Estes Vagabond #3217

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Leo

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Here is a short build thread of the Estes Vagabond.



When I saw this kit for the first time I didn't think much of it. I found the fins to look kinda corny, I don't really know....
However when I started this build it quickly grew on me to the point where I am really liking it now :)

The build will be straight forward except for the following:

- The engine mount will be placed in the body tube in such a way that the engine hook will not tough the ground and the rocket will stand on all 3 fins.
- The rocket will get an ejection baffle (made by Sunward) so that recovery wadding will not be needed.
- The construction will use 5min epoxy exclusively.

The first step was to build the engine mount:



Next I assembled the baffle kit...



and then glued it inside the lower body tube:



I used 2 aluminum L-profile as a simple fin guide to glue the fins to the body tube. By doing so I get straight aligned fins. I just hate when a rocket rotates on flight, at least on mine.



All joints were strengthened by using 5min epoxy fillets (difficult to see in the picture):



With the body tube seams filled and the fins smoothed using sanding sealer the rocket is now ready for primer and paint:

 
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K'Tesh

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Very Nice As Always Leo!!!
 

MALBAR 70

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I felt the same way about the Vagabond, I just didn't care for it. Then I found one at Hobby Lobby on clearance for about seven dollars. I figured even if I just used it for parts 7$ was worth it. Then like you, I built it and found that I really liked it.

Leo, yours is looking great, I can't wait to see it with some paint on it.
 

K'Tesh

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I hadn't noticed the "When I first saw this kit for the first I didn't think much of it" line... until MALBAR pointed it out.

That's really funny... I felt exactly the same way myself when I first saw it. I bought it for parts... Then I actually started building it. It was really an enjoyable kit.

I can't wait to get the chance to finish it.
 

SCIGS30

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Leo as always looks great. What sanding sealer do you use? How many coats for grain free finish?
 

Kruegon

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I have one. It's an incredible flyer. My first one took a hard landing recently. It's going to be rebuilt. Nose cone and motor mount art good. I have spare balsa and tubing.

I'm also going to build the original Vagabond. It'll be nice to have them side by side. This is going to have to happen between scale builds. So don't expect either of them too soon.
 

Leo

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Thanks everyone! However lets wait with the compliments until the whole rocket is painted and the decals have been applied. A lot can still go wrong :wink:

@SCIGS30: At least 5 coats were needed. I use this. It's very similar to Midwest Aero Gloss Sanding Sealer. Plus I will have to correct leftover pores after I have applied the primer.
 

Leo

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The painting phase is going very slowly. This is due the humidity he have been having.

I was just lucky enough in the last couple of days to get the white primer on the rocket.



I hope to get the Vagabond finished soon.
 

byoungblood

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I've been flying mine for about two years on D-F motors. I used the stock fins as templates and cut some out of 1/8" ply and made them TTW. I had to rebuild the body tube after it got cooked from the hibachi effect, but has withstood more than a couple of pretty rough landings. But it has always been a great flyer the 8-10 times I've launched it.
 

Leo

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She has been completed:





As I stated before I really never took much interest in this rocket. But after I started putting the kit together it grew on me ever so fast.
Now I have to admit it's one very cool looking rocket. I never thought that fins with flat edges would fit so nicely to the design and looks.
This is a nice, big and easy rocket to build. I honestly feel it should be in any model rocket collection.
 
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Leo

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As a side note.

Since I several kits and used a decal for another project I noticed that Estes had changed the font at some time.



For this project I used the "newer" decal version.
 

Kruegon

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Looking very nice. A rocket to be proud of.

Estes actually had two different Vagabonds that I know of. Other than similar decals (almost identical) they share no other traits. I'm going to rebuild my Vagabond and I believe I'm going to build the original as well. You know, just because.
 
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Leo

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Thanks.

Yes, a BT-50 size version kit #1423
 

K'Tesh

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Damn... When I get home I now have to do another SIM.

Thanks for the scan.

Nice wwork as always Leo!
 

hcmbanjo

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As a side note.
Since I several kits and used a decal for another project I noticed that Estes had changed the font at some time.



For this project I used the "newer" decal version.
Good pick using the newer font. The extra bold Vagabond name is better.
At a printshop, I worked on a headline typesetting machine for years.
That experience makes me search longer when trying to find the best font.

Your finished work is amazing!
The finished picture looks like the Estes face card after they've touched up their models with computer "airbrushing".
 

Kruegon

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Thanks.

Yes, a BT-50 size version kit #1423
I've downloaded the scans but haven't built it yet. Is it BT-50? I always assumed it was BT-55 by the picture. Interesting. I may already have everything I need to clone it.
 

Leo

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I've downloaded the scans but haven't built it yet. Is it BT-50? I always assumed it was BT-55 by the picture. Interesting. I may already have everything I need to clone it.
The body tube is a BT-50W (9.5 inches) and two piece PNC-50YR nose cone. It's a Centuri Astro-1 knockoff.
 

Leo

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...
Your finished work is amazing!
The finished picture looks like the Estes face card after they've touched up their models with computer "airbrushing".
Not here. What you see in the picture is what you get :)

However JPG file compression does remove some of the imperfections found on the rocket.
 

Leo

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The Vagabond had it's maiden flight today. It was near perfect.
Using a Klima C6-5 it boosted straight. The ejection occurred after apogee which caused the parachute to get tangled with the shock cord line. It landed in the soft grass and thus not even getting a scratch on the paint.
One other thing is that I used wadding forgetting I had a baffle installed :facepalm:

 
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