Estes PSII Majestic "kitbash"... Finished!

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Mugs914

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Hi guys,

I haven't posted here in a good while, my business keeps me plenty busy so I usually have to do my rocketry vicariously through you good folks! I have been building, but haven't flown in a while so its time to get back out to the field.

Of course one can't show up at a launch without a new bird (I'm sure it's in the regs somewhere, haven't found it yet though.), so I picked up an Estes Majestic at Hobby Lobby (Gotta love those coupons!) with the idea of kitbashing it into a pseudo-scale, Nike based sounding/research rocket. The fins and conical nose just seemed to be begging for that kind of treatment.

My thought was to add some wrap type details to simulate the Nike type fin can and the "flare" at the forward end of the Nike motor, then some kind of antennae and screw head details to make the nose cone look like some sort of scientific payload. Add to that a typical olive drab motor, white fin can with red and yellow fins, dayglo red nose and a silver "payload" and it makes a pretty convincing sounding rocket, I think. A real av bay could be added and dressed up to look like a second stage or larger payload as well. All good fun! :cool2:

Before I picked up the kit I checked here for a build thread just to see how Estes put these things together, but I found none. When I opened the box I discovered why; This thing makes the Aerotech kits look like a Level 3 scratch build! Well okay, not quite, but I was surprised at how simple a kit this is. That isn't a criticism at all, it is a very nice kit, and certainly would be a great intro to mid power.

I was also surprised by the chrome nose cone and fins! :surprised: Judging by the box I was expecting silver paint. I'm still planning to make it a sounding rocket, but when I opened the kit and saw those gleaming bits I must admit to a moment of weakness! Built out of the box this is really a great looking rocket, but I prefer more of a scale-look so the purple tube is kind of a non-starter for me... Just sayin...

I figured I would post a few pics of the detail bits as I go along, if anyone would be interested, as well as a few of the changes I plan to make to the basic kit, though those changes seem to be the same ones others are making to the other PSII kits to allow for longer motors, better shock cords, etc..

Oh and I'll post some pics when it actually flies! That, of course, is the object of this exercise!

Hmmm... Maybe we should call this "Project Mugs-Return to Flight"

Thanks for having me, guys!

Mike
 
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Mugs914

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Thanks TB... I got a start on it last night, let me see if I can get some pics attached!

This is the nose cone after a bit of attention. I masked off the tip and the straight section, sanded the rest and shot it with Krylon 'satin almond'. It's kind of a sand color that is pretty close to bare fiberglass. If you let it dry an then rub it a bit with your grubby old hands, you end up with a nice mottled, raw fiberglass look(Unfortunately, it doesn't show up well in the pic). Aluminum tape was wrapped around the top and bottom of the painted area and fake screw heads pressed in with a piece of tubing. These were colored with silver and gold Sharpie. It wouldn't pass muster for a competition scale job, but looks pretty good from a couple of feet away.

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Got a few more detail bits to add to the nose cone, mostly panel/screw type stuff. Going to get started on the tube tonight. Pics as progress warrants, I suppose...

One question I have is about using a kevlar shock cord. Most of my mid power rockets have used elastic (So far with good luck, but inspected carefully before every flight). How long should a kevlar harness be for a rocket this size? I would think ten feet or maybe a bit more, but I really don't have any idea.

Thanks again guys...

Mike
 

sodmeister

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Mike, the nosecone sections looks very nice and the aluminum tape and the fake screw head detail is superb......such a great idea !!!!

Very well done sir !

Paul T
 

Mugs914

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Thanks for the kind words, guys! I just returned from a working road trip and plan to get back on the project tonight. I'm going to start on the body tube (to simulate a Nike booster motor details) and get a bit more done on the nose.

I ordered some Nike decals from Mark at Stickershock and they, of course, are stunning. And it was great to have some goodies waiting for me when I got back home! Incredibly quick service. Thanks Mark! I'll post some pics when I get a chance.

Thanks again,

Mike

Oh by the way, any ideas on how long I should I should make a kevlar shock cord for this thing? The elastic make me a bit nervous, even though I have never had a problem in the past.
 

Mugs914

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A little bit of progress made on the "Nike Majestic".

I started making the body tube "flair" to look like the front end of a Nike booster. The pics should be in order (I hope).

The first wrap is 1/64" plywood about 1/4" wide. Glued on with thin CA, then coated with more thin CA and sanded smooth.

Then two more layers of 1/64" plywood about 3/32" wide, again soaked with thin CA and sanded.

Then the tedious part; the actual flair bit is being done with several fillets of thick CA. The pics shows (poorly) the first go. I have several layers on now and have started sanding between coats to get the shape right. It should look something like the part in the drawing marked "C".

The area between the wrap and the nose will have bright colored markings (Dayglo red or orange with white, perhaps) to look like some sort of research payload. The wrap and below is going to be olive drab with Nike stenciling provided by Mark at Stickershock.

I'm going to use paper to make a wrap on the rear that will simulate the Nike fin can. I was going to use the kit fins since they are pretty Nike looking, but I have been giving some thought to making new ones that are a little smaller. This, of course, is known as "mission creep". It is a perfect example of why builds start to go on forever! (Probably should just go with the kit fins and get this bird in the air!)

Mike

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Mugs914

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Well, except for a bit of matte clear coat and maybe a little weathering. Sorry for not posting more pics of the process, but I kind of got on a roll and failed to get pics!

Most of the detail work went on the body tube to make it look like a Nike booster motor. Thanks to having lots of available reference material, the green bit is something like 90% accurate for a scale Nike motor and fin can. The length of the Nike section and fin can were measured and made reasonably correct, as was the position of the welds and some of the rivets. The rest was TLAR... Mark at Stickershock made the Nike booster decals. Awesome job, as always Mark!

From the green section forward is completely made up, but is supposed to look like some sort of scientific payload. Aside from some white and orange paint it was all done with different types of aluminum tape and a couple of decals.

I really like doing all of the fiddly little scale bits so it has been a really fun project for me, and overall I'm pretty happy with the results.

(Even if it was less of a kitbash than an example of how to over complicate a simple alternate paint job :facepalm:)

Thanks for looking!

Mike

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Mugs914

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Thanks Gents! I'm hoping to get the first flight(s) in at the next launch on the 22nd. Fingers crossed!
 

TangoJuliet

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Really well done! A perfect example of how scale-like details can make a simple sport model much more visually interesting.

If I had seen this sooner, I might have suggested using epoxy clay to form that flair, but it looks like your methods turned out just fine. Can you detail how you created the faux weld seems? And was there any specific surface prep done to the BT before paint?
 

Mugs914

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Thanks TJ! Very kind words indeed!

I thought about using Milliput putty (an epoxy type putty), but I didn't want to open the package just yet. How stupid is that? I have a couple of projects in the pipe that will require this kind of thing, so it will be opened soon anyway.

Using the thick CA for fillets like this actually works pretty well if you can tolerate the fumes. If you are willing to get a little messy it is pretty easy to shape with a finger and, believe it or not, it sands like styrene plastic. Pretty easy to shape.

The weld seams were done with cotton thread glued on with thin CA. The thread then gets coated with medium CA which is wiped off with a paper towel before it sets up, leaving a very tiny fillet on either side of the thread and essentially sealing it in plastic. The "fuzzy" nature of the thread gives the seam the irregular look of a real weld. It looks kind of silly until you get some primer on it ("Why'd ya glue all that string to yer rocket..."), but I think it looks pretty good once painted.

The tube surface prep was was a bit of a headache to tell you the truth, but only because of my own foolishness. The purple tube looked pretty smooth before any (other) color was applied. I checked it over and thought that the primer wold fill any irregularity that there might be. I did all of the detail wraps, weld seams and rail guides, then shot primer...

:shock::mad::facepalm:

The spiral showed up like I drew it on with a Sharpie.

So out came the putty which was applied and sanded, having to work all around the details. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but I would have preferred to not have to do it that way. On the fin can wrap I left the seam unfilled to simulate the join in the panel.

I really like doing all of the fiddly detail bits! I am a scale modeller at heart, and sometimes I have a hard time leaving things alone...

Thanks again!

Mike
 
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TangoJuliet

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Thanks for explaining that Mike. At heart, I'm a scale modeler too, but I don't really do it as much as I appreciate others who do. I've dabbled in many modeling disciplines (plastic, rockets, r/c airplanes, HO trains), but I'm bad about starting something and moving on to something else before it's done. Eventually I'll do a real nice scale rocket build... Eventually :wink:.
 
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