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Estes "Small Smoke" build...

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Mugs914

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I didn't want to hijack the other BT-60 Nike Smoke thread, so here we are!

I feel I should apologize to Jump Jet and others since I have already deviated from the kit as packaged, so this will not be an "honest" build of the new kit (if anything I'm just making it more complicated! :facepalm:). The kit as designed is great and will build up into a very nice rocket. The mods I'm doing come only from a desire to add some extra scale detail and to fly larger motors. I will most likely build another one "out of the bag" (with a different paint scheme) for smaller fields.

I want to do something different than the usual white with red and yellow fins, so I'm going with the OD green like the round in the pic. I have only ever seen two pics of a Smoke in OD green, this one and another one of the same round (that I now can't find for the life of me). Neither one is clear enough to see the stencils on the motor or any close detail of the fin can, but there is a ton of info on Nike fins, so no problem there, and I'll just go with the typical Nike stencils placed in a position that looks something like the pic. This isn't intended to be a competition level scale model by any means, but I do get a little too geeky about scale details sometimes!

The other thing I noticed on the round in the pic is that it used the smaller fins (2.0 sq. ft.) than the ones provided in the kit (2.75 sq. ft.). Again, there is plenty of info on Nike fins, so no problem. I was considering going with built-up fins anyway, and a quick Rocksim cook up shows that it will have a good stability margin even with no nose weight, though I will most likely add a bit just to be safe.

Here are a few pics of what I have done so far.

I went with a 24mm motor mount and extended it a bit to allow longer motors to be used. The extra centering rings are just paranoia...

Through the wall fins will make it a bit easier to add details to the fin can area and everything can be painted before the fins are attached, so I went that way. Might make it a bit more rugged as well, I reckon.

I added scale weld lines to the tube using thread glued on with thin CA, then wiped with medium CA to make a tiny fillet. Right now it looks like, well, thread glued to the tube, but when painted it makes a convincing weld line.

I got a LOT of good ideas on the other Smoke thread on ways to do the bare metal fins (Thanks guys...). Not sure which way I'll go yet, but I'll probably do some tests and see which gives the best result.

Thanks for looking!

Mike

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Mugs914

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Got a start on the fins tonight. I'm not 100% sure this is going to work the way I want but I'm pressing on with it. Worst case I get to start over!

The fins are going to be built up with 1/64" plywood and balsa. So far I have cut out the fin core and the skins that make up the flat bit between the beveled LE and TE. All of these are 1/64" plywood.

After sanding everything, I stacked each fin and glued the three layers together at the tip with Elmer's, kind of like a book binding. Hopefully when it dries I'll be able to separate the root edges and glue in balsa shims to create the proper root thickness. The trick is going to be to keep the fins flat and straight while everything is being assembled. If I end up with potato chips I have a couple of other ideas I might try, but for now, fingers crossed!

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Mugs914

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Here are a few pics of how the fins are coming together.

The first two show the 1/32" balsa spacer glued between the core and the skin at the root edge. This makes a hollow fin with the proper taper. 1/16" balsa was then glued to the exposed core area, sanded flush with the skin to establish the taper, then carved and sanded to create the bevel. Repeat on the trailing edge, then do the same on the other side of the fin.

In a little over an hour you end up with one (1) pretty accurate Nike Smoke fin. :facepalm:

All kidding aside I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. Having the ply skin and core makes it easy to make a precise modified diamond airfoil as long as you are careful to make sure the initial assembly of the plywood layers is straight and true. It also makes for a pretty bulletproof fin that will stand up to any motor this thing is likely to see.

Three more to go, better get back to work...

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Mugs914

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Well the next three fins took a lot less time to do than the first (Kind of expected it would work that way...) and I am now covered in dust, a bit cross eyed and in possession of four Atlantic Research Corporation modified diamond Nike fins (2.0 square foot version) in 1/10th scale. :cool:

Most importantly, that means that I can do the first dry run of this build!

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Always fun to see it for the first time! Next thing will be to make a paper wrap for the fin can details, then launch lugs...
 

TangoJuliet

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Nice work. I wasn't sure you were going to get the results you were after, but in the end, it worked.
 

Mugs914

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Nice work. I wasn't sure you were going to get the results you were after, but in the end, it worked.
I was wondering myself! Once I knew I could get the plywood bits aligned properly I figured it would work out. Probably not the easiest way to make a fin, but it was worth the extra time to me to be able to have a more accurate fin, both scale-wise and flight-wise.
 

Mugs914

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I was doing a bit of research for this build and came across this video. With as much time as I have spent looking for Nike booster info and data I'm surprised that I haven't seen it until now. It just happens to have some great shots of an OD green Nike Smoke (most likely the same on in the original pic)!

It is interesting that the the fin can assembly appears to have a slightly yellowish tint to parts of it. The ARC page says this type of fin was one-piece hollow magnesium casting.

[video=youtube;_UwDvZ0QZs0]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UwDvZ0QZs0[/video]

Thought others might find it interesting...
 

TangoJuliet

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Cool video. I assume the fin can color is unpainted magnesium.
 

Mugs914

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A bit more progress...

Did the fin can wrap out of heavy paper glued with Elmer's, then soaked with thin CA and sanded. It was done in two pieces with tiny gap to create the panel line.

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I also sealed the fins with thin CA. Don't have them all sanded yet, but so far they are looking pretty good. Might need a touch of filler in a couple of spots...

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The longitudinal seam was filled with thick CA...
 

Mugs914

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Rivets done with drops of thick CA applied with a toothpick. Kind of hard to see in the pics... Well, kind of hard to see at all, at this point!

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Here is one of the fins set in place.

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An attempt to show the fin airfoil...

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rharshberger

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What was the fin construction, it looks like a three piece build up with a very thin core of something (1/64th ply maybe?).
 

Mugs914

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What was the fin construction, it looks like a three piece build up with a very thin core of something (1/64th ply maybe?).
Hi Rich,

Each fin is made of three pieces of 1/64" ply; one as the "core" and one each for the skins on either side. There are balsa spacers that establish the thickness of the fin at the root, so the whole thing is hollow. The leading and trailing edge bevels are balsa glued to either side of the core and sanded to shape. They then got coated in thin CA and sanded.

The are a bunch of pics of the process earlier in this thread. Let me know if you can't see them and I'll re post.

Mike
 
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rharshberger

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Hi Rich,

Each fin is made of three pieces of 1/64" ply; one as the "core" and one each for the skins on either side. There are balsa spacers that establish the thickness of the fin at the root, so the whole thing is hollow. The leading and trailing edge bevels are balsa glued to either side of the core and sanded to shape. They then got coated in thin CA and sanded.

The are a bunch of pics of the process earlier in this thread. Let me know if you can't see them and I'll re post.

Mike
I will recheck the pictures, thanks.

Edit: nice technique, I may do this with one of my Nike Smokes.
 
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Mugs914

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I will recheck the pictures, thanks.

Edit: nice technique, I may do this with one of my Nike Smokes.
Thanks Rich. I don't know how familiar you are with 1/64" ply, but it is one of my favorite materials. It is pretty flexy stuff, and depending on how it was stored, could be a bit warped. It is also MUCH more flexible in one axis that the other. So much so that I use it for wraps and transitions on larger models.

That being said, if you are careful when you assemble the fin you will end up with a relatively light, really strong fin with an accurate airfoil and appearance. I suppose I could have cut a hole in the core piece to reduce weight a bit, but for these little fins it wouldn't make much difference.

Besides that I didn't think of it until now...
 

rharshberger

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Thanks Rich. I don't know how familiar you are with 1/64" ply, but it is one of my favorite materials. It is pretty flexy stuff, and depending on how it was stored, could be a bit warped. It is also MUCH more flexible in one axis that the other. So much so that I use it for wraps and transitions on larger models.

That being said, if you are careful when you assemble the fin you will end up with a relatively light, really strong fin with an accurate airfoil and appearance. I suppose I could have cut a hole in the core piece to reduce weight a bit, but for these little fins it wouldn't make much difference.

Besides that I didn't think of it until now...
I have worked with it to build curved laminated parts for other projects. Its fairly easy to work with, as long as you cut it with an Xacto knife.
 

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I couldn't help myself... I was in Hobby Lobby last night and used their 40% OFF coupon to purchase one of these kits, due in large part to your build thread... So it's all your fault! :roll:

Seriously though, this build thread inspired me to want to build one, and I intend to follow your example. What are the dimensions of your revised ARC fins?
 

Mugs914

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I couldn't help myself... I was in Hobby Lobby last night and used their 40% OFF coupon to purchase one of these kits, due in large part to your build thread... So it's all your fault! :roll:
Ha ha! Leadership INTO temptation; merely one of the services I offer! :tongue:

Seriously though, this build thread inspired me to want to build one, and I intend to follow your example. What are the dimensions of your revised ARC fins?
That is very kind of you to say! I'll get the dimensions for you, along with patterns for the parts and a sketch or two of how they were assembled, as soon as I have a second. I should have time to get it all together and posted tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks!

Mike
 

Mugs914

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Got a bit more done on the Small Smoke:

The primer coat needed a bit of a sand to knock off a couple of fuzzy spots, but overall came out quite well. I then shot the OD green (Rust-Oleum Camouflage Ultra Flat Deep Forest Green) after masking off the fin can and nose cone. The flair at the base of the nose cone represents the top of the real Nike motor, so it needs to be the same color as the tube. With the usual all white paint job it doesn't matter, but with this round leaving the Nike motor in it's original Army color it was required to mask the nose cone at the base of the primary cone bit and shoot the flair the same OD green.

My original plan was to use an airbrush to weather the green a bit to reflect the sort of faded, sort of beat up, sort of vintage look seen in the pic and the video. I'll most likely still go that route, but the Rusto OD green came out so nice that it made me think twice! Of course, any time something comes out that nice there must be something...

Hmmm... Wot wuzzit?

Drat!

Forgot the launch lugs... :facepalm:

I wanted to come up with a way of mounting the lugs that at least looked like it might belong on a Nike booster (As opposed to just a tube glued to the side). Along the way I forgot about them completely, so now I still need to figure out what I want to do, do it, then secure them and repaint. :sigh:

I have decided to use airbrushed metalizer-type paints to do the fins and fin can. I have used the Testors metalizers on plastic models, but I'm not sure they are durable enough to last long with all the handling a flying rocket requires, so I'm going to try the Vallejo brand acrylic metalizers. Of course, results/failures will be posted!

Here are a few pics of the tube and nose. You can see how the rivet details and weld seams look once painted. I think I could have gone with a finer thread for the weld seams, but they look okay and aren't horribly out of scale.

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I'll get the dimensions for you, along with patterns for the parts and a sketch or two of how they were assembled, as soon as I have a second. I should have time to get it all together and posted tomorrow afternoon.

Mike
No hurry. I'm at work until Wednesday night anyway.

She looks fantastic! The weld seams and rivets really set off I think. :cool:

I've never used them, but I recently bought some rail buttons from www.rail-buttons.com and was thinking this might be the perfect candidate for them. What do you think? Would it be too late to add them to yours?
 

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Nice Work Mike:
Sorry I'm a little late to this thread, don't know how I missed it.
I have to point out that Nike fins are NEVER solid. they are made from a 3 or 4 piece sandwich of 1/8" aircraft aluminum with welded center Z bracing 3 piece for single taper fins, 2- Z braces in the double taper fins. these fins are then welded to attachment 1/4" base plates that bolt onto the fincan motor ring. All nike fins also taper from the thicker base to the thin tip.
These fins are fairly easy to construct on just about any scale using Cardstock "Skins & Ribs" CA soaked after assembly. for larger models I've used as thick as 14ply cardstock to create Scale BT-80 Nike fins. Below are a few shots of some of my many Micro to Standard size Nike-Smokes & Nike boosted Sounding rockets all flying with these scale built up fincans. Actually; the larger the Scale for these models the easier the Fin/Fincan Skin & Spar construction.
Hope this helps a little.

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TangoJuliet

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John, for some reason I always have troubles viewing about half of the images you post at full resolution. I'm not sure why some will expand and some won't, but it's frustrating. Anyhoo... Is the first image you posted of a 1:1 Nike Smoke? There's a lot of good details in that image. Do you have other detail images that you could share?
 

rharshberger

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John, for some reason I always have troubles viewing about half of the images you post at full resolution. I'm not sure why some will expand and some won't, but it's frustrating. Anyhoo... Is the first image you posted of a 1:1 Nike Smoke? There's a lot of good details in that image. Do you have other detail images that you could share?
I have the same problem, not sure what the cause is.
 

TangoJuliet

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I think I've figured it out... The images that won't expand, don't expand because they're already at full resolution!
 

Mugs914

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Nice Work Mike:
Sorry I'm a little late to this thread, don't know how I missed it.
I have to point out that Nike fins are NEVER solid. they are made from a 3 or 4 piece sandwich of 1/8" aircraft aluminum with welded center Z bracing 3 piece for single taper fins, 2- Z braces in the double taper fins. these fins are then welded to attachment 1/4" base plates that bolt onto the fincan motor ring. All nike fins also taper from the thicker base to the thin tip.
These fins are fairly easy to construct on just about any scale using Cardstock "Skins & Ribs" CA soaked after assembly. for larger models I've used as thick as 14ply cardstock to create Scale BT-80 Nike fins. Below are a few shots of some of my many Micro to Standard size Nike-Smokes & Nike boosted Sounding rockets all flying with these scale built up fincans. Actually; the larger the Scale for these models the easier the Fin/Fincan Skin & Spar construction.
Hope this helps a little.
Hi John,

I don't recall ever saying the fins were solid. If I did I apologize, I know better! The fins on the Smoke rounds were hollow cast magnesium, according to the Atlantic Research Corporation "catalog" of Nike fin configurations (PDF attached below).

The fin in the pic is not the same fin type as typically used on the Smoke rounds. The diamond type were called "Standard Nike fins" by ARC and are very typical for the Nike when used for a booster stage. The one in the pic is the first stage of a Nike/Apache combination. The Standard fin was made in three versions, Lightweight Standard, Standard and Heavy Duty Standard. All of the Standard fins were, as you pointed out, constructed of an inner structure with aluminum or magnesium skin. There were also various means of mounting for the Standard fins, and different shrouds and sleeves.

The Smoke rounds typically use what the catalog calls a "modified diamond" type that were used when a lower drag configuration was required. They were made of cast magnesium (hollow) and also used a different shroud configuration than the standard Nike fin. They were available in several sizes and the catalog even talks about custom sizes of this fin being available. These are the ones I was trying to model. I thought about using the cardstock methd, but chickened out because I had ideas about flying this model on mid-power motors and wanted to make sure the fins were up to it. From what you are saying it sounds like I could have gone heavy cardstock and been okay. I'll have try it next time!

Below is the ARC fin catalog in PDF form. I thought it was really interesting. There are lots of drawings and pics that give an idea of the variety of tail feathers that were used on the various types of Nike rockets. The one disappointment for me was that the military fin types (Ajax and Herc) are not included.

The problem with this info is that, if you are like me and get all OCD when it comes to scale stuff, you now have all this data on the various fin sets but still have to figure out which type was used on the rocket your wanting to model! The airfoil shape of the modified diamond used on the Smokes is a give away, but it is hard to tell with the standard fins.

I especially enjoy your work and look forward to seeing what you are working on, John. The X-7 was one of my particular favorites! how did it fly?

Thanks for posting!

Mike

View attachment nikefins.pdf
 
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TangoJuliet

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Mike, I have a question, the paper wrap you added on the fin can, was that just regular printer paper, Kraft paper, or what? I want to mimic your work, but I don't know what to use.
 
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