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Little Joe II Paint Schemes

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FatBoy

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I have a Semroc Little Joe II in my build pile. I have only been able find a few pictures of actual Little Joes (mostly black and white pictures). Some are white, some are silver and some are silver and white or different shades of silver. Does anyone have any good ideas on actual colors of the Little Joe II?
 

sandman

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Here's a composit of the George Gassaway drawings I made of all of the Little Joe II round (thanks George, I hope you don't mind).

The earliest is on the right and they progress to the left to round A-004 which was the final flight.

The earliest round is the QTV or Qualifying Test Round which is all silver except for the dummy escape tower which is white.

The rest are silver on the bottom and white (except for the black roll patterns) from the top of the corrugation.

ALL 5 LJ IIs.gif


LittleJoeII.JPG
 

georgegassaway

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Here is a link to a preview of my upcoming website, with four of the Little Joe-II pages.

http://homepage.mac.com/georgegassaway/GRP/Preview/Demo1.htm

The reason why the one by Semroc (A clone of the original Estes kit K-30 in 1968) looks all silver is that it is a model of "QTV", or Qualification Test Vehicle. It was used only for testing the Little Joe-II vehicle itself. The Apollo-looking silver parts were structural dummies. Also, the two long narrow vanes on the CM shaped cone of QTV were an early idea to help flip the capsule around, but were never used on a flight tested CM, certainly not on the later 4 Little Joe-II flights. The later Little Joes used Boilerplate CM's, the last one using a real CM. The CM and SM's for those four were all painted white.

Sorry I do not have the photo pages up as part of the preview but there are too many links I'd have to modify. I hope to announce my site as open in about 2 weeks or so. There are some photos to be seen on two of the 4 pages anyway.

- George Gassaway
 
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FatBoy

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Excellent resources. Thanks Sandmand and George!!
 

FatBoy

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Saluki.... Wow that place has some amazing models!
 

sandman

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Not to hijack but "hopefully" I will be starting on my SEMROC Little Joe II kit.

I will start a new thread.

What I am doing is a conversion to round A-004 the final flight round.

OK, I'm cheating and I'll be using the Paul Graff vacuformed pieces.
 

FatBoy

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Sandman... you aren't highjacking and no need to start a new thread unless you want to.

I am going to build mine per the kit including the wood dowel escape tower. I started a wood tower for a Saturn 1B (I also have an Apogee capsule), but I like the authenticity and challenge that the wood kit provides.
 

rosko_racer

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Sandman... you aren't highjacking and no need to start a new thread unless you want to.

I am going to build mine per the kit including the wood dowel escape tower. I started a wood tower for a Saturn 1B (I also have an Apogee capsule), but I like the authenticity and challenge that the wood kit provides.
I like the challenge and authenticity too but the sanding of all those dowels hurt my fingers halfway throught the process, and I kept breaking those dowels. I went to my local hobby shop and bought styrene round rods that were close to the size needed for the capsule. Used Plastruct plastic cement to put the tower pieces together and used wood glue to assemble the tower to the capsule and escape rocket. But I think that a touch of 15 min epoxy would have been a better choice to glue the tower to the wood parts. The tower ended up real nice and strong. No one will notice that they are "not the right size." You will still have the challenge to build it but without the sanding.

DSC00091.JPG


semroc%20-%20apollocapsule.jpg
 

sandman

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I like the challenge and authenticity too but the sanding of all those dowels hurt my fingers halfway throught the process, and I kept breaking those dowels. I went to my local hobby shop and bought styrene round rods that were close to the size needed for the capsule. Used Plastruct plastic cement to put the tower pieces together and used wood glue to assemble the tower to the capsule and escape rocket. But I think that a touch of 15 min epoxy would have been a better choice to glue the tower to the wood parts. The tower ended up real nice and strong. No one will notice that they are "not the right size." You will still have the challenge to build it but without the sanding.
I cheat...I sand my wood dowels on a lathe.:D

All ya gotta do is just hold the sandpaper.;)
 

FatBoy

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I used a jeweler's draw plate to reduce the dowel diameters. Still it is a lot of work. But I like Rosko's idea about styrene rods.
 

dcastle

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I used a jeweler's draw plate to reduce the dowel diameters. Still it is a lot of work. But I like Rosko's idea about styrene rods.
I picked up a jeweler's draw plate to do this...but it's labled in "guage" rather than in English or metric measurements. Any idea where to find a conversion table?
 

FatBoy

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I just used the little gauge that Semroc supplied with the kit to know when I had the right size.

If they use the same gauge sizes as the American Wire Gauges, here is a conversion table: http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm
 

georgegassaway

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Used Plastruct plastic cement to put the tower pieces together and used wood glue to assemble the tower to the capsule and escape rocket. But I think that a touch of 15 min epoxy would have been a better choice to glue the tower to the wood parts. .
Hmmm, I imagine this image of the Tower falling off at ejection. Wood glue will not bond to plastic.

I am not familiar enough with that kit to know if there are relatively deep holes for the legs to fit into, or if the legs are glued flush or into very shallow pockets. For deep holes, MAYBE wood glue would hold. Epoxy, well, that does not really glue that well to plastic either, but you could rough up the areas to be glued to give the epoxy something to grab to. Best would be CA glue. Especially thick CA.

- George Gassaway
 
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georgegassaway

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They are very shallow pockets, more like flats.
In that case, I think that the plastic tower legs are going to peel away from the wood glue.

BTW - by wood glue, I am assuming carpenter's glue, like Titebond.

If model airplane wood glue was meant, like the old Ambroid, or Sig-ment, it would be a totally different story, since those also worked with plastic. But I think it is not likely that was what was meant by "wood" glue.

FWIW - when I have done my Joe models, which use plastic legs, the holes have been deep (and legs extra-long at the lower ends), and the "capsule" (BPC) was also plastic. And I used either plastic cement or thick CA to anchor them.

- George Gassaway
 

rosko_racer

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George:

You are right, "wood glue" (Elmer's wood glue in my case) was not a good choice and still not a good choice if one intends to fly it. At the time I put the tower and capsule together I did not have CA or epoxy. Plus this capsule was put together as a display model for my office. I have a corner in my office area dedicated to rocketry. But the next time I build one of these for a rocket I will use the styrene rods with the corner rods just a little longer so that I can sink them into the balsa parts and use thick CA to glue the parts together. Thanks for the idea.
 

RodWhip

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So you recommend using either Ambroid or Sig-ment to bond styrene to balsa or using CA with deeper holes?
 

rosko_racer

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I am not familiar with either types of glue. But to make sure I said it right, I will use plastic cement to bond styrene-to-styrene. The corner rods would be just a tad longer that what the instructions call for to that I could sink them into the top part of the capsule and bond the styrene to the balsa with thick CA. I though epoxy would be a good choice to bond styrene-to-balsa if you are going to fly the capsule.
 

georgegassaway

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Rod Whip wrote:
>>>>
So you recommend using either Ambroid or Sig-ment to bond styrene to balsa or using CA with deeper holes?
<<<<

First, deeper holes, if possible, for a much more secure mechanical joint, regardless of glue type.

Then, CA would be sufficient. If a person had no choice but to use the little notches and “butt glue” the styrene legs on top of the balsa cone, then Ambroid or Sig-ment may be better than thick CA. Even CA does not bond THAT well to plastic, but it does bond to plastic better than Epoxy does.

Rosko Racer wrote:
>>>>
I though epoxy would be a good choice to bond styrene-to-balsa if you are going to fly the capsule.
<<<<
Epoxy just does not bond that well to plastic. An easy test. Use a scrap wooden dowel, and some scrap plastic sheet. Use Epoxy to glue the end of the stick to the plastic sheet at 90 degrees. Let cure fully. Then try to bend the stick. Most likely the epoxy will peel away from the plastic. It is more like the epoxy “sticks” or “adheres” to the plastic, but it does not really bond to it. You can peel it off. By contrast, with plastic, when using a plastic cement, the cement actually dissolves some of the plastic, then when it dries the two pieces are bonded almost like they were “welded”.

Now, YMMV. Some epoxies stick better, and it also depends on what kind of plastic. The classic worst-case is polypropelyne, like Frisbees are made out of, a flexible plastic. When I have done rocket Frisbees, I glued the engine mount into the center with a big wide fillet of epoxy, let cure, “popped” the whole thing off since it was never going to stay on, then used contact cement to bond the large area of the engine mount fillet to the Frisbee plastic. This does not then mean that contact cement is the answer for anything like an Apollo tower, because Contact Cement requires a large surface area.

- George Gassaway
 

georgegassaway

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You know, Sig-ment and Ambroid are so old, and a lot of things have changed so much with model planes in recent years, I wondered if those glues even existed anymore. They do.

Sig-ment:
http://www.sigmfg.com/IndexText/SIGSM001.html

Ambroid (original):
http://www.ambroid.com/Ambroid.html

Ambroid calls theirs liquid cement, but it is more like thick molasses, and similar to the consistency of classic Plastic model kit “tube” glues. Same thing for Sig-ment. As contrasted with the other liquid type glues for plastic which come in bottles and are water-thin.

I am not saying run out and get these, I just thought I’d point out some more info on them since model rocketeers do not tend to keep track of model airplane glues. (the airplane glues do not bond to paper body tubes well, sort of like epoxy does not bond well to plastic). And those airplane glues were a lot more useful before the days of Cyanoacrylates came along.

- George Gassaway
 

Gus

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George,

I am in the middle of building Sandman's magnificent Little Joe II A-004 kit. I used the drawing on your site to do the conduits but have been trying to find some good photos of the original flight article. I know you haven't had time to post your photos yet but any chance you might be able to email me one or two? I have Mike Dorffler's photos but they are not too extensive.

I'm specifically interested in the hatch covers on the upper corrugations. Most models (including Chan's and RS Barker's) seem to model those covers as flat pieces sticking out above the corrugations but your drawings suggest the covers were corrugated.

Thanks,

Steve
 

georgegassaway

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I'm specifically interested in the hatch covers on the upper corrugations. Most models (including Chan's and RS Barker's) seem to model those covers as flat pieces sticking out above the corrugations but your drawings suggest the covers were corrugated.
The covers were corrugated. See the photo below left, of A-002&#8217;s main body. The access cover is where the &#8220;U&#8221; is in &#8220;UNITED STATES&#8221; is located.

What leads some astray, like Chan, are pre-flight photos like the one at the right that show things that were not that way when it took off. At least one of those covers was removed and had a red covering put over it during the times when there was no need to access it inside, but thy did not bolt the real cover back on until shortly before flight. Otherwise they would inevitably be taking the real cover on and off and on and off. So, a model with a red cover has modeled something it did not have when it flew. Again in the photo at lower right, you can see a lot of things that were not in flight shape, such as a lot of black tape holding temporary lines or cables in place, and so forth. Even parts missing, like the forward portions of the Fin Root Fairings. Also, another hatch opening (near the pad&#8217;s yellow tower) was filled temporarily with a bolted-on connector for a large air conditioning hose that was usually attached to keep the solid rocket motors inside from getting hot (remember this was flown in White Sands, N.M., and the vehicle was exposed to the weather, including the sun.). In that photo, the work tower had been rolled back temporarily so the hose was not attached, so it was plugged. Before launch, the work tower was rolled back, that hose adapter was removed, the red cover was removed, and the real flight covers were attached,

2.5 years ago, I overheard a scale judge say to someone else that he&#8217;d knocked points off of my model for not having the &#8220;red cover&#8221; on as seen in a photo. I told him no, there was no red cover when it took off. But he kept insisting you model the photo. Then I pointed out the things that were also wrong in the preflight photo, as mentioned above above, and no flight photos ever showed anything else (red or dark gray in B&W pics) where the covers were. I was pretty shocked even he could make that mistake, he&#8217;s been a scale judge for a long time (I will not say who, other than no, not Peter Alway. I might still be in a coma if Peter Alway had made this mistake).

What I have done to model those hatches is this. I have cut out some white decal film to the shape of the hatch, making it wide enough to account for the shortening effect of the corrugations (as I also had to do for the UNITED STATES lettering). I applied the white decal in place, using a lot of decal setting solution and a scrap piece of the corrugated plastic used for the main body (Evergreen &#8220;Metal Siding&#8221;). The corrugated plastic was pressed on to help force the decal to fit into the corrugations. After the white decal dried, then the main body was painted. So, the white decal simply made the outline of the access covers stand out. Technically it is not quite right, since the hatches were flush, and did not stick out the thickness of the white decal, but it was certainly beyond my modeling skills to cut out an opening the cut out a perfectly matching cover, even once, much less three times.

BTW - the photos got reduced in size somewhat in the upload. Here is a link for a larger B&W pic:

http://homepage.mac.com/georgegassaway/GRP/Scale/DATA/JoePhotos/A-002/64-H-2456.jpg

And a larger color pic:

http://homepage.mac.com/georgegassaway/GRP/Scale/DATA/JoePhotos/A-004/S-65-19886-big.jpg

- George Gassaway

64-H-2456.jpg


A-004.jpg
 
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sandman

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George,

I am in the middle of building Sandman's magnificent Little Joe II A-004 kit. I used the drawing on your site to do the conduits but have been trying to find some good photos of the original flight article. I know you haven't had time to post your photos yet but any chance you might be able to email me one or two? I have Mike Dorffler's photos but they are not too extensive.

I'm specifically interested in the hatch covers on the upper corrugations. Most models (including Chan's and RS Barker's) seem to model those covers as flat pieces sticking out above the corrugations but your drawings suggest the covers were corrugated.

Thanks,

Steve
I don't see any pictures!:rolleyes:
 

JAL3

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I hope this is not too much off topic but I have a question about the launch platforms for the Joes.

Can somebody explain to me the purpose of them being angled/canted as opposed to letting the rocket sit on a flat base?
 

sandman

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I hope this is not too much off topic but I have a question about the launch platforms for the Joes.

Can somebody explain to me the purpose of them being angled/canted as opposed to letting the rocket sit on a flat base?
They were basically large model rockets.

Fin stabilized with reaction control motors on those fat bulges at the base of the fins.

The angled launch base allowed the crew to adjust the trajectory.
 

JAL3

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They were basically large model rockets.

Fin stabilized with reaction control motors on those fat bulges at the base of the fins.

The angled launch base allowed the crew to adjust the trajectory.
That makes sense.

Thanks. I've wondered about that.
 

georgegassaway

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I hope this is not too much off topic but I have a question about the launch platforms for the Joes.

Can somebody explain to me the purpose of them being angled/canted as opposed to letting the rocket sit on a flat base?
To add a bit to Sandman's reply....

The launch platform could be adjusted both in pitch (tilt angle) and azimuth (left - right direction). For assembly, the platform was level. See the first photo (A-004) of an example of the platform not tilted). For flight, it was tilted, and rotated in azimuth, so that the flight path and impact zone would be in a cleared area. Depending on wind speed and direction, they also would adjust azimuth. The flights were made at White Sands, N.M., which is a big area, but not big enough to just let a rocket rip and let land in a random place. Indeed, in the very early days, a captured German V-2 went out of control and crashed.... in MEXICO!. And I do not mean New Mexico, I mean &#8220;International missile incident&#8221;.

The first two Little Joe-II&#8217;s were really big dumb unguided rockets. The last three did have a guidance system, but still, the launch angle and azimuth was used to set the basic parameters for the flight, and for the first part of the flight the guidance was used for some minor corrections to hold the planned flight path. Then at a given point in the flight the control system was programmed do something extreme for the desired simulated emergency to do an Abort test of the Escape system.

It is a good thing they did not launch vertically for the flights with guidance, and plan for the guidance system itself to make the rocket pitch in the desired direction. Because on the 4th flight (A-003), one elevon control system failed, causing the elevon to deflect full hard over , making the Little Joe start to roll faster, and faster, until it spun so fast it ripped apart (bad in that it did not reach the planned flight profile for the abort, but good in that the abort system detected a real emergency and safely pulled the capsule away when the vehicle started to break up). The guidance system was unable to control the flight path due to the spin, but fortunately the angle of the launch platform had already established the desired basic (ballistic) flight path, so it flew downrange in the intended direction and path over the ground. See 4-frame sequence photo below right.

- George Gassaway

S-65-19888.jpg


65-H-823.jpg
 
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