Boyce Nike-Zeus

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Oct 26, 2009
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Brigham City, UT
There is a good review in the latest March/April 2017 Sport Rocketry magazine by Thomas Beach of several 3D printed Boyce Aerospace Hobbies kits. I bought the Boyce Nike-Zeus kit several months ago and started to work on it. The directions for the kit recommend sanding with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. This is to remove the little ridges that come with 3D printing. Tom used 100 grit instead. I found some 120 grit sand paper in my workshop and that worked good.

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The instructions call for inserting a motor in the model and adding nose weight to get the recommended CG location. I put in a D12-5 and put in clay and bb's for nose weight. With the extra nose weight the model came to 4.52 oz. This is the current weight without the motor and paint. The instructions estimate an altitude of 1075 feet with a D12 or E11. I think for me a model this light with a D12-5 will just about go out of sight.

I glued the lower 2 parts together with medium CA, which worked good. Before doing so, I tied about 3 feet of heavy Apogee kevlar line to the plastic bar of the lowest part and secured the knot with thin CA. The instructions call for a different attachment, but tying to this bar seemed to me the most natural attachment point.

I dry-sanded for awhile with 120 grit paper and decided I had enough. There are so many minute ridges and grooves on the 3D printing, I decided it was time to go to primer. I painter the model with Rust-oleum 2X Ultra Cover Flat White Primer. This stuff bonds to plastic and can be wet or dry sanded. I dry-sanded with 320 grit paper. This helped, but the model still needs one more coat of primer. BTW I see on ebay that they are selling the original Cox Nike-Zeus for about $200.
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I painted one last time with primer and then dry sanded with 400 grit paper. I have now painted with Rustoleum Appliance Epoxy Gloss White. I'm debating what to do next.
The first coat of Rustoleum Appliance Epoxy Gloss White worked good. I think that it has some hiding power to help cover up the 3D printing ridges and grooves, although it is not perfect. I dry sanded the first Epoxy coat with 400 grit paper and have applied a second coat.
As I recall I ended up giving a total of 3 coats of Epoxy Gloss White. The last two coats I did not sand.

Note that this model is a 1/24 scale Nike Zeus B. I thought that I had a paint scheme in Peter Alway's book "Fourteen US Army Missiles of the Cold War". However, the missile in that book is the Spartan. I searched with Google and it seemed that the paint schemes for the Nike Zeus B were similar to the Spartan, so I went the Spartan scheme, which is described in detail in Alway's book. Mark at Sticker Shock made up some patterns for me and I am now in the process of decorating the Nike Zeus using scissors and Xacto knives.
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I launched the Nike Zeus on Saturday using the Estes 18 mm adapter to insert a B6-4 into the 24 mm motor mount. The model was way under-powered with this motor and reached 75' at most. Fortunately, the heavy plastic had no damage.

she turned out beautiful!I have been eyeing that Nike Hercules that they sell and I might just give it a try.
she turned out beautiful!I have been eyeing that Nike Hercules that they sell and I might just give it a try.

Hi NJ,

Perhaps you saw that Thomas Beach had an article in the March/April issue of Sport Rocketry about his Nike Hercules build. The plastic is strong and sturdy. I think it would be hard to break one of these models. I keep thinking about the Saturn 1B for a winter project, because I had the Ready-to-Fly Cox version back in about the 1973 time-frame. With the old Cox Saturn 1B, I would just put in a Estes 24 mm D-motor and it was good to go. Normal breakage was not a problem. If I did get the Boyce Saturn 1B, I would paint it pretty simple. I would not even begin to put in the kind of detail that you do on your amazing Saturn 1B's. (I just weighed the model and found that it is 5.3 oz. So looking at post #2 in this thread I see that the finishing, parachute, and shock cord put about 0.8 oz on the model.)
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I launched the Nike-Zeus at Hellfire-22 on an Estes 18 mm C6-3. It got much higher than with a B6-4, but I didn't have to walk too far to recover it. The model seemed to fish tail a little bit on the way up. The Estes 18 mm adapter didn't seem to go as far forward as I expected, so perhaps that explains the fish-tailing.