Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Three New Estes Kits At Hobby Lobby

 I just finished looking at the Hobby Lobby website and noticed three kits marked 'NEW':

Starship Octavius, Lunar Scout, and Tazz.

Just might have to break into my piggy bank...

Monday, April 19, 2021

Back In The Day, Part 41 - A Few More ROMAR Meet Pictures - 1983

 1983 was a banner year for the Rocky Mountain Association of Rocketry in Colorado Springs.  The club membership roster was at an all-time high, a regular schedule of sport meets was conducted throughout the year, a section contest was held (PEAK-1), as well as the HOTROC-4 regional.  By the end of the contest year, ROMAR ranked in the top ten list of NAR sections by contest points accrued.

I don't have any pictures of PEAK-1 that are clear enough for posting, but presented here is a selection of photos I took of a couple other launch events.

On April 25, 1983, ROMAR conducted a special launch for the benefit of a group of about 30 physics students from Wasson High School in Colorado Springs.  ROMAR members were on hand to assist the students with prepping, launch, and recovery of their models.  ROMAR members then conducted a demonstration launch, the highlights of which were Glade Gordon's F100-powered Estes Maxi Honest John, and Dr. Warren Layfield's F-powered Estes Colossus.

ROMAR's George Fox helps a Wasson High physics student prep her two-stage model. 
Careful with that cigarette, George!

The remainder of these photos are from a ROMAR sport meet conducted on September 25th, 1983.  

I finally owned a decent high-quality 35mm camera, so these pictures are much improved over my previous photography attempts.

ROMAR member J. B. Noyes preps his well-constructed Estes Comanche-3

Liftoff for a perfect flight of the Comanche-3

Captain Lawrence Quam hooks up a model for flight.

My own custom designed sci-fi model, Starship Draco lifts off.

Father of J. B. Noyes displays his son's models.
George Fox prepping a model for flight.  Careful with that cigarette, George!

Thanks for looking!  Cheers!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

BAR Fleet No. 132, Nike-K


Model Type: Sport, Payloader

Quest Aerospace Kit No. 2002

Motor Type: 18mm x 70mm

Recovery: Parachute

Nose Type: 2.76 Caliber Tangent Ogive, Plastic

Fin Type: Trapezoidal, Plastic Fin Can

Number of Fins: 4

Length: 23.4 in. (59.8cm)

Diameter: 1.378 in. (35mm)

Weight empty:  2.45 oz.  (69.6g)

Color scheme: Body Tubes-White

Fin Can & Transition – Orange

Nose – White

Multi-Color Trim & Markings

Completion date: April 13, 2021


A Scale-Like Sounding Rocket Design

         The Quest Nike-K kit was gifted to me in 2020 by a Colorado Springs friend.  The model is a very straight-forward, easy build with the plastic fin unit, motor mount rings, tube transition section, and nose.

            Even though the model is designed to be built as-is with no required finishing or painting, I generally perform these functions on all of my rocket builds, even E2X birds.  Thus, the Nike-K went through the process of spiral seam filling on the body tubes and launch lug, and application of a primer paint coat on all parts except for the tube reducer section.  That particular component is molded with a ‘ribbed’ surface, making it difficult to sand.

All airframe sections were individually painted prior to assembly, so there was no masking required.  The fin can and transition piece were brush painted with hobby acrylic, while the tubes and nose were painted with spray enamel.  The aft end of the motor mount also received a brushed-on coat of black acrylic paint.

The kit comes with a set of decals that, at first glance, look like they are water-slides.  They are actually stick-on decals that have to be individually cut from the sheet.  Oddly, the kit instructions also lead one to believe that the decals are water-slides, as the builder is directed to soak them in water!  I’m not entirely a huge fan of stick-on decals, but if the application process is done slowly and carefully, good results can be obtained.  The greatest danger with this type of decals is, if one is placed wrong or crookedly, it is very difficult to peel up and re-position. One runs the risk of the adhesive pulling up paint along with the decal.

On this model, besides the kit decals, I applied a few additional waterslide decals: a checkerboard ‘roll pattern’ for the payload section, a black band above the fin can, my NAR number, and the fleet number.

All-in-all, the Nike-K is a solid, attractive, quick-build model rocket, and promises to provide many satisfying flight missions. 

A quite welcome addition to the growing fleet.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Beware The Urchins !!!

 The past couple of weeks, things have been quite busy here in the BlastFromThePast workshop.

Substantial progress has been made on the Steampunk Protostar, as well as several other rocket-building projects.

This past Saturday, the Protostar was far enough along to shoot the primary color coat on the model's main airframe.   Weather conditions were ideal for outdoor spray painting, so around 9 a.m. I went out, armed with rattle cans, the Protostar, and a couple of body tube sections from other projects.

The painting operations went well and the completed parts were set outside the back garage door to begin the drying and out-gassing process.

Around noon, Mrs. BFTP and I were indoors hanging out in the living room when we started hearing loud banging noise on the wall.  

We ran outside to discover two neighbor kids lobbing river rocks toward our house,  some of the projectiles coming dangerously close to one of our windows.

We admonished the youngsters to 'cease and desist' with this activity, and went on to inform their parents of their actions.

It became painfully clear to me that the kids' target was not our house, but the freshly painted rockets sitting out there to dry!

They could see the models through the gaps in the privacy fence, and apparently decided it would be fun to throw rocks at them.

Fortunately, the kids were far too short to see over the fence, so the rocks were just lobbed in the hope of randomly hitting something. None of their shots hit a mark.

Things could have been far worse had they been able to see over the fence and take more careful, direct aim. Needless to say, I would have been somewhat irate if the Protostar had taken any hits. There are too many hours and too much work invested in this model to have it trashed in an instant by juvenile shenanigans.

So, lesson learned...

I will have to find another place in my back yard to put newly-painted model rockets where they can't be seen from neighboring yards and from the public sidewalk bordering one side of the property. Even six foot high privacy fences don't provide much protection.

It's a shame, really.....

Back In The Day, Part 40, The Original Skeeter Eeters

 Having recently completed the build of the Skeeter Eeter 3, I dug up a photo and some information about the original Skeeter Eeters built back in the Old Fleet days.

The first Skeeter Eeter, fleet number 45, was built in 1975.  Powered by D12 motors, the model was a great performer.  Flight records from the era indicate that the bird was flown three times.  Its last flight was at a model rocket demonstration event held in Limon, Colorado on June 26, 1976.  This demo took place in the middle of the crowded downtown area. Unfortunately, the SE was lost. I don't believe I ever took a photo of the model, and I don't even recall its color scheme.

In 1977, I built a second Skeeter Eeter . This one was constructed with a standard 18mm motor mount.  Even without D power, the model turned in impressive flights on C6 motors.

Skeeter Eeter 2 (fleet no. 63) was actually built with a specific purpose in mind:  The Skywatchers/ROMAR club conducted a contest meet in which one of the events was 'Maxi-Scale'.  This event called specifically for models that were actually upscales of other model rockets, whether they were kits or custom designs.  The upscale model was presented to the judges along with the original model. Models received points for correct scale, color scheme, degree of difficulty, and craftsmanship.  Of course the model had to make a qualified stable flight, as well.

Obviously, I chose a pretty easy subject to upscale. 

There are 4 documented flights for Skeeter Eeter 2, but there may have been more that simply were not recorded.

SE2's third flight on September 23, 1979 was notable in that it was flown on an AVI D6.5 motor.  True to the dubious nature of those motors, the ejection charge exploded, blowing the entire motor mount out the aft end of the model. Luckily, the airframe wasn't damaged, and the Skeeter Eeter 2 was successfully repaired to fly again another day..

Skeeter Eeter 2 went on to be my entry in the Open Spot Landing event at HOTROC-4 in August 1983.  It actually won 2nd place in D Division!

And, of course, here is the original Mosquito, fleet no. 65, also built in 1977:

The diminutive model was flown only once with a 1/4A motor on May 10, 1981.   Surprisingly, the bird was actually found and recovered, but was never flown again.

Both the Skeeter Eeter 2 and the Mosquito were sold in 1985, when I exited the hobby.  

Thursday, April 8, 2021

A MAJOR Blast From The Past !

Way back in 1975-76, I was in college taking course work toward an Associates Degree in Mechanical Design Tech.

Much of this involved mechanical drafting classes.  We're talking Old School mechanical drafting classes : T-squares, triangles, compasses, French curves, circle templates, lettering guides - the whole she-bang!  I still remember the hours spent laboring over painstakingly accurate dimensioning and attention to pencil pressure so that the drawings would reproduce well on the blueprint printer machine.

In those days CAD was way off in the future.

I still have in my possession the entire set of drafting tools that I had purchased and used in those long-ago classes.

I recently dug out and dusted off this ol' box o' tools.  I started pulling each item out of the box one by one to examine it.   Then something weird happened.....

I watched in helpless horror as my hands, working independently of  any attempts to control them, started working with these old drafting tools !!

In no time, I had a complete rendering of the Skeeter Eeter 3 staring up at me from the work table!

I am actually quite rusty at this hand-drafting business, but it all seemed to be come back to me very quickly  Even though this could all be done much more efficiently on a PC, I have found this old-school way of doing things to be quite relaxing and satisfying.

So now, my new side project is to hand-draft the plans to all of my custom designed model rockets, past and present, scan them into PDF files, and post them here on the blog for anyone to use and enjoy. 

Hey, I've got time on my hands...I'm retired!


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

BAR Fleet No. 131 - Skeeter Eeter 3


Model Type: Sport

Designed by Ed Mitton. 

3x upscale of Estes Industries Mosquito

Motor Type: 24mm x 70mm

Recovery: Parachute or Streamer

Nose Type: Parabolic, Plastic

Fin Type: Rounded Swept, Balsa

Number of Fins: 3

Length: 11.81 in. (30cm)

Diameter:  1.64 in. (41.6mm)  BT-60

Weight empty: 1.45 oz. (41.1g)

Color scheme: Overall-Orange (Rustoleum ‘Real Orange’), Silver Trim Monokote,

Black Markings.

Completion date: April 5, 2021

 A Mosquito On Steroids !

What could be better than building and flying a Mosquito?   Building and flying a significantly larger Mosquito powered by ‘The Mighty D Engine', of course!

Back in the Old Fleet days, circa 1975-1977. I built two of these things - the first was a 24mm D-motor version, followed by an 18mm standard motor iteration.  Both of the models pre-date Estes' release of the Mega Mosquito kit.

Since part of my present-day BAR adventures involves re-building some of my Old Fleet favorites, the Skeeter Eeter has been a sure bet to hold a position high on the build list.

Purchase and kit-bash of an Estes Baby Bertha provided all the major parts required by the Skeeter Eeter, save for motor mount components, which I already possessed in my parts stash.

The build is very straight forward, this being a regular old 3FNC model rocket. No worries here.

Skeeter Eeters are a real kick to fly.  I anticipate watching this 2021 version screaming off the pad!