Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Comic Book Boards? TIP

In a recent Forum post, Deepovertone asked: 
"I'm looking to find heavy card stock like the stuff Estes uses for their centering rings. Does anyone know a good source for stuff that heavy? Thanks." 

KJohnson responded:
"Comic book boards. You can get 100 for $12 at Walmart. Cheaper other places, YMMV. These are typically 24pt (.024" thick) cardstock. Can be laminated for thicker parts.

Mat board thickness varies by brand, but is usually somewhere between 40pt and 50pt (.040" - .050" thick) for 4 ply board." 

I have bought comic book backing boards before and are a good dense card stock. These could be laminated (two layers for .50" thick stock) for making centering rings.

Here's one online source: CLICK HERE

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 16, Elevator Elastic

The notches in the elevator were filled and painted. I looked close at the instruction illustrations and marked the locations.

First a shallow notch was cut with a knife.
A razor saw made the cut about 3/32" deep.

The black elastic was fraying on the end.
I tied an overhand knot to stop the fraying. White glue was rubbed in the loose end. After the glue dried the string was cut off clean.

A second knot is tied at 3 1/2".

Here's how the elastic is placed to lift the elevator when the pop pod is ejected.

The inset picture shows how to store the elastic between launches.

The last two red stripes go over the ends of the elevator.

On the left shows the stripe right off the sheet, still on the backing.
On the right shows the stripe trimmed for a even white border around the ends.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 15, Ends and Edges

The rear fins and exposed tube on the pop pod were already sprayed gloss black. I wanted the fins to be less noticeable so they were hit with flat clear acrylic.

TIP: Before you spray any clear, brush off any dust. Dust will show up and be very visible under the clear coat. 

For some reason the trailing edges of the fins didn't get an opaque black coat. A Sharpie was run over the edges.

Before applying the elevator hinge, align it with the ends of the elevator. Lightly tape the bottom to hold it in place.

Flip over the model to apply the clear hinge. The clear hinges from the kit didn't stick very well.

I ended up using some clear packing tape for the hinges.

They were set down and burnished. the overhang was cut with sharp scissors.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Estes Saturn V Decal Changes

I put 3/4 of the decals on the new Saturn V build today.

On the last kit build the two command module and two service module decals the UNITED STATES wording was curved to fit the command module cover. This left you with two curved decals for the sides of the service module tube.

Estes fixed those decals this time, two curved for the conical CM cover and two straight for the sides of the service module.
GOTCHA: The vertical UNITED STATES decals were still wrong. The "I" in UNITED isn't centered!

On the left, the "I" should be centered over the center line of the letter "T" below it.

On the right side picture I cut the decal and slid over the "I" - four times! The entire decal was set down. As it was starting to stick the "I" was cut with a sharp knife. the decal is thin and it doesn't take much knife pressure to cut through the clear coat. Once it was free of the line it was slid to the center with finger pressure.

I spent a few years setting headlines in a print shop. I tend to notice things like this.

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 14, More Stickers

I don't think the sticker will go over the raised launch lug on the other side of the wing.

I marked a slot and removed the excess for a good fit.

The circle sticker fits very tight around the wing center disk. You'd better get it centered before applying any pressure and sticking it down.

I did try dip the stickers in water and wet the surface before setting them down. This allows you to lift the stickers and reposition before squeegeeing out the water under the sticker.

Here's how the decals came off the sheet. Mentioned earlier, I left on the backing so I could check the placement before sticking anything down.
On this tube wrap I trimmed off the clear edges right outside the black lines.

The upper tube wrap was marked at the center. Set the center in line with the fin then wrap around the sides of the tube. Centering the stripe and you end up with equal ends around the bottom of the tube.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 13, Wing Tip Stickers

The stickers were deeply die cut, I could punch them of the sheet leaving the backing still on.

GOTCHA: You can see how off the cut was when setting the tips on the wing. You'll want some even white border around the edges of the decal. The overhanging lip won't wrap over the rounded ends of the wing.

The tip shape was traced on the backing with pencil. I used scissors to cut off the excess.

With the backing still on the sticker I could sand the edges round.

Without sticking it down, here's how the wing tip sticker should look.

The other side will have to be fixed. Look how much was removed!
I used the first trimmed wing tip as a template to cut the other side.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

New Estes Saturn V Service Module Wrap

I'm building an Estes Saturn V kit for a client. I decided to upgrade the Service Module trim.

In the May/June 2017 issue of Sport Rocketry, Everett Stowe built a BIG 25th scale Saturn V. One page had a drawing of his service module trim.

In the past I've used the wrap pattern from the old Centuri Saturn V. Turns out, it wasn't accurate but did add more detail than just painting the SM an overall silver.

I scanned the magazine drawing and reduced it to the circumference of the upper tube on the model. The wrap was cut from chrome trim Monokote. The four small rectangles are the locations of the RCS housings.

The lower wide rectangles were removed letting the white paint show through underneath. The lower strips were stuck down after the wrap was in place.
Part of the template is taped around the tube for placement of the small squares at the top.

Here's how the wraps came out, a big improvement over just silver paint.
Decals and RCS nozzles will be added soon.

If you would like a copy of the Service Module template to fit the Estes kit, email me at: and request the Saturn V Service Module Trim PDF.

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 12, Pod Parachute

The instructions have you loop-tip the parachute shroud lines to the center of the pod tube. Follow with a wrap of masking tape. Masking tape is paper and will easily tear.

TIP: Instead of paper tape, cut a square of clear plastic from the excess from the peel and stick decal sheet. This will be much stronger.

The shroud lines were tied towards the back end of the pod.
With a used C6-3 engine in place I couldn't tie the parachute lines at the balance point. I ended up tying it towards the back so the pod would fall at more of an angle.

This step of the instructions say to round the pod fins now. Why now?
It was easier to round the fins before gluing onto the rear of the pop pod.

Friday, January 26, 2018

All Those Tubes in that Little Brown Box!

I received my Semroc Saturn 1B kit last week.
I was surprised by how small the box was. Here it's next to the Estes Saturn V for comparison.

The Estes Saturn V box is large because of the large, low tube, around 25" long. That box is 28" tall. In the Saturn 1B box there are many "tubes inside tubes".

For some reason I thought about the old Stan Freberg jingle: "Eight Great Tomatoes in that Little Bitty Can, Contadina!"

Go to this audio clip and about :58 seconds in - CLICK HERE

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 11, Finish up the Pop Pod

I was concerned about the front centering ring. It's going to take the brunt of the ejection charge.

I coated it with medium CA glue applied with a Q-tip. After the CA dried it was smoothed with 400 grit. This smoother ring will make for a easier slide in the body tube.

The dowel mount was glued to the rear of the pop pod, even with the end of the tube. I slid in an engine casing so I could press down the mount without distorting the round tube.

The view from the top - 
Be sure the dowel runs straight down the body tube.

The pop pod assembly is painted black.
The lower centering ring was masked off with the rest of the upper tube.

The model is painted an overall white.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 10, Dowel Mount Shim

I wasn't happy with the dowel stand-off fit over the engine pod. There were gaps on both sides.

Problem is, if you sand too much so it hugs the tube you make is shorter and the dowel won't slide into the wing lug.

I made a small shim by warping some wet 1/16" thick balsa around an X-Acto handle.
When it dried the curved piece was glued to the bottom of the dowel mount. A glue bottle applied pressure on that curve.

Most all of the shim was sanded off but the fit was much better.

TIP: I didn't sand the base curve around the BT-50 body tube. Instead I sanded it around an 18mm engine casing. On a piece like this, sometimes the fit ends up better if you sand the contour on a smaller diameter tube.

Here's the view with the dowel mount glued to the rear end of the pop pod.

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 9, Ends and Edges

The tie-down lug on the back of the plastic nose cone shoulder is cut off.
I used a fine saw and sanded the end smooth.

On the peel and stick decal sheet is a red dot. The instructions call this a "Engine Debris Block". It goes over the base end of the nose cone shoulder.
I didn't think this was enough protection against a hot ejection. I cut another disk out of heavy card stock and glued it over the entire bottom of the base. I also gave it a coat of glue to protect it.

The remainder of the launch lug is glued into the open slot on the outside of the wing.
After the glue dried the end was cut off clean with a new razor blade.

The front "Plastic Wing Holder" is glued together with liquid plastic glue. It was clamped with clothespins as it dried.

The base of this piece is curved and will glue to the nose cone.
When the model is launched, the wing tip is held between the two pins on the left.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 8, Rear Stabilizer

The front of the stabilizer is glued on the rear of the tube, centered and even with the end. There are small center tic marks at the front and back of the stab.

The inside angle is too tight to apply and smooth out fillets.

Glue was pushed in on both sides to reinforce the joint.

Glue was also added to the front of the joint and smoothed out.

The instructions have you attach the elevator and tape hinges now. TIP: Wait until paint is applied so the tape hinges will adhere better.

The tube mount spacer (lug and standoff) is glued down the center line of the stabilizer.

The tube standoffs are glued on either side of the lug and standoff.
On the right, notice the low corner of the "slant" end is even with the back edge of the flat stabilizer. This slant end stops the raised elevator at ejection.

Did I Just Cram A Few Ounces Of Clay?

This struck me as pretty funny - 
On the Facebook Model Rocket Fanatics page, Mark Geidel posted -

To see the video clip, CLICK HERE

Monday, January 22, 2018

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 7, Wing Pivot

The fit of the wing pivot disk was loose in the wing hole. There is a tab in the disk that fits a notch in the edge of the hole.

To tighten the fit of the disk I ran a line of yellow glue around the inside of the hole. After the glue dried the fit was tighter.

Here's the underside showing how the wing pivot rotates. The base stops on either side of the post in the disk. A rubber band will go over the post in the disk and to the left of the base.

The disk is glued into the wing hole, I used Beacon Fabri-tac glue.
The wing pivot cap is glued into the opening of the of the disk and into the base.

Earlier I traced around the pivot base before it was glued into the wing. The primer was scraped off where the base made contact with the tube.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 6A, Dowel Mount GOTCHA!

A comment from Naoto Kimura:

Naoto Kimura January 20, 2018 at 9:46 PM
"Potential gotcha - the new version instructions appear to missing a few points present in the old version. It is missing the "sides extend below center - do not trim yet" note (the illustration on old version also clearly shows that side pieces extend slightly below the center piece)."

From the old kit instructions, you are told to glue the side pieces so they extend below the center. The reissue instructions show the side pieces are glued up even.

Check out Step 7 illustration on the right side:

You're right Naoto!
Usually I check the old instructions on a website like Jim Z's - this time I didn't.
During construction I did figure it out, I added a curved shim (coming post) to raise the dowel mount for a better fit.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 6, Dowel Mount

I sanded the sides clean trying not to change the shape of the parts.

GOTCHA: Check the next post before gluing on the side pieces!
The three pieces were glued side by side with the dowel in the middle top.
Clothes pin clamps held it all together while it dried.

The sides were cleaned up again without sanding too much off the sides. The height of the dowel mount could be critical later on.

The top was rounded off trying to match the contour of the dowel.

Estes Scissor Wing Transport Build, Part 5, Rear Fins

Before gluing on the pod fins, notice the pencil marks on the centering rings and over the edge of the tube.

TIP: When these fins are set on the tube they will totally cover up the pencil lines. Extend the lines around the tube end and over the rings for easier visual alignment.

It not easy to sneak a glue fillet around the side braces. I had to apply glue, smooth the fillet and remove excess with a Q-tip.