Estes 2111 Mercury Atlas build

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Charles_McG

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Now that I've successfully made more T-344 body tube, it's time to dig into this kit.

Parts picture
ImageUploadedByRocketry Forum1491359860.518865.jpg
 

Charles_McG

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First decision- stay with 24mm mount. I won't put in an engine hook or motor block (Wildman's Second Law), which means I can use CTI motors without problems- plenty of options.

First mod, upon researching other people's builds, I see that one issue is that this is a two chute kit. The transition/capsule has one, and the booster has one. The capsule chute goes with the nosecone at ejection, but what pushes out the booster chute? Especially in a 3.4" tube? I could use the trick of a blanket wrapping the booster chute, but attached to the nosecone to pull it out, but just in case, I'm adapting the stuffer tube to BT55, so there's room in the stuffer for the booster chute.

So use some BT50 to BT55 centering rings to mark and cut the forward centering ring. The motor mount is actually a heavy wall variant, so the centering rings need some peeling. I use an emery board to scuff smooth surfaces as I go.







Continue with the build. Did you know that if you flip the die side, it rotates the alignment index 90 degrees?





Those BT50-BT55 centering rings help square things up, too.




And new tube in place.
 

Charles_McG

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Attention then turns to the body tube.

Marking it was a bit of a challenge. I found my copy of the original template didn't quite wrap around. So I checked it against the original, and it matched.

101% on the printer fit better.

The next challenge was long lines on a big soft tube. A doorframe didn't cut it, so I used the template to mark multiple spots and ran an Estes tube marking guide thru them.







And a test fit. At this point, I need to go get some contact cement, so I'm calling it a night and pouring some Apple Brandy.

 

Charles_McG

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Stiffener wrap is next. I didn't like how they suggest cutting it out, but didn't decide that until afterward. I think going in from the back side makes sense - which the text suggests for the other parts, though the pictures don't make it obvious. There's a small text error in the drawings - if you look at the marked lines, the one below the seam is mislabeled in the instructions.

Wrap on.



Looks lovely. Oh. Wait. The instructions say to cut out the notches. TANJ dammit, the wrap was supposed to go -below- the 4" mark, not above. <sigh>

Wrap off.

Clean up tube with paint thinner, remark lines. Apply new contact cement.

Wrap on.



Correctly positioned, but with a little lumpiness from the contact cement left on the back of the wrap. I was afraid the thinner might soften it too much, so I just touched up the edges and some gaps with cement and laid it back down.

Time for bed. Note to self: read further ahead - looking at the pictures is insufficient.
 

Scott_650

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Even with the glitch glueing the wrap this is going very nicely! Thanks for taking the time and effort to bring us all along...
 

Mugs914

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Even with the glitch glueing the wrap this is going very nicely! Thanks for taking the time and effort to bring us all along...
Could not agree more! Thanks for the updates!

(Going to get more popcorn. I'm in for the duration... :pop:)

Mike
 

Charles_McG

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Moving on, with mixed success.

Here are the separation rings and the half stage shrouds. The rings are a right pain to sand smooth. They are -really- thin. I looked up the review on rocket reviews that notes the orientation - slope forward. It's not obvious in the diagrams.



Here's the good side.



And here's the bad side. It's so thin, that if it doesn't lay right, it's a tough recovery. It tears, and/or sticks to itself. I think if I were cloning it, I might build it up in multiple paper layers, and fill the slope. Or from kit, I would be tempted to fill the backside with an expanding glue - just to toughen it.

 

Charles_McG

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Mounted the equipment pods, then used thinner on a qtip to clean up the contact cement.




Added my shock cord anchor and put the mounts in place.





First time I've used Titebond no run. I likey.

Glued up all the two-piece plastic parts with a thin Tamiya cement. Worked nice - easier to control than a Testors tube.



Thrusters : most of the plastic details have pins that help hold them. I also used the Testors tube cement, as instructed. I figured it seems to have a dissolved solid component that would help hold to the tube.







Chase to the gyro cover. For all the detail pieces, I used the part with a little pressure to mark the glassine, then cut holes for the pins.



Laying out the thruster LOX line. Really loving the Titebond moulding and trim.





Almost forgot the drain vent.



Laid out the main LOX line. Didn't glue it down yet - it gets painted separately.



And now it's nap time.
 

Mugs914

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Looking great Charles!

You are REALLY making me want one of these...
 

Charles_McG

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Engine nozzles and launch lugs next.
Cutting them out it only a little tricky. Some of the groves are deep, some are fine. I looked at the parts a lot before I applied the saw.





The core nozzle, I cut again. I also cut down one of my printed retainers. I'm still thinking about sanding the knurls off so it looks more like the original.



And checking the lug alignment.
 

Charles_McG

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And the capsule. I think it's identical to the current Estes Mercury Redstone kit - but in white.



I can't put the tower together the way the instructions say - two legs, then antenna top then third leg. I put all three together, using the bottom of the escape motor for alignment, then slide it over the antenna top. This means the antenna top ends up black, like the rest of the capsule- I don't think that's a problem.

The capsule panels always take a bit of sanding to fit in the base. This time, don't glue it in the base - the capsule sits on top of the transition, not in it.



Ready for paint. Note, I'm leaving off the turbine exhaust vent for now - it would make it impossible to stand up like this.

 

Woody's Workshop

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That is looking real sweet!

It would be nice if they brought back all the rocket kits that started it all.
And the shuttle with full stack.
And, the new ones if they can get the rights to produce them.

One has chances on Ebay once in a while to get the older ones, but I could never afford them for what they go for.
 

TRFfan

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That is looking real sweet!

It would be nice if they brought back all the rocket kits that started it all.
And the shuttle with full stack.
And, the new ones if they can get the rights to produce them.

One has chances on Ebay once in a while to get the older ones, but I could never afford them for what they go for.
true.
 

Charles_McG

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This is one of those outrageous eBay finds.

Working on the paint. The tube has some fuzzies from the re-do of the stiffener placement. So it will take sanding and another coat - which forces about a week of drying time.

I did a little hand touch up of the capsule (under the antenna housing) and the base of the tower. And the separation band.

Masking the hand painted acrylic has failed me for the second time. That's the silver lox lines on the transition. I don't know what I'm doing wrong - but it's frustrating. I went back and touched up the silver and rubbed off the paint that wicked under the masking.

 

modeltrains

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A couple thoughts on masking, keeping in mind I just got here and don't know every detail of what you did.
Is often a good idea to not use edge of tape as manufactured but to place strips on some surface and use blade and straightedge to cut new clean edge.
Sometimes people use Scotch cellophane tape for the very edge then masking tape starting a bit back.
Often is an idea to use something solid and smooth to rub down masking tape edge immediately prior to painting.
When brush painting, sometimes overly thin paint will bleed no matter what.
Is tape on flat or gloss surface or paint? flat paint has a surface which looks like microscopic sandpaper, paint can bleed under masking tape through surface irregularities.
Okay, is 40 minutes till midnight and I'm getting tired.
 

Charles_McG

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I think part of it is that it's just plain thin. The cellophane idea is interesting.

Last night's progress

 

MikeT

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Looks really good from my end.

Mike
 

NJRick

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looks fantastic!!
what is the problem you are having with the tape? sorry if I missed your reference. Is the paint peeling up when you remove the tape? acrylic paints are notorious for not "biting" into the surface...they need a good primer coat to adhere to.

she looks great so far!
 

NJRick

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that Gemini is sweet! is that an Estes kit?
 

rharshberger

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Is the capsule cracked. I noticed the white line? Maybe I'm seeing things?
That's the line representing the Liberty Bell, which was the name of the capsule. The flight was MR-4 and the capsule was named Liberty Bell 7, Gus Grissom was the astronaut.
 
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Charles_McG

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The Gemini capsule is a 1/35 scale turned by Gordon/Sandman. The adapter skirt is from a 1/48 paper model, rescaled.

I used the tubing from the Mercury Atlas to size a PVC mandrel, and I'm wrapping my own paper tubing - since the Titan II body and the Atlas body are the same size.

Scary thing - the tubing is also within about 1% of the correct size for a 1/100 Space Shuttle external tank - using the Guillows glider.

So no - not a kit.
 

cruzsergio

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The Gemini capsule is a 1/35 scale turned by Gordon/Sandman. The adapter skirt is from a 1/48 paper model, rescaled.

I used the tubing from the Mercury Atlas to size a PVC mandrel, and I'm wrapping my own paper tubing - since the Titan II body and the Atlas body are the same size.

Scary thing - the tubing is also about 1% of the correct size for a 1/100 Space Shuttle external tank - using the Guillows glider.

So no - not a kit.

Isn't the same tubing of the current Little Joe II?
 
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