Saturday, March 31, 2018

New Way Firecat 4, Finished

This was fun, except for that minor glitch with the decals!
These are very sturdy models, a bit heavier than a comparable sized rocket. The square tubes are thick! I was surprised how well it performed at the schoolyard field with a B6-4.
If you haven't tried a New Way kit, you are missing out!

What Knot Is It?

In an earlier post I showed the knot tying diagrams from the New Way Firecat 4 kit.
I was a Boy Scout and tied my share of knots but that was years ago. I do remember the simple ones.

Some comments were trying to identify the shroud line attachment knot shown.

Scott Johnson wrote:
"That knot looks like a hitch. Kind of like a taut-line hitch. We use the taut-line hitch for tent lines."
I did a search online and found a step by step for the Tautline Knot, shown above.

I think Tim Burger has the right knot, the BUNT LINE HITCH. At first glance, both knots look the same.
It looks like the New Way rocket designers used this GIF (above) to draw their knot tying directions.
I don't care for this "hitch" style knot for shroud lines. When the long end is pulled the knot cinches and tightens. While the Tyvek is very strong I wouldn't want the line to cinch and bunch it up.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Odd'l Rockets Now At!

The entire Odd'l Rockets product line is now available from!
To see the kit and accessories lineup: CLICK HERE

Semroc will also be producing some MicroMaxx kits -

The Blue Bird Zero is first up,
soon to be followed by the MMX Fat Boy, Goblin and Hawk.
The specs are interesting - but I doubt a 13" tall MicroMaxx rocket will get to 215 feet!

Estes Sold!

On the Rocketry Forum, Samb posted:

"Estes Industries, LLC wins the auction for the Estes-Cox Lot. When the court approves the sale on Monday, April 2nd it's a done deal." 
To see the contract: CLICK HERE

From the contract:

Interesting to note the price was bumped up from 6 Million to 7 Million. A million dollar increase - "Yeah, just initial that!"

Robert Ellis Langford is the son on John Langford.
To see John's rocketry and aerospace background, CLICK HERE and scroll down to post #198 by George Gassaway. 
As some have said on TRF, it could be great to have an actual hobbyist and a aerospace engineer at the helm.

I met John Langford (Robert Ellis' Father) at the NARAMs in 1975 and 1976. John was half of the Biedron/Langford team. Their scale entries were amazing. John commented on my models: "Your work is clean, you should consider entering the Scale Competition." I took that as a great compliment.

New Way Firecat 4 Build, Part 15, Shock Cord Ties

To be sure the Kevlar didn't extend beyond the body tube lip -
It was pulled tight against the top of the body tube and the Kevlar marked with a Sharpie.

This was fed out the rear, through the engine mount.
A loop knot was tied with the Sharpie mark below the loop.

The round elastic was attached with interlocking loops.

The line was fed through the engine mount, body tube and back out the top.
On the right you can see the loop knot is below the top of the body tube edge. No chance for a zipper!

An overhand loop knot is tied a few inches down from the nose cone. The snap swivel and parachute is clipped onto the loop.

Gregory Eberly's Monarch

From the Facebook Model Rocketry Fanatics page -

Gregory Eberly posted a picture of a recently finished Estes Monarch.
Greg is a great builder, the finish looks very smooth with a good gloss.
What stood out on this one is the chrome trim strips.
I would assume this is chrome Monokote Trim. It is self adhesive, easy to cut and apply.

I occasionally use chrome trim on my rockets.
Centuri would include a piece of chrome in some kits. Check out threse three from their 1972 catalog.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

You'd Think An Ebay Seller Would Know Better By Now . . .

I recently bought a Quest Striker AGM kit on Ebay. This model has been a favorite and I wanted to build it better this time.
Take a look at the padded shipping bag, we've been down this road before. I knew there was going to be damage even before it was opened up.

Before the kit was opened I responded to the seller through Ebay:

"I just received my Quest Striker AGM kit in the mail.
Please do not send rocket kits (with body tubes) in a padded envelope!

The second picture shows a tear in the back of the bag.The main body tube is bent on both ends requiring me to cut off 3/4" from each side to get a round tube. That is if I can use the tube at all. I haven't opened the kit bag yet.

The third picture shows both ends of the body tube with end crimps on both sides.
Another problem - This is Quest 35mm tubing. Estes tubes cannot be substituted for it. They are not the same diameter.
If I were to order a replacement 35mm tube from Quest directly, I would probably have to pay almost $10.00 for shipping!
I am not happy about the way the model kit was shipped. Rocket kits should be packaged in a box for mailing. I have received many kits sent in boxes with no damage to the parts.
Where do we go from here?"

You'd think a seller named "Wise Guy Hobbies" would be a little smarter than this!
Here's the email exchange -
Wise Guys Hobbies:
I apologize for the issue I don't see any damage to the rocket from the photos. I can partially refund you for the tube or you can return the item.

My Response:
If you were to do a partial refund to cover replacement of the tube -
If ordered from Quest, here's the cost with shipping directly copied from their website:
One T35 body tube - $2.90
Estimated Tax Total $0.00
Estimated Postage Total $9.00
Estimated Basket Total $11.90

You can't see the crimping of the tube ends in the photo? Look at the last picture on the left side. The ends are bent in and the tube strength is compromised.
The tube is not usable. If the bent areas were cut off the model would lose 1 1/2" in overall length when assembled.
Wise Guys Hobbies:
I can split the cost of the tube with shipping or you can send the item back I can't justify that much of a loss on a low dollar item for a bend I can't really make out from your photos.

My Response:
The tube ends are crimped and unacceptable. Looking through the bag I can now see a crease towards the middle. You were in error by sending the kit is a padded envelope.
Why should I be the one to absorb the cost of your bad packing?
If you were to pay half of the replacement cost and shipping I would would still be out an additional $5.95. If I were to send it back, do you pay the return shipping?

In the end, the vendor said they send a return shipping label. I never received it!
I had planned to send the kit back in the same crappy envelope.
I have some shorter Quest style 35mm tubes and could make up some couplers I guess.
I'm not going to make up an order for single tube.
Maybe I'll pick up the 18" 35mm tube when the Quest Jet C and D engines are for sale.
Steer clear of Wise Guys Hobbies on Ebay!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

New Way Firecat 4 Build, Part 14, Decals - Uh Oh!

Everything was great - until the decals!

TIP: Always test the soak time and apply a decal (you probably won't use) on the model surface before using the "real" decals.
I tried a test soak and application using the NewWay logo on the decal sheet. It seemed thin but went on okay. The logo decal was removed and I proceeded to apply the others.

One side of the "T" and silhouette decal went on with a hitch. The other side broke up when it was slid off the backing. Apparently the clear coat was too thin.
I played it safe and clear coated the remaining decals.

Hobbico Bids

Dan Bates posted a link on the Facebook Model Rocketry Fanatics page:
Horizon Hobby agrees to make $18.8M bid for Hobbico units
"The purchase won't include Estes, United Model, Revell US or Revell Germany."
To see the entire news article: CLICK HERE 

Monday, March 26, 2018

LAUNCH! N.E.F.A.R., Bunnell, FL, March 24, 2018

WOW! What great weather.
This was a re-schedule for the postponed March 10 launch. Not many fliers today, probably one third of the normal crowd. They missed out on the best weather of the year. Clear skies and very little wind.

My first launch of the Estes CURVILINEAR was with a Chinese made Quest B6-4. Very fast off the launcher and better than normal altitude. Some were curious what engine was used.

Everything went well today, I launched the Curvilinear a second time with an Estes B6-4. The speed and altitude was not as good as the earlier Quest B6-4!

Here's the second launch of the New Way FIRECAT 4 with an Estes C6-5.
Great textbook launch to about 600 feet. There's another New Way model, the Demon N20 on the adjacent pad.

Chris Hubbard didn't get a full open parachute on his Estes Orange Crush recovery. He found out why when it was picked up.
At ejection the rocket punched right through the parachute. That's something you don't see everyday!

I really like the Quest STILETTO with 24mm engines.
An Estes D12-5 took it to 500'. At ejection the nose cone and body separated. Both ends landed close together. The 1/4" elastic shock cord was crunchy and broke at the Kevlar tie. The body fell flat with no damage.

I hadn't launched my upscale Estes TEROS in a while. This build used the plastic champagne glass nose cones from the Dollar Tree store.
I was lucky with the E9-4 launch, there were two other E9 CATOs today. That's probably why Estes is discontinuing the engine production.
This model reached an estimated 750 feet.

It's always great to see stable fights of your kits!
Left: Jim's first flight of his Odd'l F-104 with an A8-3.
Right: Chris flew her Pigasus with a C6-5.

That's Jimmy Yawn. Jimmy shoots the great videos and stills you see on the NEFAR website.
He followed this one through the entire flight right up until it landed at his feet!

My best launch of the day was the Estes SKY DART with an Estes C6-3.
At 100 feet up it went 45 degrees to the north east. After ejection it stabilized and gave me my best boost glide to date. I would guess it got to 250 feet, the fast wide circular glide lasted about 30 seconds.
Six up, six down with just a shock cord break. A great day!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

A Letter From Wes Oleszewski (Dr. Zooch)

Comment posted from Frank Claunch:
Did know if you have seen this yet

From ‎Wes Oleszewski‎ to National Association of Rocketry

To all of my friends and customers in the model rocket world... during 2018 Dr. Zooch Rockets will cease operations after having been in business for 14 amazing years. As of Friday, March 25 I have notified all of my retailers that I will no longer be taking orders and will be busy clearing the huge back-log of pending orders.

The reason for this is singular... it for my own personal health. As some of you may know I have suffered with three bad disks in my neck since December 2014. I was not then and am not now a good candidate for surgery, I have been going through pain management and physical therapy with good results... until I go back to the activity of filling boxes with rocket parts. Three times now that repetitive motion has aggravated my neck and caused the pain to return resulting in another spinal injection. Now I have a choice, either delete the repetitive motion, or go under the knife. My choice was to simply close the company.

Dr. Zooch has always made a profit- often very slim, but still remaining in the black. I have zero debt, because I always paid for everything I needed up front. So, it has been a great 14 year run and a lot of fun along the way. My thanks go out to the guys who gave me my start among them being Tim Van Milligan and Pat McCarthy both of whom went to Embry-Riddle with me and are charter members of the Avion mafia. One of the most key people all along has been Bill Saindon of Balsa Machining Service, whose custom parts and countless "rush" deliveries helped make my little company go. Thanks also the the MDRA, my home rocket club where nearly all Dr. Zooch flight tests took place.

Now, of course, what about me. No worries, the rocket company was a part-time gig anyhow. My 24th book will come out this April and my author's career is chugging right along- this'll probably be my second best-seller. Just visit Amazon and under "books" search my last name, "Oleszewski" I'm the only Oleszewski in that area- so most of my work pops up. I can also take time now to build and fly rockets just for fun again. Thanks to all of my Dr. Zooch customers- you are all super.
I'm very sorry to hear this.
Some of my favorite builds have been the Dr. Zooch kits. I finally got to meet Wes at the NARCON held here in Florida two years ago. I brought two of my Zooch builds, Wes had them on display at his booth.
If you haven't built on of his kits, I highly recommended them. His BT-60 Saturn V is a favorite. Thanks Wes, you did it right!

Estes Mini A Heli now Available!

The new Estes Mini "A" Heli is available on the Estes Website:

This picture shows a closeup of the rotor blades in the open position. They are activated with a burn string.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

New Way Firecat 4 Build, Part 13, Nose Cone Mask

Here's how the fins came out.
So far, so good!

Masking the nose cone stripe was different.
Scotch tape, brown masking tape and copy paper.

When you pull the edge tape, lift it a little down and away from the mask line.

I used the Rusto Black Metallic paint. It doesn't always give a clean mask line, this time I had some very small paint tears.

On the left top you can see one of the small paint tear lifts.
On the right I used a ultra fine point Sharpie to clean up the line. Even though the Sharpie isn't a metallic ink, the area is small and it made for a good touch-up.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Model Rocket Launch BINGO!

I put this together after seeing a "Soundman's Bingo Card" on Facebook.
This might be just the thing to keep the wife and kids busy when they are dragged to a club launch. When you see or hear one of these phrases, mark it off. First with five in a row is the winner!

If you'd like the PDF to print off your own game boards, email me a request to

Thursday, March 22, 2018

New Way Firecat 4 Build, Part 12, Masking The Fins

As suggested in the instructions -
One side of fins 1 and 3 are red, one side of fins 2 and 4 are black.

It sounds simple but it's not an easy mask. Trying to get a straight line around the edges of the fin is tough.

I went the easy route, alternating red, white, black and white fins. It'll still capture the feel of the face card picture.

Using strips of Scotch tape (marked with a Sharpie before cutting into strips) the fin was outlined.
Going around the rounded leading and trailing edges requires five small pieces of tape set at angles.

The bulk of the rocket will be covered with a plastic grocery bag.
To get the right size slit over the fin, the bag was pulled and stretched over the outside edge of the fin.

The stretched plastic was cut off with scissors. This allowed the bag to be slipped over the fin and taped next to the Scotch tape mask.

Here's the masking tape holding the bag edge down to the outside of the Scotch tape edge.
The black fin on the opposite side got the same treatment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Quest Q-Jet 3D Rendering

On the NAR Facebook page, Jim Parsons showed his 3D image of the new Quest Q-Jet motors:

Well, it looks like someone (Gary C Rosenfield) blabbed...
"3D renderings by Jim Parsons of the new Quest Q-Jets for the motor instruction sheet. Despite the way it looks, getting the initiator placed at the top of the propellant core space is not difficult at all. The slot for the A motor is actually quite large and runs from one side of the grain to the other. The slot for the B motor is somewhat narrower but extends past the centerline of the grain by about 1/16”. The C and D motors are center core burners. The Q-Jets were designed so that the initiator is positioned at the same location regardless of motor size. This is accomplished by a spacer tube installed between the propellant grain and nozzle. There is a piece of heat shrink tubing on the initiator leads that serves as a visual indicator of proper placement."

Clay Weight Consumers - Beware!

I ran out of clay weight when bagging up the Odd'l Rockets Little Green Man and Pigasus kits. So, off to the Dollar Store I go.
No luck at the Dollar Store, no luck at Staples. I went to Michael's with a 50% off coupon pulled up  my smart phone.

$8.00 for modeling clay? The 50% off coupon made it easier. It's Crayola brand, a name we've all trusted since we were kids.
2 pounds of clay cut into 1/2 oz chunks would be enough for 64 kits. A 1/2 oz. of clay would cost .0625 cents per kit.
On the right is the top of the clay box showing the orientation of the clay blocks inside.

Look what I found inside!
It certainly didn't look like the box top!

It is still 2 pounds of clay, the packaging is just deceptive. I might send these pictures to Consumer Reports for the inside back cover copy called "Selling It."

New Way Firecat 4 Build, Part 11, Primer Filler Mask and Launch Lug

The thru-the-wall fin tabs and a bit of the side wall of the fin got masked for the shot of filler/primer.
I wanted the fillet area to be clear of the filler/primer for a better glue bond.

The square launch lug is glued to the standoff.
The standoff root edge is also thru-the-wall. The slot was a hair wide, it'll easily be filled with a fillet of Titebond M&TG.

I was tempted to glue the fins on so they would extend down.
This model should land on the engine extending out the back.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

New Way Firecat 4 Build, Part 10, Engine Mount and Fin Grain Fill

The engine mount is glued in with 1/8" of the engine mount tube extending out the back.
The engine hook ends up being centered in a corner of the main air frame tube between the fin locations.

The tube seams were sanded with 200 grit followed by 400 grit. This tube had an overlap seam so no CWF was needed.

A fin was set to see how long the root edge was. I wanted to mask the gluing area so the primer/filler couldn't soak in and seal the tube from the glue.

Here's the main tube after spraying with the primer/filler and sanding.
The tube took two coats to fill the seams and smooth out the surface. These New Way tubes are rougher than a typical Estes style tube. In the end they can look good but there will probably be some  highs and lows in the surface.

The balsa fins only needed one pass with the Carpenter's Wood Filler.
TIP: After you sand the surface always go back and look at the fins under a bright light. You might find some areas that will need some more sanding.