Accur8 Indigo Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor Build Thread

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by neil_w, Jan 2, 2018.

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  1. Jan 24, 2018 #31

    neil_w

    neil_w

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    Remember that bit of exposed white at the front end of the body tube? Time to fix. I found an extra blue wrap strip that was included to use on the nose cone if needed. I did *not* need it for that, so it should work perfectly here.

    First I Sharpied around the very end end of the BT, so any exposed edges will not show white:
    IMG_6517.jpg

    Then I wrapped the blue strip around the end. Voila!
    IMG_6518.jpg
     
  2. Jan 24, 2018 #32

    neil_w

    neil_w

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    Check your PMs.
     
  3. Jan 24, 2018 #33

    neil_w

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    I updated the first post to reflect that John Pursley was originally inspired by this 1959 Aurora kit:
    [​IMG]

    Aurora updated and reissued that kit in 1976 as the Ragnarok Orbital Interceptor.

    There are a lot of cool old plastic models. Go get lost in the Fantastic Plastic model gallery for a while.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  4. Jan 24, 2018 #34

    Saluki

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    It would really be nice if John pursley would do a set of skins to represent the Aurora paint scheme.
     
  5. Jan 24, 2018 #35

    neil_w

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    He said he originally was going for the white color scheme, but changed it up at some point. The thing about the white is that you don't really need full-body skins for it; you could do it with white paint and some decals. The artwork is out there.
     
  6. Jan 26, 2018 #36

    Forever_Metal

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    I'll be doing my chair force and navy demo interceptors later this year using the skins!

    Looks good from here!

    fm
     
  7. Jan 26, 2018 #37

    neil_w

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    Nice, please post pics. John doesn't have any pics of the navy Interceptor finished model. Did you get the air force skin with chameleon or without? Do you have actual Interceptor kits or are you going the scratch route?

    Yes, I have questions. :)
     
  8. Jan 27, 2018 #38

    neil_w

    neil_w

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    OK, let's get cracking on the wings. A reminder yet again that I'm documenting the build in a different order than I've actually been doing it.

    After my crappy paint and sanding and polishing job, my wings looked pretty awful:
    IMG_6443.jpg IMG_6444.jpg

    Most of that doesn't matter once the skins are on. Here's how they looked immediately after:
    IMG_6445.jpg

    You can see where the surface of the paint is not flat under the skins, but it's not a big deal.

    A few more words about those wings are in order. John provides optional "cuffs" for the leading edges of the wings and stabilizers. These are simply long strips that can be wrapped around the edges to provide a more finished appearance. Further, the cuffs can be applied either under the main skins or over. Having already experienced some edge lifting, I thought that putting the cuffs over the wing skins would help hold down the edges. I also trimmed them a bit narrower so they wouldn't cover too much of the skin. Unfortunately I had the whole thing backwards. The next morning when I came to check on things, I was greeted with this:
    IMG_6447.jpg

    What you see there is that the cuffs have completely lifted from one side. In hindsight (and John confirmed this), putting the cuffs on first, *under* the main skins, would have worked better. First, I wouldn't have needed to trim them, since they'd be hidden. That would also have left a larger overlap between the skin and the cuff, which would have held better. The skin would have kept the cuff in place. Live and learn.

    I tried gluing down the cuffs with 3M 45 spray adhesive (yet another recommendation from John), but even it had a hard time holding down the cuffs, which really did not want to stay bent around the wing. And so I reverted to my Scotch Satin tape along the entire cuff, only on the underside of the wing, so it's not visible most of the time. They came out pretty good:
    IMG_6450.jpg

    One other thing I learned: John provides the skins slightly oversized, and then suggests trimming off the excess at the trailing edge. I could not do this effectively at all, so I ended up simply pre-cutting the skins a bit smaller than the fins, and simply living with a bit more exposed black at the trailing edge. I used this technique throughout the rest of the build. I am happy with the results.
     
  9. Jan 27, 2018 #39

    neil_w

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    Going in, the aspect of this build that gave the most concern was gluing the fins. I am used to gluing things unfinished with TBII and then applying some nice Quick and Thick fillets and knowing that everything is good and strong. On a skinned build wood glue fillets are not happening, since they'd have nothing to stick to, and would look ugly on top of the fins if they did. Would this thing hold together without my traditional fillets?

    John actually recommends using thin CA, claiming that a sort of "double glue joint" approach works very well with basswood and thin CA. I readily acknowledge that John has likely forgotten more about building rockets than I'll know in my lifetime, but I still couldn't get comfortable with this approach. And so, I decided to cross my fingers and just glue with TBII, and damn the fillets. I took some solace from the fact that the aspect ratios of almost all the fins provided for very long root edges, so I figured it had a decent chance to be strong enough.

    For the wings, the instructions are to glue the wings so that the tips are resting on the bench. First thing I had to do was secure the body tube in as perfect an upright position as possible, because any error would result in crooked wings. You'll see my rig in the first picture.

    Next, I prepared double-glue joints for the wings, and then applied the first one. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the slot in the skin on the BT sort of held the wing root in position, and I didn't have to resort to any crazy trickery to get it to stay in place while drying. And so on went the two wings:
    IMG_6453.jpg

    The fact that the wings are sized and positioned to rest on the bench like that is yet another thoughtful design touch; without that it could have been a major challenge to get the wings on straight.

    OK, I said no fillets, but then I realized that I could do something. And that something is: medium CA fillets. I know they're not going to provide a huge amount of strength, but they do accomplish two things:
    1) "seal" the joint.
    2) Secure the edges of the skins at the joint.

    My first attempts at this worked very well, so I decided to stick with it for the rest of the build. Here's the assembly upside down on the bench while I apply the underside fillets:
    IMG_6454.jpg

    The medium CA fillets are nearly invisible in the final model, but do absolutely fill in and seal the joints.

    At this point it was starting to dawn on me that this is a big model, by far the biggest I've built (hey, I'm an LPR guy).
     
  10. Jan 27, 2018 #40

    Micromeister

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    Very nicely done! A beauty of a rocket!
     
  11. Jan 27, 2018 #41

    neil_w

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    Thank you sir! Plenty more to go...
     
  12. Jan 28, 2018 #42

    neil_w

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    The lower part of the vertical stabilizer is straightforward. Skins go on:
    IMG_6426.jpg
    And then the white area which will serve as the glue point for the nuclear ramjets is trimmed out:
    IMG_6427.jpg
    Still gotta glue onto painted surface, oh well.

    Horizontal stabilizer gets cuffs on first:
    IMG_6302.jpg

    Then skins, and the upper tip of the vertical stabilizer is glued on. And so were are here:
    IMG_6428.jpg

    The horizontal subassembly now is glued onto the vertical stabilizer. I stared at this for a while trying to figure out how I would hold it all in position for gluing. Eventually I put the vertical stabilizer, wrapped in a paper towel, gently into my bench vice. Then the top assembly was glued on fairly routinely.
    IMG_6430.jpg

    I initially repaired a few lifted edges with tape, but learned that while the tape disappeared on the skins, it was ugly and visible on the painted fin edges:
    IMG_6441.jpg

    I went back and sliced off the offending bit of tape, and glued the skin edges down with 3M 45. Much nicer:
    IMG_6442.jpg

    Mind you: the 3M 45 is a pain in the neck. It seems almost impossible to work with it without at some point getting some on your fingers, and then putting nice sticky fingerprints on the rocket. I eventually decided to only use it when necessary, although it is definitely useful to have around. Later I found that a bit of CA under the edge of the skin could also seal it down.

    Finally the entire assembly is glued onto the body tube and and here we are:
    IMG_6550.jpg

    Medium CA fillets on all joints. That seems to work well.
     
  13. Jan 28, 2018 #43

    neil_w

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    When I plugged the nose cone into the BT just to preview how things were going, I noticed something:
    [​IMG]

    The chameleon pattern on the nose cone (right side of image) is different from that of the rest of the model. It's noticeable but not tragic. I asked John about it and he was surprised, saying no one had ever mentioned it to him before.

    The skin for this kit has been modified since I got mine, so I can't say if new purchasers will encounter this or not.

    It's a bit annoying but there's nothing to be done about it, so nothing to do but soldier on.

    IMG_6519.jpg
     
  14. Jan 28, 2018 #44

    neil_w

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    The Ragnarok has a scoop on the underside that is *similar* to the one on the Cosmic Interceptor but not the same (also the Cosmic's scoop is on top). A piece of tubing is provided; originally I thought it was the same 2" PSII tubing but actually it's one size larger, so it'll slide over the body tube. I don't know its numeric designation. It's also somewhat thinner-walled than the body tube. Prospective scratch builders be aware.

    Process for cutting the scoop is to apply the piece of skin, then use that as the cutting guide, much like the sausage cut at the aft of the BT.
    IMG_6523.jpg

    As shown above, I drew an alignment line on the tube to ensure that the skin was applied straight. Here's the skin on the tube:
    IMG_6524.jpg

    Knowing full well that the skin was going to want to lift, I taped the edges down, taking care to only tape of the white extra, and not on the blue skin itself. Time to cut!

    The two end cuts were pure freehand. Because the tube was not too thick, it cut through in 3 or 4 passes with a fresh snap-off blade. For the long straight cuts on the side, I taped a piece of cardstock just to provide a bit of a guide to work from. Even though it didn't conform to the tube particularly well (or at all?) it definitely helped make straight cuts down the side.
    IMG_6525.jpg

    Here's the cut-out piece.
    IMG_6537.jpg

    Although these were some of the cleaner body tube cuts I've made (getting better, slowly), they still naturally needed cleanup. And so, CA was applied around the entire edge, then everything was sanded smooth, hit with black Sharpie, and then another layer of CA. Looking good:
    IMG_6538.jpg

    Of course the edges started to lift:
    IMG_6539.jpg

    I tacked them down with a bit of CA. They didn't need to be perfect, since they'd eventually be held down by the CA fillets after the model was assembled.

    Two coats of Tamiya gloss black were applied to the inside, leaving a small border around the edge for gluing. I wasn't sure it really even needed the second coat; the Tamiya gets pretty good coverage with one, but why not.

    Then I started to wonder: how the heck am I going to glue this thing on? TBII on the edges wouldn't be so great since they're CA-coated. And so what I did was this. I applied a heavy bead of TBII around the inside perimeter of the part:
    IMG_6542.jpg

    I figured that when I laid it in place, the glue would flow down and make a decent bridge between the BT and the un-CAed parts of the scoop. So I turned it over and placed it down, and then realized that I had forgotten to come up with a plan to hold the scoop in place while drying. In the heat of the moment, all I could think was to tape it down:
    IMG_6543.jpg

    The tape did not really hold it in place as tightly as I would like. To be fair, I don't think there is *anything* that could have done so, short of sitting there like an idiot holding it with my hands for 20 minutes while the big glob of Titebond set up. The good news is that the glue did seem to have pretty well secured the scoop to the BT; the less good news is that one of the sides of the scoop didn't quite sit down flush as it dried. In this picture you can see a bit of the TB through the gap:
    IMG_6545.jpg

    I decided there wasn't much to be done here, so I just applied my nice CA fillets around all the edges, and as it turned out that pretty much hid the gap in the joint. I would say that when I was finished the scoop was really quite secure. Also, after the CA fillets were applied, the edges of the skin weren't going anywhere. Success!

    Oh hey, look, the scoop skin has the same chameleon pattern as the nose cone...
     
  15. Jan 29, 2018 #45

    Tobor

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    Late to the party...... again. :p Interesting, very interesting. Thx for sharing.

    Subscribed!
     
  16. Jan 31, 2018 #46

    neil_w

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    Two ventral fins get mounted behind the scoop, overlapping it slightly.

    First, the two cut-out slots get the goth eye makeup treatment to eliminate exposed white areas after the fins are attached:
    IMG_6547.jpg

    Next the fins are skinned and attached. I mounted these aligned with the aft edge of the sausage-cut BT. They are glued to the exposed areas on the BT: the forward extensions the overlap the scoop was only glued by the now obligatory CA fillets around the entire root edges.
    IMG_6559.jpg

    The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine through a bit.
     
  17. Feb 1, 2018 #47

    neil_w

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    The Cosmic comes with two 1" long 1/4" lugs. The Ragnarok instructions say to skin them and then apply them in the joint between the scoop and the wing.

    Step 1: prepare for skinning. I Sharpied the ends to avoid any visible whiteness:
    IMG_6548.jpg

    These lug pieces had a pretty glossy finish on them so I thought they'd be a good surface for the skins to grab onto. Then I went hunting for the skins and absolutely could not find them. I don't know if I somehow misplaced the pieces, or was misinterpreting which pieces were for the lugs, but I could not for the life of me find anything in the skin set that was intended for the lugs.

    There was, however, some extra blue pieces leftover from some cuffs earlier in the build (save everything!!!). They weren't long enough to wrap all the way around, but that seemed OK because only a little more than 1/4 of the lug surface would be exposed. Also I would have wanted to have some exposed lug surface anyway for gluing. Sorry, no pictures of the skinned lugs (forgot).

    Naturally, the edges started lifting up, so I glued them down and everything seemed good.

    Next I laid them down in their intended destination to see how things looked. As you can see, only a small part of the lug surface is visible; the exposed white parts are nestled into the joint.
    IMG_6553.jpg

    Then I realized that unlike the fin mounting points, there were no indicated cutouts for the lug glue joints. So I marked it myself and cut out a couple of rectangles, slightly shorter than the lugs and (hopefully) right underneath, on the wing, which seemed like a sturdier place to glue than the scoop.
    Here are the cutouts:
    IMG_6554.jpg

    Then I dolloped on a bit of 30 minute epoxy onto each glue pad...
    IMG_6555.jpg

    And plopped on the lugs. Looked good. Then I applied CA fillets to the wing/lug joint and the scoop/lug joint. A few minutes later I checked on things and was greeted by this:
    IMG_6556.jpg

    I was not in a good mood when I saw this, since I *thought* I had sufficiently glued the skins to the lugs. Apparently not. One of them held, but the pictured one, well, did that.

    Not much I could do until the CA fillet was dry. At that point, I glued the skin back down with 3M 45, and when it seemed to be secure I applied another CA fillet. Thankfully it seems to have all held together.

    Here's where we stand. Note the nose cone has already gotten a couple of coats of Future, so it has a glossier sheen to it. Eventually that should all even out when I Future the rest of the rocket.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It is pretty freakin' cool. But it is not quite done!
     

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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  18. Feb 4, 2018 #48

    neil_w

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    The "nuclear ramjets" are the final bit of exterior construction. These mount on either side of the vertical stabilizer.

    The tubes are made from the yellow spacer tube that is used in building the motor mount (everything gets used!). I cut it into two 1.75" pieces, and then gave each one a coat of CA on the outside, so the surface would be slicker (after sanding) for the skin to adhere. An extra bit of strength is welcome also. A 1/4" wide strip is left bare, for eventual gluing to the rocket.

    Here's the "jig" I used to hold the tube while I was applying the CA, and it made for a handy drying rack as well:
    IMG_6504.jpg

    The cones in the jets can be done in one of two ways. First, and more "accurate", is with cardstock shrouds. However, although I've done a reasonable number of shrouds, the first one of these that I tried really kicked my ass. It's very long and skinny, and requires a very tight curve radius. My attempt was sufficiently awful that I discarded it to get it out of my sight before it even occurred to me to take a picture.

    The alternate approach is to use a piece of wood to approximate the shape of the cone, and that's what I chose to do. Templates are provided, and.... I finally get to paper some balsa fins, woohoo! Here they are, papered and ready to go. The one in the back is inserted in the tube to show how it's gonna go.
    IMG_6522.jpg

    Next up: priming, painting, blah blah blah. I did the fins, and then most of the tubes, leaving unpainted areas both for gluing the tubes to the stabilizer and also on the inside for gluing the cone/fin thing. I didn't completely paint the tubes because most of them would be covered by skin. I just painted the edges that would either be exposed, or would be attempting to hold the edge of the skin.

    Here are the painted pieces freshly glued together, stuck to some tape to hold everything in position while drying:
    IMG_6565.jpg

    The tubes were then skinned, again leaving a gap for gluing on the bottom. Of course the edges were lifting, but this time I was ready. While holding down half of each edge, I applied a bead of CA along the other half. When that dried, I held the glued half and then applied glue to the other half. The edges were secure, and the CA would be pretty much hidden in the joint. This picture shows the edges of the skins, and you can kind of see the CA.
    IMG_6566.jpg

    Here are the finished assemblies:
    IMG_6567.jpg

    I glued them to the stabilizer with 5 minute epoxy. Normally I use 30 minute, but hey I have a life to live here, and this isn't structural.

    Here's a top view of the stabilizer showing the ramjets on each side:
    [​IMG]


    And here's how it looks from the side:
    [​IMG]
     

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  19. Feb 4, 2018 #49

    neil_w

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    Hey, guess what? Exterior construction is complete. I still have a few stubborn skin edges to glue down, but this is basically it. Recovery gear has not yet been installed, still thinking about options there. Also the whole thing needs a few coats of Future; that'll probably wait for better weather, gonna hang it from my shed ceiling and do it there.

    Here's what it looks like.
    [​IMG]

    IMG_6574.jpg
     
  20. Feb 4, 2018 #50

    Scott_650

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    Awesome! Lots of great tips on Accur8 skins too - thanks for taking us all along for your build.
     
  21. Feb 9, 2018 #51

    BABAR

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    Looks really good. Those tail feathers look a bit delicate, will they handle a landing?
     
  22. Feb 9, 2018 #52

    neil_w

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    It was fun. I really suspect that most Accur8 skin purchasers do not experience the edge lifting problems that I had, or else John would have changed the vinyl by now. Fortunately I was able to work through it all, despite a few bits here and there that are not as clean as I'd like.

    I had the same thought, but only one way to find out. :wink:

    I do not expect this to be a frequently flown model, but I do want to get it up in the air sometime this year when the conditions are favorable. An Aerotech E15/E20 should do nicely.
     
  23. Feb 9, 2018 #53

    GlenP

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  24. Feb 10, 2018 #54

    neil_w

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    Ooh, that’s pretty...
     
  25. Feb 10, 2018 #55

    BABAR

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  26. Feb 17, 2018 #56

    kuririn

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    -Unless it has forward mounted cameras in the nose.
     
  27. Feb 28, 2018 #57

    Nytrunner

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    Nuclear Ramjets....Now there's a terrible idea for accelerating the end of the world!


    How's this build coming with the recovery and prep? Will it go flying with Avalon soon, or has something occupied your attentions?
     
  28. Feb 28, 2018 #58

    neil_w

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    I try not to think too hard about these fantasy models. :)

    Great question. In fact, recovery has not been installed, either in this or my Trajector. I'm a bit stymied about what to do with them. I was gonna put some baffles in, but on this one at least it would be very tight to put in the baffle in front of the coupler and still have room for the recovery stuff. Also, the baffle would have been better installed before the two tubes were coupled together, although in theory I suppose there's no reason why I couldn't just swab the glue in with a dowel and shove the baffle down in there.

    Maybe for this one I'll just put a laundry shelf in above the coupler, and for the Trajector I'll put in a proper baffle. Then I just need to keep track of which rocket has what in it. :)

    This one also needs Future; I was waiting until it warmed up a bit so I could do it in out in the shed.

    1) Avalon will fly at the first launch I go to this year, weather permitting. This one may or may not be ready at that point. It'll fly this year though, for sure.
    2) I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about. ;)
     
  29. Apr 15, 2018 #59

    neil_w

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    Finally got a nice day to do some Future slobbering on the rocket. Normally I do it in my basement, but this one is just a bit too big to manage the way I normally do, so out to the shed I go.

    Although I'd rather hang the rocket from its nose for this, I didn't have an easy way to do it, so I made a tail hanger out of... a hanger. Threaded through the end of a spent D motor.
    IMG_6904.jpg

    And here it is, ready to go.
    IMG_6903.jpg

    3 coats of Future later it is nicely shinified.
    IMG_6905.jpg

    Now I just need to do something with the recovery gear already. I think I'm just going to fashion some sort of laundry shelf and butt it up against the coupler. This would leave a recovery compartment a bit over 9" long... does anyone think that'd be too small?
     
  30. Apr 15, 2018 #60

    Nytrunner

    Nytrunner

    Nytrunner

    Master of Rivets

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    What's the weight difference before vs after the wax?
     

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