Need HELP with an old Estes kit!!

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sopwith21

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Hello everyone. Newbie here.

I am the proud owner of a 40 year old Estes Boeing A.L.C.M. Cruise Missile rocket. It is old, decrepit and broken after many launches. I would like to lightly restore the rocket to flying condition but my work demands constant travel and it just isn't getting done.

I would happily pay someone to give this rocket a thorough rebuild. It needs two tail fins, a new parachute and some TLC just to bring it back to flying condition. I still want it to look "aged." I DO NOT want it to look pure white again (it's very yellowed now) or brand new. It is an old war horse with lots of launches and I want it to look like a 40 year old rocket.

Someone is bound to point out that this could be done in just a few days by myself, but you'll have to trust me. My lifestyle does not permit that right now. But this rocket was an important part of my childhood and I'd like it to be in flying condition and in condition for display.

Is anyone interested in doing the work for me? I'm happy to pay any fair price. This was my favorite rocket and I'd appreciate help from an experienced builder. Many thanks!
 

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GlenP

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Always nice to have an original kit restored, I am sure there are some competent builders who could take on that challenge. I offer one suggestion to whomever is able, could some detailed measurements be taken and perhaps a 3D printable model generated also? Good luck with the restoration! Hopefully someone with some 3D modeling skills could take this on and make a printable model to share.
 

Zeus-cat

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If no one else steps up you can mail it to me and I'll take it to the weekly club meeting at eRockets. I'm sure ten or more rocketeers can do a better job than just one!
 

sopwith21

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You guys might find this entertaining... since the day I began my meager and sporadic rocket career, I've kept a handwritten log of every launch. Here is a transcription of the first two flights of this rocket from my log dated July 1980. BTW, click on the picture and you'll see pencil hash marks on the stabilizer fin of the cruise missile, each one indicating a launch. This rocket has been launched 14 times since 1980. I'm sure many of you guys do more than that in a weekend, but for me, this represents the most "used" rocket I ever owned. Here is my log for the first two flights -

July 22, 1980 (Tuesday)
Garden Center, 3076 St. Rd. 144, Mooresville IN


Boeing ALCM Cruise Missile
Flight #1
8:00 pm

Launched from back of field with a slight southern breeze. On take-off, bottom wings bent to the right, taking it into a wide, right-handed spiral. Crash-landed 14 yards west of launching pad. Recovery system ejected shortly after crash. Wings (bottom) have to be taken off and re-installed, but minor damage to overall flight ability. B4-2 engine used.

Boeing ALCM Cruise Missile
Flight #2
8:15 pm

Identical weather conditions. Successful flight was made without bottom wings. Landed 92 yards southwest of launching pad. Used B4-2 engine.
 

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K'Tesh

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I'd love to try... But with the conditions of not making it look like new, I'd better not. Besides getting it to China (and back) would be a PITA.
 

sopwith21

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I figured that would actually make the project easier, not more difficult.
I'd love to try... But with the conditions of not making it look like new, I'd better not. Besides getting it to China (and back) would be a PITA.
 

JStarStar

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It's always fun to take a banged-up old rocket, work some steely-eyed missile magic, and get it back in the air.

From your description, it doesn't sound like the ALCM is smashed up too badly; a couple new fins and a new parachute is usually a piece of cake.

Should be fun to see the flight pictures!
 

Bat-mite

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Shipping a built rocket is really scary. Make sure you overpackage it. I've had better results with USPS than UPS. Hope you find a builder.
 

jqavins

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Where are you? Your best bet would be someone local so that shipping is not an issue. I'd take it on if you're in the twin tiers region of NY and PA.

Look up local clubs in your area. Asking there, in person, rocket in hand will probably get you better results than asking the internet. (Sometimes, the old ways are still the best.)
 

sopwith21

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Thankfully, Bibbster has taken on the project and it is well underway. As Bat-mite suggested, I overpacked it and the rocket arrived in good condition. Thanks to everyone for their advice and help, and I'll keep posting on this thread as the project comes along. Very excited!
 

caveduck

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I'll be interested to see the results! I refinished mine several years back, but it was WAY yellower than yours thanks to an ill-advised topcoat of Testors Glosscote. I imagine you are not going to replace the decals since some of that weathered look is aged decal adhesive, but if you want hi-res decal art I can send you a Google Photos link.
 

bibbster

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Since Mr. sopwith21 is a busy fella, I thought I would just post progress pics here, that way he doesn't have to check messages and post updates, plus, everyone else can follow along too.

So, today I removed what was left of the port side fin and patched a small chip in the body where the fin gets inserted using epoxy. I also patched the carnage of what once was the starboard fin slot in the body. I backed this with painters tape and filled it with epoxy, then cut, scraped, and sanded it down to match the original contour.

I also removed all the blobs of old adhesive, which interestingly enough, smelled like lime flavored Lifesavers when scraping it off. I'm leaving the residual stains from the adhesive in order to retain the history of the rocket.

And thanks again to caveduck for his contribution to the project (https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/estes-alcm-cruise-missile-details.149432/).

Port side fin:
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20181203_132800.jpg
 

bibbster

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A bit more progress today...the aft launch lug. I made this slightly different than the original, but it does have the same overall appearance.

20181204_124528.jpg
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sopwith21

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I'll be interested to see the results! I refinished mine several years back, but it was WAY yellower than yours thanks to an ill-advised topcoat of Testors Glosscote. I imagine you are not going to replace the decals since some of that weathered look is aged decal adhesive, but if you want hi-res decal art I can send you a Google Photos link.
Many thanks! This is turning into a community project! :) We've talked about perhaps replacing a few of the decals that have completely worn off, so that remains a possibility. But the old, partially torn up decals have to stay. That's history! :)
 

sopwith21

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This is great. I'm downloading these photos and adding them to the Flight Log I've kept for this rocket for the last 40 years.
 
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sopwith21

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So, out of gratitude for everyone's interest and support for my poor old rocket, here's the preliminary plan... sit upright and scoot to the very edge of your seat...

When the project is finished I will schedule the 15th launch in this rocket's history dating to July 1980, and either A) broadcast it live on YouTube and invite everyone here to see it, or B) record the launch on video and post it here.

I'll post the exact date and time a week or two in advance so everyone knows! :)
 

jqavins

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Many thanks! This is turning into a community project! :) We've talked about perhaps replacing a few of the decals that have completely worn off, so that remains a possibility. But the old, partially torn up decals have to stay. That's history! :)
I was thinking that, if it were up to me which it obviously isn't, I'd cut the wrinkled, damage decals to remove only the worst parts, then hand paint the missing graphics with a small brush. It'd look repaired, i.e. better than it was but not fully restored.
 

bibbster

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Just a small update in the long process of this restoration. I am building the hinges from scratch which has proved to be the slow down of the project. A few iterations later and I think i have it figured out. I am awaiting some info from a plastics vendor as well as some material.

Each hinge will have two layers, one of which will match the thickness of the wings. Working on cutting them out and then on to the actual hinge/lug assembly, in this case, four sizes of tubing.

Thanks for your patience, Stephen.
 

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sopwith21

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Hey, any forward progress is a good thing and means that we're edging closer. There's no desperate rush. I still plan to do a launch on video for fellow forum members when it's all done! :)
 
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