Estes Mars Lander Build

Discussion in 'Low Power Rocketry (LPR)' started by SecondRow, Jun 7, 2019.

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  1. Jun 7, 2019 #1

    SecondRow

    SecondRow

    SecondRow

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    This past winter, a club member donated a number of cool kits that he had picked up at NARAM last year. He set up a yankee swap/white elephant exchange/whatever you want to call it at our monthly meeting to determine who got what. I ended up with this Damon era Estes Mars Lander model K-43: CD5186A0-C8EF-482B-8144-C6607FDDFDA5.jpeg 39167BDC-B170-46B1-AD8F-CE3C25C7AB75.jpeg CA1F4EBA-D9D5-4309-A9DD-BE0199F5A333.jpeg 9E5FCC82-5836-4B8A-8390-BD7D219A5DED.jpeg
    I looked it up and it seems this kit was made sometime between 1969 and 1974. The kit has seen some wear, but looks pretty good for being 45-50 years old! It looks like there’s been some moisture damage to the box and, as you’ll see below, some of the parts. Here are those parts:
    F9F2ACD7-C0CF-4EBD-8D20-E813A86399BF.jpeg
    As you can see, a previous owner started cutting some of the landing gear struts out, but that looks to be as far as he got. The parts are in relatively good shape. The pattern sheet is yellowed but still legible. The fin stock looks like it might have some moisture stains, but the 1/8” sheets are not warped. My biggest concern are the wraps and decals. Some of the wraps are crinkled. One of them has a folded corner, as well. We’ll see how they look when I form the shrouds. If they’re bad enough, I’ll order a set from Erockets. 59A3DF6E-54A7-4A9A-953A-E746ED8B7C69.jpeg F84BD761-DBCD-489D-B929-1F43BAD860BC.jpeg
    The decals might need replacing, especially the US flags and “Martin Marietta” decals. DAF46CBC-3B46-4757-A6DA-39B8E29EC42C.jpeg 76D199AE-A45A-46CF-8F6D-EEC930B8CE94.jpeg
    In the kit was a replacement set of the “Martin Marietta” decals, but they are much larger than the original version. I don’t know the story behind that. A15071B1-41D1-4087-8C70-AD8BD7ADA537.jpeg

    So I’m going to build this kit, but I’ll be taking my time with it. Updates will be infrequent, between other projects and work (I’ve got a LEGO lunar lander to build with a 7 and a 4 yr old, plus repairs of all my NASA stuff in time for next month!)

    The first challenge will be cutting the fins from the stock, since I don’t have a lot of experience with that, save for some Fliskits models I’ve built. Additionally, the two struts already cut out are a little short of the pattern. I’m going to try, but if I muck it up, I reserve the right to get the laser cut stock from Erockets. We’ll see.

    Either way, this looks like it will be a really fun kit to build.
     
    racerx and Steve Shannon like this.
  2. Jun 7, 2019 #2

    neil_w

    neil_w

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    Cool, very vintage!
     
  3. Jun 7, 2019 #3

    mach7

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    Great score!

    Put the decals in a ziplock bag and tape them in a sunny window for 2-3 days. The sun will bleach the yellowing out.
    You might also think about coating the decals with liquid decal film after. you will have to cut the decals out carefully after, but I might save them.
     
  4. Jun 9, 2019 #4

    Steve Shannon

    Steve Shannon

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    Cool, I had one exactly like that, which I gave away unbuilt when I went to high school.
     
  5. Jun 9, 2019 #5

    kuririn

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  6. Jun 10, 2019 #6

    Fritzk

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    Another possible save for the decals is to hit them with a Fixative spray: #82858 Fixative Spray from Micro Mark, ordinarily used to seal the ink on print-yourself-decals. While I've never tried it personally, I've known a few friends in the Model Ship community that have had some success at stabilizing older, delicate decals by spraying, and allowing to dry before attempting to use the decals.
     
  7. Jun 10, 2019 #7

    SecondRow

    SecondRow

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    Mach7, I’ve taped the decals in a baggie to the window. Will let you know how that turns out.

    Is the fixative spray in Fritzk’s post the same as the liquid decal film that mach7 suggested?
     
  8. Jun 10, 2019 #8

    Fritzk

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    The Micro-mark fixative, and Microscale decal film, are slightly different formulations for the same purpose. However, I think where microscale (microscale Stock# MI-12) is purposed specifically advertised for saving old decals, it may be a better bet to go with Mach7's suggestion.
     
  9. Jun 11, 2019 #9

    SecondRow

    SecondRow

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    7D1223A6-43A2-42BF-80F2-1705D0C228E5.jpeg You have to cut four landing gear struts (the big pattern) and eight of the smaller housing pattern from two balsa sheets. Two of the landing gear struts were cut out by a previous owner, but weren’t done very well. They were cut to size with no room for sanding, and the cuts are sloppy. The edges are visibly crooked. I don’t want to use them, and I don’t think I can fix them without making them too small. So I am cutting new ones.

    I’ve cut and shaped one landing gear strut and four housing parts out of the first balsa sheet. I’ve laid out the patterns for the rest of the sheet in the picture attached. I’m using the previously cut landing gear struts to cut the smaller pattern out of. This way, I don’t have to get everything on the last balsa sheet. There’ll be plenty of room to cut the pieces wide and sand to shape.
     

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