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Well-Known Member
Jan 17, 2009
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OK...I need feedback on this one!

I am in the parts procurment stage of this one and I need help deciding what "Skill Level" you guys would be interested in.

I am making a 4" in diameter (BT-101) Little Joe II high skill level kit! I need to know how "high" a skill level you guys want.

The model will be 4" in diameter and 26" tall this will be BIG!

It will be powered by a central 24mm motor. A D12-3 will fly it BEAUTIFULLY!

The Centering rings also have cut out so you can fly it with a central 24mm (up to an "E" size) AND 6 18mm motors.

A 7 motor cluster for all you "Fire and Smoke" crazys!

The nose cone/capsule will be built up similar but stronger to the old Estes Apollo Capsule but with a hardwood (basswood) tip and maple escape motor.

How much detail do you guys really want!

I am currently "working" on the vacuform parts for the fin farings and corrugated wrap. This will be the "hard" part!

Feedback please.

This is gonna be a big impressive model!

The picture shows the prototype looking kinda rough...She's flown 30 or 40 times on a single D12-3!

See page 5 of the November/December "Sport Rocketry" magazine for a flight picture!

Here is a centering ring...please...no drooling on the keyboard!

Originally posted by sandman
no drooling on the keyboard!

Too late....... keyboard already wet....... I have been working on my cluster rocket (estes MK-109 upscale) all morning, so I have clusters on my mind........

What price are you asking for this kit?
I'm not sure on the price.

I want to keep the price as low as I can but it all depends on the level of detail you guys demand.

Remember this is going to have a LOT of "hand made" parts. I'd like to earn a bit more than $1 an hour.

Feedback on just that issue is requested, please!

How much detail do you want?..not how much I want...how much do you want?

Outstanding kit Sandman! My only concern is that tip of the bell tower. I hate to have to look for after an Estes Mercury Redstone or Saturn V lands. I see you're making it out of basswood (+5 points). Is there a way you can keep it from coming off? I'd be thrilled if there is! Sheesh, I've built over 200 rockets and I still feel like a newbie!
I've flown mine A LOT!! and never had the tower come off or seperate!

It did get caught by the wind and knocked over once but it was next to my truck on display and the tower cracked...I superglued the crack in the tube.

The tower didn't come loose...it kinked the tube!

The prototype has a screweye hidden deep inside the tower and a leader is snapped on before flight with an 18" parachute so it lands base down!

Remember this thing is big! The base of the capsule is 4" in dameter.

Never had a landing incident in about 30 or more flights!

I would definatly be intrested in one of those. As far as detail is concerned, as much as you can and still keep the kit reasonable. It should handle 29mm with no problem if I convert it right ?
It should handle 29mm with no problem if I convert it right ?

I wouldn't reccomend that!

This is for scale...not "Let'see how fast we can loose it"!

Scale should look scale and "fly" scale.

Oh...go ahead...I'll make more!

I have a beta version of Sandmans tower and capsule assy
and theres no doubt
it could easily handle G loads!

hmmm..mabey a seperate capsule/tower set will be availiable after the initial run of kits...(hint,hint)

I'll be one of the first in line for a complete kit tho
the effort sandman has put into it, makes it a must have !

it could easily be transformed into a very nice higher power rocket.. with some mods to the fin assembly
the vac formed wrap should add plenty of ridgidity to the BT already..

I'm not actually suggesting a G motor
just saying that it can be made capable with a little effort
I was thinking of F motors but a G might find it's way in if I don't loose it fast enough on the F :D
If there is enough interest in this kit, I might do a 1/70th scale Little Joe II kit.

Maybe next year.

I am definitely interested in the BT-101 kit, as far as the level of detail goes, you don't have to be too painstaking in the detail. I'm not looking for a kit that could win a scale model contest, but I'd like for it to be proportioned closely. That, and the near invincible bell tower tip would be perfect! WIth 7 motors, I need an ignition system upgrade, bad!!
the near invincible bell tower tip would be perfect!

I guess I don't understand what you mean by "near invisable bell tower tip".

The Escape tower will be accurately scaled and you will have to epoxy the parts together (basically different sized of wood dowel). It will be all spelled out carefully in the plans.

I think I might include a tower assembly "jig" to make it easier to build.

The 6 outboard motors will be an "option" for flight. She does about 400' on a single "D" motor...consistantly!

I would definetly be interested in one!

Looks awesome. I would let cost drive your scalability...maybe a quick poll?
Invincible, not invisible! But yours has flown 30 or 40 times and is still in place, so I would call that near invincible. Choose your adjective: invinicible, impervious, rock-solid, the list goes on. Seems you have that down pat! Besides, wood dowels and epoxy, sounds a lot stronger than Testors Plastic cement and plastic.
Invincible, not invisible!


I guess I can't read today!

I've spent way too much time looking at my CAD today!

John, I think you are right on.

OK, now to cost then. Maybe that should determine the accuracy of scale.

The run will be limited to 15 kits, maybe more if the demand is high.

So how much should these kits cost? After doing plans and scale drawings I have to start out with a price between $60 and $75 for a kit. Is that way too high?

Especially after figuring out the price of the parts. Remember I have to make all the wooden parts by hand! The escape motor itself has to be turned from 3/4" dowel stock to an accurate 0.661" in diameter. Well, as close as possible.

Corrugation will add to the cost as well as the cost of making the masters for the fin fairings. Those will have to be either cast or vacuformed.

I think I have to aim for a top price and stay under it.

I paid $69 (plus shipping) for an Estes Saturn V. I'm sure I will like your kit better than the Estes so ballpark $70 works for me. Cast fairings would be great ! I hate vacume form except for things like corrugation.

My Saturn V
Zippy, nice saturn V!

Time line...well that depends on a lot of things.

How soon I can turn all the wooden parts.

How soon the tubes, and corrugation arrives.

How long it take me to make the plansets...that will be rather elaborate!

I have to have some decals...not many.

I wouldexpect by late spring...May at the latest.

I am real pleased with the reaction to this so far.

But please...don't send me money yet!

Thanks Sandman. Your timeline works good for me since I'll have to budget it in somewhere. I'll probably scrap the 29mm idea and go with it the way you send it, although there's bound to be a composite going in the central mmt :)
I would get one at that price. If you are only making 15, it might be kinda cool if you signed and numbered the instructions or something. I think that would put the icing right on the cake!

I might even buy 2!
Well I tend to overlook the Yard Sale forum, and I'm glad I checked it today.

Sandman, your rocket looks fantastic. Period !

You can count me in for one of these kits. Price wise, I'll have to save for a few months, but for a quality Little Joe kit the price was what I expected - anywhere from 40 to 65 bucks.

Hmm..NAR membership or Little Joe ?..Considering a Little Joe 2 just went for 42 bucks on Ebay, I'll take the "Big" Little Joe. 8)

Thank you for posting this thread Sandman, really appreciate it. :D

Hmmmm, 75 bucks is kinda what I expected. Yup, count me in too! I think this is a wonderful project!
Are you going to take preorders for this. That might give you an idea on demand. Great looking kit!
I will take pre-orders but not for a few month yet.

Please, let me get my s*** together on this first.

That's a pretty sweet looking rocket Sandman! You do some awesome work! I don't know right yet if I'll be able to afford buying this rocket - but I might be able to. So, if I can afford it when they come out, I will buy one!

Thanks man....now I hafta go buy a new keyboard! :kill: J/K!

Sandman...If and when you get your issue of Sport Rocketry magazine, look at the picture on the back cover.....could it be...well yes ..I think it's your baby. :cool:
Originally posted by Martin Vrstal
Sandman...If and when you get your issue of Sport Rocketry magazine, look at the picture on the back cover.....could it be...well yes ..I think it's your baby. :cool:

LOL...we're amidst a *true* celebrity! Isn't it nice to have these folks around TRF? :)
Hey look!!! a free advertisement on the back cover of Sport Rocketry for the new kit!

That's what it looks like on a D12-3!

Your milage may vary!