Thursday, August 31, 2017

Apogee Shrockets Skonk Wulf Build, Part 1, Parts

This is one burly, sharp looking model. Another great design by Shrox.
I'm looking forward to the build but check out how colors there are. Like many Shrox designs, the masking will be time consuming.

Most parts were good. The body tube is a BT-80 with the fin slots already cut.

The parts of interest:
The website and face card mention vinyl decals but they are more like stickers on a clear backing. The clear backing border goes out beyond the decal ink. These are like the stickers supplied in the Dynastar kits. I'll be drawing up some water slide replacements.

The parachute is orange plastic sheeting.
Plywood centering rings.
The small white card is assembled to help set the angles of the outside wing tips.
A 8' length of 300 lb. Kevlar is provided.

Spray Paint "Glove" TIP

I do a lot of spray painting and many times ended up with a painted left hand.
For a while I was buying cheap gloves at Harbor Freight. Now I use plastic grocery bags.

You do have to bunch up the excess plastic and hold that in the palm of your hand. The bag is tighter around your thumb and forefinger.
Here I'm spraying acrylic clear coats on a home print decal

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Estes Starship Nova #1371 Build, Finished

This one came out very well. The fluorescent paint almost glows inside the engine pods.
The flat finish coat works great and seals the decals.

I remember building this one the first time around. This model will be sent out to a client who also wants the Nova Scout Ship built. That build will be on the blog soon.

Estes Starship Nova #1371 Build, Part 26, Matte Finish TIPS

On Jim Z's website the old instructions say to paint the model with a flat black paint. TIP: Water slide decals won't stick well to a flat finish paint. Paint with gloss, apply the decals then follow up with a flat clear coat. TIP: One great thing about flat paint - it covers a lot of small imperfections, especially over gloss black.

Before spraying on a dull coat, wipe off any water spots with a damp paper towel.

After that, dust off the model. Any spec of dust will be locked in under a clear coat.

The only Krylon paint I use is their clear acrylic coats. Krylon hasn't changed their acrylic clear coat formulas.

TIP: I only have a few spray cans of flat paint. If I need a flat finish I'll spray a gloss coat then hit it with a matte finish clear.

Using a clear flat overcoat you don't need a heavy coat. You can do a light dusting spray. Just that will dull the finish.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Marking A Body Tube with Pen? TIP

For the newer rocket builders - 

I've seen this in a few Facebook posts. A builder shows the fin glue lines drawn on with ink!

TIP: Never use a pen to mark a body tube.
It will show through the paint on a finished model.
No surprises, use a pencil.

Estes Starship Nova #1371 Build, Part 25, Nose Cone Tie

UPGRADE: I showed this earlier, the tie down loop at the nose cone shoulder had a mold bubble in it. The plastic tie loop isn't very strong to begin with. I cut it off and made a stronger attachment.

A hole was drilled using a diamond file.
In the end I made it larger than what is pictured here. I had trouble feeding the shock cord through.

To make it easier to reach the shock cord a bend was put in the elastic.
It was fed through the hole and picked up with some narrow tweezers. It took a few tries to grab it.

A Duncan Uni-Knot was tied in the shock cord.

UPGRADE: A long elastic shock cord was used in place of the short rubber shock cord provided in the kit.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Estes Starship Nova #1371 Build, Part 24, Decals

The rear windows on the nose cone didn't fit into the molded borders.

I had to cut them apart and position them closer together.

The cockpit window decals were a little too wide to fit into the molded lines. I place it as well as I could, there was some overhang.

After the decals dried I was able to trim up the overhang.
There was a overhang tick where the corners of the orange decals met up. Look to the middle left of the orange band.

Here's the decals after trimming.

The front engine pod decal went beyond the root edge and onto the wing.

A very light cut was made with a new razor blade just cutting through the decal, not into the paint.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Estes Starship Nova #1371 Build, Part 23, Decals

I could finally pull the tape covering the engine pods.
The extra work was worth it, the fluorescent orange showed up well inside the engine.

I wish Estes could print decals on the light blue backed paper so you could see the white pieces easier. The dashed lines were very close to the hard to see white ink.

You'll have to cut many of the decals close to the edge.
The face card art shows the engine pod decal right on the edge of the lip. I ended up setting this decal a hair back from the front edge.

The decal clear coat is thin.
TIP: Round off any inside corner cuts to reduce the chance of tearing.

I ended up setting the engine pod decal slightly back from the edge.
The decal was a bit too long at the bottom.

TIP: On the wing decal, slide the backing off so just the inside edge is off by about 3/16". You'll need the support of the backing paper to position it far enough into the root edge.

Intake Cones Part 2, TIP

All the scoring before the actual split gives you two clean halves.

The split flat side is cleaned up a bit using a sanding block.

The cones have to fit the contour of the body tube.
I wrapped some 220 around the tube and sand back and forth in a straight line.

Here's a good fit against the main air frame tube.

How it ends up - the nose cone shoulder isn't seen inside the intake.

The intake nose cones will end up being custom made by BMS. There aren't any available nose cones in the length and shape needed for this kit application.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Intake Cones Part 1, TIP

While the paint dries on the Starship Nova, here's a little background construction on the upcoming F-104 Starfighter kit intake.

Years back I bought and assembled the Estes Astron Streak. It was an early BT-20 Mosquito. With a C6-7 you could reach altitudes of 2,0000 feet! Or so they claimed. Who knows, you'd never see it again anyway.

The Streak instructions said you could hollow out the nose cone and get an extra 20 feet altitude!
Split the nose cone and hollow it out. My nose cone split didn't end up down the middle!
On the upcoming Odd'l Rockets F-104 Starfighter kit I'll supply nose cone halves that glue inside the front of the intakes. Here's how I'll prep them for the kit.

I scored the outside of the nose cone to get a clean split, right down the middle.
The base is scored first, maybe 1/8" in.

The shoulder is next.

With my knife blade extended I continue up the side, aiming towards the center tip.

The nose cone is turned over and the 1/8" scoring ends through the tip.

Friday, August 25, 2017

John Boren Build Prep Article in the Apogee P.O.F.

In the latest issue of the Apogee Peak Of Flight Newsletter, John Boren of Estes explains how he preps rockets before spraying color coats.
To read the article, CLICK HERE

John Boren is a great designer, the models he has produced for Estes are outstanding.
I’m always curious how others prep and finish their models. Everybody has a method that works well for them.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps from the article -
1. With the balsa still on the sheet, spray two heavy coats of primer and sanding.
2. Bondo Spot Putty and sanding.
3. (Optional - If needed, repeat primer and sanding then Bondo and sanding.)
4. Glue together the model.
5. Spray with primer then apply Bondo where needed again.
6. Sand smooth.
7. Apply one more coat of primer and smooth with a light sanding sponge.
White undercoats follow.

In this method I counted six primer and Bondo treatments and sanding between coats -
before the first white undercoat! (The six coats and sanding are not including the optional third step shown in parenthesis.)

When I started in 1969, Estes recommended 4 coats of sanding sealer, sanding between coats. Centuri recommended using balsa fillercoat.
I always hated balsa filling. Four brushed coats of sealer and sanding and took a lot of time. Once I figured out how to do it correctly it did work well.

I am not knocking Mr. Boren’s methods. His posted builds show beautiful work.
Mr. Boren fills the balsa while it is still on the sheet. You'd still have to fill the edges later after the pieces are removed and the laser burnt edges cleaned up.

By comparison my prep schedule is pretty simple.
1. Remove the balsa from the sheet and sand off the burnt laser cut edges.
2. One application of thinned Carpenter’s Wood Filler and sanding.
3. One fairly heavy coat of Duplicolor Primer / Filler and sand - DONE!
Assemble the model and follow with white undercoats.

My filling method is not the only way to get it done. 
Do what works for you, I simply prefer something that takes less time.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Estes Starship Nova #1371 Build, Part 22, Watching Paint Dry

I've mentioned it too many times before - The Summer humidity is really slowing up the drying time.
I thought I was ready for the final "wet" coat of black but I went light. Probably a good thing, there is still some rough spots that will require light sanding.

On the good side, the lower intake and engine pods came out very well. The fillets and joints are smooth.

More light sanding with 400 grit then the final wet coat of black.

My Lap Desk

I just bought a new Lap Desk.
I found my first Lap Desk on sale at an office supply store. After spilling some liquid plastic cement all over it I ordered a new one.

I live alone, rockets and supplies are all over! I build rockets at the kitchen table and on my sofa while watching TV. When I'm on the sofa the Lap Desk is my work surface.  To see one vendor - CLICK HERE 

The corrugated cardboard cutting surface is clipped to the paper holder on the left side.

Underneath are two long beanbag pillows to steady the desk wile you work.

It's a handy mobile work space when you are away from the "bench".

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Centuri Payloader II on Ebay

A finished Centuri Payloader II is up for auction on Ebay!
This was built from the Estes Classics series re-issue kit with many upgrades.
Heavy walled BT-50H tubing and a longer nose cone is closer to the original Centuri profile.
A Centuri logo has been added to the name decal. Metallic red fins and nose cone.

To see the model - CLICK HERE          Stop by, make a bid and support the blog!

Estes Starship Nova #1371 Build, Part 21, Black Paint TIP

The model is an overall black, you really don't need a white undercoat.
I did do a first black coat then went over the model and sanded a few rough fillets and took down the glue boogers.

This model should be easy enough to paint, it's just BLACK!
(The inside of the engine pods are already fluorescent orange.)

TIP: On this design there are some tight inside angles. You think you have it covered, but later you notice inside areas with missed spots.
Rather than spray on too much paint trying to get the inside areas covered, I used a permanent marker to color them in.

Look inside the engine pod corner (above) and you can see some white. The inset picture shows the marker touch-up.

Under the wing root edge and at the back end of the intake is another tight inside joint. The permanent marker is soft and was able to reach into the fillet area.

Again, this really only works with black paint and a black marker. Don't use this with a lighter color markers. They won't match up with your sprayed color paint. Black works, black is black.
You might be able to see this touch-up if you look very close under direct sunlight, it could look like a dark blue. If you do the touch-up now (before the final black coats) it will end up like a very thin layer of paint. You should lightly sand down the edges. It should blend in and not be noticeable.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My Eclipse Experience

A TV news person was reporting on the eclipse today. In passing she mentioned you could see the eclipse (without special glasses) in the light shining through the leaves on the trees. That made no sense to me until I went outside and looked down.
Look close, there they are on the asphalt. Hundreds of little eclipse crescents like many pinhole cameras! These were the focused sunbeams shining through the open areas in the oak trees.

Estes Starship Nova #1371 Build, Part 20, Fillets, Launch Lug and Wing Tips

The tape mask was lifted but left on the outside edge of the engine pod.
Fillets were applied with Titebond No Run, No Drip glue. (Molding and Trim glue)
After the fillets dry the tape can be rolled down to cover the interior paint in the engine pods.

You will have to use the "Double Glue" method to glue on the wing tips. They are heavy and tend to fall over before the glue sets.
The guide piece comes in handy to get the correct angle and support the tip.

The long launch lug is trimmed to the same length as the lower intake tube. I cut the ends to the slight angle of the fairing wrap.

The paint on the glue line was sanded to get a better bond.

After the glue dried on the wing tips I sanded off the slight balsa overhang on the outside edge.

CWF was added to fill any remaining seam.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Estes Starship Nova #1371 Build, Part 19, Masking TIP and Gluing the Engines

This is one of those masking things that took a day to figure out. How do you mask for the interior of the engines?
I've already blackened the ends and under the fairing lip.

TIP: I didn't want the tape to fully adhere and risk pulling anything up.
I did my old trick of sticking the tape to my pant leg and lifting it a few times. This leaves jean fibers on the tape making it less sticky.

Three pieces of masking tape were set over both ends of the engines.
The overhanging tape was cut off with a new X-Acto blade. Use a "saw" cut, back and forth over the tape. Be careful not to cut into the end cap or tube.

On the left is the back end.
On the right is the front. Notice the tape is now lifted along the gluing edge. This way any glue won't stick to the tape when gluing the engine to the body.
The engines are glued on awaiting fillets.
The fillets down the top and bottom will be like fillets on a launch lug. They are deep and in a tight angle.

The fillets will be applied and left to dry. Then the tape will be pressed back down for the overall spraying of black.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Odd'l Rockets F-104 Fuel Tank Correction

When I posted the first prototype build of the Odd'l Rockets F-104 Starfighter, I heard about it!
Most comments were positive but a few let me know the wing fuel tanks were too small.
To be honest, I didn't have many dowels and grabbed what was handy. I bought larger dowels.

Above is the first prototype. It has quite a few stable test flights.

I cut off the fuel tanks and carved two larger ones. On the left is the size comparison.

The inset shows where the paint was scraped off to glue onto the wing.
Is this better? - hope so!
Compared to the OOP Centuri kit, this version is much closer to the truth.
Now . . . more test flights.