Friday, July 10, 2020

Bad Paint - AGAIN!

I'm never going to recommend a brand of paint again.

I started having troubles with Rusto 2X Gloss White a while back. Occasionally it would shoot out a rough splatter or what I called "cottage cheese". Luckily it sanded down easily.

I switched over to Rusto High Performance enamel in the silver can. For a while things were going well. The paint went on smooth and dried with a good gloss - until today. It spattered and left a rough coat.
The picture above shows a rough coat on some scrap cardboard. This was after I heard the spray "hiss" change. I tried to clear the bad goop on some scrap cardboard to resume smooth painting. It took over 10 sprays to clear the rough spray.

I'll start looking for another gloss white paint. Maybe Duplicolor?
Duplicolor car paint sprays on smooth but in humid weather it doesn't seem to dry as glossy.

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 11, More Decals

The low end of the nose cone has 16 decals.

Set the gray centers first, then the upper and lower yellow and black stripes.
After those dry, set down the the vertical blue bands, see below.

Here's how the nose cone section looks with all the decals in place.

That gray decal in the center and to the left of the blue band should have been in line with the ridge running around the front ball.

Before setting the window decal,
Notice the pencil line at the center of the ridge. It's simply easier to center the thin wide decal with the center marked.

There may be some wrinkles along the top of the round arc. The wrinkles can be coaxed down with a wet Q-tip.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 10, Decals! Lots of Decals!

The kit has a separate instruction sheet for the decals alone, printed on both sides.

Here's the two decal sheets -

The first is gray, black and yellow.
The second sheet is blue.

I'd recommend starting with the blue decal upper band wraps.

Set these first, towards the outside ends of the body tube.

The reason why - 
With the outside blue bands in place -
Allows you to center the windows decals.

TIP: With the model set horizontally, notice the SPL 91093 on the left. This is in line with the top edge of the "S" plastic piece, to the left or the decal.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 9, Lugs, Nozzle & Shock Cord

The 3/16" launch lug is cut in half for two 1" long pieces.

I get the cleanest cuts without crushing the lug using a new razor blade.

The shock cord mount is a standard Estes tri-fold.

TIP: As normal for me, I glue the rubber shock cord at an angle so the finished mount lays flatter against the inside body tube wall.

I set the nozzle in a scrap segment of BT-55 to spray it silver, off the model. Paper was taped around the tube to keep the paint off.

The plastic nozzle is a tight fit in the BT-55 tube.
After spraying silver, the edge was sanded and rounded off for an easier slide in the body tube.

The upper launch lug was glued onto the fin before the fin was glued on the rocket body.

The forward lug is glued parallel to the small root edge, 1/2" in.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 8, Details & More Details

The three lower "R" pieces are glued on the body tube, centered between the fins.
TIP: In the left picture you can see the glue placement. I tried to keep it away from the edges so it wouldn't squeeze out (and be seen) when pressed onto the body tube.
The lower plastic pieces are glued 3 1/2" from the bottom of the central tube.
I used my favorite for plastic to tube glueing, Beacon Fabri-Tac.

Here's the back of the upper"S" pieces.
The rear is 7 3/8" from the back edge of the tube.

The "M" trim pieces were stuck down to scrap cardboard for a spraying of Gloss White.

The "M" piece on the left has a pencil mark letting me know that is the backside that will get a shot of spray adhesive later on.

After the white paint dried, the holes were rounded again with a sharpened dowel.

I didn't take a picture of the fin glue and trim position before the decals were positioned, so this one is a little out of order. It does show the "M" pieces in place.

The M pieces were taped on cardboard and the backs hit with spray adhesive. These were then stuck into the root edges of the outside fins. Notice the back end is a little forward of the fin rear edge.

Monday, July 6, 2020

For The Love Of God . . .

I can't take credit for this Meme, Jim Zalewski (Jim Z's Plans) posted this.

Sometimes I cringe when a new "glue thread" is started on the forums. It always starts with the question: "What's the best glue to use on a rocket?"
Responses follow mentioning every glue you could possibly find at Home Depot. Remember when all we needed was a single bottle of Elmer's White Glue?

Before you take advice from one of the many posts -
Check the number of messages under their name and avatar. More messages usually means they've been in the hobby for a few years.
They've used the right glues, the wrong glues and probably know the difference.
Somebody with only 20 messages to their credit is usually enthusiastic about this new hobby, suggesting gluing on fins with super glue.

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 7, Gluing On Ring Supports

Use the full size marking template to mark the locations of the "H" card stock pieces.
On the right I used my aluminum angle to extend the marks over the height of the ring.

TIP: Double, then triple check these marks against the full size drawing. Placement of the "H" pieces is critical for the fin spacing and the decal placement later.

I used my sanding block as a flat reference to be sure the bottoms of the "H" pieces and the ring were even.

A dry fit (no glue) of the ring on the interior fins was loose. This was a pre-production kit and adjustments are being made before the general kit release.

I added card stock strips to the outside edge of the interior fins for a tighter fit.

I didn't glue the ring on yet. Getting good paint coverage on the inside of the ring would be hard so I'll spray it separately off the model.

This masking tape strips were set over the glue areas. The ring got a shot of gloss white, inside and outside.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 6, Fin Primer & Card Stock Forming

I was assembling two kits at the same time, you are seeing double inside and outside fins.

This is after the fins got a coat of CWF and sanding. Everything is taped down to spray one side with filler/primer. After that dries, flip them over and stick down again for spraying the other side.

I had to add some filler to the leading edge joint, between the two parts.

The lower picture shows the backside joint which needed a little CWF and sanding.
Three of the card stock pieces need a slight curve to glue over the large ring.

TIP: You should shape the piece over an engine casing, or a large dowel. Something with density.
Press and form the right and left sides under the circle cut outs. If you were to form the curve over the straight lines you could end up with a sharp fold, not a smooth arc.

I like to seal the edges of the thick card stock with a small bead of glue.
On the left the glue bead is being smoothed with the side of a fingertip. After it dries, sand the rounded bead smooth with 400 grit.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 5, Engine Mount

I did make a slight arc bend in the engine hook.

Over the years I've learned to mark the engine mount tube three or four times around the tube. A single line of marks can be covered up by the engine hook.
TIP: The engine block was loose in the engine tube. A dried glue bead around the outside edge increased the outside diameter.

This was a pre-production kit. The centering rings weren't notched for engine hook movement.
I used an X-Acto #11 blade to make the notch cuts.

The engine block was slid into place (without glue) until it butted up against the upper bend of the engine hook.
With the block spaced evenly from the top, a line of glue is added to the top joint.

Here's the finished engine mount with the three centering rings and black hook retainer in place.

White Decals Done Right!

From the Facebook, Estes Model Rockets page:
Mike Nelson posted his recent build -
"Time for Estes to bring back a line of Goony Birds. Here's my scratch I finished the other day. BT80 With a 24mm Motor mount for "D" or "E" and Clip art scaled and laser Jet printed on white decal paper. BULLET BILL from Super Mario."

My take:
This is a great use of white decal sheets and well balanced art.
White decals are tricky. After you print over the thin white undercoat, the white can show up along the edges. You've got to trim them right along the over printed image or you end up with a white border.
I'd like to experiment a bit when a white decal (like this) is needed. Maybe you can carefully blacken the white edges with a permanent marker?
The white areas aren't a full opaque white. This isn't a critique, it's just typical of home print decals.The white areas look a bit gray, the black paint underneath is showing through.
Note how large and stocky the decal art is. Many builders make their decal images too small. Some designers use large type and larger art to great effect.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 4, Fin Assembly

Here's how the outside fin pieces fit together. The fit wasn't very tight and will require some filling.

TIP: If the fit seems loose - After applying glue, check the angle of the two pieces against the instruction sheet drawing.

I applied some extra CWF to fill the joint between the two outside fin assemblies.

The center fins are also two piece.

Notice the stepped notch at the top of the outside edge.
The ring tube fits and glues in this recess.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 3, Parts Prep 2

The large nozzle has the ends cut off.
To be safe, I mark the cut lines with pencil.

I use a fine tooth razor saw, then smooth the rough ends with a sanding block.

The large ring has an outside seam that should be filled.
The inside of the ring is visible on the finished model so I also filled the interior seam.

The inside ring seam fill was sanded with some 400 grit wrapped around an engine casing.

A rolled "burr" remained on the inside edge from when the ring was cut. The burr was also sanded down, even with the inside tube wall.

Clay Weight? TIP

On TRF, the question came up about different clay used for nose weight, inside plastic nose cones.

On TRF, JQAvins wrote:
The little Estes squares seem to be almost the same as Plasticine modeling clay, but it's a little crumbly when cold (room temperature). It becomes pliable when warmed by working in one's hand. It softens and even flows if heated more.
TIP: Once I put a bunch into a hollow plastic nose cone by feeding little worms in through the little hole. Then I took a tall narrow glass, filled it with really hot water, and put the cone into it tip down. The clay got hot and flowed into the tip and left a really nice smooth surface.

Neil W added:
That's a great idea, didn't know you could do that. I usually spend a long time with the dowel making sure it's really tamped down good in there, never thought of warming it up.I had tried with a dowel - a small one to fit through the small hole - and the clay kept cracking around it. Necessity proved, once again, the mother of invention.

My take:
I also take some extra time trying to evenly tamp down the clay in the tip of the nose cone. I'll have to try the "hot water" method.
One thing I do -
Instead of molding "worms" out of the clay, it's easier to make small balls out of the clay and drop those into the nose cone shoulder hole. The little balls of clay will settle in the nose cone tip more evenly, like ice in a water glass. You won't have to chase around the long clay snakes with the end of a dowel - just tamp them into place.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 2, Parts Prep 1

The laser cut fins are removed from the balsa sheet.

On the right, the laser cut edges are squared up with a sanding block.
Laser cutting makes a wedge shaped cut, wider on one side.
The picture shows the edge sanded with the block perpendicular to the flat face of the fin. A little bit of sanding shows the angled laser cut. Square these edges up so the fins will glue on straight.

I'm assembling two of these models.

In two identical kits, the balsa density can differ. I mark the root edges so I don't mix them up between the two builds.

Some 400 grit is wrapped around a D engine casing to sand the rounded leading edge and keep the curve even.

The card stock details have round holes in them.
With a #11 blade, cut the hold down tab to remove the center pieces.

To smooth out the circles and remove the remaining tab, a small round diamond file was used.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Estes Mars Longship Build #7296, Part 1, Parts

Here we go - now on sale on the Estes website,
One of the more anticipated new kits, the very detailed
Destination Mars - MARS LONGSHIP.

The kit parts are packaged in a tall box.

Two bags of parts and one long BT-55 tube.

The bag on the left contains:
The plastic details that glue onto the tube
The large, thick walled tail ring
Laser cut card stock details
Engine mount tube
Laser cut balsa
Two sheets of decals.

The bag pictured in the middle:
The big plastic nozzle
The one big ring again (repeated)
Separate instruction sheet showing decal placement
Long molded nose cone

Additional parts:
Engine hook, Engine Block, D/E spacer tube
Engine hook retainer ring
Launch Lug
18" Parachute
Shock Cord

Monday, June 29, 2020

Semroc Andromeda Chrome Wrap Fix, Tips, Part 2

Here's the original Estes instruction illustration showing the spacing of the chrome bands.

The low wrap is 1 1/2" above the centering ring joint. The second wrap goes 1/4" above that.
On the left, the first wrap is in place, using the top edge of a masking tape wrap for a reference line. Why use a tape wrap? Getting a sticky wrap to meet up at the start point never seems to happen on the first try. The tape wrap gives you a straight around the tube reference.

After the first chrome wrap is set, a 1/4" wide masking tape strip was set above the lower wrap.
The upper chrome wrap is set down above the tape strip.

Here's the final decal art using the widest black band decal from the first three draws.

This decal print is available as a PDF if you are a Patreon blog supporter.

Here's the overlay decals on top of the chrome trim.
This is the same technique I've used in the past to "print" over chrome.

The width of the vertical bar wrap worked and is even all the way around. Sometimes things work out, it just takes me a year and a half to fix it.