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most challenging Estes build?

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walterb

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I have the Black Star Voyager currently on the work bench. I think it is the second most challenging build
I have done. I think the Odyssey was harder with the tube cutting, then the Asteroid Hunter simply because it required more unfamiliar skills.
In my younger days I thought the Tomcat and Crusader Swing-wing were hard.
I was not fan of the Saturn Ib with the fins but it's been years.
The Saturn V and Space Shuttle was not too hard the Star Trek models were a little challenging too
 

James Harechmak

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At 5yo the Scout was rough, at 9 or 10 the Mars Lander and Maxi Honest John pushed my skills. Working on the Odyssey now along with a #1969 Saturn V and the Odyssey has been a more interesting build.
 

manixFan

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This is an OOP kit,
But the most difficult build of all time is the original K-41 Estes Mercury Redstone!
http://www.spacemodeling.org/jimz/k-41.htm
Is that the one that came with wooden dowels that you cut to length and glued them together to make the escape tower? I built one of those as a teen and my finger hurt for days from cutting through the dowels with an exacto knife. But it turned out really well and I was very proud of it. I also built a Saturn V which used a lot of skills I had from building model cars. It was just a slog to get through though and I remember the body wraps were a bear. I never took the time to paint it properly so I wasn't as happy with it as the Redstone.

A friend had a 1B and never built it. I remember we looked at the parts a few times but he never got the courage to start it.


Tony
 

GlenP

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Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 8.32.05 PM.png

I wasn't sure if you meant from the current kits of today, or from all time. I remember building the Centuri Magnum Jayhawk as a kid being pretty challenging with large wing fins and T tails with sanded tapered edges, a big cardstock transition boat tail, you had to split another smaller body tube and a balsa cone for a conduit, and some balsa and dowel antennas or air probes, and card stock canards. It was a fairly involved build for a 13-14 yr old. But looked really cool and flew great on D engines. Other than the Saturn V and that Redstone dowel tower, the Jayhawk was one that stands out in my memory, as a challenge and really worth the effort.

http://www.ninfinger.org/rockets/catalogs/centuri81/81cen30.html
 
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JStarStar

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Is that the one that came with wooden dowels that you cut to length and glued them together to make the escape tower? I built one of those as a teen and my finger hurt for days from cutting through the dowels with an exacto knife. But it turned out really well and I was very proud of it. I also built a Saturn V which used a lot of skills I had from building model cars. It was just a slog to get through though and I remember the body wraps were a bear. I never took the time to paint it properly so I wasn't as happy with it as the Redstone.

A friend had a 1B and never built it. I remember we looked at the parts a few times but he never got the courage to start it.

Tony
Yes, the original Estes Mercury-Redstone had a wooden-dowel escape tower.

I believe the Redstone fins were glue-together separate pieces as well. And in those days, no laser-cut or die-cut balsa; you had to cut every separate piece out by hand.

I tried to build it at age 11-12 and made a total botch of it.

I ended up making a crude and cruddy looking Jupiter-I "semi scale" out of it.

Shortly thereafter, I ordered a Mars Lander in its first year or so of release, and I botched that one up too.

Getting those landing leg balsa parts cut out -- a complete mess.

No pre-cutting of body tube slots either-- you had to cut them out with an X-acto and if you were one mm off, the whole leg assembly would be crooked.

I might vote for the original, cut-your-own-balsa, cut-your-own-tubes, version of the Mars Lander as the hardest Estes kit ever.
 
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hcmbanjo

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Here's the old six piece fins for the K-41 Estes Mercury Redstone.
According to the instructions you would cut them out, shape them, glue it all together
then try fill the grain after the model is assembled.

Don't even get me started on the tower -
MR K 41 A.jpg
MR K 41 B.jpg




MR K 41 D.jpg
 

Andrew_ASC

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I was going to complain about the Estes Conquest having 34 steps on the intakes. But nope. You old timers win. You had to hand cut an escape tower!?!?
 

neil_w

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Here's the old six piece fins for the K-41 Estes Mercury Redstone.
That is awesome(ly crazy). OMG step 2. :eek:

Still, builds like that are a good test of one's mettle. The goal is simply to make it through the whole thing without chucking it in the garbage.
 

BDB

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I'm sure it's nothing compared to the builds you guys are describing, but I've screwed up the shrouds on two SR-71 blackbirds--once as a teen and once last year. Both were "acceptable," but I'm way to much of a perfectionist. I have two more SR-71s, the Asteroid Hunter, Darkstar Voyager, and Odyssey in my basement, but haven't mustered the courage to try any of them.
 
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Nytrunner

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Get after em BDB!

The real trick with those is endurance. Mentally prepare yourself that you can't build it (well) in a weekend. A step here, a piece there, half hour here, an hour there, they'll be done in the fullness of time!
 

Ez2cDave

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Here's the old six piece fins for the K-41 Estes Mercury Redstone.
According to the instructions you would cut them out, shape them, glue it all together
then try fill the grain after the model is assembled.

Don't even get me started on the tower -
Yes, "back in the day" when Rocketeers actually had to be "builders", rather than "assemblers" . . .
 

DuctTapeandRocketFuel

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I thought the SR-71 I built as a kid was pretty challenging. I still have it. Never actually flew it, I was afraid of it crashing, and ruining hours of hard work.
 

JStarStar

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I thought the SR-71 I built as a kid was pretty challenging. I still have it. Never actually flew it, I was afraid of it crashing, and ruining hours of hard work.
I built an SR-71 and converted it to dual motor power (18mm mounts in the wing nacelles and a BT-50 tail cone in the fuselage) with an 8" chute in each nacelle.

Somehow I got something misaligned -- the motor mounts or one of the rudders -- because every time I flew it, it went into a methodical, about one revolution per second, corkscrew. A little nerve racking but not enough to really mess up any flights.

It looked great -- the skins sealed up properly -- and was fun to fly, but it got thrown out in a box of rockets in a cross state move years ago.
 

hcmbanjo

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I'm sure it's nothing compared to the builds you guys are describing, but I've screwed up the shrouds on two SR-71 blackbirds--once as a teen and once last year. Both were "acceptable," but I'm way to much of a perfectionist. I have two more SR-71s, the Asteroid Hunter, Darkstar Voyager, and Odyssey in my basement, but haven't mustered the courage to try any of them.
Those SR-71 shrouds can be formed, but they are a bear!
Scroll down and back to Step 8 to see one way to do it -
http://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com/search/label/E SR-71 Blackbird
 

hcmbanjo

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Here's the weird thing about the K-41 Mercury Redstone tower "dowels", Part H.
They weren't dowels at all. It was a plank of wood, maybe 2" wide by 6" long. It looked like a thin piece of mahogany.
The "dowels" were pressed into it from both sides. It was probably done with water and heat.
If the two sided mold clamp was off in alignment, you didn't have round dowels to work with!

MR K 41 DD.jpg
MR K 41 E.jpg
MR K 41 F.jpg
MR K 41 G.jpg
 

Tobor

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Here's the old six piece fins for the K-41 Estes Mercury Redstone.
According to the instructions you would cut them out, shape them, glue it all together
then try fill the grain after the model is assembled.

Don't even get me started on the tower -
View attachment 376929 View attachment 376930
View attachment 376932
Here's the weird thing about the K-41 Mercury Redstone tower "dowels", Part H.
They weren't dowels at all. It was a plank of wood, maybe 2" wide by 6" long. It looked like a thin piece of mahogany.
The "dowels" were pressed into it from both sides. It was probably done with water and heat.
If the two sided mold clamp was off in alignment, you didn't have round dowels to work with!

View attachment 377075 View attachment 377076 View attachment 377077 View attachment 377078
I remember working on that tower in high school. I do not remember ever finishing the kit. I "think" I gave up after attempting to shape the fins. It was just beyond my mental capacity to endure it long enough to gain the skill. In a nutshell, I was lazy and hated the notion of failing.......
 

JStarStar

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It's actually pretty amazing I can remember step by step the process of screwing up a rocket kit build from 47-49 years ago.

:eek::eek:

And now ... where the fudge are my keys?

:confused:
 
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dpower

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Here's the weird thing about the K-41 Mercury Redstone tower "dowels", Part H.
They weren't dowels at all. It was a plank of wood, maybe 2" wide by 6" long. It looked like a thin piece of mahogany.
The "dowels" were pressed into it from both sides. It was probably done with water and heat.
If the two sided mold clamp was off in alignment, you didn't have round dowels to work with!

View attachment 377075 View attachment 377076 View attachment 377077 View attachment 377078
Found this old thread while building s vintage K-41. I’m not sure what is more difficult, the fins or tower. It took me quite a while to figure out how the fins went together. And WD-41 has to be the weirdest part ever in an Estes kit. Mine was only pressed well on one side, so took a lot of twirling to get the pieces even remotely round. Fun stuff! :D
 

Back_at_it

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Like others have said. The old Redstone was the hardest kit I ever built due to the fins. Second hardest was the Saturn V. Everything that has been in the lineup since building those has been a piece of cake :)

As for modern kits. The Odyssey is about the hardest thing I've come across lately.
 

HHaase

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I might vote for the original, cut-your-own-balsa, cut-your-own-tubes, version of the Mars Lander as the hardest Estes kit ever.
Ironically it wasn't even the tubes and sticks of the landing gear that I messed up, it was the body wraps. Was just beyond my abilities as a kid. Maybe I'll try the Semroc version one of these days.

-Hans
 

Sooner Boomer

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The Little Joe II had a built-up-stick escape tower. Or was that a Centauri kit?
 

Sooner Boomer

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Same Built up tower as on the 1/70 S1B kit.
It was a challange, but I took it slow. I had a friend that built both the Saturn V and IB. He did OK; my Little Joe II was *perfect*. So of course I crashed it right away.
 

BSNW

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Try the Estes Odyssey...this is a tough build and finish. I also would say the black Star Voyager is up there too.

Andrew
 

neil_w

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Try the Estes Odyssey...this is a tough build and finish. I also would say the black Star Voyager is up there too.
Both are gorgeous rockets.

The Odyssey strikes me as a real chore to paint. I don't know if painting is considered part of the build difficulty (Black Star Voyager by contrast looks a lot easier in that regard.)
 

BSNW

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Both are gorgeous rockets.

The Odyssey strikes me as a real chore to paint. I don't know if painting is considered part of the build difficulty (Black Star Voyager by contrast looks a lot easier in that regard.)
See what you mean, but I don't know how one can remove finish work from the build process. Its all part of the build. The Odyssey was much harder to build than paint for me. If memory serves me I think I posted mine on the forums a while back....at least I am pretty sure. It was a tough one for me at least.
 
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