Sunday, June 30, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 50, Decals Part C

TIP: These camera targets could be saved for last, after you've had some practice with the larger decals.

Again, tweezers help with placement. Be sure there is a drop of water set down in the corrugations before setting these down.

When the dots are straight and in position, press a paper towel over the top and squeeze out the water. The decals are thin and they should conform to the ribs in the corrugation.

The flag decals are all in line.
TIP: Wrap and tape a sheet of copy paper around the tube for a base alignment line.

Assembly time so far:
35:15 minutes previous
  3:30 to place all decals
38:45 Total so far

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 49, Decals Part B

For consistent placement of the A, B, C, & D fin decals -
TIP: Make a template from card stock.
Trace around a fin leaving some area on the outside for a "handle". Trace on both sides for decal placement on the other side of the fin.
Set the decal in place, check the alignment with the template.
This TIP is based on a template part supplied in the old Centuri kit.

Some of the kit decals are small!
Soak in shallow water and float the decal on the surface. Leaving the decal floating on the surface makes it easier to pick up after soaking.
TIP: Tweezers are a big help placing the decal in the water and removing it.

The curved UNITED STATES decals go on the conical CM capsule.

The straight UNITED STATES decals go on the side of the service module tube.
Here's a moot point - 
TIP: The "I" in the vertical UNITED STATES decal is a little off center.
I placed the decal. Using a single edge razor blade, the "I" was cut above and below it. Don't cut into the paint, just score through the decal
Using my thumb, the "I" was slid over while the decal was still wet and pliable. It doesn't take a large move to center the "I".

Decal placement times are coming - 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 48, Decals Start, Part A

There are about 40 decals to apply!

Hold the decals up to a light and you can see the clear coat border. I'll be cutting the decals close, about 1/16" from the printed image.

TIP: Every decal sheet seems to be different depending on where it was printed how old it is. Always start with a decal you aren't going to use on the model. I won't be using the Estes logos so these will get the soak time, slide and transfer test.

TIP: Clean the surface before you place a decal. Nothing worse than seeing a small piece of lint under the clear areas of the decal.

This seems to be a good decal to start with, it's simply centered on the white areas.

Always wet the surface where the decal will be placed. A little water underneath the decal allows you to slide and straighten it out.
Remove any air bubbles with a damp Q-tip. Roll from the center out to the edges.

Full decal times in the last decal post - 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 47, Gluing The RCS Nozzles

I'm going to add one hour to the build time for all the touch-ups that were done around the mask areas. I was careful as possible and still had paint get into areas I thought were covered.

TIP: Before the paint is totally dry, you can remove some (isolated) over sprays with a Mister Clean Magic Sponge. Go lightly, a Magic Sponge can dull a gloss finish.

The positioning pins on the back of the RCS nozzles are tiny! You can see it right in the center of the picture.
Mentioned earlier, don't spin drill a hole with a knife blade tip. A sewing needle makes a cleaner, smaller hole.
Make the holes with a pin, then spray the silver.

A very small dot of Fabri-Tac glue was set on the back and the housing pressed in place.
A dot of medium CA glue was set over the pin from the inside.

Assembly time so far:
34:45 minutes previous
  1:00 touch-ups
    :15 this post
35:15 Total so far

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 46, Silver Reveal and OOPS!

The silver was sprayed.
Look at the root edge of the fin. You can see where I lightly sanded  the liquid glue "fillet". The coats that followed covered it well.

Here's the reveal after the tape was lifted.
I had clean color separations, Whew!

The finish is much cleaner than the picture shows.
Then this!
While handling the model, I hit one of the fins on the back of a wooden chair. I didn't think I hit it very hard, but the root edge glue joint was loosened! The sides were still adhered to the flexible fairing skin.
It would probably be fine for flight, but I wanted it secure.

After thinking about the repair for a day, I decided to cut through the reinforcement card stock crescent to reach the back of the fin. A carefully placed drop of liquid cement was allowed to run down each side of the fin. From the back I brushed on more cement. It is solid now!

I printed up another card stock crescent, spray painted it silver and glued it over the original with contact cement. FIXED!

Assembly time so far:
33:45 minutes previous
  1 :00 minutes this post
34:45 Total so far

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Two Of My Estes Builds At Show

Randy Boadway posted some pictures on Facebook - 
Two models I built for Estes are already making the rounds, here displayed at The Hobbytyme Show.

Randy and Blaine show off the upcoming BOOSTED BERTHA.
And to the right is the large BT-60 based SASHA.
Both models should be good sellers for Estes.

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 45, Parachutes

You have three parachutes to assemble. The design is from the old Centuri kit and simulates the gore pattern from the Apollo mission splashdowns.

TIP: Turn over your straightedge so there is no chance of the plastic sheet flexing when cutting out the parachute sides. You can get a ragged edge if the sheet moves. Don't bother with scissors, use your knife with a new, sharp blade.

I found it interesting that the shroud line attachments were drawn old style, with a loop of line under a solid disk.
You are supplied with disks with a hole in the center. I wouldn't want to trust a simple attachment like this given the weight of the rocket.

I place the disks with the flat side of my knife instead of using my fingers. The oils on your skin can diminish the adhesion on the underside of the disk.

Parachute assembly is standard, punch the center hole and tie on the line. There big chutes to assemble, two 24" and one 18".

The shroud line strings are LONG! 
Don't pull on the ends or you'll end up with a tangled mess. If you can, find the tape end - or carefully cut through the tape and unravel slowly.

The instructions have you "loop and pull" the parachute around a double knot in the rubber shock cord. This is a difficult way to attach the shroud lines. It doesn't feel secure, the loop could open up and detach from the shock cord.

TIP: I recommend using a snap swivel on all parachutes.
Tie the lines in the small loop. You can (carefully) feed the open hook through a single overhand knot in the shock cord.

Assembly time so far:
32:15 minutes previous
  1:30 minutes this post
33:45 Total so far

Monday, June 24, 2019

A Email Question About Filling BT Seams

You frequently explain how to fill the spiral seam on a rocket tube. There is a detail, however, which is not clear; I thought it might be something of general interest to your blog - reading community.

There are typically two spirals on a body tube. There is a "primary" spiral, where the gap is open to the air, and a harder-to-see "secondary" spiral, which seems to be under the outer layer of paper. 
I have seen on your blog and in the article you wrote for the Apogee newsletter that you use a pencil to highlight the secondary spiral. But what is not clear is how you fill this secondary spiral. 
Do you somehow rupture or slice through the paper covering it so that you can push the filler down into the groove, or do you simply put filler on top of the outer paper layer? (Clearly, for the *primary* spiral, you can push the filler down into the groove.)

If I knew the answer to this question, I could do a much better job of filling spirals!


Hi O.S.,
I only fill what you refer to as the "Primary Spiral" where the gap is open to the air. 
You can feel it with your fingernail.
The Secondary spiral is never filled with wood filler.
I wouldn't want to punch or cut into through the clear glassine skin, 
that would weaken the tube.
Usually any slight secondary spiral indent is filled with the sanded filler/primer.

That pencil line is only in the primary, outside spiral. 
The line makes the spiral easier to see when filling with the CWF.

Thanks and good luck with your BT seam fills - 

Chris Michielssen

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 44, Spraying The Silver

Before spraying the silver,
I didn't want to spray the silver with a dull coat after the decals. A dull coat could turn the silver to a gray. The low end of the model got a dull coat before the silver mask.
Try to push the tape into the corrugations as best you can.
TIP: To seal the tape edge, use a Q-tip instead of a fingernail. The Q-tip is softer and won't scar or dent the vacu-form plastic.
You probably won't get a perfect seal in and out of the corrugations, just do the best you can.

Here's a better view of the back end mask.
I prefer to keep paint out of the front and rear of body tubes.

I used Testor's Master Modeler spray paint for the silver. It's more expensive but the small can covers quite a bit. The price is good when you use a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby.

After the first light silver spray, I did notice some liquid glue fillet "marring" along the fairing edge. That rough silver was lightly sanded before the second final coat.

This picture is before the touch-ups.
Spray paint was shot into a small mixing cup and fixes done with a good brush. After the decals are on the model will get a dull coat. The gloss on the decals will disappear after the dull coat is sprayed.

Assembly time so far:
31:45 minutes previous
    :30 minutes this post
32:15 Total so far

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Ed Mitton Snap Swivel Connection TIP

For the longest time I've been tying the parachute shroud lines to the small loop on a snap swivel. It's not the easiest way to attach them. You've got to tie the line ends onto the small loop with a separate string.

The large hook end is opened and is attached to a single overhand knot on the shock cord.

I saw this on Ed Mitton's blog - Blast From The Past.
This may be a better solution.

The elastic shock cord is fed through the small loop end of the swivel and tied off with a single overhand knot.
The parachute shroud lines are dropped into the open hook end.

To visit Ed's blog: CLICK HERE

I might add this at the center point of the shroud line loops - 
1. Tie a small loop at the center of the shroud line ends.

2. Slip the in loops side by side in the open snap swivel "hook"
3. Close the hook.

With shroud lines set up like this you have tangle free shroud lines!
Leave the snap swivel on the shock cord and in the rocket.
With the loops set side by side, there shouldn't be any tangled lines. If the lines get crossed up, it can be cleared by opening the hook and taking out the lines.

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 43, Masking For The Silver

This might be a tougher mask than the insterstage wrap!
I used some frosted Scotch tape to mask the curve around the fairing.
I cut the 1/4" wide strips in as smooth an arc as I could. These were cut on my sliding patio glass. Two of the arcs have been removed here so you could see the arc and width of the piece.
It may take a few tries to get the arc curve right.
Look to the right side fairing and you can see the tape piece. Cut in the arc shape it should lay down straight around the fairing line.

You might have better luck using a Tamiya tape. I didn't have any and couldn't wait for a mail order.
The Scotch tape is stiff and doesn't lay down perfectly into the corrugations.

Here's how I cut around the lower launch lug.

After the Scotch tape strips were set down, a double layer of copy paper was cut to mask the area between the fins. Notice how it is creased and pressed into the fairing / body joint.
Masking tape was used on top of the paper and over the Scotch tape edge pieces.
Inside the bottom end, masking tape covers the inner tube edge. Paper towels fill the open engine mount area.
I still have to cover that launch lug before spraying the silver.

Assembly time so far:
30:00 minutes previous
  1:45 minutes this post
31:45 Total so far

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 42, Interstage Mask

Here's the start of the interstage wrap mask.

First, use smaller pieces of tape over the tunnels and raised details. Be sure the inside corners are tucked in and the edges sealed.

After the tunnel masks, block off all the vertical white area bands.

Notice the masking tape overlaps about 1/16" of the Sharpie outlines.

Here's the mask reveal before touch-ups.
On the right (viewed from below) you can see why sign painters say the hardest surface to letter on is corrugation. Trying to keep lettering and lines straight through corrugations is tough.

Assembly time so far:
30:00 minutes previous
  0:45 minutes this post
30:45 Total so far

Friday, June 21, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 41, Masking For The Black

TIP: I wouldn't recommend masking and spraying the model in one sitting. It's simply too much work, you could find it overwhelming.
1. Mask and spray the reduction and third stage body as one operation.
2. Then mask and spray the bottom and fins.
3. Third, mask and spray the interstage wrap. The interstage wrap is probably the most difficult. By this point you've had some practice dealing with the corrugations.

You'd should have a whole, new roll of masking tape handy. You'll be using most of it.

TIP: I usually press the sticky side of the paper masking tape on my pant leg five or six times before setting it down on the model. With the fibers left on the tape it isn't as sticky and there is less chance of lifting the paint. I don't do this with Scotch tape edge masks. Because of the Sharpie outlines I won't be using Scotch tape masks on this build. Most all the masks are done with tan painter's tape.

Here's the easiest mask, at the top of the 3rd stage.
Notice how the tap overlaps the Sharpie ink by about 1/16". You will want to spray directly (90 degrees) over the tape, as you see it here. Do not spray from the top, bottom or from the sides - spray straight on.
The Sharpie outlines will help define a good, sharp color separation.
Here's the low end mask - it looks like a mess, but all the white areas are covered!
I'm most concerned with a good tape seal along the black inked borders. Double check the tape seal around the tunnels.

There is tape inside the open low tube end. Two wraps of copy paper cover most all the areas between the black band areas of the body.

Assembly time so far:
28:30 minutes previous
  1:30 minutes this post
30:00 Total so far

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Estes Contest

Estes is doing something they haven't done in years - An actual contest!
It's a Photo Contest to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 flight.
To check out the prizes and enter - CLICK HERE
Winners are chosen at random?

Of course I entered - 
I didn't really follow the rules: "Snap a photo of yourself (or someone else) launching a rocket."

Of all the pictures I've taken a club launches, this was a favorite! Three of the boys in this recovery crew have flight suits on!

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 40, Lower Body Outlines

TIP: At the top of the fairings I used the flat back of a single edge razor blade for a small straightedge. Masking tape was doubled over the sharp blade edge.
The ultra fine point Sharpie was used for the line down the middle top of the fairing.

Keep the lines on the body tube thin! See the EDIT below.

The ultra fine point Sharpie was used down the root edge of the fin joint. Do this only if you have a smooth fillet.
Notice I only went down as far as the silver border to be sprayed later.
Here's the bottom on the left and the top on the right, ready for masking and spraying of the black in the next post.
The width on the left is what you are going for, even a little thinner. The borders on the right side are too wide.

EDIT: I learned not to do a wide Sharpie line on the body tube areas. Even after a flat clear coat on smooth surfaces, the pen lines will show up next to the sprayed areas. The corrugations hide the Sharpie pen outlines well - but not on the smooth body tube!

Be ready:
Masking a Saturn V is time consuming and can be frustrating. Take a deep breath and slow down. You might want to mask this one when the kids are out of the room.

Assembly time so far:
27:30 minutes previous
  1:00 minutes this post
28:30 Total so far

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Estes Saturn V #1969 Build, Part 39, Interstage Wrap Black

This is the 9/16" wide horizontal stripe. and a time consuming part of the mask. You'll be going in and out of the corrugations and have to keep the line consistent when viewed straight on.
Ask any sign painter what is the hardest surface to paint - He'll tell you: "Lettering and painting over corrugations."

In the top picture, there is a piece of tape set down right above the top of the band. This is not used for masking, it is just a visual aid. If you get too close to the tape the ink will bleed under it.
Just the tops of the corrugations are marked in a straight line.

The tape is removed.
As before on the transition wrap, the low dips in the corrugation are filled in, up to the black edge on the high corrugation ribs. I found it easier to fill in from below and going up to the previous line.
Relax, this will take some time.

Other lines can be widened after the first ultra fine point lines. Here is a fine point Sharpie running right down the corrugation dip.
A regular fine point Sharpie was used to widen the black borders.
Again, these borders were wider than they need to be.
Using these initial inked borders, masking still has to be carefully done, you'll hopefully have a sharper outside border edge before spraying the black. This is critical when going in and out of the raised corrugations.

Assembly time so far:
25:00 minutes previous
  2:30 minutes this post
27:30 Total so far