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Finished a 17 year build (And why I chuckled when I first saw the 'Estes Shuttle')

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Mugs914

"A crummy commercial..!!??"
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Okay, so it didn't REALLY take seventeen years to build this one...

It was designed and built back in 1999-2000 and was supposed to look like a late '50s early '60s style suborbital hypersonic test/spy vehicle (X-15 or X-20 follow-on, maybe). The glider was inspired by the Flight Dynamics Lab FDL-5 shape, but designed to work as subsonic balsa as opposed to hypersonic Inconel.

Here's a pic of the FDL-5 mockup:
FDL-5P2285418.jpg

It was flown many times in bare cardboard/balsa and flew quite well on a C6-3. The SRBs have 13 mm mounts, but I have yet to fly with booster motors. The glider was a bit tricky to trim, but flew great once dialed in. I later painted the glider black and used some SR-71 decals to doll it up a bit, but the booster remained nekkid. It's last flight was in 2001 and it sat on the shelf in the shop until a couple of weeks ago when I decided to get a proper paint job on the booster, clean up the (slightly flight-battered) glider and get it back in the air.

I just finished the booster's paint yesterday and this is the result. It came out okay, but would have been MUCH easier if I'd painted it before it was all assembled! The paint patterns are based on the X-15A2 auxiliary fuel tanks, Navaho missile and other examples from that era. May bit a bit too "busy" looking, but I like the overall impression it gives.

When it was built it was more or less a boilerplate just to see if it would fly well so I didn't worry about spirals or sealing the wood grain. Now that it is back within my (narrow) field of vision, I'm going to build another one with a bit more care.

Until then it'll be fun to have this one back in the air, and I'm looking forward to finally trying it with a couple of A10-0s in the SRBs!

Here are some pics:

IMG_20170405_085756.jpgIMG_20170405_085707.jpgIMG_20170405_085647.jpgIMG_20170405_085631.jpgIMG_20170405_085536.jpgIMG_20170405_085601.jpgIMG_20170405_085614.jpgIMG_20170405_085850.jpgIMG_20170405_085815.jpg

Thanks for looking!

Mike
 
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Looks amazing!

I actually have some kits that I never finished from when I was a kid. When I was 14, my parents bought me an Estes Saturn V for Christmas, but I didn't really have the modeling skills at the time to finish it. I never really got around to finishing it and I still have it to this day. Started it in January of 1982...
 

qquake2k

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Great looking rocket with a great backstory!
 

JStarStar

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Looks pretty sharp! That'll be a real attention getter on the pad!



Looks amazing!

I actually have some kits that I never finished from when I was a kid. When I was 14, my parents bought me an Estes Saturn V for Christmas, but I didn't really have the modeling skills at the time to finish it. I never really got around to finishing it and I still have it to this day. Started it in January of 1982...
Wow, i thought I had set some kind of record with my Centuri Saturn V: my grandmother got it for me for Christmas 1969 and, just like you, I opened the box, marked the body tubes (thus 'beginning construction') and said "holy crap, I can't do this," so I put it back in the box ... and waited. And waited....

I ended up building (and flying) it in the summer of 1994 (25 years later; I even wrote a story in SportRocketry about the 'Silver Anniversary Saturn'). But you've got me beat by 10 years now! :lol::lol:

I flew it 4-5 times that summer of '94 (including twice for my grandmother, who by then was 98) and a couple times in the next year or so, but since then I've retired it to display status; I didn't want to take a chance of crunching it. But I've already got it all planned; in the summer of 2019 I'm gonna break it back out of its display box, bring it up to flight status and fly it as the "Golden Anniversary Saturn."

I've got a couple other Saturn V kits I've picked up over the years; I'll build one in the next year or so and beef it up to fly on today's composite MPR motors and I'll use that one as the "flight model" -- I can fly that one and if something goes wrong, oh well, I'll just patch it up.

I won't be around in 2069, it's pretty safe to guess, but I have nieces/nephews born after 2000 who will be, and a couple of them are somewhat interested in rocketry. It'd be pretty cool in July 2069, if they could go out with their grandkids launch the Centennial Saturn first bought by their great-great-grandmother -- who was born before the Wright Brothers flew.
 
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I have an old Estes Multi-Roc that I started in spring 1982 and finally (almost) finished in 1999. It's flown a great many times, but I never got around to finishing the glider part of it.

I also have an old Orbital Transport from the same time period that I did some additional work on in '99 and it's still waiting to be finished. It's almost there, just need to sand it smooth, paint and apply decals. I doubt the original decal sheet is still any good though.
 
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