MM X-15 1/144th Scale (Dragon) PMC

Micromeister

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Right off the top I have to Say Thank You to Saluki who gave me the heads up to this Impressive little 2 complete model kit.

I purchased another of the Dragon 2-model kits earlier in this scale (1/144th) of the Bell X-1 and was disappointed as it was simply Way to small for MMX conversion. Saluki purchased one of the X-15 Dragon kits saying we should give it another look as it seamed like a MMX motor would fit.
I relented ordering the $14.50 kit (sort of expensive for 1/144th scale) with reservations but since I really Like the X-15 in all it's forms did it anyway.

The Good new is A: We get 2 complete models in these kits
B: They Are in fact Perfect for PMC Micro conversion! YEAH!

I am also very impressed with the quaility of these tiny but very well produced kits. All the tiny parts are very nicely modeled and molded in grey styrene plastic with engraved panel lines throughout.
One of the most interesting things has to be the fact the body Halves are produced as tubular sections rather the a top and bottom as in most plastic kits.

We'll look a bit closer at the parts. As always I've chosen to seperate the nose of the X-15 two body seams behind the cockpit. Some might want to use the provided centeral body seperation however I like having a bit more room for a recovery streamer so I solvent welded the body halves into one solid unit then carefully parted the seam in the new location.

To move the CG to the proper location 2.6g of Nose weight is needed in the nose and T2 shoulder so the cockpit tub,seat and dash were eliminated.

With two models to work with I'm doing the first one Wheels Up with the round blunt nose rather then trying to adapt the small aeroprobe to brass wire as was done on my 1/130th model. On the second Wheel & skids down model I may make an attempt at the nose probe alteration.

Sorry guys most of the construction pics are still in the camera along with several other PMC projects currently in the works. Just to Wet the imagination 1/144th F20 TigarShark, and F-14 Tomcats are also underway, along with a T3 Phoenix AIM-54C scratch scale.

Pics to follow.
Ps: the 1/144th Bell X-1's will end up being built as Static models to go along with the remainder of the flying 1/144th scale "Manned Space flight" series I'm building.

Bell X-1-d1_144th Dragon 2model Kit BoxArt #4630 (Static)_12-26-11.jpg

X15f_X-15 144th Dragon (2 model kit) #DML4631(14.50)_02-12.JPG
 
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JPVegh

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$14.50????

Holy Moly !!!:y:

I guess I've been out of the plastic model game for a long time. I used to collect and built 1/72 WW2 warbirds. I think I paid about $3 for the last one I built.

This will be an awesome project! Looking forward to seeing more especially of the F-20 and F-14.:cheers:
 

Micromeister

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:roll:
$14.50????

Holy Moly !!!:y:

I guess I've been out of the plastic model game for a long time. I used to collect and built 1/72 WW2 warbirds. I think I paid about $3 for the last one I built.

This will be an awesome project! Looking forward to seeing more especially of the F-20 and F-14.:cheers:

:roll:
Yeap they seem on the expensive size but you do get 2 complete models to build so it's only $7.25 each. With the Detailing and method of molding, accuracy of fit up etc....IMHO they are well worth the price.....for a PMC that is.

Sorry I haven't had a chance to do anything with any of the projects this week...Work has been a real PETA...Very large deadline bid job has been keeping me at work rather then in the rocket lab LOL! About all I can shown so far are the Box Art Pics I took ages ago... Both are cheapy Lee models I don't think either was more the 3 bucks on Sale when I picked them up:) I can tell you the F-20 will likely end up being some sort of rear ejection thing as their just isn't any room for making a seperation point up front. Hoping it well be light enough to be "feather weight" recovery.

Perhaps this weekend I'll get something done?

F14-d2_Jolly Roger Lee #02204 144th_06-06.jpg

F20-d1_Tigershark LEE #02208 144th_06-05.jpg
 
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Micromeister

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Lots of things happened last month, sorry work kinda gets in the way of other things sometimes. If it's heavy head work...sometimes going home is just the end of the days activities all together.. That was the case most of last month..

Told the wife I'd had a vert strange dream the other night...I dreamt I was a muffler... A MUFFLER! she said.. I answered Yeap. She asked " Well what happened?" I said: Awful! I woke up Exhausted! She smacked me hard on the back of the head.:fly:


So here we are back at the 144th X-15 PMC. here are a few photos of the Box art, Back and EXCELLENTLY produced parts. I think there are just about Extras of everything in this kit. Dragon Kit's seem to like putting a pair or Two models in the same package. At least that's been my experience so far with the 1/144th scale stuff. Our X-15 comes with two complete models and enough little extras that it may be hard to decide which of the Options to go with. We even get 3 clear molded canopies most of which will end up painted black but neat to have a spare.

We're going to do the first model was a Wheels up Flight configruation with blunt rounded nose rather then the tiny Aerospike just for fun.
our Blunt rounded nose will be the very first part actually solvent welded in place during dry fitting and Tape up to product our 2 view Cardboard cutouts which should follow this first 5 pics.

MM 387uc01b_X-15 144th Box Art Back_03-20-12.JPG

MM 387uc01c_X-15 144th 2model waterslide decals_03-20-12.JPG

MM 387uc01d2_Lots of tiny parts on trees_03-20-12.JPG

MM 387uc01e_3 canopies for 2 models_03-20-12.JPG

MM 387uc02a_Major body parts Taped for tracing_03-25-12.JPG
 

Micromeister

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Before I go to much further and foget to mention it...I am so impressed with the Quaility and detail on these tiny 1/144th models. All the Surface detailing is recessed along with the major panel lines. A very expensive way to produce molds. Couple that with the unique 2-piece Tubular airframe casting make is kit a JOY to convert.

At this point it become necessary to decide on where we want to have the model seperate at ejection. Many may be inclined to go with the manufactured mid point casting but I would discourage this as it handicaps our recovery & shockcord storage area. My decision was to as with all my X-15 scale models move the seperation point to the first full diameter panel line (second line behind) the Cockpit canopy. in the last photo of this set I've outlined both sides with 1/8" blue tape.

It also becomes necessary to fabricate or at least partly assemble both Vertical and Ventral stablizers and in which configuration to get a quick idea of the overall mass and balance we'll be dealing with.

Pick a light cardboard for the cutouts as long as it's stiff. Once they have been traced and cutout balance to get the LCP and more a point about 1/2" forward for our LCG. As expected this moves the LCG to just a tab forward of the root leading edge of the main wings. now the real fun can begin.

MM 387uc02b_2 views on Cardboard_03-25-12.JPG

MM 387uc02c_2 view Cardboard cutouts complete_03-25-12.JPG

MM 387uc02d_X-15 Cardboard cutouts & model_03-20-12.jpg

MM 387uc03_Tubular body halfs Tape @ sep point_03-25-12.jpg
 
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Micromeister

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Our tubular half Fuselage nozzle opening isn't quite large enough to pass a T2+ body tube. Easily remedied with a round file.

Check the fit often to keep the fit tight this will help later in aligning the nose section & shoulder.

Dry fit up the two fuselage halves and press on to set the tube just aft of the Cockpit canopy opening. Mark the T2+ tube for cutting. That's all we'll need to do both internal body and NC should stop. Cut the T2+ Bodytube off and set it aside for the next few minutes.

OK it's Careful Scribing/knife cutting time. Guys unless you have one of the extreamly thin blade Razor saws..(Not your everyday X-Acto or Griffold type) it is strongly suggested to use a Scribe cutting and/or Stiff Shape X-acto blade to seperate you small Scale (1/144th & 1/100) body & Nose sections.
This practice will generally produce a closer fitting, better looking joint on the finished model.

a Trick I picked up working with the Smithsonian model makers some years back is after seperating thich parts, under-cut file the inside edges to as thin as you feel comfortable dealing with. Doing so helps close uneven gaps a great deal helping the seam line to appear intended.

Time to Solvent weld the fuselage halves together into a single unit and trim our Nose section T2+ insert to fit just a tiny bit inside the nose section aft edge. Use a 1/4" hardwood dowel as a cutting mandrel to get a crisp, clean inside tube edge. Don't forget to leave about 1/8" of T2+ extending out the rear of the Plastic body to allow external motor taping as well as internal friction fitting. Does wonders for keeping the motors in the model at ejection;)

MM 387uc04a_Open for T2+ motor tube_03-25-12.JPG

MM 387uc04b_Ck Fit of tube Opening_03-25-12.JPG

MM 387uc04c_Tubular halves dry fit before sep cutting_03-25-12.jpg

MM 387uc04d_Close Look at sep line_03-25-12.JPG

MM 387uc04e_Nose Sep Cut,shoulderStop& motor tubes_03-25-12.JPG
 
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Micromeister

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After cutting the nose section spacer T2+ we will need a Nosecone Shoulder. T2 tubing (.246"OD) is perfect or this and making couplers. Cut to allow somewhere between 3/8" and 1/2" inside the main body tube. I went with 3/8". White or Yellow glue these two tubes together it's also a good idea to add our 70-90lb kevlar attachment loop at this point. the loop can be sandwiched between the lower part of the tubes and extended from the bottom (cockpit side) up through the T2 shoulder extending the loop far enough to allow tying on our kevlar 90lb x 30" shockline being installed in the body tube during the next step.

To Create a Motor block with some gluing surface a 3/16" piece of spent MMX-II motor casing is razor saw sliced in an x-acto mitre box. the a small round needle file cuts a channel in the out side that just passes our 49strand 28lb Stainless steel beading wire Shockline ancor. Note the tiny crimp beads used to attach this Craftstore wire to the Motor block and create a tiny attachment loop on the other end. Ideally this loop should stop INSIDE the main body tube short of the Nose Shoulder. I got a little carried away on this one, it extends completely outside the Body. Not much worry with this installation as zippering isn't an issue inside the Plastic body of a PMC:) To our forward loop 30" of 90lb kevlar shockline is tied with 3 half hitches.
NO glue is added to any knots.. such a practice is always a very bad idea. Proper knot selection and tying be it Bowline, Half-hitches 2 or 3 or even overhand loops, will not lossen under either relaxed or taught condition of the line. Choose your terminal knots carefully and learn to tie them well, they will not fail you when needed. Adding glue to any and I mean any knot damages the line which will fail at the glued knot over time.
With Shockcord line & anchor threaded back through the motor stop. a spent motor casing is prepared with a filed channel running its length and several wraps of 1/8" blue tape serve as a spaceing stop. Lay the line/wire in this channel just before inserting the motor stop in the end of the double glue applied area inside the main body tube recessed about 3/4". Push the motor stop up into the re-wetted white glue in a single forward motion and immediately remove the spend casing pulling straight out after releasing the line/wire from your grip. I generally let the shockcord remain outside the rear of the body for about 5 minutes but rethread it back out the foreward end of the tube before the white glue has hardend completely. Care must be taken with this proceedure so as not to disturb the motor block setting but allow the shockline to be stretched out the foreward body keeping the ejection path clear. Set the body tube aside to completely dry before stuffing our newly installed shockline back in the tube so we can epoxy install the tube in the Plastic model body.

Dry fit again to be sure we'll have a straight and true seating inside the models plastic body, if needed add spacer shims of paper, scrap cardboard or even small pieces of balsa to ensure the forward end of the tube will self-center in the model.
Add a few small dabs of epoxy in several places along the interior about mid point to the forward end.. NOT a lot! Also add a solid small line completely around the aft end about 1/2" Up from our 1/8" blue tape end stop tape. This tape will be immediately removed after we set the body in the wet epoxy and make very sure no epoxy has entered the forward end of the T2+ tube. Wipe any Excess slop that extends out of either end with an alcohol dipped paper towel the set the body aside to set up. Make very sure any and all excess epoxy is cleaned up from both front and rear tube interiors.

Tubes in place and epoxy has set up. we can now MC or whatever solvent weld the remaining major exteror plastic parts to the main body. Leave small minor parts that will end up another color then black or later.

Before going any further with the nose section it's time to look at adding the required nose weight. during the tape up, tube setting we used clay patties sliced from a hand rolled 3/4" dia clay roll and Stack over the cockpit area until we moved our loaded balance point to the position shown on the cutout.
This clay way then place on our gram scale giving us 2.9grams and converted this mass to #9 lead shot. Because #9 is the smallest shot available .050" dia. it packs the tightest of just about any NWt material I've found. Wash your hands and/or ware gloves when working with lead products.
This amount it fills not only the entire nose section of the model and into the shoulder as well. Because of this we will have to eliminate the model cockpit tub, seat and control panel. I still didn't want the pellets seen thru the cockpit windows so I MC'ed a .010" thin styrene dark grey strip along the inside edge of the cockpit opening. once the Shoulder is in place we will fill the nose with #9 shot and drizzle in a little epoxy to set it.

To secure and center the Nose Section Shoulder plug block the forward end with a small paper cover...WE WILL Need all the room inside the shoulder for NOSE weight. Sorry I forgot to take a photo of this process. Hey! I get anxious about getting these models together also:) Anyway: Once your blocked the forward end apply a decent but not overly globby amount of epoxy to the forward end blocked shoulder & some spread along the forward most tube sides. Firmly push the nose section into postion centering as best you can, check to see there is no amount of epoxy tat will run all the way down the shoulder sides during curing, then slip the shoulder into the main body tube seating it all the way to the stop and carefully centering the outer plastic body with the main. 5 minute epoxy is great for this step. tape and or stand the model on end during cure to ensure alignment stays where we want it:)

MM 387uc05_T2 nose Shoulder added to T2+ spacer_03-25-12.JPG

MM 387uc06a_Casing MotorStop & Beading wire anchor_03-25-12.jpg

MM 387uc06b_Beading wire, stop shockcord anchor_03-25-12.jpg

MM 387uc06c_30inx90lbshockcord,anchor&StopIn_03-25-12.JPG

MM 387uc07_NC shoulder Epoxy installed vert. cure_03-25-12.jpg
 

Micromeister

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Recently I purchase a supply of Fliskit micro Launch lugs already cut to size. I believe they are 1/4" long. Well that's Still WAY to long for most micors.
I roughed up the outside of one of these lugs with 240grit sandpaper then split it into a 3/32" rear and 1/8" forward two piece lug set. these are attached to the bottom exterior with a toothpick tab of CA followed by a smear of 5 minute epoxy all around.

Over last weekend, a single coat of grey primer and two coat of gloss black were applied. Unfortuately my tac rag let me down just a bit on one side leaving a bit of trash dust that will need to be compounded out before I can go any further.
I'm looking at a couple methods of weathering in some white to very light grey dry tempra or perhaps Talc powder to highlight the recessed panel lines. before applying the decals and UV Matte clear. Not gonna happen this weekend as it's gonna be busy with other things.

MM 387uc08_Tiny half Flis Launch Lugs Added_03-30-12.jpg

MM 387uc09_X-15 Base Coat Black_04-02-12.JPG
 

powderburner

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I roughed up the outside of one of these lugs with 240grit sandpaper then split it into a 3/32" rear and 1/8" forward two piece lug set.

I am a little surprised to see you went this route, rather than using your wire-loop-"antenna" trick to make the lugs less visible. Still, this build is looking very interesting, nice work so far---
 

powderburner

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I think I paid about $3 for the last one I built.

Wow, I don't remember prices that low unless I go all the way back to the 60s and 70s.

I can remember 1/72 plastic kits for like 29 and 39 cents. Of course, Estes stuff was a LOT cheaper back then too.

OK, enough of that, back on thread--
 

Micromeister

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I am a little surprised to see you went this route, rather than using your wire-loop-"antenna" trick to make the lugs less visible. Still, this build is looking very interesting, nice work so far---

The Better 2/3rd is constantly reminding me not everyone has all the same tools or materials on hand. She wants me to try to remember Living room or "coffee table" building so Sometimes I do things others will be able to easily duplicate with available materials.

Bending .050" dia. wire loops isn't all that much more difficult then bending 1/8" or 3/16" diameter rings with the right tools, we'll be making minimal loop antenna lugs of super thin wire for the F-20 1/144th TigerShark i'm working on.
The F-20 is right on the cusp of being too small to convert, as such the size of the Fliskit larger lugs would be more of a detracting addition.
 

Micromeister

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Wow, I don't remember prices that low unless I go all the way back to the 60s and 70s.

I can remember 1/72 plastic kits for like 29 and 39 cents. Of course, Estes stuff was a LOT cheaper back then too.

OK, enough of that, back on thread--

Actually if you visit many of the On-Line Plastic model supplies today you'll find a good number on sale in the 2.50 to 6.00 price range. 1/144th, 1/100 and 1/72nd.
I just recently picked up a 1/144th Marage F-1c for about 6 bucks while the F20 and F14 were in the 3 dollar range less the 6 months ago on sale from Squadron.
www.squadron.com , www.megahobby.com and www.hobbylinc.com are 3 of my favorite sources for PMC base kits.
 

JPVegh

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I am following all of your current builds with great interest.
 

Micromeister

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Next step was to give the model a light clear overcoat before attempting to highlight the recessed panel lines with off-white acrylic paint.
Dry talc and Tempra white just didn't do it either. seams they all want to wipe off too well. Well we'll leave it as is and go on to Decaling.

MM 387uc09b_X-15 offwhite seam hilights_04-15-12.jpg
 

Micromeister

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Sunday had some time to cutout and apply the tiny white decals for our 144th scale X-15. I'll let it sit now a couple days before applying a matte clear overcoat. This baby should be ready for flying.

MM 387uc10_Decals done_04-23-12.JPG
 

JPVegh

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OK, now that is sharp!

Patiently awaiting a flight report.
 

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My wife watches American Idol.... I watch Micromeister's build threads! It would be a terrible shame if you didn't open a hobby rocket museum some day, or at least publish a book!!!!!! Treasures
 

Micromeister

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Thats for the Great encouragement Jeff!
Nice to know these build threads at least help some folks a little.
the Better 2/3rds laughed out loud about the Micro Mod-Roc Museum...we've been musing about the possiblilties all weekend... Great fun! She might write the book..."how to live with a Micro mod-roc maniac" Shes not sure if I'm obsessed or Posessed but sure it's one of the two LOL!!!!

JPV: with any luck at all this one will fly on or before May 19th. I was going to fly it less decals at the last launch, but forgot to put it in the box. It should Scoot on a MMX-II:)

Edit: Ready for the Range.

MM 387p01a_X-15d 144th PMC_04-24-12.jpg
 
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