Sunday, August 16, 2015

Full production at the rocket factory...

Now that I am done with travel for a bit, I can spend some time building rockets. This is a good thing, because the Geezer TARC launch is just around the corner! The wrist I sprained while in California is still giving me a bit of trouble, but I have managed to get two TARC birds built and into the final stages of finishing. The 4 motor powered Nemesis is ready for her first coat of paint, whereas my backup rocket - appropriately named #2 - is in its first coat of primer. #2 is a pretty conventional TARC design, made of standard BT-80 tubes (2.6" diameter) and uses a single 29 mm motor; he will fly, though I am struggling with the proper motor/weight combination. Weather looks stormy this week, so it will probably go down to the wire as far as getting these rockets all painted and decaled.

From left - #2, Nemesis (in white primer and 2 pieces), Quest Astra
(in back), and Estes Sizzler clone (Click to enlarge).
Joining the TARC rockets in primer is a clone of the old Estes Sizzler (#1906) and a starter kit from Quest, the Astra. I am a big fan of Quest designs, but the kit components can be less than - which is why I would hesitate to use the Astra in a beginning rocket class. The motor tube is flimsy, the body tube has deep spirals, and the laser cut fins are too big to fit in the slots on the tube, requiring a fair amount of sanding. Not much fun for a beginner, especially when you compare it to the BMS School Rocket, or even the venerable Estes Alpha.

Squirrel Works Vulture (from the Squirrel Works web site).
Estes Sizzler in the 1985 catalog (Click to enlarge).
I am also working on a couple of other kits - a Squirrel Works Vulture, which is now ready to have the wood parts sealed and sanded smooth, and the re-release of the Estes Goblin, which I threw together watching Star Trek and Svengoolie last night. It will be ready to go to finishing once I have filleted the fins with wood glue. Building the Goblin has sparked an anticipation of Halloween - I think my next build will be a clone of the old Estes Vampire, to keep the Goblin company. I have the dimensions, and I am pretty sure I have the parts to make a very close replica of this all plastic model,  which was part of the Estes Firing Line series (1973-1976).

Estes Vampire in the 1974 catalog (Click to enlarge).
I did a check of this year's builds against the list I made last October. I have finished the Big Bertha, Beulah, Centuri Micro Probe, Space X Falcon 9, and Scrambler; have not done the Gyroc, S.S. Cestris, Orbital Transport, and the Tiny Tim scale model. 5 out of 9 complete - not too shabby given my rocket ADD. Still have about a month and a half till October, so I may get one or two of the remainder built; you never know.

Lists are only guidelines anyway.


  1. Lists? You mean there's another method of building rockets other than blindly gathering tubes and parts and slopping them together? I'll have to look into this.....

    1. lol! I sometimes TRY to be organized (doesn't work)