Saturday, September 23, 2017

My first eBay rescues...

There are a few people on the forums who delight in buying old built kits on eBay for the purpose of transforming them into flyable pieces of art. I have never done this, but found the idea intriguing - what better test of build/repair skills than attempting to resurrect decades-old dilapidated rockets? Anyway, there was a lot of rockets on eBay going for a few bucks - an original Estes Viper, a Sky Hook, a Mark II, a Streak, a Mosquito, a glider, and a Centuri Moonraker. It seemed too good to pass up, so I placed a bid; wonder of wonders, I actually won!

Lot of old rockets I purchased from eBay (Click to enlarge).
The rockets arrived in a couple of days, whereupon I immediately started an inspection. The glider and Mosquito I set aside, as I will probably not mess with them - Mosquitos are a dime a dozen, and I have yet to identify the glider with certainty, though it strongly resembles the Estes Firefly (The time period seems right). The Viper's fins are loose and misaligned, but it appears to be a straightforward repair and finish. Same for the Moonraker, but the adhesive paper is coming off the Streak, so that will require a little more work. I'm going to let it slide, as I have just rebuilt an old Streak. The Mark II is in the best shape of the lot - fins properly aligned, balsa nose cone in good condition. It will be the second rocket of this lot I finish and detail.

The Sky Hook (left) and Mark II before the start of the Sky Hook repair (Click to enlarge).
Which brings me to the Sky Hook...

I do not have one of these, and this model appears early 1970's vintage (in line with the other kits). Unfortunately, one of the fins was very badly misaligned - the one with the launch lug glued to the side, naturally. The kit's creator, Bill Simon, is going to give a lecture at the Museum of Flight in the near future, so I figured the Sky Hook would be the first to be resurrected. I cut off the misaligned fin, destroying it in the process, along with the launch lug (at least I didn't slice my fingers). I pulled a Semroc laser-cut Sky Hook fin from my stash, sanded it a bit, and glued it onto the tube. Proper alignment was ensured by using a Qualman rocketry alignment guide - even though he does not make a BT-30 guide, the Quest T-20 guide was a good fit to the old Estes BT-30 tube.

Have I mentioned that I love the Qualman guides? They are fantastic, and any serious rocketeer should have them in his or her tool kit. I just wish he made a set for for Centuri tubes.

Anyway, that's where things stand now - the fin is drying, and soon I will glue on a new launch lug and apply fillets. Life is slowly being breathed back into this old bird...


  1. Your glider began its life as an elastic launched glider from Vashon Industries, for their freon powered rockets. I built a bunch of those as it was the only glider I had consistently good results with when I was a kid.

  2. Thanks for the ID! I never owned any Vashon/Coldpower stuff, so this piece is my first (and probably my only).