Sunday, April 20, 2014

The assembly line in action...

I always like Easter weekends - the weather is often nice (yesterday and today were gorgeous!) and the relaxed atmosphere of the holiday make it easy to get lots of rocket work done. After all, I need some distraction from the food!

I managed to repair the Taurus damaged in Friday's launch. The pod glued back on nicely and a little magic marker touch up made it hard to see that it had broken off. However, the Cloud Hopper is going to take some work; the broken fin pieces did fit back together, but the upper wing assembly looks like a glued-together vase - cracks everywhere. I am going to see what I can do with some filler, a lot of sanding, and a little paint. The smart money would be on replacing the entire upper wing, but I am interested in seeing how well I can put this Humpty Dumpty back together.

While I was in the repair mood, I also started fixing my Lil' Beth X-2, which had a disastrous launch last summer. The upper stage did not ignite, resulting in it doing the "dive of death", crunching the payload section nicely. The booster did not fare so well either, loosing a fin and zippering one of the side pods (a zipper, in rocket terminology, occurs when the shock cord cuts through the cardboard body tube at ejection, resulting in a slit that looks like someone unzipped the top part of the tube).  I made a new payload section and cut a new booster fin. They are now ready for paint, after I sanded, sealed, and primed them this weekend. Lil Beth is no longer a shelf queen, but this battle hardened maiden will fly again.

Lil Beth X-2 before and after last summer's flight of doom. Note the 
shattered payload section in Duane's hands (click to enlarge). Built 
from an old Estes plan, Lil Beth has 3 motors in the booster, and a 
single motor in the upper stage. I am 0-2 in successful flights with her.
Lil' Beth does the "Dive of Death" last summer. However, she will fly again!

I did not neglect new construction - the Rocketarium scale model of the South Korean KSR-420S sounding rocket and my Estes "The Bat" clone got their final coats of paint. I'll let them sit a few days, allowing the paint to outgas before applying decals. The rule of thumb is that you wait until you can't smell the paint. Yeah, I know, it looks weird to sniff your rockets.

I also finished adding the conduits to the ASP Corporal missile, sealed the fins and other balsa bits, and applied the first coat of primer. This will be mostly sanded off and there will be a second primer coat before I spray on the white base color. I am still debating the paint scheme - that of the kit instructions does not seem to match the pictures of the Corporal I can find. I may not only do a "more historical" paint job, but could very likely end up making some decals as well. I like my scale models to match at least one of the original types or production runs as closely as possible.

Corporal in primer
Now for the big question - what should I build next?

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