue tab. Instead I apply glue to the shroud edge and press the tab into the shroud.

Applying glue to the shroud (and not the tab) leaves the exposed tab clean for the next step

More glue stick was wiped onto the inside of the shroud end and the glue tab pressed into the glue.
I use two clean dowels to press and seat the seam. Set a larger dowel under the joint and roll another dowel over the top. This is much quicker than holding the tab until the glue dries.

After a test fit down the BT-20 engine mount tube I found the small end to be too tight.
To widen the small end it was sanded on a block. The second nozzle shroud was set inside the shroud to be sanded for support.
Sand a little and check the fit. Repeat until you get a good friction fit over the tube.

Friday, December 15, 2017

True Modeler's Rocket Kits NASA Scout Build, Part 3, Nozzle Forming

The shroud and rear nozzle are printed on manila file folder card stock. Its a great material for shrouds.

The straight lines are cut first with a new blade and strait edge. After the straight lines are cut use scissors for the curved arc lines.

TIP: Before forming the nozzle check to find the smooth side of the card stock. Sometimes one side of the card stock that is smoother than the other side. Form the curve with the smoother side out.

Enlarge the picture and you can see the bottom image shows the smoother side. That side should end up on the outside of the shroud.

Form the shroud by rolling a clean dowel with the card stock in the soft heel of your palm. This method works better than dragging the card stock over the edge of a table top.
You'll just have to try it once to see how smooth the curve can be. No creases and no wrinkles.

Also form the inside glue tab over a dowel. This puts a small curve into the tab so it will be less visible under the shroud ends.

Baffles - Which Side Up? Part 2

On the N.A.R. Facebook Page, Joseph Barrett asked:

"Which is top and which is bottom? Also the build thread I’m following says to spray the lower half of the Executioner with high heat spray paint. Is this necessary?"
According to the Centuri instructions, the tighter set, centered holes should go towards the bottom of the rocket.
Centuri originally designed it, I'd go with their recommendation.

I did add a smoothed coat of wood glue to the rear facing sides of the disks before they were glued onto the coupler. I don't think high heat paint would be needed.

My Semroc Centurion (with the Centuri style baffle) had over 15 flights when I opened it up.
To see the surprising autopsy - CLICK HERE

Thursday, December 14, 2017

True Modeler's Rocket Kits NASA Scout Build, Part 2, More Parts

More parts of interest:
You are supplied with two sheets of shrouds. EVERY KIT SHOULD SUPPLY YOU WITH AN EXTRA SHROUD. You can make two of each, two nozzles and two 5/50 transitions.
Two lead fishing weights, two different sizes.
Shroud lines, pre-cut.
A 16" black nylon parachute with metal grommets
A peel and stick roll pattern

The fins are pre-cut from basswood.
Notice the root edge is marked with pencil.

Here's a closeup of the 5/50 centering rings. You can see how one is glued inside the other.

On the right is the same ring after being sanded flat.

Baffles - Which Side Up? Part 1

On the N.A.R. Facebook Page, Joseph Barrett asked:
"Which is top and which is bottom?
First, a little background:
The baffle that Joseph is referring to was a Centuri Patent design.
Centuri introduced this style of baffle first in 1971 with the Centurion kit.
To see that catalog page, CLICK HERE

The Estes Bandit with their "Ejection Ducting System" came along a year later in 1972.
The ejection gasses had to go up, hit a bulkhead and exit out punched side holes into an outer tube. The ejection then traveled down, then up again past a notched top ring to eject the parachute.
Compared to the simplicity of the Centuri baffle, the Estes system reminds you of a Rube Goldberg drawing.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

True Modeler's Rocket Kits NASA Scout Build, Part 1, Parts

I don't know a lot about True Modeler's Rocket Kits, I picked this kit up on Ebay.
The website is still online, the last update was in 2009. I've emailed them to find out if the kits are still being produced but haven't received a response.

This kit is a scale model of the NASA Scout, # TMRK9801.
The model is 30.25" tall and flys with A8-3, B6-4 and C6-5 engines.
The lowest tube is a BT-60, the upper sections are BT-50 and a BT-5.

Some parts of interest:
The conical BT-5 sized nose cone.
Two thick 5/50 centering rings, made up from 5/20 rings glued into 20/50 rings.
1/8' wide elastic shock cord, a little short at 16" long.
A small tri-fold shock cord mount printed on thin paper.
Three pre-cut fins, cut from 3/32" thick basswood
20/50 centering rings die-cut from thin cards stock.

The Worst Kit?

I was asked recently what was the worst kit I ever built?
That's a hard call, I don't want to offend any vendor. Here's one from a company long out of business.

The Die Fledermaus was a boost glider from the Union Stadt Zepplin Works.
The picture on the right is from a review by Matt Gillard on Rocket Reviews: CLICK HERE

In my old rocket binders I found a 1977 letter from Robert Haley, the president of U.S.Z.W.
Robert was interested in me doing a review of his kit. My review would not have been favorable.

Matt Gillard had the same results I did. The build was difficult with vague instructions.
The written instructions were on one side of an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet. Enlarge the picture on the left.
The promo page called it a rocket plane. Rocket gliders (by NAR definition) don't eject the engine.

The full size assembly drawing was on the other side.
You have to warp balsa around the fuselage and form the nose from a block of balsa.

The A3-2t engine would eject and was supposed to glide at a 6 to 1 glide ratio.
Mine got 20 feet up and power pranged into the ground!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

New Duplicolor Primer/Filler?

Paul K wrote on YORF:
I've been using both Dupli-Color Filler/Primer and 3M Bondo Filler/Primer for a number of years, both are fast drying, very sandable primers, that can take just about any paint, especially the lacquers I like to use when possible. The 3M Bondo dried a little faster, the Dupli-Color filled a little better, so I'd use them based on how much fill I needed.

Well, the last can of Dupli-Color I bought had a different label, but is still called "Filler & Sandable Primer".

I used it on a large plastic nose cone, and immediately noticed it was a bit darker gray. No big deal, I thought, so put on a few light coats like I usually do. When I went to sand it with 320, it clogged up the sandpaper very fast, more like some enamel primers I've used. The stuff is awful! 

PaulK followed with:
The Dupli-Color 2-In-1 (Bad stuff) is the new one with 8 ingredients
The Dupli-Color Filler Primer (Good Stuff) is the old one with 14 ingredients.

My response:
I bought two cans of what I thought was a "new" label filler/primer at Advance Auto. I couldn't find the grey label FILLER that I've bought before.
I got home, checked the product number on the old empty can of Duplicolor Filler/Primer
and knew it was a different formulation.

I went back to the store with the two, unused cans of the '2 In 1" label. I did find new re-stocked cans of the original grey label marked "FILLER" and exchanged them.

Look for the grey label that says "PRIMER FILLER". Check the back of the can for the number FP101 above the UPC symbols.

Great - More labels and more formulations to confuse everybody.

Estes Star Speeder #1366 Build, Finished

This model has been on my build list ever since I saw it in the catalog, years after it went out of production.
Smaller model, lots of decals, offset tubes with the set-in canopy. In the end a rewarding build.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Estes Star Speeder #1366 Build, Part 16, Flat Clear and Silver Trim TIPS

I mentioned earlier that the online decal scan wasn't clean. I re-drew the decals on Corel Draw.
If you would like a copy of the decal PDF to print your own, email me at Request the Star Speeder decals.

These are not an exact copy of the kit decals, but very close. There is a few minor changes here and there. I don't want any small clone kit vendors to use this PDF and profit these decals. Those small changes I put in let me know if something has been copied or sold without permission.

The Estes instructions say the model should be spray painted with flat white then the decals are applied over that. Water slide decals don't stick well to flat paint.
TIP: Spray rockets with gloss paint, apply decals, then follow with a flat clear coat.
TIP: Flat (matte) finishes hide many imperfections that show up on a gloss finish. If you ever have a gloss spray job you aren't happy with, try a dull over coat to hide bumps and dips in the paint.
TIP: I don't have many cans of flat paint, most all I have is gloss. If I want a dull finish I have one can of flat clear to dull any gloss finish.

Do the silver brush trim paint after the flat clear coats have dried. A flat clear coat would dull the silver making it a dull grey.

Above is the before, the picture below shows the silver trim paint was applied.

Here's that weird toothpick gun, it also gets brushed on silver paint.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Estes Star Speeder #1366 Build, Part 15, Decals

I drew up the decals, I wasn't happy with the scan available online. They were printed on my ink jet printer and got three coats of clear acrylic.
The Estes instructions say to paint the model an overall flat white. Water slide decals don't stick well to flat paint.
After I finally got a decent coat of gloss white I waited another day before starting on the decals.

On the right are the canopy decals. Three separate black window decals go on the card stock. Center around the upper folds.

The red line decals go over the rounded leading edges of the horizontal stab and wings. The instructions don't say to round the leading edges of the fins. I did round them after I realized a decal would wrap over the edge. The decals may not have stayed stuck when folded over a square edge.

Yep - there was actually an appropriate decal that went over the launch lug.

Long thin decals go over the outside of the rear wing lugs.

The front dowels and toothpick underneath will be painted silver after a flat clear coat is applied. A dull coat could dull a silver paint.

There was one decal left with no indication of its location. I figured the offset squares would fit well underneath the offset launch lug. There wasn't much other detail under the model.

Sometimes water slide decals aren't opaque over a white undercoat. I was concerned the red decals might end up pink. They ended up a dark enough red.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Vashon Valkyrie II Wanted!

While I'm waiting for the white paint to dry on the Space Speeder - 

Does anybody have a Vashon Valkyrie 2 for sale?
I'm no different than anybody else I guess. I'm trying to find the first rocket kit I ever owned.

I'm not looking for a Valkyrie 1, but the taller Valkyrie 2. I don't want a finished model, but the kit. The Freon can propellant isn't needed.
Here's the old Vashon catalog: CLICK HERE

I'd like to build and feature it on this blog. I'm willing to pay a fair price for the kit - let me know if you have one. Email me at:

Estes Saturn V Tips - Shims Tips

The large transition wrap is hard to fit on top of the paper shroud underneath. No matter how I wrapped it the wide bottom wouldn't hug the low end.

In the picture you are actually looking at the inside of the wrap. The shadows make it look like the outside top.
I traced around the shroud edge and cut a strip from card stock. This was glued around the inside lower circumference.
Now the wrap fits and both edges meet. 

The instructions have you glue some leftover vacuform plastic under the larger rectangular tunnel. While the instructions say to cut a piece 2 1/2" long my shim piece ended up being 2 13/16" long to fill the area between the two wraps.

One thickness of the vacuform plastic wasn't thick enough and left a gap. I used two thicknesses of the plastic.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Estes Star Speeder #1366 Build, Part 14, White Paint Overall

I thought this would be an easy on to paint - Overall white.

Most areas came out fine - on the top of the stabilizer you can see some of the grain still showing. A light sanding with 400 grit will smooth it out for the follow up coats of paint.

There were visible Titebond M&TG fillets around the canopy. These were also sanded with 400 grit wrapped around a Q-tip.

Here's where I ran into trouble.
On the underside there was some wrinkling of the paint.
I had sprayed a white undercoat before I went to California. this paint had two weeks to dry. I sprayed again when I returned and it still wrinkled!

I didn't take a picture of the wrinkles, this shows the area after the rough area was sanded down. I'll let it dry a few days before spraying again.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Estes Star Speeder #1366 Build, Part 13, Bottom Gun and Lug Gluing

I sprayed the bottom gun/antenna toothpick with primer/filler before gluing onto the model. It would be hard to get a smooth finish on the underside without pre-priming the part.
After the primer/filler dried it was sanded smooth with 400 grit.

The launch lug goes on halfway on the body tube and carries over onto the side of the small underside fin. I only glued the half that will contact the body tube. Getting glue fillets on both sides of the lug would be hard to do.

On the left shows a glue line on the lower fin.

This is after smoothing out the fillet by removing some excess glue.

The paint on the back side of the antenna was scraped off for better adhesion.

The antenna glued in position.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Estes Star Speeder #1366 Build, Part 12, Gluing On The Wings

The stabilizer is glued on the top of the BT-55 tail tube.
The rear edge of the vertical stab is placed 1/4" forward of the rear tube edge.

The wings are glued on in a standard 3 fin, 120 degree spacing.
The trailing edge of the wings are set 1/8" forward of the rear tube edge.
The tape (wrapped to fit) wing dowels are glued into the launch lugs on the outside edge of the wings.

TIP: Be very careful around the wing guns when handling the model. They are easy to snag and catch on things. I bent the launch lug and had some patch work to do.