Sunday, June 17, 2018

Building the Shrox Sniple - Part 3, Paint and Decals

The gray primer was allowed to dry for several days - This being the humid South, it takes longer for primer/paint to dry, and I am not fond of gummed up sandpaper. I then sanded off the primer with 320 grit sandpaper, and applied a coat of white primer, which was also allowed to dry for a long time.  This coat was sanded smooth with 400 grit, after which 2 coats of Krylon glossy white were sprayed on. This being done, I proceeded to masking the model for the gray paint.

Masking is a necessity if you are going to build rockets, and it is very important to pick the right tape to use. Some folks like Chris Michielssen are possessed of a magical ability to get very nice mask lines using scotch or cellophane tape; alas I have no such ability, as evidenced by my long ago fiascos involving these tape types. I rapidly migrated to Tamiya masking tape, which is much more expensive, but has the advantage in that it consistently yields sharp masking lines (no bleeds) with very little effort. In my opinion, it's well worth the expense; you can buy it at local hobby stores or online from numerous vendors.

Sniple masked and ready for the gray paint (Click to enlarge).
After letting the base coat dry overnight, I masked off the areas of the body tube that needed to remain white with the Tamiya tape, and shot the unmasked regions with 2 coats of Krylon Smoke Gray. I would have preferred a lighter shade, but this was the only can I had in my stash and I just went with it. Krylon dries quickly, so I peeled off the tape after about 30 minutes and set the model aside to dry overnight. While it was drying, I printed the decals using my ink jet printer, waited 30 minutes, and sprayed 3 light coats of Krylon Acrylic Clear on the decal sheet. I cut out the decals the next day and applied them to the model, soaking each in warm water for about a minute. I wish I could say this part went smoothly, but I had difficulty with the Chinese red star and bars. These 2 decals cracked in the middle during application, forcing me to use a red marker to hide the cracks after they dried. I am probably going to remove these and apply new ones the next time I print a sheet of decals - the marker red is a little off.

Here is the finished Sniple, ready for its first flight:

Shrox Sniple (Click to enlarge).

One other thing went wrong during this build... In order to improve the stability margin, I decided to play safe and put 20 grams of clay (originally I was going with 10) into the nose cone. 20 grams is a surprisingly big amount of clay, and I cracked the lower part of the nose cone while packing it in. This was fixed by an application of Plastic Weld to the cracked area, a little sanding, a bit of Squadron Putty, and a little more sanding. I will be more careful with Apogee nose cones in the future, as some of them are more fragile than those made by Estes.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad someone said it - I have trouble with Scotch tape too! While it can give you a nice, clean line, sometimes it tears down the center as I'm peeling it off!

    I have some Tamiya tape I like, but I also use Frog Tape, which seems pretty similar - just wider than the Tamiya. I like that those two are also kind of flexible, and low tack. The ease of use is worth a few extra bucks to me.