Sunday, August 19, 2018

3 done.....

The wet summer continues, but I have managed to find brief periods of lower humidity (between 45 and 50%) to get some final painting done. First up is the clone of the Centuri Stellar Starlifter, painted bright blue and white - the "challenging" decor mentioned in the instructions:

Centuri Stellar Starlifter (Click to enlarge).
The only thing challenging about this build - a snap with Semroc/eRockets laser-cut fins - was the application of the blue Testors enamel. It blistered, necessitating a major sanding and re-coat. That one applied OK, but it reminded me how much I hate dealing with enamel paints. I have very poor luck with them. The orange horizontal stripe decals also turned out to be a bit translucent when applied to the blue body tube, which turned the orange into a brown hue. I'll leave them in place for now, but am seriously thinking about replacing these decals with a couple of pieces of orange pinstripe tape.

My 1st Geezer TARC rocket, the Reliant, received its final coats of paint and markings. The name I ginned up in a graphics program and used the Cricut Maker to cut it out of black vinyl. The black roll pattern on the payload section is made of strips of black chalkboard paper, also cut by the Cricut. It turned out pretty nice, and I was surprised that the model came in over 50 grams under weight, which may force my motor selection to a F30J, rather than a F32 (Open Rocket says the Reliant will go about 300 feet too high). The F30J yields a margin of about 50 feet, which is kinda small - I will have to import the design into Rocksim and see what altitude it gives me.

Reliant (Click to enlarge).
I also played some more with applying decals to OpenRocket designs, and was able to replicate the Reliant fairly well, even down to the fin art. The only downside is that Open Rocket insists on putting the decal on both sides of the fin, which isn't the case for the actual model. Still, I am pleased with the result, and am liking Open Rocket more and more for conventional designs. The only thing I wish it had is a drag coefficient override, like that in Rocksim. It would be nice to put in a numerical value, rather than messing with the drag by altering the finish of the rocket (smooth paint, unfinished, etc). That's clunky, and too coarse for serious work.

Virtual Reliant rendered by Open Rocket's photo studio (Click to enlarge).
Finally, I completed my first competition build in decades, the 1/4A parachute duration rocket, which comes in at 7 grams without the chute and motor. That's probably about 3 grams too heavy, but 1) I suck at parachute packing and needed the extra room of an 18 mm tube, rather than going with the straight minimum 13 mm diameter structure, and 2) I could not resist spritzing on a light coat of paint, which added about 0.5 grams. However, it is an improvement over my competition birds of yore, and I am looking forward to seeing this little puppy fly at Pegasus.

1/4 A Parachute Duration rocket (Click to enlarge).


  1. Mighty fine looking birds, there, Bill!

  2. I didn’t realize the Cricut Maker accepts files from CAD programs. What file format did you use? I assume a common one available from most CAD packages?