Wednesday, March 29, 2017

BAR Rocket Fleet - #13 Hornet

‘Mini-Brute’ Kit # TK-4
Designed for T-series mini engines.
Single stage, payload section, parachute recovery.
Length  10.25”, Dia.  .757”,  Wt.  5oz
Year Built:  1973
Restored: 2016, June 28

The Hornet model rocket was purchased already built from a Colorado Springs hobby store in 1973.  It was actually my very first ever model rocket, despite what the fleet number designation says.

The Hornet logged 16 flights between 1973 and 1984, coming through all of that fairly unscathed.  It proved to be a very consistent, good-performing vehicle.

When my model rocket collection was sold in 1985, the Hornet and one other rocket were the only two models held back - for sentimental reasons, of course.

The Hornet in 1975
For the past 30-plus years, the Hornet had rattled around, pretty much un-protected, in a Rubber-Maid tote along with many other items.  This tote went through two house moves, and myriad storage re-organizations.  Needless to say, all of this jostling about wasn’t too kind to the model, which ultimately sustained breakage of two if its fins, plus some other cosmetic damage.
When my BAR activities began in 2016, the Hornet was rescued from its prison to undergo  restoration.

First, the broken fin remnants were removed, and two brand new fins were fabricated.

The original shock cord was brittle, and broken in several places, so that needed to be replaced.  While I was at it, the old school ‘slit-tube’ shock cord mount was repaired and filled, in favor of a newer mount system.
After several coats of CWF and sanding, the model was ready for a new finish.  The payload and nose cone were left alone, because the original butyrate dope finish was still in very good shape.  The only work required was to build up the nose block because of a rather loose fit in the booster tube.

Two coats of grey primer were applied to the booster section with fine sanding in between.

The booster was given a new paint job with Testor’s International Orange….

…and new decals were applied.  Since the Hornet was to be my new fleet flagship, I adorned one fin with my old NAR number, and another fin with the NAR section number I belonged to back in the day.

A coat of ‘Gloss Sauce’ and the old Hornet was deemed ready to rock!  Since it is the flagship, the model is slated to be the first flight of every BAR launch session.  It is my goal to reach 100 flights with this forty-three year old bird.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

MPC Lunar Patrol, Part 4

Construction is still progressing on the Lunar Patrol…

Glider wings and rudders are now glued into place and light fillets applied.

The two ’V’ fin assemblies are now filled/finish sanded and glued into the proper positions on the booster body tubes.

Since the fins were made from the full- sized kit patterns, they were intended for body tubes of slightly larger diameters than the Estes BT-20 tubes I am using for this build. Consequently, the ends of the fins need to be sanded down a couple of millimeters in length so that the glider fuselages will fit flush against the booster side tubes.

More to come…..

Friday, March 17, 2017

MPC Lunar Patrol, Part 3

Welcome to the Lunar Patrol build, part 3.

While the booster fins are undergoing the grain filling and sanding exercises, it's time to begin work on the gliders.

The wings and rudders are traced from the templates onto that fine sheet of C-grain....

Once cut out, all the like parts are pinned together and sanded to identical shape.  After a light sanding of the surfaces, all the parts are ready to be glued onto the glider fuselages.

Next, out comes the marking guide to layout the glue lines on the fuselage tubes for the wings and rudders.

Stay tuned.....

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

MPC Lunar Patrol, Part 2

To start off this build, I must get ahold of a set of Lunar Patrol plans.  Since there is a proliferation of this sort of thing on the Wonderful World Wide Web, this part of the build was easy.  Looking at the copy of this kit instruction sheet really brought back some memories from 1974!

Wing, fin, and marking templates are now sized and cut out...

Most of the main airframe parts have now been acquired.  For this build, I am going with Estes parts.  The tubes are all BT-20, which is a little bit smaller than the tubes in the original kit, but not enough to make a significant difference   The nose cone to be used is from the Estes PNC-20 nose cone pack.  Again, I'm not certain if it is an exact copy of the original, but it looks close enough.

The glider nose cones will be balsa, and turned on the lathe.  This step can wait until later in the build.

For the wings and fins, I happened upon a nice sheet of C-grain 1/16 Home Depot, no less!


To start off, the body tubes get cut to length according to the MPC specs - 12" for the man airframe, 3" for the two side tubes, and 6" for the glider fuselages.  I like nice, even numbers.

Once the tubes are cut, they get the CWF seam-filling treatment.

An engine block is now glued into place in the main tube.  No need to illustrate this step, since it is quite straight forward.  I'm not using an engine hook on this model, opting instead to go with friction fit.  There is a possibility of rigging up some sort of external engine retainer later on, but we'll see.

The side tubes get glued on to the main body in the required position spelled out in the instruction sheet.

Next, it's glue fillets to clean up the tube connections.  This always involves several applications of glue because of the large air pockets that shrink and make holes.
The fins are cut out and glued together in the classic Lunar Patrol 'chevron' shape.  Skill Level 1 exercise here...

Once the glue dries, the seams are cleaned up with CWF, and leading/trailing edges are rounded over.

Now, it's off to begin the tedious process of grain filling and sanding.....

-To Be Continued -

MPC Lunar Patrol Clone Part 1

Way back in 1974, during the fledgling days of my model rocket career, I placed an order with Model Products Corporation for some rocket kits and engines.
The order included the Flatcat, a Flare Patriot, a Theta-Cajun, and a Lunar Patrol.
The latter intrigued me because of the pair of delta-wing gliders that served double purpose as the model's fins.
I built the model and took it to one of the club meets to launch it.
When the launch button was pressed, I didn't get the expected soaring flight. 
Instead, the model blew up on the pad! 
A seriously defective MPC 'A' engine ripped the booster rocket completely apart, and the gliders fluttered to the ground.
Aftermath of the original Lunar Patrol maiden 'flight.'

Undaunted, I soon built a replacement booster out of some Estes parts I had hanging around, with a few deviations from the original design.

With the two original gliders, the new 'Lunar Patrol II' turned in many successful flights over the next several years.  The bird was a joy to fly, and quickly took its place as one of my fleet favorites.  It was quite a sight to see the model shoot straight up and separate into three parts that all descended gracefully.  The Lunar Patrol was a real crowd pleaser at club demo launches as well.

The Lunar Patrol II ready for launch sometime in 1975 at
a ROMAR club meet.

Sadly, when I exited the hobby in 1985, the Lunar Patrol was sold along with the bulk of my model rocket collection to another local rocket enthusiast.  To this day I wonder if that individual continued flying some of my models.  How many more flights were logged on the Lunar Patrol unbeknownst to me.  Anyway......

Now, as a full fledged, active BAR, one of the top priorities on the build list is another Lunar Patrol.

More to come on that.....

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Launch Date: 10 March, 2017

Friday, March 10th dawned with the appearance of being a great day to get out and launch some model rockets at DV Park.  Wind and Temperature data for Centennial, Colorado showed an 11:00 a.m. time slot with winds not exceeding 5 mph, air temperature at 61 degrees, and most importantly… no Red Flag Fire Danger Warnings today, as there have been in the past few days.

On the docket for today are the Hornet (what else?), and another launch of the Generic E2X.  Since I won’t have the grand -kiddoes along today for extra sets of eyes and as the recovery team, I will likely scale back and fly it on a B6-4 instead of the Cs like last time.  Lastly, I am bringing along my Mark II Rock-a-Chute so I can go retro again, time permitting.

Arriving at the launch site, I found the field to be in great shape, and I had the whole place to myself.

First launch was the Hornet on an A3-4T engine.  The model turned in yet another sterling performance, and was successfully recovered on a 24” crepe paper streamer, landing a mere 20 feet from the launch pad.  Another reason I like to launch this bird first, aside from being the fleet flagship, is that I use it to assess prevailing wind and drift conditions.  All flights of the Hornet are conducted from a vertical launch rod.

The second flight of the day was with the Generic E2X.  Launching from the rod angle set at approx. 5 degrees into the wind, the GE2X turned in a nice flight, with successful parachute deployment (12” w/ spill hole), and soft landing about 50 feet from the launch pad.

       The GE2X was prepped for a second flight, again with a B6-4 engine.  This time the rod was angled at approximately 2 degrees, making for a higher altitude flight.  The parachute deployed right at ejection, and the model started a fairly slow descent, landing about 50 yards down-range. Even though this is a beginner’s E2X bird, I have found it to be a joy to launch….a welcome addition to my fleet.

With this done, it was time to pack up and head home.  Three more flight missions completed without any lost or damaged models!

Hi, All,

I'm back....

I took down a version of this blog back in January, 2017,  but have since decided to re-start it. 
I will re-create many of the posts that were in the previous version, along with whatever new stuff happens to come along.

I hope you fellow model rocketeers out there will find this blog entertaining and informative.

Stay tuned.....