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Vintage Centuri Space Shuttle Build

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SCIGS30

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Onto my next vintage build, the Centuri Space Shuttle, right out of the bag. This kit is pretty old and the balsa is typical die crushed, but this time it is also light weight. I was able to remove all the pieces and sand smooth ready for filler. I won't be around the house much I am thinking about filling the balsa with FNF. This would be the first time I tried FNF on a vintage build so I wanted to practice first. I used some spare balsa and cut out a set of large fins and smaller fins to practice on. I put on the first coat of FNF and man did everything warp, but when it dried everything was nice and flat, go figure. I sanded my practice pieces smooth but looks like there are some spots that need touch up. So I have a couple of questions......When applying the touch up areas do I use the same thick mixture or do I use a thinner mixture of FNF? Also the edges were a bit challenging to sand after applying the FNF. The FNF goes on thick hiding the front and rear sanded edges that were sanded to shape, next time I will apply a thinner coat. I will see how these practice pieces go then decide if I am going with FNF for this build, or just wait till I get home and use Brodak sealer.

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hcmbanjo

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I'm curious - I assume you are filling and sanding the balsa off the model. Are you using a sanding block to knock down the CWF?
I take down the bulk of the CWF with 220 grit on a block then smooth with 400.
Sometimes if I sand through an area I just rub a thin coat of CWF on with a fingertip.

Looking forward to following this build.
I had built one of these years ago and have the Semroc version in the bag upstairs.
 

aerostadt

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I went back to my write-up on Rocket Reviews (a Semroc clone I built way back in 2009) and see that I used a acryllic polymer on the wings. For me there was a tendency to put a good finish on this model, but since this is a glider that adds weight, which may not be good.

https://www.rocketreviews.com/semroc-astronautics-corporation-space-shuttle--by-bob-morstadt.html

I still have the model, but have not flown it for years. I ended up adding a lot of nose weight and used a composite Apogee D-motor. This modification produced a stable flight, but the gliding was not good. There was a write-up on either on TRF or Rocketry planet by someone who said that they did not need to modify the model. As I recall they stated that they could bend the flexible flaps up on the large glider to make the model stable.
 
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SCIGS30

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Yes I am filling and sanding the fins off the rocket. I do this even when using Balsa Sealer, never had an issue with fins falling off. I have used sealer when the fins are attached and on a 3 or 4 Fin rocket it is no real big deal. On a more complicated build I find it hard to impossible to sand all the balsa that has been sealed 4 times. Well my experiment with FNF did not go so well. I had the practice fins already for primer and they looked good to me, so I shot the primer. When the primer was dried there was still grain showing and looks like the balsa or FNF sucked up some of the primer. I really think for FNF to work one would have to use the technique that Chris uses, apply FNF, sand and prime the parts off the rocket. I also noticed that Chris sands off most of the primer for a smooth balsa surface. For my building I like to apply 1 coat of primer followed by lightly sanding leaving the primer smooth but not sanding to the balsa or cardboard parts, then I begin shooting my top coats. I am off today and will start brushing all the parts with Brodak Sealer. Since the fins are large, I am using one of my large Camel Haired brushes I use for large RC planes that I dope. I am not bashing FNF, I have seen some wonderful rockets that were built using it as a filler, it is just not within my building and finishing right now. Also Chris has posted old rockets that he built back in the day using balsa sealer, and those rockets look great as well. I think Chris could use milk on his fins and they would still come out looking great.
 

AfterBurners

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Yes I am filling and sanding the fins off the rocket. I do this even when using Balsa Sealer, never had an issue with fins falling off. I have used sealer when the fins are attached and on a 3 or 4 Fin rocket it is no real big deal. On a more complicated build I find it hard to impossible to sand all the balsa that has been sealed 4 times. Well my experiment with FNF did not go so well. I had the practice fins already for primer and they looked good to me, so I shot the primer. When the primer was dried there was still grain showing and looks like the balsa or FNF sucked up some of the primer. I really think for FNF to work one would have to use the technique that Chris uses, apply FNF, sand and prime the parts off the rocket. I also noticed that Chris sands off most of the primer for a smooth balsa surface. For my building I like to apply 1 coat of primer followed by lightly sanding leaving the primer smooth but not sanding to the balsa or cardboard parts, then I begin shooting my top coats. I am off today and will start brushing all the parts with Brodak Sealer. Since the fins are large, I am using one of my large Camel Haired brushes I use for large RC planes that I dope. I am not bashing FNF, I have seen some wonderful rockets that were built using it as a filler, it is just not within my building and finishing right now. Also Chris has posted old rockets that he built back in the day using balsa sealer, and those rockets look great as well. I think Chris could use milk on his fins and they would still come out looking great.
I like the Aero gloss sealer. Less mess, but it's pretty much what works best for you. I've seen great results using both methods as well.
 

mach7

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A few points.

I have built this kit as a straight clone and the Semroc version.

DON'T go crazy with the sealing and painting unless you want a hanger queen.

Filling/painting adds weight. Also on the older Centuri gliders like this, the fine balsa "fuzz" breaks up the boundary layer and really improves the glide.

Remember when this kit was 1st released aircraft dope was what was used, usually on bare balsa. Maybe 1 or 2 coats of sanding sealer.

Good luck on your build, remember to launch it exactly as the instructions say. DO NOT launch it vertically, a slight angle works best.
 

SCIGS30

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I brushed on 4 coats of sealer adding minimal weight. I will probably add the top coat without primer.
 

SCIGS30

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After brushing and sanding four coats of Sanding Sealer, it was time to put the Shuttle together. The plans are pretty detailed and everything went together well. The wood was old but careful sanding and sanding sealer took care of that issue. The plastic canopy is thin plastic that cracked during removal from its carrier but I repaired that with glue followed by some Testors Putty. I then glued the canopies on using Testors cement. As of right now both gliders fly pretty good with the small shuttle flying pretty fast and required a bit of up elevator. For painting I am planning on using no primer, just white paint except the plastic noses. Since they are red, I will fist shoot with black primer, followed by grey primer and finally top coat with white. I really like these old models when they are all put together ready for paint with all the original parts. Speaking of, I did have to use glue for the paper elevators, the self adhesive was not very strong. I see these old rocket kits on eBay and people do buy them, but I never see them built. I guess they will be worth more in the future, for me I will continue to tear open the bag and build these rockets.

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SCIGS30

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I found 3 color choices for this kit to choose from, 2 are artist drawings and I did find one picture of the actual kit built by Centuri. I am leaning towards the actual built colors in the photo from below. Small glider white, main rocket silver, what you think?

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mach7

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Pool or a pond.

I've seen the white/yellow combo. It looks very nice.

I built my 1st one opposite of the 1st photo, Silver booster/white orbiter. It was too silver.

the 2nd I built was a modified white/black NASA STS pattern. The black for the "tiles" It's not vintage, but looks very nice!

BTW, your build is looking very nice!
 

SCIGS30

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I have seen the main shuttle white and small shuttle orange, that looks cool also. Since this is a vintage kit I am leaning on painting the actual colors that Centuri used in the photo and not the artist drawings. Luckily I have one more vintage Shuttle kit and one Semroc kit that I can paint any color I want. I am still looking throughold Centuri photos/catalogs to see if the have pictures of the actual rocket built other than the silver and white.
 

SCIGS30

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Here is the only other Centuri built shuttle. Still have not found a picture of white and yellow glider combo. So, large glider silver, small shuttle white, or large shuttle white small shuttle silver? I may have to flip a coin.

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SCIGS30

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Leo, I saw that in the instructions, but I can't find pictures of Shuttle built by Centuri in those colors. A lot of the Centuri instructions give the recommended colors and yet their built rockets are a different scheme.
 

aerostadt

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Your model is looking good! I'm glad you updated this thread. Several years (7 or 8) ago there were several write-ups about this model. Probably, because the static configuration looks so good. As I recall there was a nice looking model in the Sport Rocketry magazine. A search of TRF with "Centuri Space Shuttle" will turn up many threads. Both Mach 7 and Micromeister had some good write-ups. There are some photo's here in the TRF Gallery:

https://www.rocketryforum.com/showt...Kc-6)-Gallery&highlight=centuri+space+shuttle

Mircromeister has a thread here:

https://www.rocketryforum.com/showt...)-build/page5&highlight=centuri+space+shuttle

Here is a paint scheme with kjohnson:

https://www.rocketryforum.com/showt...Space-Shuttle&highlight=centuri+space+shuttle
 
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Sooner Boomer

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I built one when the kit originally came out. I think I painted the booster fluorescent orange and the big glider silver (or the other way around...). Didn't mater - lost both the second flight.
 

Micromeister

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Built my recent KC-6 with White mother-ship and Silver Shuttle. Because both parts are Gliders I did Not fill the grain as I normally would. I also altered the mother ship flaps and hinges. Added about 1/2" to the Shuttle Wings and moved them almost a full inch forward to improve it's glide.
Went so well on 4th flight the shuttle stayed in the top of a 75feet tree for about two weeks. During that time I Cloned a replacement shuttle and painted it Red with Orange stripes. Found the original Silver shuttle on the ground and it was in perfect shape so it has been reunited with the mother-ship in the fleet. I did add a tiny bit of clay to the Left wing to get a little more turn in glide mode.
Been very happy with both Glider duration times. She's made 3 additional flights since all recovering well.

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SCIGS30

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I finally decided on a color rocket my rocket, based off the built Space Shuttle rocket in the Centuri catalog. I did not go with yellow on the small shuttle because I could not find a Centuri built rocket with this color scheme. I will let the paint dry then begin adding the decals. The balsa sealer did a great job of filling the balsa grain since I did not use any primer, just went with the top coats to keep the weight down. I built another Puma rocket, this time using balsa sealer on the balsa parts and a better job of masking than my first Puma build, I really like this rocket. As you can see I still have to glue the black pods on the wings. Painting the pods separately made things a lot easier than trying to mask around them.

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brewster_rockit

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Great thread! I've been following closely for advice on how to finish my own clone, which I started about two years ago. Looking forward to first flight for SCIGS30's model.

I've been a bit confused about what material the original kit used for the elevators. Is it just a heavy paper with self-adhesive on the part that overlaps the booster wing? I was planning to make the elevators from balsa and moisten the glue to adjust the glide as necessary.

Besides the elevator change, I was planning to follow Micromeister's advice on getting the orbiter to glide better. I also made a concession in using BT-55 instead of BT-56 (ST-13) for the orbiter, with an appropriate balsa nose cone (looks like a BT-55 downscale of the Big Bertha cone) from Aerospace Specialty Products.
 

hcmbanjo

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A lot of the Centuri instructions give the recommended colors and yet their built rockets are a different scheme.
'Ain't that the truth! Some instructions gave you an easy and a more difficult paint scheme.
That more difficult paint pattern never looked great.
 

SCIGS30

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The paper in the kit is just normal self adhesive paper and old.
 

SCIGS30

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After allowing the Rustoleum Silver dry, I was finally able to apply the original decals. The decals are pretty old so I spray with Testors Glosscote for protection. I really wanted to keep this an original vintage build so I did not add any of the red stripes that are shown in the catalogs. Centuri did sell a separate decal sheet with red stripes, but I do not have that decal. This was a fun build, not too hard but I had to work at keeping the weight down. The package has the large shuttle weight at 2.2oz, mine came in at 2.0 oz. The small shuttle on the package is .85oz, mine is .8oz. I think by not adding primer I was able to keep the weight under the posted limits. The pod by itself is .25oz. I cannot weight to get this bird up in the air, as shown both rockets glide pretty well with the small shuttle gliding pretty fast. The large shuttle has a nice slow glide. I really like this kit, luckily I have another Centuri original in the package and also a Semroc kit, those will be built in different colors.

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modeltrains

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Vintage looks good. What will having motor in orbiter do to top of booster fuselage?
 

SCIGS30

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I have a feeling the motor is going to scorch the larger glider when I launch the rocket. Just have to wait and see.
 
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