Friday, August 12, 2016

Of names and paint schemes...

In every TARC season, you will find a team named "Generic School Team #1" among the Falcon Rocketeers, Jurassic TARC, Team Bazinga, and the Flying Circus. I must confess that I find this a bit annoying, as I am a firm believer in TARC teams - and their rockets - having names; without names, there is no team spirit, no passion, no commitment. "Generic School Team #1 flying rocket #1" doesn't cut the mustard; it has no soul and it is hard to envision this team being successful. However, "The Flying Circus launching Baron Eggster" just screams potential greatness. Names are important, as they impart a sense of identity to the team and personalities to the rockets. In my list of priorities, a team should  make choosing its name #1, right after formation, and the rocket should be named no later than after its first flight.

Which brings me to my Geezer TARC rockets. As mentioned in a previous post, I have two awesome designs, a 3 motor cluster minimum diameter beauty and a sleek 24 mm powered bird with a BT-70 based payload section and upscale Alpha fins. The latter had no name, whereas the former I had tentatively christened Agamemnon, after the mythical Greek king of Trojan War fame. However, the more I thought about it, the more I didn't like Agamemnon; it sounded very unTARC-like. So, I did a little more thinking, and finally hit upon a new name for this rocket - the Omelet Express. Very appropriate, considering the small diameter of the payload section doesn't leave much room for cushions for the egg. 

The name for the second rocket came quickly after Omelet Express... The sims revealed that the best motor for achieving the altitude goal was the CATO-prone Estes E12-6, which is infamous for blowing rockets into tiny bits of flaming wreckage. This brought to mind images of the destruction that accompanied the Terminator in the movies, so TARC rocket #2 shall henceforth be known as the Eggsterminator.

Names assigned. Now for the hard part - the color scheme for each rocket.

Having no sense of style, I suck at colors. That's one reason why I like building kits and clones so much - I can simply duplicate the kit cover art or catalog paint scheme and save myself many hours of agony trying to figure out what color combination looks good. After spending a couple of  frustrating hours surfing the net for good TARC rocket color combos, I realized that I could simply look through old catalogs for roughly similar designs and adopt those schemes. The Eggsterminator was easy - it looked like the upper stage of the Estes Farside-X, so it will have the red, yellow, white, and black decor of that model. The Omelet Express will sport the yellow and black scheme of the Estes Scrambler 2, an egglofter kit produced back in the 80's. Both of these are high visibility, which will make it easier to see the rocket against the sky while in flight and on the ground after landing. Colors to avoid are light blue, green, and above all, camouflage. I actually encountered a TARC team who painted a camouflage scheme on their rocket; they lost it on the second flight. Needless to say, lots of white is also not good for rocket visibility - too easy to loose track while in the air.

The Omelet Express (Click to enlarge).
The Eggsterminator (Click to enlarge).
The Omelet Express and Eggsterminator are in primer. Having settled on paint decors, I now need to get cracking on making some decals.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A special club meeting...

On Thursday evenings from mid-March to mid-October, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center hosts a biergarten dinner in the Davidson Center underneath the giant Saturn V - A perfect combination of beer, german food, and giant rockets. One of the really neat things about the biergarten is that the Space and Rocket Center donates a share of the profits to the charity or non-profit selected as the focus of that evening's event. Thanks to the efforts of Daniel Cavender, this past Thursday featured HARA as the benefiting organization; naturally, we were there in force, and had the privilege of displaying some of our models among the giant beasts of the past. We answered questions and showed our wares for about 3 hours to a crowd of 700+ folks, who stopped by our tables on the way to the booze and food. Closing time (7:30 PM) came pretty quickly, after which we held our club meeting in the shadow of the Saturn V. How many clubs get to do that?

Curious space campers eye a 3-D printer making a simulated engine bell (Click to enlarge).
Dan Cavender's excellent Jayhawk and Little Joe II HPR models on display (Click to enlarge).
Food and booze underneath the Saturn V (Click to enlarge).
One of the best club meetings ever! (Click to enlarge).
And to add icing to the cake, we got a little extra money for the club treasury. Eat your hearts out, fellow rocketeers!

Also not a bad way to celebrate my birthday...