Fireball XL5 [Inspired] BT-80 Scale (3D Printed Parts, Plywood Fins, Cardboard Body Tubes)

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BigMacDaddy

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I am going to try my hand at a BT-80 scale Fireball XL5 [Inspired] model rocket. I know a number of people have done this one but hoping I can create a unique balance of detail and launch options in my version.

I downloaded a number of different 3D designs, STLs, pictures, etc... and have been somewhat disappointed in the missed or incorrect details in many of the models. Ultimately, I always wind up redesigning from scratch but everything I can get my hands on helps me get as accurate to scale / semi-scale as possible.

The best pictures I can find are from the opening sequence of the show as well as some behind the scenes photos of the actual model used for the show (on Shutterstock for some reason). The behind the scene photos are also square on the model, which is great, but unfortunately there are only front and rear photos (no top, bottom, or side angles). If anyone has seen other behind the scenes square-on photos of the actual model used in the show I would appreciate a link.

Rear photos are key since lots of the details are back here.

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Here is an example of the missing details. Some of the B/W pics out there seem to be rendered remakes (my assumption) of the opening segment but look at the missing details inside the vertical airfoiled wing part on the two left pictures / models compared to the pictures above. My initial draft is on the right (I tried to get more of the details but I need to fix the shape (it is not an oval but should be a rounded rectangle per the above prototypes). I also need to fix the shape of the middle bump (should be a rounded corner instead of an oval there as well). Anyway, its an iterative process.

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One of the more square side pictures I can find (at least along one dimension) as well as a pretty square picture of the bottom (although terrible lighting).

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I am measuring scale from a number of these pictures (often across a few pictures to triangulate on what should be closest to scale).

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I'm also wondering if folks ever use MicroMaxx clusters / motors as extra engines for show?

I have often included space for mini engines in various spots on the model. The side shrouds on this model are too small for mini engines but I can fit MicroMaxx engine mounts in there - potentially in 10 spots although not sure those are all engines in the show.
 
Brilliant idea for a kit.

I can fit MicroMaxx engine mounts in there - potentially in 10 spots

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Anyone fancy a 42 motor cluster?
 
Thanks, yes there are lots of sites, lots of models, and lots of documentation out there for this model. I am just surprised that even amazingly detailed studio-scale models seem to miss or inaccurately reproduce pretty obvious details.

For example: http://davidsissonmodels.co.uk/xl5.htm

Seems to be missing some key details in the rear of the side airfoiled fins (apparently these fins also store fuel and have additional engines). Also the pod boosters around the tail section seem to be the wrong shape (should be rounded squares instead of cylindrical / conical) - also missing some ridge details on these.
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Assuming that the pictures from the TV show are "cannon" and that the behind the scenes pics from Shutterstock are legitimate.

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The level of detail may depend on if the model is being done for work or play. For work, there will be a limited amount of documentation and a scope of the work, a budget, and a deadline.

For play, there is no deadline or even the chance of being fired for not completing the project, so you can do as much as you want when you want. Omissions can have everything to do with what management told them to do and no more. I have been chastised by my manager for adding too much detail.

A model will give you a 3D basis to build onto. You are your own boss, so you can add or delete whatever detail pleases you.

I once worked with a guy from Kenner. He said they had worked on early Star Wars toys. There weren't detailed drawings of the subjects, so they were sent original models. I asked "What happened to the models?" He said "They threw them away!"
 
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I once worked with a guy from Kenner. He said they had worked on early Star Wars toys. There weren't detailed drawings of the subjects, so they were sent original models. I asked "What happened to the models?" He said "They threw them away!"

Wow... Yeah, I was thinking that the Shutterstock pictures may not have always been out there. They are very clear and from what I can tell are of the original model. I am not sure who uploaded them or where they came from but they are so square on the tail and front that they make great sources (and I wish there were top and side pictures).

As you say level of quality will vary but over the last couple of years I have learned to try to find original pictures where I can since I have found unexpected inaccuracies sometimes in models. I do download and use 3D designs (STLs) that I can find as a rough approximation of scale and shape where these agree with what I am seeing (maybe these replace measuring from models in my approach). I have bought a bunch of models of things I was designing but have not wound up using them (partly since they require assembly to measure from them).
 
Ok, I realized I was being a bit naïve in interpreting what I was seeing and confirmed there were simply two models used in the opening segments. Apparently there was a 5-7ft static model and a 12-18" model that was much simpler and went down the rails to launch. Now I am trying to find more pictures of the larger model to confirm more accurate details.
 
Also, you could go frame by frame through bits of the DVDs.
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Yes, I started doing that some to find detail shots of various parts but it is a bit tedious. I saw someone post nice reference photos of one of the Thunderbirds and I am very surprised that someone does not have something like that for the XL5.
 
Yes, I started doing that some to find detail shots of various parts but it is a bit tedious. I saw someone post nice reference photos of one of the Thunderbirds and I am very surprised that someone does not have something like that for the XL5.

Depends on what is available . . .

d70mlru-9ccde31e-d541-40e6-b186-755b92a0f987.jpgDSC00616 (1).JPGDSC00625.JPGF Jr back.jpgF Jr cockpit 2.jpgF Jr Gary.jpgF Jr side 2.jpgF Jr side.jpgF Jr top.jpgFIREBALL XL-5.jpgfireball_xl5_by_claveworks_d2jenur-pre.jpgFireball+XL5+logo.jpgfireball-blueprint.gifIMG_1464_sm.jpgIMG_1551_sm (2).jpgIMG_2267.JPGIMG_2281.JPGIMG_2432_sm.jpgIMG_2523a.jpgprod sled under construction 5.jpgsp-xl5-1075x743.jpgstacked fireball sm.jpgstacked fireball sma.jpg
 

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Of course on the rear you can cheat a bit with an Estes retainer (which has the ridges) and an Aerotech motor with the nozzle.
 
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