Mach 1 Rocketry Patriot Missile BT50

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mh9162013

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One day I came across Mach 1 Rocketry’s BT-50 Patriot Missile and was very curious about it. Here was a rocket that is inherently sturdy (fiberglass!) styled in a form that I really appreciate (I’ve always loved the Estes Patriot’s simple, 4FNC design). But it’s a smaller BT-50 size and therefore, can fly off of the A (maybe),B and C BP Estes engines I usually use.

Unfortunately, there was little information about this rocket, not even pictures of the kit or a finished specimen. So I reached out to Mach 1 Rocketry and they agreed to send me a BT-50 Patriot Missile kit for a nominal cost. In return, I would do a write up of my build, and here it is. NOTE: By the time I received this kit, Dave Thomas posted a really nice build video of this kit which I encourage you to watch if you’re interested in buying or building this kit.

I hope you enjoy the write up as much as I did building this rocket. The rocket is currently in the process of being painted and I’ll post pictures of the Patriot when the painting is done. Right now, the yellow is drying…


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The above pictures show what you can expect when you get your kit. I believe the nose cone is the same one that comes with the Estes E2X Generic and Alpha, but I'm not 100% sure. The below picture shows the parts I used for the major modification of adding a baffle and reinforced dead space.

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When I built the motor mount tube, I knew I wanted to also install a baffle. Ideally, I’d use a longer BT-20 tube to hold both the 18mm removable baffle and the 18mm engine. Because I didn’t have that, I decided to install a permanent baffle. Because it’s not removable, I added reinforcement to the dead space by lightly gluing in a BT-50 coupler that had been sanded down to save a little bit of weight and help it fit in the BT-50 tube more easily (I like to build heavy, but don’t like adding weight unless it serves a purpose).

Part of adding a reinforced dead space meant I needed to shift the top/front fiberglass centering ring to the upper tip/end of the fiberglass motor mount tube (MMT). This was necessary to maximize the dead space volume while still preventing ejection gasses from having direct contact with the main body tube at the point just above the MMT (something I like to avoid in my cardboard LPR builds, although probably not necessary in a fiberglass rocket…). This led to a problem where I no longer had the fiberglass centering ring in the right location to help hold down the metal engine hook. So I took part of a 24mm BP Estes engine and added it to the MMT so it has 3 centering rings (even though only 2 of them actually do any centering).

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Because I was going to use a permanently installed baffle, I went with a 24mm one instead of an 18mm one.

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Here's what everything looks like when installed.

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The kit comes with a nice thin-mil Nylon parachute from Top Flight Recovery LLC. It’s 9” in diameter, which would be a bit small for a rocket of this weight…if it were made of wood and cardboard! I added the metal ring and snap swivel; those weren't included in the kit.

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Here's how I attached the launch lug. I went ahead and use a 1/8" one instead of the one included with the kit as I don't have a 3/16" launch rod and I planned on launching this with no more than a C engine. I'm only posting a picture here to show how I aligned the launch lug and how you can use a sander to confirm it's properly positioned.

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Now we’re getting to the “new” stuff for me, namely using epoxy to glue in fiber glass fins. Not much to do here besides post the pictures. I will note that I still have much to learn about filleting with epoxy, as after I removed the masking tape, I noticed that there was a bit of a “ridge” where the epoxy met the masking tape edge. I tried to reduce this by removing the masking tape before the epoxy fully cured, but I think I waited too long, as the ridges were very evident.

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Once the fins were done, I completed the recovery system. Yes, I’m still using the parachute protector that came with the kit because it’ll help keep the parachute clean from a little bit of non-damaging bits that come through the baffle.

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And here’s what the rocket looks like when it’s mostly done being built. The parachute wasn’t inside the rocket in this picture, but besides that, this rocket is ready to fly.

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As mentioned earlier, I’ll post more update pictures once the painting is done.

As for my overall impressions, this is a great, high-quality kit with top-notch components and parts. And the fiberglass...it...is...niiiiiiiiiice!

The only things I didn't like about the kit had nothing to do with the kit, but rather, the precautions you have to take when working with fiberglass and epoxy (wearing gloves and a mask when sanding fiberglass, wearing gloves when working with epoxy, working outside when sanding fiberglass, etc.).

I have yet to fly this rocket, but I'm confident it'll perform well. I might need to add some weight to the nose cone, although my simulations in Open Rocket say that's not necessary. We shall see...
 
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Your Black Roll patterns that today are not required look nice . Roll of that is already all known and no need for such patterns today. In fact I wonder if today they are all OD Green?
 
Painting is pretty much done. Just need to let it dry, then it'll get a clear coat.

It doesn't have the "U.S. Army" on it because the kit doesn't come with decals, unless you order them separately. What you see here is all Rustoleum 2X rattle-can work.

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Nice build. Go the Stickershock23.com for the best decals made in the USA
 
Just now seeing this thread. Beautiful construction and paint! Remember, don’t make them too pretty or you won’t want to fly it………… 😉
I put a TON of effort into the paint and decals - and I still fly them.
Not going to drive a Ferrari that has only been primed. 🤷‍♂️🚀
 
"Fly it once, then paint it" is a good strategy if your goal is to optimize your time investment. But it goes against the desire to tote out a beautiful new rocket to the pad -- only to watch it crash due to an oversight on the builder's part. Have done it both ways. Have one that's flown 4 times in primer that I decided deserves a decent finish so I'm getting it ready for the fall flying season.

You could look at it as the rocket has to earn the right to receive a nice topcoat. And you get to remove all the black residue from the prior flights.
 
It's easier to paint something before it gets dirty and/or dinged up from a flight, so I always finish the painting (or w/e "finish" I'm planning on) before the first flight.

That's just me, though.
 
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS PAINT BEFORE FLYING!!!! If your rocket blows up on the fist launch, you wont have any pictures of a nice finished model. I don't care if I anger the rocket gods.
 
I usually TRY to take a picture on the pad, just in case, or at least encourage my wife to do so.

If you have crappy igniters, you may wind up with lots of still pictures before flight if you want a launch shot. I have many.

I've flown rockets that still smelled like paint. The freshly painted ones tend to get a little more "scuffy" on landing, with embedded dirt, than the ones that have cured out. An old painted 4" fiberglass rocket hitting the ground on drogue will scuff less than a newly painted one landing on main at our field.

Of course, maybe I shouldn't finish painting the day before a launch.
 
Surprised Mach1 is still around given the issues with the current owners and a now former owner.
 
What issues?
The current owners decided to kick someone off the ownership team while also taking control over his assets including stuff designed and sold that wasn't originally apart of Mach1 but was a joint partnership with the original owners. They have no desire to bring back kits that they removed from the site (it was a lot, I have the rocksim files) nor do they care to release anything new. Don't get me wrong, I have a few of their kits from a few years ago and their kits are top notch and you won't find lightweight glass anywhere else but ethics trumps everything else in my opinion.
 
I mostly paint all my rockets before the first flight. But then, some of those rockets have found the only body of water around for miles, or they get hung up on a tree or power lines on the first flight, so bye bye. I then vow to replace the rocket and build it better this time. Sometimes I have done that. But my paint jobs are so-so anyway. Plus the paint scheme is to go with the name of the rocket. I can't fly "Der Rust Max" in just primer. It has to look rusty. Or nobody gets the joke. Otherwise I have to start naming my rockets "Der Primer Max" or something like that....
 
One day I came across Mach 1 Rocketry’s BT-50 Patriot Missile and was very curious about it. Here was a rocket that is inherently sturdy (fiberglass!) styled in a form that I really appreciate (I’ve always loved the Estes Patriot’s simple, 4FNC design). But it’s a smaller BT-50 size and therefore, can fly off of the A (maybe),B and C BP Estes engines I usually use.

Unfortunately, there was little information about this rocket, not even pictures of the kit or a finished specimen. So I reached out to Mach 1 Rocketry and they agreed to send me a BT-50 Patriot Missile kit for a nominal cost. In return, I would do a write up of my build, and here it is. NOTE: By the time I received this kit, Dave Thomas posted a really nice build video of this kit which I encourage you to watch if you’re interested in buying or building this kit.

I hope you enjoy the write up as much as I did building this rocket. The rocket is currently in the process of being painted and I’ll post pictures of the Patriot when the painting is done. Right now, the yellow is drying…


View attachment 584871

View attachment 584872

View attachment 584873

View attachment 584874


The above pictures show what you can expect when you get your kit. I believe the nose cone is the same one that comes with the Estes E2X Generic and Alpha, but I'm not 100% sure. The below picture shows the parts I used for the major modification of adding a baffle and reinforced dead space.

View attachment 584875



When I built the motor mount tube, I knew I wanted to also install a baffle. Ideally, I’d use a longer BT-20 tube to hold both the 18mm removable baffle and the 18mm engine. Because I didn’t have that, I decided to install a permanent baffle. Because it’s not removable, I added reinforcement to the dead space by lightly gluing in a BT-50 coupler that had been sanded down to save a little bit of weight and help it fit in the BT-50 tube more easily (I like to build heavy, but don’t like adding weight unless it serves a purpose).

Part of adding a reinforced dead space meant I needed to shift the top/front fiberglass centering ring to the upper tip/end of the fiberglass motor mount tube (MMT). This was necessary to maximize the dead space volume while still preventing ejection gasses from having direct contact with the main body tube at the point just above the MMT (something I like to avoid in my cardboard LPR builds, although probably not necessary in a fiberglass rocket…). This led to a problem where I no longer had the fiberglass centering ring in the right location to help hold down the metal engine hook. So I took part of a 24mm BP Estes engine and added it to the MMT so it has 3 centering rings (even though only 2 of them actually do any centering).

View attachment 584876

View attachment 584877


Because I was going to use a permanently installed baffle, I went with a 24mm one instead of an 18mm one.

View attachment 584878

View attachment 584879


Here's what everything looks like when installed.

View attachment 584880

View attachment 584881


The kit comes with a nice thin-mil Nylon parachute from Top Flight Recovery LLC. It’s 9” in diameter, which would be a bit small for a rocket of this weight…if it were made of wood and cardboard! I added the metal ring and snap swivel; those weren't included in the kit.

View attachment 584882


Here's how I attached the launch lug. I went ahead and use a 1/8" one instead of the one included with the kit as I don't have a 3/16" launch rod and I planned on launching this with no more than a C engine. I'm only posting a picture here to show how I aligned the launch lug and how you can use a sander to confirm it's properly positioned.

View attachment 584887


Now we’re getting to the “new” stuff for me, namely using epoxy to glue in fiber glass fins. Not much to do here besides post the pictures. I will note that I still have much to learn about filleting with epoxy, as after I removed the masking tape, I noticed that there was a bit of a “ridge” where the epoxy met the masking tape edge. I tried to reduce this by removing the masking tape before the epoxy fully cured, but I think I waited too long, as the ridges were very evident.

View attachment 584883

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Once the fins were done, I completed the recovery system. Yes, I’m still using the parachute protector that came with the kit because it’ll help keep the parachute clean from a little bit of non-damaging bits that come through the baffle.

View attachment 584888


And here’s what the rocket looks like when it’s mostly done being built. The parachute wasn’t inside the rocket in this picture, but besides that, this rocket is ready to fly.

View attachment 584889



As mentioned earlier, I’ll post more update pictures once the painting is done.

As for my overall impressions, this is a great, high-quality kit with top-notch components and parts. And the fiberglass...it...is...niiiiiiiiiice!

The only things I didn't like about the kit had nothing to do with the kit, but rather, the precautions you have to take when working with fiberglass and epoxy (wearing gloves and a mask when sanding fiberglass, wearing gloves when working with epoxy, working outside when sanding fiberglass, etc.).

I have yet to fly this rocket, but I'm confident it'll perform well. I might need to add some weight to the nose cone, although my simulations in Open Rocket say that's not necessary. We shall see...
This is another kit i have been eying recently and the idea of the fiberglass fins had me concerned. I’m slowly getting back into the hobby affer 45 years and never flew more than C engines. I do have to watch myself around certain glues and epoxies due to my health, but seeng how you did a great job sanding, and cost is pretty decent from what i am eying on buying, i’m gonna give this some serious consideration. (and you just helped me lean more to “go for it”.

can’t wait to see it finished. 👍
 
This is another kit i have been eying recently and the idea of the fiberglass fins had me concerned. I’m slowly getting back into the hobby affer 45 years and never flew more than C engines. I do have to watch myself around certain glues and epoxies due to my health, but seeng how you did a great job sanding, and cost is pretty decent from what i am eying on buying, i’m gonna give this some serious consideration. (and you just helped me lean more to “go for it”.

can’t wait to see it finished. 👍
For low power lightweight glass kits like that one, you tack the fins on with CA glue and then do epoxy fillets. Usually holds up pretty well for B/C motors since they're not really under stress.
 
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