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  1. #1
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    Vintage Estes Mars Lander Build

    I decided to start on one of my original Mars Lander kits. This kit is in good condition considering how old these kits are. The box was open and the parts inside were bagged still. The decal is in good condition and the only things I will change out will be the rubber bands...thanks Carl..., new Estes rubber shock cord and new tape disks for the parachute. This should be a fun build, but will take awhile since I will be busy in the next few weeks. I am also completing an old Guillows SE5-A biplane.

    Dang thats a lot of parts


  2. #2
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    That's the one I got back in 1970 or 1971; still have the original model in my
    fleet!! You're gonna love this one for sure.

    Dave, NAR # 21853 SR.,
    Section Advisor
    Old Rocketeers # 724

  3. #3
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    I hope you use metal springs instead of rubber bands or at least build it so the rubber bands are replaceable. I have one that I built in the 80s and all of the rubberbands are shot.
    -Scott

    NAR# 32070

  4. #4
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    Oh man, this is going to be a cool build!

    Please take lots of photos.
    Mark Alterio

  5. #5
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    No doubt, a way cool build to watch! I have one still in the box, and a SEMROC Retro/Repro in the bag..Guess which one I will be building!
    Chute Happens!!
    NAR 86940 L2
    TRA 12270 L3 09-01-12
    KF4GUL
    TeleTubby Fan, Unofficial King of Namby-Pamby Land:tongue:

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rokitflite View Post
    I hope you use metal springs instead of rubber bands or at least build it so the rubber bands are replaceable. I have one that I built in the 80s and all of the rubberbands are shot.
    I am building this one with no modifications trying to keep it vintage. I will fly this one a few times then she will retire. I still have 1 more orig. in a box and 1 Semroc Mars Lander. I would like to someday build the Semroc version and add springs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    5th May 2009
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    Unhappy

    That's really cool! I would love to get my hands on some old Estes and Centuri kits but when you can find them they are pricey! I saw an old original Centuri kit at a hobby shop (can't remember exactly what it was, maybe a Javelin) a few years ago. They wanted $40 for it!

    I had a Semroc Lander and flew it for a few years until one day last year when I tried to fly it on a B6-2 on too windy a day. It's retired now! I have another Semroc Mars Lander kit that I need to get started on. It will definitely have a removable bottom with either metal springs or elastic (my old one was elastic but not removable bottom). If you're only going to fly it once then retire it, I guess stock build will be OK. You can always glue the legs solid after the rubber bands break.


    Good luck with it!




    Mike

  8. #8
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    Ok here are the pictures of my Mars Lander build. So far this has been a fun project and not as difficult as I thought it would be. The more difficult kits that I have built have been the kits with plastic........Space shuttle, X-Wing fighter and the Star Trek kits..... But I did have some measurement issues as stated in the above post. I did nothing with the dowel were the rubber tube attaches since there was enough exposed dowel. I just made sure all 4 legs were identical in length. The housings, I just cut a little longer than the pattern, I then sanded them to the correct length so they are even with the bottom of the BT and 1/8 from the top. Other than that the shrouds are old and discolored but they matched up perfectly. The braces and all the rings are made from index card material not fiber board, so they are flimsy. This may also have something to do with the age of this kit. Elmer's glue-all has been perfect for this kit, keeps everything clean that's why I like it. I have 3 of these kits and 2 Semroc kits. I love this kit. So what I can tell you is that the Semroc kit is better quality when it comes to using fiber board vs card stock. The Semroc wraps are right on except Estes did a better job of deeper embossing. I look forward to building the Semroc version and using springs for the landing gear for a durable rocket.
    All the wood pieces are cut out and the housings are a little longer than the pattern. Next I will seal with 3 coats of balsa sealer.


    All the pieces have been put together and the wood has been sealed. Next is to add the fillets and begin painting via sub assemblies.


    It is real important to make sure all the parts line up perfect. I had to read the directions multiple times to make sure I was doing everything right.



    The wraps have excellent detail, but they also so their age. The wraps have some age spots and rough spots I will have to take care of with primer.



  9. #9
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    The balsa nose is old but filled nicely with a few coats of balsa sealer.

    You can see the flimsy card stock that is used in this kit, fiber board would have been much better.




  10. #10
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    Well everything is being held together with friction, still have to paint the sub assemblies. I will use one coat of white primer on the wraps since there are stains I have to block out. Then I will spray light coats of glossy white.


  11. #11
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    Beautiful job on this one, Scigs.

    With the crazy amount of construction involved, I'd be pretty "anxious" with it sitting on the launchpad.
    Cranky Kong, Certified Rocket Monkey
    "But we were promised jet packs!"

    Total Impulse in 2017: 605.77 Ns (Equivalent to an 89% I motor)
    Total Impulse since 2010: 13,872.11 Ns (Equivalent to a 35% N motor)

  12. #12
    troj's Avatar
    troj is offline Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potentate of Perilous Pans TRF_ADMIN.png
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    Quote Originally Posted by o1d_dude View Post
    With the crazy amount of construction involved, I'd be pretty "anxious" with it sitting on the launchpad.
    Once you've seen how high one goes, you'll really be that way.

    Going from memory (haven't launched mine since the 80s), it goes maybe 150 feet.

    -Kevin

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by troj View Post
    Once you've seen how high one goes, you'll really be that way.

    Going from memory (haven't launched mine since the 80s), it goes maybe 150 feet.

    -Kevin
    Proper emphasis added to the word maybe! If it is as draggy as the Outlander(which it appears to be) it might reach that high. An AT D13 will give it a good ride tho! I flew my Outlander on one and it got almost 250 feet!
    Chute Happens!!
    NAR 86940 L2
    TRA 12270 L3 09-01-12
    KF4GUL
    TeleTubby Fan, Unofficial King of Namby-Pamby Land:tongue:

  14. #14
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    Pantherjon is right on! The only decent flight of my Outlander was on an AT D21-4T. The flights on C6-3 were marginal with the last one being a crash. Still in the repair shop a year or 2 later....

    Glenn

  15. #15
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    I've gotten several successful flights from my Mars Lander on C6-3's. True, the altitude was fairly low, but deployment always seemed to occur right after apogee. Nothing too heart stopping as I recall. That said, I wouldn't mind trying it on a D motor. However, this a very marginal design in regards to stability. The last two flights resulted in some undesirable acrobatics. Luckily, neither flight resulted in any type of damage, and I may add a few grams in the nose and see if that cures it. Here some pics of the "good" flights....
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    Craig Z.
    MDRA

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pantherjon View Post
    Proper emphasis added to the word maybe! If it is as draggy as the Outlander(which it appears to be) it might reach that high. An AT D13 will give it a good ride tho! I flew my Outlander on one and it got almost 250 feet!
    It's draggy like the Outlander, but the Mars Lander isn't nearly as heavy. The Outlander weighs a ton with all that plastic and decorative body tubes, compared to the Mars Lander which is primarily paper and balsa. Still, I think the Mars Lander could benefit from a D motor(and a touch of nose weight), but not a necessity like the Outlander.
    Craig Z.
    MDRA

  17. #17
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    nice work on you Mars Lander and pictures looks awsome...
    NRA 81712
    TRA 11129

    Level III

  18. #18
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    Very nice work!

    There was a thread over at TRF 1 on the stability of the mars lander. I think it benefits from a small amount of nose weight, mine has 2 Estes lead discs. Carl from Semroc also said something about the distance between the legs needs to be 13.5 inches (I Think). And the last thing I remember is the legs need a snug fit around the balsa fairings, if they are too loose the legs can pivot and act like control surfaces.

    Mine is a clone, It uses some KosRox parts, a few Semroc parts, and a bunch of stock Estes parts. It's built light, not much paint, and stock. I have flown it many times on both B6-2, and C6-3's. It gets about 90-100 ft on a B6-2 with a full chute about 50ft and about 200ft on a C6-3. I have had one flight on a B6-2 that the chute came out, but did not deploy. This resulted in a cracked leg dowel that was easily repaved. I have also flown it in 7mph winds with no problems. It is a tough bird but it does have marginal stability, I would be very wary of any mods, If I remember correctly, and Carl please chime in if I am wrong, even the Semroc upgrade to fiberboard has a slight degradation in stability due to the added mass.

    Please post a painted photo!


    Oh and when you store it, keep the weight off the legs. Someone here (I don't remember who) suggested using a spent engine inserted partway to hold up the lander. This improves the life of the rubber bands.
    Last edited by mach7; 14th June 2009 at 02:37 PM. Reason: Text
    Mark Alterio

  19. #19
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    I was able to finish my ML today, can't wait to take her to the field.





  20. #20
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    Gorgeous.
    Craig Z.
    MDRA

  21. #21
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    Wow! Great job!

    Good luck on it's maiden voyage. Take photos if you can.
    Mark Alterio

  22. #22
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    Stellar job!
    Tim

    "You know, it, uh, won't fly unless somebody pushes the button." From the movie October Sky.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by foose4string View Post
    I've gotten several successful flights from my Mars Lander on C6-3's. True, the altitude was fairly low, but deployment always seemed to occur right after apogee. Nothing too heart stopping as I recall. That said, I wouldn't mind trying it on a D motor. However, this a very marginal design in regards to stability. The last two flights resulted in some undesirable acrobatics. Luckily, neither flight resulted in any type of damage, and I may add a few grams in the nose and see if that cures it. Here some pics of the "good" flights....
    Looks great
    Cheers
    Fred

  24. #24
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    Thumbs up

    Scigs your rocket and photos and build thread are superb My only question is how do you keep your work area so neat

    Fred


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