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Painting rockets like a Senior Prom Date

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Lynn McCall

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Am I the only one who goes slumming at rocket launches? You guys have awesome looking rockets. Mine usually don't look that good. Sometimes it is all I can do to paint them before flight.

On a good day, my rockets arrive at a launch like the wife wearing a bathrobe after house cleaning. It may not look like much but a big enough motor in the back-end gives a great time.
 

Lynn McCall

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Here is my "Ugly Betty".
J-Xray.... Certified level 1 over 20 years ago and still ROCKS on a H250G.
I have had to repair and laminate every fin at some point. 16 flights and counting. I am done painting her.
IMG_20190923_214544983.jpg
 

Jim Hinton

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Hi Lynn;

I enjoy the building aspect and I try to make my rockets as good looking as possible. Sometimes that happens and sometimes, not so much. That's the awesome part of rocketry, different people can find an aspect of the hobby they enjoy. Admittedly, in flight they all look about the same.

Jim
 

prfesser

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The suggestion someone posted---fly 'em naked and if they survive, they earn their paint---has its merits. I spent a lot of time on a 2.6" Silver Comet kitbash, lost it on the first flight in some high, swampy reeds. If it had been painted I'd'a been really pissed. Both of the 4" Patriots I carefully painted before their maiden flight. Lost 'em both.

I'm probably better than most at losing rockets...:oops:
 

Bat-mite

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I go down the middle. I don't want them to be hideous, utilitarian vehicles; but I don't go for the polished, luxury automobile look, either. I don't have the patience for it, and I hate painting.

The colored FG kits by Madcow look great with a few coats of clear coat. But I fly mine naked. "Shiny" means "higher altitude," which means, "harder to recover." ;)
 
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Lynn McCall

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The suggestion someone posted---fly 'em naked and if they survive, they earn their paint---has its merits. I spent a lot of time on a 2.6" Silver Comet kitbash, lost it on the first flight in some high, swampy reeds. If it had been painted I'd'a been really pissed. Both of the 4" Patriots I carefully painted before their maiden flight. Lost 'em both.

I'm probably better than most at losing rockets...:oops:
It sounds to me like you have the balls to really punch a rocket. Sometimes I am a pussy and fly em low to get them back. But that has the weakness of becoming a lawn dart.

That actually sounds like my cousin. He spent a ton of time on a Snarky then pile drived it on a D12-3.

The launch with risk is a launch with purpose. I hate losing them, but I think it is a a skill to launch a G80-10 and get 2000 feet and deploy the chute under 500 feet.
 

Red7Fifty

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Rockets need DUFFs too......(see teen movie) "Designated Ugly Fat Friend". Pretty rockets wouldn't exist, without Duff rockets. Kudos.
On another note, this hour long lecture was entertaining:
 

BABAR

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Assuming the only person you have to please is yourself, do what maximizes your own satisfaction.
This is a post of one of the most amazing scratch builds I have ever seen, even used real gold leaf, and it had a recovery malfunction that destroyed it on its first flight. Guy had a great attitude about it. Man, that probably would had me down for a year.
https://www.rocketryforum.com/threads/open-body-missile-build-for-my-level-2.24733/page-3
Personally the probability of a hard landing for MY rockets is directly proportional to the time spent finishing the rocket. Plus I am more of an engineer than an artist, so I build weird rockets just to see if I can get them to fly and recovery right.

Others go all out for scale details or mirror-like finishes, and that is part of what makes the hobby the most fun for them. Model rocketry is one of the most diverse hobbies there is—- size, deployments, recoveries, scale, payload, silliness, ages, locations, staging, clusters, aerial photography and cinematography, competition, altitude goals......

The only real rule is that, if you aren’t having fun, you’re not doing it right.

That said, I have some DayGlo pink and orange paints that I often use even on my test rockets, not for aesthetics but to make them easier to spot after they land!
 

Red7Fifty

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That was a cool rocket, and shame it went in. When that does happen, it frees up storage room, and the workbench for a new project. I put a radio control Jet into the ground last month.....it happens...take the good with the bad. Ironically, I'd be way more upset from hangar rash.....but when it was obliterated, like watching a Nascar wreck.
 

MALBAR 70

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I just finished up an Executioner and chose the stock paint job. After priming , painting, masking, painting,waiting,masking, painting, etc, the paint job came out (for me) really nice. The first flight, on an E 12-6, a weak ejection charge failed to get the laundry out of the tube. She augured in from about 300 ft and core sampled. The rocket wasn't destroyed, but my beautiful and pains taking paint job does not look so good anymore. :(
 

Jim Hinton

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I just finished up an Executioner and chose the stock paint job. After priming , painting, masking, painting,waiting,masking, painting, etc, the paint job came out (for me) really nice. The first flight, on an E 12-6, a weak ejection charge failed to get the laundry out of the tube. She augured in from about 300 ft and core sampled. The rocket wasn't destroyed, but my beautiful and pains taking paint job does not look so good anymore. :(
Serious Bummer. The stock paint job is a real bear. I've built a couple of Executioners, but I bravely ran away from all of that masking. I always completely finish my rockets prior to any flights though. I figure that if they are going to meet their untimely demise, they might as well be wearing their Sunday best.

Jim
 

BABAR

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Serious Bummer. The stock paint job is a real bear. I've built a couple of Executioners, but I bravely ran away from all of that masking. I always completely finish my rockets prior to any flights though. I figure that if they are going to meet their untimely demise, they might as well be wearing their Sunday best.

Jim
Bill Cosby is currently out of favor due to his being an idiot. He did have an interesting comment. His mother told him that if he was ever in an accident, she hoped he had on clean underwear. He commented that if he ever WAS in a traffic accident, his underwear post accident would likely not be clean regardless of its condition BEFORE the accident.
 

JoeTekcor

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I really dislike painting but I do want my rockets to look good. Trying to find that fine line.
 

Lynn McCall

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For me, rocketry is art.
I had one that looked like that. Well almost.... Then an Aerotech single use CATOD and blew the whole side out right on the pad. It never moved more then 2 inches. It was a total loss. .... My cousin couldn't stop laughing. I couldn't stop . .... That's rockets!
 

boatgeek

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I really dislike painting but I do want my rockets to look good. Trying to find that fine line.
I try for about a 5-10 foot finish. If you see it from that far away, it looks fine. If you get closer, you see imperfections. That's a good balance between work in painting and looking good for me.

Also, you might look at using flat or satin paint. Gloss shows surface imperfections better than flatter paints. Dark colors also highlight any surface issues.
 

Nathan

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Post 48 of that thread is particularly germane to the discussion here.

Did that Onyx ever fly Nathan? Sure is a beautiful bird!
It has flown many times. That rocket was single deploy and was designed to use with a Chute Release. It was slightly damaged in a hard landing when the JLCR didn't release. I repaired it then later it was damaged again (cracked fin joint) due to another JLCR failure. I repaired it again and this time I bought a new nose cone and converted it to head-end dual deploy. I have sanded it down and repainted it Burnt Orange Metallic and right now am in the process of wet sanding. Pictures coming soon.

I no longer use Jolly Logic Chute Releases for main chute deployment on any rockets. I may post a thread someday about all my bad experiences with JCLRs.
 
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Joekeyo

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I am a middle of road-er as well. This BAR came back into the hobby fully intending to put a mirror finish on my rockets. Spend days applying toxic sanding sealer and then sanding it off. Then I saw the Apogee video using Elmer's wood filler. Great stuff. One coat, sand it, paint. Sure a little grain shows, but it looks 90% better than raw wood IMO. They go up, they go down, they get dirty, they break.
 

jlabrasca

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For me, rocketry is art.
Ah yes, an Estes Salvador Dali -- I had one of those. Lost it when it got hung up on the eyelashes of a burning giraffe.

It sounds to me like you have the courage to really punch a rocket. Sometimes I am timid and fly em low to get them back.
FIFY

As to the original question, the correct answer is "it depends". The very first rocket I took to a high power launch only got to the pad because the RSO looked at the streaks, drips and finger marks in the paint and assumed that it had been flown, and lost, at least once (it shredded on its maiden flight, so I never got a chance to repaint it). I've also had the RSO point at some glue squeeze-out or a patch of missing paint -- or some other artifact of my crappy finishing -- and ask "Has it flown since you made the repair here?"

But I will, occasionally, take the time to dress the rocket up and make it photogenic. I am more inclined to go for a close-up finish on LPR rockets, especially when cloning some well-known OOP rocket. I know that the other old people at the launch will feel the same nostalgic attachments that I do, and will want to get a closer look.
 
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Hooked On Rockets

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On a good day, my rockets arrive at a launch like the wife wearing a bathrobe after house cleaning. It may not look like much but a big enough motor in the back-end gives a great time.
On a good day, the wife arrives in the front room...missing her bathrobe...looking like she had a CATO....
and the house still aint cleaned.. (SORRY!..Couldn't resist!!!)

But seriously for paint....
It's all a matter of what you want/will accept/and what you are willing to lose.....It's a rocket...It may never come back.....

And I'm not TOUCHING the "motor in the back end"/"great time"........
:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
 

Lynn McCall

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I go down the middle. I don't want them to be hideous, utilitarian vehicles; but I don't go for the polished, luxury automobile look, either. I don't have the patience for it, and I hate painting.

The colored FG kits by Madcow look great with a few coats of clear coat. But I fly mine naked. "Shiny" means "higher altitude," which means, "harder to recover." ;)
I like my girls naked too. I guess that is why I make it a point to go with big motors in the back end.

Lately I have been wrapping them in vinyl. Less work and thin coating still shows off the finer points.
 

Lynn McCall

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H
On a good day, the wife arrives in the front room...missing her bathrobe...looking like she had a CATO....
and the house still aint cleaned.. (SORRY!..Couldn't resist!!!)

But seriously for paint....
It's all a matter of what you want/will accept/and what you are willing to lose.....It's a rocket...It may never come back.....

And I'm not TOUCHING the "motor in the back end"/"great time"........
:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
Hahaha. This gets better all the time.
 

Lynn McCall

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I try for about a 5-10 foot finish. If you see it from that far away, it looks fine. If you get closer, you see imperfections. That's a good balance between work in painting and looking good for me.

Also, you might look at using flat or satin paint. Gloss shows surface imperfections better than flatter paints. Dark colors also highlight any surface issues.
That is a good philosophy. That sounds like good enough for government work.
 
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