Dr. Zooch Lifting Body build thread

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by luke strawwalker, Mar 31, 2009.

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  1. Mar 31, 2009 #1

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Hey! Thought I'd start another build thread on my next build... the Dr. Zooch Lifting Body shuttle kit. Been raining a bit every day (good thing we've been TOO DRY!! so the cows are happy now) and so I figured just having basically finished with the Dr. Zooch Return To Flight Space Shuttle kit, I'd go ahead and work on this one while my experience set is fresh from the shuttle stack.

    This kit is pretty neat. It comes in the ubiquitous Dr. Zooch 4x4x12 inch-ish shipping box, as usual. The kit consists of two BT-20 SRB tubes, a BT-5 flamefin tube, motor mount and associated hardware, and 3/32 inch sheet balsa stock. The main difference from the Space Shuttle kit is the External Tank tube, which forms the backbone of the stack, is only a BT-55 in the Lifting Body shuttle kit instead of the BT-60 found in the Space Shuttle kit, which I found a bit curious as commonality would surely have eased the kitting process, but I'm sure the Doc had his reasons. :D At any rate, the materials look to be the usual Dr. Zooch good quality. The seven double sided sheets of instructions are well documented and illustrated as usual, and a sheet giving the background not only of Dr. Zooch lifting body but also giving the history of NASA's forays into lifting body development over the years, including some neat photos and even a reference and drawing of the lifting body featured in the film "Marooned" is included with the kit, as well as two wrap sheets printed on cardstock.

    We start the kit off by constructing the SRB's. These are identical to the SRB's used in the Space Shuttle kit, save for the wraps which feature "United States" printed on them (like Ares I?) and are built by cutting out the two aft skirts from the wrap sheets, gluing them into hoops, marking the SRB tubes 13/16 inch from the aft end, gluing the aft skirts onto the SRB's with white glue, and then cutting the SRB wraps from the wrap sheet, applying white glue around the edges, and carefully rolling them onto the tubes. Two 20/50 centering rings are also included which are sanded to a taper to glue inside the SRB aft skirts to stiffen them up and make them look good! Once sanded and test fitted, glue them in with white glue.

    DSCF0002.jpg

    The engine mount is constructed by cutting a slot for the engine hook per the instructions, installing the hook and securing it with black electrical tape, and gluing the front and rear black fiberboard centering rings to the engine mount tube as instructed. The aft centering ring was not notched for the engine hook, so I cut a small notch with my hobby knife to allow the hook to move properly. The bottom 'tank dome' for the Lifting Body shuttle kit is a conical paper transition that looks great-- gives the tank a very "Delta IV" or "Ariane V" look... clock the transition seam to align with an SRB seam (90 degrees from the engine hook) and carefully notch the smaller diameter end for your engine hook to have room to move, and glue it over the engine tube with the large end butted up against the aft centering ring. When you install the engine mount in the rocket, the transition will butt up against the aft end of the ET looking like the thrust structure of an Ariane V or Delta IV with the centering ring JUST inside the rear end of the tube. Wrap the corrugated paper "intertank" around the ET tube and mark where it meets itself, carefully cut it to length, apply white glue to the back, and wrap it around the tank at the indicated area as instructed.

    DSCF0003.jpg

    While that was drying, I stepped out of the instructions a bit for something I always do on my kits... I took the SRB and ET nosecones outside and hardened them with ultra thin CA from Hobby Lobby, let them dry, then sanded them a bit to remove the hardened 'balsa hairs' and dust that the CA inevitably raises and to get a good fit of the cone shoulders in the tubes, and then masked the shoulders with tape and took them outside again and primed them. Between the second and third coats of primers, the wind caught my painting box and flipped it off onto the floor of the porch, dinging my ET nosecone a bit, so I filled the ding with spot putty, allowed that to dry over night, and sanded the cones with 320 grit dry and finished sanded with 320 wet.

    DSCF0001.jpg

    More later! :) OL JR :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  2. Mar 31, 2009 #2

    Dr.Zooch

    Dr.Zooch

    Dr.Zooch

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    This is the thread I've been waiting and cringing to see. Lifting Bodies are famed for being hard to fly, and the one in this kit was designed by me back in the late 1970s and until Foose flew his, NO ONE other than me had built AND flown one. Now, I've sold dozens of these kits and everyone is building the things and as soon as good weather sets in- they're gonna take them out and see if they fly. I'm sweatin' like Mike tyson in a spelling bee folks... will they work? Will the one seen here work? I mean- foose can make anything look good and fly well- if you gave him a pair of rusty old pliers in a kit and told him it was a booster glider, I'd bet he could make them look good and glide like a lark in a straight line. So although he did one of my betas... I'm wondering how regular mortals will do with the kit.

    We'll soon see...:confused:
     
  3. Mar 31, 2009 #3

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Well, with me building it this is about as mortal as you can get... :D OL JR :)
     
  4. Mar 31, 2009 #4

    foose4string

    foose4string

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    You're too kind. I paid attention. Your long explanations actually work for dunces like me!;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  5. Apr 1, 2009 #5

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Okay, so continuing after some minor emergencies needlessly distracting me from building rockets...

    Construct the Lifting Body attach pad using the same techniques used to build it on the shuttle kit. Cut two 1 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch strips of balsa from the stock in the kit, apply wood glue, clamp lightly overnight with clothespins. File two notches across the attach pad close to each end for the attach dowels. Cut two 1/4 inch long dowels from the dowel stock in the kit, and glue them on for the attach pad standoffs. I also carefully notch the tube a bit where they will glue up to the tube, and glue the legs to the ET tank tube. Cut two 1 inch long reinforcing braces from dowel stock, and bevel one end to glue to the underside of the attach pad outboard of the pad legs from the last step. Carefully check their placement (boy those hemostat clamps are really helpful here!) and if desired, mark the tube and carefully notch it slightly using a sharp hobby knife. Glue the reinforcing struts in place to the tube and attach pad. Sand the end of one dowel stock piece rounded over (I actually round it to one side so it's flush with the intertank area) and check it's positioning and cut to length. Position it about even with the pad leg on the right side, and straight up the length of the tube to the interstage wrap. Carefully mark the wrap on either side of it and for the end length of the dowel, and then carefully cut out the intertank wrap per the instructions so the 'oxygen feedline' will lay flat against the tube. Glue it in place.

    ETattachpad.jpg

    Next we begin work on the lifting body itself. First carefully cut all the template patterns from the wrap sheet and lay them out. As you cut them out, be sure you duplicate any markings surrounding the template pattern such as direction, grain orientation, etc. on the pattern itself with a pen. This will ensure you align all the parts correctly when mocking up the lifting body. Using the balsa stock and templates, lay out the parts on the balsa as best you can, noting the grain direction marks and 'top' marks and so forth on the template patterns. I would also recommend very gently writing these notations (top, front, etc, don't bother writing the grain direction on the wood, just be sure you orient the template with the grain properly before you trace the pattern on the balsa sheet). These notations showing the front and top and nose of the lifting body will GREATLY assist you in making sure everything is facing the right way when you start putting the actual wood pieces together. Carefully cut the parts from the balsa sheets. Cut some masking tape into about 6-8 short pieces and have them handy to tape stuff up as you align everything. The instructions recommend using pins to hold everything together, but I don't have any pins and the boss would kill me if she found her sewing pins with stray wood glue stuck to them, so I just used masking tape. Seems to work just as well. Carefully follow the instructions and mock up the two top facets of the lifting body, and apply the tape. Apply the masking tape to the bottom facet edges, noting the 'nose' direction. Align one side facet with the bottom facet edges and carefully wrap the tape over. Then gently repeat for the other side facet to bottom facet joint, and gently tape it up. The main skill here is GENTLENESS and taking your time-- handle the thing with kid gloves. I used a drop of thick CA to tack the seams at the front tip of the lifting body and at the rear edge of each of the three remaining seams, top and each side to bottom seam. Once the lifting body is tacked up, hold the lifting body up like a funnel with one seam aligned almost vertically, and apply glue carefully to the corner of the seam and allow it to run down the seam to the nose. Once it's starting to pool a bit in the nose tip, turn the lifting body until another seam is vertical and repeat the gluing. I did both side seams first and found by the time the glue runs to the tip, quite a bit of glue starts pooling in there from the other side, so I gave it a minute to allow the glue from the second side to catch up and run to the tip, and then rolled the lifting body upside down and tilted it to allow the glue to run back out of the nose down the top center seam until it reaches the back of the lifting body. I also used a bit of crap balsa stick to work the glue out to the sides just a little bit so it gets a wider 'grip' on the wood instead of staying kinda 'humped up' in the middle. I found that I could then periodically manuever the lifting body every few minutes, repositioning it nose up or nose down and favoring one seam or another at a time and allow the glue to redistribute itself evenly along the seams, so it doesn't all pool in the nose or the top seam or one of the side seams and possibly throw it off kilter later on. Once the glue was all pretty evenly redistributed and thickening up nicely, I set it to slightly favor the glue running to the back of the seams, since we'll add the noseweight BB's and more glue later on to secure them in the nose, and the extra glue will strengthen the nose a bit when we do that, so let this glue strengthen the aft ends of the joints.

    LBconstbottom.jpg

    LBconsttop.jpg

    More later! OL JR :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  6. Apr 3, 2009 #6

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    So, back to work on the lifting body...

    I went ahead and finished up the nosecones, sanding them down with fine sandpaper to get them smooth, 'damp sanding' the primer to get it REALLY slick (dip the sandpaper in a small bowl of water and daub it on a towel to remove most of the water, and put about 1 drop of water on the nosecone by dipping your finger in the water and putting the drop on the nosecone on the primer... this provides JUST enough moisture to keep the paper from clogging yet doesn't soak in or run off and make a mess, and creates 'sanding mud' with the sanded off particles as you work. I wipe those off periodically with a paper towel.) Once sanded and dried, I painted them with a few coats of WM Colorplace white enamel rattlecan paint. For some reason I had a few small problems with it this time, not sure why, but I had one 'pinprick' size fisheye on one SRB cone and some small bubbles or pits on the ET cone, and a couple subsequent coats didn't help, so I sanded the paint down nearly to the primer and tried again, and had much the same result. I put on a couple extra coats and let it dry thoroughly, and then used the finest sandpaper I had and the 'damp sanding' method I mentioned to wet sand the paint and got it all nice and smooth, and took the gloss off it at the same time. It looks pretty good now.

    I nearly finished the ET, emplacing the reinforcing struts on for the attach pad for the lifting body on the rear, and gluing down the strip of paper for the cable tunnel per the instructions. This also serves to 'clock' the nosecone so it's offset weight is opposite the lifting body during flight. I glued on the launch lugs and filleted them.

    I deviated from the instructions slightly and installed a rocket nozzle on the end of the ET over the motor mount. The ET on this kit just looks TOO cool with it's more sharply conical tank bottom, which looks MUCH like a Delta IV or Ariane V thrust structure to NOT think about putting a 'Zooch nozzle' back there... First I went back to my Dr. Zooch Discoverer Thor and pulled the template out for its rocket nozzle, and traced it onto cardstock and cut it out and glued it up, but when I test fitted it I was sorta turned off... it's just TOO BIG (IMHO) for this kit, so I switched gears. I cut a piece of typing paper and freehand cut an arc across the top slightly flatter but the same length as the DiscoThor upper nozzle, which is sized to fit over a BT-20 motor tube. I then rolled the paper into an elongated cone and played with rolling it into a sharper or blunter cone until I had the angle I wanted, which was just big enough to allow the engine hook to clear the rear of the engine when sliding a motor in the mount. I taped everything up while I put in and took out a motor to make sure it'd all work nice, and then cut the nozzle lower edge to length, just shy of the end of the engine hook. Then I transferred the pattern onto cardstock, cut it out, and glued up the new nozzle. Once satisfied it would fit, and test fitting and removing a motor again, I went ahead and glued some thread wound around it for the rocket nozzle bell hoops. It looks terrific and really makes the kit 'pop' IMHO... I sorta envision this thing as a follow on type shuttle that would use a minimalist orbiter with OMS engines only, and a single large disposable engine directly on the core, like Ariane V, that gets the orbiter 99% of the way to orbit. That's my story and I'm sticking to it... LOL:)

    ETboosters.jpg

    Anyway, I also installed the black and white paper strips on the SRB's, which make them look really cool, and glued on the SRB nosecones with a dab of white glue once I was satisfied they looked good and fit properly.

    I went back to work on the lifting body itself, sticking as close as possible to the instructions. I put a small dollop of yellow glue in the nosecone, and then dropped in 9 BB's for noseweight, just as instructed. I watched each one sink into the yellow glue and used a small stir stick to ensure they seated themselves in the nose. After all nine BB's were installed, with the last two BARELY peeping out of the glue, I stood it on it's nose to let the glue dry. Later I installed the bottom piece, and taped it on while the glue dried, and then but the rear bulkhead on. I also cut the three fins from the balsa stock, and sanded the airfoil into them, and since they are SO small I went ahead and papered them with computer paper. The fins are about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch and basically a clipped delta, so I figured I could get away with papering them. I basically put one fairly large drop of glue on my finger and that was enough to coat one side of the fin and smear the rest into a thin layer on the paper to join it to. I wiped off the excess glue off the fin with my finger and onto a paper towel to give JUST enough glue to join the two, and glued it to the paper, then put a drop of glue on the topside of the fin, and smeared the paper, and cleaned up the excess, and folded the paper over the leading edge of the fin, and pressed it around the contour of the trailing edge of the fin, so the 'layer joint' is on the trailing edge, and then gently but firmly worked any excess glue from under the paper out around the edges to burnish the paper down tightly to the wood and eliminate as much weight as possible. Once dry, they are easily cut out with a sharp hobby knife and the excess glue and paper neatly trimmed from the edges, and drawing the root and tip edges lightly across sandpaper to true them up and eliminate any paper fuzzes. The fins are ready to glue on, using the handy fin template in the kit, which I glued to some scrap balsa I had laying around.

    Here's the lifting body from the front:

    liftingbodyfront.jpg


    Here it is from the rear:
    liftingbodyrear.jpg

    Here is the underside of the lifting body:

    liftingbodybottom.jpg

    To be continued... OL JR :)
     
  7. Apr 4, 2009 #7

    Medaforce649

    Medaforce649

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    That looks pretty sweet x]
     
  8. Apr 6, 2009 #8

    mjennings

    mjennings

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    very nice I like the nozzle on the ET nice thinking!
     
  9. Apr 7, 2009 #9

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Thanks, mjennings... I appreciate it. No response from the Doc; was kinda curious what he thought... (probably lightly chide me for modding the kit, but it just screamed "DO IT!")

    I should get up from here and get back to work on it... Got the ET painted and the LB primered... just trying to figure out the paint scheme....

    I've got two lines of thinking. First off, I couldn't bear the idea of just painting the tank white. When they go back to painting the ET's white and the Delta IV's white and the Ariane V's solid white I'll recant, but the 'foam look' just looks more, well, MODERN. I don't see many foamed rockets getting full paintjobs anymore... and as this is basically a "Space Shuttle, The Next Generation" style kit, the white tank just doesn't 'do it for me', no offense Wes. Easier, yeah; contemporary... :p So I painted the ET New Krylon Bauhaus Gold and called it good... Still have to repaint the nozzle in Gunmetal though.

    Next question... I've had two lines of thoughts about the Lifting Body, since no painting/decorating suggestions are made in the kit. Just looking at it, it just shouts, "Stealth Aircraft", and having read too much http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php#1 stuff about the "Aurora Project" and seeing some stuff on the History or Military Channel over the weekend about futuristic orbital bombers/fighters and stuff, that's one direction I could go... Sorta think "Dyna-Soar on Steroids" kind of motif... It would undoubtedly look cool to have it painted like an F-117 strapped to the side of a shuttle stack, but finding it after landing could be a PITA. In doing a little research on the internet, there was a 'camouflage test' on F-117 Nighthawks that was called the "Gray Dragon" which looks pretty cool, and would be a lot easier to find after recovery. But I'm not sure I want to do that either. I was thinking of basically decorating it with some homebrew decals basically nearly identically to the existing F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighters.

    The second thought I had was, going with a more traditional black bottom white top gunmetal "RCC panel" leading edge type motif, with either USAF markings (sorta like the F-117) or just going completely "NASA" with the flag and NASA meatball, and a few other "shuttle-ish" embellishments...

    So what do you guys think?? I'm open to opinions... OL JR :)
     
  10. Apr 7, 2009 #10

    Dr.Zooch

    Dr.Zooch

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    Dr.Zooch: See the attached photo to find out what I think ;)

    0trf1.jpg
     
  11. Apr 7, 2009 #11

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Hmmm... Now where did you get THAT??? From a little old lady who had her son's old flight jacket in a garage sale out near Nellis AFB?? LOL:)

    Wish I knew what I was doing with photoshop (if I even HAVE photoshop) and I'd cut-n-paste a F-117 stealth fighter image onto a shuttle stack and get a feel for how it'd look, then maybe a photo of the 'Gray Dragon', then decorate it in typical NASA livery just to compare notes...

    Dang my computer noobness... :eek: OL JR :)

    PS I take it you like the 'Dyna-Soar on Steroids' motif?? :D

    PPS... sorry didn't see the embedded stuff in the reply--- my bad. Yeah, the first 'painted tanks' were cool looking; took me awhile to 'cotton' to the look of the plain unpainted tanks; when they first did it I thought it was 'weird' and then when they said why, I was like "brilliant!" Sadly never seen a shuttle launch in person (and being 60 miles from JSC doesn't help a whole lot-- we have the crappiest visitor center (Space Center Houston) of ALL the space centers for some reason...) but I'm hoping MAYBE JUST MAYBE to make a road trip and see one before they're 'gone forever'... wish my folks would have for Skylab, though I wouldn't remember it, as I'd have been about 2 1/2 at the time... :( Have to see how things pan out...

    I want practical paintjob for a glider at the same time I want "uber-cool" know what I mean?? Still fishing for opinions... OL JR
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2009
  12. Apr 7, 2009 #12

    Dr.Zooch

    Dr.Zooch

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    Patch?

    What patch?

    I don't recall seeing any patch?

    There was one?

    Who? Me?

    I have no idea what you're talking about.

    I can neither confirm, nor deny anything about that. Nor would I be at liberty to discuss such under any circumstances.

    Hey! Look! A baby wolf!

    :cool:
     
  13. Apr 7, 2009 #13

    mjennings

    mjennings

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    Dynasoar on steroids would be cool, if you do Testors Dark Gull Gray, it's pretty close to what the AF uses as camo these days. If you looking for free photoshop check out, http://www.gimp.org/, free legal open source photoshop.

    Can you post photos of the gray dragon?
     
  14. Apr 8, 2009 #14

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Lemme see if I can find one...

    Thanks for the heads up on the photoshop deal-- it'd take me a month to learn how to do anything with it... I basically HATE computers, but I CAN do something with them and enjoy them for a few things, like this... I just get EXTREMELY irritated when they do stupid stuff like refuse to print Rocksim stuff right, crash, lock up, and all the other usual computer junk...

    Let me look for those pics... I'll get back to ya... OL JR :)
     
  15. Apr 8, 2009 #15

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Here's what I found right quick... first a pic of one on the runway, probably at Holloman in NM: http://virtualglobetrotting.com/map/24306/view/?service=1

    And here's a good website: http://www.stealthfighter.biz/index.htm

    Here's some pics off my quickie yahoo search... :) OL JR :)

    The first one as you can see is actually the Gray Dragon... from my speed reading it was sort of a test model. The second camo job I don't know, I just found that one (some of this I came across yesterday in my research) and the third pic is a print pic of some artwork. The last two are photos of actual service stealth fighters...

    f117_retired1.jpg

    f-117-camo-s.jpg

    F-117TheDragon_468.jpg

    f-117-.jpg

    f-117-9.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  16. Apr 8, 2009 #16

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Well, after having glued and filleted on the 3 rudders for the lifting body, and the 3 launch lugs that attach it to the stack for flight, sanding, priming, sanding again, damp sanding, and shot a couple coats of black paint on it just to see how it would look all black. I haven't color sanded yet because the paint has to harden up, but this is strictly to get an idea how it would look... Sorta like a stealth fighter bolted to the side of the shuttle stack....

    Course I'll have to make my own decals for it... here's the pics... Opinions?? Thanks! OL JR :)

    DSCF0005.jpg

    DSCF0006.jpg

    DSCF0007.jpg

    DSCF0008.jpg

    DSCF0009.jpg
     
  17. Apr 8, 2009 #17

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Should update the build...

    First the ET... make the front lifting body attach pad per the instructions. I chose the "easy" attach pad made from two pieces of stacked balsa glued together, since I have enough trouble doing the substantially larger rear attach pad and figured the 'bipod' method would break much easier... Cut two strips of balsa, glue them up, and I went to the additional trouble of sanding them down and beveling the front, rear, and side edges a bit, and wrapping a piece of sandpaper around the body tube and sanding a contour into the bottom so it sits tight against the tank when glued up. Then I notched the top of the front attach pad slightly so the dowel sorta sits in the "V" groove for a little better glue joint, and cut and glued the forward attach dowel to it per the instructions, and then glued the front attach pad to the tank, using the lifting body nose for a guide.

    I had already glued up the forward attach lug on the lifting body, as it is a 1/4 inch piece of launch lug on a small piece of balsa formed by gluing together two pieces and trimming down slightly, like a launch lug standoff. This standoff serves two purposes... first it raises the nose of the lifting body slightly to account for the different height of the rear attach pad, and it also serves as a handy 'launcher hardpoint' for a hand-length piece of 1/4 inch dowel, screw eye, and LONG rubber band that comes with the kit, which is used as a 'slingshot launcher' for testing the lifting body for it's glide characteristics and trimming before flight. Two half-inch length launch lugs near the rear of the lifting body (glued to the triangular bottom piece with the rear ends of the lugs at the glue joint between the triangular 'forward bottom' piece and the rear almost rectangular "body flap" bottom rear end piece) form the rear attach points for the lifting body. These should precisely match the dowel spacing on the rear attach pad on the ET that were built earlier. Once all this is dry, you can use the lifting body points to make sure the front attach pad is properly located on the ET when you glue it up.

    I then masked off the dowels with a bit of masking tape, as the instructions caution you that paint can cause the lifting body to potentially 'hang up' and not deploy off the ET at ejection, and I went ahead and painted the ET with a couple coats of Krylon "Bauhaus Gold" which closely matches the ET foam of the shuttle stack, Delta IV, and Ariane V... The instructions suggest regular flat white for the tank, but that just looks a bit 'retro' to me... This is the future man!

    More later. Nothing really new to picture... OL JR :)
     
  18. Apr 11, 2009 #18

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Time for an update...

    The stack has been completed, including painting the nozzle I added onto the ET/core gunmetal gray. It looks pretty awesome. The SRB's were glued on with white glue, after removing the masking tape strip I put over the mounting lines before painting the ET Bauhaus Gold (foam yellow/brown). Once the SRB's were tacked well, I lightly filleted them to strengthen the joint between tubes, and cut eight dowels in quarter inch lengths with the ends at about a 45 degree angle, for SRB struts to strengthen the SRB joints. Once those were all dried, the shock cord was glued in and the ET/SRB core stack was complete.

    I did a chunk of reading on the internet about the F-117 and their markings, as this kit just screams "Black Ops Top Secret Skunkworks" and I went back and forth on whether to decorate it in an Air Force skunkworks type motif or to go more "NASA-ish". After a quick check of my kit box, realizing I had another sheet of balsa left, I said, "Why not do BOTH!!!" SO, I've started construction on a second Lifting Body, to be painted in NASA livery with a black bottom, gunmetal leading edges, and white top with NASA markings.

    Here are the money shots... :) OL JR :)

    BTW I HATED the gloss black that I put on it the first time... looked like the thing had been dipped in roofing tar or old motor oil! SO I sanded it off back down nearly to primer, damp sanded it nice and smooth, and put a couple light coats of FLAT black on it, and it looks 1000% better!!!!! :p

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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
  19. Apr 11, 2009 #19

    Dr.Zooch

    Dr.Zooch

    Dr.Zooch

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    WOW! As we said when I was age 14 launching rockets back in the early 70s "That is tough lookin'!"

    Now... for anyone just looking at the pictures here... the Lifting Body in the kit DOES NOT come with all of the decals and markings seen here.
     
  20. Apr 11, 2009 #20

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    On this one, I wanted a somewhat exotic, experimental look to it but something that was clearly operational in nature. After hunting on the internet awhile, I found some decals that had been scanned in from an F-117 that would work, so I saved them and moved them over to paint and did some 'tweaking' to get them to print out the right size, inverted the colors so they'd print 'negative' to go on the black background, and lightened them up from the proper medium gray (which wouldn't show up well at ALL at this scale on the flat black paint of the Lifting Body) to a white color so they'd be more 'visible'. The F-117 doesn't carry many markings, mainly an Air Force symbol on either side of the fuselage and the top of the left wing, a "squadron emblem" on each side just below the cockpit, and some of them I found pictured on the internet also had a SAC shield emblem on either side. I kinda liked that (used to LOVE how that looked on the B-52's) and so I went with it. The markings are all monochrome, white on black. The real markings are actually more of a gray on black. The Air Force emblem on the fuselage and wings are a bit unusual on the F-117 (and even COOLER looking YET on the F-22 Raptor-- check them out online at the Air Force picture gallery) and since I had the decals set for the 117, that's what I went with. I shrunk them appropriately, printed them out on plain paper (since I didn't have any decal film) and eh,voila, ready to cut decals. Not as pretty as waterslides, but acceptable.

    For the cockpit windows, I printed out a copy of the shuttle wraps Foose4string was kind enough to share with me, which look awesome, but with their blueish tinge would NOT show up on the black background of the Lifting Body. So, back to square one. I didn't really want to shuttle shape either, as they're made to fit a different shape, and I really wanted something a little 'different' for this one. I cut some shapes out of typing paper and experimented a bit, and decided on equilateral triangles looking the best. Of course real aircraft/spacecraft windows will have round corners to prevent stress cracks, so I carefully trimmed the corners and did some placement experiments and finally decided on what I liked.

    My hand cut 'micro windows' were all a tiny bit off from one another, so I had to do some experimenting to see how to make them more uniform. First I drew a 1 inch equilateral triangle and cut it to out with properly rounded corners, copied it several times, cut those out, and made a couple templates with the cut out triangles glued to a piece of black paper, and the paper stock they were cut from glued to the other end of the black paper, to make a 'pattern' that I could scan in and manipulate. Once it was scanned, I sent it over to paint to clean up the scan, and make the black black and the white white. I finally picked the best triangle and cut/pasted it to make a final print template, and printed it out. Once I cut the windows out on the workbench, I remembered I had some gold mylar that we got SOMEWHERE years ago, and I retrieved it and said "this will look AWESOME!" and decided to use it. Now, how to make the gold mylar into 'tinted windows'.... What I finally did was, cut a small strip of mylar about 2 inches wide and 4-5 inches long, and taped it down TIGHT to the cutting mat. Then, I lightly glued a piece of typing paper to the back of it with white glue for something stable I could cut through to cut the mylar. I cut out a window from my patterns and had the bright idea, since the things are less than 1/4 inch square (well, triangle) and truly hard to work with, I glued the window to a piece of balsa, cut it out to the window's shape, glued it to another piece of balsa scrap, and made a stamp that I could stamp the window shapes onto the paper glued to the mylar film. That way I could duplicate the windows as many times as I wanted and would be guaranteed that they'd be the same size/shape (depending on my cutting skills). SO, retrieving my ink pad, I carefully stamped about 8-10 windows on the mylar, and carefully cut them out with a NEW hobby knife blade, seperated them from the backing paper, applied white glue, and carefully placed them on the lifting body. There are two forward facing windows on either side of the cockpit, and two "docking windows" at the rear of the crew cabin facing upwards. I then cut out the 'decals' and ran a sharpie around the cut edge to make it blend better, and then used a bit of white glue to attach them to the lifting body in similar places to the F-117. I also added the tail numbers "007" to each side like an operational vehicle would likely have, and the "SAC shield" emblem below the cockpit on either side. I also cut out a small hexagonal "hatch" and a TINY hexagonal 'window' for the hatch, pretty 'shuttle like' and glued it to the side of the cockpit just behind the 'docking windows'. I think it turned out pretty well and would look ABSOLUTELY PERFECT if I actually had decal film! I've got all the files (though they're rough!) just need someone with the skill and equipment to actually print decals!

    I took these shots basically before the glue was dry-- I need to go back and remove a few 'glue fuzzies' from the lifting body, but you get the idea... OL JR :)

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  21. Apr 11, 2009 #21

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Here's the last of the glam shots, some without the flamefins, on the TOP SECRET Pad 34-Z at Area 102, which is TWICE as secret as Area 51! I could be shot just for showing you these!!! :D

    Enjoy! OL JR :)

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  22. Apr 11, 2009 #22

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Oops missed one! OL JR :)

    Oh, yes, the Doc is exactly right... this kit DOES NOT come with any lifting body decals or decorations of any kind... not even paint suggestions, so it's a BLANK CANVAS, just waiting on YOUR imagination and skill to make it into something special! That, to me, just REALLY adds to the fun of the kit! I read too much Harry Turtledove alternative history anyway, so it's fun for me to think "what would have happened if..." say, Dyna-Soar had been built and was successful, and the Air Force built a follow on system, or the current shuttles had been replaced by a 'more advanced' design a few years ago, or a few years from now, or if the "Aurora Project" came into the light, etc.

    With a little creative thinking and some internet research, YOU can come up with whatever 'backstory' you want to justify decorating it any way you want...

    Have fun with it! OL JR :)

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  23. Apr 12, 2009 #23

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Well, I went through a LOT of work that I could have saved myself... well, quite a bit of it anyway...

    I posted asking what I should use to glue down the mylar windows to the painted LB... For the windows I SHOULD have used just plain gold TRIM MONOKOTE... have to get some next time I'm at the hobby shop... :cool:

    Sometimes ya can't see the forest for the trees... :rolleyes: OL JR :)
     
  24. Apr 12, 2009 #24

    JAL3

    JAL3

    JAL3

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    OL JR done himself proud. It's a real work of art.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the Zooch kits I've put together (even as I cussed the LES on the LJ) but I have not done them justice visually like you have.

    Congrats on a job well done.
     
  25. Apr 12, 2009 #25

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Thanks JAL... maybe you can see her fly if you come down for the Challenger Memorial launch... :) We'd be happy to have you!

    Thanks to Wes for making such a NEAT kit... it's just TOO COOL! :cool:

    Later! OL JR :)
     
  26. Apr 12, 2009 #26

    loujoe

    loujoe

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    Nice work OL JR, zooch kits are awesome. You just sold me on this one. Ill order it when I order the skylab sat5. And Harry T books rock as well. Thanks for great build thread

    Lou
     
  27. Apr 12, 2009 #27

    Indiana

    Indiana

    Indiana

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    That looks really cool!
     
  28. Apr 12, 2009 #28

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Thanks guys... I appreciate it!

    I'll post more pics of the stack once I have the "NASA" lifting body finished... I'm at the sanding stage right now... I've taken most of the filler off, almost ready to glue the fins on and then prime...

    Later! OL JR :)
     
  29. Apr 13, 2009 #29

    mjennings

    mjennings

    mjennings

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    Awesome work, the gold windows are great. Thanks for digging up those F-117 pics, I hadn't seen a few of them. Yeah Gold monocote would have worked in this application, but what if the Lifting body had been made out of polystyrene and could take the heat of the iron to apply the monocote? you know have documented a great method for that case
     
  30. Apr 14, 2009 #30

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

    luke strawwalker

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    Thanks... even a blind squirrel gets an acorn now and then... LOL:D

    Actually I was thinking of TRIM MONOKOTE, which IIRC doesn't require heat to set... it's 'sticky backed' so just cut the windows out, peel the backing, stick 'em on...

    The mylar windows look pretty cool, though as you all probably know cutting mylar neatly can be a bear to say the least, and these aren't perfect. Also, I'm seriously wondering how well white glue is going to hold onto these... So, they'll probably end up being some kind of trim monokote before it's all over with anyway...

    I'll have to see what they have at the hobby shop next time I'm in Houston...

    One thing, though, the mylar DOES look 'way cool' because of it's 'depth'-- it LOOKS like some exotic anti-heat/anti-radiation 'coating' on the glass that you would expect to find on a stealth aircraft... from stuff I've read, they had to develop some interesting coatings and stuff for the windows of the stealth fighters/bombers because the radar would bounce off or be absorbed by the plane's structures/RAM (radar absorbing materials) but would 'shine' right through the cockpit windows and bounce off the pilot, his helmet, and the cockpit interior and reflect back to the radar installation in detectable amounts... the radar cross-section of the cockpit/pilot/helmet was more than the rest of the plane! So, they had to take 'countermeasures' to correct the problem...

    Later! OL JR :)

    PS... I just yahoo'd the F-117 and came up with that stuff in about ten minutes or so... but here was the COOLEST site for pics... http://www.af.mil/photos/index.asp?galleryID=27
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009

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