Wednesday, May 3, 2017

More Star Blazer Stuff

Looking over the original Star Blazer instructions, I remembered a few questionable things from the 1970s kit.

Why bother with a "payload" section when both ends are glued shut?
A BT-20M is 2.25" long. The nose block takes 1/4" of the usable space. The nose cone shoulder takes away another 1/2". That leaves a whopping 1 1/2" of BT-20 for a payload.

TIP: If you ever wondered what the Estes tube designations mean: CLICK HERE

The longer, lower section of BT-20D is 6 1/2" long.
After gluing on the fairing strips they have to be cut where the body tubes butt together! There's no reason for this. It'd be much easier for the builder if Estes included a single BT-20 tube that was 8 3/4" long.
Maybe some of those "FREE KITS" were made up from surplus parts?

I did make an original Star Blazer canopy today. This one turned out much better than my first attempt years back. It took about 45 minutes to form the canopy.
The front angle cuts form the windows when you sand the top round.

TRIVIA: When looking through some old catalogs I noticed that the Star Blazer was the first kit to use a raised canopy feature. Others followed like the Interceptor the following year.


  1. Hey Chris,
    Nice work on the canopy. Did you use a saw to make the rough cuts first?

    1. Hi BAR,
      I did use a very fine tooth X-Acto razor saw to make the initial cuts. When making razor cuts I always cut a little bigger than the pencil lines show. The final rough shape is made using 220 grit on a sanding block. I have also carved canopies using just my hobby knife making small chip cuts.

  2. When I scratch-built a 2nd gen Star Blazer a few years ago, I eliminated the payload & noseblock and used one longer body tube. The end result allowed me more space for a parachute.

    1. Hi Lonnie,
      ". . . more space for a parachute". - Another good reason to make the body tube longer.

  3. I suppose the section of tubing could give you the option to glue the "canopy" slightly forward, so that the front end partially overlaps the nosecone.

    1. Hi Naoto,
      You could glue the nose cone with a bit overlapping the nose cone joint, that would require some extra contouring on the underside to fit the curve of the nose cone. The instructions show it over just the body tube.