new to this group & rocketry

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Sep 19, 2004
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Hi all,
I was informed of this site by someone at rmr and decided that at least here people discuss rocketry - so thought i would sign up. Just got into rocketry (although i remember launching a few as a child) and kind of becoming obsessed fairly quickly. have already built and painted an Estes Sizzler, purchased a baby bertha, joined the local rocket club, attended my first launch (without my unpainted sizzler), and spent too many hours reading info on the web.

So to start things off right, thought i would ask a couple of questions i have (please remember im pretty new and all my terminology may not be 100% accurate)

1) My first build, the finish isnt what I would call ideal (or anything close). Someone suggested using Elmer's Fill'n Finish before prime/paint. Is it easier to do this after fins are glued to body tube (doesnt seem like it would be) or can it be done before attachment. I aslo read somewhere about covering the fins with some sort of 'film" or paper. Any good websites you know of with instrux/pics?

2) From what I read Sizzler + parachute, probably not the best idea on a windy day???

3) I used plain old model paint (Krylon i think) on the Sizzler, is there better quality? Im kind of anal retentive so when i get the skills, I will want my rockets to look as good as they fly.

Thanks a ton in advance!!

Hi Flipper. Welcome to TRF. To answer your questions:

I use fill n' finish before the fins are glued on. I generally use the "dry rub" technique. That is, don't thin it at all. Just take a bit on your finger and rub it into the grain until it is dry and crumbly. Sand it once dry, then glue on the fins. A few coats of sandable primer, sanding between coats and using about 600 grit wet sanded on the last coat. Finally, I use Krylon. Actual mileage may vary, but this works very well for me. are things in Peoria?
Welcome to TRF!

Don't worry about terminology or any of that, we'll correct you a little if it gets *really* bad (just kidding!)

Application of fill-n-finish is kind of by preference. If you find it easier to work with separate fins and BT, then by all means go that way. Another material you may find easy to use is a can of KILZ spray primer, or even an aerosol can of auto body primer.

If you want to work on the parts separately, be sure to carefully mark the BT where the fin roots will go and scrape off the sealer in that area before you try to glue the fins on. Similarly, you will want to lightly sand the fin roots to get a good clean surface for gluing.

On a windy day you can leave the chute completely off a rocket as small as the Sizzler (if you want). This is easier to do if you tied the chute to a snap swivel (you will have to go get one at your local sporting goods store, fishing gear section) and then snap on/off the chute as you need it. Or carry a small streamer to substitute if it's too windy.

Krylon is about as good as anything, I use it a lot and lots of other folks do too. I think this is another preference thing, and also a matter of what kind of paint is handy for you to buy.
0) Welcome to The Rocketry Forum, Flipper!

1) I use sanding sealer for the same purpose, and usually put it on before attaching the fins. It is easier, and I haven't had a fin fall off as a result. :)

Covering each side of the fin with paper can help as it immediately gives you a fairly smooth surface without sanding and filling. It also makes the fin stronger, but a bit heavier. Model aircraft tissue also works.

2) This has to be at least the third rocket Estes have named Sizzler! Judging by the entry on their website, it's a 19mm diameter rocket. I don't know what it's doing with a parachute. Rockets this size usually have streamers so that they have a reasonable chance of landing in the same field they launched from. ;)

3) I also often use normal model paint on rockets that size, or car spray on bigger models such as the Phoenix.
Welcome to TRF!

People at RMR actually mention us? Wow, I thought we were the backwater of sane people that the loony bin didn't acknowledge!

Anyway, there was an excellent thread on here a few months ago about finishing by the "experts". Here it is: Painting Thread

Lots of good info there. Also, if you do a search on here on "finishing" you'll find more info than you can possibly assimilate in a week!

Finally, go to the EMRR ( website, and go to the tips/hints section. They've got a good compilation of finishing techniques there.

You'll find a lot of "personal preferences" when it comes to finishing, so much of it will be up to you to figure out which works for you and gets you the finish you dream about.

Welcome to the forum and to rocketry too! You're going to like it here :)

I recently discoverred Fill-n-finish after seeing it discussed here myself. I love the stuff and have been experiementing on how to apply it. The "dry apply" really does look promising :)

Also, I notice that you are from Pioria. Well, we just started to offer our kits (FlisKits) at the HobbyTownUSA right there in town. Check 'em out, I think you will like what you see :)

As for questions and terminology, this forum THRIVES on questions (pictures too :) ) and all of your terminology concerns can be answered with the help of the GLOSSARY button at the top of the page.

Good luck and welcome to the fold!
Hobbytown is where we hold our monthly club meetings..i will definitely look next month! Spent enuff time looking at your website, may as well see the "real deal"


I will post a picture of my sizzler ("REDBIRD EXPRESS" as I have named it) when im a little happier with end result - still a little work to do.
Originally posted by flipper
Hobbytown is where we hold our monthly club meetings..i will definitely look next month! Spent enuff time looking at your website, may as well see the "real deal"


I will post a picture of my sizzler ("REDBIRD EXPRESS" as I have named it) when im a little happier with end result - still a little work to do.

Very cool! Say "hi" to Walter the next time you're in there! :)
Welcome to TRF and back to the hobby.
That officially makes you a BAR.
I have never used fill-n-finish but plan on trying it. I have been using drywall spakling paste and have had good results.
I too use Krylon, $2.50 a can at Wallmart.
You will find that each kit or scratch build you do will look better than the last, practice makes perfect.
Peoria. Hmm, you are within a reasonable drive of our Three Oaks,MI. launch site. We have a big weekend long launch there in the spring and fall. Next one is in Nov.
Maybe you can find your way out there and fly some rockets with us.
See for details

i use elmers wood filler and LOVE it. it sands so nicely. you can leave it dry or water it down. if you get your finger wet you can smooth an area out really well. i also use it for the transition between the fins and body tube. and for the money, krylon rules!

Being anal about the finish of a model...well, it's more common here than you might think.

Fill N Finish, Elmer's wood filler, spackle...they all work fine. It's a personal thing really.

The secret to a good finish is proper prep before paint.

The bad ones here are the ones that apply automotive primer (usually a spray can but there are others that use a spray gun!), wet sand most of it off, spray it again, wet sand it with finer grit, wet get the picture.

One member has been known to wet sand his "large" models in the shower...I don't want to name names...he knows who he is!:D

Here's a hint...he's single!
Flipper, welcome to the sight. I'm new here, too. Been here a couple of months.
I'm just down the road from you in Decatur, IL.
What's the club in Peoria and do they have a website?
Where's Hobbytown located? I'd like to get up there and check it out.
Check out my weblink for pics & video of me and my kids with rockets.
And guys what is RMR?

My 2 cents - STAY AWAY . It is mostly continous threads trying to prove one's manhood with 1/75 posts actually informative